The “Black Box” and Its Crucial Role in Truck Accident Cases

The “Black Box” and Its Crucial Role in Truck Accident Cases

If you’ve ever seen a news report about a plane crash, you’ve likely heard the term “black box” used to describe the information storing device located in all commercial aircraft. However, most people don’t realize those same information storing devices are also standard features on most commercial big rigs and can play a vital role in the outcome of a litigated trucking accident case. The Tallahassee Truck Accident Lawyers at Barrett Nonni & Homola are uniquely qualified to gather and utilize this data for your case. 

 

The standard name for what is commonly referred to as a “black box” is “electronic control module” (ECM) or “event data recorder” (EDR).  These devices store data about the physical properties of a vehicle at the time it is involved in a collision.  Most commercial trucks are equipped with an ECM or EDR, and many national or regional carriers also use satellite tracking equipment or trip recorders to monitor their fleets.

What Does an EDR do?

Information that can be stored and downloaded from EDRs in most commercial trucks includes: 

 

  • speed history 
  • excessive RPM
  • fuel consumption
  • heavy braking 
  • hours driven
  • movement summary
  • idle time
  • fast acceleration
  • driver identification

 

Currently, federal regulations do not require that trucks have EDRs; however, almost all truck engines today have an ECM that functions as an EDR. An ECM is standard equipment on all diesel fuel injection systems. ECMs allow companies to monitor and analyze trip times, speeds, total idle time and the existence and number of hard stops. 

Why is this Data Important in Truck Accident Cases?

“Black box” data is invaluable to an experience truck accident attorney when investigating the cause of a trucking collision and must be obtained at all costs. Many times a client is so badly injured in a trucking collision that he/she either doesn’t remember any details surrounding the collision or is no longer alive to tell his/her side of the story. Unfortunately, without “black box” data the attorney and loved ones are left to rely on the account of eyewitnesses, which oftentimes consists only of the commercial truck driver. Many times the “black box” data can level the playing field and provide its own eyewitness version of events often delivering information which outright refutes the version of events put forth by the commercial driver. Our truck accident attorneys have found that this information is invaluable in the cases of our clients. 

 

Imagine a situation where an individual is rear-ended on the interstate in the middle of the night when there is no one else on the road. Unfortunately, the individual that is rear-ended passes away leaving only the commercial truck driver to narrate the events leading to the crash. The truck driver states he was traveling below the speed limit and came upon the car going at a low rate of speed with no lights activated.  He states he attempted to brake but could not stop in time to avoid the collision.  

 

Obviously, just hearing those facts on their face almost anyone would conclude the rear-ended driver was at fault. However, upon receiving the “black box” data an entirely different picture is painted whereby the commercial driver was actually traveling 20 mph over the speed limit and never engaged his brakes prior to the collision. Learning that information completely changes the perception of what happened and lends credence to a version of events not so favorable to the truck driver. It also provides solid evidence for an experienced trucking accident attorney to use in fighting for justice.  

 

Unfortunately, trucking collisions happen daily on the roadways throughout Florida and Georgia and many injured individuals and/or their families end up hiring attorneys who either have no idea the “black box” data exists or, if they do, how to go about obtaining it. Far too often trucking collisions are not thoroughly investigated and viable claims are forgotten because “black box” data is not obtained. That is why it is important that you get in touch with our attorneys. They will work tirelessly to achieve the best results possible for your trucking accident claim in Tallahassee.

Contact A Tallahassee Trucking Accident Lawyer Today

The attorneys at Barrett Nonni & Homola are well versed in the intricacies of trucking cases and will leave no stone unturned if you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a careless truck driver.   

Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

What insurance are you required to have on your motorcycle in Florida? This seems like a simple question, after all, the laws governing the required minimum amount of car insurance are straightforward.  However, the Florida insurance requirements pertaining to motorcycles are unique and can lead to legal 

First of all, motorcycles are not considered “motor vehicles” as the term is defined by the Florida No Fault Statute (Fla. Stat. § 627.736). Therefore, motorcycles are exempt from the minimum insurance requirements placed on cars and trucks registered in Florida.  In fact, motorcycle owners are not required to show proof of insurance when the bike is registered. However, motorcycle owners are still bound by Florida’s Financial Responsibility laws (Fla. Stat. § 324.021). In other words, if the driver of a motorcycle is charged with causing a crash, the driver will be held financially responsible for damages caused. Additionally, if the owner is charged with causing a crash and cannot provide proof of financial responsibility, the owner can face legal penalties such as: 

  • Suspension of driving privileges
  • Being required to show proof of liability/property damage insurance for up to three years
  • Suspension of registration
  • Monetary penalties

So the question becomes, what does the owner have to do to be considered “financially responsible?” In Florida, the motorcycle owner has three financial responsibility options to choose from:

Purchase Liability Coverage from a Florida Authorized Insurer

This is probably the easiest and least time consuming of the options. This is much like purchasing insurance on an automobile aside from the fact there is no requirement to purchase Personal Injury Protection (No-Fault) benefits. The minimum requirements to prove “financial responsibility are as follows:

  • $10,000/$20,000 Bodily Injury Liability
  • $10, 000 Property Damage Liability 

Additionally, most Florida insurers offer a no-fault motorcycle coverage even though it is not required by Florida law. If you still have questions, be sure to reach out to the Tallahassee Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Barrett Nonni & Homola today and we will be happy to answer any and all questions you may have. 

Self-Insurance Certificate

This is probably the most complicated of the three options. It requires the owner of the motorcycle to post a surety bond and deposit cash/securities with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor vehicles. Upon doing so, the owner is issued a “Self-Insurance Certificate” which will be considered proof of “financial responsibility” should the owner be charged with a crash.

Financial Responsibility Certificate

This option is much like the self-insurance option, but doesn’t require the posting of a bond or any deposit of money with the DHSMV. Instead, the owner is required to complete a financial affidavit complete with appraisals evidencing a net worth of $40,000 or more. Upon approval from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility, the owner will be provided with a “Financial Responsibility Certificate” evidencing that financial requirements have been met.   

At Barrett Nonni & Homola we have years of experience handling motorcycle injury claims and counseling consumers on motorcycle insurance requirements. If you or a loved one have any questions regarding injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash or motorcycle insurance requirements please call us today. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Hire Barrett Nonni & Homola from the Comfort of Your Own Home

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Hire Barrett Nonni & Homola from the Comfort of Your Own Home

We are taking the threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Florida very seriously. Right now, people are being hurt by the threat of the Coronavirus and life as we know it has changed drastically. Let us help! We understand the fears that many people may have about traveling during these times. We want those in Florida to play our part by minimizing contact so that we can reduce the spread of this illness. With this in mind, the Tallahassee personal injury lawyers at Barrett Nonni & Homola want to remind you that you do not have to come to our office to meet with us. You can become one of our clients from the comfort of your own home via phone consultations and electronic signature capabilities. We are available 24 hours a day & 7 days a week and you can hire Barrett Nonni & Homola over the phone at 850-601-1111.

 

COVID 19 Prevention: Social Distancing

Health officials are recommending social distancing measures to cut down on close contact and slow the spread of the virus among the population of Florida. These efforts will help minimize the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and allow us all to stay safe in these trying times. Please make sure you review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more information about other steps you can take to protect yourself and others from exposure to this virus.

General Info About (COVID-19)

More and more information about the virus is coming out daily. Please stay up to date on information and symptoms by checking the following resources:

This virus spreads easily and stays on surfaces long after the infected individual has left the area. You can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. It is thought that you are most contagious when you are displaying symptoms, however you can be contagious before you even show symptoms.

Symptoms of Coronavirus

Here are some of the major symptoms of the virus:

  • Respiratory Tract Infection – shortness of breath
  • Fever/chills
  • Cough
  • Flu-like symptoms including:
    • Fatigue
    • Pressure in the Chest
    • Headaches
    • Muscle or Body Aches
    • Sore Throat

Please note that carriers of the virus may not be displaying symptoms and that you are still at risk and may be carrying the virus and not know unless you are tested.

Contact Barrett Nonni & Homola Today

If you were hurt in an accident and are seeking legal help, let the attorneys at Barrett Nonni & Homola help you from the comfort of your own home. If you would like to discuss your legal issues with any one of our Tallahassee attorneys, we can simply meet with you by phone.

Contact us now at 850-601-1111 to schedule your free consultation and learn more about how we can meet with you remotely to review your claim.

What are my Rights in a Wrongful Death Claim?

Whenever a loved one passes away it is never an easy time for that individuals’ family and friends. Things only become more complicated when that loved one has been killed as the result of another’s negligence. Unfortunately, in addition to making funeral arrangements, settling financial obligations and coordinating schedules for loved ones, family members are all too often faced with the burden of dealing with insurance adjusters sometimes only hours after the death. Faced with this situation, dealing with an insurance company is but an afterthought and many individuals trust what an insurance adjuster says is 100% true.

In that fragile state of mind it is NEVER a good idea for a family member to deal with the insurance company of a negligent individual. It is always wise to consult with an experienced Tallahassee wrongful death attorney or at the very least give yourself a week or two to process the emotions related to the death. The one thing you should never do is sign any paperwork from an insurance company without having an attorney look over it first. I am always willing to provide free consultation in this type of situation to ensure no important rights are being released in the paperwork.

What Steps Should I Take During a Wrongful Death Claim?

Importantly, there are several legal steps that must be taken in a wrongful death claim in Florida that are unnecessary in a negligence claim not involving death. When an individual dies, all of their belongings and interests become part of what is known as that individual’s “estate.” The contents of the estate are then distributed according to the deceased individual’s validly executed will, or, in the case where there is no will, according to Florida Statute. When an individual is killed as the result of another’s negligence, the “estate” has the right to pursue damages against the at-fault party. In order to recover these damages it is necessary to file documentation to set up a formal estate and appoint a personal representative to oversee and make decisions on behalf of the estate. In many cases, a wrongful death attorney can help the family through this difficult time and provide relief and comfort to grieving family members who do not want to have to slog through the legal process of a wrongful death claim.

Who is Able to Receive Compensation From a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?

In addition to the damages that are recoverable by the estate, spouses and children of the deceased are also entitled to damages as “survivors.” These damages are separate from the damages that go into the estate and cannot be claimed by creditors of the estate. For example, if your father died with a maxed out credit card, the credit card company would only be able to claim damages that went to the estate, not damages that were awarded to you as a “survivor.” There are some exceptions as to who qualifies as a “survivor” under Florida law and what damages can be recovered by the different “survivors.” An attorney at Barrett Nonni & Homola can provide you guidance with regard to whether you qualify as a “survivor” under Florida law.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?

The statute of limitations is also different in a wrongful death claim as compared to a negligence claim not involving death. The statute of limitations is 2 years in a wrongful death claim as opposed to the 4 year limitation in a standard negligence claim. In Florida, this means that you must file the wrongful death lawsuit within 2 years of the date of the death. Unfortunately, failure to file the lawsuit will result in a waiver of your right to bring a claim against the party responsible for causing the death.

The Tallahassee wrongful death attorneys at Barrett Nonni & Homola have extensive experience handling wrongful death claims and have attorneys available 24 hour per day 7 days per week to discuss any questions you may have about bringing a wrongful death claim.

I Was Just Involved in a Car Accident: What Now?

I Was Just Involved in a Car Accident: What Now?

Let’s face it, no one wants to think about being involved in an auto accident. However, according to the National Safety Council, there are approximately 10 million auto accidents every year in the United States. So, chances are, at some point in your life its going to happen to you.  Let the Tallahassee auto accident attorneys at Barrett Nonni & Homola help! Here are some things to keep in mind when you are involved in a auto accident:

5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident

1. Get Police to the Scene
Immediately after a car collision, the first thing you should do, if able, is to call authorities to get to the scene.  Once on the scene, authorities will interview drivers and witnesses and usually determine which party is at fault in causing the collision.  They will also collect contact and insurance information from all parties involved and make sure each party has that information before leaving the scene.  Having insurance information for the other party makes it easy to contact their insurance company and report the claim.  Also, having crash report from the authorities helps when the at-fault parties’ insurance company is determining fault, I cannot tell you how many times the at-fault drivers’ version of events is completely different than what is contained in the crash report.

2. Take Photographs
Again, if able, taking photos of the damage sustained by all involved vehicles is a very good idea. Having damage photos will help to establish the severity of the collision.  It is also important to take photos of the vehicles in their final resting positions at the scene as those photos can help to establish which party is at fault in causing the collision.  Further, if there were other circumstances that contributed to the collision, such as a bush blocking a driver’s line of sight or a defective street sign, make sure to take photos of those things as well.

3. Get Insurance Information for the Other Driver
In most circumstances, if the authorities come to the scene of a collision, you will receive a small print out from the investigating officer known as an “exchange of information.”  The exchange of information will contain contact and insurance information for all parties involved in the collision.  However, if authorities do not come to the scene, it is very important to get insurance information, or at least, contact information for the other involved party.  Even if you don’t see any damage to your vehicle and are not experiencing any pain at the scene, that can change in a matter of hours.  Further, it is also a good idea to ask for proof that the person providing the information is who they say they are.  Don’t be afraid to politely ask to see identification for the other driver.

4. Report the Claim to Your Insurance Company
It is always a good idea to contact YOUR OWN insurance company as soon as possible following a collision.  Reporting your claim will ensure that the claim process goes as smoothly as possible, especially when attempting to obtain medical treatment for collision related injuries.  If you are contacted by the insurance company for the at-fault driver it is always a good idea to at least consult with an attorney before signing anything, especially if the insurance company is offering money for you to sign a release.

5. Get Medical Treatment
Not every auto accident will result in a permanent injury, however, it is always a good idea to at least get checked out by a medical professional after being involved in a collision. This is especially true in Florida, where auto accident victims lose their ability to make a claim for medical benefits under their personal injury protection coverage if they haven’t been examined by a medical professional within 14 days of the collision.

Contact Our Tallahassee Car Accident Lawyers Today

The foregoing list is just a short list of the things that should be done after an auto accident and is certainly not exhaustive.  If you have questions about an auto accident call the Tallahassee auto accident attorneys at Barrett Nonni & Homola at 850-601-1111 for a free consultation today or fill out or Free Consultation form by clicking here.

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