Semi-trucks make up a large portion of the interstate and highway traffic in the nation, including in Tennessee. Though these trucks serve an important economic function, the sheer size of these vehicles makes them dangerous to other motorists. When a truck accident occurs, it is likely that a multi-vehicle crash will result.
This was the case recently in Cookeville, and Knoxville residents should take note of the risk. There, a Crossville man was killed in a three-vehicle accident on Interstate 40 when a tractor-trailer hit a car, causing it to lose control and hit another car and the guardrails. The truck driver apparently never stopped.
These tragic accidents are typically caused by truck driver fatigue or a distracted truck driver. Though victims and their families could face long-term care, permanent disability or death, legal options exist that can provide families with compensation that can help with medical expenses, funeral costs and pain and suffering.
Yet, in order to recover and avoid these financial burdens, one must carefully consider where liability for the accident lies. Liability can lie with several parties, but most suits focus on the truck company, the truck owner and the truck driver.
A truck company can be held liable when the driver of the truck responsible for the accident is an employee of the truck company. This legal theory seeks to ensure that truck companies take care when hiring their drivers, making sure that they are properly trained and thoroughly scrutinized before being placed behind the wheel.
A truck owner, which in many cases is the driver, can also be held liable in these accidents. The owner of the truck is responsible for who is behind the wheel of the vehicle and, like a truck company, should be careful when deciding who to let drive the vehicle. A negligent driver is directly responsible and can be held liable.
The mere size of semi-trucks makes them dangerous. When a trucking company, owner or driver is negligent, the risk increases. Hopefully the threat of liability will keep them attentive and put safety first.
Source: Herald-Citizen, "Crossville man dies in crash," Mary Jo Denton, May 31, 2012