Commercial trucks are extremely large, which makes them far more risky to operate. Because of this added danger, trucks are required to adhere to a number of additional rules and regulations, which are enforced in many ways, including through the use of an on-board logging recorder. Nearly every commercial truck is required to have one of these devices, which offer far more specific and greater detail than previously-used paper logs.
These logs also record a number of different data points when a truck is involved in an accident and then saves this information for use in investigations to determine fault and causality. If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, this “black box” data could extremely beneficial evidence to your case. Want to get ahold of it as soon as possible? Good, you probably should. However, sometimes this isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds.
What to Expect After an Accident
Commercial trucking companies are well-aware of the risks involved with operation, and they often have “strike teams” of investigators, lawyers, and clean-up crews they can dispatch to the scene of an accident within mere hours. Because these crews work for the trucking company itself or their insurance provider, they will often look for evidence that releases them from liability for the incident so they don’t have to pay out on the claim. Conversely, it’s not uncommon for them also to look for evidence that demonstrates their liability so they can work quickly to hide it.
These crews will often be the first ones to the accident scene, and one of the first places they’ll go is straight to the onboard recorder. While they may not be able to inspect this data on-site, they’ll usually take the file and bring it back to where it can be inspected quickly. If this file contains evidence of their liability, it’s sadly not all that uncommon for this evidence to be “lost.”
Additionally, these crews will also look for things like blown tires, skid marks on the road, or maintenance logs on the vehicle and find out whether or not they’re beneficial to the case. If they’re not, you may have a hard time getting ahold of copies of them.
Is tampering evidence like this illegal? Yes, but proving that evidence was altered, hidden, or destroyed can be extremely difficult. Insurance companies know this, and they know the faster they can get to things, the better off their case will be.
So how can you use this evidence to your advantage? The first step when you are involved in a truck accident is to hire an attorney as soon as possible. A qualified Corpus Christi truck accident lawyer will often immediately petition the court for a restraining order that forbids the investigation team, operating company, or their insurance company from altering any evidence in any way, including stopping them from deleting anything (even files which have legitimately become corrupted).
Second, once the order is in place, your attorney may request to inspect the wreckage themselves, including possibly hiring their own experts to conduct an investigation. Because these parties are on your side, they’ll be looking for anything and everything to demonstrate that the operating company should be held liable. This also includes obtaining a copy of the onboard recording data, which can then be thoroughly examined. A reconstruction expert can even use this data to re-create the accident itself, which could demonstrate your case to the court.Have you been injured in a trucking accident? Brunkenhoefer, P.C. Injury Attorneys can help! Request a case evaluation with a skilled member of our legal team today by calling 361.730.1190! Let us stand up for your rights if you have been injured in a trucking accident.