A truck accident lawyer is a personal injury lawyer who specifically works on cases involving truck accidents. This can cover personal injury lawsuits where other vehicle drivers and passengers are claiming damages from the truck driver or trucking company. It can also mean the truck accident lawyer is defending the truck driver or trucking company against those types of accidents. Truck accident law is a sub-category of personal injury law. A truck can be defined as a number of different vehicles, but generally, it refers to a large commercial freight truck, commonly known as a 'big rig,' Semi Truck, or 18-wheeler.
Causes & Contributing Factors in Truck Accidents
One of the reasons we need access to an experienced truck accident lawyer is that truck accidents can be very complex. There are various causes and contributing factors that might come into play when a truck accident happens. It can also involve multiple parties. The truck driver may own his own truck, or they may be driving for a trucking company. The trailer may be owned by that company or a separate one, and the cargo belongs to someone else. Sorting out liability can be tricky! Likewise, determining who is actually at fault is not always black and white. It's easy to blame the truck driver, but car drivers can often be the cause of these accidents. The average car weighs around 4000lbs. Compare that to the 80,000lbs or more that a commercial truck might weigh, and it's easy to understand how a truck's stopping distance, steering, and even field of vision are very different from a car! Often car drivers do not appreciate these differences and will treat a truck like a car, expecting it to be able to brake suddenly if a car dodges out in front of it! Of course, truck drivers and not always innocent. One of the most common causes of truck accidents is driver fatigue because they have driven longer than they are legally supposed to and are not taking proper rest breaks. This often comes about when a trucking company offers incentives for making deliveries ahead of schedule. A truck accident lawyer will need to look at the evidence to prove who is at fault for the accident.
Identifying the Defendant
As noted above, knowing which defendants to identify in a truck accident injury case can be tricky. It's often a knee-jerk reaction to turn immediately to the truck driver since they were at the wheel. However, an experienced truck accident lawyer knows that there may be other individuals or business entities that should also be held liable. For example, suppose a truck company incentivized truck drivers to breach safety regulations for faster deliveries. In that case, they may hold some of the responsibility for a tired driver causing an accident.
Similarly, if the company has failed to carry out the appropriate safety checks and maintenance, resulting in a truck malfunction, then they have liability. In some cases, it may even be possible to name the manufacturer of parts that have proven to be defective, resulting in an accident. It is important to explore all possible avenues and name all defendants from the outset as they may not be able to be added to the filing at a later date.
It is down to the truck accident lawyer to determine who is liable for the accident. In the case of a truck driver, or car driver, this may be reasonably straightforward through the use of witness statements, dash cameras, and black box data. However, this can be more nuanced if the trucking company or another business entity is involved. It is important to choose a truck accident lawyer with the knowledge and experience to navigate this type of lawsuit correctly, as it can be quite different from a standard personal injury lawsuit.
If you have been involved in a truck accident and want to pursue damages for your injuries, or if you are a truck driver looking to defend yourself against such allegations, then you need an experienced truck accident lawyer. Look for someone who has experience with these types of cases so that they can make sure it runs smoothly. You will want to reach out to a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident so that everything is still fresh in your mind and also to stay within the statute of limitations. It is also important to seek medical attention immediately following a truck accident, even if you feel like you are ok, since many injuries especially head trauma, may not manifest fully until a few days or even weeks after the initial accident. Failure to treat these injuries may not only be detrimental to your health, but it could impact your ability to claim damages.
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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