Any vehicle accident has the potential to cause serious injuries, but colliding with a commercial truck can lead to severe head injuries, spinal cord damage, and even death. With their massive size and weight, large commercial trucks can demolish a four-wheel passenger vehicle in no time. When you add a trucker’s recklessness into the mix, it almost always spells disaster for everyone involved.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in an accident involving a big rig or semi-truck, you need an attorney with extensive experience holding trucking companies and their drivers accountable for damages. The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, can help. Call us today at 865-546-1111 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation with a truck accident lawyer in Johnson City.
What Do I Need to Do to Recover Compensation?
First, speak to us about your accident and the extent of the injuries you or your loved one suffered. Once we identify the driver and the trucking company, our law firm will send a letter notifying them of your intent to file a personal injury claim. The letter also tells them to preserve evidence connected to the accident.
Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, trucking companies must preserve the driver’s log, records of repairs and inspections of trucks, and other documents for only six months. We need to act quickly after your crash to ensure this evidence is not destroyed. Once we examine the documents, we may discover information to strengthen your injury claim.
What Are Some Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Some of the unsafe driver behaviors that increase the likelihood of a truck crash include:
- Driving beyond the hour limits set for truck driving;
- Improper passing;
- Improper turning;
- Improper or erratic lane changing;
- Failing to obey traffic signs;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Reckless, careless, inattentive, or aggressive driving
During our investigation, we will look for signs that the truck driver’s behavior caused the crash. We can also determine whether the truck had defective parts or if the trucking company has a history of failing to perform routine maintenance on their vehicles. If either of these points is true, we can hold additional parties responsible for your damages.
Are Any Other Parties Responsible for My Damages?
Besides the driver, we also focus on the actions of the trucking company to determine its role in the accident. To do this, we apply the legal theory of vicarious liability. This doctrine holds vehicle owners and employers responsible for accidents their drivers cause. While this gives you the opportunity to seek a higher level of damages from a large organization, it also adds complexity to the case. To successfully hold an employer vicariously liable, we need to understand their relationship to the driver in your case.
Some truck drivers are independent contractors and not company employees, even though they may drive for a company. In these instances, expect the trucking company and its insurance company to deny liability. Nonetheless, the trucking company might face liability if it owned the truck and failed to perform routine maintenance or inspections.
Additionally, a trucking company may have several contractor and subcontractor relationships. Our skillful attorneys know how to determine the responsible parties after a truck crash. We will work to ensure that the correct party or parties take responsibility for the accident that caused your injuries.
Proving Negligence in Truck Accident Claims
To prevail in a truck accident claim in Tennessee, we must prove that the truck driver or the trucking company had a duty of care to safely operate the truck but failed in that duty. We further prove that as a result of the truck driver’s or the trucking company’s negligence, you suffered damages.
What Information Can Help My Claim?
During our investigation, we will work to collect documents to further support your injury claim. For instance, we may ask you to provide medical reports showing the severity of your injuries and the medical treatment you will need to receive in the future. We may also ask for a police report or photographs of the accident scene.
Other information that may help to support your claim include witnesses to the accident willing to testify on your behalf, traffic surveillance camera videos, and GPS records.
We also work with a professional who reconstructs traffic accidents to determine how the crash happened and the role each driver played. We can help you collect evidence using a variety of resources to present a strong and compelling case.
What If I Share Partial Fault for the Crash?
We will examine your role in the accident as we investigate your case, but do not readily admit to contributing fault if you know that you did not cause the crash. Doing so may damage your right to compensation.
However, if you contributed to the accident, your compensation award may decrease based on Tennessee’s comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, your total amount of compensation decreases based on your percentage of fault. For instance, if your damages total $60,000 and you were 20 percent at fault for causing the accident, you would only recover $48,000 in compensation.
What Type of Damages Can I Expect to Recover?
We aim to get you full compensation for the expenses you have faced and will face in the future. These include:
- Medical expenses;
- Home modification to accommodate assistive devices;
- Inpatient rehabilitation;
- Physical therapy;
- Lost wages, current and future;
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress; and
- Mental anguish.
Tennessee Statute of Limitations
Keep in mind as you recover from your injuries that Tennessee’s statute of limitations gives you one year from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit. This means you will have to decide soon whether you want to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the trucking company and the driver.
How Can I Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer in Johnson City About My Case?
If you want justice for the devastating accident that caused your injuries, trust the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, to help you achieve your goal. Call us now at 865-546-1111 for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.