Tennessee Vehicle Accident Lawyer
In June 2015, a nine-vehicle crash on Interstate 75 near Chattanooga killed six people. The same highway was also the scene of fatal crash in 2014 that involved two tractor-trailers. In 1990, I-75 was in the national spotlight after a 99-car crash killed 12 people and injured more than 40 others. Dense fog was a factor contributing to that crash, and as a result, the state installed a fog-detection and warning system along that stretch of highway.
Measures to keep motorists safe are a priority for Tennessee officials. But improvements to roadways can’t prevent the numerous accidents caused by driver negligence. Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, who are speeding, or who are just generally inattentive cause a lot of accidents on Tennessee roads.
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident and believe another driver is to blame, you may be entitled to compensation. Even if you’re partially at fault, you might be able to collect damages.
Tennessee Vehicle Crash Facts
Most Tennessee traffic fatalities occur on state highways, according to the Tennessee Highway Safety Improvement Program 2014 Annual Report. And while highway fatalities decreased between 2009 and 2013, serious injuries increased – from 6,275 to 7,008.
A highway crash in Tennessee usually occurs at high speeds, which is why they can cause so much damage. The severity of such crashes also depends on the type of vehicles involved. When a standard passenger car collides with a 10-ton truck, the damage to the car and its occupants can be severe.
In 2012, Tennessee reported 96 fatal crashes involving large trucks; “large trucks” include box trucks, tractor-trailers and all trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds. Because the likelihood of injury is so high in large-truck crashes, professional drivers and their employers are subject to federal regulations that are much more stringent than typical state motorist laws.
Federal Motor Carrier Association rules specify maintenance schedules for large trucks, allowable limits on working hours, and other requirements. When companies or drivers flout these laws, they could be putting other drivers at risk for serious injury.
A three-day enforcement sweep in 2014 revealed some alarming safety violations among large commercial trucks. In its inspection of trucks across North America and Mexico, The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance found 16 percent of trucks carrying hazardous materials had violations that prohibited their safe operation. Of all drivers subject to inspection, nearly half had violated hours-of-service restrictions.
Driver Responsibility in Tennessee and Northern Alabama
When determining who is to blame for a vehicle accident, the court evaluates the percentage of fault each party shares. In cases that involve multiple vehicles, liability might be assigned to each party. If the plaintiff in a case is less than 50 percent to blame for an accident, he is not barred from collecting damages from the other parties.
Violating traffic laws does increase the odds a driver will be found negligent in a crash – meaning, not exercising reasonable care while driving. In Tennessee, plaintiffs injured in a crash may pursue punitive damages against a defendant who was under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol when they caused the accident. The law places no caps on such damages.
Driving under the influence is such a threat to public safety that Tennessee came up with a law to address the problem of repeat offenders. As of July 2013, motorists convicted of drunk driving must have an ignition interlock device installed in their cars. The device requires a driver to pass a breath alcohol test in order to start his car, and an attached camera ensures a drunk driver can’t have someone else blow into the device to start the car.
Other behaviors that could dramatically increase the risk of a crash in Tennessee include driving while tired, while eating, or while interacting with a handheld device. According to research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, a driver’s risk of a near-crash or crash almost triples when reaching for, dialing, or answering a mobile phone.
Realities of the Road
Conscientious drivers who obey traffic laws and keep their eyes on the road are less likely to cause a crash than distracted or reckless drivers. Even so, many innocent people fall victim to drivers whose unsafe behaviors cause accidents and injury.
Tennessee Vehicle Accident Lawyer
If you or a family member has been injured in a crash caused by another driver’s negligence, you may have a right to compensation. Call a Tennessee vehicle accident lawyer today – or fill out our contact form – to request a free consultation: (931) 962-1044.