Johnson City Truck Accident Lawyers
Commercial trucks are some of the largest vehicles on the road, and they transport goods all over the country. Tennessee’s geographic location means that many commercial vehicles pass through the state while delivering goods and materials. If you’ve been hurt in an accident involving a truck or 18-wheeler in Johnson City, be sure to hire a legal team with the right experience and resources to help you get the compensation that you deserve. For more than three decades, our aggressive trial attorneys have helped people just like you hold the trucking companies and other entities accountable for the injuries and property damage that their drivers cause.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that there were 120 fatalities in 104 crashes involving large trucks in Tennessee in 2016, which Those numbers translate to a rate of 15.64 fatal large truck accidents per 1 million people.
A commercial truck accident is far different from a traditional car crash. Commercial truck collisions are far more complicated because multiple parties (not just the driver) could be liable for a victim’s injuries. That’s why it is crucial to hire an experienced Johnson City truck accident attorney to represent you or a loved one if you’ve been hurt by the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company.
The Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC have been fighting for clients all over Upper East Tennessee since 1984. You can have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (423) 282-1041 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Do not assume that any insurance company is ever on your side, no matter what their agents might tell you. Representatives of the trucking company’s insurance provider will immediately reach out to crash victims and express a willingness to make sure the victims are taken care of for the injuries they suffered, but all insurers have the same primary goal of paying as little as possible to resolve these types of claims.
The first thing that most insurance companies will do is try to find any way possible to avoid having to pay anything to a victim. In most cases, this is accomplished attempting to show a victim’s negligence contributed to or caused their injuries.
One of the easiest ways for an insurance company to accomplish this goal is by simply getting the victim to unknowingly make damaging statements about their case that can be used against them later. This concern is the primary reason that you will want to contact an attorney right away.
In other cases, insurance companies may offer victims lump-sum settlements to make them go away. These offers are rarely enough to cover a victim’s full lifetime of care, but a lawyer will be able to negotiate for a fair and full settlement to your case.
Why Choose the Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC to Handle My Case?
The Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC obtained a $4.5 million settlement for a teenager who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a tractor-trailer accident. We’ll work hard to get you the justice you deserve too. Our firm emphasizes a team approach to handling personal injury cases, so you will always have multiple attorneys dedicated to your case.
Tony Seaton holds an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, a peer rating denoting the highest level of professional excellence and has also been a board-certified specialist in Civil Trial Practice since 1988. He received the Tennessee Association for Justice Paladin Award in 2012, and he is also a member of the American Association for Justice.
Robert Bates was named to the Top 40 Under 40 list by the National Association of Personal Injury Attorneys in 2015 and was a Dean’s Scholar at the Appalachian School of Law. He is a member of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association.
Our team of personal injury lawyers can negotiate a settlement to your case that covers all of your past, present, and future expenses, and we can file a lawsuit if an insurance company does not make an acceptable offer. Our firm also represents clients on a contingency fee basis, so you pay nothing for our service until you receive a financial award.
Types of Truck Accident Cases We Handle
The large size of most commercial vehicles often means that crashes result in devastating damage and injuries. Many commercial truck accidents involve multiple vehicles, though crashes limited to only one other vehicle or nonoccupant can be potentially fatal.
Several different kinds of truck accidents happen in Tennessee, and some of the most common types of crashes generally include:
- Override accidents
- Underride accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- T-bone collisions
- Wide-turning accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Blocking accidents
- Overloaded vehicles
- Intersection accidents
While truck drivers are often determined to have been at fault for many of these types of accidents, the driver is rarely the only person liable for a victim’s injuries. Other parties could also be liable for commercial truck crashes.
Different people or entities that may be potentially liable in a truck accident include:
- Truck owner
- Truck part manufacturer
- Maintenance company
- Shipping agency
- Cargo loading company
- Governmental entity
- Another motorist
The underlying cause of a truck accident can be difficult to determine. In many cases, truck crashes involve causes that were not immediately apparent at the time of the crash.
Some of the most common causes include but are not limited to:
- Failure to maintain vehicle
- Unsecured loads
- Overloaded trailers
- Inclement weather
- Brake failure
- Mechanical defects
- Driver fatigue
- Inadequate driver training
Commercial vehicles are subject to strict state and federal regulations, and an experienced attorney will be able to investigate to determine when a crash involved a violation of one of these regulations.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
If you were hurt in a collision with a large commercial vehicle, you likely have questions about your rights and what type of compensation you are owed. Contact one of our experienced attorneys at (423) 282-1041 to schedule a consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. For general information, read some of our frequently asked questions below.
Your immediate action after any truck crash should be to seek medical attention, even if you do not believe you were hurt. Not only is it important to be screened so you can be sure that you did not suffer an injury that might involve delayed symptoms, but delays in treatment can lead to insurance companies arguing that your injuries were not that severe.
Another vital step for accident victims to take after a truck accident is to photograph the collision. Try to get pictures from different angles and distances. Also, collect the names and phone numbers of witnesses. If you cannot personally take these steps, ask a friend, family member, or co-worker to do it for you. After the accident, do not speak to any insurance company without first contacting Seaton Law Firm.
Under Tennessee Code § 28-3-104(a)(1)(B), a civil action needs to be started within one year of the cause of action or the date of a crash. The date that the statute of limitations period begins to run is different for actions alleging personal injury and those claiming wrongful death. While the limitations period for a personal injury action begins on the date of an accident, the date of a person’s death (which may be after the date of a crash) starts the limitations period for a wrongful death claim.
The Supreme Court of Tennessee replaced the common law defense of contributory negligence with a system of comparative fault in McIntyre v. Balentine, 833 S.W.2d 52 (Tenn. 1992).
Contributory negligence allows a defendant to avoid liability for damages when a victim’s negligence contributed in any way (even just 1 percent) to an accident, but the Supreme Court of Tennessee held that a plaintiff could recover damages so long as their negligence is less than the defendant’s negligence. This means a person can recover damages as long as they were not more than 50 percent at fault.
The Supreme Court also held that damages are reduced in proportion to the percentage of the total negligence attributable to the plaintiff, meaning that a person who is awarded $100,000 in a truck accident case but is found to be 10 percent at fault will have their damages reduced by $10,000 and ultimately receive $90,000.
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, there were 155 large or medium truck crashes in Washington County in 2006, 142 in 2007, and 117 in 2008. Sullivan County had 179 large or medium truck crashes in 2006, 163 in 2007, and 131 in 2008, while Carter County had 42 crashes in 2006, 33 in 2007, and 42 in 2008.
The agency reported 115 statewide traffic fatalities involving large trucks in 2017, 111 in 2016, 119 in 2015, 113 in 2014, and 119 in 2013. Large trucks were associated with 93 deaths in 2018.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 114 of the 1,467 vehicles involved in fatal crashes in Tennessee in 2016 were large trucks. This represented 7.8 percent of the total crashes. NHTSA reported that 12 fatalities were truck occupants in single vehicles, nine were truck occupants in multiple vehicles, 93 were occupants in other vehicles, and six were nonoccupants.
NHTSA reported that 592 of the 9,441 large combination trucks in Tennessee were involved in fatal crashes between 1996 and 2000, which represented 3.2 percent (the 11th highest percentage in the nation). According to the agency, 161 of the 3,807 large single-unit trucks in Tennessee were involved in fatal crashes between 1996 and 2000, which represented 2.7 percent (the 14th highest percentage in the nation). The 753 trucks involved in fatal crashes over the 87,259 miles of public roads in Tennessee translated to an annualized rate of 1.7, which was tied with Arizona and Ohio for the 11th highest annualized rate per 1,000 miles in the nation.
Contact a Johnson City Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you sustained severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a truck crash in the Greater Johnson City area, you cannot afford to wait to seek legal representation. Federal law establishes that trucking companies are required to keep inspection records for 18 months, the hours of service records of drivers for six months, and driver qualifications for three months, but trucking companies are allowed to destroy this evidence after those periods have expired.
Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC will obtain all of the necessary evidence as quickly as possible and work tirelessly to make sure negligent parties are held fully accountable for your accident. Call (423) 282-1041 or contact us online to have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free consultation.