How important is black box data after a truck accident? Many commercial box trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and semis deliver cargo throughout the country daily. These vehicles can weigh a maximum of 40 tons when a truck driver or trucking company fully loads them.
Given their large sizes and weights, these vehicles can cause severe damage to both people and property in an accident scenario. In fact, many accident victims who sustained severe injuries in large truck accidents wind up in wheelchairs—or even dead, depending upon the accident circumstances.
In most instances, truck accidents occur because drivers operate their huge vehicles negligently or recklessly. At other times, truck accidents result from negligence on the employer trucking company’s part. A large majority of truck accidents are entirely preventable.
Fortunately, accident victims can recover monetary compensation for their injuries via a personal injury claim or lawsuit. In most instances, the accident victim can file this claim with the at-fault truck driver or trucking company’s insurer.
Accident victims have the legal burden of proof in any personal injury claim or lawsuit that they file. To help prove their truck accident claim, an accident victim can recover data from the truck’s event data recorder—or EDR. These devices are commonly known as a truck’s black box. By retrieving information from the truck’s black box, an accident victim can prove how the accident likely occurred, increasing their chances of recovering the monetary compensation they deserve in their case.
If you or someone you love recently suffered injuries in a truck crash, you should involve a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area as soon as possible. Your lawyer can obtain black box data and gather other potential evidence to prove the legal elements of your claim.
Your lawyer can then represent you during settlement negotiations with the insurance company—and at your in-court trial or binding arbitration proceeding—and pursue the highest compensation available in your case.
What Information Does a Truck’s Black Box Record?
A truck’s black box records various information that may become useful when proving your truck accident insurance claim or lawsuit. In general, the black box will record information about the vehicle’s status, its location immediately before the crash occurred, and the route it was taking at the time when the accident happened.
Keep in mind that some black boxes retain more information than others—and for significantly longer or shorter time periods. Some devices only store the information for a few minutes before a crash, while others may save the data for days.
Specific types of information that a commercial truck’s black box may store include:
- The frequency with which a driver operates a truck at, over, or under a specific speed limit
- The actual speed that the truck travelled before the accident
- Whether the truck driver had been using cruise control in the minutes leading up to the accident
- Whether the truck driver applied the brakes immediately before the accident and the exact time that this application occurred
- Whether the truck driver hastily accelerated or decelerated in the minutes leading up to the crash
- Whether airbags in the truck deployed at any time
- The truck’s engine oil levels and tire pressures before the accident
- Whether the truck driver had their seatbelt on immediately before the accident
- Daily and monthly truck activity logs
- GPS information about the truck
- Whether the truck driver moved the steering wheel at a particular time
- The number of times that a particular truck became involved in a crash, and the amount of time in between multiple crashes
A truck’s black box may also store written communications between the trucking company and the truck driver, which may shed some light on exactly how the accident happened. For instance, the black box may record email correspondence between the truck driver and the trucking company about recent mechanical problems or a statement that a driver was feeling tired.
Black box data might also show that a driver spent too many hours on the road at a given time without stopping their vehicle and taking a break. If a truck driver violated these time rules, and the trucking company incentivized them to deliver their cargo to its destination ahead of schedule, both the truck driver and the employer trucking company can be liable for any resulting accidents and injuries.
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Obtaining Truck Black Box Information
Information from a truck’s black box can be extremely probative evidence in a personal injury claim or lawsuit that arises from a truck accident. In some circumstances, an accident victim’s lawyer can obtain copies of truck black box information to use as evidence if the case proceeds to a jury trial.
In most cases, truck black boxes automatically store information for 30 days before erasing it. In that instance, an accident victim’s lawyer can send a spoliation letter—or evidence preservation letter—to the truck driver or trucking company, requesting that they maintain the truck’s black box and any other accident-related information rather than damaging or destroying it. If the truck driver or trucking company nevertheless destroys black box information, they can be civilly liable for the destruction of evidence.
You need a truck accident lawyer to send a spoliation letter to the trucking company as soon as possible after the accident. This action will help to ensure that the evidence remains preserved up until the time of trial. If and when the case goes to trial, the accident victim’s lawyer can try and introduce the black box data into evidence as a business record. They can also call a trucking company representative as a witness to authenticate the black box data.
If you or a person you care about recently suffered injuries in a truck accident, you should obtain skilled legal counsel right away to represent you in your case. Your lawyer can help you get the truck black box evidence you need to prove your case and recover the monetary damages you deserve.
How Can Data from a Truck’s Black Box Help a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit?
To recover monetary damages in a truck accident claim or lawsuit, the accident victim must demonstrate that the truck driver or trucking company owed them a duty of care they violated. Exceeding speed limits, engaging in distracted or fatigued driving, and operating a truck while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are all duty-of-care violations that may cause an accident.
Next, the accident victim must demonstrate that the truck driver or company‘s negligence was the actual and foreseeable cause of the truck accident. Lastly, the accident victim must prove that they sustained at least one physical injury as a direct result of the truck crash.
An accident victim can use a truck’s black box data to prove that a truck driver or trucking company was negligent under the circumstances. This data may show that a truck driver exceeded the speed limit at a particular time or failed to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle when it was appropriate.
Moreover, a truck accident victim can use black box data to show that a driver was fatigued while behind the wheel—or that a trucking company failed to properly maintain their vehicle at the time of the crash. Finally, a truck accident victim can use black box data to demonstrate that a driver reacted inappropriately to a particular set of roadway circumstances, proximately causing their accident.
How Do Truck Accidents Usually Happen?
Truck black box data is often useful when shedding light on exactly how a truck crash occurred. Many truck accidents happen because of a grave mistake on the truck driver’s part.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Loss of control over the truck
- Impaired mental state due to drug or alcohol use
- Excessive speeding
- Inattention to the road
- Vehicle mechanical failure
- Truck driver fatigue, including falling asleep at the wheel
When truck drivers negligently operate their vehicles, and trucking companies fail to adequately supervise their drivers, serious crashes may happen, including:
- Rear-end accidents
- Sideswipe accidents
- Head-on crashes with other vehicles
- T-bone—or broadside—accidents
- Truck rollover accidents
- Truck jackknife accidents
You are not alone if you sustained injuries in any of these accidents because a truck driver or trucking company behaved negligently. Your skilled truck accident lawyer can assist you during every stage of your case by investigating your accident circumstances, filing a claim on your behalf, negotiating with insurance company adjusters, and litigating your case through the court system if litigation becomes necessary.
Can Favorable Black Box Data Help me Recover Monetary Damages in my Case?
Truck black box data can go a long way when proving that a truck driver or trucking company caused your accident. However, to recover monetary damages for your injuries, you must also demonstrate that your injuries directly resulted from the truck accident.
When a large, multi-ton truck strikes a smaller vehicle, the occupants of the smaller vehicle may suffer serious bodily injuries, including:
- Soft tissue contusions
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damage
- Full or partial paralysis
- Internal organ injuries
- Crush injuries
- Head or brain injuries
To establish a causal relationship between the truck accident and your injuries, you will typically need a skilled medical provider on board in your case. A treating medical doctor can state in writing—or as a witness—that your injury or injuries would not have occurred but for the truck accident that resulted from negligence. A medical provider can also establish that one or more of your injuries are likely permanent.
A truck accident victim’s monetary compensation will depend upon the extent of their injuries and medical treatment, along with their pain, suffering, and inconvenience levels.
When accident victims have to miss time from work so that they can go to their medical appointments and undergo medical procedures, they can assert a claim for their lost wages. In most instances, lost wages are compensable when accident victims provide documentation from their employer showing the exact dates they missed from work, along with the total compensation they lost.
In addition to lost-wage damages, accident victims can recover compensation for their loss of the ability to use a body part, such as with a paralysis or spinal cord injury, along with monetary damages for loss of life enjoyment, if their quality of life significantly declined since their accident date.
Victims of truck accidents may also pursue damages for their past pain and suffering, as well as for anticipated symptoms if their truck accident caused them permanent impairment or disfigurement.
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can help you file the personal injury claim or lawsuit necessary to recover some or all of these damages. After filing the claim or lawsuit on your behalf, your lawyer can aggressively negotiate with the insurance carrier or advocate for you in court to help you maximize your overall monetary award.
Speak to a Truck Accident Lawyer Near You Today
Proving the necessary legal elements in a truck accident claim is often very difficult. In fact, insurers for truck drivers and trucking companies often make matters worse by disputing fault for truck accidents and offering truck accident victims as little monetary compensation as possible.
Insurance companies take these actions to try and limit—or completely eliminate—the financial compensation that they have to pay to a truck accident victim. Consequently, having an experienced truck accident lawyer advocate for you significantly increases your chances of recovering favourable monetary damages for your injuries.
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer will understand the tactics that trucking companies and their insurers routinely employ to try and undervalue serious injury claims.
Your lawyer can obtain the necessary evidence, including black box data from the truck, to prove you deserve damages. They will aggressively advocate on your behalf when dealing with insurance companies and their difficult adjusters. Your lawyer can also represent you at a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing and aggressively advocate for your legal and financial interests. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer for more information.