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Shapiro & Appleton

Use of global positioning systems increases in criminal and civil injury cases

Posted on Sep 03, 2008

We have written recently about the increasing use of computers in trucking injury cases, as well as car accident cases, because of the common use of the black boxes in vehicles.  Now, trucking companies have added sophisticated onboard computers that not only track the truck's whereabouts, hours in use, speed, and other variables, but can be used by personal injury lawyers to prove that a trucker was speeding or had driven more than the legal hours of service.

 

Global positioning systems are being used in criminal cases as well. Prosecutors in Chicago used a Garmin global positioning system device in a Chevrolet Trailblazer to help prove the murder of family members in a recent criminal murder trial. Here are some of the uses of global positioning system computer data:

 

In a criminal case alleging a rape, a judge ruled that evidence from a global positioning system in the defendant's car could be used against him at trial.

 

In a Pennsylvania trucking case, the trucker's global positioning system caused police to charge him with setting his own home on fire. The GPS system showed his vehicle/big rig was parked about 100 yards from the house in question.

 

The Consumer Electronics Association has estimated that about 20% of American households own a portable global positioning system and almost 10% have vehicles equipped with such systems built into cars or vehicles.

 

The use of new technology tends to find its way in to the courts, and shows itself a year or two behind the technology used by consumers and businesses. I can only predict that GPS technology will have a growing influence in car/truck injury cases that are in litigation. Also, the ability to falsify driver logs will be severely compromised because this computer data is maintained on a hard drive remote from the truck driver’s location. Personal injury lawyers must be vigilant to ensure that they obtain this material and when it mysteriously disappears or cannot be made available, it will likely mean that the data is extremely damaging to a company.

 

About the Editors: Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the NE North Carolina (NC) border and handles car,truck,railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. Our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY.

 

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