Black Boxes in Truck Accidents

Big Rig Crash Attorneys Assisting Victims in Memphis and Beyond

Accidents involving commercial trucks can be complicated and serious. The size and weight of most commercial trucks mean that they can completely destroy smaller vehicles in an accident. With so much at stake, it is crucial for victims to obtain as much evidence as possible about how and why the accident happened, since state law places the burden of proving liability on the injured party. One of the most important sources of information in a truck accident case is the truck’s “black box,” which records information concerning the vehicle before and during the collision. However, this information is only kept for so long, and obtaining access to the information can be difficult. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, our Memphis truck accident lawyers know what it takes to find, obtain, and preserve evidence that our injured clients need to establish their claims against truck drivers and their employers.

Those who are injured in a truck accident may sustain broken bones, spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and other catastrophic losses that result in enormous medical bills and require extensive future medical care. For injured victims, bringing personal injury claims against those responsible may be the only way to cover their medical bills, reimburse for time missed from work, and pay for other expenses.

Using Black Box Evidence to Build Your Case

A truck’s black box refers to a device that is also called an “electronic control module” (ECM) or “electronic data recorder” (EDR). These devices record and store various information about a commercial truck’s operation both over a period of time and just prior to an impact with another vehicle or fixed object. Information that may be obtained can include:

  • Vehicle speed (including average speed, highest speed, and speed up to 5 seconds before impact)
  • Use of the vehicle’s brakes
  • Number of impacts
  • Acceleration/use of throttle
  • Change in velocity
  • Tire pressure
  • Time driven (which can be compared to the trucker’s driving logs)
  • Driver identification

Once a wreck occurs, it is important to contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. This is because black box data is only stored on the box for a certain period of time, and there is also the chance that the data may otherwise be accidentally lost or erased. Further, it is optimal for this data to be obtained before the truck is repaired or placed back in commission. An attorney experienced in handling truck accident cases in Memphis will know what steps to take to preserve and obtain evidence in the hands of the trucking company, including the information that is on the black box.

This process will generally begin with the attorney sending a preservation of evidence, or spoliation, letter to the trucking company requesting that the trucking company preserve certain evidence and reminding the trucking company of the duties under the law to do so. Your attorney may also hire an expert who can ensure that the data from the black box is downloaded correctly and that no data corruption occurs.

Once raw data is obtained from the black box, a lawyer will be able to use the information to help build his or her client’s case against the responsible parties. For example, the data might be used to assist an accident reconstruction expert in showing a jury exactly what happened in the moments leading up to the accident, for example, if a truck driver failed to apply the brakes when rounding a curve, causing the truck to roll over. The black box information might also be used to impeach any statements made by the truck driver that conflict with the black box’s objective data. In any case, any information that can be obtained from the black box can potentially assist an injured plaintiff in obtaining the compensation they deserve for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and possibly more.

Consult with an Experienced Trucking Accident Lawyer Today

If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact the Memphis attorneys of Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz so that we can work to preserve the evidence you will need to successfully bring your claims against the at-fault party or parties. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping injured accident victims obtain fair compensation for their losses. We assist injured victims throughout the South, including in cities like Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Hayti, Caruthersville, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Jackson, Grenada, Columbus, Oxford, Starkville, Tupelo, Meridian, and others across Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Schedule your free consultation with an automobile accident attorney today by calling us toll-free at 800-529-4004 or by filling out our online form. NST is the way to go.

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