What Role Does the Black Box Play in a Truck Accident Case?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Patrick DiBenedetto with Metier Law Firm.
An ECM (electronic control module) or EDR (event data recorder) are often referred to as black boxes; some people might be familiar with the idea of black boxes installed in airplanes. However, most modern semi-trucks and 18-wheelers have a black box installed in the cab of the truck as well. This module records important data about how fast the truck is going, in what conditions, as well as when it starts and stops.
This unit also records how a driver is responding throughout their drive, including before, during, and after a collision. This coupled with the fact that trucking companies have been known to be resistant to volunteering the truth is why black boxes play such an important role in truck accident cases. A black box collected from a truck accident may contain information including how many RPMs the engine was running at, whether the brake was being utilized at the time of the accident, and even whether or not the driver was wearing their seatbelt. This goes a long way in reconstructing when and how an accident occurred.
The black box is vital to understanding how a truck accident came about.
Just like with airplanes, the black box contains important information about what was going on with both the vehicle and the operator during travel, right up to the moments before and after the crash. Unlike driving logs which can be falsified, the black box contains unbiased data that a truck accident expert can use to recreate events leading up to the accident. Unfortunately, the average person involved in any kind of collision with a large truck is unlikely to get a hold of the black box, much less figure out how to interpret the data therein.
It usually takes an attorney to get possession of the black box.
Trucking companies have been known to avoid surrendering certain evidence which could cast them or their drivers in a bad light, particularly after an accident. This can result in evidence spoliation, or the intentional destruction or concealment of important information which could reveal when, where, and how an accident occurred, and who was primarily at fault. However, an attorney can request a legal order requiring trucking companies to surrender this and other evidence for the purposes of investigating the accident. Other evidence that may be useful in a truck accident case includes pictures of both vehicles from the scene, witness testimonies, the truck driver’s official logbook, driving records, and more.
The good news is that most truck accident lawyers offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means clients don’t pay for their legal services unless they win the case. This allows a plaintiff injured in a truck accident to focus on healing and recovery while an experienced attorney tracks down the necessary evidence and puts their case together to seek justice. Truck accident attorneys also have access to expert resources who know how to download and interpret the data contained in a black box, further saving their clients the time, money, and hassle of trying to hire reputable experts on their own.
To learn more about black boxes and their role in truck accidents, or for help filing a claim, reach out to a truck accident attorney as soon as possible.