Commercial trucks have an electronic data recorder, also called the “black box,” that records several aspects of the truck’s drive. In the event of an accident, the data in the black box could potentially make or break the injured plaintiff’s claim for damages.
Remember that the truck’s black box can only be recovered with the permission of the owner. If you’ve been in an accident and are filing a claim, you can download the data in the black box by getting a court order if the owners refuse to give it to you. A truck accident lawyer can help you there.
The truck’s black box helps immensely in reconstructing and understanding the accident by providing details of the incident like:
- The truck’s speed
- The driver’s braking action and use of clutch
- The driver’s use of the accelerator
- Pressure in the tires
- RPM of the engine
- Use of cruise control
- Deployment of airbag
- Consumption of fuel
This information can be used to recreate the moments leading up to and the time of the accident to prove the defendant’s liability better. It can also be used to cross-check the sworn statements given by witnesses, including the driver about the crash.
The black box also contains information about the truck’s entire lifetime and not just the incident. This helps determine if the truck driver had always been negligent, or if the trucking company could be at fault as well. This can be determined by:
- The truck’s maintenance history
- Details of the engine and other systems
- History of the truck’s use including braking and acceleration
- Any mechanical faults that have arisen in the past
Information like this can prove if the company had been negligent in maintaining the truck and allowing an improperly maintained engine, braking system, etc. to continue functioning on the roads. Further, such details can also attest to the driver’s overall trucking attitude. The more reckless the driving behavior seems, the easier it will be to prove liability.
The black box also contains information about the driver of the truck; information apart from his or her driving behavior. This includes:
- Identification of the driver
- Length of time driven
- Use of seatbelt
- Idle time
As a result, the black box can potentially show evidence of driver fatigue or drinking which can significantly improve an injured plaintiff’s case.
The black box can be used not just to understand the valuable details of the accident, but also potentially catch the defendants in a lie when they give their sworn statements. When caught in such a situation, the plaintiff’s case can be made even stronger.
Just as the black box can help the plaintiff build an airtight case, it can also be used in defense. While some of the data could prove negligence on the part of the driver, additional data could also prove otherwise. A lawyer can help you build your case and fight any argument claiming no fault.
Further, if the driver or the company knows that they are responsible, they (or their insurance company) may try to get rid of the data as soon as possible. A lawyer will help you make sure all the evidence is preserved in time.
If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident caused by somebody else’s negligence, you must act before the memory of the black box is overwritten. You can call us right away to ensure that your claim is safe, and well within the legal time limit within which you can file it. Our consultations are free, and our lawyers work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.