Injured in a truck accident? You need a personal injury attorney who knows how to handle an 18-wheeler truck accident and the serious injuries those crashes cause. You need someone familiar with complicated accident cases. You need a lawyer who knows how to get you the compensation you rightfully deserve. You need David Gordon and our semi accident team. Contact our Memphis truck accident lawyer today. En Español.
The attorneys at the Law Office of David E. Gordon have dealt with serious highway truck accidents, especially those on Interstate 24 (I-240). They know how the regulations of truck companies work and make sure these corporations follow the letter of the law. At our law firm, every detail will be managed professionally, from start to finish. You can expect individual attention to your case. You can be assured that you and your family will be treated with the utmost compassion and care, and we are recognized for our many victories in negotiated settlements and at trial.
We are available 24/7 to serve you, and we invite you to find out more about us and our firm’s victories before you make a decision.
How We Can Help With Your Truck Accident Claim
When you work with a Memphis truck crash attorney at the Law Office of David E. Gordon, you have the benefit of our years of experience and knowledge of the federal and Tennessee law and insurance regulations that apply to commercial trucking accidents.
We’ll identify what crash factors are present in your case. We’ll get to work right away to prove the liability of the trucking company or the driver. We’ll also work to preserve the evidence we need for your claim. That will mean gathering crucial information such as:
- Driver logs
- The truck driver’s record of tickets or other infractions
- The truck’s electronic recorder or “black box”
- Information from the shipping company
- Driver manuals
- Any history of violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations
- Inadequate or improper driver training
- Information on the truck’s weight and load limits
- Information that shows whether the truck driver was encouraged to speed or skip federal rest requirements
Truck accident claims can be complex. They require an immediate and detailed investigation of the facts. We may need to hire an accident reconstructionist and obtain a subpoena to gain access to the truck’s “black box” data. We may also make a full survey of the roadway and accident scene. In some cases, we will even investigate the vehicle’s safety systems (brakes, tires, etc.) or obtain a toxicology report from the truck driver.
With David Gordon and his team on your side, you can be confident that you have experienced legal professionals helping you to seek justice and full compensation. We can handle the investigation and all of the details of case preparation for you. Contact David Gordon today and schedule a free case evaluation.
Why Truck Accident Claims Are Different
Truck accident injury cases can be very different from typical car accident claims in a number of ways, including:
The Severity of Semi Accidents
Perhaps the main way truck crashes differ from typical passenger car accidents is in severity. Large semi-trucks can often weigh as much as 80,000 pounds (or more when operating under an oversize permit). So, when accidents happen, injuries can be catastrophic, requiring extensive medical care and often lifelong treatment. It’s important to immediately call a Memphis truck accident attorney who is familiar with trucking accidents so that an investigation can begin quickly.
Types of Truck Crashes
In addition to the fact that truck crashes can be quite severe, the types of crashes are often very different. For instance, if a combination vehicle (tractor pulling a trailer) is involved in a collision, there are unique ways that an accident could happen. Here are just a few examples of common types of crashes:
Trailer disconnect. In snow, ice, or other dangerous conditions, a combination vehicle that loses control can come disconnected in an accident, leaving an uncontrolled multi-ton trailer overturning into innocent motorists.
Jackknife. The classic sign of an out-of-control truck is the jackknife. This happens when the tractor flips around and ends up almost parallel to the trailer, resembling a folded jackknife.
Drive under. When large trucks pull out in front of cars or attempt to make dangerous or illegal U-turns, it can result in a car driving under the trailer. Trailer heights are almost perfectly aligned with the windshields of most passenger vehicles, so these crashes often result in horrific injuries, including decapitations and other fatal injuries.
Right turn tracking. This occurs when a large truck and trailer combination is attempting to negotiate a right turn by swinging wide. This can send a mixed signal to drivers behind the truck, leaving them to proceed in the right turn lane, only to have the truck quickly turn right. When this happens, the trailer tracks over the top of the small vehicle to the right. Plus, the car is now in the truck driver’s blind spot, meaning the driver may not see the car that he is driving over.
Regulatory Infractions in 18 Wheel Accidents
Another major distinction is the existence of unique federal and state motor carrier regulations that control everything from what can be transported to the hours of service that drivers can drive. These rules can often be quite complex and misleading to those who do not fully understand them. Catching a driver who has cheated on his logs can be difficult, but a skilled Memphis truck accident lawyer can help you understand the rules and fight hard to hold negligent drivers accountable for breaking them.
In general, the following rules apply to drivers who haul loads across state lines:
- Once they go on duty for the day, they have 14 hours to work before they must go on a 10-hour break
- They can only drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours off duty
- They cannot drive for more than 8 hours consecutively without taking at least a 30-minute rest break or their 10-hour break
While these rules may seem simple at first, when applying them, they can get quite tricky. Many drivers will try small, hard-to-recognize illegal tricks in order to drive more hours, thus maximizing their pay.
Evidence Available in Truck Accidents
From electronic logs to satellite communication devices and in-cab data recorders (black box), trucking cases involve a lot of evidence that simply is not available in a typical car crash.
Trucking companies are not afraid to lie or hide evidence. Many times, trucking companies will conceal maintenance logs, destroy evidence, or make rapid repairs to trucks, so as to hide evidence of the crash.
Who Could Be Held Liable In A Truck Accident Claim?
There are three typical parties that can be held liable for a negligent truck accident. Keep in mind that it is also possible for multiple vehicles to be involved. In those situations, there may be more than one party responsible for the same crash. In general, however, these are the three common scenarios:
Driver working for a company
Typically, drivers are employed or controlled by a trucking company in some way. Under the law, if they are acting as “agents” of the company, then the company is responsible for the negligence of its driver. In these situations, you can bring a claim against the driver and the company. In most cases, the company (through its insurance company) will be responsible for paying the claim.
Independent truck driver
It is rare these days to find a truly “independent” truck driver. Even those who call themselves independent are often leasing their truck from a company or they are dedicated to one company. But a driver who owns the truck and has his own independent license and commission is a self-employed person who could be held liable for his own negligence.
Freight brokers, shippers, and other parties
In some situations, a freight broker may assign freight that is inappropriate for the truck and trailer hauling it. Likewise, shippers who load trucks sometimes overload or mislead the driver about the amount of freight. Although truck drivers should be weighing every load, most get complacent and may rely on the shipper’s information. In these cases, the shipper may also be negligent and liable for an accident. A trusted Memphis commercial truck accident attorney can help determine who is at fault.
Compensation In a Truck Accident Claim
If you are hurt in a truck accident on a Tennessee road such as Walnut Grove Road or Sycamore View Road, you could have a right to be compensated for a number of losses and injuries. For example, here are some of the common types of compensation that you could recover:
Pain and suffering
These terms are often overused and misunderstood. The law simply says that actual physical pain has a monetary value. If someone causes you to hurt, they owe you some sort of money for that pain. Suffering is the inconvenience, ache, and hardship that accompanies pain.
If you incur medical bills as a result of the negligent truck driver, you should not be stuck paying those bills. You have a right to be paid for the cost of your medical care. This also goes for future medical costs related to your injuries. If you have serious injuries that will require ongoing care, you have a right to receive compensation for the anticipated costs of medical care.
If you missed time from work, you can seek compensation for lost wages. And if you lost the ability to work or had to change careers and take a lesser paying job due to permanent injuries, you could seek compensation for the loss of your ability to earn a living.
If your spouse is rendered unable to work or is permanently injured, you could have a right to receive compensation for your loss of support and loss of relationship, companionship, and society.
When a loved one dies due to negligence, the next of kin have a right to pursue compensation for loss of support, loss of affection, comfort, guidance, and funeral and burial costs.
There are many other types of compensation, such as emotional distress and punitive damages, that are available in limited circumstances.
If you have questions about what types of compensation you could be eligible to receive, contact a truck accident attorney in Memphis who can help you make sense of your injuries and fight for compensation today.
Statute Of Limitations For Truck Accident Claims In Tennessee
Tennessee has one of the shortest statutes of limitations in the country. If you are involved in a truck accident and incur injuries, you have just one year from the date of your accident to bring a lawsuit against those who are responsible. If you fail to do so, you may forever lose your right to compensation.
Many states allow two or three years, but not Tennessee. Worse yet, the courts will accept no excuses for missing the deadline. Therefore, it is extremely important that you contact an experienced Memphis attorney with knowledge of large automobile crashes away, even if you aren’t sure whether you have a case.
Serious Injuries Caused By Truck Accidents
Truck accident injuries can be very severe. In general, there are a few injuries that are more common than others. Here are some of the more frequently seen injuries from truck accidents:
- Fractures – Painful broken bones can take months to heal and leave permanent injuries, including nerve damage.
- Serious head injuries and traumatic brain injuries – Head injuries can lead to brain damage, neurological complications, and even sensory problems. Perhaps one of the more common, yet less understood, injuries of all, TBI is when the brain suffers a physical impact within the skull. These can be extremely serious injuries with lifelong consequences.
- Spinal cord injuries – Spinal cord injuries are often life-altering and debilitating. Depending on the severity, some spinal cord injuries can cause permanent paralysis, loss of mobility, or lead to being in a wheelchair.
- Disc injuries – X-rays will not usually detect disc injuries, such as herniation, bulging, or narrowing of discs. However, even a minor disc injury can be very painful and lead to posture problems and constant pain and discomfort.
- Amputations – Amputations are permanent injuries that take a part of you forever. Even the loss of a finger or toe is a significant injury.
- Burns and disfiguring scars – Tragic truck accidents can lead to horrible injuries. Sometimes hazardous chemicals are involved, and victims can suffer burns, smoke inhalation, or chemical exposure, leading to respiratory problems, as well as permanent scarring and disfigurement.
- Soft-tissue injuries – The most common injuries we see in truck accident cases are soft-tissue injuries. When a muscle, tendons, and ligaments are torn, stretched, or strained, it can be very painful and take a long time to heal.
- Whiplash – Whiplash is caused when there is a sudden, abrupt impact, causing the head and neck to jerk back and forth violently. This leads to pain in the neck and shoulder blades that can last for weeks or even months, due to inflammation, irritation, and muscle swelling. Often whiplash can make it difficult to handle daily activities or enjoy life while trying to recover.
- Dislocations – When a joint is dislocated, muscle fiber is often torn or ruptured as well. Even once the bones are set back into the proper alignment, there can be months of recovery and physical therapy to regain strength. Likewise, a person may need surgery to fully recover.
- Concussions – A concussion is a serious trauma that can lead to headaches, nausea, fatigue, and other post-concussive symptoms. Concussions can also lead to cognitive problems and have a lasting effect on your life.
A Memphis truck wreck attorney can ensure that your settlement demand appropriately considers all the ways your injury has impacted your life.
Common Causes Of Truck Accidents In Memphis
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has compiled the leading causes of crashes involving tractor-trailers, also known as semis, big rigs, or 18-wheelers. The top causes of crashes are:
- Braking failure
- Traffic congestion
- Truck operator’s prescription drug use
- Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions
- Truck driver’s unfamiliarity with the road
- Road construction
- Truck driver’s failure to stop at a traffic signal, stop sign, or crosswalk
- Truck driver fatigue
Steps To Take After A Truck Accident
If you or a loved one is involved in a truck accident in Tennessee, you should follow these steps to preserve your claim and protect your rights:
Get emergency medical attention
After a crash, you may be stunned and bewildered. You may not be sure if you are hurt. Many serious injuries show up weeks later. Do not take chances, get to the hospital right away (such as Saint Francis Hospital, Methodist South Hospital, or others). Get a check-up and allow doctors to evaluate you for injuries. Not only will this make sure you receive the treatment you need, but it also will help document that your injuries are related to the crash.
Follow your physician’s treatment plan
Insurance companies love to say that you are not hurt because you did not follow a doctor’s instructions. Do not give them the option. Follow your doctor’s instructions to the highest extent possible.
Get your police report
A Memphis attorney can get your truck crash police report for you, but often you can get it faster. The sooner you get this crucial report of the collision, the sooner you can check it for errors. Police are human, and they make mistakes, too. The faster you can let the police know about an error, the faster the information can be corrected.
Keep all your paperwork
It is a good idea to keep track of all your paperwork. You will have police reports, medical bills, records, notes from talking to various people, and so forth. Get a folder and keep everything. This will be useful for your Memphis semi-truck wreck attorney.
Truck Accident Statistics
There are staggering numbers of trucking accidents taking place in Tennessee every year, with many serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries to other motorists who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Institute for Highway Safety reports the following statistics:
- 96% of the fatalities in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants.
- One in 10 highway deaths involves a large truck.
- Truck driver fatigue contributes to the number of truck accidents.
- Truck braking capacity is a dangerous factor in truck accidents.
- Many fatal accidents occur at slow speeds.
Call a Memphis Truck Accident Attorney
Once you are safe and you have gotten medical attention, contact an experienced Memphis truck accident lawyer. Attorney David E. Gordon is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer with decades of experience fighting insurance companies and large trucking operations. He understands the nuances and minor technicalities that often apply to serious injury cases. Although no one can guarantee that you will be able to collect money for your injuries, working with a skilled and experienced litigation attorney is your best bet for succeeding against a large trucking company.