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The Role of Black Boxes: Unraveling Evidence in 18-Wheeler Accident Investigations

Black boxes are commonly known for their relation to airplanes. They are used to determine the causes of airplane crashes. However, the modern 18-wheelers also come with built-in black boxes. 

Truck companies have started to install black boxes in 18-wheelers as they help determine who is at fault after an accident. 

The black boxes have significantly helped 18-wheeler accident lawyers. Through the data found in the black box, they can leverage objective evidence to make their client’s case stronger. 

Understanding the Black Boxes 101


By the term Black boxes, the ECMs or EDRs are addressed. These are the complex devices installed in the 18-wheelers to collect and store critical information about the vehicle’s operation.

In the same way as the black boxes in airplanes, the black boxes in trucks are the most valuable sources of information for investigators as they can give a detailed account of how a vehicle behaved when it collided.


What is the Benefit of a Black Box in an Accident Investigation? 


The Role of Black Boxes: Unraveling Evidence in 18-Wheeler Accident Investigations


  • Objective Evidence for Investigation

The first function of black boxes in the process of investigating accidents with 18-wheelers is to provide objective evidence. 

Unlike the evidence of witnesses, laden with various influence factors, such as memory recall and prejudice, the information from the flight data recorder is objective and unbiased. 

This is perhaps the most important part of the investigation, as the evidence will aid the reconstruction of the series of events leading up to the crash and the identification of the main reasons for the accident.

  • Evidence for Liability Determination 

Black boxes allow the recording of such data as car speed, brakes, and engine performance, and often, such data is used to assign responsibility for an accident. 

In addition, black box data can be used to indicate a speeding truck or driver that did not brake in time, which can then be utilized as evidence of negligence by the driver or trucking company.

  • Establishing Fault

Black box dead ends for investigators by giving clues as to the driver’s action and the condition of the vehicle before the crash. 

This information is vital for the disclosure of the cause of the accident. It helps determine if it is due to driver’s error, mechanical failure, or external factors that made it possible for respective parties to be held accountable.

  • Legal Proceedings

In the lawsuit after an accident, the black box data is the evidence that helps resolve claims and defense. 

The data is used by legal counsel and insurers to construct or negotiate their cases or to present evidence in court. This ensures that the law is followed and justice is served for every party.

  • Prevention of Future Accidents

It is possible to spot patterns and risks contributing to the majority of crashes based on the black box data collected after the accidents. 

Afterward, the authorities can take actions such as enacting safety regulations and implementing targeted safety measures accordingly. 

This preventive approach is a great solution because it roots out the main triggers of the accidents and puts forward safer driving practices while dealing with truck drivers and trucking companies.


Bonus Tip: Start Fast to Preserve the Truck’s Critical Data as Soon as Possible

Usually, EDRs are one-month purging data, while some black boxes erase data in a shorter period. Additionally, it may be the case that the trucking firm intends to remove or hide data related to the accident.

Furthermore, it is the trucking company that is in possession of the black box, and hence, it also has the power of information that it possesses.


What Types of Evidence Can Help In Maximizing Your Chances for Compensation? 


  • Photos and Videos

Visual proof in pictures or videos will be very convincing regarding the factual investigation of the site, the appearance of the damaged car, the skid marks, the road signs, and other important things. 

Such visual records may be invaluable for your description of the accident and would be appreciated by accident investigators, insurance adjusters, and other concerned parties in the process.

  • Police Reports

The police report on the spot is one of the most valuable sources of information. It hosts such rich data as the statements made by the involved parties, the observations made by the responding officers, the cited defects, and the diagrams depicting the accident scene. 

Getting a copy of the police report may be useful for your claim. It may set up the essential facts of your case.

  • Medical Records

The most important thing to do here is to have a detailed medical record of all of your injuries, the treatments you have received, and the prognosis. 

Your medical record will serve as the basis for the evaluation of the extent of the damages you are claiming. 

Medication records are proof of the physical and emotional impact of the incident on you, supporting the claim of compensation for medical expenses, pain, suffering, and lost wages.

  • Expert Analysis

Expert testimonies from accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, engineers, or other experts who are capable of giving objective appraisals of accidents, factors that caused the accident, and the extent of your injuries are very effective. 

Legal expertise may contribute to your claim’s credibility and help to define the technical aspects that are complex and unclear for the court or insurance adjusters.


Role of Lawyers in Maximizing Your Claim Compensation in Case of 18-Wheeler Accidents 

A truck crash typically involves several stakeholders and is filled with legal details and a high degree of damage. However, in a case like that, an experienced truck accident lawyer must be approached to improve your chances of obtaining adequate compensation. 

Trucking accident lawyers are well-versed in the legal and regulatory aspects of commercial trucks’ road transportation operations. Therefore, they can support and help you.


Thorough Investigation and Evidence Collection: 

Truck accident lawyers’ crucial duty is to investigate all the details about the incident that led to the accident. 

This may include an investigation comprising records like black box data, eyewitness statements, police reports, and expert opinion to strengthen your case. 

They represent the clients by attacking all the little stones so that no evidence is left out, which can be used to prove your case in court.



As with any vehicle collision, navigating the legal landscape and securing fair compensation can be challenging for victims. 

Yet truck black boxes – and the legal expertise to make sense of them – play a pivotal role in the process. 

By monitoring after-the-fact data to demonstrate the cause of a truck collision, such technology allows victims to take proactive steps to protect their rights and pursue justice for the harm they have suffered at the hands of another.

When coupled with the expertise of a skilled lawyer, black box data is transformed into an arguably more powerful tool that can help to further advocate for victims’ rights and maximize their chances of securing compensation.  

If you are looking for an experienced 18-wheel accident lawyer, contact Mokaram Law Firm. Contact us today at (281) 609-9224 and get a consultation on your case.


Past results do not guarantee future performance. The $1B amount reflects the NFL concussion MDL settlement not an individual claim.

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If There Was No Injury Then There Is No Claim to be Filed.

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We can't provide a valuation for the claim if the accident is reported as "at fault" or if there's no clear determination of fault.

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