How Are EDRs Used as Evidence in a Virginia Truck Accident Lawsuit?

Whenever there has been any type of plane crash, news reports often cite information about the plane’s “black box” or flight recorder. Many people don’t realize that these are these same types of devices in commercial trucks. These devices are officially known as event data recorders (EDR) and are often a significant source of evidence in a truck accident lawsuit.

In a truck accident lawsuit, the critical element of success is to prove that negligent actions or behavior of the truck driver, the trucking company, or other party or parties. Negligent must be proven in order to obtain financial compensation for any losses the victim has suffered because of their injuries.

The event data recorder records both vehicle and occupant information right before, during, and following a crash. Some EDRs even record information about the following:

  • Engine performance
  • If the airbags were deployed
  • If the seat belts were being used
  • If the truck’s brakes were applied
  • Steering performance
  • The force of the impact
  • The speed of the vehicle

Federal law doesn’t require commercial vehicles to be equipped with electronic data recorders at this time, however, many companies are taking it upon themselves to utilize the device. One crucial element that a truck accident attorney is aware of is that because the majority of EDRs do not retain the data permanently, that data must be retrieved for the device as quickly as possible following a crash. This is one of the many reasons why truck accident victims or their families should contact an attorney as soon as possible following an accident.

One a truck accident attorney has obtained the data from the EDR, he or she can use the information in conjunction with other types of evidence that is collected to help prove that liability. These other types can include dash camera footage, any security camera footage located at the crash site, the hours of service log that is required by law to be maintained by the truck driver, the truck driver’s driving record and history, and maintenance and repair records of the truck involved in the accident. A truck accident attorney may also obtain the truck driver’s cell phone records to determine if some kind of distracted driving led up to the crash.

While a truck accident victim is legally entitled to the above potential evidence, it is not always easy to obtain because trucking companies are often reluctant to voluntarily turn it over since the evidence can prove their liability. In fact, there have been many cases where the company has destroyed the evidence. This is why a victim should always have an attorney advocating for them. The attorney will know the legal steps to take to ensure this evidence is preserved and turned over.

Contact a Virginia Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in any type of truck accident, contact a Virginia truck accident attorney at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn to discuss what legal recourse you may have. Truck accident cases can be complex, and it is not uncommon for there to be multiple at-fault parties who are responsible for the payment of financial damages you may be entitled to for your injuries. Our personal injury firm has successfully represented many injured victims and their families and we are happy to meet with you and offer legal guidance on what the best options may be for your circumstances.