Make sure you protect your rights and explore your options following a truck accident.
The commercial trucking industry is necessary to our economy. We rely on truckers to transport goods to the grocery stores. We also rely on them to deliver our online purchases to our homes. The popularity of online shopping and increased consumerism has led to more commercial trucks on the roads. More trucks on the road translates to a higher occurrence of truck accidents. Here are a few important things to know about truck accidents in Tennessee.
What Causes Truck Accidents in Tennessee?
Truck accidents can happen for many of the same reasons as any auto accident does, including the following:
- Overweight trailers or trucks: Commercial trucks that are too heavy make it difficult for drivers to come to a complete stop. When carriers overload their trucks and exceed their maximum weight limits, it can increase the risk of an accident.
- Speeding or reckless driving: Commercial truck drivers who speed or are reckless are also more likely to cause an accident. Most states, including Tennessee, expect truck drivers to follow truck speed limits rather than personal vehicle speed limits.
- Distracted driving: Using cell phones has increased the risk of accidents, including ones involving trucks. Tennessee recently implemented a Do Not Text law, which went into effect on July 1, 2023, and prohibits texting and driving. This law covers all drivers, including commercial truck drivers.
- Fatigued driving: Fatigue is one of the most common causes of truck accidents, as drivers attempt to reach their destinations faster. State and federal laws limit the miles a commercial truck driver can complete daily and weekly. At the most, the government prevents commercial truckers from exceeding 11 hours within a 24-hour period.
Tennessee laws are in place to protect drivers from truck accidents. For example, commercial trucks driving through Tennessee can’t exceed a weight limit of 80,000 pounds. The federal government, specifically the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) through the Department of Transportation (DOT), also oversees the regulation of commercial truck drivers.
What Should You Do if You’re in a Truck Accident?
The time following any accident can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. It’s easy to forget details or forgo medical treatment, which can hurt your case eligibility. If you or your family member ever find yourself the victim of a truck accident case, it’s crucial to take note of the scene of the accident. It might even be helpful to write down any thoughts or observations since the stress of the day can easily make you forget them later. Make sure you also write down or save the contact information of any witnesses, which can help you later determine liability.
You’ll also want to notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Of course, the most important thing you should do following any accident is to seek medical care. It doesn’t matter if you feel fine. The adrenaline and fear often present after an accident can easily mask the symptoms of an injury. At a minimum, let a medical professional complete a thorough evaluation and make recommendations. This also documents the accident and makes it easier to connect any symptoms you may have later to the original cause.
When Do You Need To Call a Lawyer for a Truck Accident?
Any time an accident leaves you with expensive or painful injuries, you should consider contacting a lawyer. Tennessee is an at-fault state, which means that the responsible driver is in charge of covering your costs. If a commercial truck driver causes you injury, then you may seek compensation from their employer’s insurance company. Many truck accident victims find the services of a Nashville semi-truck accident lawyer to be beneficial when dealing with the aftermath.
It’s usually best to work with a lawyer when you suffer significant injuries to ensure you’re fairly compensated. It’s not uncommon for a trucking company to offer a settlement. Many victims may be tempted to agree to a settlement to avoid a lengthy lawsuit process. However, a settlement rarely covers the full costs of your damages. A typical truck accident can lead to expensive medical bills, property damages, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Minimally, it can be helpful to talk with a truck accident lawyer to understand how much you should get and compare this against any settlement offers you receive. Additionally, working with a truck accident lawyer allows you to focus on your recovery rather than the many administrative tasks often a part of filing a lawsuit.
No one wants to deal with a truck accident, but when it happens, it’s better to be prepared and know your legal rights. A commercial truck accident can easily lead to expensive medical bills and required time off from work. Make sure you protect your rights and explore your options following a truck accident.