Portsmouth, VA Trucking Accident Lawyers Obtain Black Box Evidence
As Portsmouth, VA trucking accident lawyers, we routinely help the victims of big rig wrecks in Portsmouth. The city on the Elizabeth River is frequented by 18-wheelers going in and out of Portsmouth Marine Terminal.
Every day, thousands of tractor-trailers go through the U.S. 58 Midtown Tunnel linking Portsmouth to Norfolk and the I-264 Downtown Tunnel. Roads such as Portsmouth Boulevard and Airline Boulevard also see many truck movements. When people are hurt in big rig wrecks, the attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers conduct a meticulous investigation. This includes demanding black box evidence.
Most of us know that investigators seek the black box after a plane crash. Fewer people realize it, but many trucks are equipped with black boxes that contain electronic information and may prove to be crucial in truck wreck investigations. Our Portsmouth trucking accident lawyers will routinely seek this information.
What is the Black Box on a Truck?
Truck manufacturers started using electronic control modules (ECMs) to deal with warranty claims more than two decades ago. Trucks manufactured since the 1990s are routinely fitted with a black box integrated into their engine components.
The black boxes can contain a wealth of critical information relating to an event such as an accident or a near miss. Many big trucking companies also use trip recorders or satellite tracking equipment to keep tabs on their fleet of big rigs. The electronic data derived from all of these devices can be invaluable to our Portsmouth, VA trucking accident lawyers as we seek to prove your case. Although most trucks will be equipped with a black box, this is not always the case.
What Data is Recorded by a Truck’s Black Box?
The data contained in a black box includes operational details. Typically, about 30 days’ worth of information is stored. It includes:
- The speed of the truck
- When brakes were applied
- The deployment of airbags;
- Seatbelt use
- How long the truck was continuously driven for.
The black box information provides an indication of the seriousness of the case. It may be linked to the decision to hire the necessary experts to secure and extract the vital information.
The key to these complex trucking cases is your lawyer acting fast to preserve evidence. The stakes are high for trucking companies. They will do everything in their power to destroy incriminating evidence.
Our trucking wreck lawyers will initially send preservation letters. These should go out immediately and go to every potential defendant or individual who has important evidence in their possession.
The clock is ticking from the day of the accident. Federal regulations require that specific evidence is kept for six months. There is no room for complacency in trucking cases. These regulations do not protect all evidence pertinent to a case. The provisions may be used by some unscrupulous trucking companies as a reason to destroy their evidence after six months.
Preservation letters notify the recipients that they may be in possession of important evidence in a potential lawsuit and they are under a legal duty to preserve it. The letters are also important if evidence goes missing at a later stage.
How Portsmouth, VA Trucking Accident Lawyers Preserve Black Box Evidence
Legal investigations are rarely straightforward. This is certainly the case with obtaining black box data. It must be obtained in specific ways by specialists to be preserved. If a truck is fixed after a wreck or the black box is rebooted, this evidence may be lost. The insurance company representing the trucker, the trucking company or another entity has less incentive to retrieve the electronic data and to preserve it than the person who was injured by the tractor-trailer. The owners of trucking companies know the stakes are high and they face a potential six-figure plus payout. They will fight to hold onto black box information and it takes a tenacious Virginia injury lawyer to obtain the information.
If you are injured due to the fault of a commercial vehicle driver, it’s important that you hire a knowledgeable attorney with a long background in commercial vehicle cases who can quickly secure all of the black box data from the wreck. At Cooper Hurley Injury lawyers, we write a letter to the attorneys and insurance companies representing the trucking company to demand the black box data. We are prepared with a list of experts. We fight on your behalf to obtain black box information relating to crucial factors like how fast the 18-wheeler was traveling at the time of the crash in Portsmouth or elsewhere in Virginia, North Carolina or West Virginia.
What Are the Consequences of a Lack of Black Box Truck Crash Data?
If a trucking accident case lacks important black box data showing what speed the truck was doing at the time of the accident, and when the brakes were applied, the truck driver will find it easier to lie about the crash. That won’t be the case if we are in possession of hard black box facts.
Truckers are less likely to be untruthful if they believe the accident victim has objective proof of their speed before the impact. The black boxes really have changed the personal injury litigation investigations for the better and allowed our Portsmouth, VA trucking accident lawyers to get quickly to the truth of devastating wrecks that caused terrible injuries.
At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we handle many Portsmouth tractor-trailer accidents. We have a client meeting location in Portsmouth as well as every other city in Hampton Roads. We have a main office in downtown Norfolk. Our attorneys have worked on commercial vehicle accidents across the United States. These are often cases involving massive trucking companies headquartered out of Virginia. We have taken on their insurance companies and large legal teams. If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking crash, please call us for a free and confidential consultation at (757) 455-0077 or contact us through our website.