Truck accidents can cause significant property damage and severe injuries to those involved. The speed and weight of a truck accident are often catastrophic. Recovering compensation for your damages relies on your ability to prove the other driver’s liability.
One of the most valuable types of evidence to support your claim is the truck’s event data recorder, or “black box.” The black box stores data about the vehicle and the accident and could be crucial to a successful claim. Learn how the data from a black box supports your case.
What Is a Truck’s Black Box?
Like an airplane’s black box, an event data recorder keeps track of important information about a truck driver’s actions and the vehicle’s technical status before, during, and after a crash. The data stored in a black box gives accident investigators, law enforcement, and other parties like attorneys an unbiased account of a collision.
Your own vehicle may have an event data recorder if it is newer, although it will have fewer features than a truck’s. Truck black boxes record useful information such as:
- The speed of the truck just before the crash
- Driver inputs, such as if cruise control was engaged or if the brakes were applied
- Whether the airbags deployed and when they went off
- Force of impact
- Drive time and miles driven
- If the driver was wearing a seatbelt
- GPS coordinates
- Status of electronic and technical systems
However, not all commercial trucks have black boxes. Event data recorders have become much more common in trucks since the late 1990s, but they are not required by law or used by every trucking company.
How Can Black Box Data Help Prove Liability?
Drivers and trucking companies must adhere to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations — if they don’t, you could have a claim to recover compensation for your damages if you can prove negligence. Black box data can help you establish negligence in a few ways.
Data Could Indicate Driver Error
A truck’s black box could show that the driver was negligent if they were speeding or failed to apply the brakes. If the data indicates the driver didn’t try to avoid the crash, was driving impaired, or wasn’t paying attention, your attorney can use it to establish liability.
Black Box Data Could Prove Employer’s Negligence
A truck driver’s employer could also be at fault in the event of a crash. Trucking companies are responsible for maintaining the safety and integrity of their vehicles — if they knowingly put a driver in a truck with a mechanical fault, they are negligent.
Employers may also pressure drivers to keep working without taking their legally required breaks. Miles and trip information are often recorded by black boxes and can be used to determine if the driver skipped breaks.
Accessing Black Box Data
Black box data often isn’t stored permanently after a crash — in fact, many recorders periodically write over old data after around 30 days. But black boxes can also be cleared manually and often are by trucking companies or drivers to protect themselves against a lawsuit.
Your truck accident attorney will thoroughly investigate the case and work quickly to secure access to the black box so the crash data isn’t lost or intentionally erased. This often means obtaining a court order for the trucking company to preserve the data.
Get Started on Your Claim — Contact a Las Vegas Truck Accident Lawyer
If you were in a truck accident and believe the black box data could support your case, you’ll need the help of a legal advocate who isn’t afraid to go up against a trucking company or its team of lawyers.
At Oronoz & Ericsson Injury Lawyers, we prioritize communication and compassion for all of our clients. We want to help you get the relief you deserve after a truck accident, and we have a track record of outstanding results.