Potential Uses of Telematics Data in Personal Injury Cases

By Cory Bilton

Cars in Traffic Spewing Bits - Focused

Drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians often disagree about how an accident happened.  The damage to a bicycle or vehicle says something about the effect of a collision, but the events that precede a collision often need to be retold by the people involved or the witnesses nearby.  In preparing a case, personal injury lawyers have to nail down all the specifics.  In the near future, the car itself may be one of the star witnesses to events leading up to the accident.

Over the past few years, auto insurance companies have been developing programs, called “usage-based insurance” or UBI, to monitor driving habits.  Most of these programs require a small electronic device, dubbed a “telematics” device, to be plugged into the car’s onboard computer.  The telematics device records the car’s speed, acceleration, location, mileage, and fuel level, and then transmits this data back to the insurance company.  If you drive slowly, avoid hard braking, stay close to home, and only drive in the morning, you’ll get a discount on your car insurance rates.  Otherwise, the insurer will explain to you, with colorful charts and graphs, precisely why your driving habits make you a risky driver.

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DC’s Police Complaint Board Issues MPD Report Card on Bicycle Accidents

By Cory Bilton

Bike Lane Interchange

In working with injured cyclists, we see a number of recurring scenarios in bicycle accidents in the DC area.  When a bicycle-motor vehicle collision occurs, at least one person involved usually does not know how the rules of the road (e.g. the law) apply to cyclists.  This ignorance of the law often manifests itself in a presumption that the cyclist must have done something wrong.  The result is that in the aftermath of the collision, the cyclist is treated as having caused the collision, even when this is not the case.  Unfortunately, this game of “blame the cyclist” often extends to police officers that respond to the scene of a collision.

Recently, the DC Office of Police Complaints released a report on MPD’s enforcement of bicycle laws (which I’ll call the “Bicycle Report”).  The Bicycle Report provides a snap shot of the investigative practices of MPD officers in bicycle-motor vehicle crashes.  From both the Bicycle Report and the DC DOT’s Bike Program Fact Sheet, we can draw a few conclusions about these types of collisions in the District:

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