Five Modern Technologies to Help Prove Your Injury Case Against a Trucking Company
Semi-truck crashes are among the most devastating types of accidents. They often leave horrible injuries and hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damages in their wake. With thousands of tractor-trailers heading up and down northern Alabama’s highways and Interstates, Hornsby, Watson, Hornsby & Heyward stands ready to fight for the rights of those who are injured by careless truck drivers and their employers.
How Technology is Changing Everything
There once was a time when proving a trucking accident case came down to getting things like log books and maintenance logs. Attorneys would request these items in litigation, and volumes of paper would show up. Sometimes the paper was fabricated or even entirely falsified to make it look like drivers were not in violation of safety rules or maintenance had been performed when it was not. Today, technology is changing everything about how attorneys handle these catastrophic accident cases. Here are just five of the ways that modern technology can significantly help you and your attorney prove your case following a trucking accident.
Companies like Qualcomm have created amazing technology that allows trucking companies to track and communicate with drivers wherever they are. Founded in 1985, Qualcomm began contracting with trucking companies as early as the 1990s. They place two-way communication boxes in semi-trucks. Rather than a driver needing to call a dispatcher, the trucking companies cut down on wasted phone time and driver distractions by electronically sending assignments, directions, and other important load information to drivers. Because it is all done via satellite, there is no problem if a person is outside of cell phone signal areas.
Today, this technology can track a truck and collect key data that can help to show the speed that a truck was travelling and how long the driver was had been moving. This type of data can be crucial in proving negligence.
Electronic Crash Recorders
Almost all modern semi-trucks are equipped with an electronic crash/data recorder (ECR or EDR). These are sometimes called the “black box.” These devices record all types of data, including:
- Hard braking events
- Rapid acceleration
- Rapid deceleration
- Sharp turns and swerves
- Speed of travel
This data can be helpful for a number of reasons. For instance, if the data reflects numerous hard braking events in the hours leading up to a crash, it could suggest a driver who was falling asleep at the wheel or nodding off. Likewise, sometimes the data shows that the truck slowed down faster than the braking system could allow. This evidence of an immediate deceleration on impact (i.e. 45 MPH to 0 MPH) could mean that the driver did not even break. Instead, the truck stopped when it struck the other vehicle, thereby evidencing a distracted or inattentive truck driver.
Do not forget the typical smartphone. Some reports show that as many as 95% of all truck drivers have smartphones. These tiny mobile computers have a lot of functions that we tend to overlook; getting the data can be challenging, but smartphones can track texting, calling, web browsing, GPS use, and even total and average daily screen time.
Handheld devices are not permitted for CDL drivers while operating commercial vehicles. Most states make the penalties more severe than for regular drivers. Federal regulations make it illegal for truckers to text or talk while driving. Still, being alone in a truck for thousands of miles and away from home for weeks at a time can all make a truck driver bend the rules and use the phone.
In the “old days,” truck drivers would get a load at a warehouse then travel to a local scale house to be weighed. Today, a growing number of trucking companies are moving to on-board scales. This type of technology allows a trucking company to weigh freight while it is on board without needing to go to a scale house. This means a truck driver can know if the vehicle is overweight right at the time of loading. If so, the driver can ask the loaders to remove freight without wasting time or risking unsafe highway operation to get to a scale.
In the past, truck drivers kept paper logbooks to track their movements and work from day to day. In modern day trucking, the electronic log is becoming a much more common way to track miles and time. It is less likely for a truck driver to cheat the system, and companies can maintain accountability. Of course, with all tech, people will find ways to cheat.
Knowledge is Power When Fighting Big Corporate Trucking Companies
When it comes to trucking accidents, it is truly a David and Goliath scenario. Injured people are generally everyday folks with jobs and families depending on them. The trucking companies are multi-million dollar empires with limitless litigation budgets. They will stop at nothing to deny claims for injuries. So you need to level the playing field and put a fighter in your corner who can help prove your case against the trucking company. Here in northern Alabama, the attorneys of Hornsby, Watson, Hornsby & Heyward have devoted their practice to fighting for the rights of injured people throughout the region.
We know all the tricks, and we know the tactics that insurance companies will use to protect these large companies. After a crash with a semi-truck, follow these simple steps immediately:
- Go straight to the hospital. Getting emergency medical care is critical.
- Take photos if possible. If you are not able, have someone immediately take as many pictures as possible of the crash scene, the vehicles, the individuals involved – everything.
- Call a lawyer as soon as possible. Swift investigations are critical. Have a trusted friend call if you are not able.
- DO NOT SPEAK TO THE INSURANCE COMPANY’S INVESTIGATORS. Insurance adjusters and their hired investigators have one goal – denying you compensation. If you speak to them, you risk losing your rights entirely.
Call Hornsby, Watson, Hornsby & Heyward today to speak with an attorney free of charge. We only get paid if we succeed, so you have nothing to lose.