People injured in auto accidents might face severe injuries, but when large trucks are involved, those injuries can be far worse. The sheer difference in size and weight between a regular car and an 18-wheeler often causes severe damage to the car and any occupants inside, resulting in potentially life-threatening injuries.
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, then our lawyers can help you. We can fight insurance companies and trucking companies to get you damages for your injuries and lost wages, and we can work to get your pain and suffering compensated as well.
For a free review of your injury case, call the truck accident lawyers at Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357.
Common Contributing Causes of Truck Accidents in La Vergne, TN
More often than not, the occupants of the smaller car are the ones to face serious injuries in a truck accident, and the truck driver often faces no injuries or mild injuries only. As one might expect, the truck is often the cause of these accidents, but the specific cause can vary widely from driver error to problems with the truck itself. The following are all contributing causes of truck accidents that our truck accident lawyers see come up in cases quite often:
One of the biggest reasons that truck accidents happen is because the truck driver is not properly looking out for other vehicles. Trucks have large blind spots, with areas that the driver cannot see located directly in front of the cab, directly behind the trailer, and along the side of the trailer. Drivers should be aware of their blind spots and take extra precautions, from looking out the window to checking convex mirrors or cameras to check their blind spots. When they do not – or when they simply fail to check the areas that they can see – they might drive straight into another vehicle, causing a crash.
Tractor-trailers hold a large amount of cargo, and drivers must take steps to ensure that it is properly loaded to avoid potential accidents. First, trucks typically have a weight limit of 80,000 pounds, so anything heavier than that is outright illegal in most cases. Further, cargo must be properly secured and tied down to prevent unnecessary shifting during transit, which can make the trailer harder to control. Additionally, cargo must be loaded in the right location in the vehicle or else the risk of fishtailing and causing an accident is increased.
Lighting, tires, and other equipment on a truck must be in working order. There are state and federal guidelines about proper equipment, as well as industry standards and general standards of reasonableness. If a trucker allows broken, malfunctioning, or missing equipment to make their truck more dangerous, they could be responsible for crashes the truck causes. Additionally, trucking companies often share liability, as they are usually the ones who own the trucks and take responsibility for keeping them in proper working order.
Driver Health and Licensing
Drivers must be properly licensed with commercial driver’s licenses. In order to maintain a commercial license, the driver must undergo health evaluations and have a mostly clean driving record. Hiding health conditions like diabetes that could make them unsafe behind the wheel is potentially a violation. Hiding a history of DUI or vehicular assault that proves they are dangerous behind the wheel is also a violation. If trucking companies fail to root out these potential dangers, they could be liable for putting a dangerous driver on the road.
Most accidents are ultimately caused by traffic violations. When truckers drive drunk, speed, or run red lights, it can be far more dangerous than when a driver in a smaller car or SUV does it. In cases where a trucker causes an accident, they can be held liable if their traffic violations contributed to the crash. Trucking companies may also be held accountable for their drivers’ actions on the road.
Holding Truckers and Trucking Companies Liable for Accidents in La Vergne, TN
As mentioned, the trucker and the trucking company they work for can often be held accountable for truck accidents in Tennessee. This usually happens under a couple of legal principles it is important to understand if you are considering a truck accident claim:
Most accidents happen because of someone’s mistakes rather than intentional wrongdoing. Legally speaking, you file a claim of “negligence” when someone injures you in a truck accident. In this case, you claim that the accident happened because they violated a legal duty they owed you and that the breach of duty was what caused your injuries. This can be a traffic violation, a regulatory violation, or some other violation of safe-driving principles that caused the crash.
Truck drivers are usually held responsible for negligence, but trucking companies might also commit negligence, usually in hiring/firing decisions or truck maintenance practices.
When an employee of a company commits negligence while performing within the scope of their duties, their employer can usually be made to answer instead of the individual worker. This principle is called “respondeat superior” and allows trucking companies to be sued for accidents their drivers cause. In many truck accident cases, this will help you sue the company – which is more likely to be able to afford the damages – instead of relying on the individual driver to pay you back for your injuries.
If the trucker was self-employed, then there is no company they work for, but many truckers are, in fact, employees of various trucking and shipping companies.
Call Our Truck Accident Attorneys for Help Today
If you were injured in a truck accident, call the truck accident lawyers at Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 for a free case assessment.