Why Is the Black Box Important in Truck Accidents?

Accidents involving large trucks have increased in Florida in recent years. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ranks Florida as one of the top ten states in the nation with the highest traffic deaths due to accidents involving large trucks. The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks such as tractor-trailers can make them particularly dangerous on the road. Injuries from truck crashes can be catastrophic or even deadly.

If you or someone you love was injured in a crash involving a commercial truck due to someone else’s carelessness, you might have the right to recover damages for your injuries, including the costs of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Persons who may be held liable in crashes involving commercial trucks include the driver, the trucking company that hired the driver, the person responsible for the truck’s maintenance, and possibly others. An experienced truck crash attorney can help you determine the value of your claim and discover who may be at fault.

It’s often hard to pinpoint the cause of an accident involving a tractor-trailer just by looking at the crash scene. This is where a black box becomes very important. The data on it can paint a picture of how the crash happened.

What Is a Black Box?

The black box, also known as an event data recorder (“EDR”) or electronic control module (“ECM”), is a computer system that records information about the truck. Although federal law doesn’t require black boxes in commercial trucks, most commercial trucks built since the 1990s have black boxes.

A black box for a commercial truck is similar to a black box for airplanes. The black box records what was happening in the minutes and seconds before the crash, giving vital clues about what caused it. This information may include, among other things:

  • The truck’s speed
  • Whether the truck sped up or slowed down and at what rate
  • Whether the truck driver applied his brakes
  • Whether the cruise control was on
  • How often the truck exceeded a certain speed
  • Whether the truck driver was wearing a seat belt
  • Whether the airbags deployed during the crash

The information from black boxes can be important in proving your personal injury claim, and it can affect the amount of money you may be able to recover from the person or persons who caused the accident. For example, If the black box showed that the driver stomped on the breaks in the second prior to the accident, rather than gradually braking over a longer period of time, that could support a finding that the driver was distracted while driving. Further, if the black box shows that the truck driver was going thirty miles over the speed limit when the crash happened, you may be able to pursue punitive damages by showing that the driver’s recklessness caused your injuries.

How Do You Access the Black Box Information?

Unfortunately, trucking companies don’t keep the information on black boxes forever. Most newer black boxes only store the information for 30 days before it’s recorded over. Older trucks may store data for a much shorter period.

Sometimes, trucking companies will intentionally try to get rid of the black box information, so it’s important to contact an experienced truck accident attorney immediately after you’re injured in a crash involving a large truck. A skilled attorney will know how to put the trucking company on notice that the black box data needs to be retained, and then your lawyer can obtain the black box information. Your attorney might also hire an expert in accident reconstruction. The expert can interpret the black box’s data to figure out what caused the crash.

Don’t Wait. Contact Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. Today

At Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A., our attorneys have more than 40 years of experience representing clients who have been injured in truck accidents in Florida. We can help you determine what caused the crash and who may be held liable for your injuries, whether it’s the driver, the trucking company, or someone else. We can help you file an insurance claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company, and we have no fear of going up against the giants in the trucking industry.

We have the expertise to hire experts who know who to read and interpret the information on black boxes to figure out the cause of the crash. We are skilled at devising strategies to help our clients obtain the compensation they deserve after being injured in a truck crash that wasn’t their fault.

If you or someone in your family was injured in an accident involving a commercial truck due to someone else’s negligence, contact the experienced truck accident attorneys at Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A.. We will fight for your right to be fairly compensated for your injuries. Call us toll-free at 561.689.8180 for a free consultation.

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