Every year across the United States, there are an average of 50,000 truck-related accidents. Around 1%, or 5,000, will result in a fatality. However, many will cause injuries and property damage. When an auto crash or a truck accident creates substantial damage to individuals and property, it can be challenging to sort through all the evidence and determine fault and liability. At Butler, Vines & Babb, we have the experience in investigation and litigation that insurance companies and other corporations call on for answers. For more than 50 years, car accident and truck accident lawyers at Butler, Vines & Babb have represented clients in negotiations and courtrooms in Tennessee and throughout the region.
Contact us today for a free consultation and our experts will help you.
Did you know? A truck accident resulting in injuries or death occurs approximately every 15 minutes!
Because our clients in the trucking industry operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Butler, Vines, and Babb have established our own Rapid Response Team of legal professionals ready to assist in the immediate investigation of serious or catastrophic truck accidents. Our RRT is not only made up of truck accident lawyers, but we are also able to provide a team of medical, engineering, and accident reconstruction professionals to investigate tractor-trailer incidents at a moment's notice. These professionals can provide the necessary resources to collect facts, interview witnesses, and proceed with an accident reconstruction if necessary. This is incredibly valuable when it comes to helping to determine fault.
One of the services we can offer as a truck accident lawyer is arranging an accident reconstruction to better understand the accident's circumstances. This process is carried out by experts in the field who will use physics to determine various key pieces of evidence, including the speed at which all vehicles involved were traveling at the time of the accident, the point of impact, and even the angle of the impact. This will usually begin with an inspection of the accident scene and measuring things like skid marks on the road, final resting positions, gouge marks, and other evidence, such as damage to the vehicles or roadside features. Following this inspection, electronic survey tools can be used to produce a computer-generated scale model of the accident. Investigators may also carry out vehicle inspections to help add more information to the reconstruction in order to help determine causation. During the reconstruction process, the following information will be determined as accurately as possible:
Butler, Vines, and Babb attorneys have extensive experience with tractor-trailer companies. We have interviewed drivers, confirming their familiarity with procedures, log book compliance, and issues centered on hours of service.
Butler, Vines, and Babb is willing to give you and your case-focused, experienced and personal attention when you need a truck accident lawyer on your side.
There are a few simple steps that truck drivers can take in the event of a truck accident that will help your truck accident defense lawyer to prepare your case. Keep in mind that safety is the number one priority, so all of this advice comes with the caveat that you should only do it if it is safe for you to do so.
One of the first steps that should be taken in the event of an accident, including those involving tractor-trailers is to alert the emergency services. Truck accidents can leave a trail of devastation in their wake, thanks to these commercial vehicles' substantial size and weight. It is important to get anyone who needs access to emergency medical care, and you will also want the police to record the details of the accident. Even if it seems like a minor bump, it is still important to call 911 just in case some injuries manifest at a later date. Don't leave it up to the other person to report the accident. It could be used against you during a lawsuit if the plaintiff states that you did not attempt to contact the authorities.
Did you know? In Tennessee, there is a legal requirement to report an accident to the state by writing to the Commissioner of Safety no later than 20 days after the accident. This applies if a death or injury occurred as a result of the accident or if there are personal property damages of $1500 or more. The requirement for reporting truck accidents may vary from one state to another, so the best course of action is to call 911 to get the ball rolling immediately.
Now that the truck accident has been reported, if it is safe for you to do so, you should approach the other parties who are involved and swap contact information. You will want to take their name, contact information, and insurance details. You might also want to get contact information from anyone who may have witnessed the accident. This can help your truck accident lawyer to build up a strong defense. One essential thing is that you should only swap necessary information. Do not discuss the accident, and do not apologize or say anything else to indicate that you hold full liability for the accident. While at the scene, it is also a great idea to take pictures and videos of the scene of the accident.
Always get medical attention following a truck accident. This goes hand in hand with making sure that you alert the police even for seemingly minor accidents. In some cases, injuries from truck accidents are not immediately noticeable and may not show up until days or weeks later. For this reason, everyone involved should receive medical treatment as a precaution to make sure all injuries are discovered and properly treated. In addition, from the point of view of a truck accident defense lawyer, ensuring that everyone gets medical attention at the scene is also important so that all injuries are on record and plaintiffs cannot exaggerate their injury claims to earn more damages. It is also good for your defense to show that you took steps to ensure medical help was provided and that you didn't just ignore anyone's injuries at the scene. Failure to seek medical treatment can invalidate or reduce an insurance claim.
It is important not to apologize or make any statement that could be construed as you accepting the blame for a truck accident. While you must honestly answer any questions the police ask you at the scene, stick to the facts. Don't admit mistakes or accept blame. The same goes for reporting the accident to your insurance provider. While you may believe that they are on your side, it is important to remember that their priority is making sure they pay out as little as possible on a claim! They may look for reasons to invalidate your claim, so it is important not to agree to a recorded statement or to be led into admitting fault. Speak with your truck accident lawyer before making any kind of official statement. Sick with just the basic facts until you have the appropriate advice from your legal counsel.
As the previous steps have already alluded to, the next step is finding an experienced truck accident lawyer to represent you. Truck accident lawsuits can be fairly complicated, and it is essential that you have an experienced lawyer to help you to navigate the process with as little stress as possible.
As a truck accident lawyer, we often come up against a misconception that the majority of tractor-trailer accidents are caused by truck drivers, especially in relation to them diving under the influence. However, while some instances of drug and alcohol abuse result in truck accidents (0.4%), according to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study carried out by the FMCSA, the most common causes of truck accidents are actually mechanical defects, especially tires! New tour routes are also a leading cause and driver fatigue. Aggressive driving from truck drivers is another reason frequently touted as a cause of truck accidents, but the study showed that this accounts for less than 5% of all truck accidents. A truck accident defense lawyer can help to prove that it was not the truck driver's fault if there is another reason for the accident. This will help to direct liability towards the appropriate person, such as your maintenance provider or truck manufacturer, in the case of a mechanical failure. Issues with the tires, wheels, brakes, and even electronic systems are among the most common mechanical defects. In many cases, there is little a driver, or the trucking company can do to mitigate these unless they are aware of the issue and choose not to address it.
Check out some of these eye-opening statistics in relation to the causes of truck accidents:
If someone raises a lawsuit against you as a truck driver or trucking company, one thing to remember is that the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove that you are at fault. It is up to your truck accident lawyer to provide a defense in response to these claims in order to reduce your liability or dismiss it completely. This may include submitting evidence that counters these claims and proves you are not liable for the accident or for the injuries the plaintiff is claiming. Tennessee uses comparative fault in truck accident injury cases, so while it may be true that you are responsible for the accident, as your truck accident lawyer can work to prove that you do not have the sole liability. For example, if a truck driver did run a stop sign, but there is evidence that the car driver involved was not wearing a seatbelt, it can be argued that both parties are partially at fault since a seatbelt could have prevented or reduced the injuries sustained. If the plaintiff is found to be 51% or more at fault, then damages will not be awarded. If the plaintiff has less than 51% of the fault, the amount of damages owed will be adjusted accordingly. For example, if it is determined that the plaintiff is 25% at fault and the truck driver/trucking company is 75% at fault, only 75% of the awarded damages will be paid to the plaintiff.
Some of the defense strategies that could be used include:
When it comes to choosing your legal representation to defend a truck accident injury lawsuit, it is important to select an experienced truck accident lawyer. While any injury lawyer is qualified for the task, there are many benefits to opting for lawyers with experience in this particular area of law. One of the key reasons is that truck drivers, and indeed trucking companies, are governed by many different federal laws and regulations that do not apply to normal car drivers. It is important that your lawyer understands these laws and is able to interpret how they apply to the accident. This type of knowledge and experience is going to be invaluable when it comes to defending a truck accident injury lawsuit. A truck accident lawyer will also have far more experience in dealing with the complex issues affecting truck accidents where there could be multiple vehicles and multiple insurance providers, all eager to avoid having to make substantial payouts! Some truck accidents can involve several different liable parties, and you will need a lawyer who has the experience in dealing with these complex lawsuits and achieving the most desirable result for you.
Our law firm is prepared to respond quickly to the scene of a truck accident. We are fully aware of the importance of preserving evidence and getting a complete and accurate picture of the accident scene and all the circumstances. That quick response can make an enormous difference in whether your company is considered liable and how much any liability should be. By having a medical doctor on staff and a network of experts we can call on, we can make sure to develop a thorough understanding of the accident and determine a fair resolution of the case.
Our truck accident defense team is ready to work for you. Contact us for an appointment.
The following truck accident lawyers from our firm are highly experienced in Tractor Trailer/Auto Accident defense: James C. Wright, Weldon Patterson, Edward U. Babb, and John W. Butler.