Any type of traffic accident can cause serious or even fatal injuries. When the collision involves a large commercial truck, however, the damages are even more devastating. There are bound to be some accidents, given the millions of trucks currently traveling on U.S. roadways today. However, if a truck collision happens because the driver was not properly trained, more than just the driver may be held liable.
If you were harmed in a crash caused by the actions of a poorly-trained truck driver, our law firm is ready to help you seek compensation for your injuries and other losses.
At Greg Coleman Law, we have a proven track record and an in-depth understanding of both state and federal trucking laws. Call our firm today to arrange to meet with one of our qualified truck accident lawyers in Knoxville. We are prepared to discuss the details of your situation in a free consultation and determine how we may be able to help.
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Commercial Truck Driver Requirements
There are a significant number of tests that truck drivers in Tennessee must pass before being granted a Commercial Driving License (CDL). Specific requirements may vary, depending on the type of CDL being sought. For instance, the criteria will be different if the individual is seeking to drive only within the state versus a commercial tractor-trailer that crosses multiple state lines.
In general, all CDL applicants need to meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 21 years old to drive a commercial truck
- Have proof of either U.S. Citizenship or lawful permanent resident status
- Provide evidence of a Social Security number
- Pass required physical tests (certain medical conditions may disqualify an applicant)
- Submit to drug testing
- Pass knowledge/written tests
- Pass road tests
There are additional criteria within each of these individual requirements that applicants must adhere to and pass to be considered for employment. If the driver will be transporting goods across multiple states, he or she must also be familiar with federal regulations.
Risks of Truck Drivers With Insufficient Training
Drivers who do not receive enough training prior to operating any big rig endanger themselves and others on the road. While these drivers may cause a truck collision because of negligence, it can also be because the driver has not spent enough time behind the wheel.
Common truck crashes that happen if a driver is poorly trained or inexperienced include:
- Multi-vehicle crashes due to allowing too little stopping distance for the size and weight of the truck
- Sideswiping a vehicle if the driver does not know where a truck’s blind spots are
- Crashing into a vehicle by failing to account for a big rig’s need for increased turning space
- Causing a jackknife crash by driving or braking a semi-truck too quickly
- Rear-ending the vehicle in front by driving too close or fast to avoid striking it
- Causing a rollover crash by turning too fast or sharply for the size and weight of the truck
Who Can Be Liable if a Poorly Trained Driver Causes a Crash
A truck driver may be at fault if his or her negligence or careless actions led to a crash. However, the trucking company they work for may sometimes also be liable for your damages.
Trucking companies are required to properly check each applicant’s background for any prior work issues, such as a history of unsafe driving or drug and alcohol use.
Trucking companies can be held liable when a driver they employ causes a crash and they:
- Knowingly hired a driver who was either untrained or inexperienced: Perhaps the employer hired a young, inexperienced driver intending to follow-through with training. However, if the training was insufficient or did not happen at all, the trucking company could be held liable.
- Hired a truck driver with some experience, but with a poor driving record: A trucking company can also be liable for a crash their driver causes if he or she had a poor driving record and was hired anyway. In this situation, the trucking company should not have employed the driver without taking preventative measures to improve that driver’s skills or safety record.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the American Trucking Association estimates the industry is short about 80,000 truck drivers. It takes time and money to properly train a truck driver. These two factors may tempt employers to cut corners to get those positions filled quickly – even before new drivers are ready.
Injured in a Truck Crash? Call Our Firm for Qualified Legal Help Today
Regardless of the shortage of drivers, trucking companies – along with their drivers – are held to a higher duty of care. The sheer size and weight of a semi-truck, big rig or 18-wheeler can cause a lot of damage in seconds.
If you have been injured in a truck crash caused by a poorly trained truck driver, we are prepared to help. Call our law offices anytime, night or day, to schedule your free consultation with one of our licensed attorneys.
While there is no obligation to hire our services, if we represent you, we are prepared to seek maximum compensation from all potential liable resources. There are no upfront costs for you to hire our firm or while we handle your case. We do not get paid unless or until we obtain compensation for you.
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