Tennessee Tractor-Trailer Accidents
March 29th, 2022 by Attorney John Colvin
Tractor-trailer accidents rank as some of the worst on Tennessee highways. These 18-wheelers, which are also known as semi-trucks or ‘big rigs,’ can weigh up to 80,000lbs when fully loaded, and when they’re involved in a crash, the results can be catastrophic. Not only are the occupants of passenger vehicles at greater risk of death or injury, but a single accident can trigger a multi-vehicle collision and close down a major highway for hours.
Other reasons why tractor-trailer accidents can be so devastating include:
- Loads can shift and even fall off during a collision, spreading over the roadway and causing more accidents
- Being heavier, 18-wheelers can’t always stop quickly enough to avoid a collision
- They are too large to maneuver around hazards
- Many of them carry flammable, toxic, or hazardous products
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a huge commercial truck, you may be able to pursue financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Attorney John R. Colvin has years of experience handling semi-truck accidents and advocates relentlessly for his clients in these cases.
The Most Dangerous Roads in Tennessee for Tractor Trailer Accidents
While a tractor-trailer accident can happen anywhere in this state, certain roads are notorious for their accident frequency. Four of them are outlined below.
Interstate 40 runs 454 miles from east to west across Tennessee. One study by the NHTSA found that the I-40 experienced 437 crashes and 517 deaths between 2006 and 2015, making it the second most dangerous highway after US-1 in Florida.
A report from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security states that by the end of July 2019, 37 people were killed on the I-40. By the end of July 2020, the total was 43 lives. The danger was so obvious and concerning that the TDSOHS announced in November 2019 that it was increasing police presence along the highway for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Recent I-40 accidents:
- In December 2021, one person was killed in an accident involving a semi-truck on the I-40 near Lebanon.
- In January 2022, two people died near mile marker 356 in a crash between a Ford Transit and a tractor-trailer.
The I-65, which is 887 miles long, runs from Ardmore north in Tennessee to just south of Franklin, Kentucky. The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office reported that in 2021, there were 17 fatal crashes and 932 injury-causing accidents along this highway.
Recent I-65 accidents:
- In February 2021, an Amazon tractor-trailer jackknifed, blocking I-65 South near I-840.
- In November 2021, a tractor-trailer jackknifed, ruptured one of its saddle fuel tanks, and leaked about 150 gallons of fuel onto the road. Although there were no injuries, traffic was backed up for miles.
Interstate 24 takes a northwest-southeast orientation from southern Illinois to Tennessee. It even briefly crosses Georgia. I-24 connects Chattanooga, Nashville, and Paducah, Kentucky. The Monteagle Mountain section is well known for its steep inclines, twists and turns, and sharp declines, making it a dangerous route for motorists.
- In December 2021, a tractor-trailer struck an SUV at the 72-mile marker, resulting in multiple injuries.
- In February 2022, a tractor-trailer overturned in the eastbound lanes of I-24 between the I-840 exit and Medical Center Parkway exit, causing injuries.
What are the Most Common Causes of Tractor-Trailer Crashes?
Semi-truck accidents take many forms, and all of them can cause major injuries to their victims. Here are a few of the most common types:
- Rear-end collisions occur because drivers have less rear-view visibility
- Cargo tipping over or shifting due to improper loading or an uneven distribution of weight
- Sudden and sharp turns that are problematic due to trucks’ weight and size
- Override and underride accidents that occur when the truck runs over a smaller vehicle or that vehicle runs into or under the semi truck’s trailer
- Rollover accidents that occur as a result of speeding on sharp bends or curves
- Skidding due to improper braking
Accidents may also be caused by:
- Inadequate truck maintenance or mechanical failure
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Tired drivers or those without adequate training or supervision.
- Driving recklessly, changing lanes abruptly, or exceeding the speed limit
When filing a personal injury claim, you need to determine which party was reckless or negligent. If you can prove that this person or another entity was responsible for your injuries, you can pursue the financial assistance you need to ensure your best level of medical care. A personal injury lawyer with experience handling truck accident cases can play a crucial role in the process.
Who Can Be Held Liable After a Tractor-Trailer Accident?
Transport operations are extremely complex. Many people are usually involved in getting a truck ready for the road. Each party has certain responsibilities in ensuring safety. If one or more of these parties are negligent in their duties, those injured in truck accidents may be able to file a lawsuit against them.
- Semi-Truck Drivers: Semi-truck drivers must drive carefully and safely at all times. If they cause an accident because they were reckless or careless, they should be held accountable.
- Trucking Company: It is the trucking company’s responsibility to ensure that their drivers are properly trained and qualified for the job. The company must also ensure that each driver complies with federal and state trucking laws.
- Semi-Truck Owner: Semi truck owners (which may or may not be the trucking company) are responsible for making sure their vehicles are safe and roadworthy at all times.
- Maintenance Company: Trucking companies sometimes hire outside companies to do maintenance on their semi trucks. Maintenance companies must ensure that the truck is in a safe working condition and that repairs are performed properly.
- Cargo Loaders: In some cases, truck drivers load their own trucks while in other instances, a cargo loading company does it. Regardless of who loads cargo, they should do so in a safe manner.
- Tractor Trailer Truck and Parts Manufacturer: Companies that manufacture large trucks and their parts must ensure that everything is constructed and installed correctly.
- Government Agencies: Government agencies and/or their contractors are responsible for keeping state roads and highways safe for travel. Failure to maintain or repair these thoroughfares could leave the government liable for an accident.
When there are so many parties potentially responsible for a tractor-trailer accident, determining liability can be challenging. A skilled and experienced truck accident lawyer can help identify all responsible parties and hold them accountable for their actions or omissions.
Injured in a Tennessee Tractor-Trailer Accident?
Tractor-trailers cause some of the most serious accidents on Tennessee roads. When you’re facing years of treatment and even permanent disability, it can seem like an uphill battle: trucking companies and insurers will often fight your claim and try to prove that you were at fault. The more serious your injuries, the more they will push to minimize or avoid liability.
If you’re dealing with this type of difficult situation, tractor trailer accident attorney John R. Colvin and his team will aggressively fight to uphold your rights. He knows how to determine the cause of a semi-trucking accident, identify all liable parties, and negotiate or litigate for the money you deserve. To schedule a no-obligation confidential consultation about your tractor-trailer accident claim, please call (931) 962-1044 (Winchester), (931) 962-1044 (Tullahoma), or use our online contact form.
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