Knoxville is home to the University of Tennessee and many arts and music festivals. Festivals include Boomsday, the Dogwood Arts Festival, the East Tennessee Chili Cookoff, Rossini Festival, Kuumba Festival, and the Knoxville Lindy Exchange. Two interstate highways run through the city, I-40 and I-75, but the busiest road there is Alcoa Highway, which runs from downtown to the McGhee Tyson Airport. Knoxville is connected to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by US-441. Surrounding the city are several towns that are part of its metropolitan area, such as Farragut, which was named after a Civil War admiral. If a commercial driver’s negligence has harmed you in Knoxville or the surrounding region, an experienced truck crash attorney may be able to help you seek compensation. Knoxville truck accident lawyer Matt Hardin has assisted many Tennessee residents harmed by careless or reckless individuals and entities. He is skilled in pursuing claims based on injuries suffered in car wrecks, truck wrecks, wrongful death, medical malpractice, slip and falls, nursing home negligence, and other accidents.
In Tennessee, a victim asserting negligence against a truck driver after a collision must prove four main elements, consisting of a duty of care, a breach of the duty, causation, and damages. Commercial drivers and the companies that employ them must abide by strict federal and state regulations. Certain failures to abide by safety statutes enacted to protect the public can result in a lawsuit alleging not only negligence, but also negligence per se. A truck accident lawyer serving Knoxville can explain the nuances of this rule.
With a negligence per se claim, a plaintiff must show that a defendant violated a law enacted for the benefit of a particular class of people or the public. The victim also will need to prove that he or she was within the class of people that the legislature intended to protect with the statute or ordinance, and that the defendant’s violation was the proximate cause of the accident. For example, commercial drivers may not have a blood alcohol level of .04% or higher in Tennessee. This law is intended to protect other motorists from intoxicated truckers.
A plaintiff can use evidence of a truck driver’s blood alcohol content to create a presumption of negligence. When a serious crash occurs, there is usually a law enforcement investigation that leads to a police report. Commercial drivers, like ordinary motorists, must submit to an officer’s demand for chemical testing or face restrictions that could affect their jobs. A truck driver’s DUI conviction or forensic testing, or an officer’s report, can be used to establish the presumption. The driver would face an uphill battle trying to rebut the presumption by introducing evidence that his or her driving was without error and that the victim caused or contributed to the accident.
Your Knoxville truck accident attorney may also identify other theories that apply to your case. For example, if a commercial driver has a history of DUIs, and a trucking company hired the driver or extended his or her employment, it may be appropriate to sue the employer for negligent hiring or negligent supervision. An entity can be held liable in Tennessee when it uses improper individuals or instrumentalities in work that involves a risk of harm to other people. A plaintiff will need to show that the employee was not fit for the job, that he or she posed an unreasonable risk, and that the employer knew or should have known the employee’s past bad acts were likely to be repeated. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that govern commercial trucks require employers to ensure that their drivers meet a certain set of criteria. This includes an investigation of the driver’s employment history and driving record for the prior three years, as well as a duty to annually review a trucker’s driving records and disqualifying offenses, such as drunk driving convictions.
Not all personal injury attorneys are familiar with the many regulations that commercial drivers must follow. The trucking company’s insurers will know these rules in detail, and your ability to negotiate effectively with them in a truck wreck case may depend on finding a Knoxville attorney who knows the regulations inside and out. Contact Matt Hardin by calling 615-200-1111 or sending a message through our online form.