A major northeast side truck crash resulted in a huge fireball that killed two people and seriously injured one other person. What can an attorney do to preserve crucial evidence in these situations?
Authorities are unsure why a truck driver lost control of the rig, but while it was in motion, the truck slammed into a concrete flyover pillar and burst into flame. Two people inside the cab were killed almost instantly; a third occupant was pulled from the truck and airlifted to a nearby hospital with severe burns. None of the victims’ names were released, and no other vehicles were involved.
The collision occurred on eastbound Loop 410 near Cherry Ridge.
Evidence in a Large Truck Crash
If either of these three victims pursues a negligence suit, the cause of this accident must be determined. There may have been driver error – the operator may have been distracted or going too fast around a curve. Or, there may have been a mechanical failure in the brakes, steering, accelerator, or other vital component.
In cases like this, the Electronic Logging Device (ELD), or “black box,” can provide valuable information. Citing cost concerns, the shipping industry has resisted calls to make these devices mandatory in all trucks. But President Obama recently signed the MAP-21 Act – Moving Ahead for Progress into the 21st Century Act – that may mean ELDs become required in all large trucks.
The ELD, which also goes by the acronyms of EDR (Event Data Recorder) and EODR (Electronic On-Board Data Recorder), measures critical information and stores it for up to ten seconds. That data may include:
- Brake application,
- Steering wheel angle,
- Vehicle speed, and
- Any “faults” or known mechanical defects.
Most ELDs also serve as electronic logs that provide nearly indisputable proof as to how long the driver was behind the wheel.
In a serious accident, many insurance companies routinely demolish the truck or strip it down for parts as soon as possible after the accident. In so doing, the potential defendant may unintentionally, or intentionally, destroy relevant evidence, such as an ELD.
An attorney can send a spoliation letter to whoever has custody of the truck. This letter gives notice that a lawsuit may be filed and that the person or entity has a duty not to destroy evidence. It is important that this letter be sent as quickly as possible, because some insurance companies may move to destroy evidence very shortly.
The first few days after a collision is often the most important time in a negligence case. For a free consultation with attorneys who get to work quickly, contact an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney at The Bettersworth Law Firm.