Nashville Truck Accident Lawyer
Representing Truck Accident Victims in Tennessee Since 1977
Negligence on the part of semi-truck drivers and trucking companies puts the lives of innocent people at risk. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a large commercial truck, it is important to have an experienced truck accident attorney in your corner, making sure your voice is heard.
At Kinnard Law, our Nashville truck accident lawyers have extensive experience handling claims against trucking companies in Tennessee and beyond. We’ve been doing this since 1977, and have been voted among the “Best Law Firms” in Personal Injury by U.S. News for our efforts.
What Are the Regulations for Fatigued Truck Driving?
Because commercial trucks can cause such catastrophic damage to other motorists in the event of an accident, trucking companies and the drivers that work for them are required to follow more rules and regulations than other motor vehicles both on and, even off the road. One of these crucial and most well-known rules is called the hours-of-service regulation, the main purpose of which is to prevent fatigued driving in truckers. Fatigued driving is one of the main causes of truck accidents thus laws were put in place that aimed at ensuring that truck drivers are not overworked and get an adequate amount of sleep each day.
According to the law:
- Truck drivers can work a maximum of 14 hours in a single workday. Of these 14 hours, truckers can only actually drive for 11 hours. The remaining hours are required to be spent on rest or meal breaks
- Truck drivers are required to take days off work at regular intervals. How often these days occur is dependent on what hours the trucking company a driver works for keeps
- Truck drivers must rest for at least 10 consecutive hours before beginning a new workday.
Unfortunately, whether due to truck driver negligence or pressure from trucking companies these rules can be broken leading to a higher likelihood of an accident happening.
Who is Liable After a Truck Accident in Nashville, TN?
One of the first steps in filing a truck accident claim is determining who is liable for your injuries. While it may seem that the liable party would always be the trucker driver, there are multiple parties who can be held liable depending on the details of your case. In fact, determining liability after a truck accident often requires an accident investigation from an experienced attorney.
More often than not, the trucking company a driver works for is found liable for an accident. There can be many reasons for this, but the most common is that the trucking company is the one who insures their drivers in case of an accident. Sometimes a truck driver can be held liable, especially if the accident was caused directly by the driver’s negligence, such as driving while drunk or distracted.
While they are not found liable as often, other parties that can be found responsible for damages include the truck manufacturer or the cargo loading team, as defects in a truck or improper loading of a truck can cause an accident. Have more questions about how liability can impact your case? Contact Kinnard Law today!
Types of Truck Accident Cases We Handle
Highway I-40, Highway I-24, and Highway I-75 are busy thoroughfares for commercial traffic in Tennessee. A fully loaded commercial motor vehicle (CMV) can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. The large size of a semi-truck makes it difficult for drivers to brake quickly, and blind spots are also larger. All these factors can contribute to a truck accident, especially when an element of negligence is introduced.
Our firm vigorously represents people who have been harmed in trucking accidents involving:
- Brake failure – § 396.3 of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations state that brakes on commercial semi-trucks must be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained by a qualified brake inspector. If brake failure was caused by a violation of these regulations, the trucker or trucking company may be held liable for any resulting accident.
- Construction vehicles – Rules govern construction vehicles while they are on the road as well as off-road on job sites. A violation of either set of rules that causes an accident can place liability on the driver or construction company.
- Delivery truck accidents — In an effort to meet tight schedules, truck drivers may engage in risky or even reckless behavior while out on the road.
- Drug and alcohol abuse — Drug and alcohol use is illegal for all drivers but particularly dangerous for individuals operating large CMVs. Truckers must submit to regular drug and alcohol testing. Employers are required to suspend from driving anyone who fails these tests.
- Hours of Service violations – Hours of Service (HOS) regulations dictate how many hours a trucker can drive before they take a break, how much they have to sleep, and how many days they can drive consecutively. Failure to adhere to HOS regulations can lead to drowsy driving and serious accidents caused by falling asleep at the wheel.
- Jackknife & rollover accidents – The term “jackknife” in relationship to trucking accidents was coined to describe an event where the trailer of the truck swings into a position perpendicular to the cab of the truck. Causes range from improper braking to mechanical failures.
- Negligent hiring of truck drivers – Trucking companies are required to do their due diligence to hire qualified drivers – those who do not test positive for drug and alcohol use, have not had their licenses suspended, and those who have obtained their commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) lawfully.
- Overloaded & improperly loaded trucks – Federal regulations dictate how much weight a semi-truck can carry, as well as the proper procedure for how that cargo is loaded and secured inside the trailer. Federal law places an 80,000-pound gross weight maximum on semi-trucks unless the state has lawfully issued an overweight permit.
- Underride accidents - rear guards are required to be installed on trucks, but they don't always prevent a fatal crash. The connection between the truck and these safety devices offers little-to-no protection at high-speed impacts and underride accidents are one of the most dangerous types of trucking accidents.
- Truck maintenance issues—we handle cases involving brake failure, defective tires, deferred maintenance, and other types of maintenance-related negligence.
Although the Tennessee Highway Patrol Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division has six CMV inspection sites throughout the state, established to catch trucking negligence and rule violations, accidents can still happen. When they do, turn to the Nashville truck accident attorneys at Kinnard Law.
Fatal Trucking Accidents in Nashville
The death of a loved one is nearly unbearable under any circumstance, but in cases of wrongful death, the pain is compounded by the knowledge that someone is directly responsible. Holding the responsible party accountable could offer emotional and psychological closure. While our firm cannot replace or heal the pain of loss, our firm can provide the resources and closure you need to heal and move forward with your life.
In 2014, the last year for which data is available, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that approximately 3,660 people died in large truck crashes. Of these, 68% were occupants of passenger vehicles and 15% were bicyclists, pedestrians, or motorcyclists. It quickly becomes obvious that those most at risk for being fatally injured in collisions with semi-trucks are anyone but the truck driver.
Many of these fatalities come down to the fault of the driver or trucking company. Lack of maintenance, drug use, fatigue, and distracted driving are major issues in the trucking industry. While the NTSB is working to reduce the number of fatalities, these companies must be held accountable for every death they cause.
- By Vehicle Type: Deaths in large truck crashes can be broken down another way – by vehicle type. The IIHS reports that 72% of large truck fatalities are caused by tractor-trailers, while single-unit trucks comprised just 28% of crashes.
- By Road Type: 59% of fatal truck crashes occur on roads categorized as “other major roads,” while 31% occur on interstates and freeways, and 9% occur on minor roads.
- By Time of Day: Most deaths in large truck crashes occur between the hours of noon and 3 pm. This window accounts for 17% of all large truck crash fatalities. The next highest concentration of large truck fatalities occurs between 3 pm and 6 pm.
- By Day of Week: A majority of fatal large truck crashes occur on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. 16% of large truck crash deaths occur on Saturdays and Sundays, compared with 36% of crash deaths not involving large trucks.
Perhaps the most important semi-truck accident statistic is that of all motor vehicle accident fatalities in 2014, 12% occurred in crashes with large trucks and 24% occurred in multiple-vehicle crashes involving large trucks.
Where Are Tractor-Trailer Accidents Most Common?
Commercial tractor-trailers are hazards nearly everywhere; however, they’re even more dangerous on highways, interstates, and other busy thoroughfares where more traffic and higher speeds create increased risks for wrecks and devastating outcomes. In fact, the FMCSA notes that many of the country’s most disastrous trucking accidents occur on freeways and interstates – including highways like I-40, I-24, I-75, and other major arteries which span the state.
Highway trucking accidents pose increased risks for devastating outcomes, which can include:
- Catastrophic injuries – Victims of highway trucking accidents are more likely to suffer serious injuries than those involved in slower-speed wrecks which take place on local roads. These include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage and paralysis, amputation, and other serious physical injuries capable of causing more pain and suffering, long-term or life-altering consequences, and considerable financial and emotional losses.
- Fatal trucking accidents – Nearly a third of fatal trucking accidents occur on highways and interstates, and over half on roads defined as “major roads,” according to the FMCA. That’s because highways tend to have more vehicles, higher speed limits, and commercial trucks engaged in longer hauls than minor roads, among other risk-heightening factors.
- Other damages – Serious injuries or the tragic loss of life are not the only damages victims and families may suffer as a result of highway trucking wrecks. They’re also at risk of experiencing more substantial damages involving medical expenses, lost wages or diminished earning abilities, permanent disabilities or disfigurement, and other various economic and non-economic damages.
Highway truck accidents pose greater risks to victims as a result of both issues unique to these roadways and elevated dangers created by negligent trucking operators, truckers, and others who violate safety regulations. If you or someone you love was injured in a trucking collision on any major highway or regional road in Tennessee, our firm is available to help you better understand your rights and options for pursuing the financial compensation you deserve.
What Should You Do After a Truck Accident?
Following a truck accident, you’ll be faced with a number of parties who are all demanding your attention. This can make knowing what to do after a truck accident very difficult. First and foremost, your medical needs will need to be addressed. Before anything else, make sure your emergency needs—and the needs of your loved ones—are met. Nothing is as important as your personal safety and health in this situation, no matter what.
The steps following the truck accident are crucial, however. You must:
- Seek emergency attention
- Take photos of the crash, including the truck
- Write down all details as soon as you can
- File a police report on the scene if possible
- Do not speak with any insurance adjusters
- Do not speak with the trucking company
- Continue seeking treatment in the weeks following the crash
- Hire an attorney as soon as possible
The sooner you have a legal advocate, the more likely your claim will end in your favor. What is important is that you do not speak with opposing insurance adjusters or trucking companies. They may attempt to settle with you quickly and cheaply because they know that a full claim would be costly. Do not fall for it—let our attorneys handle the situation for you.
Why Should You Choose Kinnard Law?
Our trucking accident lawyers in Nashville are well-versed in the state and federal laws governing truck accident injuries, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations. We have access to a network of elite experts in accident reconstruction, medicine and other fields who will provide an honest evaluation of the case.
- We have been fighting for clients across Tennessee and beyond since 1977.
- We have a proven record of success in complex commercial truck accident cases.
- We were voted among the nation’s “Best Law Firms” in Personal Injury by U.S. News.
- Our attorneys share more than 150+ years of combined legal experience.
The objective behind any personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit arising from a wreck is to hold the at-fault party accountable for the harm victims have suffered. Accomplishing this goal, however, is no easy task.
These types of cases often require meticulous investigation, considerable knowledge of trucking laws, and the necessary resources to take on trucking companies and insurance corporations that aggressively defend against claims, dispute or deny liability, and do whatever it takes to pay victims as little as possible.
Our firm’s passion for representing accident victims has helped us secure millions in record-breaking verdicts across the state. In short, you can entrust your truck accident case to Kinnard Law.
Personal Injury - Erin Andrews Lawsuit Against Hotel $55 Million
Medical Malpractice - 62 Year Old Woman $22.2 Million
Medical Malpractice - Largest Verdict in Weakley County History $15.2 Million
Medical Malpractice - Davidson County $6.5 Million
Wrongful Death of 22 Month Old $5 Million
Golf Cart Accident $4.4 Million
Medical Malpractice - 24 Year Old College Student $4 Million
Wrongful Death - Tractor-Trailer Wreck $3.25 Million
Wrongful Death - 16 Year Old Boy $3 Million
Auto Accident - Rutherford County $3 Million
Integrity, above and beyond- H.W.
In the hardest two years of my life, you provided the utmost trust, comfort, and support.- T.H.
We are very grateful.- E.I.
Great staff.- J.
100% Best Lawyers Around- J.S.