Tech Evidence in Your Accident Claims
Car and truck accident claim litigation has come a long way in the last few decades, primarily thanks to new technological advancements in recent years. Modern accident investigation technology can now provide digital evidence in accidents, which can help strengthen a plaintiff’s claim. If you’ve been injured in a vehicle collision, working with a truck or car accident lawyer who harnesses the potential of technology in Virginia accident claims can put you in a better position to demand a high settlement. Contact Kendall Law Firm today to learn more.
Types of Technology Used in Accident Investigations
Virginia traffic accident technology is comprehensive, and its effectiveness is advancing rapidly. New technologies continue to emerge, providing new tools attorneys can use in and out of the courtroom. Here are some of the more common forms of technology in legal claims that you may encounter in your case.
- Digital Photography and Video: Digital video can include dash cam footage from the vehicles involved in the collision, CCTV surveillance footage from nearby businesses, traffic cameras (aka red light cams”), or even a passenger’s video from the crash. After the collision, victims may be able to take digital photos of the scene and their injuries with a cell phone, creating digital photo evidence. Eyewitnesses sometimes take photos of their own that can be gathered and used by experienced personal injury attorneys to support their clients’ claims.
- Drones: Some collision investigators may employ drones to capture footage of the wreck. Drone scene analysis may be common in larger cities or in cases of multi-car pileups, where it’s more difficult for a person to safely get into the wreckage to get a shot.
- GPS Data: Many newer model vehicles have GPS capabilities, which can show the vehicle’s location. Even if your vehicle doesn’t have this technology, your smartphone’s GPS or maps app could assist with GPS data accident analysis.
- Event Data Recorder (EDR): Airplanes aren’t the only machines with a “black box,” the colloquial term for an EDR. These devices track certain key activities of a vehicle in the moments leading up to a collision. Most passenger vehicles manufactured after 2010 also have an EDR, as do nearly all commercial vehicles. Vehicle black box evidence could be valuable if you’re involved in a crash with a semi-truck.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of crash claim tech. It’s essential to work with a law firm like Kendall Law Firm that is familiar with the latest technological advancements.
How Technology Helps in Virginia Accident Claims
There are many ways that vehicle impact analysis tech can help in your case, including by offering:
- Accurate Evidence: Technology is unbiased, free from emotions that could cloud an eyewitness’s testimony.
Time and Location Data: GPS and EDRs give precise details of the location of each vehicle at the time of the crash. This could be critical, as it may indicate which party is liable. For example, if a semi-trucker is operating the vehicle outside FMCSA-approved operating hours (that is, if they’re driving longer than they should be), then the location and time stamp on digital data evidence could prove their negligence.
- Speed and Impact Analysis: Was one driver speeding? Digital evidence could provide the answer. Tech-assisted analysis can also shed light on the nature of the impact, running simulations to determine the likeliest cause given the physical evidence.
- Witness Verification: Are witnesses lying? Who’s telling the truth, and who just has faulty recollection? Digital evidence could help your lawyer contest witness testimony brought by the defense.
- Driver Identification: In cases involving hit-and-runs, various forms of technology may be able to help identify the fleeing driver. Police officers can pull stored videos from traffic cameras, surveillance footage, and other digital devices, which can follow the fleeing driver by using facial recognition technology. This can help track down the at-fault driver so they can be held responsible for their negligent actions.
- Law Enforcement Investigations: Law enforcement agencies, including local law enforcement agencies, as well as agencies such as the National Transportation Safety Board, may conduct independent investigations. Law enforcement officers may be trained in digital forensics and may be able to use forensic technology to help piece together how an accident occurred. The results of these investigations may be able to further bolster your claim.
Legal Considerations in Presenting Forensic Evidence in Virginia Personal Injury Cases
Digital evidence is great, right? Case closed? Not so fast. There are a few legal considerations about the admissibility of digital evidence in Virginia you should know.
Also referred to as electronically stored information, or ESI, Virginia defines digital evidence as any information that may be used to prove a relevant fact that is transmitted or stored in binary. As such, the digital footage taken by a dashcam would count as ESI. Not only should the footage be admissible in most cases, but the dashcam itself is legal in Virginia, so long as it is mounted correctly – which is not the case in every state. As such, your lawyer can indeed use dashcam footage to help build your case, though if the footage in question is not your own, they may have to compel its owner to hand it over.
For example, if you suspect the other driver was distracted at the time of the accident, your lawyer can try to obtain cell phone records and copies of text messages through the discovery process. However, significant challenges may arise that could prevent your lawyer from presenting this evidence in court, such as defense attorneys arguing privacy concerns. Experienced attorneys can anticipate such challenges and prepare for them.
One other thing you should know about is how specialized ESI can be deployed in court. Many of the valuable pieces of tech data described above are difficult for the layperson to understand. Fortunately, Virginia law allows for the admission of testimony from experts to explain to judges and juries certain scientific, technical, or otherwise specialized knowledge that might help them render an opinion. As such, your lawyer may make use of expert testimony in tech evidence to help them explain to the court how EDRs work and what they record, why the GPS proves the other driver was speeding at the time of the crash, or any other salient point that the court might not understand on its own. The expert can also testify that evidence was obtained in a forensically sound manner to combat potential challenges to its admissibility.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
All the digital evidence in the world isn’t going to help your Virginia car accident case if your legal team doesn’t know how to use it. At Kendall Law Firm, we embrace technology and use it effectively in many of our vehicle accident cases.
As our client, you benefit from our:
- Experience in Tech Evidence: We have a strong track record of six- and seven-figure settlements and jury awards, many of which were achieved using tech evidence.
- Navigating Legal Challenges: You may have your own digital or tech-obtained evidence. We can evaluate what you give us and determine if it’s admissible in court or useful to further our investigation.
- Maximizing Compensation: The stronger our case against the other party is, the better position we’re in to demand the highest possible settlement in your case. We’ll employ as much tech as we can to build a case that is as robust as possible.
Do You Need Help After an Accident in Virginia?
If you were hurt in an accident, accident investigations can play a critical role in obtaining the compensation you deserve. You want to work with an accident law firm that is familiar with new methods and systems to support your claim and that has the resources necessary to advance it.
Kendall Law Firm has over 30 years of experience litigating complex accident cases. We’re a firm providing tech-enhanced legal services to victims like you. We focus on helping people involved in personal injury cases demand maximum compensation. Our team goes to bat for injured victims – not big insurance companies or corporations. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced Virginia car accident lawyer.