Tractor-trailer trucks and other large commercial vehicles are often equipped with several computers that collect data and help the trucking company track service hours, monitor driving, and otherwise oversee their drivers and trucks. When it comes to accidents, these computers—especially the “black box” that records what happens to the vehicle and its components—can help the trucking company, victims, and a jury understand what happened.
The black box data is just one piece of this puzzle, but it is often crucial in getting a good idea of the contributing factors in a crash. If you have been involved in an accident, your attorney will likely seek to preserve and analyze this data through a spoliation letter sent to the trucking company early in the case.
Getting Fair Compensation for Your Truck Accident Injuries
There’s no such thing as a “minor” semi-truck accident. Even when there are no serious injuries or property damage, a crash with an 18-wheeler is always a traumatic experience. However, when injuries do happen in a truck wreck, they are often severe – and the occupants of passenger vehicles tend to suffer the worst of the impact.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 4,119 people died in large truck accidents in 2019. Only 16 percent of those fatalities were truck occupants. Sixty-seven percent were occupants in passenger vehicles. The other 15 percent were motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
If a negligent truck driver injured you, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income, mental anguish, and other damages. To recover fair compensation, you or your truck crash lawyer will have to prove negligence, liability, and damages.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
What Role does Black Box Data Play in a Truck Accident Claim?
One of the most important pieces of evidence in a truck accident injury claim is black box data. The black box, also known as an electronic control module or electronic data recorder, tracks important information such as:
- Hours on the road
- High speed
- Average speed
- Seat belt use
- Tire pressure
- Sudden braking
If the black box data shows that the truck driver behaved recklessly or violated the law, your truck accident lawyer can use this evidence to support your claim. In addition to black box data, your lawyer may use the following evidence to help you recover the highest possible compensation:
- The police report
- Eyewitness testimonies
- Testimonies from medical experts, financial experts, and accident reconstruction experts
- Timelines, illustrations, and photographs
- Inspection and maintenance records
- Fuel and lodging receipts
- Evidence of prior violations by the trucker or trucking company
You should take legal action as soon as possible after your collision. The at-fault party may try to destroy evidence by erasing black box data, repairing the vehicle quickly, or falsifying logbooks to conceal non-compliance.
A New Orleans truck accident attorney from the Morris Bart law office will help you gather evidence and fight for a fair settlement. If your case goes to trial, our attorneys have the litigation experience to represent your interests in court.
Obtaining Black Box Data and Other Evidence
To preserve evidence in the hands of the trucking company, your law firm will need to draft and send a notice of spoliation. This makes the trucking company legally responsible for ensuring the preservation of all potential evidence they have in the case.
Because of the rules and regulations placed on truck drivers and their employers, there is often a lot of evidence in these cases, such as:
- Data from onboard computers
- Written logs
- Dashcam video
- Post-accident drug and alcohol testing
- The trucker’s driving record
- Proof of previous issues with the tractor or trailer
- The driver’s medical exams and other proof of medical concerns
- Other evidence that could play a role in proving your case
What Damages Are Recoverable After a Truck Accident?
If a drunk, distracted, or negligent driver injured you in Louisiana, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Past and future medical bills
- Property damage
- Income you lost while recovering from your injuries
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Loss of consortium for your spouse
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
If your crash happened because the truck driver was intoxicated, you also may be entitled to exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages. However, this is rare.
In a truck accident case, Louisiana law recognizes respondeat superior under La. Civ. Code Art. 2320. This allows negligent commercial drivers’ victims to pursue damages from the individual driver and hold the driver’s employer vicariously liable. When it comes to insurance claims or lawsuits, this means you will name the trucking company as a liable party and file against their insurance company or the corporation directly.
This could mean you are pursuing damages based on a large corporate liability insurance policy instead of an individual’s auto liability policy. Corporate policies generally offer much larger limits and may be more suitable for covering the significant damages you suffered in a serious truck accident.
Speak to an Attorney from Morris Bart, LLC About Your Case for Free
If you were hurt in an 18-wheeler wreck that another driver caused, turn to the Morris Bart law firm. We provide free case assessments, during which we will answer your questions, explain our services, and help you understand how our contingency fees work.
These consultations are confidential and come with no obligation. We will not charge you for anything until your case is closed. We only get attorney’s fees if you win. Our service area includes Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
A truck crash lawyer in New Orleans will help you fight for fair compensation. Schedule a free initial consultation by calling (800) 537-8185.
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