Any type of auto accident can be very serious, but the results can be devastating when it comes to those involving trucks. The average semi-truck in the United States weighs in at about 80,000 pounds. When you consider these vehicles' sheer size and weight, it is not difficult to imagine the damage they can do when a collision occurs! If you have been involved in a truck accident, either as a truck driver or in another vehicle, you will need an experienced truck accident lawyer to guide you through the aftermath.
When you hire a truck accident lawyer in Knoxville, one of the most important steps will be gathering evidence regarding the accident. Many different data sources can be collected to gain as much information about the accident possible. Let's take a look at some of those sources.
The Black Box
You have probably heard the term black box about aircraft accidents, but did you know that trucking companies also install these devices in every vehicle in their fleet? The device will gather a wealth of information that could prove very important when determining who is at fault. Some of the information that a truck accident lawyer could obtain from a black box includes speed, braking, and steering data.
- Electronic Control Modules (ECM) - An Electronic Control Module, or ECM, is more or less a tiny computer that collects performance data from the truck. The main areas of data collected would be the speed of the truck and how hard the truck was breaking. This information can be used to establish the circumstances surrounding an accident. You need an experienced truck accident lawyer to be able to interpret this data correctly.
- Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) - Electronics Logging Devices, or ELD, can be considered another type of ECM. These devices will track hours of service for the truck to determine that the driver is not working for too long. ELD are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and can help to prevent driver fatigue. If an accident occurs, a truck accident lawyer can use this information to determine whether or not the truck driver was operating within the law regarding the number of hours worked.
- Event Data Recorders (EDR) - As part of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, all trucks built after October 1, 2014, must be fitted with an Event Data Recorder, or EDR, in order to meet government safety regulations. The EDR is fitted inside the truck cab and will record a wealth of information regarding the speed, braking, and acceleration and things like seat belt usage, fuel levels, and various engine parameters. This information can be invaluable in putting together the details surrounding an accident. A truck accident lawyer can use this data to show that the driver was driving responsibly or that they were driving erratically, depending on which side they represent!
Crucial Evidence from Black Boxes
The black boxes installed in trucks record a massive amount of data, and not all of it will be relevant to the circumstances surrounding the crash. However, an experienced truck accident lawyer can extract the relevant details to support their case. Some of the most important factors they will be looking for include:
- What speed the truck was doing at the time of the accident.
- The distance between the truck and the point of impact.
- The braking patterns in the moments before the accident.
- The behavior of the driver in the lead-up to the accident.
- The number of hours the driver had worked before the accident.
- The weight of the truck and its cargo.
This information can be examined and used to determine fault as it can determine if the correct procedures were being followed at the time of the accident. For example, suppose the number of hours worked exceeds the legal allowance. In that case, the truck is overweight, or even if the driver has displayed erratic braking patterns, this evidence may point to fault lying with the truck driver or trucking company. However, this same data can be equally important for a truck accident lawyer who must prove that a truck driver was doing everything right and was not responsible for causing the accident.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, either as a truck driver or in another vehicle, it is important to talk to a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible so that the information we have discussed above can be gathered and analyzed in a timely manner.
Butler, Vines and Babb is a leading law firm in Knoxville, TN, with extensive litigation experience in Medical Malpractice Law, Birth Injury Law, Trucking Accident Law, Personal Injury Law, and Business Law. Contact us today at www.bvblaw.com or call 865-637-3531.
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