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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.

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