Can A Black Box Help My Truck Accident Case in Indiana?
April 14, 2023 / Truck Accidents
Truck accidents cause thousands of deaths every year. Even though there were fewer deaths in 2020 than 2019, almost 5,000 people still lost their lives. (FMCSA)
Negligent truck drivers and their employers need to be held responsible for causing injury and death. One effective way to do this is by obtaining information from the truck’s “black box.” Here’s how it works and when to get the help of a qualified Indiana truck accident lawyer.
What Is a Truck’s Black Box?
Large commercial trucks, semis, and tractor trailers often have a recording device called a “black box.” This may also be called an Event Data Recorder (EDR) and is similar to what you might find in an airplane.
If there’s an accident, the device can provide information about what happened right before and after the crash.
Most black boxes record data for 30 days before writing over it to store new information. This makes it crucial to act quickly after an accident. If you wait too long, the data from the accident may be deleted.
Data Stored on Truck EDRs
An EDR can store critical information about:
- Where the crash occurred
- How fast the truck was moving when it crashed
- If the truck accelerated decelerated before the collision
- If the brakes were applied
- If the driver was wearing their seatbelt
- When the airbags were deployed
- How much force the impact had
- How close other vehicles were to the truck
- Any maintenance problems or alerts
- How long the driver had been operating the truck
- The truck’s tire pressure and engine oil level
- If the cruise control was in use
- How many hard stops the driver made
- Communication between the driver and their employer.
Why Is the Black Box Important in Truck Accidents?
The data from a black box can be used to prove what happened. If the truck driver denies wrongdoing, the EDR information can either corroborate or invalidate their story. Because facts are neutral, either party can use the recorded data to strengthen their case against the other.
Using Black Box Data to Prove Fault
If you can obtain data from the truck’s black box after a collision, you might be able to prove that:
- The truck driver was speeding before the accident.
- The truck driver wasn’t taking legally required breaks.
- The trucking company failed to perform necessary maintenance on the truck.
- The truck driver failed to stop or yield.
- The driver was using their phone when they crashed.
Regardless of what caused the accident or who was at fault, the black box contains valuable data. The success of your case hinges on being able to access this critical information.
How to Preserve EDR Data After a Truck Accident
You need to act fast if you want to preserve a black box after a truck accident. As mentioned earlier, the data is overwritten by the EDR after a certain period of time. This means that information related to your accident could be deleted just a few weeks later.
And because the data on an EDR belongs to the truck driver or their employer until summoned by a court, it can be purposely wiped to deflect fault for an accident.
An Indiana truck accident attorney can file a motion to preserve the evidence on a black box, which makes it illegal to delete or overwrite the data until after the court case has been resolved. If the trucking company refuses to provide the black box or a copy of its data, your lawyer will file a lawsuit against the company to compel them to supply the evidence under penalty of the court.
What Will a Commercial Truck Accident Lawsuit Pay For?
The cost of recovery after a truck accident is high. Medical bills are usually the first to be tallied. This includes emergency treatment, hospitalization, and therapy. Then, the court will add property damages and lost wages to the total. Any other economic damages that can be easily quantified using a dollar figure are also added.
Most victims can also get compensated for pain and suffering caused by the crash. If you had to get counseling or you missed out on things because of your injuries, you may be able to get a higher settlement.
In situations where a truck driver or their employer acted extremely out of line, the court may award you with punitive damages. These are meant to “penalize” the defendant for seriously negligent actions to make sure they don’t do it again.
How much money you can get from a truck accident lawsuit depends on how severe the crash was and how badly you were hurt. The more you were injured, the higher your settlement award should be.
Get Experienced Legal Support After a Devastating Commercial Truck Accident in Indiana
Delay is costly when it comes to a truck accident. Not only do you have a limited period of time to obtain black box information, there’s also a statute of limitations on filing a personal injury lawsuit. In Indiana, this is only two years from the date of the collision.
It’s crucial that you act quickly to secure capable legal advocacy after you or a family member is hurt in a semi crash. Waiting could mean you forfeit your right to file a lawsuit at all.
Why Choose Stephenson Rife, LLP?
At Stephenson Rife, LLP, we understand the devastating impact a truck accident can have on you and your family. Our team of experienced Indiana personal injury attorneys will investigate every aspect of your case to ensure you have the strongest edge possible.
We will work zealously on your behalf to get you the financial compensation you deserve after being seriously injured in a truck collision. We’ve won millions for our clients and we can help you, too.
Call our office now to speak with one of our caring legal professionals who can help you get started by dialing (317) 680-2350 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
Attorney Mike Stephenson
Attorney Mike Stephenson has 40 years of experience and is a trusted advisor to many individuals and companies. His current practice is dominated by civil litigation in state and federal courts. He focuses much of his time on handling catastrophic injuries caused by all types of accidents, including motor vehicle, trucking, workplace injuries, product liability, just to name a few. Mike is a proven advocate and trial attorney. He has served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials, and has handled litigation in 18 states. [ Attorney Bio ]