Highway fatality numbers are down compared to statistics collected by the United States Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Administration from 2016 and 2017, but still claimed over 34,247 lives, and combination trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 5.8 percent.  Contact a personal injury attorney if you have lost a loved one to a truck accident or suffered injury and property damage in Nashville.

There are an estimated 500,000 truck accidents every year, of which 81% occur in multi-vehicle crash situations. Most of the time the truck accident is caused by a passenger vehicle and approximately 16% of the time the fault falls with the driver of the truck.  The size and weight of a truck increase the possibility of death, and severe injury to drivers of passenger cars due to the fact that trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger vehicles and are taller with greater ground clearance, magnifying dangers involved in collisions.  Many times this size difference will protect a truck driver after a roadway collision, but this was not the case last October when a truck driver died after a collision involving two other cars on the highway near Nashville Tennessee.   Initial investigations have revealed that all three drivers were wearing seatbelts at the time of the collision.

State and federal laws.

Tennessee Statute TCA § 55-7-203(b)(3) restricts commercial vehicles weight to no more than 80,000 pounds and they must be no wider than 8 feet and no taller than 13 ½ feet.  A typical tractor-trailer or other large truck can weigh as much as 80,000 compared to passenger vehicles weighing about 3,000 or 4,000 pounds. A truck’s braking capability is often a factor in accidents because a loaded tractor-trailer needs about 20-40%  more distance to stop than a passenger car, and the distance is increased when roadways are wet and slippery, or brakes have not been maintained. These factors can significantly increase damages to an injured party of a truck accident. Size discrepancy is more damaging to passenger vehicles no matter who is at fault.  Other common violations besides size and overloaded cargo that cause revealed driver error through: speeding, tailgating, driving while intoxicated, driving while tired or recklessly driving, and there are times when accidents occur because of illness, road conditions and bad weather conditions.

Requirements for safety.

TCA § 55-50-403 ensures employees have current CDL licenses, and valid medical cards stating drivers are medically fit to drive a tractor trailer. Trucking companies are required by law to perform background checks on their drivers, but sometimes these background checks are flawed or not done at all. A truck driver or company that violates state law may be liable for injuries they cause. Tennessee follows federal guidelines for all commercial motor vehicles subject to regulations of the United States Department of Transportation, 49 C.F.R. part 387, regarding insurance in an amount equivalent to the minimum levels of financial responsibility set forth in the regulations.

Investigate cause of accident for wrongful death settlement.

Some trucking companies’ have unethical practices that force their drivers to falsify logbooks, drive with defective equipment, and drive long hours and that is where the importance of the federal and state regulating agencies come into play.  If the accident was caused by defective equipment or a violation of driving hours because of a company timeline, a lawyer can help you with a wrongful death claim for negligence.

Hire an attorney.

Contact an experienced legal professional in Nashville Tennessee to help with a claim for full and fair compensation through a settlement. This may require an expert accident reconstructionist and review of the trucking company’s documentation to determine how and why the accident occurred.

Sources:

https://cdan.nhtsa.gov/SASStoredProcess/guest

http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/387.1

https://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks