What Is a Black Box, and Can it Help my Truck Accident Case?
Commercial trucks weigh significantly more than the average passenger vehicle, so when they are involved in an accident, the damages can be devastating. Accident victims are likely to suffer catastrophic injuries that result in costly financial losses.
Determining the cause of a truck accident is essential to holding liable parties accountable for accident damages. Recreating the details of an accident can be complex, but most trucks have a device like a black box that could help in a truck accident case. Truck accident attorneys at Moody Law help their Lakeland, FL, and Winter Haven, FL, clients understand how a black box can strengthen their personal injury claim, so that they can collect the compensation they are due for accident losses.
What Is a Black Box?
A black box is a data recording device that is found on commercial airplanes. Commercial trucks do not have the same type of black box as an airplane, but most have a device called an event data recorder (EDR) that is very similar. Truck manufacturers first began installing EDR devices in trucks in the 1990s for the purpose of warranty claims. The practice quickly became the standard, so any truck manufactured after 1990 is likely to have an EDR integrated in their engine.
What Type of Information Does an EDR Hold?
An EDR records a wide range of data, much of which can be beneficial in recreating the details of a truck accident. The device is triggered by events, like a collision. It records various data immediately leading up to the event, and immediately afterwards. Each device is unique, but some of the information that an EDR may hold includes:
- The truck’s speed immediately prior to the accident
- Whether brakes were applied
- Whether a seat belt was in use
- Whether the airbag was deployed
- The truck’s tire pressure immediately prior to the accident
- Whether the truck was in cruise control mode immediately prior to or during the accident
- Monthly or daily truck activity
Can an EDR Be Used as Evidence?
EDR devices are permissible as evidence in civil court, as well as for the purposes of accident recreation. The use of EDRs in accident investigations has become common over the past several years. When relying on data from an EDR, it is imperative that the information is preserved, and that it is properly collected by an expert.
Preserving EDR Data
Most EDR devices are only set to store data for around 30 days before recording over themselves. Furthermore, if a trucking company suspects that their driver was responsible for an accident, they may purposefully delete the data before it can be collected. To preserve data so that it can be used to support accident liability, accident victims should contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash. Our Lakeland attorneys can send a spoliation letter to the trucking company, letting them know that a claim will be filed and they are not permitted to destroy any evidence.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, an EDR device may be a vital piece of evidence in your case, but timing is of the essence. To get a case review started as soon as possible after a crash, contact Moody Law online, or call us at (863) 733-9090.