Tennessee Semi-Truck Crash Lawyers
Highway safety is an issue of great concern to most residents of Tennessee. In addition to personal injury and auto accident cases, our lawyers also handle accident cases involving trucking safety and trucking accidents. Semi truck and eighteen wheeler accidents present unique issues not necessarily associated with a typical motor vehicle accident. These differences include:
· Greater likelihood of serious injuries or deaths
· Negligent hiring and supervision claims
· Negligent maintenance claims
· Unique insurance coverage issues
· Governmental regulation
· Trucking records and Logs
With the explosion of trucks on Tennessee highways, accidents between cars, motorcycles, and semi-trailer trucks are on the rise. Truck accidents often occur when trucks are traveling in an unsafe manner or are loaded in an unsafe manner, causing injuries to other drivers.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) was formed in the early 1980’s in an effort to curb the unacceptable number of fatal truck accidents occurring on highways in Tennessee and across the nation.
Laws were enacted that prohibited truck drivers from having more than one license. By 1992, truck drivers were required to meet minimum national standards in order to operate a tractor trailer. Once a driver met these standards, he was issued a Commercial Driver’s License ( CDL).
Today, to help reduce fatal Tennessee truck accidents, each truck driver is required to be licensed in his state of principal residence with his driving record kept in a centralized computer for access by each state.
The new laws also required each state to adopt uniform testing standards for commercial drivers prior to being licensed. A CDL is required to operate the following vehicles:
any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the GVWR of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds;
any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver; and
any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
However, the following vehicle operators are NOT required to obtain a CDL:
farm equipment operators;
vehicles used to transport farm products, equipment or supplies to and from a farm;
vehicles used within 150 air miles of a farm;
vehicles not used in operations of a contract carrier; and
firefighting equipment operators, military vehicle operators, and recreational vehicle operators, if the vehicle is primarily used for personal use.
For certain vehicles, special endorsements are required. There are five possible CDL endorsements and one restriction, which require testing.
1. double/triple tractor trailers
2. passenger vehicles
3. tank vehicles
4. semi trucks carrying hazardous materials
5. combination tank and hazardous materials
6. vehicles with air brakes
Causes of Semi Truck Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA), considered the driving force behind the regulation of the trucking industry to reduce truck accidents, covers issues such as driver qualifications, emergency equipment, safe loading, alcohol and drug usage and a number of other factors. Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents include:
- Lack of training
- Overloaded trucks
- Oversized trucks
- Brake failure/defect
- Poor driving conditions
- Driver inexperience
- Running off the road
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Aggressive driving behavior
- Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- Dangerous or reckless driving
- Mechanical failure
If you are injured or suffer a loss in a trucking accident, do not turn to the defendant’s insurance company for help. The insurance company will attempt to settle your claim as quickly as possible before you have a chance to consult an experienced trucking accident attorney. You should never sign documents or agree to a settlement without first consulting an experienced Tennessee truck accident lawyer. We will aggressively protect your rights if you have been injured in a trucking accident.
We understand the unique legal and practical problems associated with 18 wheeler accidents and other truck crashes and have experience dealing with the issues that arise in such cases. Our goals include protecting the individual where litigation is necessary, but also providing resources to help educate the public when injuries are caused by the negligence or carelessness of trucking companies, in hopes of increasing road safety. Contact us today for further information. We offer free initial consultations and work on a contingent fee basis, which means that there is no fee unless we successfully resolve your case.