For safety, every driver is taught to check blind spots before changing lanes. This practice is especially important for people operating vehicles with large blind spots, like tractor-trailers. The Nashville truck accident lawyers of Matt Hardin Law have significant experience helping people seek compensation for their injuries. If you were injured by a careless commercial driver, you have rights under Tennessee law.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 3,300 large-truck accidents occurred in Tennessee in 2013. As a result of these collisions, 121 people died and more than 1,000 were injured. Many truck accidents are caused by a negligent driver. The FMCSA data show that 622 drivers involved in large truck crashes in 2012 received some type of citation from law enforcement.
Drivers or passengers hurt by a careless trucker may file a lawsuit. In Tennessee, employers are often responsible for the actions of their employees, which gives accident victims the right to sue not only the driver but the trucking company for which the driver works. Most of these personal injury lawsuits allege negligence, which requires a victim to proceed through three steps.
First, the truck driver must have owed a duty to the victim. In road accident cases, this is usually easily proven. All drivers owe a duty of reasonable care to everyone around them.
Second, the victim must prove that the driver breached this duty of reasonable care. In blind spot accidents, this can be done by showing that the driver did not check the truck’s blind spot before changing lanes. Failing to check a commercial vehicle’s large blind spots is considered unreasonable behavior and a breach of the reasonable care duty.
Finally, the victim’s injuries must have been caused by the driver’s actions. If the trucker caused an accident that harmed the plaintiff, this element is easily met. However, a victim who did not sustain any financial, physical, or emotional injuries will not succeed in a negligence action.
It is important for a person injured in a truck accident to seek the advice of an attorney soon after the crash. Successfully litigating these cases often turns on evidence that is easily lost or destroyed, such as driver logs. Therefore, the sooner a victim contacts an experienced attorney, the sooner the attorney can act to preserve the important evidence.
If a jury finds a defendant liable, it may award the victim compensatory damages. These damages reimburse the plaintiff for two types of injuries. Certain damages compensate the victim for economic injuries, such as medical bills, property damages, and other easily quantifiable costs. Further, the defendant also may be ordered to compensate the victim for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other subjective injuries. In some cases, defendants that acted maliciously or recklessly might have to pay punitive damages as well.
Litigating a truck accident case may require fighting trucking companies, insurance companies, and private defense attorneys. A trial lawyer with experience is an essential weapon for an accident victim. The Tennessee truck crash attorneys of Matt Hardin Law have the knowledge and experience to help you protect your rights. If you were injured by a careless truck driver in Nashville or another local community, call (615) 200-1111 or visit our contact page to arrange a free initial consultation.