Why Is a Black Box Important After a Truck Accident?

An 18-wheeler’s black box is important after a truck accident for several reasons. Numerous factors can cause (or contribute to causing) a semi-truck accident. But, if you need to seek financial compensation for a serious or fatal crash in Arkansas, you must be able to prove the specific factor (or factors) that are responsible for your injuries or your loved one’s death.

This is where the truck’s black box comes into play.

A black box is an onboard computer that records several key pieces of data while a commercial truck is on the road. Trucking companies use black box data to keep track of maintenance, track their drivers’ hours, and make sure their drivers are complying with the law. But, when a commercial truck is involved in an accident, its black box data can serve as crucial evidence of liability as well.

Using Black Box Data to Prove Liability for a Serious or Fatal Truck Accident

When you hire a lawyer after a truck accident, one of your lawyer’s first priorities will be to gather as much evidence as possible. While this includes evidence from the crash site, it also includes evidence from other sources.

One of these other sources is the truck’s black box. Once your lawyer files a lawsuit on your behalf, your lawyer will be able to obtain the truck’s black box data through the discovery process. The trucking company will be required to disclose its black box data—and it could face serious legal consequences if it fails to do so.

After obtaining the truck’s black box data, your lawyer will examine the data to determine what insights they can provide into the cause of the crash. Commercial trucks’ black boxes typically collect numerous types of data, including (but not limited to):

  • GPS location and travel route
  • Acceleration and deceleration rates
  • Speed of travel
  • Brake timing and force
  • Steering inputs
  • Use of cruise control
  • Amount of time traveled since engine start
  • Tire pressure
  • Diagnostic information about maintenance issues and truck defects
  • Additional data triggered by the crash

All of these types of data can potentially be useful for proving your legal rights after a truck accident in Arkansas. Even if the data do not directly point to the cause of your accident, this could help point toward other possible causes. For example, if the truck driver was going the speed limit and applied the brakes appropriately, this could suggest that the truck was overloaded or its cargo was not properly secured. As a result, regardless of the circumstances, obtaining the truck’s black box data can be extremely important, and it should be a priority in most truck accident cases.

While the term “black box” is commonly used, trucks’ onboard computers can have other names as well. Electronic logging device, telematics device, and event data recorder all generally mean the same thing. An experienced truck accident lawyer will be familiar with the relevant terminology and will be able to rely on his or her experience to gather all of the evidence needed to seek just compensation on your behalf.

Black Box Data Might Not Be Enough On Its Own

This brings up another key point: While black box data can be important for proving your legal rights after a serious truck accident, this data might not be (and probably won’t be) enough on its own. Your lawyer may need to rely on various other forms of evidence as well, and this makes it extremely important to conduct an investigation as soon as possible. While a truck’s black box data should remain available, other types of evidence can disappear. Evidence of weather conditions, skid marks, accident debris, damaged road signs and guardrails, and other types of evidence can all be lost if not promptly preserved. 

With this in mind, if you need to take legal action after a truck accident in Arkansas, you should contact a lawyer right away. You should not rely solely on your lawyer’s ability to obtain the truck’s black box data. Establishing liability may require various other forms of evidence as well, and it is important to keep in mind that the trucking company may not be the only company responsible for your injuries or your loved one’s wrongful death. 

Talk to a Rogers Truck Accident Lawyer for FREE

In the aftermath of a serious 18-wheeler accident, you may be facing pain, disability, and time away from work that you and your family cannot afford. You need someone on your side who understands the law and knows how to recover the compensation you need to move forward. Oliver Law Firm has built a reputation for excellence in a range of big rig accident claims. Our Rogers truck accident lawyers are committed to helping you get the compensation you need and deserve.

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Don’t postpone justice another day. Contact Oliver Law Firm today online or at 479-202-5200 for a FREE case evaluation. We serve clients across Arkansas and throughout the United States from our office in Rogers, AR.