Accidents involving commercial trucks often have much higher stakes than accidents between drivers of personal cars and trucks. This is because of the enormous amount of damage that a large truck can inflict and the increased complications in obtaining compensation from those responsible.
Trucking companies know that a commercial truck accident can cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions. This means that they — and their insurance carriers — will try very hard to avoid as much liability as possible. Accident victims need to be on guard for attempts to settle their claims for much less than they are owed.
If you were involved in a serious accident, it is important to obtain evidence that may help you recover what you’ve lost. Did you know that some of the most important evidence can disappear very quickly?
Commercial trucks built within the last 25 years have electronic control modules (ECMs). These are similar to “black boxes” that record flight data in airplanes. The data in ECMs may prove very useful following an accident. However, you may need to request this data immediately.
Crucial evidence can disappear quickly
A truck’s ECM data may shed light on how your accident occurred. For example, it may reveal that the truck driver was a fault or that the truck was improperly maintained.
The owner of the truck owns the ECM within the truck as well as the data it contains, just as a homeowner who has a security camera owns its footage. Understandably, truck owners will avoid liability if possible, and it is possible they may take measures to protect themselves by disposing of this important information. Unless you formally send a request for the truck’s ECM data to the appropriate party, the owner may delete the ECM’s data.
What kind of data does the ECM record?
While the specifics may vary depending on the age and manufacturer of the module, ECMs generally record:
- Speed data, including average speed, top speeds and the amount of time spent driving faster than the speed limit
- Engine data that may indicate extended periods of high RPMs in the engine and hours spent idling
- Safety data on the driver’s seatbelt usage and airbag deployment
No amount of money can compensate you for what you can lose in a truck accident. However, a personal injury claim may help you pay your medical bills, recover lost wages from missed time at work and secure your financial future.