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Orland Park personal injury lawyerIf you have ever watched a news story about an airplane accident, you may have heard experts talking about the plane’s flight recorder or “black box.” Many commercial trucks are also equipped with a recording device which is often referred to as a black box. Technically called an event data recorder (EDR), this device can be an extremely valuable source of evidence in a truck accident injury case. Most personal injury claims hinge upon the question of fault and proving that the negligent actions of the truck driver, trucking company, or other party caused your truck accident is often the biggest obstacle in successfully obtaining compensation for injuries.

How Do EDRs Work?  

Most event data recorders are capable of recording vehicle and occupant information immediately before, during, and after a collision. Depending on the type of EDR installed, the device may record data about the vehicle’s engine performance, vehicle speed, whether or not the brakes were applied, steering performance, airbag deployment, seat belt usage, electronic stability control, and the force of the impact. Commercial trucking companies are not required to install EDRs in their trucks; however, more and more trucking companies are voluntarily installing these black boxes. After a truck accident, a data-retrieval technician may be able to extract data from the EDR. Because many of these devices do not permanently retain data, it is important to retrieve EDR information as soon as possible after an accident.

Proving Liability for a Truck Accident

The information contained in an EDR may be combined with other types of evidence and used to establish exactly what happened during an accident. Evidence from dash camera footage, security camera footage, the truck driver’s hours of service logs, the driver’s driving history, and the truck maintenance records may also shed light on how and why a truck accident occurred. Data from the truck driver’s personal cell phone may reveal whether or not distracted driving was a contributing factor in the accident. However, gaining access to this information is not easy. Trucking companies are usually very hesitant to release EDR data and other information and may even destroy data in an attempt to evade responsibility for an accident. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help ensure that this valuable evidence is preserved.

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Orland Park personal injury attorneyWhen you are a visitor or guest on someone else’s property, the property own has a responsibility to ensure that you are safe. He or she is not necessarily responsible for stopping you from making poor decisions while on the property, but the owner must take steps to keep the premises free of potential hazards that could cause you to slip and fall or trip and fall. If the property owner does not keep the property safe and you suffer injuries as a result of his or negligence, you could be entitled to collect compensation through a premises liability claim.

Recovering compensation for slip-and-fall injuries requires the plaintiff—that is you—to show four primary things:

  1. The property owner owed you a duty of care. Proving a duty of care includes several elements. You will need to show that the defendant owns or occupies the premises where your injury occurred and that he or she is responsible for keeping the property safe. You must also show that you were permitted to be on the property, as trespassers are not owed the same duty of care as invited guests or visitors.
  2. A hazard existed on the property. The second thing you need to prove is that a dangerous condition existed on the premises. This could include a slippery floor with no warning signs, broken floor tiles, poorly lit areas, or merchandised that is unsafely stacked. Keep in mind that a hazardous condition must be capable of causing injuries.
  3. The owner knew or should have known about the problem and did not address it. A property owner can only be held liable for your injuries if he or she was aware (or should have been aware) that there was a hazardous condition on the property. Proving this element may depend on how long the condition existed. For example, an owner should know that a railing on a commonly-used staircase was broker, but he or she may not yet have known about a spill that happened just moments before your accident.
  4. You suffered harm as a result. Lastly, your right to collect damages will hinge on your ability to prove that the hazardous condition is what caused your injuries. Any action that the property owner took to mitigate the danger will be considered at this stage as well. For example, if the owner placed signs warning visitors of the broken railing and you used the staircase anyway, the owner’s liability could be reduced.

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