Large commercial trucks are also known as 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, and tractor-trailers. These large commercial vehicles require special training and skill to operate, as they typically weigh several times the amount of a passenger vehicle and often carry dangerous or hazardous cargo. Research from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states that truck accidents cause 10 times the number of catastrophic injuries and fatalities as passenger vehicle accidents on the roadways in the United States. Victims of truck accidents often face life-long and permanent medical challenges and suffering as a result of the injuries suffered in their truck accident. Truck accidents differ from passenger vehicle accidents in several ways. If you experienced a truck accident, learn more about your legal rights as well as all of the potential parties you have the right to claim compensation from by contacting a truck accident attorney at Labrum Law Firm at (615) 338-9500 today for a free consultation.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Tennessee
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has specific regulations that commercial truck drivers that carry a CDL (Commercial Driver's License) must follow, as well as federal guidelines for trucking companies. Any failure to follow these regulations and guidelines can result in serious truck accidents causing injuries and fatalities. Some of the common causes of truck accidents in Tennessee include the following:
- Truck driver fatigue (Truck drivers must follow the Hours of Service Regulations established by the FMCSA which require certain periods of rest between driving shifts. Failure to following these regulations can lead to catastrophic accidents due to truck driver fatigue.)
- Unsecured or improperly secured cargo
- Failure to adhere to standards for truck inspection and maintenance
- Failure to provide adequate training to truck drivers and/or supervision
- Failure to hire qualified or CDL licensed truck drivers
- A truck driver operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Reckless driving on the part of the truck driver (speeding, failure to stop at intersections, failure to monitor ongoing surroundings, etc.)
- Truck driver distraction (Any distraction of the truck driver including texting while driving, talking on a cell phone while driving, eating, drinking, smoking, checking a navigational device or otherwise removing focus from the roadway can result in serious accidents.)
- Manufacturing defects in the truck
Every one of these examples of causes of truck accidents, except for manufacturing defects, is the result of negligence, carelessness or recklessness on the part of the truck driver or the trucking company.
How Truck Accidents Differ From Passenger Vehicle Accidents
Truck accidents differ in many ways from passenger vehicle accidents. The determination of liability and the ability of a victim to prove a case presents unique challenges. There are additional guidelines and investigation that typically needs to occur in order to ensure that a victim receives the compensation they deserve.
Preservation of Evidence in Truck Accidents
Truck accidents typically cause a great deal of chaos and devastation on the roadways, and many different vehicles may be involved in the accident. The trucking company insurance agents will often immediately arrive on the scene of the truck accident in order to attempt to prove that the cause of the accident was not the fault of their truck driver. It is imperative that a victim issue a spoliation letter to the truck driver, trucking company, cargo-loading company and any other potentially liable party for the truck accident in order to ensure the preservation of evidence. A spoliation letter will ensure that these parties keep all evidence related to the truck accident and provide them during the discovery process. Without this evidence, some victims do not have the ability to develop a strong case in order to receive the compensation they deserve under the law. Contact an experienced truck accident attorney at Labrum Law Firm in order to help you issue a spoliation letter and ensure the evidence in your case is preserved and not destroyed.
Determination of Liability in Truck Accidents
There are many reasons a truck accident could occur, which could mean that several parties remain legally liable to compensate a victim for their injuries and losses. Some examples of the different parties that may remain legally responsible for a truck accident include the following:
- Truck driver (failure to drive safely, failure to follow the FMCSA guidelines, operating the truck with negligence, carelessness, or recklessness)
- Truck company (for failure to maintain and inspect the truck, failure to supervise the driver or provide proper training, negligence in the hiring process such as failure to conduct a background investigation or confirm a CDL license, failure to ensure that drivers follow the Hours of Service Regulations, and more)
- Truck maintenance company (if different than the truck company)
- Truck loading company (for failure to load cargo correctly, or secure cargo properly and safely)
- The leaseholder of the truck (if different than the truck company)
- Manufacturer of defective truck part or component
Making the determining which party (or parties) have the legal responsibility to compensate a victim following a truck accident can prove legally challenging and complex. It may involve an independent investigation, hiring a truck accident reconstruction expert, and visiting with all witnesses to the accident. Consider visiting with an experienced truck accident attorney at Labrum Law Firm in order to better understand who you may have a right to file a claim against for compensation.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you were involved in a truck accident, you likely have considerable medical debts, ongoing pain and suffering, the inability to return to work resulting in a loss of wages and income, property damage, and continue to suffer from psychological trauma. Consider contacting one of our experienced truck accident attorneys today in order to help you better understand what steps you need to take as soon as possible in order to preserve your right to receive compensation for your injuries and losses. We can help you understand all of your legal rights and ensure they remain protected. Contact an experienced truck accident attorney at Labrum Law Firm at (615) 338-9500 today for a free consultation.