Knoxville Tanker Truck Accidents
Experienced Big Rig Crash Lawyers Helping Victims in Knoxville and Beyond
Accidents involving tanker trucks are more dangerous than those involving standard big rigs due to the hazardous materials that may be on board. If you have been injured, or if a loved one was killed, in a tanker truck accident, do not face off with the large trucking company or its lawyers on your own, as these companies devote massive resources to defending injury claims. Call Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz to discuss your case with a knowledgeable Knoxville truck accident lawyer. We may be able to represent you and assist in pursuing your damages. Our firm has the resources to hire experts and investigators in the appropriate situations to gather the evidence needed to assert a convincing case against big trucking companies and their insurance carriers.
Holding a Tanker Truck Driver and Employer Liable for Your Accident
Tanker truck accidents often result in explosions or fires. Due to the inherent danger in transporting flammable or toxic materials, tanker truck drivers must possess a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a specific endorsement before driving any vehicle used to transport these materials. In order for a driver to obtain this endorsement, he or she must pass a written test about the hazardous materials regulations and requirements set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Further, the regulations require training and testing of all hazardous materials drivers, and the employer must ensure this is complete as well as keep sufficient records for those employees.
What happens if you were involved in an accident in Knoxville with a truck driver who was not properly licensed or trained? Tennessee recognizes the doctrine of negligence per se, under which an act can be considered negligent simply because it violates a law. Tennessee also recognizes the doctrine of vicarious liability, which allows an employer to be held responsible for the negligent actions of its employees if committed during the course and scope of employment. This allows an accident victim to pursue a larger recovery for his or her injuries, as trucking companies are required to carry insurance coverage with higher commercial limits than what most citizens must purchase pursuant to Tennessee law. This can make a big difference for someone with catastrophic injuries.
Under these two doctrines, if a person driving a truck in excess of the speed limit crashes into another vehicle, then the victim of the tanker truck accident may be able to seek compensation for his or her injuries against the trucker under the doctrine of negligence per se, or negligence as a matter of law. To succeed under this theory, the victim must show that the defendant violated a safety law, that the victim was within the class of persons that the law was designed to protect, and that the victim suffered damages as a result of the violation.
If the accident occurred while the tanker truck driver was performing work duties, then the employer may be vicariously liable for the driver’s negligence, thereby allowing the victim to seek compensation from the employer. On the other hand, the employer may be directly liable for the plaintiff’s injuries if it allowed the trucker to drive without a proper CDL or training. You should discuss your case with a lawyer willing to investigate all potential sources of recovery.
Although they are not frequently seen in small streets or residential neighborhoods, tanker trucks are a common sight on major interstates in the Knoxville area. They are among many factors that contribute to the high rate of fatal accidents on I-40, I-140, I-640, and their on-ramps and off-ramps in recent years. There were 16 of these fatal crashes in 2013-14 alone, most of which involved multiple vehicles. The weight of tanker trucks and other large trucks make them especially dangerous. Tennessee lost 86 victims in passenger cars or outside vehicles to large trucks in 2014, and there were well over a thousand vehicles that were struck by trucks in that year.