Nashville Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer

Attorney Luvell L. GlantonLarge commercial vehicles are vital to our nation’s economy, serving nearly every industry. These massive vehicles, however, can cause devastating damage in the event of an accident. Tractor trailers, semi-trucks, and 18-wheelers, which can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, may cause devastating and debilitating injuries, severe property damage, or death.

Victims not only suffer emotional anguish and physical pain after a tractor-trailer accident, but these collisions can also cause major financial burdens.  Extensive medical bills, lost income from work, and other expenses can add up and inflict more stress for the parties involved in a truck collision.

Even though these collisions may just be simple accidents, sometimes the trucking company may have cut corners to increase company profits. They may recruit inexperienced drivers to meet demand, may fail to conduct background checks, or may fail to train drivers properly. They may also push drivers to meet difficult or impossible deadlines. A truck driver who puts in long hours on the road to meet deadlines may become fatigued and exhausted, which leads to disastrous results.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, the Nashville tractor-trailer lawyers of the Law Offices of Luvell L. Glanton understand what you are going through. We are here to make sure that you get the compensation you are owed, and we are committed to seeing that justice is served.

Federal Trucking Regulations

In order to prevent trucking accidents and keep everyone safe, the United States has hundreds of laws and regulations about trucking in place. These laws cover every aspect of trucking, from dictating how many hours a trucker can drive before needing a break to setting standards for truck design and maintenance.

It is important that special safety laws and procedures that apply to commercial trucks are followed.  Federal law and the state of Tennessee have regulations pertaining to truck maintenance as well as inspections that need to be conducted for each truck.

The Federal Motor Carrier Administration states that truck drivers have a maximum driving limit of 11-14 hours after ten consecutive hours off duty.  The rules also state that they may not drive after completing 60-70 hours on duty between seven to eight consecutive days on the road. Proper rest, food, and sleeping breaks are also required to make sure drivers are alert and awake enough to drive long distances and arrive at their destination safely.

Because of the serious nature of injuries that occur with these tractor trailer and semi accidents, commercial truck drivers are required to have insurance with higher liability limits than regular motorists. Truckers may also be covered by multiple insurance carriers if the accident fault is shared by different parties, such as both the driver and the company.

Tractor Trailer Accident Statistics

Only 3% of the registered vehicles in the United States are tractor-trailer trucks, but 23% of fatal multi-vehicle accidents involve a tractor-trailer trucks on the road.

5,000 people per year are killed in tractor-trailer related crashes in the United States.

Large trucks cause approximately 8% of all fatal crashes and 3% of all injury and property related crashes in all fifty states.

81% of fatal truck accidents are multi-vehicle accidents. By comparison, 58% of fatal accidents that involve passenger vehicles are multi-vehicle accidents.

The Common Causes of Tractor Trailer Accidents

While truck accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, some of the most common causes include:

  • Driver Behavior: Truck drivers sometimes make mistakes while driving. Drivers might not be paying attention to what is ahead of them.  Drivers are prone to speeding, tailgating, or driving aggressively, or they might be distracted from texting or talking on the phone. Commercial truck drivers need to be observant of other vehicles on the road, keep a safe distance from other drivers, and use proper turn signals to avoid causing accidents.
  • Driver Fatigue: Long work days for truck drivers is common. Over 20 percent of long-haul truck drivers reported they fell asleep at the wheel at some point. Even though hours-of-service regulations are in place to prevent driver fatigue, it is one of the main causes of accidents in the trucking industry.  Some truck drivers may not get proper rest or sufficient breaks, which leads to drowsy driving.
  • Bad Weather or Poor Road Conditions: Bad weather may often be a cause of a serious trucking accident, especially if the driver is not properly trained to handle hazardous road conditions. Rain, snow, and ice are difficult to drive on while operating a huge truck.  Drivers should be prepared to drive in all types of weather by using proper braking techniques to avoid jackknifing, hydroplaning, or skidding on a wet road. Poor road conditions, such as construction or poorly maintained roads, can also cause accidents.
  • Improper Loading: Truckers and cargo loaders must adhere to specific rules when loading a commercial truck. There are length, weight, size, width, and height standards that are required for securing cargo and making sure it does not come loose, or that the trailer is not overloaded. If the cargo spills onto a major freeway, it can seriously injure other drivers.
  • Inadequate Training or Experience: Trucking accidents may also occur because the driver received inadequate training on the job or was not qualified to be hired in the first place.  Some drivers are not taught the art of defensive driving when operating a huge truck. Combined with the truck driver’s hectic schedules and an employer’s unrealistic expectations, poorly trained drivers that are in a hurry can put others in danger. Companies may neglect to do background checks or verify credentials before hiring someone.
  • Drivers Under the Influence: A truck driver that is operating a large rig while under the influence is a recipe for disaster. By driving after consuming alcohol, illegal drugs, or even over-the-counter and prescription medications, drivers put themselves and other drivers in harm’s way.
  • Poor Truck Maintenance: Commercial trucks can travel up to hundreds of miles every day.  The companies, drivers, and maintenance crews responsible for these vehicles need to keep up with the maintenance. The equipment on a truck may end up failing, or parts can break without warning. It is the truck driver’s and the trucking company’s responsibility to conduct a thorough inspection of the vehicle before heading out on the road.
  • Mechanical Defects: Trucking equipment manufacturers can be negligent if there are defective or dangerous parts on the vehicle.  Whether they knew of the defects or not, a parts manufacturer, vehicle manufacturer, trucking company, or a mechanic may be held responsible for accidents caused by mechanical defects.

If you were injured in a trucking accident due to these or other causes, the Law Offices of Luvell L. Glanton can help you pursue compensation against the responsible party.

Proving Negligence After an Accident

To demonstrate the accident was caused by driver error or negligence, the injured party must first prove that driver or company owed them a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care.  In simple terms, the driver had a responsibility to drive safely behind the wheel and not cause harm to others, and the company had a duty to ensure that their driver upheld this duty.

The injured party also must show that the truck driver or company failed to exercise reasonable care or breached the duty of care. If evidence demonstrates that the driver was inadequately trained, driving recklessly, or failed to follow standard trucking regulations, it may show that the duty of care was breached.  

Finally, an accident victim must prove that the truck driver or trucking company’s failure to exercise reasonable care or breach of duty of care was the direct cause of their injuries. Sometimes, companies will attempt to argue that your injuries were caused by something else.

A lawyer will be able to investigate the abundance of evidence after a truck accident to determine whether the driver, the trucking company, or a third party were ultimately responsible for your injuries. They will then be able to systematically gather the evidence required to prove that the responsible party was truly negligent.

What to Do if You are Injured in a Tractor Trailer Accident

If you or your loved one has been injured in a tractor trailer accident, you need legal representation. Because personal injury and wrongful death claims can pose difficulties and potential complications, tractor trailer accidents are often complex.

The trucking company responsible for your accident is going to try everything they can to pay you as little as possible. To this end, they will likely hire expensive and aggressive legal teams to help them deny your claims and minimize your compensation. They are in the business to make money, not to pay accident victims, so they are looking to offer the lowest possible amount to settle.

Sometimes trucking companies and their insurance carriers will send a representative to the scene of the accident to do damage control. These representatives may try to take hold of any information that could prove what happened, which may include physical evidence. Losing this evidence could be devastating to your case, so it’s important to preserve it.

These situations are why you require bold and unwavering legal advocates on your side that will fight back against even the most powerful corporations. When you are going up against trucking companies and their insurers, you need the help of an experienced trailer tractor accident attorney to assist you during this difficult process.  

During a crash investigation, a skilled lawyer can help interview witnesses, review any police reports and medical records, examine the truck driver’s record and credentials, and prove liability if any traffic laws or trucking regulations were not followed.  Experienced attorneys may be able to find discrepancies and falsifications in trucking records and maintenance logs, which will solidify the claim that the truck driver or company is liable for your accident. These types of documents may provide crucial evidence that will help successfully win your case.

It is important to know that applicable evidence will not only establish the driver’s fault, but also demonstrate the extent of your damages. Applicable evidence includes medical bills and records to prove the extent and cost of your injuries.  You also need to have evidence of lost wages that will establish the income lost from missed work.

Once the investigation is complete, our attorneys will file a claim, which includes a demand for compensation and damages owed to you, such as medical bills, lost income, property damage, as well as pain and suffering.  Thanks to skillful negotiations from our attorneys, we will likely be able to avoid taking the case to court. Usually a settlement is reached with a monetary payout from the insurance company.

However, if both parties are unable to reach a compromise, we will take your case to court to have the amount of a settlement determined by a jury or judge. They will be responsible for determining the outcome of your case and the amount of compensation you will receive.

Legal Experience That is on Your Side

The Law Offices of Luvell L. Glanton is one of Nashville’s most trusted personal injury law firms.  We are well-versed in the various regulations outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Our lawyers use their combined 28 years of experience and knowledge to bring satisfactory results to our clients.

Our legal team will be able to identify and demonstrate how drivers and companies failed to keep the public safe, resulting in your accident. Our lawyers will conduct extremely thorough investigations to determine and establish the liability of truck drivers and trucking companies to obtain the maximum compensation for our clients.

The Law Offices of Luvell L. Glanton effectively handles Tennessee truck accident cases with a measurable record of recoveries obtained through successful verdicts and settlements. We invite all accident victims throughout Davidson County, the Nashville metro area, and the surrounding communities to schedule a free consultation to discuss the potential merits of your claim. Contact us at (615) 244-4511 to schedule an appointment today.