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Why Black Box Data is Key to Truck Accidents

One important task after a truck accident is putting the pieces together to understand what happened. Being able to “see” the accident is critical to determining the fault for the collision. Under Connecticut law, a motorist can receive compensation so long as she or he isn’t primarily at fault. If you cut off a trucker, for example, you probably can’t request compensation no matter how badly you are hurt. But if a truck driver carelessly slammed into you, then you probably can seek monetary compensation.

In many truck accidents, “black box” data is an important piece of evidence. Truck accident victims should seek out our legal services to protect their access to this data.

What is the “Black Box”?

The term “black box” comes from the airline industry. Airplanes have devices that continually download information about the plane while it is in flight. After a collision, investigators try to find the black box which contains key information about what happened in the moments before tragedy strikes.

Modern commercial trucks are outfitted with a similar device. It is called an “electronic data recorder” or “electronic control module” and it records information such as:

  • The truck’s speed
  • Whether the driver used a seat belt
  • Hours the truck was in motion
  • Sudden movements, like braking
  • Tire pressure

This evidence is often helpful in establishing fault. For example, it might show the trucker was speeding in the seconds before the crash. Or the data could show the trucker was on the road for too long in violation of federal hours of service regulations, which is some proof he was fatigued.

Is Black Box Data More Important than Other Evidence?

No. But it helpfully supplements other evidence like:

  • Witness testimony
  • Police testimony
  • Dash cam or other video footage
  • Chemical tests
  • Cell phone records
  • Trucker medical records
  • Trucker driving history

For example, you might have seen the trucker yawning uncontrollably after your crash, so you assume he was driving while fatigued. The black box data might back up your suspicions by showing the trucker was on the road for 16 straight hours.

Preserving Black Box Data

Because the trucking company owns the truck, they also own the black box data. You don’t have an automatic right to access it even if you are an accident victim. There’s also a risk that the trucking company will erase the data. They might even claim to have done so “accidentally.” Helpfully, a lawyer can send a notice instructing the company to preserve the data and ultimately gain access to it.

Where black box data exists, it is powerful evidence in a trucking accident case. Insurance adjusters and jurors find the evidence persuasive, possibly more persuasive than eyewitness testimony.

Contact Tehrani Law Group

Truck accidents involve different evidence than the typical car accident, so hiring a seasoned lawyer gives you a leg up on establishing fault for the crash. Please contact our firm to get started. We can investigate whether the truck that hit you had a black box and request that the truck company preserve it.