After any kind of traffic accident, it is important to gather as much evidence as you can at the scene of the collision before cleanup crews arrive and clear away the wreckage. The evidence present before the cleanup crews arrive is often crucial to building an effective personal injury claim. Once the evidence is gone, it is very difficult or even impossible to recover.
While this is true in all traffic accidents, the stakes are usually much higher when it comes to accidents involving large commercial trucks. These enormous vehicles often cause immense damage and leave victims with serious injuries that require extensive emergency medical care and may involve months or years of treatment to reach recovery — or for the victim to learn to live with a permanent disability brought on by the accident.
Obtaining fair compensation for your injuries and material losses requires building and filing a strong claim. This is where things begin to grow complicated. On one hand, it is unwise to file a poorly supported claim without strong evidence, so you may need to take some time to gather evidence and assemble a convincing narrative of how the accident occurred. On the other hand, if you wait to begin gathering evidence and building your claim, the evidence you need may not stick around.
Trucks contain accident-proof "black boxes," too
Since the 1990s, manufacturers have included electronic control modules, or ECMs, in the production of commercial trucks. These ECMs collect specific kinds of data about the operation of the vehicle and include protective features so that they can withstand high-speed collisions. These devices are similar to "black boxes" that we hear about on the news whenever a plane crashes.
These devices record data and store it safely for a set period of time, typically about 30 days. However, the owner of the vehicle (which may or may not be the driver) retains the legal right to destroy this data unless some other party makes a formal request for it using the proper legal process. This means you must act quickly to recover this important evidence before the owner has the time to destroy it forever.
The data collected may include average speeds and highest speeds driven, average RPMs, hours spent idling, and hours spent driving over 65 miles per hour, as well safety feature usage, like seat belts and air bags.
Build a strong claim quickly
This data often proves invaluable to building a strong claim, and should be a top priority when gathering evidence. Make sure to begin building your claim as soon as you can to preserve your rights and provide the tools you need for the hard work of recovery.