Chattanooga, Tennessee is the hub of a thriving economic area with abundant natural resources and a convenient location near Alabama and Georgia. Although there is no dominant industry, the city has experienced a small amount of growth in transportation, utilities, and trade and a small decline in manufacturing. A strong system of highway, rail, air, and water transportation makes Chattanooga a major distribution center. Local attractions such as the Tennessee Aquarium, Ruby Falls on Lookout Mountain, the Hunter Museum of American Art, and Rock City Gardens attract visitors from surrounding cities and suburbs like Soddy Daisy and Signal Mountain. However, truck crashes caused by careless commercial drivers in the Chattanooga area can be devastating. If you have been involved in a crash, you should consider consulting Chattanooga truck accident lawyer Matt Hardin. He has dedicated his career to helping victims pursue justice and compensation after car wrecks, truck wrecks, wrongful death, medical malpractice, slip and falls, nursing home negligence, and other accidents.
People in ordinary cars struck by big rigs are likely to experience serious injuries due to the weight and size of those large vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates the amount of weight trucks can carry, how many hours truckers may travel without resting, and driver qualifications. Unfortunately, trucking companies still offer incentives to drivers to work longer hours and overload vehicles.
If a commercial driver causes an accident that harms you, you may be able to sue both the driver and the employer for negligence, and a Chattanooga attorney with experience handling truck accident cases can represent you. Holding the employer accountable is important because when injuries are significant and costly, the driver’s insurance policy alone may not cover all of your economic losses. These are quantifiable damages such as past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, rehabilitation, and out-of-pocket expenses. Medical costs can be substantial for catastrophic harm like traumatic brain injury or paralysis, particularly if you need treatment for the rest of your life. Thus, it is important to be able to hold all responsible parties accountable, including the driver’s employer when appropriate.
A trucking company sometimes may be held vicariously liable for its driver’s negligence, and a Chattanooga truck accident attorney can help you assert this type of claim. This doctrine does not require a finding that the trucking company acted carelessly itself. Rather, if negligence is found against its employee, responsibility for that behavior is imputed to the company if the at-fault driver was acting in the course and scope of employment.
In addition to vicarious liability, a plaintiff can also assert causes of action that attempt to hold a trucking company directly liable. These include negligent entrustment, negligent supervision, or negligent hiring. The plaintiff must show that the employer failed to act reasonably under the circumstances. For example, if a trucking company permits a driver to use its tractor-trailer as an independent contractor, and the trucker’s negligent driving causes an accident, the entity may be held liable on the basis of negligent entrustment. The plaintiff will need to prove the company was aware or should have been aware that the driver was not fit to operate the vehicle when given permission to drive it.
If you were hurt in a truck wreck in the Chattanooga area, you may be concerned about your ability to pay medical bills as you recover. Experienced accident lawyer Matt Hardin can evaluate whether you have a viable claim against the commercial driver and trucking company, and provide you with diligent representation if you do. Trucking companies and drivers typically have a number of defense attorneys and insurance adjusters trying to figure out how to reduce or remove liability so that they will not have to pay damages. You will need a legal professional on your side to protect your rights. You can reach Matt Hardin by calling (615) 200-1111 or sending a message through the contact form on our website.