Trucking accidents differ from other types of accidents in one truly unique way. They contain specific and detailed information in a “black box”, also known as EDRs (Event Data Recorders) or ECMs (Electronic Control Modules), that could make or break your personal injury case. This information is often vital to proving fault and to collecting the money you need to recover. Unfortunately, obtaining that black box is difficult if you don’t act quickly. Without an experienced trucking accident lawyer on your side, the black box can be virtually impossible to obtain.
Information Found on the Black Box
Since the 1990s, most trucks that are manufactured in the United States have a black box. According to the FMCSA, a truck’s black box will contain a wide range of valuable information, especially in cases where negligence and liability is hotly contested. Some of the items recorded on the black box include:
- When the truck’s brakes were applied
- The speed the truck was traveling at the time of the crash
- When and if the truck’s airbags deployed
- Average speed of the truck
- Gear and clutch selection made by the truck driver
- If cruise control was engaged at the time of the accident
- Any malfunctions of the engine
- Seat belt usage by the driver
- Loss of oil pressure or coolant
- Number of crash events
- GPS coordinates
This data found on a black box is invaluable to your case and is almost always admissible in court. When trucking and insurance companies deny liability, the data contained on the truck’s black box could help your attorney win your case and obtain the money you need to pay for your medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lost wages.
Collecting Black Box Data Can Be Difficult
In many cases, trucking companies are allowed to destroy or write over the data on these devices quickly. Therefore, it is important to act quickly after you are injured in a trucking accident. Black boxes typically record data for a period of thirty days. Once this thirty days has passed, it begins rewriting over the information.
Victims of truck accidents need to follow evidentiary and procedural rules when obtaining this information. As such, your lawyer will need to send a preservation of evidence letter informing the trucking company that the black box data may be used in later litigation. This will prevent the company from tampering with or destroying the evidence needed for your case. Failure to preserve evidence will result in court-imposed penalties and fines and potential sanctions. Once your attorney has notified the trucking company to preserve the data, they must seek a court order to limit access to that vehicle or black box before it has been inspected by your attorney.
Injured in a Tampa Truck Accident? We Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Tampa or anywhere in the state of Florida, we can help. Trucking companies and insurance companies often try to avoid paying maximum compensation to trucking accident victims. They do this in numerous ways, but “losing” the truck’s black box or destroying the evidence as soon as they are able is one of those ways.
At Dennis A. Lopez & Associates our Tampa truck accident attorneys have the resources and experience needed to obtain the evidence you will need to win your case. With offices conveniently located in Tampa, Florida, we are there wherever you need us. Call us at 813-670-3296 today for a free consultation and review of your case or fill out our confidential contact form and someone will call you back.