To win your commercial truck accident lawsuit, your truck accident attorney must show the defendant’s negligence and liability. The burden of proof is based on a preponderance of the evidence. Your attorney must convince the jury that the defendant is responsible for causing your injuries beyond a reasonable doubt.
One of the most valuable types of evidence you could use to support your case is the commercial truck’s black box data. However, accessing this data is challenging, but it can be done. Your truck accident lawyer can explain the process for securing this evidence for your case.
What Are Black Box Data Recorders?
Black boxes are also commonly referred to as Event Data Recorders or EDRs. Most newer cars in the U.S. are built with black boxes pre-installed. If you are unsure whether your vehicle contains one, you can find out by checking your vehicle owner’s manual or searching online.
Commercial trucks may require EDRs in the event of a collision. The data can be accessed after a crash, and police can determine important information about the driver’s and truck’s behavior during the accident. The EDR can show how fast the commercial truck was going, whether the trucker attempted to press on the brakes, or if mechanical malfunctions occurred, along with other critical data.
What Types of Data Are Recorded?
Black boxes are capable of recording a wide range of data, such as:
- The vehicle’s rate of speed
- The force of the impact
- Acceleration speed
- Deceleration speeds
- Whether the driver apply the brakes before the accident
- What time the airbag deployed
- Steering angles
- Whether the driver and passengers were wearing seatbelts
- The tilt of the vehicle
- The vehicles throttle position
- Some data recorders have additional capabilities, including video and audio footage, GPS locations, and more. Generally, black box data will retain recorded information from 20 seconds before an accident, giving insight into the moments before the collision occurred.
However, black boxes only work if the vehicle is running. If the ignition is not on and does not have battery power, the EDR will not function. This means crucial event data may not be available if you were involved in a stationary accident with a commercial truck.
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Act Quickly to Secure Black Box Data
It is crucial to take action and secure the data from the tractor-trailer’s black box immediately after the accident. In some instances, black boxes are designed to erase data within 30 days. To preserve this evidence, you must get your truck accident attorney working on your case as soon as possible.
This is particularly true if a commercial trucking company owned the truck that hit you. It is not unheard of for trucking companies to destroy black box data unless they receive notification that the data should be preserved through a court order.
Some newer passenger vehicles will be equipped with an EDR, which can be useful if the trucking company tries to hide its data. Your black box data could offer valuable evidence to support your case.
How to Access the Black Box Data
There are multiple ways to access the information from an event data recorder. If you are attempting to access the data from your own vehicle, you should be able to use an associated app on your smartphone or electronic device. Your EDR should have a retrieval tool kit and directions describing how to access the recorder for review after a truck accident.
If you need to access black box data from another vehicle, such as a commercial truck, you may do so if:
- The truck owner gives their consent.
- The commercial truck needs to be searched for safety purposes.
- You have a court order to obtain the black box data.
- The EDR needs to be serviced, diagnosed, or repaired.
It can be helpful to know that many commercial trucks have insurance coverage that stipulates the insurance company can download black box data after a collision. Even if the trucking company attempts to destroy the black box and the data it contained, the insurance company may already have a copy.
Black Box Data Can Be Used Evidence in a Truck Accident Claim
The evidence offered by commercial truck EDR information could prove valuable in your case against the liable party. Black box data can determine how the car accident occurred, attest to the severity of the commercial truck wreck, and provide evidence when testimony is contradictory.
Juries like to see evidence that can irrefutably prove liability. Black box data is the type of forensic evidence that could make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Other Types of Supporting Evidence
Output from an event data recorder is not the only information that can be used to prove liability and negligence in your truck accident claim. Your attorney me introduce multiple types of evidence, including:
- Photos 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
A thorough investigation into the cause of your truck accident will provide valuable evidence to prove the defendant’s liability. Proving that their negligence directly caused your damages is critical to supporting your claim. It allows you to recover the compensation you deserve and start to rebuild your life.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer for Help Today
Evidence and data obtained from commercial truck black boxes can provide invaluable evidence to prove negligence and liability. When your injury settlement is on the line, ensure you have access to the evidence you need to win.
A reputable truck accident lawyer at John Foy & Associates can obtain this black box data on your behalf and other supporting evidence so we can hold the at-fault party accountable and win the compensation you deserve. Learn more about what is next for your truck accident case when you fill out our quick contact form or call our office to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.