Tennessee Truck Accident Lawyers
When you suffer serious injury in an accident involving a truck, call Tennessee truck accident lawyer John Colvin to find out if you have a case.
When a large truck and car collide, occupants of the car are at much greater risk of injury than the truck’s driver. A car generally weighs about 3,000 pounds, and a tractor-trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds, so it’s easy to understand why these crashes can be so deadly for drivers and occupants of typical cars.
Truck accidents can cause major debilitating injuries that require extensive medical care. But when truckers or trucking companies are to blame for a crash that causes injury or death, the victims and their families may be entitled to compensation that can offset their medical costs.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Find out whether you have a case.
Call a Tennessee Truck Accident Lawyer for your free consultation at (877) 786-0641.
What Should You Do If You Get in a Truck Accident in Tennessee?
You’re driving home from work or traveling through Tennessee on vacation. Then, it happens: You get in an accident with a tractor-trailer.
Your next steps are essential:
- Stop your vehicle if it’s still moving and pull safely to the side of the road if possible.
- Get out of the vehicle if you can. If you cannot, sit and wait for help.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately and report the incident.
- Check on your passengers, if applicable, to assess their physical and emotional states. Do not move a passenger who may be injured unless your vehicle is on fire or at risk of explosion.
- Wait for first responders to arrive.
- Give all your information to the first responders.
- Allow the first responders to check on your vital signs and assess your injuries. Remember that you may be in shock, so you might not feel a broken bone or realize you are bleeding.
- Do everything that the first responders ask and be honest about everything you remember from the incident. It’s difficult to stay calm, especially if you had passengers in your vehicle, but do your best to focus.
Above all else, avoid making any statements about the accident that could be used against you later. These could include saying, “I think it was my fault,” or, “This is my third accident in a month!” Just concentrate on being truthful about what you recall leading up to the collision.
After you are safely at home or rehabilitating from your injuries, contact a truck accident lawyer in Tennessee. Even if you think you don’t need one, you could be surprised. It’s much better to have a legal professional on your side, just in case. Plus, you won’t have to pay anything for an initial consultation.
Truck Accident Lawyer Review
Mr. Colvin was such a nice person. He was on top of my case from day one. He got me a substantial settlement from an accident which wasn’t my fault. I would recommend him to anyone. He is very honest and caring.
~ Linda S.
You are Owed Money for Your Injuries
When someone is injured in a crash with a large truck, they should always seek help to be sure they are getting the compensation they deserve. Truck accidents cause some of the most serious and costly injuries on our roads. The at-fault driver and insurance companies owe the injured person payment for the many costs they are facing.
These cases can result in several thousand to millions of dollars in payment, depending on the cost and severity of injuries one has suffered. If you were injured in a crash, you are owed money for all the costs you have faced and will face, including medical bills, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering. Each of these costs should be reviewed by an experienced attorney to determine how much money you are owed.
Without an experienced attorney handling your truck accident case, you could accept payment that is far less than you need. Your costs should reflect all the expenses you have faced and all the costs you will face because of the other driver’s negligence. One of the biggest reasons that insurance companies are profitable is that they use tactics to lessen or deny payments to injured victims. An experienced lawyer will know which tactics insurers will use and fight to make sure you get the payment you deserve.
The days, weeks, and months following your accident are an important time. What you do and say can directly affect how much money you are offered. Mistakes can be costly. However, there are many opportunities available to maximize the payment you receive. Your attorney will help you avoid costly mistakes and take advantage of opportunities.
Don’t leave money on the table when a truck driver was responsible for your injuries. Contact the Tennessee truck accident lawyer John R. Colvin today by calling (931) 962-1044 or filling out our online contact form. We’ll provide a free initial case assessment to help you understand the compensation you are entitled to.
What to Do If the Trucking Company Calls You Post-Accident
It can be very intimidating to get a phone call from a trucking company after you’ve collided with one of their vehicles. The best thing you can do in this situation is to refer the trucking company representative to a Tennessee truck accident attorney. That way, you won’t make any mistakes, such as accepting an inadequate lump sum in return for not pressing your case.
The goal of the trucking company is usually to get you to settle for a lower amount than you would receive if you were helped by a lawyer. Do not give away your power to push for what you deserve as a truck accident victim.
You deserve an experienced truck accident attorney. Contact personal injury attorney John R. Colvin today by calling (931) 962-1044 or filling out our online contact form.
Tennessee Truck Crash Facts
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2013, fatal large truck crashes in Tennessee that involved more than one vehicle killed 11 truck drivers and 92 occupants of other vehicles. The NHTSA defines large trucks as those over 10,000 pounds, a category that includes tractor-trailers, box trucks, and even some modern pickups. Tractor-trailers – because they can be about 50 feet long – are capable of inflicting much more damage than other large trucks and often collide with several vehicles in a single accident.
In June 2015, a terrible crash on Interstate 75 in Chattanooga killed six people and injured a number of others. According to authorities, the driver of a tractor-trailer failed to slow down when approaching a construction zone and slammed into several cars. He was later arrested on multiple charges, including vehicular homicide and falsifying his driving hour’s log. Investigators learned the driver was wanted in Wisconsin and Kentucky on drug charges and had received a careless-driving citation in Florida one day before the fatal crash. The crash in Chattanooga is an extreme example of how truckers can cause harm to others. It also illustrates what can happen when truckers and their employers fail to follow federal laws that apply to their industry.
What Commonly Causes a Tennessee Truck Accident?
Accidents between private fleet and common carrier trucks (e.g., 18-wheelers, tankers, refrigerator trucks, tractor-trailers, flatbed trucks, and other commercial trucking vehicles) and cars, motorcycles, and SUVs don’t happen without reason. In fact, several factors can be involved in a crash with a truck.
- Driver negligence. In this case, either driver may be at fault for the collision. For instance, the truck driver might be too tired or distracted to focus on the road. Currently, truckers are allowed to drive for 11 hours without taking a mandatory break, which may lead to driver fatigue by the end of a shift. On the other hand, the car or big rig operator could be under the influence of drugs or alcohol or be distracted by something like texting on a cell phone.
- Weather conditions. When bad weather strikes, whether it’s heavy rain, snow, fog, sleet, ice, hail, or the like, truck drivers need to follow safety measures. Even driving just a few miles above the recommended speed limit can lead to serious personal damage, physical injury, and fatalities. About one-fifth of all types of vehicular accidents can be chalked up to weather condition problems, per the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.
- Speeding. Of course, driving at a high rate of speed always puts everyone on the road at risk. But it’s especially important for truckers to remind themselves that it takes up to 40 percent longer for them to stop their vehicles than it does for a typical sedan. Everyone behind the wheel of a vehicle should obey posted speeds. Otherwise, they could be the cause of a serious, life-changing event.
- Defective Parts. Attorneys that deal with auto product liability cases know just how much of a role defective truck parts can play in accidents. Defective parts can include anything from faulty brakes that are under recall to tires that don’t properly hug the road.
Whatever the underlying cause of a truck wreck, the outcome can be expensive, devastating, and future-altering for drivers and passengers. For those who suffered serious injuries, the path to recovery can be long and costly. Talking to a truck accident lawyer in Tennessee can help the injured understand their legal options.
If you’ve been injured in an accident with a large truck, John R. Colvin can help you get the payment you are entitled to. Call our injury lawyers today at (931) 962-1044 or fill out our online contact form to get started.
Hours of Service Laws
The FMCSA based its Hours of Service laws on several studies, such as its own Large Truck Crash Causation Study, which found fatigue was a factor in 13 percent of large truck crashes. Another study found that drivers were more likely to drift out of their lane as the end of their shift approached. So in 2011, the FMCSA released its HoS rules, which limit driving time and require drivers to rest for eight to 10 hours between shifts. Yet, governmental agencies are legally allowed to disregard those rules, in certain situations.
Johnson City television station WJHL reported that during January and February 2016, some Tennessee Department of Transportation snow plow and salt truck drivers worked more than 50 consecutive hours, and some worked up to 80 consecutive hours with no sleep. Although allowed by law, due to the need to clear snow and ice from roads, this driving schedule places great strain on drivers, and one even wrote a letter to the TDOT commissioner, expressing concern that someone would be killed or seriously hurt “driving with so little rest for such a long time.”
Where Do Truck Crashes in Tennessee Frequently Happen?
A crash between a commercial truck and a personal vehicle can happen anytime, anywhere. However, it is statistically more likely to occur on highways and busy roads. In fact, studies show that 60 percent of truck accidents happen on major roads (other than interstates). Why? Generally speaking, those are the places you’re more likely to encounter a commercial vehicle, and there are fewer lanes in which to swerve away from a malfunctioning, out-of-control, or poorly operated truck.
The exception to this rule is spotted such as rural roads were commercial vehicles may have to travel on occasion. For instance, a trucker going at a high rate of speed on a rural Tennessee roadway may be more apt to lose control than she or he would on an interstate. Minor roadways account for about seven percent of truck accidents.
Common Tennessee Truck Accident Injuries
When a truck hits a smaller vehicle, the force can lead to significant injuries, especially for the people traveling in the car, on the motorcycle, or in an SUV.
- Neck Injuries. Problems like whiplash are commonplace in any type of collision. When a body moving forward is suddenly stopped, the neck can be damaged in a number of places. This can lead to a broken neck and temporary or permanent paralysis.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs). A TBI is a very serious condition. Although the brain is surrounded by protective fluid, the fluid cannot fully stop the brain from forcefully colliding with the skull. This damages the brain matter, sometimes forever. Many people with TBIs never fully recover short-term or long-term memories, and some have to quit working. Another unfortunate symptom of a traumatic brain injury can be a radical personality change, which can lead to relationship and job issues.
- Broken Bones. Obviously, any type of highway accident can cause bones to break. Broken bones can happen anywhere in the body, from the ribcage to the hips to the arms. No bones are safe during a crash.
- Internal Damage and Bleeding. Even people who are fortunate enough to “walk away” from crashes may be surprised to learn later of internal damage of organs, including bleeding. This is one of the reasons anyone involved in a truck crash needs to seek medical attention.
- Wrongful Death. Not surprisingly, fatalities are high when trucks crash into cars and other passenger vehicles. In fact, statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute reveal it’s far more likely for the drivers or passengers in a car to die than for the truck driver because of the weight of the vehicle. A wrongful death not only puts families into a state of mourning, but can lead to unexpected expenses, bankruptcy, and other financial concerns. Plus, the at-fault driver may be charged criminally for wrongful death.
- PTSD. A misunderstood consequence of being in a traffic accident, even one that doesn’t seem to result in any serious injuries, is PTSD. PTSD stands for “post-traumatic stress disorder” and affects every individual uniquely. Though it’s often associated with veterans who return from war, PTSD can happen to anyone involved in an emotionally traumatic event. A study published by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine noted that people who suffer motor vehicle crashes are significantly at higher risk of developing PTSD than the general population. Those with PTSD may find it difficult to return to normal life after a truck accident, and their suffering can take years to control with therapy and drugs.
Laws that apply to professional truckers are much more stringent than typical motorist driving laws. These laws mandate many detailed provisions, such as periodic drug testing of drivers and minimum maintenance requirements for truck company owners. The laws also specify the maximum number of consecutive hours a driver can work and the minimum allowable periods of rest.
The most recent data available from Tennessee Highway Patrol shows that in 2008, state troopers issued 289 citations for violation of the rule that says truckers may drive no more than 15 hours. The driver in the Chattanooga crash had allegedly violated driving-times rules, too.
THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION OVERSEES FEDERAL TRUCKING SAFETY LAWS.
Routinely, the FMCSA issues citations to companies that put unsafe vehicles and drivers on the road.
In June 2012, the FMCSA shut down a Tennessee trucking company for allowing its drivers to operate commercial vehicles without a commercial driver’s license and failing to properly test its drivers for controlled substances. But the owners violated the shut-down order and continued operating under a different name, resulting in a 13-count federal indictment from the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Motorists share the road with commercial trucks every day – usually without incident. But reckless drivers, irresponsible trucking company owners, and defective vehicles pose a serious threat to other drivers. When a crash occurs because of any of those factors and people are injured or killed, the victims and their families could be entitled to compensation. Asking a truck accident attorney about the options for a legal claim is an important first step.
Tennessee Truck Accident Lawyer
Unfortunately, there is no way for motorists to know whether a semi-truck traveling near them on the highway has faulty tires, or whether the driver has had an inadequate rest break.
If you or a family member has been injured in a Tennessee truck accident, don’t wait to get help, because the court allows a limited time for filing a truck accident claim. Our office aggressively pursues trucking accident cases for clients seriously injured by the careless and irresponsible operations of large commercial trucks.
When and if an accident does occur, know that you can count on our law firm to help. Find out whether you or your loved one has a case by calling the law office of John R. Colvin today, at (931) 962-1044, or fill out our online contact form.