Tennessee is one of the deadliest states for truck crashes in the country, with more than 12,000 car wrecks involving large commercial vehicles in the state in 2020. One in every 14 accidents and one in every six crash fatalities involved trucks. Our Tennesse Truck Accident Lawyers located in Franklin and Murfreesboro, TN, regularly represent victims of these accidents, and we know several factors contribute to these collisions.
Eight Common Causes of Tennessee Truck Accidents
There are many different ways that a truck driver, truck manufacturer, or other party can be negligent and cause a serious truck crash. Some common causes are discussed below and will be considered by your lawyer. However, a full investigation will be done to determine the unique causes of your crash.
Impaired Truck Drivers
Truck drivers can be impaired by the influence of alcohol or drugs or by fatigue. Fatigue may result from truck drivers falsifying their driving logs to drive more hours than are legally permissible and earn more money. It can also occur because the driver has health issues. A driver who is under the influence may experience slowed reflexes, impaired judgment, and issues with vision, all of which are even more dangerous when the person is behind the wheel of a massive vehicle hauling a heavy and difficult-to-maneuver load.
Road rage is on the rise, and truck drivers are not exempt. Like other drivers, who may become upset by tailgating, being cut off, and witnessing other distracted drivers, truck drivers sometimes resort to reckless behavior when angry. This can result in monetary fines and criminal charges.
Texting, talking on the phone, adjusting navigation devices, eating, and other activities can decrease a driver’s attention on the road, whether that driver is behind the wheel of a personal vehicle or a tractor-trailer.
Exceeding the Speed Limit
Speeding is a common behavior among motorists, especially when they are feeling rushed to reach their destination. Truck drivers are sometimes even more pressured to arrive on time, as their company may be penalized or their load could be refused if they are late. However, speeding in a semi can be especially dangerous because the trucks are so large and heavy, increasing the time needed to stop the vehicle.
Other motorists are at risk if a load is heavier than legally allowed, unsecured, or unbalanced. Unsafe loads can lead to:
- Blown out tires
- Increased stopping times
- Difficulty steering
- Difficulty maintaining control of the vehicle in emergencies
- Increased speeds when traveling downhill
- Brake failures
- Overturned vehicles
Improper Training and Supervision
A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required to drive large commercial vehicles legally. To obtain a CDL, drivers must undergo initial and ongoing training. Since large vehicles can be incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands, the driver and their company are responsible for ensuring that the driver completes the required training and follows laws regarding safe truck driving. If the company does not properly oversee its drivers to ensure they meet the qualifications for driving a commercial vehicle, their negligence can lead to accidents.
If a vehicle is not adequately maintained or there is a manufacturing defect, this can lead to problems, as safety equipment may fail to work as required in the event of an emergency on the road.
Sometimes, drivers just make mistakes. They fail to check their blind spots, which are large and numerous for an 18-wheeler, make their turns too wide, misjudge the conditions of the road, or make other choices that lead to an accident.
Steps to Take if a Truck Hits You
If you are involved in a collision with a large commercial vehicle, there are several steps you should take immediately to ensure your own safety and maximize your chances of receiving a fair settlement for injuries and damages that occurred as a result of the accident.
Ensure You Are Safe
While capturing pictures of the accident scene is ideal, do not hesitate to move your vehicle to the nearest safe location if necessary to ensure your well-being and prevent further accidents.
Get Medical Attention
You may think you do not need to see a doctor, but in the immediate aftermath of an accident, adrenalin may prevent you from feeling the full severity of your injuries. Failing to seek treatment and document your injuries right away can harm your case later, as insurance companies, the truck driver, or their employer may try to use this to show that you weren’t seriously injured.
Contact Law Enforcement
A police report is a version of events from an impartial third party who is trained to conduct investigations. This will be useful if the trucker tells a different story from what you experienced.
Call an Experienced Lawyer
- Gathering evidence
- Talking to witnesses
- Ensuring that documentation is filed correctly and within deadlines
- Sorting out legal jurisdiction questions
- Preventing clients from making common mistakes that could damage their case or reduce their settlement
- Identifying all of the possible defendants in a case
- Ensuring clients are not railroaded by trucking or insurance companies
- Representing clients in mediation proceedings and court
- Obtaining fair compensation for medical expenses, lost income, property damage, pain, suffering, emotional trauma, and other damages