Economic and non-economic losses, such as lost wages, medical bills, legal fees, property replacement and pain and suffering are addressed in loss valuations with punitive damages in some cases.
The United States Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Administration data on fatal crashes reveals 2019 highway fatality numbers decreased by 2.0 percent from 2018, but still claimed over 33,244 lives, and combination trucks involved in fatal crashes occurred in 5.9 percent of those accidents. Much of the time when a truck accident occurs, the fault falls on the driver of the truck, due to common traffic violations such as speeding, tailgating, driving while intoxicated, driving while tired, or recklessly driving, and there are times when accidents occur because of illness, road conditions and bad weather conditions. Twenty-nine percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes with a large truck in 2019 were in vehicles struck head-on by the truck and another 24 percent were in vehicles that were side-struck by the truck. Twenty-four percent involved the front of the passenger vehicle striking the rear of the large truck. Each type of collision can lead to differences in catastrophic injury and wrongful death due to the size of a tractor trailer, so it is best to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney to determine who may be responsible for accident damages in Knoxville Tennessee.
Truck accident lawyers are skilled at identifying additional parties to an accident claim, separate from the truck driver, including trucking companies, mechanics, or manufacturers of a truck and/or parts, and understand the trucking industry and relevant regulatory laws. They can determine the best legal approach to individual cases such as mediation, arbitration or going to trial, while staving off unnecessary pressure from insurance companies who want to swiftly close out a claim.
State and federal laws
Tennessee Statute TCA § 55-7-203(b)(3) restricts commercial vehicles weight to no more than 80,000 pounds and they must be no wider than 8 feet and no taller than 13 ½ feet. The size and weight of a truck increase the possibility of death, and severe injury. A typical tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, compared to passenger vehicle weighing about 3,000 or 4,000 pounds. A truck’s braking capability is a factor in accidents because a loaded tractor-trailer needs about 20-40% more distance to stop than a passenger car, and the distance is increased when roadways are wet and slippery, or brakes have not been maintained. A skilled attorney experienced with trucking regulations can help.
TCA § 55-50-403 ensures employees have current CDL licenses, and valid medical cards stating drivers are medically fit to drive. Tennessee follows federal guidelines for all commercial motor vehicles subject to regulations of the United States Department of Transportation, 49 C.F.R. part 387, regarding insurance in an amount equivalent to the minimum levels of financial responsibility set forth in the regulations. An experienced legal professional in Tennessee may assist with a wrongful death action, but a strong case may require an expert accident reconstructionist and a review of a trucking company’s documentation to determine negligence.
Economic and non-economic losses, such as lost wages, medical bills, legal fees, property replacement and pain and suffering are addressed in loss valuations with punitive damages in some cases. Complex valuations, particularly those involving catastrophic loss and death, are determined with input from lawyers, insurance companies and juries who must consider what is a fair and reasonable amount of money to cover the loss, based on a compilation of evidence provided to the court.
Hire a lawyer
Tractor trailer truck accidents involve multiple complex factors that require specific knowledge of the commercial trucking industry, extensive experience of civil laws, and sophisticated investigative capabilities to collect evidence and analyze it to support a negligence claim by a skilled truck accident attorney.