A large commercial truck colliding with a small passenger vehicle places passengers at risk for serious—if not fatal—injuries. The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, understands how a truck accident can impact lives in one split second and cause large-scale damages.
If you or your loved one sustained serious or fatal injuries in a commercial truck crash, it is important to have knowledgeable legal counsel to help you hold the at-fault party responsible for the accident and recover compensatory damages.
Call us today at 865-546-1111 to schedule a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Clinton. Our firm can help you pursue medical expenses, hospital costs, lost wages, and other losses from the devastating wreck.
How Do I Recover Compensation After a Truck Crash in Clinton?
Tennessee is a “fault” state, which means the party at fault for causing an accident pays for damages. If you want to recover damages from the defendants—meaning the truck driver or the trucking company—you must prove that their negligence caused your accident and injuries.
To do this, we must prove four elements of negligence:
- The defendants owed you a duty to maintain and operate the truck in a reasonably safe manner;
- They failed to carry out this duty;
- This negligence caused an accident; and
- You suffered damages because of the crash.
After we prove negligence and gather essential evidence, we can file a claim for compensation with the at-fault party’s liability insurer.
How Will a Lawyer Prove Negligence?
First, we investigate the facts of your case to prove that negligence caused your accident. Our probe may show that the truck driver caused the accident because of:
- Driving while fatigued;
- Driving while distracted;
- Driving after drug or alcohol use;
- Improper passing;
- Failing to obey traffic signs or signals; or
- Overcorrecting after veering off the road.
While the truck driver may have struck your vehicle, the trucking company is often liable in these cases. We might find that the company:
- Failed to properly train the driver;
- Forced drivers to operate their trucks while fatigued or ill;
- Failed to perform routine maintenance on the truck;
- Failed to ensure the truck’s cargo was properly balanced and secured; or
- Disregarded federal rules that regulate the trucking industry.
Trucking companies that fail to follow federal regulatory requirements can be liable for any accidents that result.
How Will I Know Whether the Trucking Company Followed Federal Regulations?
We can determine this based on documentation we obtain from the trucking company and other sources. First, our firm will send a letter to the trucking company notifying it of our intent to file an insurance claim. The letter will request preservation of all documents relevant to the truck accident.
Federal regulations require trucking companies to retain documents for a certain period of time. It is important for us to contact the trucking company as soon as possible after an injury accident before this period elapses.
We will request such records as:
- Any licenses or permits required to operate the truck;
- Data from onboard electronic logging devices;
- The driver’s daily driving log;
- Truck maintenance and inspection records;
- The truck driver’s driving history;
- Accident reports related to the same truck; and
- Photographs of the accident scene.
We will use these documents, a police report of the accident, and other evidence to prove how the truck driver’s or trucking company’s negligence caused your accident.
Is the Trucking Company the Liable Party in My Case?
Our investigation will focus, in part, on the employment relationship between the truck driver and the trucking company. To determine this relationship, we look for evidence that answers such questions as:
- Was the truck driver an employee of the trucking company?
- Did the trucking company control the driver’s time and establish the driver’s route?
- How long has the driver worked for the company?
- Has the truck driver been in other accidents?
- Was the truck driver an independent contractor?
- Who owns the truck: the truck driver or the trucking company?
- Does the trucking company have previous citations for violating federal regulations?
If we determine the truck driver was an employee of the trucking company, we can apply a legal theory to your case called “vicarious liability.” Vicarious liability holds employers responsible for employees’ negligent actions. In a truck accident case, for instance, a truck driver may have been under pressure by the employer to deliver cargo by a certain time. That may have encouraged the driver to speed or drive while fatigued, which caused the crash.
Truck accident cases contain layers of complexities. This is why having a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the trucking industry is essential when pursuing compensation.
How Soon Should I File an Insurance Claim?
In Tennessee, individuals have one year from the date of the accident to claim injury by filing a personal injury lawsuit. That means, within this deadline, you must obtain copies of your medical reports, collect other evidence, and build a case against the trucking company.
We encourage you to reach out to us as soon as possible after your crash so you do not miss out on your opportunity to get compensation. We will collect evidence, calculate your damages, and file the insurance claim on your behalf.
The attorneys at our law firm have decades of combined experience handling claims on behalf of our clients. We know how to aggressively pursue fair compensation from insurance companies that delay or deny a claim or offer a low settlement to save money. When insurers reject a claim after we present strong evidence, we may take them to court to resolve the matter.
Call Us Today for a Free Case Evaluation.
If you want effective legal representatives who will hold the responsible party accountable for your injuries, you can rely on the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC. Call us today at 865-546-1111 to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation case evaluation with a truck accident lawyer in Clinton.