Major transportation arteries run through Tennessee and Mississippi to connect the Midwest to the Southern states. The high level of 18-wheeler traffic on our states’ highways and rural roads puts motorists at risk of catastrophic accidents. The statistics demonstrate how serious the problem is. Approximately 411,000 tractor-trailer crashes occurred in 2014, killing 3,903 people and injuring thousands more. In fact, 20 percent of all tractor-trailer crashes resulted in at least one serious injury. Trucking accidents tend to be more serious and complicated than other types of automobile crashes and generally involve a substantial defense team.
Johnson & Bennett have a positive track record of taking on big trucking corporations in tractor-trailer accident cases. We know exactly what to do to put our clients in a strong position. We take immediate, decisive action to preserve evidence, investigate the cause and build a case for liability and damages.
What You Should Do After a Tractor-Trailer Crash
The moments after a big-rig crash are intense, chaotic and frightening. In most cases, people have sustained severe injuries and teams of rescue workers and law enforcement have descended on the scene. You can protect your health and your legal rights by:
- Calling 911 for emergency medical assistance
- Putting your and others’ safety and injury recovery first
- Taking pictures of the truck’s license plate and markings, if possible
- Photographing other aspects of the crash scene (road conditions, weather, etc.)
- Declining to give a statement to trucking company lawyers at the scene
- Hiring an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as practicable
What Our Trucking Crash Lawyers Do
We’ve handled numerous trucking accident claims and our lawyers have refined our response to optimize the preservation of evidence and the protection of your rights. Our quick response includes:
- Investigating at the scene of the crash, if retained right away
- Filing a demand letter that prohibits the trucking corporation from destroying evidence, tampering with the truck or altering logbooks
- Subpoenaing cell phone records, black box data, driving records and other information that may prove the cause of the crash
- Setting up guardianship, if necessary, for severely injured clients
Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Commercial vehicle companies and drivers are regulated by several government agencies, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Both the driver and the trucking corporation bear responsibility for the accident in almost every case for violation of a federal regulation or state law, including:
- Hours of service (HOS) regulations that restrict amount of time a driver can be on duty and drive and that mandate rest breaks and time off
- Texting while driving laws that forbid texting while operating a commercial vehicle
- Cell phone use while driving laws that only allow use of a hands-free electronic device while driving a commercial vehicle
- Speeding ordinances, which are particularly important because heavy trucks take longer to stop upon application of the brakes
- Logbook requirements, in which the trucker must keep accurate records of hours worked and delivery times and locations, and is forbidden to manipulate these entries
Even cases in which the driver made a fatal error, the trucking company is often liable for ineffective corporate policies, for creating an environment that tolerates driver misconduct and for vicarious liability by virtue of employment.
Hold the Trucking Corporation and Trucker Responsible for Your Injuries
Schedule a free case evaluation with our Mississippi and Tennessee 18-wheeler accident lawyers to discuss your claim. Johnson & Bennett takes your claim on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay lawyers’ fees until we recover damages. Also, we will visit you at your home or the hospital or schedule your appointment after regular office hours to accommodate your injury and schedule. We immediately step into action to help you.