Your best bet for filing a successful claim against a trucking company in Tennessee is to get a competent attorney with experience in personal injury cases involving truck accidents. When involved in an accident with a large truck, your legal battle is never just against the driver of the other vehicle. Instead, you are up against a large company, which has likely dealt with plenty of truck accident cases in the past. You are unlikely to get very far if you try to take on their team of lawyers on your own.
Trucking Accidents Are Different Than Most Other Accidents
Trucking accidents are rarely simple fender benders. Even a small collision can be quite destructive when you are dealing with a vehicle of that size. Your vehicle will rarely come out of the accident in any sort of salvageable condition, and the risk of injury or death that you face is astronomically higher than in an accident with a standard-sized motor vehicle.
There are many risk factors associated with truck drivers that go beyond the normal risk factors that are present with your average driver. Truck drivers are often required to drive long distances over long periods of time, which can cause exhaustion. Many truck drivers will combat exhaustion with stimulants or other drugs. Sometimes truck drivers will speed in order to meet bonus incentives provided for quicker delivery of their payload.
Some trucking companies also increase the risk that their large vehicles pose by negligent behavior. This can include not conducting regular drug testing on their drivers, not providing adequate training for new drivers, not ensuring that every truck meets safety protocols and is not overloaded, and not putting safety first into the environment that they create for their drivers.
It’s easy to see why trucks have the highest crash rate in Tennessee [source], and every driver on our roads is at risk. If you’re involved in an accident with a truck, it is critical that you know what to do next.
Steps to Take When You’re Involved in a Trucking Accident
There are several important steps to take if you are involved in any sort of accident, both for your personal safety and to put you in your best position for any likely legal battle that you will face. Some critical steps for immediately after an accident include:
- Remain at the scene of the accident
- If your own injuries are not serious, check on anyone else involved and provide assistance as instructed by a 911 operator if necessary
- Report your accident to local law enforcement
- Gather as much information as possible about the driver of the truck, as well as any other information about the crash site and weather conditions and weather events that could have contributed to the accident
- Seek medical attention even if you don’t think you are injured, because some injuries are hard to detect immediately, and waiting to consult a doctor can hurt your chances of getting compensation
- Contact your insurance company
- Consult with a qualified attorney to find out what your options are
Steps to Filing Your Lawsuit
After consulting with your lawyer, they will walk you through all of your options. Your lawyer will make sure you understand everything that will take place over the coming weeks concerning your case and begin to set things in motion if you should choose to file a lawsuit against the truck driver and the trucking company.
Your lawyer will begin by investigating the scene of the accident and obtaining a copy of the police report, along with any witness statements. Any information you were able to gather at the time of the accident can come in very useful at this stage. Your lawyer will then consult with experts that could help in your case. They will then file your lawsuit with the courts and begin negotiations with the legal team of the trucking company to hopefully settle your case.
If you are unable to come to terms on a settlement package with the trucking company, then your attorney will take your case to court and work to prove the liability of the truck driver and the trucking company.