Tractor - Trailer Accidents


Tennessee Truck Accidents Lawyers Rapid Response to Truck Accidents

Did you know that in 2020 a total of 4,965 people died in large truck accidents across the United States, with the majority (72%) of deaths being occupants of other vehicles? The weight and speed of semi-trucks usually mean that a trucking accident can result in severe injury or wrongful death. The injured person and the family need compensation that will cover all truck accident injury expenses, including lost wages and extensive medical care. When an experienced truck accident lawyer responds quickly to a tractor-trailer accident, that rapid response can dramatically affect personal injury litigation. At Butler, Vines & Babb, we make it our priority to get to the scene of an accident quickly. These types of cases can be complex, so it is important to have the support of an experienced truck accident lawyer in Knoxville, TN, to help guide you through the entire process.

Time Is Of The Essence - Contact A Truck Accident Lawyer As Soon As Possible

We can assign a truck accident lawyer to leave on short notice to begin work on your tractor-trailer accident case. A trucking crash involves many complex factors. The tractor and trailer may have different owners. The cargo may have another owner. Tractor-trailer drivers and their companies are responsible for the safety and maintenance of the big rig and for following federal regulatory requirements.


There is also a lot of evidence that a truck accident lawyer must gather as soon as possible after a truck accident. Photographs should be taken of the scene, and witnesses must be interviewed. Skid marks and debris need to be analyzed by an accident reconstructionist. The "black box" of the truck, which will contain information about speed, driving hours, and other information, must be preserved to analyze the data. Our law firm is known for prompt truck accident investigation and thorough trial preparation when dealing with a truck accident injury lawsuit.

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Phone: 865-637-3531


What is Black Box Data?

You have likely heard about a 'black box' whenever an aircraft crash is covered on the news, but did you know that these devices are also placed in the cab of trucks? There is a variety of information that your truck accident lawyer can obtain from the black box following a truck or trailer accident. The data captured will vary depending on the type of black box device that is installed, but some of the most common types of information collected include:

  • The average speed and highest recorded speed reached
  • Braking data, including incidences of harsh or erratic braking
  • Acceleration data to show if the truck had accelerated or decelerated immediately before the accident
  • Whether or not the driver was using cruise control at the time of the accident
  • Driver seat belt usage
  • Mechanical issues
  • Tire pressure
  • GPS coordinates and location
  • Time and distance traveled by the vehicle/driver
  • Steering patterns

This information can be critical in proving that the truck driver was the one at fault and that their negligence caused the accident. For example, suppose the time and distance records show that the driver has exceeded their allowable hours of service. In that case, it can point to fatigue affecting their judgment and their reaction times during the accident. It is estimated that sleep deprivation causes approximately 100,000 truck crashes every year. Similarly, if the black box data shows the driver breaking the speed limit, braking erratically, or otherwise driving dangerously, it can indicate that they were likely to be the one who caused the accident.

In many cases, the trucking company will be reluctant to hand over black box data, and most devices only store data for 30 days, so it is important to talk to a truck accident lawyer swiftly following the accident so that they are able to start gathering the necessary evidence to support your personal injury claim. In some cases, it is even necessary to file a separate lawsuit to prevent the trucking company from destroying the black box data and compel them to turn it over to investigators. This is something that your truck accident lawyer can handle if it becomes necessary.

Common Truck Accident Injuries

Your biggest concern after a tractor-trailer accident is your recovery from accident injuries. We share that concern. That is why we have a medical doctor on retainer who can follow your medical treatment and work with your doctors to determine the full extent of your injuries. This can be extremely helpful to the truck accident lawyer who is preparing your lawsuit, as it will help provide evidence of the extent of your injuries and the impact they will have on your life moving forward. In most semi-truck accidents, injuries are severe and may require care for years to come. We want you to have the compensation you will need to get through the tough times.

The amount of damages that your truck accident lawyer can secure during a personal injury lawsuit following a truck accident will vary depending on the severity of your injuries. Some of the most common truck accident injuries include:

  • Back & Neck Injuries - These injuries can range from minor whiplash to severe damage caused by spinal dislocation. The back and neck are central to almost all movement in the body, so injuries in these areas can often result in extensive loss of earnings and a reduction in quality of life for the victim.
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  • Broken Bones - The impact during a truck injury is powerful, making broken bones a common occurance. Some of these injuries may be fairly minor, but more difficult breaks may require surgical intervention and reconstruction.
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  • Burn Injuries - Fire is always a risk during a truck crash, but this can be heightened if the cargo happens to be a flammable substance such as petroleum. This can result in significant burn injuries.
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  • Head Injuries - Head injuries are a very common injury during truck accidents, and they also have the potential to go unnoticed. Potential brain injuries may not be immediately apparent, and symptoms can develop in the days and weeks following the accident. Many people are unaware that you do not need to suffer a direct blow to the head to incur a traumatic brain injury. You must get medical attention following a truck accident, even if you think your injuries are minor, as there could be something more severe lurking.
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  • Internal Injuries - Blunt force trauma during a truck accident can cause a myriad of internal injuries, from internal bleeding to organ damage. The bladder, liver, kidneys, and spleen are often in the firing line, and these are notoriously difficult to treat.
  • Rib & Torso Injuries - Our rib cage is essential in preventing damage to the vital organs, so it can be very serious if the torso and ribs are damaged during a truck accident.
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  • Seat Belt Injuries - As with any auto accident, truck accidents often result in a number of injuries, including whiplash. However, that isn't a reason to stop wearing them when driving; they are there to protect you, and failure to wear one could have much more devastating consequences.
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  • Spinal Cord Injuries & Paralysis - Like head injuries, spinal cord damage is not always immediately evident following a truck accident. However, it can have devestating effects, including paralysis. It is advisable to have an MRI following a truck accident as these can detect injuries that won't necessarily show up on an X-Ray.
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  • Wrongful Death - It's an uncomfortable fact, but tractor-trailer accidents are ten times more likely to be fatal compared to accidents involving only cars. The sheer size and weight of the vehicle makes every injury more severe, and often that means death. A truck accident lawyer could help prove wrongful death if the truck driver was negligent, which can secure compensation for the victim's surviving family.

What Causes Truck Accidents

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a truck accident, and getting to the bottom of who is at fault can be a complicated process. That is why it is so important to have an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side to help gather evidence that proves who is at fault. It is not always the truck driver who causes the accident; sometimes, it is the driver of another vehicle, weather conditions, or a mechanical failure. In some cases, the trucking company is held accountable rather than the truck driver themselves because the company has encouraged unsafe practices like exceeding allowable hours of service or because they have not kept up with the appropriate maintenance schedule. It is up to your truck accident lawyer to determine who to file the lawsuit against in order to secure compensation. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the common causes of truck accidents.

  • Driver Error - While truck drivers have to complete rigorous training, they are human, and they will make mistakes. One of the most common causes of truck accidents is carelessness or mistakes made by the truck driver. Distracted driving and fatigue are significant contributing factors. Truck drivers are only allowed to work a set number of hours, but it is not unheard of for them to break these regulations, usually due to pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines. Fatigue can make it more challenging to make the appropriate judgments and can result in speeding, erratic braking, and other errors.
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  • Aggressive Driving Habits - Under the same umbrella as driver error, aggressive driving behavior accounts for about 5% of truck accidents. Aggressive driving is a term used to describe the operation of a vehicle in a manner that is likely to endanger people and/or property. This includes swerving, hard braking, speeding, tailgating, blocking lanes, and even unnecessary honking! We have likely all engaged in these habits at least once, given the fact that 80% of drivers experience road rage, but when the vehicle is as large as a semi-truck or 18-wheeler, the effects of such behavior can be devastating.
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  • Speeding - Since trucks are so much larger than ordinary vehicles, speeding is even more dangerous. Trucks will not respond as quickly as a car can to changes in speed or direction, making them more difficult to control. Speeding is always reckless, but when driving an 18-wheeler, it is even more so.
  • Poor Vehicle Maintenance - Truck drivers are supposed to carry out a number of safety checks before setting off on a journey. The trucking company should also be closely monitoring the maintenance of their vehicles. Insufficient maintenance of things like brakes, tires, and other truck parts can have catastrophic consequences. Statistics suggest that tire defects cause around 30% of all truck-related crashes.
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  • Mechanical Failures - Like any other vehicle, mechanical features on a truck can fail through no fault of the driver. However, when this happens, your truck accident lawyer may investigate whether this is due to a lack of maintenance or if the responsibility lies with the manufacturer of the faulty part, who could be held liable for causing the accident.
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  • Poor Weather Conditions - Weather conditions can also contribute to truck accidents, as rain, snow, or high winds can make the conditions treacherous. Drivers need to adjust their driving style to accommodate the change in the road surface and other weather-related conditions. If they fail to do so, they can be considered negligent and held liable for causing the truck accident.
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  • Overloading Cargo - The weight of the cargo being hauled by a truck adds a lot of weight and strain to the vehicle. If the trailer is overloaded, the potential for tire blowouts increases substantially. Overloaded trucks may also be prone to tipping when turning or changing lanes. Externally carried loads that are overloaded and thus not secured safely may also come loose, leaving debris on the road that causes other drivers to swerve, or the falling cargo could go through car windshields.

What Sort of Compensation Can I Expect From a Truck or Tractor-Trailer Accident?

When you, or a member of your family, is injured in a truck accident, a truck accident lawyer can help you to recover compensation for losses associated with the accident. The amount awarded will vary depending on the circumstances of the accident, the severity of the injuries, and the lasting impact the accident has on the injured party's life. It is a complex situation, and you need to use an experienced truck accident lawyer to ensure that you will get the appropriate amount of damages that you are due. Some of the damages that may be awarded to you include:

  • Past & future medical expenses
  • Lost wages & loss of future income
  • Compensation for pain & suffering
  • Expenses relating to modifying your home due to permanent disability
  • Property damage
  • Other expenses not covered by insurance

What to Do After a Truck Accident

If you are involved in a truck accident, there are a number of steps that should be taken that will help your truck accident lawyer as your lawsuit progresses. Following these steps could help avoid unnecessary delays while your attorney litigates your claim.

  • Contact Law Enforcement & Emergency Medical Services - It is important to contact law enforcement following an accident, especially when there is significant property damage and injuries. This is not only a legal requirement, but it also means that an accident report will be completed by the attending officer, which could be helpful to your truck accident lawyer when working on your claim.
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  • Take Photographs of the Scene - If you can, you should try to take as many photographs of the scene as you can. Of course, safety is a priority, so make sure that it is safe to do so. If you cannot take photographs due to your injuries and are receiving medical attention, it is good to ask someone else to do it for you if possible. These images can be valuable evidence when it comes to preparing your claim.
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  • Swap Information with Other Drivers & Witnesses - It is important to gather as much information as possible from the truck driver, other drivers, and any witnesses. You should collect names, addresses, and phone numbers. You will also want a note of the trucking company's name, address, and trailer number. Suppose the truck driver is unable or unwilling to cooperate with you. In that case, it is usually possible to find the trailer number on the backdoors. This can be used later to track the driver's manifest and, ultimately, their contact information.
  • Seek Medical Attention - As touched on above, sometimes the injuries sustained during a truck accident may not be immediately obvious, or they may seem reasonably minor at first only to turn into major issues at a later date. It is important to seek medical attention immediately to document any injuries and get the appropriate treatment advice.
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  • Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer - Once you are safe and have had any immediately necessary medical attention, you will want to call an experienced truck accident lawyer. The sooner you do this, the sooner they can start gathering evidence to help your case.
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  • Continue Following Medical Advice - It is important to follow all of the medical advice you are given and keep detailed records of your appointments, including any receipts for your treatment. These will be useful for your truck accident lawyer when proving how much compensation should be awarded to cover your medical expenses.
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  • Notify Your Employer - It is important to let your employer know about your accident so that they are aware of your injury. You should let them know how long the doctor expects you to be unable to work and any steps that may need to be taken when you return. If you were driving for work at the time of the accident, they might be able to offer benefits during the time that you are out of work.

Truck Accident Statistics

It should already be clear to you by this point that truck accidents are highly dangerous and can result in devestating consequences. We are talking about large vehicles that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Check out some of these statistics relating to truck accidents.

  • Approximately 6.5% of all crashes in the United States involve tractor-trailers
  • There is approximately one accident every 15 minutes involving a semi-truck and another vehicle
  • 28% of truck accidents result in injuries
  • 11% of truck accidents result in fatalities
  • 60% of truck accident fatalities occur in collisions with the front end of the truck
  • The majority of truck accidents happen on highways, interstates, and major roads

Butler, Vines & Babb Tractor-Trailer Rapid Response Team

We are prepared to travel, on short notice, to any location throughout the Southeast to respond and investigate truck accidents. Also, we have made arrangements with accident reconstruction experts to be a part of our emergency response team. Therefore, we can have a truck accident lawyer on the scene with an accident reconstruction expert with the medical backup on staff within hours of any notification – night or day. Timely preservation of crucial evidence is vital to ensuring the best possible result in your case, and we have the capabilities to do that.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you may want to pursue damages. You will need the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer if you want to go down this route. If your truck accident case goes to trial, you can be confident in our law firm. Butler, Vines & Babb attorneys Bill Vines, Weldon Patterson, and Jim Wright handle tractor-trailer (18-wheeler) cases.

Contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Knoxville, TN.