If you sustained serious injuries in a Tennessee commercial truck accident, your medical expenses may have skyrocketed and your income might have dropped because your injuries stopped you from working. You may want to file an insurance claim, but do you file it with your own insurance company, the truck driver’s, or the trucking company’s?
At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we can answer these questions and any others you may have regarding your crash. We commit ourselves to helping truck accident victims get reimbursement for the pain and suffering they endured due to an accident. If you want a law firm that will stand up for you against insurance companies and get you the compensation you are eligible for under law, call 865-546-1111 today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation with a truck accident lawyer in Chattanooga.
Am I Eligible for Compensation After a Truck Crash?
Typically, truck accidents cause more severe injuries and property damage because of the size and weight of the commercial trucks. That means truck accident victims are usually eligible to higher settlements than victims of smaller passenger car accidents.
Federal and state law also requires trucking companies to carry larger insurance policies on their vehicles. Tennessee follows the minimum bodily injury and property damage insurance requirements from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for interstate trucks. For instance, the state requires a minimum of $300,000 in coverage for vehicles weighing less than 10,001 lbs. transporting non-hazardous freight and $750,000 for those over 10,001 lbs. Trucking companies can go beyond the minimum requirements and may purchase other types of insurance. Their insurance policies are often quite substantial, which means they should offer higher payouts after a crash.
However, you should not expect the insurance company in your case to offer a high settlement automatically. Insurance companies will often challenge personal injury claims after a truck crash in an effort to save money. We can help you submit a solid insurance claim, giving you a better chance of winning a higher settlement for your injuries.
What Do I Need to Submit an Insurance Claim?
To win you compensation, we need to ensure your insurance claim shows proof that the truck driver’s negligence caused the accident. We will gather the evidence we need establish the legal elements of negligence. We will prove:
- The truck driver had a duty of care to safely operate his truck;
- The driver breached that duty by driving carelessly or recklessly;
- The driver’s negligent driving behavior caused the accident; and
- You suffered economic and non-economic damages as a result of the wreck.
These elements give strong support to your claim as we help you seek the maximum compensation for your injuries and vehicle repair costs.
How Can a Lawyer Prove the Truck Driver’s Negligence?
To prove the driver’s negligence in your case, we will conduct an investigation to determine how the accident occurred. We will focus on whether the truck driver violated any state or federal commercial trucking safety rules.
For instance, the FMCSA prohibits motor carriers from allowing their drivers to send text messages or use hand-held devices while driving. Drivers caught texting or using a mobile phone could face fines and even lose their jobs. We will determine if the driver was violating this rule at the time of accident.
In your case, we will work to collect whatever evidence we need to show the driver acted negligently and caused your crash. This may include proof of any of the following negligent driving behaviors:
- Aggressive driving;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Driver fatigue;
- Failure to maintain regular inspections;
- Inadequate driver training and experience; or
- Overloaded trucks.
Our evidence for your claim may include:
- Your medical records;
- Police reports;
- Eyewitness testimony;
- Photos of the accident scene;
- Reconstruction of the accident scene;
- The truck driver’s driving history;
- The truck driver’s driving log; and
- Any history of federal or state violations of the trucking company.
It is important to note that under the laws of vicarious liability, we can hold the trucking company responsible for the negligence of their employees—as long as the driver in your case was operating under his scope of employment at the time of the crash. That means, in most cases, we would file an insurance claim with the trucking company’s insurer to get you the full value of compensation you deserve after such a devastating wreck.
What Compensation Can I Receive After a Truck Accident?
After a crash, you are eligible for compensatory damages. These refer to the expenses you incurred because of the accident. We will collect evidence to show the economic damages you incurred. We will seek compensation for a variety of costs, including:
- Current and future medical expenses;
- Ambulance transportation;
- In-patient rehabilitation;
- Physical therapy;
- Assistive medical devices like wheelchairs, walkers, or canes;
- Current and future lost wages;
- Vehicle repair costs; and
- Funeral expenses—if a family member died in the accident.
We also seek compensation for non-economic damages. These damages are harder to visualize and include the pain and suffering and mental anguish you have encountered due the accident.
Can I Still Receive Money for Damages If I Was Also at Fault?
If you were partially at fault for the accident, then Tennessee’s comparative fault law applies to the case. The law reduces your damage award based on your own amount of negligence. For instance, if the damages in your case total $100,000 and you were 20 percent at fault, you can only recover 80 percent of your costs, or $80,000.
Will I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Our lawyers will first negotiate your claim with the trucking company’s insurer. We protect your rights during negotiations and will reject any intentionally low settlement offers. If we cannot reach a fair settlement with the insurance company, we can file a lawsuit and argue your claim in court. We will continue settlement talks with the insurance company as we go through the court process.
You Must Act Quickly to Preserve Your Right to Compensation.
Tennessee sets a time limit of one year for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a truck accident. That is why it is essential to contact the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, at 865-546-1111 as soon as possible after a crash. Our lawyers can get you on the road to your financial recovery today.