Truck Accidents and the Law
Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to follow numerous federal and state safety laws. When they put profits ahead of the safety of others on the road, the results may be devastating. In some cases, negligent drivers and their employers may be held criminally liable as well as civilly responsible. If you have been struck by a careless trucker in East Tennessee, you should consult Maryville truck accident attorney Mark Hartsoe. At the Hartsoe Law Firm, we have an accident reconstruction team on 24-hour standby that we can send to the scene of a wreck.Truck Accidents and the Law
Some truck accidents in Tennessee result in a tragic death. If you have lost a family member in a crash, you should be aware that you may be entitled to compensation for your loss of love, support, and companionship, as well as any medical and funeral expenses that you have paid and financial support that you have lost. A truck driver who causes an accident that results in a loss of life may be criminally charged, but these proceedings are distinct and separate from a civil lawsuit. The burden in a criminal case is much higher, and you may be able to meet the burden of proof in a civil case even if the truck driver was acquitted of criminal charges.
In a criminal case, wrongdoing may be penalized with jail time and fines. In a civil lawsuit, liability is expressed in monetary damages. You will need to show that the driver's negligence was more likely than not the legal cause of your injuries or your loved one's death. A criminal citation against a driver or trucking company may be helpful to your case. It is a good idea to retain experienced truck accident attorney Mark Hartsoe before the criminal case concludes. Even though they are separate, there is a chance that the findings in a criminal case could affect a personal injury or wrongful death case.
Truck drivers must follow Tennessee laws and Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations. Any failure to do so may be considered negligence or negligence per se. For example, truck drivers must maintain logbooks that detail their hours of service and that show that they have abided by hours of service regulations. If they fail to do so, or if they falsify these records, and they cause an accident because they are too fatigued to drive safely, a jury is likely to find them liable.
A trucking company may be held responsible under a theory of respondeat superior if its employee or agent behaved negligently in the course and scope of employment. This is a form of derivative liability. A company is usually not derivatively liable for an independent contractor's actions, so many companies retain drivers as independent contractors in order to avoid liability. However, in some cases, it may be possible to establish that a driver was called an independent contractor only to avoid liability but was actually an employee or agent.
Moreover, a trucking company may also be held directly liable if it fails to abide by federal and Tennessee laws. For example, trucking companies are required to conduct background checks of drivers. Choosing to look the other way despite red flags like a DUI or drug abuse problem may be used to support a claim against the company for negligent hiring.Call Maryville Attorney Mark Hartsoe After a Truck Accident
If you are injured in a truck wreck, you may have many options to consider. Maryville truck accident lawyer Mark Hartsoe can investigate the facts of your case and represent you in a claim. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm at (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form to schedule your free appointment. Mark Hartsoe helps victims who need a motor vehicle collision attorney throughout East Tennessee, including in Blount, Knox, Monroe, Loudon, Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, Campbell, Hamblen, Greene, Anderson, Cumberland, and Fentress Counties.