The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that large commercial truck accidents contribute to approximately 100,000 injuries and 6,000 fatalities on American roadways each year. The immense size of large trucks makes them inherently dangerous. Following an accident with a semi-truck, it is imperative that victims and their families have access to all of the information that they need to protect their best interests. The truck’s electronic control module (ECM)—its “black box” recording data—may be relevant. Here, our Glens Falls semi-truck accident attorney provides a detailed overview of the key things to know about how ECM data can affect a claim in New York.
An Electronic Control Module (ECM) is a Commercial Truck’s “Black Box”
The electronic control module (ECM) is a crucial component of many modern commercial vehicles, including large commercial trucks. The ECM is often likened to an airplane’s “black box”. It is installed by the manufacturer and it functions as a sophisticated data recording system. An ECM monitors the truck’s performance and driving conditions—tracking critical information like speed, brake usage, engine RPM, throttle position, and fault codes. The data from the ECM can provide a useful insight into the operations/functioning of the semi-truck.
Why Does an ECM Matter in a Commercial Truck Accident Case?
The principal function of a commercial truck’s electronic control module (ECM) is to ensure optimal performance, fuel efficiency, and emissions control. However, in the aftermath of an accident, the data stored in the ECM can serve as an essential tool in establishing the sequence of events leading to the crash. It provides an objective account of the truck’s operations immediately before (and during) the crash. As a simple example, it could provide proof that a trucker was speeding.
A Wide Range of Information May Available Through ECM Data
ECM data can reveal a broad range of different information about the truck’s operations prior to an accident. In effect, it is like a window into the events that unfolded before the collision. Some of the vital information that may be obtained from ECM data includes:
- The truck’s speed at the time of the accident;
- Hard braking events;
- RPM (revolutions per minute) data;
- Cruise control usage;
- Idle time and fuel consumption; and
- Recorded fault codes indicating any mechanical issues.
Ultimately, the information from the ECM can help in understanding the truck’s state and actions in the lead up to the accident.
Truck Accident Claims are No-Fault Claims in New York—Except for Serious Accident
The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) explains that state law requires all motorists to obtain no-fault insurance coverage. An initial claim after a car crash—including a semi truck accident—is a no-fault claim. This means that regardless of who caused the accident, your own insurance company is responsible for paying your medical bills and lost earnings, up to certain limits. However, an exception to this rule exists for serious accidents. If the accident resulted in severe injury, the victim can step outside of the no-fault system and file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. If you suffered a serious injury, you can file a claim directly against the at-fault truck company.
Understanding the Serious Injury Threshold in New York Truck Accident Claims
A “serious injury” in New York is defined by law and includes conditions such as death, dismemberment, significant disfigurement, fracture, loss of a fetus, or a non-permanent injury that prevents you from performing your usual and customary activities for 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the accident. Meeting the serious injury threshold allows victims to pursue a claim against the responsible party. If you have any specific questions about this threshold, an experienced Glens Falls, NY truck accident attorney can help.
An Attorney Can Help You Gather All Relevant Evidence to Prove Liability
Large truck accident claims are notoriously complex—especially if you suffered a serious injury in the crash. A Glens Falls attorney with experience in semi-truck accident claims can be an invaluable asset in gathering and analyzing evidence to establish liability. Among other things, your lawyer can take action to obtain the ECM data, interpret it, and use it as part of a broader claim.
Beyond that, a Glens Falls, NY truck accident attorney can manage communications with insurance companies, assist in filing a claim, negotiate settlements, and represent your interests in court, if necessary. Your lawyer will have the knowledge and resources to build a strong case on your behalf and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
We Help Semi-Truck Accident Victims in Glens Falls Maximize their Financial Recovery
A semi-truck accident can quickly change your entire life. Following a serious crash with a tractor trailer in Glens Falls, it is imperative that you are able to secure the financial compensation that you need to pay bills and provide for your family. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on a trucking company or any insurance company to look out for your best interests. Our Glens Falls, NY truck accident lawyers fight tirelessly to help injured victims seek full and fair compensation for their damages. Along with other types of losses, you may be eligible to recover for:
- Automobile repairs or replacement;
- Ambulance costs and emergency room care;
- Hospital bills and other medical expenses;
- Ongoing rehabilitative medical care;
- Lost wages and loss of ability to earn wages;
- Pain and suffering & emotional distress;
- Long-term disability;
- Permanent disfigurement;
- Loss of life enjoyment; and
- Wrongful death of a family member.
Call Our Glens Falls, NY Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer for Immediate Help
At Larson & Gallivan Law, our New York commercial truck accident attorneys have the passion, skills, and experience that you can trust. If you have any questions about the evidence you need to bring a truck accident claim, we can help. Call us now at 518-862-8799 or contact us online for your no cost, no commitment initial legal consultation. We fight for the rights of truck accident victims in Glens Falls, Warren County, and throughout the surrounding area in east-central New York.