Recorded Evidence in Commercial Truck Accidents

February 21, 2020 Truck Accident Blog

Electronic Data Available for Building a Legal Case by Truck Accident Lawyers New Jersey

Problems with the paper log system compelled the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, to implement a mandate that commercial trucks must have an electronic logging device, or ELD. This law went into effect in April of 2018. However, a study from the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University concluded that no significant reduction in accidents has occurred after implementing the ELD rule which concerns truck accident lawyers New Jersey.

Record of Violations

Even though these violations can be recorded, there are trucking companies that still exert enormous coercive force over their drivers. These drivers could be under a leasing contract, for example. They could even be misclassified as independent contractors, and the trucking company will be able to credibly threaten retaliation if the drivers refuse to continue working for any reason. This part of the industry is well-concealed, and even the mandate for having the ELDs doesn’t eliminate all of these abusive practices by unscrupulous employers. Control over the conditions that caused the accident is the basis of any liability claim involving multiple parties.

Liability and Electronic Recorded Evidence

Liability is the amount of responsibility that each party has for being involved in an accident. The legal system recognizes that there are many different factors that go into play during a collision with any commercial vehicle. This means that liability could encompass more entities besides the truck driver. However, if the driver was liable for a portion of the incident, then the electronic recording devices on the truck can reveal some of the evidence that indicates the driver’s degree of culpability. This evidence is critical in truck accidents because the damage from any collision with a commercial vehicle tends to be severe.

Additional risks include the type of cargo being transported at the time of the collision. This cargo might be subjected to regulations that determine how it should be packed for transport. Any mistakes that occur during the loading process can transfer a portion of the liability onto the company that was responsible for loading the truck correctly. The truck also should be maintained properly, and issues with the truck’s parts could indicate liability on the part of the trucking company or even the manufacturer of faulty components or parts.

Types of Recording Devices

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The process of building a legal case to obtain compensation for the victims can be complicated. Documented evidence is necessary to support assertions that a certain party was responsible for the collision and, therefore, is liable for damages. Access to this data is critical, but the evidence from these devices still needs to be presented within a larger context. This is where a trucking accident lawyer puts each of the pieces together to present a case that is likely to prevail in court.

There are many types of documented evidence that can help your qualified truck accident lawyer build a case to help you receive compensation from the legal system. Some of these types of evidence include:

  • Electronic logging devices, or ELDs: Hours-of-service rules restrict the number of hours that any truck driver is allowed to operate legally on the road. However, an ELD alone can’t tell the full story of what happened. The driver is also under extreme pressure from the trucking company and freight broker agents to deliver the load within a window of time that is unrealistic. In some cases, the delivery time isn’t possible even under the best road conditions. However, the driver has no power or control in this situation, and this affects the distribution of liability.

  • Computer data from the truck’s black box: Many people are already familiar with the 2018 rules regarding the implementation of electronic logging devices, or ELDs. However, there is also the crash computer, and this can provide specific types of information about what happened in the moments leading up to the crash. This system can record specific information about the speed of the truck, the strength of the braking used by the driver and other important details.

  • Maintenance and service records: These are records that can provide material evidence indicating fault in a truck collision. The trucking company is responsible for maintaining the vehicle. However, the exception to this is the owner-operator. This is one example of how the status of the driver can affect the liability in the event of a collision. Maintenance records must be properly kept, but the information they contain can also indicate the responsible party in a collision. Interpreting this data is essential for building a strong case in the court system.

  • Dash cameras that capture video evidence: Video evidence can help build a strong case that could enable you to receive compensation from the courts. Many trucks are required to have dashboard cameras that record footage of any incident that occurs. In addition to any video evidence pertaining to a collision, these cameras might also capture footage that shows improper cargo loading, failed inspections and other problems caused by neglect of the truck.

  • Driver qualifications at the time of the crash: The status of the driver is an important part of the total picture presented in any case involving a commercial vehicle. The driver’s record will often come under scrutiny, and previous accidents, incidents or DUIs could reflect on the driver at this time. Drivers with a history of safety violations often support the case of the plaintiff in a collision. An effective lawyer can get hold of this evidence and present it during litigation in a way that strengthens the case for the victim.

Constructing a Legal Case

An effective truck accident lawyer will construct a legal case based on all the evidence that is available. This also includes police reports, witness statements and medical records from victims. However, items like the black box and dash camera video are especially persuasive in convincing the court to award compensation to the victim. For example, the black box collects data from the various sensors located in the commercial vehicle. This information goes into the ELD, and it can be retrieved in order to reconstruct what happened during the last seconds before the crash occurred. This provides critical information like braking pressure, truck speed and other relevant pieces of information.

RAM Law Truck Accident Lawyers New Jersey Represents Victims of Truck Collisions

There are many variables that are involved in any collision with a commercial truck. Collecting documentation is a critical part of the case, so we urge you to contact our offices immediately after the accident. After all of the information is gathered, it will also need to be interpreted. Sorting through all of the evidence is just one part of the total process of building an effective legal case. Even the most compelling facts must be placed into a larger context, and this is ultimately what can convince the court to award you compensation for damages, medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and more. For the best legal representation in the industry, contact our experienced trucking lawyer at RAM Law. We have two offices available for your convenience. You can call our office in New Brunswick, NJ, at (732) 247-3600. We also maintain an office in Somerville, NJ, and that phone number is (908) 448-2560.

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