TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS
RAMER & HEDRICK STANDS BY TENNESSEE BIG RIG INJURY VICTIMS
Because of its strategic location in the southern portion of the United States, Tennessee is known as a trucking state. This is especially true in Chattanooga, where I-24 meets I-75, offering commercial truckers a straight shot to the Southeast. The prevalence of these semi trucks on our highways increases the chances that a distracted or fatigued big rig driver could make one wrong move that leads to tragedy.
In 2015, one of the deadliest car accidents in Tennessee was caused by the driver of a tractor-trailer truck who failed to properly brake in a construction zone on I-75, slamming into eight cars and killing six people. Twelve others were seriously injured. In 2014, accidents involving large trucks claimed 110 lives statewide, according to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Causes of Semi Accidents
Although the causes of truck accidents vary, the result often is very much the same. Serious injuries, massive property and vehicle damage and even death frequently occur when a huge big rig slams into a car. For those who survive, or for the family of the deceased, a truck accident usually means a long road to recovery.
Understanding what causes truck accidents could help you avoid them. If you know what to watch for, you are likely to be more alert and better able to react when a semi makes its first erroneous move.
The leading causes of truck accidents are:
- driver fatigue. Although this might seem like the No. 1 cause of truck accidents resulting in injuries, surprisingly, it isn’t. Falling asleep behind the wheel does happen, but it’s rare. When it does occur, it’s often attributed to a medical condition that wasn’t diagnosed as of the driver’s last physical.
- distracted driving. Driving while distracted encompasses a wide range of activities, from texting to eating to changing the radio station while driving. The state of Tennessee forbids drivers from texting and driving. Commercial vehicle operators found in violation of the law are fined heavily for each punishable offense.
- speeding. Driving at a high rate of speed is among the leading causes of truck accidents. An 800,000-lb. truck becomes exponentially more dangerous every mile over the speed limit.
- faulty brakes. Trucks with failing brakes cause numerous accidents on Tennessee roadways. Regular safety checks are imperative, as they prevent potential problems from occurring. Often, road-weary drivers or the trucking companies that employ them let these checks lapse, greatly increasing the chances of a brake malfuction.
- tailgating. Trucks require a lot of room to safely slow down or stop. But often, truckers get too close to the vehicle in front of them, reducing their chances of appropriately reacting if the lead car hits the brakes. Especially at high rates of speed, slowing or stopping suddenly can easily lead to catastrophe.
If a truck accident was caused by any of the above factors, the victims or their families could retain a truck accident lawyer and file suit against the negligent party. If, for example, it can be proven that a truck driver drove beyond the weekly hourly limit as defined by state law, the trucking company also could be held liable for knowingly allowing the driver to break the law. In a case like this, a lawsuit could have multiple defendants, all liable for damages.
TRUCKING REGULATIONS OFTEN ARE NOT FOLLOWED
Truck accidents can be devastating for everyone involved. Given the sheer potential for death, injury and damage, the trucking industry is subject to considerable State and Federal safety regulations and oversight. While there are many different causes of big rig crashes, negligence often is at the root. To stay in business, trucking fleet operators must comply with substantial rules and regulations related to the mechanical condition of their vehicles as well as the well-being of their drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was put in place in 2000 to prevent injuries and fatalities involving commercial vehicles, and its regulations are vast. Sometimes it can be proven that these regulations were not followed by the trucking companies. Examples include failure to monitor fatigued drivers or delays in scheduled big rig maintenance. Either could have catastrophic consequences on the road.
Because personal injury, property damage and economic losses tend to be magnified in truck accident cases, the level of compensation often is higher than accidents involving only cars. Additionally, multiple parties could be held responsible, including the driver and the company that employs the driver. Our Chattanooga truck accident lawyers specialize in cases involving big rig crashes, and our Firm will be able to determine who likely is liable and responsible for the injuries you suffered. Ramer & Hedrick, P.C. will aggressively pursue them on your behalf.
THEIR LAWYERS WILL BE READY. WILL YOU?
Trucking and insurance companies often assemble formidable legal teams to protect against accident claims because they know that their potential losses can be significant. And they’ll likely succeed, unless you retain a skilled truck accident law firm to take them on.
Signing a low-ball settlement with a trucking company’s insurance firm not only deprives you of the compensation you rightly deserve for your suffering, but it gives them a free pass. A slap on the wrist won’t invoke change like a substantial judgment against, or a large settlement.
By formulating effective legal strategies, our Chattanooga truck accident attorneys can combat the large insurance companies and help you recover damages from the negligent party or parties. These damages could include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, lost future wages and pain and suffering.
We work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay us anything unless we win or settle your case. Call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation.