An accident caused by a commercial truck can take a heavy financial and emotional toll on motorists and their loved ones who suffered serious or fatal injuries, and major property damage. The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril PLLC can help you hold negligent truck drivers and trucking companies legally liable for your injuries and so that you can recover compensation for our losses.
You can rely on our dedicated lawyers to protect your rights and fight to get the fair compensation that you and your family deserve. Call us today at 865-546-1111 for a free legal consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Oak Ridge.
Our Investigation Starts with the Truck Driver’s Actions
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the trucking industry, unsafe driving behaviors increase the likelihood of truck accidents. Among the driver behaviors most likely to cause an accident include:
- Failure to use a signal or improper signaling
- Involvement in previous crashes
- Improper passing
- Making improper turns
- Failure to obey a traffic sign
- Reckless/careless/inattentive/negligent driving
Besides federal regulations, we will also examine whether the driver violated any Tennessee laws that mirror federal violations such as:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Distracted driving
- Having an invalid Commercial Driver’s License
We help you build a solid case by collecting as much evidence as possible on the driver’s unsafe behaviors that caused your accident.
How Trucking Companies Contribute to Accidents
Trucking companies also contribute to injury accidents by violating state and federal regulations that govern the trucking industry.
Trucking companies can contribute to crashes by:
- Failing to properly train drivers to handle large trucks
- Failing to screen drivers for past driving convictions
- Pressuring drivers to meet deadlines which cause drivers to take fewer breaks and risk driving while sleepy or fatigued
- Failing to inspect the truck and perform routine maintenance or repair
We will explain the specific regulations violated in your case and how we can hold the company responsible for your damages.
Determining the Truck Driver’s Work Relationship With the Trucking Company
Our probe into your truck accident will also focus on the working relationship between the truck driver and the trucking company. This is an important aspect of the investigation because we must identify the parties to hold liable for your damages.
There are differences between employees and independent contractors. For the most part, trucking companies maintain control over their employees’ schedule and allow employees to use company-owned trucks. Independent contractors, on the other hand, may contract with a trucking company but maintain their own schedule and even use their own trucks to deliver merchandise.
When it comes to truck accidents involving independent contractors, trucking companies might contend that they are not liable for accidents caused by a non-employee. However, we do not let them off the hook so easily until we investigate the accident because we might find out that the company misclassified an employee as an independent contractor.
Once we determine the relationship between trucking companies, their contractors, and subcontractors, we can apply “vicarious liability” to your case. This legal theory holds employers responsible for accidents caused by their employers.
Truck accidents are complex cases. But whether it is the driver, a contractor, the trucking company, or a truck manufacturer, the well-versed attorneys at The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril PLLC can cut through multiple layers of the case to hold the correct party or parties liable for your injuries and other damages.
Proving the Elements of Negligence in Truck Accident Claims
It is not enough for us to prove fault in a truck accident case. We must also show how the at-fault party’s negligence caused your damages. To win a personal injury case in Tennessee, we must prove the following four elements of negligence:
- Duty of care: The at-fault party owed you a duty to drive carefully and not cause harm to you and other motorists.
- Breach of duty: The at-fault party breached this duty by causing an accident.
- Causation: The at-fault party’s negligence caused your injury.
- Damages: You suffered damages because of the at-fault party’s negligent
Collecting Evidence to Support Your Negligence Claim
To further support your negligence claim, we will send a letter to the trucking company or the truck owner requesting the preservation of all information and documentation related to your truck accident.
The Code of Federal Regulations requires motor carriers to maintain records, such as the driver’s log and service repair records, for a certain period of time. So, it is very important that we notify the trucking company as soon as possible of your intent to file an injury claim.
In addition, we may also obtain:
- Reports from police agencies that investigated the truck accident
- Your medical records that show the extent of your injuries
- Eyewitness testimony
- Surveillance video of the accident
- Photographs of the accident scene
Recovering Damages in Your Truck Accident Case
Any commercial truck can cause significant damages to a passenger vehicle, but a semi-truck colliding with a vehicle can even cause death. The more serious your injuries, the higher the value of your claim. So, depending on the circumstances of your accident, you can pursue compensation for such damages as:
- Medical bills (present and future)
- Ambulance transportation (from the accident scene)
- Hospital bills
- Physical therapy
- Lost wages (present and future)
- Loss of earning capacity
- Funeral expenses (if your loved one died in the accident)
- Pain and suffering
Let us Help You Recover Compensation for Your Truck Accident
If a truck accident has devastated your life, you can depend on the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod, & Baril PLLC to help you move forward. Our law firm brings justice to injury victims by helping them recover compensation for their losses.
Call us now at 865-546-1111 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation with a truck accident lawyer in Oak Ridge.