Truck accidents often result in more severe injuries and property damage than traffic accidents involving smaller vehicles like cars. This is largely down to the large size and weight of trucks and trailers. It’s easy to point the finger at the larger vehicle when looking for someone to blame, but this is certainly not always the case. In fact, according to research by FMCSA and NHTSA, over 56% of the 66,000 accidents between a truck and car that resulted in injury were actually caused by the car driver! A similar study conducted by Michigan State Police discovered that a car driver or a pedestrian caused 65% of fatal crashes involving a truck! As these statistics show, it is unfair to assume that the truck driver is at fault. The key to defending lawsuits against your truck driver and your company is finding the evidence your truck accident lawyer can use to prove someone else is at least partially, if not wholly, at fault! That’s where dash cams come in!
The NHTSA says that between 60% and 64% of fatal truck accidents have a point of impact at the front of the truck, meaning if a dash cam is installed, it will likely capture the entire accident on film. This is a valuable piece of evidence for your truck accident lawyer to make use of during the lawsuit. Let’s look at some of the ways a dash cam can help you and your drivers in a truck accident.
Reducing The Cost of Litigation
If the truck driver is not at fault, having dash cam footage of the accident showing it is actually the plaintiff who triggered the accident will allow your truck accident lawyer to present this early on in the proceedings. This could eliminate the need for more expensive defense strategies such as accident reconstructions since you already have proof of how the accident played out. Some of the situations where a car driver might cause a truck accident include:
- Cars driving in the ‘no-zone’ behind or alongside a truck where the truck driver will have limited or no visibility
- A car changing lanes erratically in front of a truck
- Another driver misjudging the speed of an approaching truck at an intersection
- Pulling into traffic in front of a truck without accelerating sufficiently
- Merging into traffic incorrectly forcing a truck to brake suddenly or change lanes unsafely
- Failing to allow for turbulence or cross-wind when overtaking a truck
- Abandoning a vehicle in the travel lane after a breakdown
Streamline Your Defense
Of course, truck accidents are not always caused by car drivers and other road users. That doesn’t mean you cannot benefit from dash cam footage even if your truck driver caused the accident. Your truck accident lawyer can use this footage to streamline the defense and avoid wasting time on misinformation. For example, suppose your driver misrepresents their role in the accident, and your truck accident lawyer was to build their defense around their version of events, only for other evidence to emerge that invalidates it. In that case, it is a waste of time and money and may damage your credibility in the courtroom.
Another way a truck accident lawyer can use dash cam footage even if your driver is at fault is to ensure the plaintiff is not overinflating damages to get more money. If severe injuries are claimed, but you have footage showing the impact was minimal, or at low speed, it will prove that the injuries are inconsistent with the actual accident, which can reduce your liability and the cost of damages you are expected to pay.
Additional Benefits Associated with Dash Cams
Some truck companies have found that drivers may initially be reluctant to have a dash cam on board, but it is really no different from the ‘black box’ that is already gathering data regarding their driving habits! Most drivers will come around when they begin to understand the associated benefits of having a dash cam. Litigation isn’t just expensive for the trucking company; drivers will suffer losses too. Truck accidents are complicated, and it can take weeks or even months to prepare for trial. That’s time the driver will usually be staying off the road. If dash cam footage can help a truck accident lawyer avoid or minimize litigation following a truck accident, it can help those drivers remain on the road and earn money!
Even beyond truck accidents, dash cams can be beneficial. They are great for discouraging equipment tampering and theft. It is not uncommon for trucking companies to use dash cam footage to identify theft in their yards, often allowing them to recover the stolen equipment. This means drivers are not being kept out of work due to missing or damaged equipment, thanks to their dash cams!
Butler, Vines and Babb is a leading law firm in Knoxville, TN, with extensive litigation experience in Medical Malpractice Law, Birth Injury Law, Trucking Accident Law, Personal Injury Law, and Business Law. Contact us today at www.bvblaw.com or call 865-637-3531.
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