Accidents involving large trucks can lead to significant physical injuries as well as extensive property damage. Damages in these claims and lawsuits can be substantial and have ongoing impacts on individuals, businesses and insurers. When you find yourself or your company on the receiving end of a claim or lawsuit following an accident, you need a trusted West Virginia trucking accident defense attorney to protect your interests.
Whether you are an individual or business in need of defense services or a West Virginia insurance panel attorney, The Law Office of M. Andrew Brison, PLLC can help.
Key Elements of Effective West Virginia Trucking Accident Defense
In a trucking accident, many parties may be involved in resolving the aftermath. This can include multiple vehicle passengers, insurance companies, opposing counsel and others. Whether you’re an insurer, a trucking company, or a truck driver, you need a skilled West Virginia commercial truck accident defense attorney to help sort through the noise and construct an effective trucking accident defense in West Virginia. The right attorney is one who capably navigates negotiating insurance coverage, liability and settlement as well as providing robust West Virginia trucking accident defense strategy if the matter goes to trial.
Negotiating Insurance Coverage and Liability in West Virginia Trucking Accident Defense
West Virginia law requires vehicles to be insured, and it also requires any driver who causes injury or property damage to provide insurance information to others involved in the incident. But following any accident, insurers sometimes hire a WV insurance panel attorney to defend against claims and handle coverage disputes.
In trucking accident cases, the plaintiff’s attorney as well as the insurance defense attorney both conduct investigations of the accident to determine the facts of the case, including who was at fault. The parties then try to determine what the insurance policy covers or which insurer is liable. These conversations are called settlement negotiations and aim to resolve the case without going to trial.
An experienced insurance attorney collects extensive evidence to support your case and refute the plaintiff’s claims. This evidence may include:
- The police report
- The accident report
- Photos from the scene
- Surveillance footage, if any
- Black box data
- Trucking logs and records
- Witness accounts
- Medical reports and bills
In addition to presenting evidence, a skilled negotiating attorney can ensure that you ultimately agree to a settlement that is fair and just.
Defending Against Negligence Claims
Following a trucking accident, it is not uncommon for the injured party or parties to file a negligence claim against the truck driver and the driver’s company or employer. Negligence claims are intended to be reserved for cases in which the operation, maintenance, or condition of the truck caused the accident. Examples of such scenarios include texting while driving, driver intoxication, truck driver fatigue, or deficient vehicle maintenance. A successful negligence claim can result in extensive damages, and these cases require a strong legal defense. Four elements of fault must be proven in a negligence claim: duty of care, breach of that duty, causation of the incident and actual damages.
First, the burden is on the plaintiff to show that the defendant was obligated to provide a duty of care. For example, a truck driver has a duty to abide by the state and federal commercial trucking regulations on driving limits, among other regulations. Next, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care. Third, the plaintiff must provide evidence of causation, meaning the defendant’s actions actually caused the harm, injuries, or loss. Finally, the plaintiff cannot prevail in their negligence claim unless there were actual damages, harm or losses as a result of the defendant’s conduct.
The plaintiff must prove all four elements of a negligence claim. If just one of the elements lacks sufficient evidence, the claim fails. An effective West Virginia commercial truck accident defense strategy will extensively review and dispute questionable elements of the claim, giving you the best chance of success.
Do You Need a West Virginia Trucking Accident Defense Attorney?
Effective trucking accident defense in West Virginia requires experience, skill and dedication. There is a lot on the line, and one accident may have significant impacts on a business or individual. M. Andrew Brison at The Law Office of M. Andrew Brison, PLLC can help evaluate your case and develop a defense strategy that works. Contact M. Andrew Brison by calling 304-397-8225 or by completing this online contact form to discuss your West Virginia trucking accident defense or need for a West Virginia insurance panel attorney.