October 16, 2023
Semi-Trucks & Black Boxes: Why They’re Important
Car accidents can be stressful. Accidents with a semi-truck can be outright traumatic and confusing. Drivers should be mindful of their size, speed, and potential to cause immense harm as they share the road with over-the-road truckers. Getting compensation from at-fault drivers or their employers after a crash is possible, but finding compelling evidence is crucial to your claim.
Learn more about a truck’s “black box” and how they might help you as you seek compensation.
What Are Black Boxes?
Like devices used in airplanes and trains, black boxes in commercial trucks record and collect data about the trucks’ operation. They aren’t actually black boxes, but it’s a popularized term used to describe different systems in vehicles that store data.
Trucks can have different kinds of recording devices. Event data recorders track information connected to crash incidents. Electronic logging devices are much more common: the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires truckers to track their driving hours and other information with their ELDs.
What Event Data Recorders Capture
Recording devices in trucks track different data, depending on the model and intent of the device. You can expect most devices to track:
- The speed of the truck.
- GPS location.
- Mechanical status of the truck.
- Application of clutch or brakes.
- If the airbag deployed.
- If the driver was using cruise control.
- The strain of the engine around the time of the crash.
A logging device will also track how long the truck has been operating, the distance it has traveled, and any breaks taken.
Can I Use EDR Data in a Truck Accident Claim?
If you’re hurt in a crash by a semi-truck, you will need evidence to prove the trucker was responsible for the crash. Some of the evidence will be easy to recover because you’ll have access to it through the usual means: a copy of a police report about the incident, your medical records, and the damage estimation by a mechanic.
However, you stand a much better chance at proving the truck driver was at fault for the crash if you can access the black box data. Getting the data is possible, but you should turn to a personal injury attorney to help.
How to Access an EDR After a Crash
Accessing the data from an event recorder can be challenging. The trucker’s employer has ownership rights to that data, so they will not likely hand it over willingly. After all, they are trying to mitigate the costs caused by the crash. They won’t share evidence that places the blame on their driver, and they don’t want to pay for your damages.
Working with your attorney, you’ll need to file an order to preserve data as quickly as possible. A letter of spoilation notifies the trucking company that litigation is pending and asks them to preserve possible evidence to the case. It also creates consequences for them if they destroy the evidence after receiving your letter.
Using the Evidence from a Black Box Recorder
Once you have access to the black box’s data, your attorney will be able to evaluate it and determine if it’s useful. They may need to hire an expert to analyze the data since presenting raw data to a jury could be confusing. An expert can explain its significance and how it proves you were the victim in the truck crash.
Accessing the black box won’t automatically win your case, but it can strongly support your argument. Anything you can use to show the truck driver contributed to your accident will help. Under Illinois personal injury law, you have to show the defendant was negligent. That means you need to show they breached a duty of care, resulting in your damages.
Anyone driving on the road inherently agree to drive safely. A black box’s data can show if the trucker was speeding or if they were overloaded with cargo. Those breaches can show they weren’t following their duty of care. Your attorney can find ways to use the black box data to support your case.
Why You Should Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer for Your Lawsuit
Like other personal injury accidents, you are entitled to compensation after a large commercial vehicle causes damage. Dealing with a truck accident can be challenging: trucking companies can have large legal teams and tactics meant to frustrate you into accepting a lowball settlement.
It might not seem right, but companies with resources can outlast individuals seeking compensation caused in a truck crash. Finding an Illinois truck accident lawyer can give you the best chance against their stalling tactics and get you the compensation you deserve.
Attorneys understand the complexities involved in personal injury cases. They can help you keep track of important court dates and motions. Not every case needs to go to court, but your attorney will prepare for that scenario just in case. Hiring a lawyer might seem like an extra hassle while trying to recover from a truck accident, but they can bring you greater peace of mind, and help you secure the compensation and justice you deserve.
Call Staver for Your Truck Accident Claim
Truck accidents cause significant damage because of their size. If you’re hurt by a truck, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries caused by their negligence. A truck accident lawyer is your best chance to get the justice you deserve.
The Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., understand how traumatic a truck accident can be. We are ready to hear your case because we believe you deserve justice. We can handle your case’s technical aspects and want to fight for you.