While a collision with another passenger vehicle may ruin your day or week, an accident involving a tractor-trailer is likely to put your life in danger. After all, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 4,100 Americans died in trucking accidents in 2019 alone.
Even if you manage to survive a collision with a semitruck, you may have to contend with catastrophic and life-changing injuries. Fortunately, if the trucker caused or contributed to the accident, you may be eligible for substantial financial compensation.
Many trucks have black boxes
Like commercial airplanes, many semitrucks have integrated event data recorders. Often called black boxes, these EDRs can be invaluable in assigning blame for the accident. Specifically, the EDR may shed light on one or more of the following:
- The trucks speed and road position at the time of the crash
- The position of the truck’s accelerator and brake pedal
- The trucker’s evasive maneuvers
- The trucker’s use of his or her seat belt
- The truck’s maintenance history
Time may not be on your side
If you can obtain a truck’s black box, an accident reconstructionist may use its data to determine exactly how and why the collision occurred. Unfortunately, though, time is probably not on your side. That is, because many black boxes automatically rewrite data, you may have a limited period to obtain important records.
The trucker or the trucking company also may have the option of deleting or modifying accident-related records from the EDR. Ultimately, as soon as possible after your accident, it is advisable to consider subpoenaing the truck’s black box or otherwise securing its records.