Smithville is a small city and the county seat of DeKalb County, located between Cookeville and Nashville, Tennessee. It is about six square miles with a population of roughly 4,000 people. It is the home of the Smithville Fiddler’s Jamboree & Crafts Festival, first held in 1972 on the steps of the county courthouse. Today, the audience for this festival consists of over 100,000 guests from around the United States and abroad. Notable musicians from or living in the town include Lonnie Mack, John Anderson, and Alan Jackson. If you have been hurt by the negligence of a commercial driver near Smithville, you should enlist dedicated attorney Matt Hardin to protect your right to compensation. Big rig wrecks can involve complex federal and state regulations, and it is important to consult a professional who knows these laws. As a Smithville truck accident lawyer, Mr. Hardin is familiar with all types of vehicle collision claims, including those arising from car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. He has also handled many injury claims related to medical malpractice, wrongful death, slip and falls, defective products, and more.
There are four main components in the typical negligence claim based on a truck wreck. Most victims will need to show the big rig driver’s duty of care, a breach of that duty, a causal link connecting the careless conduct to the accident, and actual damages. In general, all commercial drivers owe a duty to everyone on the road to obey traffic rules and take account of weather and road conditions.
When a trucker violates one of the many federal or state regulations that govern this industry, it may be possible to sue based on a theory of negligence per se, which a Smithville attorney with experience in truck accident cases will be familiar with. This theory is helpful because it allows for a rebuttable presumption that the duty and breach elements of a claim have been shown. To prove negligence per se, a victim must show that a safety law was violated, that he or she was among the type of person whom the legislature intended to protect with the law, and that the accident was the type of harm that the statute was designed to forestall. If a violation of a trucking regulation is too remote from the crash to be causally connected to it, however, a claim based on negligence per se will not succeed.
Your Smithville truck accident lawyer can help you assess the applicability of this rule in light of the facts of your case. For example, a truck driver might not have rested for the length of time mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) because his boss gives incentives for the number of miles driven. He is weaving in and out of traffic due to fatigue, and in order to avoid him, you pull to the side of the road. Since there is an oil slick on the side of the road, you lose control of your vehicle and crash into a concrete barrier. In that case, a jury might find that the truck driver’s negligent conduct was not the proximate or legal cause of the accident, for it probably would not have happened if not for the oil slick.
On the other hand, if the exhausted truck driver is weaving in and out of traffic and sideswipes your car, causing you an injury, his violation of the FMCSA regulation probably would be deemed to be a proximate cause of the accident. As a driver sharing the road with the trucker, you are part of the class of people whom the government wanted to protect when it created this rule. In that case, you might be entitled to a rebuttable presumption of negligence.
Truck accidents in Smithville and elsewhere in Tennessee can be devastating, resulting in lifelong injuries or even a tragic death. If you have been harmed by a commercial driver’s negligence, you should consult a lawyer with significant experience in this area of law. Trucking companies and their insurers will take your claim more seriously if you are represented by an advocate who knows as much about their drivers’ obligations as they do. Consult Matt Hardin by calling 615-200-1111 or sending a message through our online form.