Trucking accident cases involve distinctive vehicles and accident risks. Commercial trucks are subject to substantial federal and state regulations that may impact the decision as to which parties are negligent under the circumstances. Generally, to recover compensation in a Tennessee trucking injury case, a victim must determine the faulty parties’ respective negligence. Experienced Chattanooga car accident attorneys can help you obtain the greatest amount of compensation available for your case.
Trucking accidents scenarios
Due to the massive dimensions and bulk of commercial trucks, as well as standard bumper positions placed at the same height as the head of the driver of a car or motorcycle, even a split-second of carelessness can cause enormous and lethal damage.
Some common accident causes include:
- An exhausted driver
- Negligent training and supervision of truckers by the trucking company
- Hazardous materials spills
- Insufficient vehicle maintenance and/or inspection
- An inebriated or impaired driver
- A truck overloaded with freight
- Rollovers or under rides
It may often be difficult to decide fault if the accident caused great physical devastation to people and/or property — there may be no witnesses due to death or serious disability, and the crash’s physical evidence may be harder to analyze.
Trucking accidents can happen on interstate highways or involve federally regulated vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has particular enforcement and oversight over the trucking industry for such aspects as weight, insurance, driver and company compliance. Violations of federal regulations that contribute to the accident can be relevant to the accident victim (or surviving family) to support claims against potential parties, which may include the trucker, the trucking companies and manufacturers.
In some instances, the law requires that trucking companies have substantial insurance, which makes financial recovery easier. For example, under federal law, trucks transporting explosive or radioactive material must have a minimum of $5 million in liability insurance.
A driver of a federally regulated truck is treated as an employee of the truck company, not an independent contractor, even if he is listed as the truck’s sole owner or operator. Because, in the vast majority of cases, the truck driver was acting in the course of employment (namely, driving for the company), the company will bear responsibility for the driver’s conduct behind the wheel.
To determine driver or trucking company negligence — which may include violations of federal regulations — a plaintiff in a trucking accident has certain tools at their reach for getting evidence. For example:
- Information from the truck’s black box, the electronic control module (ECM)
- The driver’s log book and receipts
- Post-accident driver drug-alcohol tests
- The driver’s driving record
- Truck company pay roll, insurance and vehicle maintenance records
Skilled auto accident attorneys in Chattanooga will identify the negligent parties and all available compensation sources, as well as negotiate with the insurance companies and seek maximum compensation at trial.
Hire a Chattanooga trucking accident law firm with decades of experience
Berke, Berke & Berke is a renowned personal injury law firm in Chattanooga. The legal profession has honored us for our public commitment to educating and serving the community through civic leadership positions, publications, frequent lectures and effective advocacy for our clients. Contact us for a free consultation.