Q: I was hurt in a truck collision. Can information from the truck’s computer be used to support my case?
When a commercial airplane is involved in an accident, investigators rely on the information recorded by on-board computers to provide useful data about the crash.
Most trucks manufactured in the United States since the 1990s are also equipped with these computers, known as electronic control modules (ECMs). If a truck experienced mechanical problems, or if the driver was speeding right before an accident, the data recorder captures that information, which may be critically important for establishing liability.
Preserving ECM Data
ECMs record information that can be useful in the event of an accident, including the driver’s hours, average speed, highest speed, seat belt usage, throttle position, and any sudden stops. Attorneys must often act quickly to preserve this data due to:
- Recording time limits. Most ECMs wipe out old data once they exceed recording capacities in order to make room for new information to be recorded. This often happens after just 30 days, although some older units have much shorter recording times.
- Destruction of data. If the trucking company destroys ECM data, a truck accident victim may have a difficult time proving his case. His attorney can send a spoliation of evidence letter to prevent this. This written notice is sent to all parties involved in an accident, and prohibits them from destroying or disposing of any evidence. The parties can then agree to a joint inspection of the truck, allowing the black box data to be retrieved with everyone present.
Seek Quality Representation
ECM data can be an invaluable tool for locating evidence of driver error or trucking company negligence. An experienced truck accident attorney can obtain this data, and provide it to accident reconstruction experts in order to establish liability.
If you were injured in a truck accident, you need legal representation to help receive the compensation you deserve. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.