Electronic Evidence in Truck Wreck Claims

Since 2009, the number of large truck accidents in Georgia has increased by 47%. These wrecks often cause catastrophic injuries, like serious burns and head injuries. Diesel fuel burns at a different temperature from ordinary gasoline, and a fully loaded large truck weighs more than 80,000 pounds. So, these wrecks often involve fires and almost always involve an unbelievable amount of force.

Electronic evidence is often very compelling in these cases. This kind of proof resonates well with tech-savvy Cobb County jurors. Additionally, most courtrooms have large, HD monitors. When jurors see these screens, they expect to see pictures on these screens. So, a Marietta personal injury attorney usually tries to present as much electronic evidence as possible. This proof increases the chances jurors will award maximum compensation for your serious injuries.

Event Data Recorder

Almost every commercial and noncommercial vehicle in the United States has an EDR. This gadget is much like a commercial jet’s black box flight data recorder. Most EDRs measure and record information like:

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

A personal injury attorney, often working with an accident reconstruction professional, can put these bits of evidence together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. So, jurors have an accurate idea about how the accident occurred and the role of truck driver negligence in the crash.

Additionally, electronic evidence, like EDR evidence, is often bulletproof in court. Assuming the gadget was working properly, the data the device contains is never incorrect or biased.

However, there are some drawbacks. Georgia has very strict vehicle information privacy laws. So, unless an attorney obtains a court order, the EDR could be off limits. Additionally, these devices are very sophisticated, from a technical standpoint. Attorneys need the right tools and expertise to download the information they contain.

These things assume that the EDR is available in the first place. To preserve physical evidence, including electronic evidence in the truck, a Marietta personal injury lawyer must send a spoliation letter to the insurance company. A spoliation letter creates a legal duty to preserve all potential physical evidence for future inspection. So, the insurance company cannot “accidentally” dispose of a wrecked truck, and any physical evidence it may contain.

Electronic Logging Device

These same privacy, technical, and legal issues affect ELDs. These devices are especially important in drowsy driver crash claims. Fatigue has historically been a problem among truckers, and it is even worse now. Due to supply chain and other issues, regulators have eased some drowsy driver rules, and they often do not aggressively enforce the rules that are still on the books.

Until recently, truckers kept track of their hours of service (HOS) in paper log books. These records were very easy to falsify. Unintentional mistakes were even more common. An ELD is connected to the truck’s drivetrain. So, while the truck is in motion, the HOS clock is running. Plus, as mentioned, electronic evidence is very reliable, and very compelling, in court.

Driving after being awake for eighteen consecutive hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That is above the legal limit for commercial operators in Georgia and most other states.

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