Three Dead In Weakley County Crash With Truck
In early December, three people were confirmed dead after an SUV was hit by a tractor trailer at an intersection along Highway 43. According to a Tennessee Highway Patrol fatality report, the passengers in the SUV were amongst those killed. They are identified as: 38-year-old Theresa Weatherspoon, 35-year-old Kathy Boddie and her one-year-old son Darion Boddie. The truck driver, 53-year old Ronald Richardson was airlifted to the hospital. According to the Highway Patrol investigators, the accident was caused when the SUV failed to stop at a stop sign and was hit by the truck.
Tennessee Law Gives Accident Victims Legal Options
There are thousands of truck and tractor trailer accidents in Tennessee each year. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the rate of these accidents have increased as the population and number of drivers also increases. Commercial vehicles pose a greater danger to drivers than ordinary vehicles. Because of their weight and limited maneuverability, most trucking accidents are serious or fatal. Most lawsuits involving trucks allege that the truck driver was negligent.
Tennessee has specific laws regulating the trucking industry. A breach of any of those laws may be a case for negligence-per-se. To begin, no commercial vehicle can weigh more than 80,000 pounds, and a violation by itself is a Class C misdemeanor. Additionally, trucks may be no bigger than eight x 13 feet.
Tennessee law also requires all truck drivers to have commercial driving licenses that are up to date. Truckers must also provide a medical card which confirms s/he is medically fit enough to drive the vehicle.
Finally, federal law regulates the number of hours a trucker may driver, to minimize truck driver fatigue. According to the FMCSA, truck drivers may not legally drive more than 11 consecutive hours in a single day or more than 60 hours in the span of seven consecutive days.
Watch Out for Comparative Negligence
While there are statutes that specifically regulate truck drivers, Tennessee is still a comparative fault state. This means that drivers of ordinary vehicles can be responsible for some of the damages s/he incurred on himself or herself due to his or her own negligence. As illustrated in the story above, failing to stop at a stop sign may theoretically lower one’s damage award.
Tennessee Truck Accident Lawyers
It is important for truck accident victims to seek out a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible, because truck accident litigation is complex. If you have been injured in a trucking accident, contact the law offices of Calhoun Law, PLC in Nashville today. Consultations are free and confidential.