When a big rig, semi-truck, or box truck crashes into your vehicle, it only takes a fraction of a second to have your world turned upside down. If you sustained injuries from the crash, you can expect to incur significant medical expenses in addition to the bills to pay to repair or replace your damaged vehicle. If you find yourself in this position, you may need someone to help you recover compensation for your losses.
At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we have established ourselves as a solid law firm that strives to obtain the maximum compensation for truck accident victims in Tennessee. Call us today at 865-546-1111 for a free, no-obligation legal consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Murfreesboro. We can help you navigate the process of filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit to recoup your financial and emotional losses.
What Do I Need to Prove My Claim After a Truck Crash?
To build a solid personal injury claim, we gather relevant documentation to show the truck driver or trucking company caused your accident. The evidence we gather may include the truck company’s records of the truck driver and the truck involved in the accident.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires motor carriers to maintain supporting documents for sixth months. These documents include the records motor carriers maintain in the ordinary course of business.
The items we may ask for include:
- Crash reports involving the truck driver and the truck;
- The truck driver’s electronic logs;
- Overweight or oversize permits;
- The truck driver’s previous traffic citations; and
- Truck inspection reports.
Trucking companies can destroy these documents after the six-month retention period ends. This is why it is important that you speak with us as soon as possible so we can get the necessary documentation to support your claim.
We Must Work Quickly to Preserve Evidence.
Once we identify the truck driver and the trucking company, we will send a “spoliation of evidence” letter demanding that the company preserve the evidence. A trucking company may want to destroy evidence, particularly if the information shows the company or the truck driver caused your accident.
Through this evidence, we may discover what led up to the crash. A study from the FMCSA found that factors contributing to truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue;
- Prescription or over-the-counter drug use;
- Weather conditions;
- Roadway problems;
- Brake problems;
- An interruption of regular traffic flow, such as during rush hour or after a wreck; and
- Driver training and experience.
The documentation we obtain may help us identify other factors that contributed to your accident, such as the trucking company’s failure to properly maintain the truck, vehicle manufacturing defects, or defective truck parts.
How Else Can I Prove What Caused My Crash?
We cannot solely rely on the trucking company’s information to support your personal injury claim. We collect other evidence that includes:
- The police report of the truck accident;
- Your medical records;
- Photographs of the accident scene;
- Eyewitnesses statements of the accident; and
- Traffic surveillance camera video that captured the accident.
When necessary, we solicit the help of a foremost accident reconstruction specialist to recreate the circumstances surrounding your wreck.
The Truck Driver’s Employment Status May Impact an Accident Claim.
We will also investigate the truck driver’s employment status with the trucking company. In some cases, a trucking company will claim that a trucker was an independent contractor—not a company employee—at the time of the accident. If the company proves that the driver was self-employed, the company may potentially avoid liability in an accident.
We may challenge the employment claim if we find that a truck driver meets federal and state employee classification requirements. We do not simply take the word of a trucking company or its insurer, since both parties want to avoid liability for your losses. Under the legal doctrine of vicarious liability, companies are responsible for the negligent acts employees commit during the course of their employment.
What If I Was Partially at Fault?
Insurance companies sometimes attempt to avoid paying full compensation by accusing truck accident victims of contributing to the accident. If the company proves that you contributed to your accident, Tennessee’s comparative negligence law may apply to your case.
This law reduces your compensation in proportion to your degree of fault. If you are 50 percent or more at fault for causing an accident, you cannot collect compensation. However, you may recover compensation if you are less than 50 percent at fault for the crash.
Proving a Trucking Company’s Negligence
We use information we collect to prove that the truck driver and the trucking company owed you a duty to drive safely and perform routine maintenance on the truck. However, the parties failed to uphold this duty when the driver caused an accident. Due to negligence on the part of the driver and trucking company, you suffered damages.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover?
Once we determine liability, we can hold the trucking company or the truck driver responsible for your damages, such as your:
- Medical expenses;
- Physical therapy;
- Rehabilitation costs;
- Home health care;
- Medical equipment or assistive medical devices;
- Lost wages;
- Vehicle repair costs;
- Funeral expenses, if a loved one died in the truck accident;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish; and
- Emotional distress.
We Can Negotiate Your Claim.
Our lawyers have the skills to negotiate personal injury claims. We understand the unfair tactics insurance companies use in an attempt to devalue claims. If the insurance company in your case tries to avoid paying you fair compensation, we will challenge them and negotiate for a fair settlement. If we cannot reach a fair settlement, we will speak with you about filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Let Us Help You.
You can depend on the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, to provide personalized service and legal advocacy to help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 865-546-1111 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.