How Crucial is Vehicle “Black Box” Event Data Recorder (EDR) Information in Vehicle Accident Claims?

Get the vehicle “black box” EDR data before costs mount for your claim.

Published June 7, 2018
By William H. Pierce, P.E.


When a vehicle accident happens, disputes arise regarding the cause of the accident or regarding an insured’s and/or claimant’s version of events.  Having a qualified forensic engineer download and interpret data stored on the vehicle’s event data recorder, or vehicle “black box”, can resolve disputes or suspicions quickly.


Get the vehicle “black box” EDR data before costs mount for your claim


When a vehicle equipped with an EDR deploys airbags, the EDR records and preserves data about the accident. Often, low speed collisions generate data even if the airbags are not deployed. However, non-deployment data can be overwritten after a certain number of ignition cycles.  Therefore, forensic engineers should retrieve this crucial data as soon as possible.


Insurance adjusters must use their best judgement when to pull the trigger and hire a forensic engineer to perform an EDR download of data.  On one hand, there is an up-front cost to do this service.  However, when the vehicle overwrites data or has been auctioned off, the claim costs increase as more engineering analysis is needed to calculate impact speeds and delta-V.


EDR data can solve the following issues in a vehicle accident:

  1. How fast was the claimant/insured going at the time of the accident?
  2. Were there any abnormal driver inputs leading up to the collision?
  3. How severe was this accident?
  4. Does the accident severity match the claimed injuries?
  5. Did a vehicle defect and/or faulty repair work contribute to the accident?
  6. Is the claimant’s/insured’s version of events consistent with the data?


Forensic engineers use valuable data from Event Data Recorders to analyze vehicle accidents quickly and effectively. These techniques translate to lower overall costs and to expedite the turn-around time for your claim.