Truck Accident Statistics in Tennessee
Truck accidents can be disastrous. Unfortunately, Tennessee sees these types of crashes all too frequently. The state ranks as one of the top 10 in the nation for large truck accident fatalities, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
In addition, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that large trucks made up approximately nine percent of all crashes in Tennessee in a recent year, resulting in 136 deaths.
When truck accidents happen, around 70 percent of the victims are the occupants of other vehicles, not the truck itself. Oftentimes, these injuries are severe due to the huge size difference between a fully loaded commercial truck and the average passenger car.
Individuals who have been hurt in a truck accident in Tennessee should speak to an experienced attorney right away. The catastrophic nature of many commercial motor vehicle wrecks means that victims often face financial hardships for years to come. The Chattanooga truck accident lawyers at The Davis Firm, LLC help survivors pursue maximum compensation for their losses.
Truck accident cases are more complex than other types of car accident claims. Multiple parties, including big corporations, may need to be held accountable for a victim’s injuries. It’s guaranteed that their high-powered insurance companies will do everything possible to avoid paying victims the compensation they deserve. Don’t let them get away with these tactics. Get The Davis Firm, LLC on your side.
Don’t delay. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
How Common are Truck Accidents in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, there was an annual average of 122 truck accident deaths over a recent five-year period. Sadly, these numbers are on the rise. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reported 159 fatalities in 2019, a shocking 18 percent increase from the previous year.
Nationwide, large trucks and buses comprise 13 percent of all fatal traffic accidents, according to FMCSA. More than 4,700 Americans died in truck wrecks in a single year. An additional 116,000 commercial motor vehicle collisions resulted in injuries.
Commercial trucks, whether they are transport trailers, semi-trucks, or 18 wheelers, can weigh four to five times more than the standard car. Recognizing the added dangers they pose, the government has heavily regulated the trucking industry. Truck drivers and trucking companies are expected to follow strict rules to prevent accidents from occurring due to negligence. When these rules are broken and someone is hurt or killed, Tennesseans have the right to take legal action against the at-fault parties through a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Common Causes of Tennessee Truck Accidents
The most common causes of truck accidents in Tennessee include:
- Driver fatigue: All truck drivers are required to abide by the federal hours of service rule. This law specifies how many consecutive hours a trucker can drive during a shift before sleeping. The purpose is to ensure that truckers are alert behind the wheel and can focus on their surroundings. Unfortunately, not everyone follows the rules. Some trucking companies even encourage their drivers to violate the rules in order to deliver their goods to their destinations sooner. When this is the case or if truckers simply disobey the rules, fatigue-related truck accidents can occur. In FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, it was estimated that 13 percent of truck drivers were fatigued at the time of their collisions.
- Distracted driving: Holding or using a cell phone behind the wheel is illegal in Tennessee. It’s also prohibited under federal law. Eating, drinking, and adjusting truck controls are other forms of distractions that divert a driver’s attention from the road.
- Impaired driving: The dangers of drunk and drugged driving are well known. Around 2.5 percent of truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than 0.08 in 2017.
- Speeding: Speeding is a main cause of all accidents. Truckers are under an immense amount of pressure to make tight deadlines, sometimes under the threat of losing their jobs. This leaves little wiggle room for truckers who experience mechanical problems on the road or are simply caught in traffic congestion. Driving too fast is particularly dangerous because trucks have longer stopping distances. Driving anything over the posted speed limit makes it even harder to a truck to stop safely.
- Poor maintenance: It is crucial that trucks are properly maintained. Trucking companies are expected to regularly inspect their trucks and fix any problems immediately. Unfortunately, companies sometimes skip out on maintenance or outsource it to a third-party company who doesn’t perform quality work. The consequences can be tragic is an equipment failure leads to a deadly crash.
- Lack of training: Trucking companies are also expected to properly train their drivers and ensure that they have the necessary skills and experience to safely operate a big rig. When negligent hiring practices put an unsafe or undertrained driver on the roads, employers can be held liable for any accidents that they cause.
- Failure to screen drivers: In addition to ensuring that drivers are qualified for the job, trucking companies are also responsible for conducting criminal background checks and an evaluation of their past driving history. If they failed to do so — or hired a driver despite serious red flags — accident victims could bring a claim against them.
- Improperly loaded cargo: Sometimes separate cargo companies are hired to load a truck. They are responsible for ensuring that the truck is not overweight and the cargo is properly stored. If a load shifts during travel, it can throw the truck off balance, making it more difficult to maneuver safely to avoid a crash.
- Defective equipment: Truck manufacturers have a duty to ensure that their vehicles are designed with safe and effective parts. When pieces of equipment are made poorly and fail due to a design defect, the manufacturers may be held liable for their negligence.
- Weather conditions: Weather conditions are not always ideal for driving. Tennessee has its share of serious thunderstorms and very high winds that can be problematic for all drivers. Regardless, truck drivers should be trained and prepared to handle these situations. If they make an error during poor weather that results in a crash, they may be held responsible for any resulting injuries or deaths.
Many times, truck accidents occur due to a combination of factors. A skilled truck accident attorney at The Davis Firm, LLC will investigate your claim thoroughly to determine what caused the accident and who is to blame. Sometimes, that means filing a legal claim against multiple parties.
Types of Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents
Truck accident injuries tend to be much more severe than those seen in crashes involving two smaller vehicles. The most common injuries suffered after an accident include:
Back and neck injuries
The back and neck consist of bones and ligaments that are small and very fragile. During a truck accident, the discs that cushion the vertebrae can slip from the spine and sometimes, the jelly-like substance that covers that disc can rupture, causing a painful herniated disc.
Whiplash is also very common after truck accidents, particularly when a motorist is hit from behind. Whiplash causes the neck to move back and forth very rapidly while the body remains still, causing severe damage to the soft tissues in the neck.
The spine is a critical body part, housing the delicate cord that sends nerve messages to every part of the body. There are many ways that the spine can become damaged in a truck accident. The actual bones of the spine can break and surrounding tissues can become bruised or otherwise damaged. When the spinal cord itself is compromised, an accident victim may be temporarily or permanently paralyzed.
A brain injury can happen when the head smashes against the window, dashboard, airbag, door, or other part of the car during a truck accident. Flying debris could cause a penetrating brain injury that pierces the skull.
Traumatic brain injuries include concussions, contusions, coup-contrecoup injuries, diffuse axonal injury (shearing), and more. The worst of these injuries remain with a person for their entire life, resulting in permanent disabilities, the inability to take care of oneself, and other cognitive and physical impairments.
Vehicles generate a lot of heat and are powered by powerful chemicals and flammable liquids, such as fuel. Burns are extremely painful, often require extensive medical treatment over long periods of time, and can leave victims with permanent scarring and disfigurement.
Amputations can occur in one of two ways during a truck accident. An accident victim may sustain an accidental amputation at the scene of the crash due to the violence of impact. Alternatively, he or she may have to have a limb surgically amputated after the crash if the injuries were too severe and life-threatening. Either way, an amputation of any sort is life-changing and will require months, if not years, of physical therapy and rehabilitation. Understandably, amputees suffer a great deal of emotional distress as they adapt to life without a limb. These emotional losses can be compensated in a successful Tennessee truck accident claim.
Internal injuries are not only extremely serious, they are also difficult to detect. These injuries are caused when there is trauma to the lungs, bladder, spleen, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and other vital organs. Internal bleeding is caused by many factors, but most commonly a broken bone, such as a broken rib, causes these types of injuries.
You shouldn’t have to pay for the physical, emotional and financial losses that you suffered if a truck accident was caused by someone else’s negligence. Speak to a proven Tennessee truck accident lawyer about your legal options right away. Insurance adjusters for the trucking company will be on the scene within hours to investigate the crash and look for ways to limit their own liability. Hiring an effective lawyer quickly can ensure that important evidence isn’t lost or destroyed after the crash.
Wrongful Death After a Truck Accident in Tennessee
When an individual is killed in truck accident in Tennessee, the law allows family members to file a wrongful death claim against the party(s) responsible for the wreck. Compensation can be provided to help with funeral costs, burial expenses, medical bills, lost income, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering, among other losses.
Only certain family members can file a wrongful death claim in Tennessee. These include:
- The surviving spouse
- The deceased’s children or next-of-kin
- The personal representative of the victim’s estate
- The deceased person’s natural or adoptive parents, if they were a minor or in their parents’ care at the time of the accident
- Other relatives may be able to seek wrongful death compensation if there are no surviving spouses, children, or parents.
At The Davis Firm, LLC, our compassionate truck accident lawyers can assist grieving families with wrongful death claims. We understand the loss is so much greater than any dollar amount we could ever recover. But wrongful death compensation can help the family gain a sense of financial stability in the wake of such a shattering loss.
How Can The Davis Firm Help Me?
There’s no question that a truck accident can change every aspect of your life in an instant. If you were hurt in a collision in Chattanooga, the Tennessee truck accident lawyers at The Davis Firm, LLC will demand maximum compensation for your injuries and fight aggressively against insurance companies who try to deny and diminish your claims.
You won’t have to worry when our legal team takes over your case. We can represent you through all aspects of the truck accident claims process. We’ll investigate your case, build an evidence-based claim for compensation, and strive to negotiate the best possible outcome for your case. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, our lawyers have an extensive trial record and won’t hesitate to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Ready to learn about how we can help? Call or contact us to schedule a free consultation today.