Electronic Evidence in Large Truck Crash Claims
No one is sure what has caused the current truck driver shortage, but there is little doubt that it is real. To keep goods flowing, many transportation companies rely on large truck drivers with little driving experience. Probably not coincidentally, the number of fatal large truck collisions has increased significantly in recent years.
A New York personal injury attorney may be able to obtain substantial compensation in these claims. This compensation usually includes money for economic damages, such as medical bills, and noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. Since victim/plaintiffs have the burden of proof in these claims, the evidence is critical. This proof sometimes comes from some unexpected sources.
Event Data Recorder
All semi-trucks have EDRs. These devices are much like the black box flight recorders inside commercial jets. Aviation investigators rely on black boxes to provide in-flight mechanical information, so they can determine the cause of the crash. Similarly, EDRs record mechanical information like:
- Vehicle speed,
- Steering angle,
- Engine acceleration or deceleration, and
- Brake application.
Capacity varies according to the type of EDR, but most of these gadgets record these basic items. These numbers are critical in many car crash claims.
Additionally, insurance company lawyers usually cannot successfully challenge this evidence in court. Unlike eyewitnesses, computers are never biased or incompetent, and their credibility can never be questioned.
Attorneys must work quickly to preserve this vital evidence. Unless a lawyer sends a spoliation letter within a few days of the crash, the insurance company may “accidentally” destroy the wrecked truck. If that happens, the EDR is gone forever.
Moreover, large truck EDRs are technologically sophisticated. An attorney must have the right kind of resources to take full advantage of EDR information.
Electronic Logging Device
Like the EDR, the ELD is a computer that’s connected to the vehicle’s internal components. But the ELD records hours of service (HOS). HOS figures are very important in fatigued truck driver crashes.
These kinds of crashes are quite common. Most shipping companies pay drivers by the load and not by the mile. Therefore, they must stay on the road as long as possible to make money. Additionally, since truck drivers sit for hours at a time, many of these individuals suffer from sleep apnea. People with this condition never fall into a deep sleep at night.
Non-ELD evidence of fatigue is also available. For example, most people are naturally drowsy at certain times of the day or night, no matter how much sleep they had the night before.
Also like the EDR, ELD evidence is almost irrefutable in court. Before these gadgets appeared, drivers recorded HOS in paper log books which were easy to fake. But the ELD is connected to the vehicle’s ignition. So, when the engine is running, the HOS clock is ticking.
As outlined above, attorneys must act quickly to preserve electronic evidence. Moreover, New York has very strict vehicle data privacy laws. Generally, only owners and authorized agents can access and download this electronic data. So, a lawyer typically needs a court order in these situations.
Contact an Aggressive Attorney
Electronic evidence is critical in many truck crash claims. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in New York, contact Michael J. Redenburg, Esq. P.C. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.
In over a decade of legal practice, Attorney Michael Redenburg began his career defending cases for the clients of insurance companies. Initially defending no-fault claims at a Long Island-based law firm, he then moved on to a Manhattan-based firm where he defended the clients of insurance carriers in an auto accident and premises liability matters.