How a Truck’s Black Box Could Prove Liability

silhouettes of truck loaders

When you’re injured in a truck accident, you may be completely confident that you did nothing to cause the crash. You were obeying all traffic laws, eliminating distractions, checking your mirrors, focusing on the road, and practicing safe driving techniques. If you were involved in a collision, it must have been the truck driver’s fault and they are responsible to pay for your damages, right?

While it may seem like an obvious case of fault, simply knowing that you didn’t cause the accident is not enough to prove it. Your attorney will need to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter and collect all necessary evidence, including obtaining the data stored by the truck’s black box.

A Key Piece of Evidence in a Truck Accident

A black box, also known as an electronic control module (ECM) or event data recorder (EDR), is a device integrated into the engines of nearly all commercial trucks. Essentially, these devices store data in regards to how the truck is operating and its movement over a certain period of time.

When it comes to a truck accident, this data is crucial when determining who is responsible and how exactly the accident occurred. Helpful information that may be obtained from a black box include:

  • What the truck’s speed was prior to the crash

  • Whether brakes were applied at the time of the crash

  • Whether the driver was speeding up when the crash occurred

  • The acceleration and declaration pattern

  • How frequently the truck went above the speed limit

  • Whether the driver took all required rest breaks required by federal hours-of-service laws

  • Tire pressure

  • The GPS location and time of the crash

  • All communication sent between the driver and trucking company

  • Whether the driver was wearing a seatbelt

  • Whether airbags deployed

The Importance of Preserving This Data

Depending on what information is gathered from the black box, there could be multiple parties liable for a truck accident. For instance, a violation of hours-of-service laws may indicate that truck driver fatigue was a contributing factor in the crash. Additionally, communication between the driver and truck company may show that the company knew of the fatigue, but was pressuring the driver to get his cargo delivered on time. Your attorney may utilize this to build a timeline of events to show that both the truck company and driver could be liable for the truck crash.

Remember, pursuing compensation for injuries sustained in a truck accident is oftentimes an uphill battle, and getting your hands on black box data is not always a simple task. In order to reduce their own liability, the truck company or their insurance provider may purposefully attempt to access, destroy, or alter the black box data. This is not an uncommon tactic that we see after truck crashes.

Pursuing Justice for Injury Victims

As soon as you are injured in a truck accident, it is imperative that you immediately contact a local truck accident attorney to ensure that all evidence is preserved in a timely manner and used to determine who is at fault and responsible for your damages.

At Jamie Casino Injury Attorneys, we believe in fighting for those who have been wrongfully injured and holding the responsible parties accountable for their actions. You deserve rightful compensation in order to physically, emotionally, and financially recover. We are here to stand in your corner the entire way through and fight hard for your maximum compensation. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to learn about your legal options.

Contact our firm at (912) 809-5335 to get started with a free case review. If you are social distancing during COVID-19, we can provide an initial phone or video conference.

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