Do Truck Black Boxes Play a Role in Accident Cases?

January 23, 2021 Truck Accident Blog

Ways That Truck Black Boxes Can Affect Your Accident Case

In the average year, about 430,000 accidents involve a large truck. If you are one of the many people dealing with a trucking accident, it may be possible to get helpful data from the truck’s black box. Here are some things to know about involving a truck black box in your lawsuit.

What Information Is Contained on a Truck Black Box?

When most people think of a black box, they picture the recording device used to keep record of any problems during a flight. However, trucks can also have a black box. Though a truck black box is not mandatory like an airplane black box is, they are still fairly common. If a truck has a black box, it will be a small recording device that keeps track of how the truck is driving. These devices go by many names, including an electronic logging device or an event data recorder.

All sorts of data is stored on a black box. Many devices keep track of the speed the driver is going at any time. Even if the recorder does not show speed, it may log the times a driver goes through certain locations. If the driver went from one town to another too quickly, it may be proof they were speeding. Since a black box also keeps track of when a truck is being driven, it can reveal if a driver was forced to drive for more than the legal amount of time.

In newer trucks with more technological features, black boxes provide a wealth of information. If a truck has sensors or cameras anywhere on its body, the black box may hold the seconds right before a crash. Some black boxes may record things like brakes being used, changes to steering, and even whether or not the driver was wearing a speed belt.

Is a Truck Box Valid Legal Evidence?

Many people are under the false impression that black box data is not admissible in court. However, this is not actually true. A black box is the truck owner’s private property, but with a court order, other parties in a lawsuit can access the data.

Furthermore, there is a lot of legal precedent about using truck black boxes as part of a lawsuit. In several trucking accident cases, black box data has been ruled as reliable, scientific data. Just like testimony from a scientific expert, black box data is admissible evidence. It can be used to reveal information about the situation surrounding the accident or provide insight into the condition of the vehicle.

How Do You Find Truck Black Box Data After Your Accident?

One of the most challenging parts of a lawsuit with black box data is simply obtaining the information in the first place. Since there are no legal requirements for a trucking company to turn over black box information to an accident victim, it is not something you will receive automatically. Typically, your trucking accident attorney will need to do a little work to get this helpful data.

It is fairly common for data to be routinely deleted since companies usually do not have a storage space for such a vast amount of data. Data can also be deleted when a truck engine is restarted. Therefore, you need to act fast. It is a good idea to retain the services of a trucking accident lawyer as soon as possible following an accident. They can move quickly to request the data from the trucking company.

Your lawyer may be able to request that the company preserve the data and share it with you as soon as possible. In some cases where a trucking company is not cooperating with you, it may be necessary for your lawyer to file a protective order to get this data. Truck black box data is often obtained by the police during the course of their investigation. In these cases, your lawyer may be able to request this data from law enforcement agencies.

How Can You Use Black Box Data in Your Case?

Truck black box lawsuits can get fairly complicated because there are all sorts of ways the data may be involved in a case. Typically, the main reason your trucking accident lawyer might need the data is to prove negligence. In a lawsuit, your compensation relies on your team being able to prove the other party failed to behave responsibly. Data that shows a driver speeding or skipping mandatory rest breaks is clear evidence that mistakes happened. Proof of negligence can also involve data that the driver was not following road rules or trucking regulations.

If your claims of negligence involve suggestions that the driver was sleeping or otherwise distracted, black box data can be quite useful. For example, proof that the driver failed to break before hitting you might show that they were not paying quite as much attention as they should. Data from the black box can often reveal whether or not the driver took reasonable actions to prevent a crash.

Black box data is also useful for just creating a general picture of what happened at the scene of the accident. Trucking accident lawsuits can be tricky because it often comes down to just eyewitness testimony. The black box can provide more concrete evidence. It can show precisely when and where the accident occurred. Especially in situations where a truck recorded video evidence, you can create a detailed description of what happened during the accident.

Another use for black box data is showing the extent of your injuries. If you are dealing with chronic pain or other nonspecific issues, data about the severity of the crash can emphasize the extent of your injuries. The black box can show exactly how fast the truck was going when it hit you, and this can be used to calculate how much force your car encountered. Since compensation is often based on how injured you were and what you will need to recover from the injuries, this data is quite useful.

In addition to proving basic things like the existence of negligence or the severity of injuries, a truck’s black box can also give data on which parties are responsible. Depending on what happened during the crash, you may be suing just the driver, or you may be suing the driver’s entire company. The black box can show whether a trucker may have been pressured to ignore safety guidelines or trucking laws. With a truck black box, it is easier to make sure the correct parties are held responsible.

As you can see, there are all sorts of situations where black box data is useful during a trucking accident lawsuit. If you would like to learn more about how black box information can affect a case, RAM Law can help. Our team has plenty of experience helping people request black box data and file lawsuits after an accident. Somerville and New Brunswick residents count on us for dedicated and knowledgeable representation. Call 732-394-1549 or email us to schedule a consultation now.

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