The Dangers & Truths About Truck Accidents
According data from the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration one out of five commercial vehicles [20%] – 18-wheelers and buses – are taken off the road each year because they were unsafe, posing a potentially dangerous risk to an untold number of drivers and passengers.
Commercial vehicles were responsible for 12 percent of the fatalities in Tennessee crashes in 2011. Trucking organizations, have said long-haul trucking has become increasingly safer during the last four years, an assertion questioned by Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog group based in Washington, D.C., that has sued the U.S. Department of Transportation in the past over truck safety regulations. “I consider 20 percent a very large number,” said Joan Claybrook, a member of the Public Citizen board. “If 20 percent of airplanes were put out of service in the United States, do you think anybody would travel by air?” The most common violations by drivers were failing to log their hours properly and problems with their driver’s licenses. The most common mechanical problems were with brakes, tires and lights, she said. Claybrook attributed any drop in crash numbers to the economic downturn. “There is just less driving going on,” she said.Companies pay truck drivers by the mile instead of by the hour, so they typically drive as far and as fast as they can, she said. Drivers are often forced to work 14-hour days, 11 hours driving and three hours loading or unloading, Claybrook said. Drivers in many cases are not paid overtime, meaning they are not paid for handling the cargo. “All the incentives are built to work these drivers to death,” she said.Drivers often keep two log books, one for their paycheck and the other to show law enforcement to hide their long hours, Claybrook said.”If they crash, the first thing you see is the driver throwing the books out the window,” she said.Between 30 percent and 40 percent of truck accidents are caused by fatigue, Claybrook said, citing National Transportation Safety Board figures.
What Should You Do?
If you were involved in a truck accident in Tennessee, Alabama or Kentucky, call the Nashville law firm of David Randolph Smith & Associates at: (615) 742-1775 to speak with a respected Tennessee Truck Accident Lawyer who specializes in serious injury and wrongful death cases.
David Randolph Smith is Certified as a Civil Litigation Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. Mr. Smith is also certified as a Medical Malpractice Specialist by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys and the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization.
Certification requires proof that the attorney is in good standing, is substantially involved in litigating and trying cases (including minimum trial day requirements), has met continuing legal education requirements and has been subjected to peer review by persons against whom they have tried cases, as well as judges before whom they have appeared.
Fewer than 1% of Tennessee’s attorneys are certified as Civil Trial Specialists and only 10 attorneys are certified as Medical Malpractice Specialists.
We have successfully handled numerous tractor-trailer cases. The firm has handled fatal tractor-trailer truck accident cases in Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia resulting in multi-million dollar settlements and judgments.
We stand ready to represent you and to promptly take the action necessary to gather and preserve important evidence in order to obtain a successful outcome for you.
Truck accident cases can be highly complex and require an in-depth investigation in order to determine the cause and identify those at fault. Many factors can contribute to a serious truck accident, including:
- Driver fatigue due to insufficient break time
- Speeding violations and speed governor tampering
- Oversized load or shifting loads
- Unsafe lane change
- Driver impairment due to alcohol or drugs
- Maintenance issues and equipment malfunction such as tire blowout or brake failure
If you were injured or you lost a loved on in a truck accident, semi crash or tractor-trailer collision, our effective team of experienced attorneys and expert investigators are here to help.
Tennessee Truck Accident Lawyers and Truck Accident Injury Attorneys
Truck accidents on our highways, interstates and roads can and do cause serious injury and even death, and yet many of us are not aware of the dangers of truck driver fatigue and negligence on the part of trucking companies. At the Law Offices of David Randolph Smith & Associates our caring and respected truck accident personal injury and wrongful death lawyers offer compassionate support, smart legal advice and committed representation to victims of serious and fatal truck accidents in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.
To schedule a consultation with an effective attorney who will go to work on your behalf immediately, contact our offices in Nashville today.
The firm received the AV rating under Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review rating system. David Randolph Smith is certified by the Tennessee Bar as a Civil Trial Specialist and as a Medical Malpractice Specialist. He has been selected as a Mid-South Super Lawyer, as one of the the Top 100 attorneys in Tennessee (in all fields of prectice) he is included in the guidebook Best Lawyers in America.
Truck Accidents – An Overview
A traffic accident involving a large commercial truck, such as an 18-wheeler or semi truck, can have disastrous consequences. A typical fully loaded large commercial truck can weigh over 80,000 pounds, while an average passenger automobile weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. Because of the sheer size of trucks, any collision between a commercial truck and another vehicle is likely to result in serious, even fatal, injuries. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries by bringing a legal claim against the responsible parties. An experienced attorney can help determine whether you have a claim.
What to Do if You Are Injured in a Truck Accident A motor vehicle accident is a serious matter, particularly when it involves a commercial truck. If you or a family member was involved in a truck accident, regardless of whether or not you were injured, you may be wondering what you should do next. An experienced truck accident attorney can advise you about what to do and the steps you need to take in order to preserve evidence and bring a claim.
Overview of Federal Trucking Regulations Those involved in the trucking industry must abide by numerous federal and state regulations. The federal regulations can be found in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 C.F.R. secs. 350-399). These regulations govern all vehicles engaged in interstate traffic. These regulations are extensive and can be confusing. An experienced lawyer can explain these regulations and how they may apply to your truck accident case.
Lawsuit Chronology If you or a member of your family has been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you may be unsure of what your legal options are. You may never have been involved in a lawsuit before, and you may not know what to expect. The following information provides an overview as to how a civil suit normally proceeds. An experienced lawyer will be able to answer any specific questions you might have about your truck accident case.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents Commercial trucks such as 18-wheelers, semi trucks, tractor trailers and other large freight carriers tower over the small passenger vehicles they must share the road with. Especially on major highways and at higher speeds, seemingly insignificant driving errors that may occur without consequence where small vehicles are concerned can result in catastrophe when a large truck is involved. If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, determining the cause of the accident may be difficult. An experienced lawyer can gather evidence and work with experts to understand the cause of your accident and file claims against the responsible parties.
Road Safety Facts
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 truck. 5,000 people per year are killed in tractor-trailer related crashes. Call us at 1-800-394-2119 or Click Here for a free and confidential evaluation of your case.
Reasonable safety regulation should require all tractor-trailers to have speed regulators with laws limiting top speeds to 65 mph. Until these changes are made, the number of fatal and serious truck accidents will continue to rise. Please write a letter asking the U.S. Department of Transportation and Senate Transportation Committee members to support these regulatory changes.
What You Should Know
Tractor-trailers can result in severe injuries or death. Actions taken shortly after the accident often have a dramatic effect on the outcome of litigation. Appropriate steps to preserve physical evidence, investigate the accident scene, take witness statements are all essential to success.
Physical evidence in the form of debris fields and skid marks, if available, need to be evaluated by a well qualified accident re-constructionist as soon as possible. Photographs of the accident scene need to be taken immediately after the accident. Witness statements need to be taken promptly in order to preserve critical evidence.
A traffic accident involving a commercial truck, such as an eighteen-wheeler or other large freight carrier, can be much more catastrophic than an ordinary car accident.
A typical fully-loaded large commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more, while an average passenger automobile weighs approximately 3000 pounds. Because of this size disparity, and due to the basic laws of physics, any collision between a commercial truck and another vehicle is likely to result in serious, even fatal, injuries. While statistics show that truck drivers are generally much more careful on the road than automobile drivers, and thankfully the incidence of fatal crashes involving trucks and other large vehicles has declined in recent years, large truck crashes still accounted for 5350 fatalities and 133,000 injuries in 2001.
Several factors should be considered by a prospective client in seeking quality legal representation when a tractor-trailer accident occurs:
- Time is of the essence – an investigation should be completed promptly.
- A firm should be ready to investigate on short notice.
- A firm should have the ability to investigate quickly
- The firm routinely uses private airplanes for this purpose
- A firm should be able to evaluate medical issues -Mr. Smith is certified in medical malpractice and the firm uses nurses and conslutants to assist with preparation of medical proof.