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Even though semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles require more space to turn, these maneuvers must be completed safely. Nashville truck accident attorney Matt Hardin understands the complexities of litigating these wrecks. If you were injured by a truck making a wide turn, we can evaluate your case to determine whether you are eligible for compensation under Tennessee law.
A commercial driver who makes an unreasonably wide turn can expose his or her employer to liability. Tennessee courts have adopted the legal concept of vicarious liability, which is the idea that an employer can be held liable for the negligent actions of its employees if the employees are acting within the scope of their normal job duties. A truck driver operating a commercial vehicle usually would be considered acting within the scope of this job.
A person injured by a commercial driver acting within the scope of employment may file a lawsuit against the trucking company. To prevail, the victim must prove the four elements of a negligence claim.
First, Tennessee law requires that the defendant owed the victim a duty. This is usually easy to establish in truck wreck cases. Every driver has a duty to use reasonable care on the road to avoid posing foreseeable and unnecessary risks to other people.
After establishing the existence of a duty, the injured person must prove that the defendant breached it. This happens when the defendant fails to live up to the standard of care prescribed by their legally imposed duty. For truck drivers, making an unreasonably wide turn could be considered a breach. Sometimes the circumstances of the situation will make a breach of duty obvious. Other times, a victim may rely on the testimony of an expert witness.
The last two elements of negligence are that the defendant’s breach caused the victim’s injuries and that those injuries resulted in damages. A defendant is the cause of an injury if the crash would not have occurred without the defendant’s careless conduct. Moreover, an accident victim must also prove that the defendant was the legal cause of the harm that the victim suffered. This means that the crash was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s negligence. For instance, a truck driver making a dangerous wide turn might foresee that such a turn could directly cause an accident.
Injured people who prevail in negligence lawsuits may be able to receive economic and non-economic forms of compensation. Economic forms of compensation include lost wages, lost earning capacity, medical bills, and any property damage to a vehicle. Non-economic forms of compensation, which are more subjective, might include pain and suffering or emotional distress. If the truck driver or company acted in an especially reckless or egregious way, punitive damages may be available in addition to compensatory damages.
If you were hurt in a truck accident, you should seek counsel from an experienced attorney right away and avoid talking about the accident to the defendant or the defendant’s insurer until you do. Trucking companies have been known to thwart or minimize the recovery of crash victims by using policies that may involve tampering with evidence or tricking the claimant into forfeiting the right to sue. You need someone knowledgeable in the law on your side before you confront them. Talk to Tennessee injury lawyer Matt Hardin, who knows how to protect your rights. Call (615) 200-1111 or visit our contact page to set up your free case evaluation today.