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What are the 5 Most Common Items of Evidence in a Motor Vehicle Accident?

Any motor vehicle accident will have evidence. By far and away the most common form of evidence is going to be testimonial, i.e. the statements of the participants about how the accident occurred. Less frequently, there may be testimony from a witness about the mechanics of the accident. Fairly often, there is photographic evidence, both of the condition of the respective vehicles, and of the scene or traffic control devices. In some instances, there may be video evidence of any accident captured on personal or private surveillance equipment. In some instances, a reconstructionist might be employed to give an expert analysis, based on all available evidence, of their opinion regarding the happening of the accident.

One source of potential information is sometimes overlooked. An event data recorder, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, can be “a device installed in a motor vehicle to record technical vehicle and occupant information for a brief period of time (seconds, not minutes) before, during and after a crash.”

The Administration notes that “EDRs may record:

  • (1) pre-crash vehicle dynamics and system status
  • (2) driver inputs
  • (3) vehicle crash signature
  • (4) restraint usage/deployment status, and
  • (5) post-crash data such as the activation of an automatic collision notification (ACN) system."

All of these could be important in determining how an accident occurred. Many of the best personal injury attorneys in Maryland arrange for their own liability investigation, of varying scope, in appropriate circumstances. Witness testimony, photographs and scene depictions are routine, and come at little or not cost. Accident reconstruction and the retention of expert witnesses are quire costly. The cost involved with obtaining the information, in many cases might not justify the retention of an expert to retrieve EDR data. Such decisions are best handled on a case by case basis. 

     -This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 11/23/20.

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