Tag Archives: evidence

Car Accident Attorney in Indianapolis | Black Box As Evidence

Preservation of black box evidence may be critical in supporting your accident claim
Event data recorders log vehicular speeds


Can black box technology be used as evidence in criminal and civil courts?

If you have ever been in an automobile accident, it is likely that the events leading up to the collision were captured by a device known as a “black box”. The lay term is “black box” but the technical term which you will see in official documents and court records is “Event Data Recorder” or EDR.

Does my car have a black box installed?

History shows that in the early 1990’s, automobile manufacturers  from Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and Pontiac used the EDR as a way to understand how vehicles performed in accidents.  Since 2000,  the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has collected data involving car accidents as well.  Today every vehicle sold in the United States must have an EDR.

Since 2012, automobiles equipped with EDR are required by the NHTSA to track 15 different data points including speed, steering, braking, acceleration, seat belt use, and if in an accident, force of impact and air bag deployment.  To find out if an older car has an EDR check Harris Technical Services or Accident Reconstruction Network.

Will the download of my car’s black box data help my accident lawsuit?

With all this information stored in an EDR, the question becomes whether the data download is admissible in a court of law.  Fifteen states have passed laws that give criminal law enforcement and others involved in civil litigation, the ability to retrieve the data with a court order even though the data belongs to the owner of the vehicle.   Some argue that the privacy issue should be taken up with Congress when dealing with the issue of crash data.

Lawyers with experience in retrieval and interpretation of black box information

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501Regardless, the EDR in every car crash has relevant evidence and will likely be retrieved and used as evidence in all civil litigation cases. Lawyers, Charlie and Don Ward have experience in protecting and preserving black block technology data and working with reconstruction experts in the interpretation of the evidence. If you’ve been injured in an accident, call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your claim.

By Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Data Tracking Device Used as Evidence | Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Indianapolis

Indiana Lawyer For Personal Injury Settlements and Claims - Indianapolis Attorney Wearable ‘Black Box’ Technology Used as Evidence in Accident Claims

A self-tracking wearable device known as ‘Fitbit’  is technologically similar to the “black box” technology found on a vehicle.  Fitbits and other wearable data tracking devices can monitor and track just about everything including exercise, sleep patterns and daily activities such as the amount of time one spends standing or the number of steps taken by an individual per day.  Since black box generated reports can be downloaded and used as evidence in lawsuits and accident claims by either side to support allegations or defenses, it will come as no surprise that  the data received by wearable tracking devices may soon also be used as evidence for settlement negotiations or in courtroom cases.


Who will interpret the individual’s data?

An outside analytics company will be used to crunch numbers and define statistical norms from raw data uploaded by the general population. The individual injured person’s data will then be analyzed and compared with the mean of the general population and possibly used as evidence in personal injury cases.  If you are seriously injured in an automobile, motorcycle or trucking accident, the evidence from these wearable devices will confirm a daily lifestyle of restricted activities. Thus, your wearable data tracking device may serve as your own expert witness in your accident case.

Over the past few years more and more wearable devices are coming to the market.  Apple has a product known as HealthKit and Google has one similar for Android users called Google Fit.  It is estimated that 19 million wearable devices will be purchased in 2014. The general rule will dictate if you wear a device which collects personal data, then the production of that data will be requested by the opposing side and required by a court of law if you claim a personal injury.

Technology’s Influence

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501This general rule is similar to evidence that is produced from a cell phone (text) or on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Linked In. The technology is here and easier to trace than ever before.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your claim.

By Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Criteria for Punitive Damages Awards

There must be willful, wanton or reckless conduct

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Punitive damages can be described as monetary compensation that goes beyond what is necessary to compensate the individual for plaintiff’s losses incurred as a result of the harm committed by the defendant. Punitive damages stand somewhere between criminal and civil law and are used as a punishment to discourage outrageous or malicious conduct. They are not awarded on defendant’s negligence alone. The evidence in the case must show that the defendant’s conduct meets one of three criteria, i.e. that defendant was intentionally willful, wanton or reckless.

Willfulness implies intent to commit a wrongdoing which causes an injury. For example, if a manufacturer of a product knows that their product could potentially harm someone but elects not to change or alter the product because the change would be too costly, then that defendant’s conduct can be deemed “willful”. Wanton conduct is acting with a reckless indifference to the consequences and the disregard to a person’s own safety.

Although the individual does not have the intent to injure anyone in particular, injury is a natural and probable consequence of the act. An act that is performed with total disregard of foreseeable harmful consequences is considered a reckless act. A wrongful act performed with a sincere intention to deal fairly with others is an inadequate basis for such an award. Punitive damages were first recognized in England in 1763. In America, colonists recognized punitive damages almost immediately and by the mid-nineteenth century they were a well-established part of American civil law. Currently the American Tort Reform Association and The Coalition for Patient’s Rights have been at odds over the issue of tort reform. Since the 1980s, a movement has seen defendants appealing to higher courts for reviewing punitive damage awards. But to date, the approach to reconciliation has been made on a state by state basis and lacks national uniformity. The legislature in the state of Indiana limits punitive damages [Indiana Code 34-51-3-4].

Trial lawyers experienced in personal injury and wrongful death law

If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it’s important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 85 years of combined experience in personal injury law including accident and wrongful death claims. Our firm receives no legal fees or expenses unless we collect damages on your behalf. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your claim. Our attorneys are available to speak with you.

Charlie Ward

(317) 639-9501


Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Collecting Evidence for Accidents Involving Trucks, 18-Wheeler and Semi-Tractor Trailers in Indiana

Evidence should be obtained immediately in accident involving trucks

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Car and motorcycle accidents involving trucks require time, energy, resources and a sound knowledge of the trucking industry and products liability. An experienced plaintiff’s attorney will already have familiarity with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) which govern all vehicles engaged in interstate traffic.  But collecting evidence in a timely manner to corroborate defendant’s negligence is vital to plaintiff’s cause.

Lawyers place drivers, truck owners and insurance companies on notice for investigation of collision

Often, the first act made by an experienced plaintiff’s attorney after agreeing to represent the Plaintiff, is to locate the vehicles and put all parties, including insurance carriers, on notice to refrain from moving and/or repairing vehicles before an investigation can be conducted. Logbooks, employment records and company policy manuals will be requested and thoroughly examined by plaintiff’s lawyer.

Private investigators are involved immediately

Meanwhile, an experienced investigator will interview witnesses and get statements on the record before memories diminish or fail altogether. The attorney’s PI will red-flag any pertinent company or driver information and use his or her expertise to research driving records, driver’s license history, and pan for any additional information such as potential criminal history and/or credit concerns belonging to the driver or his employer.

Accident reconstruction experts re-create accident using physical evidence

Forensic experts in accident reconstruction may be hired to download data from the trucks event data recorder, reconstruct the accident, photograph the scene under similar lighting conditions and write a detailed report. The forensic report will be submitted as evidence and the expert’s testimony will likely be given in deposition or before a jury.

Motorcyclists injured or killed by a semi

In cases involving motorcycles, lawyers representing the defendant insurance company’s interests often use the defense that the motorcycle driver’s profile was too small to be seen, affecting the driver’s ability to be aware of the cyclist’s existence and proximity. However, most cycling apparel manufacturers sew a reflecting material or threads into their garments for the safety and protection of riders. The fact that a cyclist may have purchased specialized clothing can be used to illustrate that claimant was a responsible and safety-conscious rider. And in an effort to disrupt jurist’s possible negative perceptions about cyclists as “risk-takers”, plaintiff’s attorney will obtain rider’s clothing, if available, to be used as evidence verifying rider’s safety conscious consideration.

Experienced trucking accident attorneys intercede immediately into the investigation

Plainly, time is a central factor in an investigation involving trucking, 18-wheeler and semi-tractor trailer accidents. Charlie Ward is a personal injury attorney experienced in accident litigation and wrongful death claims for families whose loved ones were fatally injured in motorcycle, auto and trucking accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured by the negligence of a truck driver, manufacturer or trucking company, call Charlie today at 317-639-9501 to discuss your accident and receive a free analysis of your claim. The law office of Ward & Ward receives no legal fees or expenses unless we collect on your behalf.

By Charlie Ward

[email protected]

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225