When you're involved in a tragic commercial truck accident, winning your lawsuit depends on proving the defendant's negligence and liability. Finding proof relies on garnering specific evidence, and you must convince the jury and court that the defendant is to be held responsible for your injuries beyond a reasonable doubt.
An important piece of evidence in this pursuit of justice is the black box data from the commercial truck. Accessing this data is not easy, and it's also an area that requires a skilled attorney to navigate.
What Are Black Box Data Recorders?
Black boxes, often known as Event Data Recorders (EDRs), are a standard feature in most modern cars in the United States today. If you are still determining if your vehicle is equipped with one, you can look inside your owner's manual or look up your vehicle's specifications online. As of 2005, most vehicles come with a notice in the owner's manual indicating whether the vehicle has an EDR or not. However, commercial trucks usually require EDRs specifically for collision events. These devices gather and capture critical information about the driver and the behavior of the truck during an accident.
The data points accumulated are the vehicle's speed, impact force, acceleration and deceleration speeds, brake application, airbag deployment time, steering angles, seatbelt usage, vehicle tilt, and throttle position. Some more advanced EDRs are equipped with video and audio recording capabilities, GPS locations, and more. Black boxes usually retain data from 20 seconds before the accident, providing insight into the moments leading up to the collision. Important note - these devices only work when the vehicle is operational and will not function if the ignition is off or there's no battery power.
Truck accident lawyers at Truck.Law are here to help you garner the black box data evidence that can be crucial to securing the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.
How Long Do I Have Secure Black Box Data?
Time is of the essence when it comes to securing the data of the black box of a tractor-trailer after an accident. In some cases, EDRs are programmed to erase any data within 30 days. Getting your truck attorney as soon as possible is the best way to secure this evidence. The urgency is even higher if and when a trucking company owns the truck involved in the accident, as it is not possible for such companies to destroy black box data unless they receive a court order to preserve it.
Some newer passenger vehicles may also have EDRs, which is helpful if the trucking company attempts to conceal their data. Black box data serves as a crucial piece of evidence supporting your case.
How to Access the Black Box Data
Accessing data from an EDR can be achieved through several methods. If you are looking towards your vehicle to retrieve this data, you can use an associated app on your smartphone or electronic device. A retrieval tool kit should accompany your EDR and instructions on accessing the data after an accident. If you need to access black box data from another vehicle, such as a commercial truck, a few scenarios permit it.
- The truck owner gives consent
- The search of the commercial truck is necessary for safety reasons
- You've obtained a court order to get the black box data.
- The EDR requires repairs or servicing.
It's good to remember that many commercial trucks have insurance coverage, which allows the insurance company to download black box data following a collision. If a trucking company tries to destroy the black box and its data, the insurance company might already have a copy.
Can You Use Black Box Data as Evidence in a Truck Accident Claim?
The evidence obtained from a commercial truck EDR has proven invaluable in establishing the liable party's fault. The data reveals critical information - how the accident occurred and how it attests to the severity of the commercial truck wreck. It also provides crucial evidence in cases where testimonies conflict. Evidence is favored by juries that decisively prove liability. Black box data falls into the category as a form of forensic evidence that can be a significant factor when it comes to the outcome of your case.
What Other Evidence Should I Attempt to Gather?
While the results from an EDR can be potent, it's not the only piece of evidence that can showcase liability and negligence in your truck accident claim.
Your attorney might introduce various types of evidence to strengthen your case, including:
- Pictures of your injuries
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Video surveillance of the accident
- Dashcam footage of the accident
- Witness statements
- Reports from truck accident reconstructionists
- The truck driver's cell phone records
- The truck driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test results
- Police and crash reports
- Personal journal entries
An in-depth investigation into the cause of your truck accident can yield valuable evidence that helps win your claim. Garnering the compensation you deserve is incumbent on proving the defendant's negligence as the direct cause of your damages.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer for Help Today
The evidence and data gathered from commercial truck black boxes are vital when proving negligence and liability. When your injury settlement is in the balance, you want to ensure you have access to the evidence necessary for your victory.
Truck.Law is a team of experienced truck accident attorneys here to help. We can obtain black box data and other supporting evidence to hold truckers and trucking companies liable. Have us stand by you to win the compensation you deserve. To learn more about your next best steps in your truck accident case, call our office at (904) 747-9473 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
When you need expert legal guidance, you can count on Truck.Law.