Motor vehicle accidents involving commercial trucks are especially devastating. The weight and speed of the massive 18-wheelers all but ensure that whatever other vehicle it hits, along with the passengers inside that vehicle, will be severely damaged. Serious damage requires serious compensation.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a commercial truck, contact a Bartlett personal injury lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC. Your attorney will steer your case through the legal process with the skill and knowledge necessary to win you the highest financial award possible.
Tennessee Motor Vehicle Accident Laws
Tennessee operates under at-fault laws for motor vehicle accidents. This means that whoever causes (is at fault for) the accident is accountable for providing compensation for the victim’s injuries. Not surprisingly, however, those at fault, along with their insurance companies, want to pay as little as possible.
They will fight to deny or at least lessen their culpability. Under Tennessee law, if the victim is proven to have contributed to the accident, their compensation is reduced in proportion to that contribution. In other words, if the victim is found to be 10% responsible for the accident, they will receive 90% (10% less) of the full settlement.
Your expert Bartlett truck accident lawyer will stand up to at-fault drivers and insurance companies who try to shift the blame for the damages they have caused to you. Your lawyer will not allow you to pay for someone else’s negligence.
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Commercial truck drivers must follow the same traffic laws as all other drivers. Additionally, they must follow federal trucking regulations determining the number of consecutive driving hours they can operate, how often and how long they must take breaks to rest, and how many hours they can drive per week.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also requires commercial truck drivers to operate with an electronic logging device (ELD) to ensure compliance with hours of service (HOS) regulations. The purpose of these regulations is to reduce accidents caused by driver fatigue.
Truck companies and drivers must also adhere to FMCSA regulations regarding inspections and maintenance of vehicles, driver hiring and training, transportation of hazardous materials, and other specific, safety-focused requirements. Your truck accident lawyer in Bartlett from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC will investigate your accident thoroughly. If drivers or companies fail to uphold these regulations, your attorney will work to hold them accountable.
Trucks Can Be Complicated
There are other issues to consider in accidents involving commercial trucks. The part of the “cab” where the driver sits and the attached trailer may be owned by different entities, and each entity may have its own separate insurance. Navigating the fine print and smooth talk of insurance adjusters is hard enough when there is only one company involved.
With two, the process becomes more daunting. Your truck accident lawyer in Bartlett will negotiate with these insurance companies, so you do not have to.
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Parties Who Can Be Held Liable for Damages After a Truck Accident in Bartlett
After a truck accident in Bartlett, the liable party or parties will depend on the circumstances of the crash. Generally, liability can be assigned to one or more of the following:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The company that loaded the cargo
- The truck manufacturer
- A maintenance company
- A third-party driver
The Truck Driver
The driver may be held liable for their negligence if they were driving recklessly, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or violating any traffic laws.
The Trucking Company
The trucking company may be at fault if they failed to properly maintain the vehicle, violated any safety regulations, or hired an unqualified driver.
The Company that Loaded the Cargo
The company that loaded the truck may be held responsible for any cargo that was improperly loaded or secured causing the shipment in the cab to fall or tip over.
The manufacturer of the truck or its parts may be held liable if a defect in the vehicle or other type of equipment failure caused the accident.
A Maintenance Company
If a separate company was responsible for ensuring that the truck was in working order or otherwise performed inadequate maintenance on the vehicle, they could be at fault for any resulting accident.
A Third-Party Driver
If the actions of another driver on the road led to your accident, this third-party driver could be liable for any damages.
While these are the most commonly liable parties after a truck accident, this list is far from exhaustive. Sorting everything out to determine who is to blame for your accident can be challenging. Fortunately, an experienced Bartlett truck accident attorney can help.
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Actions a Truck Accident Attorney in Bartlett Will Take on Your Behalf
When you hire a truck accident lawyer in Bartlett, they will take on the burden of your case and fight for the compensation you deserve. Your attorney will investigate the accident to determine who is at fault and build a case against them. They’ll build their case by collecting evidence such as police reports, witness statements, medical records, and photos of the accident scene.
Following their investigation, your lawyer will assess your damages to calculate the full value of your accident claim. They will then either take the necessary steps to file a personal injury lawsuit with the court or submit your claim to the liable party’s insurer.
If you choose to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, the next step will be for your attorney to go through the stages of the pretrial process. They will then represent you in court if necessary.
Most Truck Accident Cases Settle Out of Court
While your lawyer prepares to take your case to court, they will also be in negotiations with opposing counsel, attempting to work out a settlement deal. The fact is that in most cases, truck accident claims are settled out of court. Your lawyer will negotiate with the liable party’s insurance company to reach a fair settlement deal.
A settlement is typically the best outcome for both parties, as it allows you to receive the compensation you need without having to go through a lengthy trial. Your lawyer will ensure that any settlement offer is fair and covers all your damages.
Although most cases end up settling out of court, it is critical that you realize that there is still the potential for a trial. In some cases, the responsible party will refuse to come to terms on a fair settlement deal, forcing a trial. If this happens in your case, it is critical to have a Bartlett truck accident attorney who is prepared for court.
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How Long It Can Take a Truck Accident Case to Resolve
The length of time it takes to resolve a truck accident case depends on the complexity of the case and the amount of evidence that needs to be gathered. In some cases, a settlement can be reached in as little as a few months, while more complex cases may take years to resolve.
Your truck accident attorney in Bartlett, TN, will work diligently to ensure your case is resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible. A quick resolution will allow you to move forward with your life and put this challenging period behind you.
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The Statute of Limitations for Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Tennessee
The statute of limitations for filing a truck accident lawsuit in Tennessee is one of the most restrictive in the nation. In most cases, accident victims are limited to filing a lawsuit within one year of their accident. If your lawsuit is not filed within this timeframe, you may lose your right to seek compensation for your injuries and damages.
It is essential to note that this time limit can be extended if certain conditions are met. Exceptions to the statute of limitations can potentially grant you the right to pursue compensation years after the standard deadline has passed.
On the other hand, you may find that the specific details of your accident actually further limit the amount of time you have to file. A common example is when the at-fault party is a government entity. Hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer soon after your crash is the best way to ensure that all deadlines are met.
Damages You Can Recover After a Bartlett Truck Accident
You may be entitled to financial compensation if you have suffered severe injuries in a truck accident. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to recover damages for a wide variety of losses. Damages you can recover are divided between three different types of compensation.
Economic damages are intended to compensate you for the financial losses you have suffered due to your truck accident. These damages will often include:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical care
- Lost wages
- Decreased ability to earn income
- Property damage
- Necessary modifications to your home or vehicle
Your semi-truck accident lawyer in Bartlett, TN, will work to ensure that all of your economic losses are accounted for in your settlement. They will evaluate your injury claim to ensure you recover compensation for both current and future expenses.
Non-economic damages are intended to compensate you for the intangible losses you have suffered due to your auto accident. These damages will often include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Permanent disability
- Scars and disfigurement
Quantifying your non-economic damages can be challenging. Due to the fact that these losses are often profound and that few of them can ever be replaced, the amount awarded for non-economic damages typically accounts for the largest part of a settlement or court-ordered payout.
Punitive damages are intended to punish the responsible party for their negligence or recklessness. There is no tie between punitive damages and any specific loss suffered by the truck accident victim. These damages are awarded in addition to economic and non-economic damages, and they can be substantial.
Punitive damages are only awarded if the court finds that the party responsible for your accident acted with malice or gross negligence.
The Cost of Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer in Bartlett
If you have been injured in a semi-truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. However, it can be difficult to navigate the legal system on your own and ensure you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Hiring an experienced attorney can be essential to ensuring you recover the money you need. However, many accident victims are wary of hiring a lawyer because they fear they will not be able to afford to pay their legal fees. However, when it comes to truck accident lawyers, this should never be a concern.
Truck accident attorneys typically work on a contingency fee basis. Under this setup, your lawyer will only get paid if you recover compensation. They will collect a single fee upon the conclusion of your case, which will come in the form of a fixed percentage of the money you recover. If you don’t receive compensation, your attorney doesn’t get paid.
Truck Accidents in Tennessee
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were 13,921 truck accidents in the state for the last full year of data collection. The majority of these crashes occurred on the interstate. However, overall, the accidents affected all types of roadways in both urban and rural areas.
Causes for the accidents range from ignoring traffic safety laws and driving recklessly to distracted driving. Many of the accidents included fatalities, traumatic injuries, and property damage.
Whatever the cause, victims have the right to hold responsible parties accountable for the accidents that have changed their lives. The best way to do this is through a Bartlett truck accident lawyer.
Insurance Companies Are Not on Your Side
Insurance companies are not on your side when it comes to truck accident cases. Insurers will do whatever they can to minimize the amount of money they have to pay out in a settlement. This often means attempting to deny or downplay the severity of your injuries or even blame you for the accident.
A common tactic these companies often use is offering a settlement before potential claimants even have a chance to file. While at first glance, this may seem like a helpful and friendly way to make the process easier, the truth is that the offer they are making is likely only for a fraction of the true value of your claim.
These insurers hope you will view this settlement deal as a helpful way to pay the medical costs you face and accept the offer before you have the chance to consult an attorney. When you later discover your claim’s true value, accepting the initial offer will bar you from pursuing further compensation.
Why You Need a Bartlett Truck Accident Attorney
Your attorney from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC knows Tennessee’s accident laws and federal trucking regulations. Investigating trucking accidents and holding those responsible is what they do. If you attempt to make your case on your own, you are likely to miss opportunities to collect.
An experienced truck accident attorney in Bartlett, TN, can help protect you against insurers and the liable party’s legal representatives and fight to get you the compensation to which you are entitled.
Truck Accident Injuries Are Serious
A recent report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the average vehicle weighing in at 4,156 pounds, which is no match for a tractor-trailer that can weigh in at 300,000 pounds. Common types of injuries caused by truck accidents include:
- Damage to the neck or back
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones and lacerations
- Burns (from ruptured fuel tanks or hazardous materials)
- Limb amputations
- Other catastrophic injuries
Many of these injuries are life-changing and will require weeks, months, years, or even a lifetime of care. Along with those medical expenses, you will still have to pay your living expenses and may need to make structural changes to your living environment and vehicle should your mobility be affected.
If you are no longer able to work and contribute to household income, household chores, or child care, you will need finances to cover these needs. Further, the losses to your overall quality of life deserve recognition and compensation. Your Bartlett truck accident lawyer will take care to account for all your needs and all losses incurred by your injury and take action to win a just, much-deserved settlement.
Sadly, it is not uncommon for truck accidents to end with fatalities. If you are facing this, your lawyer can file a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties. The settlement may cover medical bills and end-of-life expenses, recover income, and compensate for emotional or intangible losses incurred by the victim’s death.
You Need a Truck Accident Attorney in Bartlett with a Successful Record
Winning the highest settlement after your accident is essential to you and your family’s well-being. The money you collect from the liable party will provide the financial support you need to recover and move forward after an accident.
Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC has an impressive record of wins for truck accident cases, bringing victims and their families millions of dollars in relief. Trust your case with this firm’s skilled, caring truck accident lawyers in Bartlett, TN.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Is a Truck Accident Settlement Worth in Bartlett?
When you meet with a truck accident lawyer in Bartlett, we can provide you with an accurate, though estimated, settlement amount only after considering the losses in your case. Your case may be worth the economic and non-economic losses you have incurred. That includes all medical bills you have, but also pain and suffering and other types of noneconomic losses.
Can I Sue a Truck Driver for an Accident?
There are many times that the first step after a truck accident is to file a claim with the insurance company associated with that driver. If the insurance company refuses to pay for some of your losses, you may be able to pursue legal action against the truck driver and, in some cases, the trucking company as well. Keep in mind that these are challenging cases, and having a truck accident lawyer to help you is critical.
How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated in a Truck Accident?
When a truck accident occurs, many people suffer pain and suffering, which can be devastating to your quality of life. A jury or judge will need to determine the extensiveness of your losses to determine what is fair compensation. They will factor in the complexity of the case, the reason the incident occurred, how it will impact your quality of life and ability to earn a living, and other factors.
Pain and suffering is very much a subjective award, but one that is based on the evidence presented in your case.
Should I Just Settle My Case with the Insurance Company?
In a truck accident in Bartlett, this is one thing that insurance companies want you to do just to settle the case. While it is your right to do so, you must be fully confident that you are not owed any additional compensation in the case.
You also need to protect your rights throughout the legal process, as insurance companies are not likely to be upfront and honest with you. Their first offer is not likely their best offer.
Do I Have to Settle a Truck Accident Immediately?
One of the tricks that some insurance companies use is to get victims to file their claims immediately with the goal of settling fast. That is never a good idea from your standpoint.
If an insurance company tells you that you only have a limited amount of time to respond, tell them you will speak to your attorney and then give us a call. Their abusive practices could otherwise be limiting your future.
What if I Cannot Go Back to Work After a Truck Accident?
The impact and severity of truck accidents make this a very real risk for many people. Our attorneys in Barlett will work with you to ensure your rights to compensation are fully understood, including the long-term loss of your ability to work. You should not settle your case too quickly in these matters.
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Consult with a Bartlett Truck Accident Lawyer Now
The physical and emotional trauma you have sustained from your truck accident demands compensation. Put your recovery and your financial future in the capable hands of an experienced lawyer. Contact Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC to schedule a free consultation with a Bartlett truck accident lawyer.
Your consultation comes with no risk and no fee. Do not wait any longer to take action and start healing. You can reach us by phone or through our online contact form. One of our experienced Bartlett truck accident attorneys is ready and waiting to go over your legal options and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.