Nashville Truck Accident Lawyer
Central Tennessee and the Nashville region have become a hub for the trucking industry over the past decade. With more trucks passing through, Nashville has experienced a massive 20 percent increase in tractor-trailer accidents nationwide over the past 20 years.
This type of truck accident is often devastating for the people involved due to the massive size and weight of large trucks. Injuries from commercial vehicle wrecks can take years or even a lifetime to heal. The severe impact of these accidents takes away one’s ability to live the life they once did, potentially resulting in broken relationships and depression.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a trucking accident that was not your fault, you may be eligible to obtain compensation for your injuries and any property damage. At Mitch Grissim & Associates, we have the knowledge and experience to handle these complex cases.
The legal system is not straightforward, so consulting a Nashville truck accident lawyer will be to your advantage, as our team of experienced legal professionals will help you navigate the vagaries of the law and secure the damages you’re entitled to. To determine your legal rights, our truck accident lawyers must review your case’s various aspects.
The Frequency of Commercial Truck Accidents
Unfortunately, semi-truck accidents have become increasingly common over the past several years. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), “In 2017, 4,889 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, a nine percent increase from 2016.”
While large commercial truck accidents cover a small portion of all automobile accidents, the damage they cause is more likely to be severe and potentially life-threatening.
Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents
Large commercial vehicle accidents occur for countless reasons. Some of the leading causes of semi-truck accidents include:
Sometimes, 18-wheelers crash due to a defective part. Whether said defective part resulted from a manufacturer’s negligence or an act of God that slipped through the most stringent protocols written, if a faulty part caused your truck accident, our personal injury attorneys will know who to hold responsible for the wreck.
Although the American Trucking Association has strict regulations that drivers must abide by, these rules are not always followed. The rules stated below are meant to be followed by every truck driver.
- A truck driver can work 14 hours in a single workday. Only 11 hours can be used for driving, while the rest are for meals and resting.
- Each driver is required to take days off at regular intervals depending on the hours that the trucking company has the driver working.
- Each driver must rest for at least 10 consecutive hours before starting a new workday.
Unfortunately, many ignore these rules and continue driving to meet their deadlines. Truckers are often required to drive long distances in record times, allowing for the bare minimum of time (if that) to rest: as a result, truckers may choose to press on, despite the danger in doing so.
Truckers spend a lot of time away from family and friends due to the nature of their job. This can be difficult to manage and causes some truck drivers to turn to alcohol to cope with their solitary life on the road. Unfortunately, some drivers don’t leave the bottle behind when the clock starts, making it easier for them to injure themselves or others seriously.
Many trucking accidents are caused by truckers who decide to get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol.
If cargo is not safely secured, it can create serious risks for the driver and other motorists. Cargo should always be properly secured on the carrier, following state and local regulations at a minimum.
With such large amounts of cargo being shipped across the country daily, truck drivers must reach their destinations by certain deadlines. For this reason, many truck drivers speed to ensure they deliver their cargo within the strict time frame.
Poor truck maintenance
If tractor-trailers do not receive regular maintenance checks, it can result in trucking accidents. Maintenance ensures trucks function correctly and do not need repairs or new parts.
Although these are some of the leading causes of 18-wheeler collisions, there are plenty of other reasons a truck accident can happen. The road is often unpredictable, and even drivers who do their best to stick to the speed limit and drive defensively may find themselves subjected to the whims of fate. As such, even if you should never have to use this information, knowing how to proceed is important if you are involved in a large commercial vehicle wreck.
What Truck Accident Victims Should Do After the Collision
The moments immediately following a semi-truck accident can majorly affect any compensation you may receive. For this reason, you must know what steps to take to protect your legal rights. If you or someone you know is involved in a tractor-trailer crash, consider implementing the following tips:
- Remain at the Collision Scene
It’s important to remain at the collision scene after an accident. You could face criminal charges if you decide to flee the accident scene. Furthermore, you need to remain at the scene, so a police officer can write a report on the facts of the wreck.
Police reports serve as an impartial, authoritative record of your accident and are extremely valuable in court as a third-party source. Insurance companies usually need to know exactly how the wreck occurred. Without a police report, it can be difficult to determine liability.
- Check for Injuries
After a truck accident, you could be severely hurt. Before you decide to move and risk further injury, see if you can locate any serious injuries on your person or with other passengers in the vehicle. It could be that severe injuries prevent someone from being able to move, in which case you should communicate that to emergency responders.
You should also get to safety if you can. If the vehicle is still operational after the truck accident, try to pull off to the side of the road. If the car cannot move, and it is safe to do so, leave the vehicle and get off the road. However, this should only be done if there is no danger from other drivers on the road.
- Contact Emergency Responders
Injuries and property damage will likely occur in a commercial vehicle accident. It’s vital to call emergency responders immediately after a collision. If medical attention is necessary, the paramedics can transport the injured individuals to a hospital.
- Seek Medical Attention
After a tractor-trailer accident, it’s crucial to seek medical attention. Even if you don’t feel immediate pain, you should still be evaluated by a medical professional. Being examined by a doctor can make all the difference, especially if you sustained an injury that might not manifest for weeks or even months. Additionally, if you wait to be seen by a doctor and your condition worsens, it can damage your chances of obtaining compensation.
- Gather Evidence Pertaining to the Mishap
Evidence is important when attempting to file a claim to receive compensation. It’s important to gather any evidence you can at the accident scene before it is eliminated. This can include photographs of your injuries and any property damage, witness statements, and the police report. Evidence can significantly help your claim.
- Exchange Contact Information
It’s vital to exchange contact information with the party or parties involved. Contact information can include the following:
- Driver’s license number
- Phone number
- Insurance information
- Name and phone number of the trucking company
- Address of the commercial vehicle company
- License plate number
- Contact an Experienced Attorney
A truck accident involving large commercial vehicles often leads to serious injuries and property damage. Furthermore, this type of case involves numerous complex details and possibly third parties, such as the manufacturing company of the truck or the company that requested the shipment.
Proving Negligence After a Tractor-Trailer Wreck
Proving who is responsible for the wreck is the core issue of many big rig accident cases. If you decide to take legal action, proving fault will be essential to obtaining compensation. However, the party or parties at fault is not always clear. Some of the parties that may be held liable in a commercial vehicle accident include:
- The driver
- Trucking companies
- Vehicle parts manufacturers
- Loading and shipping companies
Trucking companies, particularly large or semi trucks, tend to adopt unhealthy habits that place them at fault more frequently than the actual truck drivers. This can include improper training and rewarding truck drivers for long hours and high speeds. Enforcing unrealistic schedules will likely push a truck driver to drive unsafely and cause an accident.
These poor decisions and negligent habits on behalf of the truck driver and the trucking company place other motorists in danger.
It’s essential to have an attorney familiar with trucking industry laws in your corner to cut through non-payment insurance company tactics, efforts to pass blame, and the murky nature of proving fault. This will give you a better chance of obtaining the full amount of compensation you deserve for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and future earnings
- Emotional trauma
- Lost relationships
- Pain and suffering
If you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be able to pursue a claim.
When both parties share liability, comparative negligence law determines the amount of compensation owed. If you share 49 percent or less of the responsibility for the wreck, you may be able to collect compensation for damages. However, if you are found to share 50 percent or more of the blame for the wreck, you will not be awarded damages.
Your percentage of fault for the accident is the amount at which your compensation may be reduced. However, this only applies if you’re found to be under 50 percent responsible for the accident.
For example, if you share 10 percent of the blame for an accident and are owed $10,000 in damages, you would likely only receive $9,000.
Insurance Adjuster and Trucking Company Tactics
No insurance company wants to pay for damages for truck accident victims, so they will if they can avoid it. In fact, many companies pay lawyers to argue against your claim and deny you the compensation you deserve. That’s why it’s so important to have a truck accident lawyer in your corner who can help you fight back.
Trucking companies also adopt various strategies to avoid liability in the event of an accident. Many will lease trucks rather than buy them outright, so when a claimant seeks the owner of a truck after an accident, they can’t come to the trucking company.
Both insurance and trucking companies may use tactics such as these to pay little to no compensation for your injuries and property damage. For this reason, it’s imperative to consult truck accident attorneys about your legal options to ensure you’re not taken advantage of by these companies.
Tennessee Truck Accident FAQs
Are Truck Accident Cases Handled the Same Way as Car Accident Cases?
Truck accident cases tend to be much more complex than car accident cases. A semi-truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, while the typical motor vehicle weighs around 5,000 pounds. For this reason, trucking accidents tend to be more severe, often resulting in serious injuries or death. Furthermore, this type of case involves numerous details that a legal professional must review.
How Is Fault Determined?
Determining who is at fault in a trucking accident is crucial to the success of your claim. Truck accident cases usually involve an in-depth investigation to determine liability, as several parties other than the driver may be responsible, such as the trucking company or truck manufacturer. Collecting evidence will be crucial to proving fault.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Each truck accident case is unique, so the amount awarded for damages will depend on the circumstances of your individual case. Factors such as your medical expenses, the extent of your injuries and property damage, and whether or not you have lost wages due to the accident will significantly impact how much your case is worth.
When Should I Hire a Nashville Truck Accident Lawyer?
As soon as possible! Truck accidents are more severe than regular car accidents and involve numerous details that a truck accident attorney should handle. Additionally, trucking companies will do everything they can to avoid paying compensation for damages; the sooner you get someone on your side who knows how to navigate the defenses they may throw your way, the more likely you will see the outcome you need from your lawsuit.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Nashville Truck Accident Claims?
All personal injuries in the state of Tennessee have a statute of limitations equal to one year after the accident. That means you have one year from the date of the collision to contact a Nashville truck accident lawyer and file a claim against the responsible parties. Waiting too long will result in your case being unsuccessful.
Contact Experienced Nashville Truck Accident Lawyers Today
At Mitch Grissim & Associates in Tennessee’s law office, we strongly advocate for injured victims. We understand truck accident victims’ frustration and stress after a wreck that wasn’t their wrongdoing. If you or a loved one suffered injuries directly caused by a negligent 18-wheeler driver, we can help.
We know the tactics of insurance and trucking companies and will not allow you to fall for their schemes. Our experienced truck accident lawyers will assist you with your claim and ensure the responsible party and/or parties are held accountable for your damages from catastrophic injuries. If you experienced the wrongful death of a loved one, you may be compensated for your loss.
If you’re in the Nashville area and need an experienced truck accident attorney after a collision, call our law firm at 615-255-9999, or fill out our free consultation form. Let our team of aggressive Nashville truck accident lawyers fight on your behalf.