After you are injured in a truck accident, compiling evidence to support your claim is essential to fighting the insurance company and recovering compensation for your injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damage. Most evidence, such as photos of the semi-truck and tractor-trailer, the other motor vehicles involved, and the road conditions can be taken at the accident scene. You also need to document the big rig driver’s name and contact information along with his commercial insurance policy information. Finally, you should take photos of your injuries.
In addition to the evidence at the accident scene, you and a Phoenix truck accident lawyer from Zanes Law can get access to valuable evidence that a truck’s black box contains. Read on to learn more about what a truck black box is and how it can help you build a strong case after your car accident.
What Is a Truck Black Box?
A truck black box, also known as an electronic logging device (ELD), is a device that records data about a commercial truck’s operation to ensure compliance with federal regulations and to improve safety on the road.
A truck’s black box can provide insight into the actions of a truck driver before the crash occurred. According to Title 49 CFR 395.8(a), commercial vehicles must install a black box in their vehicle to record data about the driver’s status.
Black boxes make the roads safer by identifying the causes of truck accidents. For example, if the driver’s actions caused a truck accident, the trucking company can take the proper steps to correct their behavior. And if it was a manufacturer defect, the industry can issue a recall and fix the defect.
Do All Commercial Trucks Have Black Boxes Installed?
Not all commercial trucks have black boxes installed, but it is becoming more common for newer trucks to be equipped with them. In addition to ELDs, some commercial trucks are also equipped with more advanced systems that can provide even more detailed information.
These systems can track things like driver behavior, fuel consumption, and maintenance needs, as well as location and speed. Overall, while not all commercial trucks have black boxes installed, the increasing use of ELDs and telematics systems makes it easier to gather important data in an accident.
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Important Evidence a Black Box Can Provide After a Truck Crash
A black box collects several pieces of data, which can all be useful in the aftermath of an Arizona truck accident. Black boxes provide essential data about what was happening inside the truck moments before the crash. A truck’s black box can provide the following evidence:
- Driver’s speed seconds before the crash
- Acceleration and deceleration rates
- Whether the airbag went off
- Location of the truck
- Driver’s hours of service
- How often the truck exceeded the speed limit
- Tire pressure
The data retrieved from the black box can be used to identify driver errors, mechanical failures, and other contributing factors, which can assist in preventing similar accidents in the future. The information a black box provides can also help improve road safety regulations, ultimately helping to protect both truck drivers and other road users.
How a Black Box Can Prove Negligence
The data on a black box can prove the negligence of the truck driver and the truck company. Due to the extremely detailed data it provides, a lawyer can review it and determine the cause of the crash and the form of negligence responsible for your injuries.
For example, if the truck driver exceeds the hours of service they are legally allowed to drive, a lawyer can hold them accountable for violating the hours of service regulations. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, property-carrying truck drivers cannot drive more than 14 consecutive hours.
You and your truck accident attorney can use this evidence to hold the truck driver accountable for driving more than they are allowed to drive. Then, through a more traditional investigation, your attorney can determine if other parties also played a role in the accident.
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How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Access Black Box Data
If you work with a Zanes Law Phoenix truck accident lawyer, you have a higher chance of accessing a truck’s black box data. Attorneys have the experience and qualifications necessary to access data that truck accident victims can’t.
Depending on the city or type of road, an Arizona truck accident lawyer may be able to obtain the black box data through a court order. However, in some situations, the black box data could legally belong to the truck owner. If this is the case, police or the Arizona Department of Public Safety would have to get a search warrant to obtain the data.
If our law firm can get the data through a court order, you can use the evidence to build a strong truck accident case.
How Can Data from a Black Box Affect Your Time to File a Truck Accident Claim?
Typically, you want to collect all the evidence after a truck accident as soon as possible. And when you’re dealing with black box data, it is no different. However, if you cannot obtain the black box data shortly after the truck crash, you may have a longer time to file since your accident requires additional steps.
According to A.R.S.§ 12-542, you have two years to file a personal injury claim against the negligent parties. It’s best to file your claim soon after you receive medical attention and have all the evidence. Depending on your unique situation, a lawyer can tell you how much time you have to file and whether you can get access to the data.
The sooner your lawyer gets access to the data, the better. Some black boxes may overwrite the data within 30 days or a similar time frame. If you aren’t quick to retrieve the data, you could lose the ability to use it in your case against the negligent parties.
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Learn More About How Black Box Data Can Benefit Your Truck Accident Case
A truck’s black box can save you and your Zanes Law Tucson and Phoenix personal injury attorneys time when building a truck accident case. Black boxes provide what’s often hidden or difficult to determine from other forms of evidence, such as traffic cam footage.
An Arizona truck accident lawyer at Zanes Law can answer any questions about your truck accident claim and help you determine the best method to obtain the black box data from the truck driver’s vehicle.