Archive for the ‘Fatal Truck Accidents’ Category
Friday, June 7th, 2013
Most passenger cars weigh around 5,000 pounds, so it’s not hard to see why they see the worst of the damage in a collision with an 80,000 pound truck. Devastating injuries and death are too often the unfortunate result. Research on commercial vehicle accidents in Tennessee shows that over 1,700 motorists died from 1994-2005. The number of fatal commercial truck accidents rose 21 percent over the years of the study. The alarming increase shows that while trucks serve a critical role in business, accidents with life-changing results happen all too frequently.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a crash involving a large commercial vehicle, seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer at the Nahon Firm. If the accident resulted from the negligence or impairment of a truck driver, our firm is here to fight for your rights in court and win compensation for your suffering, recovery time, and lost income.
Most successful accident claims get started with a thorough examination of the crash site. In some cases, the Nahon Firm uses accident reconstruction specialists to take photos, get details from police, and interview witnesses. Other potentially important information comes from truck driver logs, shipping schedules, and on-board data recorders from the truck. We’ll also review the medical records from your injuries and consult with medical experts if necessary.
Large commercial trucks, with their own teams of lawyers, accident specialists, and insurance agents, are out to minimize their losses. They waste no time in protecting their own interests, so don’t wait too long before calling 615-324-2000. Trucking companies are required by federal law to carry at least $750,000 in insurance coverage. But negotiating with insurance agents over compensation can be difficult and time-consuming. They may try to deny your claim, or deny responsibility for the crash and your injuries. In the event the trucking company does accept responsibility for the accident, their insurance agents might contest the severity of your injuries.
At the Nahon Firm, our staff understands the complications of a personal injury claim against large truck companies and their insurance agents. For more than 30 years, we’ve been fighting hard to win the compensation our clients need for the traumas they’ve suffered. We view all of our clients with respect and compassion, so don’t hesitate to call 615-324-2000. If your injuries are so severe that you cannot travel, then we can meet at the hospital or your home instead.
Thursday, June 6th, 2013
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration statistics show that deaths and injuries from large commercial truck accidents take an annual $43 billion toll on the national economy. About 4,000 people nationwide perish each year in truck-related accidents, and another 70,000 or so suffer injuries. Here in Tennessee, the fatality rate averages about 140 each year. Shocking statistics like these emphasize the importance of raising truck safety awareness among the driving public.
If you have been injured or if someone close to you died in a commercial trucking accident caused by the negligence of the trucking company, the Nahon Firm can help you get the compensation that’s right for you. Our lawyers are well-versed with the many regulations that govern the trucking industry, and understand how to find violations. Despite the rules for hours-of-service, maintenance, load weights or alcohol testing, there are still irresponsible trucking companies causing serious traffic accidents. Pressured by a tough economy and low freight rates, some carriers have to cut corners on maintenance to keep their trucks loaded and moving. But when those trucks are past inspection or rolling on worn out tires, the risk of accident and injury increases significantly.
With the weight and size difference between large trucks and passenger cars, it’s no surprise that those in the smaller vehicle are usually hurt the worst in a crash. Of those who survive a commercial truck accident, many suffer debilitating injuries that take months or even years to heal. Loss of income for truck accident victims is also common, which only makes the doctor bills even tougher to pay. To get through such a difficult experience, a truck accident lawyer can help you win compensation for your losses.
An experienced commercial truck accident lawyer will understand the challenges you’re facing because of injuries or accidental death of a loved one. Issues brought on by stress and financial hardship can grow even worse over time. By contacting the Nahon Firm to talk about your case, you are taking an important first step. To speak with one of our staff, call 615-324-2000. We can review the specifics of your commercial truck accident and advise on your best course of action. Clients of the Nahon Firm are viewed with compassion and respect, and our 30 years of experience in commercial truck accidents cases is ready to go to work for you. From collecting accident scene reports to negotiating with the trucking company and insurance agents, we’ll fight for your rights in the courtroom.
Friday, April 19th, 2013
The slow speed of the so-called economic recovery has hit virtually all segments of the economy, including the agriculture industry from small family owned farms and dairies to large commercial agri-businesses. The federal government took action last year to ease the financial burden on farmers, which did not receive much fanfare but may have significant consequences for those who share the roadways with big-rigs in Tennessee.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) granted an exemption from hours of service (HOS) rules to commercial carriers and truck drivers who transport farming equipment and goods. The exemption covers the full spectrum of agricultural equipment and products, such as loads of wheat, tankers full of milk and rigs transporting heavy farm machinery. HOS rules generally provide that a commercial driver may only operate a tractor-trailer a maximum of eleven consecutive hours with a maximum of fourteen total hours of on-duty time during a day. These rules also establish limits for maximum hours over a certain period of days and mandate the minimum duration of off-duty periods.
The exemption created by the FMCSA allows truck drivers and commercial carriers to disregard these anti-fatigue safety regulations if the drop-off and pick-up points for load are within a hundred miles of each other. This is an example of how economic hardships can compromise vehicle safety. There is no real basis for distinguishing the danger posed by fatigued truck drivers in the agricultural sector of the economy from any other segment of the trucking industry. Tractor-trailers that are fully loaded with agricultural products or equipment are just as dangerous when driven by a fatigued driver as any other commercial big-rig. Because driver fatigue is a leading cause of trucking accidents, this exemption compromises motor vehicle occupant and pedestrian safety in the name of short-term economic benefits.
While the personal injury attorneys at The Nahon Firm understand the vital role that agriculture plays in our state’s economy, we question the wisdom of easing the rules that mitigate the risk associated with the most common cause of trucking accidents. The danger of this policy has been seen in other industries like the petroleum industry. Exemption of the oil industry from anti-fatigue trucking regulations has resulted in a substantially higher risk of fatigue-related collisions involving trucks transporting petroleum products.
Our Tennessee big-rig accident attorneys at The Nahon Firm are committed to holding negligent parties’ accountable for the injuries and wrongful deaths caused by their negligence. The experienced Nashville trucking accident lawyers at The Nahon Firm are dedicated to helping injury victims recover the financial compensation they need to reclaim their lives. We invite you to contact us at 615-324-2000 to schedule your free consultation so that you can learn about your rights and options.
Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
Colliding with the back end of a tractor-trailer is among the worst type of accidents that send so many motorists to Nashville-area emergency rooms. These accidents happen when trucks make sudden stops or when motorists fail to keep a safe following distance. Road conditions and distracted driving also play a role in these serious crashes.
Metal bars mounted beneath the back end of trailers are designed to stop cars from getting wedged underneath following impact in a crash. But research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that some of these metal under-ride guards are not effective in preventing this deadly outcome. In rear end crash tests between cars and trailers, some cars broke through the under-ride guards and crashed all the way toward the rear axle.
The IIHS report analyzed two-years’ worth of crash data from fatal under-ride wrecks. Tests included varying degrees of overlap between car and trailer.
Although fatalities appear to be trending downward, the numbers could be affected by the decline in commercial truck traffic due the economic downturn. Some manufacturers in the trailer industry have moved the under-ride guards and use stronger metal to make them safer. But there are still thousands of commercial trailers moving through Nashville each day with under-ride guards that might not be as effective as they could be.
When not fatal, this type of rear end collision between cars and trucks results in severe head injuries, facial fractures, eye socket damage and neck trauma. The recovery process can take months or even longer, driving up healthcare costs while also causing lost time at work. Cars are often totaled after rear ending a large truck, so property loss is also part of resulting costs.
To help make recovery possible, a successful personal injury claim holds large corporations accountable to equipment safety standards. Compensation for the pain and suffering caused by rear end collisions helps injured folks through difficult times as they get back on their feet. But large corporations, with their own lawyers, investigators, insurance agents and accident reconstructionists, are out to keep costs down and protect their own interests. At the Nahon Firm, our lawyers look out for the interests of our clients. To win fair compensation in a rear end collision with a truck takes the kind of experience our lawyers have gained over the last 30 years.
If you’ve been injured in a rear end collision involving a large commercial truck, contact the Nahon Firm. Our lawyers can answer the questions you might have about your case and evaluate the potential for a successful personal injury claim. Call 615-324-2000.
Monday, April 15th, 2013
Because distracted drivers are more likely to cause accidents that result in injuries or death for other motorists, states have enacted tough laws to fight against what some government officials have labeled as a national epidemic. Every day in metropolitan areas like Nashville, a driver on a busy highway takes their eyes off the road to look at their smartphones and ends up causing an accident. These accident results vary from no injuries and minor vehicle damage to multiple fatalities and vehicles destroyed beyond repair. If large commercial trucks are involved, the destruction and injuries are typically more severe.
Anyone who has been injured in a distracted driving accident understands how difficult and painful the results can be. Not only do victims suffer injuries and property damage, but they can also face lost wages, enduring pain, and healthcare costs for months or even years. Laws that ban cell phone use by drivers aim to prevent the accidents that cause so many of these problems.
In Tennessee, handheld cell phone use during the operation of a motor vehicle is viewed by police as a matter of primary enforcement. That definition allows police to ticket drivers solely for using the phone while driving, whether or not the driver was speeding, not wearing a seat belt, or committing some other infraction. Authorities consider texting while driving the same way.
For commercial truck drivers the penalties for cell phone use are severe. Truckers can see their licenses revoked and be hit with large fines and much higher insurance costs. Since commercial trucks are so much larger than most other vehicles on the road, the accidents caused by distracted truckers are usually more destructive.
Recovering from an accident is challenging, but trying to negotiate with a trucking company’s insurance agent can make a bad situation even worse. Fortunately, with the help of an experienced personal injury firm, it is possible for those who have been injured to win compensation and get back on the road to recovery.
At the Nahon Firm, we’ve been helping people injured by distracted drivers for many years. If you’ve been injured in a commercial truck accident and distracted driving was a factor, call us at 615-324-2000. One of our lawyers will review the facts of your case and discuss it with you. At the Nahon Firm, we view our clients with respect and work hard to deliver a successful a personal injury claim.
Thursday, April 4th, 2013
When owners of motor vehicles like cars, SUVs and trucks fail to perform necessary maintenance or drive unsafely, the risk of an auto collision resulting in significant injury increases. However, when the negligent driver or vehicle owner is a commercial driver that works for a commercial carrier, the stakes get a whole lot higher. Big-rigs may weigh more than two dozen times more than the weight of a the typical passenger car so it is essential that trucking companies in Tennessee be diligent about hiring, training and supervising their drivers as well as properly maintaining the brakes, tires, and other aspects of their semi-trucks.
However, a recent fatal collision between an SUV and an 18-wheeler that killed six occupants of the SUV demonstrates the devastating consequences when trucking companies put profits above vehicle safety. While it is hard to imagine a commercial driver underestimating the danger of following another vehicle two closely when operating a vehicle that may weigh up to 80,000 pounds, but there are few other viable explanations for the fact that the tractor-trailer slammed into the SUV from behind.
As if the circumstances of this fatal tractor-trailer collision are not tragic enough, an investigation following the fatal trucking accident revealed that the trucking company had received 17 citations during the two years immediately prior to the deadly trucking accident. The citations were not for harmless insignificant violations but rather the types of driving conduct that one would expect to cause a semi-truck collision. The citations included the following violations among others:
- Unsafe lane changes
Ironically, these are precisely the types of violations that contributed to this fatal commercial truck accident revealing that proper monitoring and supervision by the trucking company or more aggressive regulatory enforcement might easily have prevented this needless loss of life. The trucking company was given a satisfactory rating by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) despite the pattern of violations. During the two year period, there were 59 inspections conducted of the tractor-trailers operated by this commercial carrier that resulted in removal of a truck from the road in twelve separate cases. Amazingly, this level of non-compliance is only slightly below the national average for all trucking companies.
If you are involved in a collision involving a big-rig truck, litigation of a trucking accident claim can be complicated. There will typically be federal or state investigators dispatched to investigate the cause of the crash along with the typical law enforcement traffic accident investigators. The earlier you can get trucking accident attorneys and tractor-trailer accident experts working on your behalf the better the chance of maximizing the compensation that you receive for your injuries or loss.
The Nashville tractor-trailer accident attorneys at The Nahon Firm are committed to holding negligent trucking companies and careless truck drivers accountable for the injuries and wrongful deaths caused by their negligence. The experienced Nashville semi-truck lawyers at The Nahon Firm are dedicated to helping injury victims recover the financial compensation they need to reclaim their lives. We invite you to contact us at 615-324-2000 to schedule your free consultation so that you can learn about your rights and options.
Monday, March 25th, 2013
If you have driven the highways of Tennessee, you probably have personally witnessed the carnage caused by tractor-trailer collisions. There are many unique hazards posed by semi-trucks which include massive weight, disproportionate length, less maneuverability, longer stopping distances and more. One of the factors that contribute to trucking accidents that is less recognized by other motorists is the limited ability of operators of big-rigs to see other vehicles. Commercial trucks have enormous blind spots called “no zones” where other vehicles cannot be seen when traveling close to a semi-truck. Drivers of other vehicles that share the roads with tractor-trailers should avoid traveling in truck no zones.
Even though most big-rigs are equipped with special mirrors, there are many areas around a large truck that are not visible to a commercial driver. The areas around a big-rig that are not visible to a truck driver may include:
- The area immediately in front of the cab of a truck
- Behind the trailer of a big-rig
- Large areas adjacent to the truck that mirrors do not cover
The no zones adjacent to commercial trucks are usually the most dangerous areas around a commercial truck. When tractor-trailer drivers change lanes, they cannot see those occupying the space next to the big-rig. These adjacent no zones generally extend from just behind the cab of the commercial truck to the end of the trailer. When motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians and passenger vehicles travel in truck no zones, there is an enormous risk of catastrophic injuries and wrongful death in serious motor vehicle accidents.
Because of the high risk of a collision associated with tractor-trailer no zones, commercial truck drivers must exercise a high level of vigilance when executing what are essentially routine maneuvers in passenger vehicles, such as backing up and changing lanes. When truck drivers fail to exercise reasonable caution as they execute maneuvers that require moving their massive vehicle into areas that they cannot see, this may be the basis for imposing liability. Trucking companies also have a legal duty to ensure that their commercial drivers are properly trained in the proper management of no zones when operating a big-rig.
The inherent danger that no zones pose is increased dramatically when commercial truck drivers engage in other forms of unsafe operation of a semi-truck, including speeding, tailgating, inattentive driving or operating a commercial vehicle when impaired by drugs or alcohol. If you or someone close to you has been injured or a loved one has died in a Tennessee tractor-trailer accident, the Nashville commercial trucking collision attorneys at The Nahon Firm are committed to holding commercial drivers and trucking companies accountable for the injuries and wrongful deaths caused by their negligence. The experienced Nashville truck crash injury lawyers at The Nahon Firm are dedicated to helping injury victims recover the financial compensation they need to reclaim their lives. We invite you to contact us at 615-324-2000 to schedule your free consultation so that you can learn about your rights and options.
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
While drivers who are seriously ill or have a medical condition that could cause loss of consciousness pose a serious hazard to other drivers, passengers, bicyclists and pedestrians, there are few mechanisms in place for keeping medically impaired drivers off the road. Because there is no requirement of medical fitness when applying for a driver’s license, many motorists presume that a driver cannot be liable for an accident caused by illness or a health condition. This is such a common misconception that some high profile people have pointed to medical conditions after being involved in collisions. Despite the widely held belief that a medical condition excuses fault in a motor vehicle collision, this is not necessarily the case.
While motorists may be tempted to dismiss the likelihood of a car accident caused by an adverse medical condition as an uncommon freak event, the Western Journal of Medicine reports that such health issues are a factor in as many as ten percent of traffic accidents. The medical journal also indicates that approximately half of all traffic collisions caused by medical conditions involve chronic conditions of which the driver has warning prior to being involved in a collision.
The law of negligence is closely connected to foreseeability. A driver who has no previous knowledge of an illness or who suffers a sudden heart attack has no ability to foresee and prevent a collision. This is not true of those who suffer from chronic conditions like epilepsy, mental illness or diabetes. If a driver suffers from a chronic condition like these that may result in unanticipated loss of muscle control; unconsciousness; or impaired decision-making, perception or judgment, drivers may be liable for traffic collisions even when a medical condition is a factor in causing the accident.
These types of incidents are not just complex hypothetical scenarios designed to perplex law students but constitute a growing cause of motor vehicle accidents. The high profile case of Obama Administration Commerce Secretary John Bryson last year focused attention on this issue. Bryson was involved in an investigation for felony hit and run after he claimed that he suffered a seizure when he was involved in two collisions. He was discovered by emergency responders unconscious in the driver’s seat. While there was speculation that he may have committed DUI, he consented to a breathalyzer test that indicated that he had no detectable level of alcohol.
A multitude of reports indicate that drivers with epilepsy are more likely to cause motor vehicle accidents, and some studies place the risk as seven times greater than drivers without the medical condition. While most states can deny a driver’s license to someone with a medical condition like epilepsy, the driver’s license application process generally does not require a medical fitness evaluation. This means that if someone seeking a license hides their medical condition, the DMV cannot impose restrictions.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident or car crash in Tennessee, the experienced Nashville accident lawyers at the Nahon Firm are committed to helping injury victims recover the financial compensation they need to reclaim their lives. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle crash or any other type of motor vehicle collision, we invite you to contact us at 615-324-2000 to schedule your free consultation.
Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
Trucking accident data gathered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reveals that the danger posed by semi-trucks continues to rise. During a recent twelve month period, there were approximately 500,000 tractor-trailer accidents in the U.S. that caused 100,000 injuries and another 5,000 fatalities. It is even more troubling that these numbers have been consistently trending upward. An important reason for this trend is the failure of trucking companies to properly train or suspend drivers who repeatedly operate a big-rig unsafely or fail to perform required maintenance.
A recent fatal trucking accident in Kentucky that caused the death of 6 people provides a compelling example. The truck driver involved in the fatal collision had received a total of seventeen traffic tickets during the two year period prior to the deadly collision. These traffic violations included unsafe lane changes, tailgating and speeding. Any of these violations constitutes a serious risk of causing a tractor-trailer crash, but the trucking company failed to take this truck operator out of service.
While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has recently warned states to more carefully monitor large trucks, the state agency charged with policing trucking companies had given this commercial carrier a satisfactory overall performance rating. If you think that we are safe in Tennessee, it is important to recognize that this trucking company’s rating means that it had a slightly better than average record of passing inspections when compared with the average trucking company nationally.
Over the 24 month period that the truck driver involved in this collision was racking up traffic violations, the trucking company Highway Star was forced to take vehicles out of service in more than twenty percent of inspections. The level of non-compliance with federal safety regulations by trucking companies is evidenced by the fact that almost 21 percent of trucking companies across the U.S. must take semi-trucks out of service for violations during regulatory inspections.
The extensive regulations that govern large trucks serve as an acknowledgement of the enhanced risk posed by 80,000 pound vehicles to other vehicle occupants, bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. However, these regulations will continue to be of limited effectiveness if the regulations are not more aggressively enforced by trucking companies. One of the most important weapons in removing unsafe big-rig operators from the highways of Tennessee is to hold companies accountable via personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
If you are involved in a Nashville trucking accident, our experienced Tennessee tractor-trailer accident attorneys diligently pursue the full measure of compensation for victims of truck drivers and indifferent trucking companies. At the Nahon Firm PLC, our Nashville semi-truck accident lawyers are committed to assisting victims in recovering the compensation they need to move past their injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured in a tractor-trailer crash, we invite you to contact us at 615-324-2000 to schedule your free consultation.
Monday, February 25th, 2013
This is the second installment in our two-part blog post addressing common risk factors that contribute to big-rig accidents in Nashville and throughout the surrounding areas of Tennessee. There are many types of negligent conduct that may serve as the basis of liability in a commercial trucking case when collisions resulting in serious injury or wrongful death occur. These forms of conduct may relate to the manufacturing, maintenance or operation of the truck by a semi-truck driver. Trucking companies also may contribute to collisions between big-rigs and passenger vehicles by failing to properly screen, train or supervise drivers. Some common causes of trucking collisions include:
Excessive Speed: Truck drivers may be under significant pressure to get cargo to a destination within an unrealistic timeframe to increase profits. When commercial trucks exceed the posted speed limit or drive too fast given road and weather conditions, the risk of causing a traffic accident is more significant than when driving a passenger vehicle because drivers need longer periods to execute a stop or other evasive maneuvers. Big-rigs that violate speed laws also pose a greater risk of causing severe injury and fatalities because of the force generated by the combination of excessive speed and massive weight.
Driver Fatigue: Violations of hours of service (HOS) rules may constitute the most prevalent factor in causing commercial trucking accidents. The margin for error when operating a tractor-trailer that is fully loaded is extremely small. The combination of high fuel prices and narrower profit margins put pressure on drivers to transport loads in shorter times so that they can handle a greater number of loads. While driver logbooks are intended to provide documentation of drivers who fail to abide by HOS rules, these logs are so routinely manipulated that they are derisively referred to as “comic books” in the trucking industry.
Failure to Properly Train and Supervise Drivers: Commercial carriers have a duty to properly train and supervise the driving of those to whom they entrust to operate these mammoth motor vehicles. When trucking companies fail to monitor drivers that have repeat violations of trucking safety regulations and/or traffic violations or prior trucking accidents, the commercial carrier may be held liable for the injuries and loss caused by its drivers. Sometimes trucking companies also fail to place drivers off-duty even when they should know that the driver has a poor record for safety or lacks medical fitness.
Improperly Loaded or Excessively Loaded Trucks: Big-rigs are dangerous when they are filled to a maximum allowable weight of up to forty tons, but the risk of brake failure, truck rollovers and jackknife accidents increases substantially when trucks are overloaded. Additionally, loads must be properly secured and balanced to reduce the risk of a driver losing control of the semi-truck because the load shifts during transport.
If you are involved in a Nashville semi-truck accident, our experienced Tennessee trucking accident attorneys diligently pursue the full measure of compensation for tractor-trailer accident victims. At the Nahon Firm PLC, our Nashville trucking accident lawyers are committed to assisting victims of careless big-rig drivers and indifferent trucking companies. If someone close to you has died in a Nashville tractor-trailer collision, we invite you to contact us at 615-324-2000 to schedule your free consultation.