There has been a concerted effort in recent years to have the commercial trucking industry use ‚Äúblack boxes‚ÄĚ to improve safety.¬† Black box monitoring systems also known as electronic log systems, electronic data recorders and electronic control modules systems have revolutionized the way Tennessee trucking accident lawyers litigate trucking accident cases.¬† The truck accident law firm of Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, PLC (NST Law) recognizes the fundamental role of ‚Äúblack box‚ÄĚ evidence in trucking accident cases and will make sure the data is preserved so that it can be used to by an expert to reconstruct the circumstances surrounding a Tennessee truck accident.
Black boxes provide a wealth of information that can be used by a trucking accident lawyer to establish the basis for the trucking company‚Äôs liability during settlement negotiations and at trial.¬† Black boxes record an abundance of critical information that can be important in establishing negligence in a trucking accident including issues related to the condition of the vehicle such as vehicles maintenance problems and tire pressure.¬† Critical evidence about the driver‚Äôs performance is also recorded such as sudden braking, speed control issues, clutch application and shifting, following distance, and exceeding regulated hours.
Experienced trucking lawyers such as those at NST Law will also investigate black box data for relevant email communication between the driver and the trucking company.¬† Email correspondence obtained from black boxes may provide damning admissions about mechanical problems, driver fatigue or other admissions of fault by the truck driver immediately following a trucking accident.¬† Because black boxes are typically equipped with global positioning systems (GPS), they provide detailed information regarding where the truck was immediately prior to a trucking accident.
If a person is seriously injured or killed in a trucking accident, it is imperative he or she retain an experienced trucking accident lawyer immediately because black box evidence that may be indispensable can legally and intentionally be destroyed. ¬† Tennessee trucking companies may destroy or ‚Äúlose‚ÄĚ important data and documents that may establish negligence and hours of service violations to avoid liability where a trucking accident results in serious injury or death to another person.
The attorneys at NST Law will immediately send written notice via certified mail to the trucking company that the black box data must be preserved for pending litigation and that the truck must not be moved or repaired.¬† This letter is sometimes called a ‚Äúspoliation letter.‚ÄĚ
Experienced trucking accident lawyers will direct the company not to move or repair the truck because this can result in the event recorder being erased or recorded over before the information can be downloaded.¬† If the trucking company refuses to provide the black box data claiming it has been destroyed or lost, the experienced trucking accident lawyers at NST Law can demand that the trucking company provide the backup copy that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires be kept somewhere other than the truck‚Äôs on board computer.
The attorneys at NST Law may also retain an expert to be present during the download of the black box data to help prevent ‚Äúlost‚ÄĚ information.¬† We will also try to reach an agreement with the trucking company regarding how and when the information will be downloaded to avoid ‚Äúaccidental‚ÄĚ loss of critical data.¬† If the trucking company refuses to cooperate, the attorneys at NST Law may expedite the filing of a civil lawsuit and request an Ex Parte Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to prevent the trucking company from doing anything that might result in loss of the black box data.
The black box data can be used to build a case against the trucking company or to discredit the trucking company‚Äôs claim regarding the circumstances of the trucking accident.¬† At NST Law, we may employ an accident reconstruction expert who will use the information obtained from the black box to create computerized animations of the accident, which are very effective and convincing tools for proving liability to a jury.
The black box data can also be used to discredit the testimony of the driver, trucking company expert or trucking company executives.¬† Many drivers and trucking companies routinely falsify their written logs.¬† This practice is so prevalent the logs are derisively referred to as ‚Äúlie logs‚ÄĚ in the trucking industry.¬† The black box data can be used to discredit falsified written logs or to contradict the testimony of the driver or trucking company representatives during deposition or at trial.
At NST Law, we know that black box evidence is usually an indispensable part of establishing liability on behalf of a person who has been seriously injured or killed by the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company. ¬†Several NST Law attorneys have been nationally recognized by Super Lawyers, which rates the top 5% of lawyers in the country.