North Carolina Truck Accident Attorney

This video features Brian Davis, a Personal Injury attorney based in North Carolina.

Brian Davis is The State’s Only Board-Certified Trucking Lawyer

Video Transcript:

You have to protect yourself because the insurance company for the trucking company, they are not working for you for sure.

Rob Rosenthal:

Do you know what the trucking company does after an 18-wheeler has been involved in an accident? Well, we're going to find out right now because that's what we're going to ask the lawyer.

Hi again, everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal with askthelawyers.com. My guest is board certified trucking attorney Brian Davis of North Carolina. And by the way, just a reminder, if you want to ask questions about your specific situation, go to askthelawyers.com, click on the button at the top of the screen that says “Ask a Lawyer”, and you can ask away right there. But right now, I'm going to ask Brian the questions.

Brian, good to see again. Thank you for helping us out.

Brian Davis:

Thanks, Rob. Good to be here.

Rob Rosenthal:

So let's start at the beginning. An 18-wheeler is in a collision, more than likely, unfortunately, that usually involves injuries if it's against a passenger vehicle. In your experience, what are some of the things the truck driver does? What's that process like?

Brian Davis:

Well, usually they stay in their truck. You don't usually see them getting out and rendering help or aid to the injured people, and that's because truck companies give their drivers very specific instructions about what they are to do and not do if they're involved in a crash. First thing they're to do is stay in their truck. Second thing is to get on their cell phone and call their dispatcher and tell them they've been involved in a crash, and there are reasons for that, and we'll probably get into that in a second. But that's generally what you see if you've been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler.

Rob Rosenthal:

So that's what the driver does. Now, what is the trucking company going to do? What is their process like?

Brian Davis:

Well, the truck company generally has a set of rules that they're supposed to follow when one of their drivers is in a crash. These rules come from the truck company's insurance carrier, because the insurance company knows if one of their trucking clients is involved in a crash, it's potentially a very big financial deal for the insurance company, so insurance companies have what are called First Response Teams. A First Response Team is a group of professionals hired by the insurance company who are ready at a moment's notice to go to a crash scene and start the documentation process, and start the process of preparing the defense for the truck company. The first response team is generally made up of a defense attorney for the insurance carrier; it's made up of an investigator, usually a former law enforcement officer who's very good at interviewing witnesses, interviewing people involved; it's usually made up of a photographer or a videographer; and then there's also an engineer, an accident reconstruction engineer who's part of that team who actually does a lot of the documentation, so this team is ready to go as soon as they get the call from the insurance company.

Rob Rosenthal:

Wow, and I'm guessing that team is not going to make sure everything is handled fairly or make sure the injured person is taken care of, that's not their goal. What's their goal?

Brian Davis:

I wish it was. No, their goal is to minimize the truck company’s liability as much as possible, and also to minimize the injured person’s damages as much as possible; and there are ways they do that and they are not always scrupulous.

Rob Rosenthal:

And I'm guessing with evidence, can it sometimes disappear? What happens?

Brian Davis:

Only too often, unfortunately. Yes, evidence does disappear; things get destroyed; things go missing. Yes, if you don't act quickly yourself, valuable evidence may well be gone forever.

Rob Rosenthal:

I would think if someone was injured in an accident with a big commercial vehicle, an 18-wheeler, and they're wondering whether it's important for them to get someone like yourself on their side as quickly as possible, just hearing what you said, knowing that the other side has got their people moving really quickly, that answers that question.

Brian Davis:

Absolutely, and that's the reason that folks who are involved in crashes with these big trucks do need to act quickly and get a lawyer as soon as possible, because the insurance company for the truck driver or the truck company, that insurance company is out there gathering evidence often before the law enforcement agency is even finished with their investigation. We have gotten calls from people at the hospital, and we contact the law enforcement officer who's doing the investigation, they're like, “Oh yeah, the truck company had their folks out there at the scene before we were even done.”

Rob Rosenthal:

Wow.

Brian Davis:

That's how quick they respond. You have to protect yourself because the insurance company for the truck company, they are not working for you for sure.

Rob Rosenthal:
Which kind of leads me to this next question, Brian. Some of these trucking companies are very big; these insurance companies, these are the big guys. They've got a lot of people and resources at their disposal. Does the little guy stand a chance? What evens the playing field?

Brian Davis:

Not unless they've got a good lawyer, they don't stand a chance. That's the short answer. And what we do in my firm is we have our own crash response team; I have my own group of professionals who are ready to go as soon as I call them and say, “Hey, we've been hired and there’s a new truck crash. We've got to go. The truck is in Georgia.” We had a case that we went down and investigated last week in Georgia; my accident reconstruction guy, my photographer, my investigator, and me within 12 hours of getting the call, we were in the car, headed to the scene. We met with the investigating police officer and he was incredibly helpful; he was surprised to see us. He said, “Most of the time I don't hear from the injured person's lawyer at all, let alone this quick.” He was very impressed, but that's the way it should be done every time.

Rob Rosenthal:

Brian, I know that you personally are one of only a handful of personal injury lawyers in the country that are board-certified for trucking litigation. Explain us in layman's terms what that means and what that should mean to someone who is injured in an accident like this.

Brian Davis:

Well, board certification is a designation that an attorney like myself can get if you're willing to really take a lot of time to document your experience, to submit that documentation to the national entity that certifies attorneys in truck accident law, and then there's a full-day test almost like the bar exam only it's just for trucking law that we have to take and pass. It is a very difficult test; a lot of people do not pass it. There are about 50 board-certified truck accident attorneys in the country, and at this point I'm the only one in North Carolina.

Rob Rosenthal:

And what does that mean to someone who's been injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler? What conclusion should they draw that Brian has that certification. What does that mean to them?

Brian Davis:

It basically means that I've handled a lot of truck accident cases. It means I've been doing it for a long time, almost 30 years. It means that my knowledge and my skills have been tested independently by a neutral third party to see if I do really know and understand this area of practice, and whether I am very, very confident in this area; that's what it tells a layperson. If someone is board-certified, basically you're hiring an expert.

Rob Rosenthal:

Excellent, Brian. Thank you so much. Lots of great information as always. It's great to see you again. Thank you for answering our questions.

Brian Davis:

My pleasure, Rob. Thank you.

Rob Rosenthal:

That's going to do it for this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest has been North Carolina attorney Brian Davis. Remember, if you have questions about your specific situation, head over to askthelawyers.com, click the button at the top of the screen that says “Ask a Lawyer”, and you can do your asking there. Thanks for watching, everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal with AskTheLawyers™.

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