Commercial trucking companies make money by ensuring the timely delivery of shipments. Any form of delay can have a significant effect on their revenue. Consequently, to increase profits, truckers often prioritize speed over safety, which can leave other drivers vulnerable to the risk of injury or death. In fact, in approximately 72% of fatal large truck accidents, occupants of other vehicles are killed, while only 18% of truck occupants sustain life-threatening injuries.
Trucking accidents are some of the most severe collisions that can occur. Every year, over forty thousand Americans lose their lives in vehicle accidents; If you were injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, it is important to have an experienced Kingsport truck accident lawyer in your corner, making sure that the responsible party is held accountable and that you get the full compensation to which you are entitled.
Types of Truck Accident Cases We Handle
Highways 11-W and 23 are busy thoroughfares for commercial traffic, regularly populated with large, commercial trucks that weight tens of thousands of pounds. The sheer size and weight of tractor-trailers and semi-trucks make it difficult for their drivers to brake, see around blind spots, merge and change lanes, and perform many other functions that are easily accomplished by smaller vehicles. All of these factors can contribute to an accident, especially if the driver was engaged in additional negligent action or wrongdoing.
At the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we represent people who have been harmed as a result of:
- Brake Failure
- Aggressive Driving and Road Rage
- Drunk Driving or Alcohol Abuse
- Delivery Truck Collisions
- Construction Vehicle Crashes
- Fatal Truck Accidents
- Overloaded or Improperly Loaded Trucks
- Distracted Driving
- Rollover Accidents
- Jackknife Crashes
- Truck Maintenance Issues
- Other Negligent or Reckless Driving
In Tennessee, immediate family members (such as a spouse, children, parents, or siblings) may be entitled to recover compensation if their loved one was killed in a truck accident caused by the negligence of another driver. Tennessee has specific statutes that prescribe who may initiate and recover compensation in a wrongful death case, which are highly fact-specific. Mark Hurt can advise you on these matters once we learn about the facts and circumstance of your matter.
What Types of Damages May Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Case?
In a wrongful death case, those entitled to damages may be entitled to recover for:
- Medical and Other Expenses Incurred Prior to the Death
- Funeral and Burial Costs
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Future Benefits and Support
- Loss of Companionship and Love
- Mental and Emotional Torment and Anguish
- Punitive Damages
These are only some representative items for which compensation may be recovered in a wrongful death case; when we meet with you we can address the types of damages that may be recoverable in your situation. As an experienced Kingsport truck accident attorney, Mark Hurt has helped victims recover millions of dollars in compensation – he can review your case and provide guidance on your legal rights.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Experienced Kingsport, TN Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a trucking accident, one of the last things you need is the added burden of trying to figure out how to come up with money to hire a lawyer to protect your legal rights and interests, as well as the costs that are needed in litigation (such as court fees, deposition costs, and hiring experts). At our firm, we represent our truck accident victims on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you will not pay any attorney’s fees unless we obtain a favorable settlement or a judgement at trial for you. We also advance litigation expenses (which are typically paid from the settlement or jury award, if we are successful). Our fees and costs are set forth in our retention agreement; we will be happy to discuss these matters with you).
What Factors Make Commercial Trucking Cases Unique?
The Higher Likelihood of Serious Injury or Death
Crashes involving semis, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and other “big rigs” tend to result in serious injury and often death to those driving or riding in passenger vehicles. The fact is, the significantly smaller size and weight of passenger vehicles make them no match for these “big rigs,” which can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded (about 20 times the weight of a passenger car). When these commercial trucks are traveling at a high rate of speed on interstate highways (up to 75 mph), they have a tremendous amount of force that is transferred in a collision.
The Special Rules that Govern Interstate Trucking Companies and Drivers
The federal government has enacted numerous rules and regulations that govern interstate trucking companies and truck drivers which do not apply the drivers of passenger vehicles. These rules and regulations (referred to as the “Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations”) are designed to make commercial truck driving safer, and cover matters such as “hours of service” regulations (which prescribe the number of hours that truckers can drive over certain time periods), training requirements, vehicle inspection requirements, and prohibitions on consuming alcohol and certain legal drugs (including stimulants) within certain time periods before driving.
Additionally, commercial truck drivers are required to maintain electronic logs that document compliance with these matters. In particular, these logs are designed to ensure compliance with the hours of service regulations (truck drivers will have a strong incentive to violate these regulations by driving more than they are legally allowed to drive, as they can make more money when they exceed the drive-time limitations).
These logs, in connection with “black box” event recorders on trucks, can provide a wide range of information that may point toward liability, such as the speed at which the truck was being driven at the time of the crash, and whether the driver was in violation of the hours of service regulations.
Mandatory Insurance Requirements
Interstate trucking companies normally must have insurance in an amount of at least $750,000 per vehicle. This amount is higher if hazardous materials are being transported.
Additionally, most larger insurance companies carry excess insurance policies in the millions of dollars so that a catastrophic crash does not bankrupt the company.
The Trucking Company “Go” Team
Each year in Tennessee, over $1.25 billion in medical and work loss costs result from motor vehicle crashes. Because of these substantial costs, trucking and insurance companies are looking to mitigate losses.
Once an insurance carrier for a trucking company learns about an accident, they will immediately send investigators to the scene to gather evidence and interview witnesses. (these investigators are often part of the “go team”). These companies (and their “go team”) are quick to investigate because they are looking for information to defend against personal injury and wrongful death claims. The “go team” will often try to take action that can harm a victim’s case, such as to take control of totaled vehicles or let them be destroyed.
How an Experienced Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
Because of these matters, it is critical to retain an experienced Tennessee truck lawyer as soon as possible. With 30 years of practice, attorney Mark Hurt is tenacious in seeking to meticulously investigate trucking accidents, determine if truck drivers or companies violated the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, obtain black box/event recorder information, find all insurance policies that provide coverage, and oppose actions taken by “go teams” that may harm a victim’s case.
Get Representation – And Don’t Provide a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company
If you were injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler or truck, it is important to not provide a recorded statement to insurance adjusters or to sign any paperwork, until you have consulted with a knowledgeable attorney. Often, insurance companies will make higher settlement offers to people who are represented by an attorney, while taking advantage of those who do not have legal counsel.
Taking Timely Action to Protect Your Rights
If an insurance company is unwilling to offer a proper settlement, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. In Tennessee, car and truck accident victims have only one year from the date of the collision to file a claim. In the case of a wrongful death claim filed on behalf of a loved one, the same one-year statute of limitations applies; however, it will not begin running until the decedent’s death, which can be later than the date of the accident.
If we are retained to represent you, we will immediately begin building your case, including carefully documenting all damages. We build a case one step at a time. If a fair settlement is not offered, we will take your case to trial. Attorney Mark Hurt has significant trial experience, including arguing before the United States Supreme Court.
Take Advantage of Our Over 30 Years of Experience Helping Truck Accident Victims
When choosing a Kingsport, Tennessee truck accident lawyer to represent you or your loved one, performing careful research should be one of your top priorities, and it is important that it happen as soon as possible. We invite you to
contact our office to schedule a free consultation to learn how Mark Hurt may be able to represent you.
 Traffic Safety Facts, U.S. Department of Transportation, crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812663.
 Injury Facts, National Safety Council, injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/overview/preliminary-estimates/.
 Fatality Statistics, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/large-trucks.
 Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-104.
We hired Mr. Hurt to help settle a worker’s comp injury case for my husband. Mark, Bart, and Mary worked tirelessly to resolve his case and reach a settlement we were pleased with. They were always available to answer questions and returned calls in a timely manner.