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Black Box Investigations: Getting the Most Out of Your Claim

By Renee Nordstrand on January 11, 2021

Most people have heard of black boxes in the context of planes. However, many don’t know that modern cars and trucks have black boxes as well. These black boxes record key data, which can be used in the course of a truck accident claim to help victims get the compensation they deserve. The team at NordstrandBlack PC has personally investigated numerous truck accidents, including a recent one where we worked with investigators to secure a truck’s black box data. We understand first-hand how important these devices are to accident victims and know how to quickly gain access to them to help our clients recover full compensation after a truck accident.

Black Boxes and Important Data

When used in an airplane, black boxes help investigators discern the cause of a crash, so that they can make changes in the future to prevent further accidents. Black boxes in cars and trucks serve a similar purpose. By recording important data, black boxes can help trucking companies improve efficiency, as well as give accident victims key information that can be used to prove their case. Some of the data that a black box records includes:

  • The truck’s speed before the collision
  • Whether the driver used the brakes
  • Whether the driver was wearing a seatbelt
  • If the truck was going over the speed limit
  • The number of rest periods taken recently
  • The GPS location of the truck
  • The number of times that truck was involved in an accident
  • Any communication between the truck driver and the trucking company
  • The truck’s tire pressure

After a serious trucking accident, victims will likely be left in a difficult financial situation due to their medical bills. In order to recover financially, many victims elect to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation from the at-fault party, in this case the truck driver and the trucking company. A lawyer can get the vital information from the black box to use in support of the client’s claim.

How It Helps Your Claim

When going up against a trucking company, you need to be prepared to back up your claim with airtight evidence. Trucking companies do not want to hand their profits over to you unless you can prove that you truly deserve that compensation. Using the data recorded by the black box, such as the speed of the truck and whether the driver hit the brakes before the collision, can help verify whether the truck driver was at fault for your accident and thus liable for your injuries.

While there is other evidence that you can present, such as witness testimony, expert opinions, police reports, dashcam footage, and photos of the accident, the most valuable evidence will likely be in the black box. Getting your hands on it can be difficult, however, and getting the data off of it can be even more so. Especially since the trucking company that has the black box is unlikely to readily hand it over.

Going Up Against Trucking Companies

Trucking companies, like most businesses, exist to make a profit. Nothing comes above making money, and that includes the rights of accident victims. Due to this bottom-line attitude, most trucking companies will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying compensation to their victims. There are many tactics that they will try to use, including putting the blame on the victim, distancing themselves from the at-fault driver, shredding important documentation, and even having trucks repaired before they can be properly examined.

Just as most personal injury lawyers know that a black box is key in trucking accident claims, so do trucking companies. This means that they will do everything they can to avoid handing the black box over, because black boxes do not hold data indefinitely. They usually wipe data within a certain time period; the amount of time you have before the data wipe depends on the box. Some of them last several weeks, while others will wipe data within just ten minutes. Trucking companies are well aware of this and will often try to hold on to black boxes until the relevant data has been wiped, ensuring that it cannot be used against them.

We at NordstrandBlack PC are well-versed in black box investigations, and we know what it takes to go up against a trucking company. If you have been involved in a serious trucking accident, then you need top-notch legal support from experienced Santa Barbara truck accident attorneys. Give our firm a call at (805) 962-2022 to discuss how best to proceed with your case.

Posted in: Truck Accident


That Amazon Delivery May Turn Deadly

By Renee Nordstrand on August 19, 2020

Americans love convenience, particularly in these unusual times. Online shopping and front-door deliveries have skyrocketed in recent months. Amazon is ahead of the curve with its promise of speedy delivery. That convenience for consumers comes at a cost, as more Amazon delivery trucks and vans can be seen on the roadways, and these vehicles are involved in more serious accidents. Read the rest »

Posted in: Truck Accident


Trucking Company Negligence Can Kill

By Renee Nordstrand on September 14, 2019

In June 2019, a group of 22 bikers on their way to a charity event in New Hampshire were struck by a pickup truck driver hauling a large trailer. This man was a professional driver working for a company named Westfield Transport, based in Springfield. Seven of the bikers, members of the Marine JarHeads MC, were killed. Many others were catastrophically injured by the truck accident. Read the rest »

Posted in: Truck Accident


Truck Drivers Aren’t Always Responsible for Causing Accidents

By Renee Nordstrand on July 19, 2019

Big rigs are the heaviest vehicles on the roads around Santa Barbara. The 101 sees thousands of commercial trucks travel up the coast every day. When they crash into smaller cars, they cause serious injuries to the occupants inside. At our Southern California law firm of NordstrandBlack PC, we handle many personal injury cases that involve negligent truck drivers. But sometimes, the truck driver is only partially to blame. Here are ways that other parties can be involved in these collisions and why they can be held liable to the victims. Read the rest »

Posted in: Truck Accident


Unsafe Lane Changes and Truck Accidents

By Renee Nordstrand on June 7, 2017

truck-accidentUnsafe lane changes are among the most dangerous and common ways motorists end up colliding with a large truck in California. Many people see large trucks with their drivers high up and assume the truck driver must have a great view of the road. While the elevation does tend to give a truck driver excellent perception in front of a truck, in reality there are several large blind spots truckers also have to deal with. Knowing these blind spots and avoiding them can keep you from a potentially deadly collision.

While truck drivers should always be aware of their environments and know if a vehicle is beside them, this may not always be the case. All too often, situations on a road may force a truck driver to suddenly change lanes, and anyone in the truck’s blind spots can be in peril. Read the rest »

Posted in: Truck Accident


Highway 101 Big-Rig Crash Suit Ordered to Mediation

By Renee Nordstrand on May 27, 2013

The truck accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Reneé J. Nordstrand have learned that a San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge has ordered the involved parties in a high profile personal injury lawsuit to engage in mediation.

We had reported earlier that a San Juan Capistrano family had filed a personal injury lawsuit against a trucking company and the estate of the deceased trucker involving a rear-end accident that left a mother and her two children injured and their BMW hanging precariously from a bridge on Highway 101 near Buellton. They were eventually rescued with the aid of a forklift.

It was later determined that the truck driver who rear-ended the BMW had methamphetamine and amphetamine in his system. He died in the crash.

The family claims that the occupants of the BMW suffered emotional distress and personal injuries as a result of the crash. They are seeking compensation for emotional damages, personal injuries and medical expenses.

By ordering the mediation, the judge basically told the parties involved to try to settle the suit out of court. Mediation involves negotiating a case with the aid of a neutral person. The family’s attorney told the Santa Maria Times that the family was not at the case management conference where the judge determined the case should go to mediation

Often, personal injury suits involving significant injury will end up in mediation. While both sides in mediation are generally there to settle, the process still takes time and requires the services of knowledgeable legal representatives who are looking out for your best interests. If your case goes to mediation, the personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Reneé J. Nordstrand fully understand the process and will always aggressively seek to get the compensation your family deserves.

Have you been involved in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver? Call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 or our Encino office at (818) 981-3530 for a free, no-obligation review of your case.


Santa Maria Man Seriously Injured in Crash with Tractor-Trailer

By Renee Nordstrand on May 22, 2013

The truck accident attorneys at the Law Office of Reneé J. Nordstrand have learned that it took Santa Maria rescue workers more than an hour to free a man from his pickup truck after he crashed into a tractor trailer. The semi allegedly pulled in front of him on the 700 block of South Blosser Road in Santa Maria.

The victim suffered serious injuries and had to be flown by helicopter to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Authorities did report that the injuries appeared to be non-life threatening.

According to Santa Maria Police, the truck accident victim was heading north on Blosser Road in his 1998 Dodge Ram pickup when a big-rig pulled out of a private driveway on the east side of the street. A spokesman for the Santa Maria Police stated that the man attempted to brake, but could not stop his pickup in time and collided into the left side of the box trailer.

His vehicle was so mangled that firefighters reportedly had to use the Jaws of Life and a forklift to extricate him.

The driver of the big rig, a 50-year-old resident of Baja, California, was not injured. Santa Maria police questioned the truck driver and he was released from the scene of the accident. Police reportedly do not believe that drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash

While motor vehicle accidents come in all shapes and sizes, crashes involving passenger vehicles and commercial trucks can be particularly devastating, given the size and weight differences between the two types of vehicles. Therefore, there is a particular onus on truck drivers to be attentive on the road in order to prevent potentially deadly accidents with smaller vehicles.

If you believe you, or a loved one have suffered an injury due to a trucker’s negligence, it is time to seek knowledgeable and experienced legal council from Law Offices of Reneé J. Nordstrand. We understand fully what needs to be done to protect your legal rights, and we will fight tenaciously to see that you get the compensation you deserve.

When you need solid legal representation following an accident with a commercial vehicle, call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 or our Encino office at (818) 981-3530.


Corvette Smashes into Back of Truck in Sepulveda Pass

By Renee Nordstrand on March 19, 2013

A man was hospitalized when his Corvette crashed into the back of a box truck near Getty Center Drive on the San Diego (405) Freeway. The Corvette had to be pulled out from beneath the truck by the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The top of the vehicle was completely crushed, but luckily the accident victim was reportedly conscious throughout the whole ordeal and was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

After viewing photographs of the accident, it is a wonder that the driver was not more seriously injured or even killed in the underride truck accident. The risks of passenger vehicles sliding underneath large trucks in rear-end accidents was recently addressed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to strengthen its underride guard standards for semi trucks and other large vehicles.

Currently, some large trucks, such as dump trucks, are not even required to have underride guards.

While IIHS stated that most modern semitrailers have guards that do an adequate job of preventing potentially catastrophic underride, in tests the institute performed in 2010 and 2011, the guards manufactured to meet minimum NHTSA standard for underride protection did a poor job of preventing it.

IIHS pointed out that Canada has a much more stringent underride standard for guard strength and size, and that vehicles that had guards meeting those standards did a much better job of preventing underrides.

While IIHS stated the Canadian standard is not perfect, it is a good start towards strengthening overall guard standards. IIHS’s chief research officer stated on the institute’s website, “While we’re counting on NHTSA to come up with a more effective regulation, we hope that in the meantime trailer buyers take note of our findings and insist on stronger guards.”

Have you or a loved one been injured in a crash with a truck? Contact the Law Office of Reneé J. Nordstrand. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. If you believe you have a case, call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 or our Encino office at (818) 981-3530 for a free consultation. We can also be reached online.


Family Involved in Highway 101 Big-Rig Accident Files Lawsuit

By Renee Nordstrand on January 24, 2013

It’s been a year since a family was rescued from a BMW that was left dangling precariously from a bridge on Highway 101 near Buellton after it was struck by a gravel truck. Now, the family is suing the estate of the truck driver, who died in the fiery crash, and the trucking company that he worked for, seeking damages for personal injuries and emotional distress.

The incident occurred on Jan. 12, 2012, when the tractor-trailer rear-ended the sedan while they were both heading north on Highway 101. A mother and two children, ages 10 and 10 weeks were in the BMW sedan at the time.

After the collision, the truck plummeted some 100 feet into a creek bed. It burst into flames and the driver was killed. It was later determined the 48-year-old truck driver had been under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the accident.

Rescue workers — aided by Navy Seabees who used a forklift to keep the teetering sedan from falling off the bridge and into the creek bed below — were able to extricate the family. They were all transported to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. The mother and the oldest daughter spent eight days in the hospital before they were released. The infant was uninjured.

The family’s attorney claims the trucking company, R&R Auto Wrecking, was negligent for hiring the truck driver, alleging the driver had a long criminal record of drug abuse. He says that his clients are still suffering from the emotional and physical ramifications of the accident.

“Their Injuries are permanent,” he told

If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a negligent truck driver, the truck accident attorneys in Santa Barbara at the Law Offices of Renée J. Nordstrand will aggressively work for you to see that any negligent parties are held accountable for their actions. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, hospitalization, emotional distress and other damages.

For a free, no-obligation review of your case, call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 or contact us online to discuss what we can do to protect your legal rights.


Buellton Truck Crash Kills One, Injures Three

By Renee Nordstrand on January 13, 2012

A fiery big rig accident on the northbound 101 highway at Santa Rosa road resulted in three injuries and the death of the big rig driver on Thursday afternoon, according to Santa Barbara County Fire, water tenders, a battalion chief, helicopter, AMR and Hazmat team responded to the crash.

The fatal accident occurred when, for as of yet unknown reasons, a big rig veered out of control and hit a BMW in the lane to its left before crashing into the concrete guardrail and falling into the creek about 50 feet below. The truck burst into flames after smashing into the creek bed. The occupants of the BMW, a 38-year-old mother and her two children, a 10-year-old daughter and 10-week-old infant, were trapped in the vehicle, which was precariously dangling off the side of a bridge after the truck had swerved into it.

The truck driver was killed in the crash, which also caused the spillage of about 50 gallons of diesel fuel into the creek. All three occupants of the BMW, who sustained broken bones and other moderate injuries, were immediately transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Both directions of the 101 were closed due to the crash.

Though the cause of this accident has not yet been determined, there are many potential reasons why a big rig may lose control. Truck driver fatigue is a common problem in the trucking industry and it is possible that the driver fell asleep at the wheel after too many hours on the road. There are many other possibilities, however, that are not related to truck driver negligence. Some of these include: hazardous road conditions, brake failure, and/or mechanical or equipment defects.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a California truck accident caused by the negligence of a truck driver, trucking company or truck manufacturer, you may be entitled to compensation for the losses you have suffered. To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact an experienced Santa Barbara truck accident attorney with the Law Offices of Renee J. Nordstrand today for a consultation at (805) 962-2022.


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