Morristown Truck Accidents
Truck accidents often result in some of the most catastrophic and deadly accidents on the road today, mainly due to the sheer size and weight of a tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler compared to that of a standard sized car. For example, the average big-rig weighs approximately 80,000 pounds where the average car is just over 4,000 pounds. It is not hard to imagine what occurs when the two collide together – the big-rig wins every time. When truck accidents take place, those involved often sustain disabling injuries that require extensive hospitalization and time away from work. Many times, these accidents are due to the careless driving of the truck driver and could have been prevented but for the truck driver’s negligence. If you or a loved one has been injured by the careless driving of a commercial trucker, call the Morristown truck accident lawyers of Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz. Our attorneys have helped thousands of injured people over the past 25+ years and have collected over $1 billion in compensation for our clients. As the largest personal injury firm based in the Volunteer State, we have the resources and experience to pursue all of the legal remedies you are entitled to under the law.Trucking Violations Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Rules
Most trucks on the road today are governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. So not only do these 18-wheeler drivers have to follow traditional traffic laws across the state, they must also adhere to the regulations set forth under the FMCSA. The FMCSA was established to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries and has set high standards for commercial truck drivers and their employers. Some of the regulations are as follows:
- Employers must conduct detailed background checks on all of their drivers. If it is found that their driver has been involved in past auto accidents or has a history of driving under the influence (DUI), the employer could be liable for any injuries their driver caused. This is a legal theory known as negligent hiring.
- Detailed log books documenting drive times and rest periods must be kept. Per the FMCSA, drivers are only allowed to drive consecutively for a certain amount of hours. Once that time has been reached, drivers must not be allowed to drive again until they have had the appropriate rest time. These hours of service guidelines are designed to prevent truck driver fatigue.
- Truck drivers are not allowed to operate their vehicle with a blood alcohol level concentration of 0.04% or greater. This limit is significantly lower than the 0.08% limit set by Tennessee law for non-commercial drivers.
If a truck driver or his employer violates a FMCSA regulation and causes an accident with you, they may be liable for the injuries you have sustained. Under Tennessee law, liability can be proven using negligence per se. Negligence per se is a legal doctrine whereby an act is considered negligent because it violated a law or regulation.
Three elements must be proven in order to be successful in asserting a negligence per se claim. First, a law must be broken that was created to protect a person or the public. Second, the injured party must be in the class of people the safety law was intended to protect. Last, the injured party must show that the violation caused the accident to occur. For example, if you were on the Appalachian Highway headed to Walters State Community College for class when a fatigued truck driver rear-ended you, you may be successful in bringing a negligence per se claim if it is found the truck driver was driving over his allowable drive time. As truck accident lawyers, our job in representing Morristown victims may include hiring expert witnesses who can review evidence and identify FMCSA rule violations.Types of Recovery in Truck Accident Cases
There are two main forms of compensation available to injured parties in truck accident cases – compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are designed to make the victim whole as best as possible. They focus on your tangible (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) and your intangible (pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, etc.) losses. Punitive damages are only awarded if truck driver or trucking company acted maliciously, intentionally, fraudulently, or recklessly. Punitive damages exist to punish an at-fault party for wrongful actions and serve as a deterrent for others considering acting that way in the future.Retain a Truck Accident Attorney in the Morristown Area Today
Truck accident cases are often highly complex with many moving parts. To ensure that all of your legal rights are being protected and that you are adequately compensated for your losses, it is important to hire an attorney who is experienced in handling trucking accident cases and also experienced in Tennessee personal injury and motor vehicle accident law. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, our Morristown truck accident attorneys can handle crash cases all across Tennessee, including East Tennessee cities such as Morristown, Knoxville, Jefferson City, Greenville, Kingsport, and Bean Station. Contact our office by calling 800-529-4004 or completing our online form to set up a free consultation with a lawyer. NST is the way to go.