Truck accidents can be devastating due to the size and weight of the vehicles. In the U.S, semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. To add insult to injury, the trucking industry is notorious for trying to avoid liability for these accidents.
Insurance companies and trucking companies have huge resources to throw at a case, and this means one thing for the injured victim: you need an experienced Knoxville truck accident attorney on your side.
Hotz and Associates has the experience and resources to take on even the biggest trucking companies, and we will fight tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. Call (865) 637-9000 today.
Contact a Knoxville Truck Accident Attorney Today
Time is of the essence in any personal injury case. If you have been injured in a truck accident, don’t wait to contact a Knoxville truck accident attorney. The sooner we can get started on your case, the better your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
Call Hotz and Associates today for a free consultation. We’ll answer your questions and help you get started on your road to recovery.
What is the truck’s “black box” and what does it track?
Trucking companies are required to install electronic devices called “black boxes” in their vehicles. These devices track a variety of information about the truck, including speed, braking, and steering. This information can be critical in determining who is at fault in a truck accident.
Electronic Control Modules
These modules are essentially small computers that collect data on the truck’s performance. This data can include everything from how fast the truck was going to how hard it was braking.
Trucking companies have long been wary of ECMs, as they can be used to implicate the driver in a crash. In the past, some companies have tried to destroy or alter the data on these modules to avoid liability.
As a result, it is important to have an attorney who knows how to access and interpret this data following a truck accident.
Electronic Logging Devices
Another type of ECM that is becoming increasingly common in trucks is the Electronic Logging Device (ELD). This device is used to track a truck’s hours of service and can help ensure that drivers are not working too many hours.
ELDs are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for all trucks operating in the United States. They are small, portable devices that can be easily attached to a truck’s dashboard. They record the date, time, and location of a truck’s operations, as well as its speed and distance traveled.
ELDs can help prevent driver fatigue, which is a leading factor in truck accidents. They can also help ensure that drivers are not working more hours than allowed by law.
In the event of an accident, the data from an ELD can be used to help determine what happened. It can also be used to show that the driver was operating within the law at the time of the crash.
Event Data Recorders
The black box in a truck is its Event Data Recorder (EDR), which tracks a wide range of data related to the vehicle’s operation. This includes information on speed, braking, acceleration, seatbelt usage, and engine parameters like RPMs and fuel levels.
This data can be invaluable in determining what happened in the seconds leading up to a crash, and can help improve overall truck safety. Many trucks now come equipped with EDRs, and they are becoming increasingly mandatory to meet government safety regulations.
In the United States, for example, all trucks manufactured after October 1, 2014, must have an EDR installed. This is due in part to the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, which requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to establish safety standards for commercial motor vehicles.
The EDR is usually located in the truck’s cab and can be accessed by a law enforcement officer or crash investigator following a crash. The data it collects can help determine what happened during the crash and how the driver was using the truck and whether they were following the rules of the road.
Why Commercial Truck Black Boxes Are Crucial for Tractor-Trailer Accident Victims
Evidence from a commercial truck’s black box can be critical in determining who is at fault in a tractor-trailer accident.
Investigators will review:
- The speed of the truck at the time of the accident
- The distance the truck was from the point of impact
- The braking and turning patterns of the truck leading up to the accident
- Driver behaviors in the moments leading up to the crash
- The hours of service for the driver at the time of the accident
- The weight of the truck and its cargo
If a commercial truck doesn’t have a black box, it can be difficult to prove who is at fault in an accident. The driver or the trucking company can easily deny any responsibility for the crash. Without evidence from a black box, it can be hard to hold them accountable.
For this reason, it is important to have an attorney who knows how to access and interpret the data from a commercial truck’s black box. They can use this information to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
If you are involved in a truck accident, there are some steps you should take to protect your rights:
- Call the police and have them come to the scene of the accident.
- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Take pictures of the scene of the accident and the vehicles if you are able.
- Get the names and contact information of any drivers or trucking companies involved in the accident.
- Seek medical attention for any injuries you may have suffered.
- Contact an attorney who specializes in truck accidents.
- File a claim with your insurance company.
- Keep track of all of your medical expenses and lost income.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
One of the most common causes of truck accidents is driver error. This can include things like speeding, running a red light, or driving while tired or distracted.
Another common cause of accidents is faulty truck equipment. This can include things like defective brakes or tires, and can often be the result of poor maintenance. Cargo that isn’t properly secured can also cause accidents. This can be especially dangerous when the truck is driving at high speeds.
Road conditions can also play a role in truck accidents. Icy roads, for example, can make it difficult for trucks to stop quickly. Other factors that can lead to a truck accident include illegal maneuvers, mechanical failures, drunk driving, distracted driving, and tire blowouts.
Common Types of Truck Accident Injuries
When you are involved in a truck accident, you can suffer a wide range of injuries. These can be classified as either:
1. Major Injuries
These are injuries that can lead to long-term disability or even death. Some common major injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
2. Minor Injuries
These are injuries that typically don’t require hospitalization and may heal without the need for extensive medical treatment. Some common minor injuries include:
- Torn ligaments
- Muscle strains
Even if your injuries seem minor, consider seeking medical attention. Many minor injuries can turn into major ones if they are not treated properly.
How much does it cost to hire a truck accident lawyer?
The cost of hiring a truck accident lawyer will vary depending on the lawyer’s experience and location.
However, most lawyers typically charge a contingency fee, which is a percentage of the settlement or verdict amount awarded to the client. For example, a lawyer may charge 33% of the settlement or verdict amount as their contingency fee. Depending on the type of case, the attorney’s fee may be higher or lower.
This means that the client with a contingency fee agreement, will not have to pay any legal fees unless the lawyer recovers money on their behalf.
Other costs may be associated with hiring a truck accident lawyer. These can include court costs, expert witness fees, deposition costs, etc.. In some cases, the lawyer may also need to hire a private investigator to help gather evidence for the case.
Here at Hotz and Associates, we understand that hiring a truck accident lawyer is an important consideration for someone who has been injured in a truck accident. That is why we offer our prospective clients a free consultation so you can learn more about your case and the potential legal options available to you.
Depending on the nature of your claim, we may also be able to work on a contingency fee basis, which means you will not have to pay any legal fees unless we recover money on your behalf.
What is the average car accident settlement in Knoxville?
A car accident settlement will vary depending on the facts and circumstances of each case. However, some general factors that may influence the amount of a settlement include:
- The severity of the injuries
- The amount of medical expenses
- The amount of lost income
- The amount of property damage
- The amount of insurance coverage available
- The jurisdiction in which the case is filed
Settlements for minor injuries are often under $25,000. Settlements for more serious injuries that resulted in hefty medical bills and loss of income can range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars.
What damages can I collect in a truck accident?
Truck accident damages are classified into economic damages and non-economic damages.
Compensatory damages are meant to reimburse the victim for their losses, while punitive damages are sometimes awarded as a punishment to the defendant.
Economic damages are those that can be easily quantified. They include:
- Medical costs: This includes both past and future medical expenses like emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgery, physical therapy, and medication.
- Lost income: This includes both past and future lost income. This can include wages, commissions, bonuses, and benefits.
- Property damage: This includes the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property like cars, homes, or businesses.
- Loss of earning capacity: This is awarded when the victim’s injuries have resulted in them being unable to work in the future.
- Rental car costs: This is awarded when the victim has to rent a car while their own is being repaired.
Non-economic damages are often more difficult to quantify. They include:
- Pain and suffering: This includes the physical and emotional pain and anguish caused by the accident.
- Mental anguish: This includes the psychological distress caused by the accident, such as fear, anxiety, and depression.
- Loss of consortium: This includes the loss of the benefits of a spousal relationship, such as companionship, sexual relations, and support.
- Physical disfigurement and impairment: This includes any physical injuries that have resulted in a permanent change in appearance or reduced ability to function.
- Lowered quality of life: This includes any negative changes in the victim’s life that are not caused by physical injuries, such as being unable to enjoy favorite activities or losing independence.
When it comes to truck accident damages, economic damages are usually easier to quantify than non-economic damages. This is because there is usually a paper trail of medical bills and income statements that can be used as evidence. However, non-economic damages can be harder to prove and may require the testimony of expert witnesses.
How Our Knoxville Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You
We have the experience and resources necessary to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
Once you contact us for help, we will:
- Give you a free consultation and assess your case at no cost
- Help you find medical help, if needed, and obtain all medical records relevant to your case
- Gather relevant evidence before it disappears
- Handle all communication with the insurance company
- File a lawsuit on your behalf if necessary
- Aggressively negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company
We will involve you in the negotiation process so that you can make the best decisions for your case. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we are prepared to take your case to trial.
Maximum Results for Truck Wreck Victims
We have seen all types of truck accidents and the devastation they can cause. That’s why we are passionate about fighting for the rights of those who have been injured in a truck accident.
Hotz and Associates ensure that clients receive the maximum amount of compensation possible so that they can get back on their feet.
We achieve this by utilizing our vast resources and experience as a truck accident law firm. We have the ability to take on even the largest trucking companies, and we will not rest until you receive the justice you deserve.
Call a Knoxville Truck Accident Attorney Today
When a client comes to a lawyer seeking justice after a truck accident in Knoxville, the first thing they should consider is the lawyer’s knowledge and experience. We have a successful track record of recovering maximum results for our clients.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, don’t hesitate to call us for a free consultation. We will review your case and let you know how we can help. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Call us now at (865) 637-9000.
Truck Accident Questions and Answers