In the interest of safety, tractor trailer drivers and transport companies are subject to many Tennessee rules and regulations for intrastate trucking. Areas of regulation include truck weight limits, record keeping, and truck driver rest hours. The Nashville truck accident attorney Matt Hardin has a deep understanding of Tennessee and federal trucking laws. He has dedicated much of his career to helping people injured on highways by the carelessness of commercial drivers.
Tennessee law regulates many aspects of the trucking industry. No commercial vehicle can weigh more than 80,000 pounds, according to TCA § 55-7-203(b)(3). A violation of this statute is a Class C misdemeanor. Trucks must be no wider than eight feet and no taller than 13 feet, six inches.
Tennessee law also regulates the issuance of commercial driver licenses. Employers are required by TCA § 55-50-403 to ensure that all of their employees have current driver licenses. Truckers must also provide a valid medical card, which states that the individual possessing it is medically fit to drive a tractor-trailer. In addition to the Tennessee laws, federal rules regulate interstate trucking by limiting the number of hours a trucker can drive and requiring that certain records be kept.
A truck driver or company that violates state law may be liable for injuries they cause. Although most Tennessee rules and regulations for intrastate trucking do not give rise to an independent cause of action, a person injured in a truck accident can use a statute violation as evidence of negligence.
To prove a negligence claim in Tennessee, a crash victim must prove that the defendant owed and subsequently breached a legal duty. In most cases, the defendant’s duty is to avoid unreasonable behavior that might foreseeably harm other people. A trucking company that, for example, loaded its trucks beyond the 80,000 limit would have breached that duty.
A related legal theory, called negligence per se, might make it easier for some accident victims to receive compensation. This is especially if the truck driver received a ticket at the scene of the crash. Negligence per se is a legal concept that holds a defendant who violated a statute negligent as a matter of law. It applies if the law was designed to protect a person like the victim from the type of harm caused by the accident. By violating the statute, the defendant violated the prescribed duty of care. Our Nashville attorneys can help you determine whether this rule would apply in your case.
After that stage, the next step is causation. If the victim establishes that the defendant’s negligence caused his or her injuries, the defendant may be liable for damages. These can include objective forms of compensation, such as lost wages and medical bills, in addition to subjective forms of compensation, such as pain and suffering caused by the crash.
Tennessee rules and regulations for intrastate trucking exist to ensure the safety of all citizens on its roads. Trucking companies that violate these rules can put ordinary lives at risk. If you were hurt in a truck accident, contact skillful Tennessee injury lawyer Matt Hardin. Call (615) 200-1111 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free case evaluation.