Commercial box trucks, semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and tractor-trailers deliver cargo across the United States daily. Many of these vehicles are so large and carry such heavy cargo that they can weigh up to 40 tons.
As a result, when a large commercial truck hits a much smaller vehicle, the chances are good that severe property damage and personal injuries will result. Some accident victims might even suffer fatal injuries in a commercial truck accident.
In a truck accident claim or lawsuit, the injured accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof. Therefore, they must demonstrate that the truck driver or the trucking company that employs the driver did something wrong.
When satisfying their legal burden, an accident victim’s lawyer can obtain information from the commercial truck’s event data recorder, sometimes called an EDR or black box.
When a truck accident lawyer in Hammond can recover information from the truck’s black box, the accident victim can more easily demonstrate how their accident likely happened – and who was responsible.
As a result, they may recover monetary compensation for their accident-related injuries and losses.
If you or a person you care about sustained injuries in a recent truck crash, you should consult a skilled truck accident attorney as quickly as possible after your accident.
Your attorney can promptly investigate the circumstances surrounding your truck accident and may obtain black box data from the commercial truck. Additionally, your lawyer can gather other evidence to satisfy the legal elements of your case.
After filing a claim, your lawyer may negotiate with the truck driver or trucking company’s insurer for favorable settlement compensation. Alternatively, your lawyer may file a lawsuit in the court system and recover favorable litigation compensation for your injuries.
A commercial truck’s black box may also save communications between the at-fault truck driver and the trucking company about how the truck accident occurred.
For example, it may save information about recent mechanical problems, emails between trucking companies and truck drivers, or statements about the truck driver’s medical condition at a particular time.
The information on a truck’s black box might also indicate the number of hours that a truck driver operated their vehicle without taking a break. In cases where a trucking company may have encouraged their driver to operate a vehicle for long hours on end, and the driver subsequently caused an accident, the trucking company may be fully or partially responsible for the resulting injuries.
In general, some truck black boxes save more information than others, and some black boxes will save information for longer periods. While some devices may keep the information for several days after the accident, others may lose the information within a few minutes after the truck accident.
How Can a Truck Accident Attorney Obtain Relevant Information From a Truck’s Black Box?
Information from a commercial truck’s black box can be extremely helpful in satisfying the legal elements of a personal injury claim. If the accident victim’s attorney can obtain this information, they can introduce it as evidence at a civil jury trial.
Following a commercial truck accident, your lawyer can send a spoliation letter to the trucking company.
A spoliation letter requires a potential defendant to preserve the requested evidence instead of destroying or damaging it. If a truck driver or trucking company attempts to destroy requested evidence, they may later be subject to sanctions by the court.
By drafting and sending a spoliation letter early on in the process, the chances are good that the accident victim’s lawyer can obtain the information they need for the personal injury case.
If the truck accident case ultimately proceeds to a civil jury trial, the accident victim’s attorney can introduce the black box information as evidence in the case, under the business records exception.
If you recently suffered injuries in a commercial truck accident that resulted from a truck driver or trucking company’s negligent behavior, a skilled truck accident attorney in your area can obtain the evidence that you need to prove your case successfully.
Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents
Commercial truck accidents frequently happen when truck drivers and trucking companies commit negligent acts. Truck people drive negligently when they violate standard traffic laws, along with state and federal motor carrier regulations. Common laws a truck driver might violate include turn signal laws, speed limits, and right-of-way laws – especially at traffic intersections.
Truck drivers and trucking companies may violate state and federal motor carrier regulations when they fail to inspect or load their trucks properly.
When trucking companies fail to load cargo onto their truck properly, the truck may become top-heavy, causing it to tip over while on the road. When truck cargo is not properly secured, it may roll off the truck and into the road, causing an accident with another vehicle.
Truck accidents may also happen when drivers:
- Become fatigued while they are behind the wheel – usually from failing to take frequent rest stops and breaks
- Drive in an intoxicated manner
- Exhibit various forms of road rage, such as aggressively weaving in and out of traffic and tailgating slower-moving vehicles
- Fail to watch the road attentively and engage in distracted driving
If you recently suffered injuries in a truck accident that resulted from one of these types of negligence, you should consult with a truck accident attorney in your area right away. Your attorney can request all of the evidence necessary to prove the legal elements of your case, enabling you to recover the monetary damages you need.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Depending upon the force of a collision, a truck accident may lead to severe physical injuries.
Some of the most common injuries that victims of truck accidents may suffer include:
- Bone fractures
- Rib fractures
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Facial contusions
- Mouth and teeth injuries
- Full and partial paralysis injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
How Can a Truck’s Black Box Data Help You Prove the Elements of Your Case?
Information from a commercial truck’s black box may help an accident victim satisfy their legal burden of proof and recover monetary compensation for their injuries.
Specifically, black box information may establish that a truck driver or trucking company violated the legal duty of care they owed the accident victim. It may also show that a truck driver operated their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, engaged in fatigued or distracted driving, or exceeded the posted speed limit at a particular time, bringing about the accident.
Litigating Your Truck Accident Case in the State Court System
Most truck accident cases resolve out of court at some point. This is because many trucking companies – and their insurers – do not want to incur the time and expense of taking a case to a civil jury trial or other litigation proceeding.
However, if the insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly for your injuries, you may have no choice but to file a lawsuit.
After filing suit, your case might still settle at some point along the way. However, it will be subject to various deadlines and dates that the court imposes.
During truck accident litigation, the parties will ordinarily take part in discovery. At this time, they will finish exchanging documents, answer one another’s written Interrogatories, and participate in the deposition process.
A truck accident attorney can prepare you for the questions a defense lawyer will likely ask at a discovery deposition. These questions may pertain to how the truck accident happened, the injuries you suffered, the medical treatment that you underwent, and the overall effects that the accident has had on your life.
Following a deposition, the courts may require you to attend one or more settlement conferences. At a settlement conference, you may meet with a court official, such as a retired judge, who will facilitate settlement discussions and encourage a settlement in your case.
If your case does not settle, it may go to a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding. At a jury trial, the jury will decide the amount of monetary compensation to award you for your injuries.
However, at an ADR proceeding, such as binding arbitration, a neutral arbitrator will hold a hearing outside of court, listen to the evidence that your lawyer presents, and decide on monetary compensation to award you for your truck accident injuries.
Recovering Monetary Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries
Victims of severe truck accidents may be eligible to recover various types of monetary compensation and damages. The purpose of monetary damages in a truck accident case is to make the accident victim whole again, as much as possible, and fairly compensate them for their accident-related losses.
The types of monetary damages that an accident victim recovers will frequently depend upon various factors, including the medical treatment that they underwent, the specific injuries that they endured, and whether or not their injuries are permanent, as determined by a qualified medical provider.
Compensable damages that truck accident victims may recover as part of a personal injury settlement or litigation result include:
- Past and anticipated medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
- Lost income
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Lifetime care costs
- Loss of use of a body part
- Lost quality of life
- Humiliation and embarrassment
- Loss of spousal consortium and companionship
Your truck accident attorney will do everything possible to maximize the overall monetary award you recover in your personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Speak to a Truck Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today about Your Legal Options
If you recently suffered injuries in a truck accident that a negligent trucking company or truck driver caused, you need to retain legal counsel to represent you as soon as possible.
Victims of truck accidents must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of their accident date. If they fail to do so, absent exceptional circumstances, they will no longer recover monetary compensation and damages for their accident-related losses.
A truck accident lawyer in your area can start investigating your accident circumstances right away and obtain the evidence necessary to prove your case.
Your lawyer may then handle all settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives on your behalf or litigate your case in the court system to recover the monetary damages you deserve.
Because of evidence potentially in the trucking company’s hands, like black box data, time is of the essence when beginning the legal process. Hire a truck accident attorney right away so they can preserve key evidence to prove your claim. Consultations are free with no obligation.