Truck Accident and Car Accident Claims: The Difference
Not all car accident attorneys can also handle truck accident claims. These cases often are more complicated and require more aggressive efforts. After a truck accident in East Tennessee, there may be many people injured and many people seeking compensation through a truck driver's or trucking company’s insurance policy. If you have been injured in a tractor-trailer wreck and are wondering about the difference between truck accident and car accident claims, Knoxville truck accident attorney Mark Hartsoe can evaluate your situation, advise you on your legal options, and provide zealous legal representation. He has an accident reconstruction team on 24-hour standby that he can dispatch to the scene of a truck wreck.Differences Between Truck Accident and Car Accident Claims
Truck accident and car accident claims most often turn on negligence. To prove negligence, you will need to show that the driver did not drive safely and as a result caused your injuries. However, commercial trucks must not only follow state laws, road rules, and traffic signals, but also they must follow the safety regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Tennessee laws pertaining to commercial vehicles.
For example, interstate truck drivers must keep a logbook of their hours and follow hours of service rules. They have mandatory rest breaks that drivers of cars do not have. A truck driver's failure to follow any of the applicable FMCSA regulations or state rules may give rise to negligence as a matter of law. When this is established, the focus of a lawsuit may shift from liability to the extent of the damages.
In truck accident claims, you also may have a claim of direct or indirect liability against the truck driver's employer. Sometimes a driver of a passenger car is on the job at the time of the accident, but this situation is more unusual. More often, in a car accident case, you may recover compensation only from the driver, and if the driver is uninsured or underinsured, you will need to bring a claim for damages against your own underinsured motorist coverage in order to obtain some or all of the compensation that you need.
However, commercial drivers are generally on the job at the time of an accident or using their employer's truck. This is important because trucking companies typically have significantly more insurance coverage than an individual driver does. You may hold a trucking company responsible under a theory of negligent hiring, training, or retention. For example, if a trucking company fails to conduct a background check of a truck driver and as a result hires them, not knowing that they have drunk driving convictions on their record, it may be held responsible for negligent hiring if the truck driver was under the influence at the time of an accident. You may also hold a trucking company indirectly responsible under the theory of vicarious liability.
Due to the weight and size of these vehicles, truck accidents are also more likely than car accidents to result in catastrophic injuries or death to people traveling in smaller vehicles. As a result, each of the victims is likely to sustain substantial economic and noneconomic damages. Knowing the magnitude of their potential exposure, trucking defendants may try to hide evidence, fail to turn over evidence, or conveniently get rid of evidence after an accident. It is important in a truck accident case to send a letter about spoliation of evidence to put trucking defendants on notice of your claim.Explore Your Options After a Truck Accident with Knoxville Attorney Mark Hartsoe
Truck accident lawsuits often present more complicated situations than car accident cases do. If you have been injured in a truck accident, you should consult an attorney who is experienced in bringing these challenging types of claims. Call Knoxville truck accident lawyer Mark Hartsoe at 865-804-1011 or contact us via our online form to set up a free appointment. Mark Hartsoe represents victims who need a motor vehicle collision attorney in many areas of East Tennessee, including Knox, Blount, Monroe, Loudon, Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, Campbell, Hamblen, Greene, Anderson, Cumberland, and Fentress Counties.