Black Boxes in Trucks

Injury Attorneys Representing Victims in Cleveland and Throughout Ohio

Many thousands of people are hurt each year in truck accidents. Trucks often weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and when they collide with a smaller vehicle, they can seriously injure or even kill the driver and passengers inside the smaller vehicle. It can be challenging to establish a truck driver or trucking company's liability for an accident. Often, the defendants in truck accident lawsuits are reluctant to turn over critical evidence that may reveal their fault. These types of evidence include black boxes, which contain information about what happened prior to the crash. The Cleveland truck accident lawyers at Rubin Guttman & Associates can help victims gather and interpret black box data so that it can support a personal injury claim.

The Purpose of Black Boxes in Trucks

Trucks manufactured in the United States are made with devices called black boxes, which are meant to grab contemporaneous data about how a truck is operating. The black box can record the highest speed of the truck, the average speed of the truck, the amount of time spent driving over 65 mph, the seat belt usage, the average revolutions per minute, the performance of airbags, and how long the truck idled.

Black boxes are useful to victims in truck accident lawsuits because they can contain facts about how the truck was operated. Sometimes a truck driver or trucking company is motivated to distort or conceal the truth. The black box acts as a guard against this, showing what actually happened to contribute to a truck accident, rather than what the driver or trucking company want people to believe.

For example, you can see what speed the truck driver was going just before the crash. You can also compare data from the black box to the driver's logbook to determine whether he falsified the logbook. If there were falsifications in the logbook, you can cross-reference this with the trucking company's own discipline records to determine whether the trucking company knew about the falsification and whether it disciplined the truck driver in response.

Getting Access to Black Box Data

It is critical that you consult an attorney immediately after a truck accident. The black box records data for around 30 days, or sometimes less. The black box will record over itself once it hits its limit, which means that your lawyer will no longer have access to information that is crucial in a truck accident case. It is important for an attorney to be able to send a spoliation of evidence letter to the truck company that alerts the company that litigation is pending. Additionally, they will likely need to retain an expert to extract data from the black box, using data retrieval tools to interpret the black box data.

How Black Box Data Can Support Your Claim

To establish the truck driver's negligence, your injury lawyer usually will need to prove that it is more likely than not that the truck driver failed to drive safely and thus caused the accident. Often, the evidence in a black box can allow an attorney to show that a truck driver was engaging in dangerous behaviors such as speeding, taking a curve too fast, or driving while fatigued. When the black box shows that a truck driver has not been taking the rest breaks mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), these violations of the FMCSA provide strong evidence of negligence.

Also, it is not just the truck driver that may be liable. The trucking company may be held vicariously liable for the truck driver's negligence on the job. It may also be held liable for its own negligent supervision, negligent maintenance, or negligent training. For these causes of action, black box evidence also can be invaluable.

Retain a Cleveland Attorney to Investigate a Serious Truck Crash

Black boxes in trucks contain important evidence that can allow victims to recover damages after suffering devastating injuries in an Ohio truck accident. At Rubin Guttman & Associates, our experienced attorneys can investigate a truck crash and hold the appropriate parties responsible in a civil lawsuit for damages. Call us at 216-696-4006 or 888-488-8529, or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation today. We can arrange a time and place to meet that is convenient for you. Russian, Hebrew, and Spanish language services are available by appointment. We represent people hit by semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles in the areas around Cleveland, Parma, Lakewood, Euclid, Cleveland Heights, Strongsville, Akron, Columbus, Chardon, Toledo, Youngstown, Ravenna, Lorain, Mentor, Beachwood, and Elyria.

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