Car Versus Semi Accidents

Kacy Hagerty: Legally, accidents that involve semi-trucks are handled differently than the average car wreck. There are special safety laws, rules and procedures that apply to trucks and not to cars. (Christie Heffner) recently sat down with Attorney Jim Higgins to talk about what you should do if you're involved in a semi-truck crash. Take a look.

(Christie Heffner): Attorney Jim Higgins is here with us and we're talking about semi semi-truck accidents. Does your office handle those cases differently than you do a injury?

Jim Higgins: Yes. You do handle them different from normal car wreck cases, I guess you would say and I think that’s one thing that I believe a lot of lawyers are a making a mistake on by handling them like any normal accident case and they're just not. And the reason they're not is a semi-truck case, it involves a lot of federal regulations. It involves corporations. So, the reason that they have to be handled differently is if you have to find out not only, you know, how the accident happens but why did it happen.

And were all the regulations in place that are in place to protect us on the highways, were they followed? Was the driver fatigued? Are his logs correct? Was he in excess of his hours? Did he have any type of substance problems? Those were things, a lot of times, you don’t see in a regular car wreck cases but you – we do handle those because you really want to know why it happened.

And you also want to know what the corporation's responsibility was. Could they have done something different? Could they had a safety plan in place that would have prevented it from happening because any – every semi accident case we have are just tragic cases. I mean, you – it is just such an unfair fight between car and a semi-truck and they just really are heartbreaking cases. So, you really want to dig in there as to find out why it happened, to keep something from like that happening to another family.

(Christie Heffner): Now, are there steps that you need to take early on in the case?

Jim Higgins: Yes. You know, when we have one of these or sometimes when the law firms bring them in, bring us in on these, first thing we do is send out spoliation letters, is what we call that and that is a fancy lawyer word that means don’t you throw anything away because there are driver's logs under the federal regulations, they're only required to be kept for six months. They are what we call Qualcomm records and things like that in the – the track where the truck was, how fast it was going, how long it's been on the road, those records can be destroyed. So, we want to first make sure all of those records are kept so that's the first thing we do and then get any witness statements we need to and you want that early. You want to preserve that evidence.

(Christie Heffner): And it sounds like there's more investigating and paperwork that's done in the semi cases as opposed to an injury case.

Jim Higgins: They are. There are just always more depositions. We always have to do a lot of traveling. You know, I have to go to California next month on a – on a – to depose a tracking executive. I mean, they're just – you have to get experts in to talk about the industry. There are just a lot more expense and work to them. They just aren’t – if they're done incorrectly.

(Christie Heffner): And you need to be careful what attorney you choose if you are handling that kind of case because, like, you said they are handled differently.

Jim Higgins: They are. And, you know, what I always tell folks if you – if you have something like this and you want to come talk to our office, come talk to us and we can explain what we've done in the past cases, how we handle them, and you know, they may want to talk to other lawyers but the big thing you want to do is if you come in, we can explain to you what we do, how we do them, how the results we've had in the past, so you – you really want to feel comfortable. I mean, that's important to everybody. It's just to feel comfortable with your lawyer.

(Christie Heffner): Right. Very important thank you, Jim.

Jim Higgins: Right. Thank you.

Female: The Higgins Firm is serving Tennessee. Give them a call at (615) 353-0930. Again, that number is (615) 353-0930. You can also visit their website, that's higginsfirm.com. We've got a link to it at betternashville.com.