Tennessee sees many fatal interstate collisions, particularly along I-75, I-40, and I-81, which are among the most dangerous stretches of interstate highway in the country. If these collisions involve commercial trucks, which are significantly heavier and larger than passenger cars or motorcycles, they are particularly likely to result in catastrophic injuries like paralysis, brain trauma, or even death. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an interstate collision involving a commercial vehicle, you may be able to recover damages. Given the catastrophic injuries that may result from these accidents, it is crucial to retain a Knoxville truck accident lawyer who understands the trucking industry. Trucking companies will be vigorously represented in these matters, and you should be as well.Establishing Liability for Interstate Collisions
All interstate truck drivers are required to follow the rules promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These complex regulations are intended to protect motorists and regulate the trucking industry in light of the exceptional danger posed by commercial vehicles. Whether a driver and their employer are in compliance is often the subject of personal injury litigation. The regulations cover in detail such matters as the hours of service that may be worked, maintenance, and the keeping of logbooks.
In some cases, a driver who violates FMCSA safety violations may be held negligent as a matter of law. Negligence per se is established by showing that the defendant violated a safety rule that imposes a duty or prohibits an act that was intended to benefit the plaintiff and others like them, and this violation was the legal cause of the plaintiff's injuries. Although it is a type of negligence, rather than a separate cause of action in Tennessee, negligence per se may make it easier for a plaintiff to recover damages. In such lawsuits, the focus often becomes how much the plaintiff is entitled to receive, rather than whether the defendant is liable. It is critical to have an experienced attorney like Mark Hartsoe to immediately begin investigating your case. Hartsoe has an accident reconstruction team on 24-hour standby to travel to the accident scene to preserve evidence.
The FMCSA must routinely penalize trucking companies that encourage their employees not to follow the FMCSA regulations so that they can meet deadlines and turn a greater profit. We can look at whether the employer of a negligent driver may be held liable under a theory of direct or indirect liability. An employer may be held indirectly liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior for negligent actions by an employee that were taken within the scope of their employment.
Moreover, an employer may also be held directly liable for its own negligence, if that was the legal cause of an accident. Under the FMCSA, trucking companies are required to conduct background checks of drivers and inspect logbooks, among other things. A trucking company that fails to provide adequate training or hires a driver with a record of alcohol abuse or accidents may be held liable under a theory of negligent hire or negligent supervision.Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in the Knoxville Area
If you were injured in an interstate collision, you should consult a Knoxville truck accident attorney who knows the rules that commercial drivers must follow, as well as how the trucking industry works. Not all personal injury attorneys understand how to collect evidence or how to wield it skillfully in these challenging types of cases. The Hartsoe Law Firm does. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm at (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form for a free appointment with a motor vehicle collision lawyer. We represent clients throughout East Tennessee, including in Knox, Blount, Monroe, Loudon, Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, Campbell, Hamblen, Greene, Anderson, Cumberland, and Fentress Counties.