Electronic Evidence in Truck Accident Claims

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Fully-loaded large trucks weigh over 80,000 pounds. And, federal and state regulators routinely issue waivers which allow even larger and heavier vehicles on Missouri highways. Because of this size, even highly-experienced drivers have a hard time controlling these vehicles. Due to the ongoing truck driver shortage, many operators lack this critical experience.

Following a serious accident, a St. Louis personal injury attorney must establish negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. Therefore, all injury claims are based on solid evidence. Additionally, there is usually a connection between the amount of evidence the victim/plaintiff presents and the amount of compensation jurors award.

Event Data Recorder

Most large trucks, and most passenger vehicles as well, have EDRs. Much like the black box flight data recorder in a commercial jet, an EDR measures and records operational data such as:

  • Vehicle speed,
  • Steering angle,
  • Engine RPM, and
  • Brake application.

EDR information is often compelling in court. Assuming the gadget was working properly, it’s almost impossible to successfully challenge this evidence. Unlike some people, computers are never wrong and never biased. Moreover, tech-savvy St. Louis County jurors usually respond very well to electronic evidence.

EDRs are not always available. Missouri has very strict vehicle data privacy laws. So, attorneys must normally obtain court orders before they can access EDRs. And, large truck EDRs are very sophisticated devices. Attorneys need much more than laptops and screwdrivers to download their data.

Electronic Logging Device

EDRs are useful in almost all truck accident claims. ELDs are often compelling in drowsy truck driver claims. Citing coronavirus, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently rolled back some key rules in this area. So, there are more fatigued truckers on the road than ever before.

Prior to the ELD rule, truckers used paper log books to keep track of their Hours of Service (HOS). ELDs are connected to the vehicle’s drivetrain. So, when the truck is moving, the HOS clock is ticking. According to the negligence per se rule, truckers who violate the HOS requirements and cause crashes could be liable for damages as a matter of law.

Circumstantial evidence is also available in drowsy truck driver claims. The time of day or night is a good example. Most people are naturally fatigued at these hours, no matter how well-rested they are.

Damages in truck crash claims usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages might be available as well, in some extreme situations.

Electronic evidence is often critical in large truck accident claims. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Louis, contact Schultz & Myers, Personal Injury Lawyers. You have a limited amount of time to act. 

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