Truck Accidents

Should You Request a Truck’s Black Box Data after a Crash?

Posted by: Kemmy Law Firm

Some of the most critical information about your truck accident may come from the black box or “event data recorder” that most newer model 18-wheelers have installed. The information it contains can make or break your case. However, it can be hard to get that black box before the information is deleted. You need to quickly contact a truck accident lawyer who can obtain the black box data and begin analyzing it.

What is a Truck’s Black Box?

A black box is also called an “event data recorder” or EDR. Most modern tractor-trailers have them built in. It is a computer module that records the speed of the truck, braking tactics, and evasive maneuvers a trucker may or may not have taken during a crash.

Information from the black box can be downloaded and shared with other parties. However, trucking companies know the data in the EDR can be detrimental. They often try to erase the black box quickly after a crash and claim they didn’t know it would be needed.

Why Should You Request Black Box Data?

When you’re involved in a crash with a big rig, you should always request the black box. The data it contains can help support your case. It may determine liability and prove that the truck driver was at fault. Even if it doesn’t show that the truck driver did something wrong, it can prove that they did not take evasive action.

Some of the evidence the black box contains that can benefit your case includes:

  • Speed of the truck immediately before, during, and after the crash
  • Braking during the wreck
  • Evasive maneuvers the truck driver took
  • Absence of evasive actions (indicating potential distraction)
  • Direction the vehicle was traveling
  • Sudden changes in the truck’s velocity
  • When the driver pressed the gas pedal
  • Movement of the truck’s steering wheel
  • Whether the trucker was wearing a seat belt
  • Airbag deployment
  • Previous stops made by the truck
  • Stability control of the truck, including jackknifing and over-steering

Additionally, the black box shows a general diagnostic overview that may show whether the truck had any defects. This would indicate that a manufacturer or maintenance person may also be liable.

The Crash Will Generate an Incident Report

When the truck is involved in a crash, the black box automatically generates an incident event report describing what happened before, during, and after the wreck. That might include sudden deceleration, skidding, a change of velocity, hard braking, and other events.

You should get that report as quickly as possible to get a snapshot of what happened during the crash. You will need it to support your claims of fault, negligence, and liability.

The Trucking Company Won’t Hand Over Data Willingly

The black box contains invaluable data, and trucking companies know the power of this evidence. They will do anything to hide or even delete the data as quickly as possible.
Technically, it is illegal for the trucking company to delete any data that might be used in a future lawsuit. That will not stop them from “accidentally” resetting the black box so they can get the truck back on the road. They may even repair the truck before someone could inspect it.

An Attorney Can Preserve the Black Box

When you hire a truck accident lawyer, they will immediately send a letter to the trucking company demanding that they preserve the black box data. This letter puts the company on notice that if they do delete the data, their actions may be looked at unfavorably by the court.

You may need to file a truck accident lawsuit to ensure the trucking company does not destroy evidence. Through the discovery process, your attorney can request data from the black box. If they do destroy evidence, they may be sanctioned or receive other penalties from the court.

Contact a Trucking Accident Lawyer for More Information

If you have specific questions about the type of evidence that will support your case, including a black box, you should reach out to Kemmy Law Firm today. Our trucking accident lawyers will review your case and get to work right away.

Call us at 210-750-1019 or reach out online to schedule a consultation.

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When you work with us at Kemmy Law Firm, you are working with a family run firm with more than 50 years of combined experience. We are dedicated and successful trial attorneys practicing in West TX, Hobbs, NM, Midland-Odessa, and across the Permian Basin. Our team handles everything from catastrophic injury claims to complex business matters. We are here to fight for you. We dedicate our time and attention to your case and use every resource available to maximize your claim and obtain the best possible outcome.