What to do After a Truck Accident

Chattanooga drivers see their fair share of large trucks on the roads on I-75 and I-24.

Normally, they’re a bother to other drivers on the road when they block all the lanes or take a while to get up to speed.

Considering their size and weight, they are extremely dangerous when they’re involved in an accident.

While we hope you’re never in an accident with a semi-truck, but it’s important to know what to do after the accident in case you choose to pursue an accident claim.

What to Do After a Truck Accident

If you’re the victim of a truck accident, it is important to know what to do after a truck accident, how truck accidents differ from car accidents, and who to contact if you are involved in one.

The following tips will be useful after an accident for you and other drivers:

  • If you or someone else is severely injured, call 9-1-1
  • Call the police if you didn’t call 9-1-1
  • If you can, move your car and any large debris off the road.
  • Exchange information with other drivers involved, such as driver’s license numbers, insurance information, telephone numbers, and vehicle identification numbers.
  • Take photos of any and all damage
  • Talk to witnesses, if there are any, collecting contact information

How Truck Accidents differ from Car Accidents

Car accidents and truck accidents differ in very important ways. Commercial truck and semi-truck drivers are more likely to suffer from fatigue and insomnia compared to car drivers.

This can be seen in the work shifts that truck drivers must complete compared to car drivers. Truck drivers are federally mandated to work up to 11 hours per shift before getting rest.

However, many drivers do not follow this rule because of deadlines and a restrictive schedule. Though fatigue is a well-known contributor to truck accidents, it has only recently been addressed as a factor. Electronic logging is being implemented so that drivers avoid overexerting themselves which should help to decrease the number and severity of truck accidents.

A second way that truck accidents differ from car accidents occurs during the process of exchanging information. Additional needs to be exchanged between the car and truck driver compared to a car accident process.

After a truck accident, truck drivers must contribute the following in a post-accident report form:

  • Vehicle, driver, and carrier information (NSC/DOT # and insurance policy number)
  • Time and location
  • Other drivers, passengers, and vehicles involved in the accident
  • Diagram of the incident (illustrating the direction of traffic and landmarks)
  • Driving status (how many hours were driven behind the wheel)
  • Road, traffic, and weather information
  • Hazardous Material Information
  • Police information (their name; police report number and contact information)
  • Tow trucks (if any were used, include the number and how long it took for their arrival)

Drivers involved in car accidents are not required to submit as much information in a police report. Writing down extra information such as driving status, tow truck names, and even a diagram of the incident, however, can only bolster your case in the case of car accidents.

Other statistics illustrate the difference between car accidents and truck accidents:

  • About 98% of all semi-truck accidents result in at least one fatality.
  • Nearly 90% of commercial truck accidents are caused or worsened by some sort of human error.
  • About 75% of commercial truck accidents are caused by drivers of smaller passenger vehicles, rather than the truck driver.

Contact Dennis & King after a Truck Accident

Truck accidents differ from car accidents in one specific way. There are multiple reasons why a truck accident may have happened.  The driver could be fatigued, there may have been mechanical failure, or the truck may have been overloaded.

Since there are so many agencies involved in putting semi-trucks on the road, you will need an attorney’s help determining who was at-fault for the accident.

If you are in Chattanooga or the surrounding area, the truck accident lawyers at Dennis and King can help. Our attorneys have decades of experience in semi-truck accidents and will help you get the compensation you deserve.

Contact us at (423)-892-5533 or fill out the form today to schedule a free consultation.

What should you do after a car accident?

Driving can be a challenge during any time of year.

With so many drivers on highways and roads, the chances of an accident occurring is high. It is important to be aware of what to do after a car accident no matter where you live in Tennessee.

If you are in a car accident, here is what you can do to stay safe.

What to do after a car accident

The first thing to remember after a car accident is never to leave the scene. If you leave the scene of an accident without exchanging information with other drivers, then it is considered a hit and run.

Even if you’re not at fault for the crash, a hit and run poses a needless legal hurdle which endangers the safety of others.

Instead, if you are in a car accident, you should follow these steps to ensure your safety:

  • Call emergency officials if drivers or passengers are injured.
  • Call the police to document the accident in the form of a police report.
  • Move your vehicle, if possible, to prevent other accidents from occurring.
  • Talk to other drivers or witnesses at the scene of the crime.

After ensuring that you, your passengers, and any other people involved are safe, the next steps are to exchange information with other drivers.

Depending on the number of drivers involved, the severity of driver and passenger injuries, or even the weather, this step may be challenging.

However, it is the best thing to do if you want to file a claim after a car accident. Other tips to have a seamless experience after an accident include:

  • Exchanging details with other drivers, such as:
    • Contact information (name, address, etc.).
    • Driver license number from every driver involved.
    • Insurance details.
    • License plate number from every driver involved.
    • Vehicle details (color, make, and model).
    • Vehicle registration number.
  • Ask witnesses for their account of the accident(s).
  • Take photos of:
    • Physical damage
    • Property damage (if applicable)
    • Vehicle damage
    • Weather (if it may have been a factor in your accident)

Other things to consider after a car accident

There are other things to consider after a car accident that can be beneficial to remember. Symptoms of physical injuries may not onset until after an accident.

These are some of the physical symptoms to be aware of following a car accident which may require medical attention:

  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain or shoulder pain
  • Numbness
  • Stomach pain

Although physical symptoms are the most prevalent after a car accident, that does not mean that they are the easiest to treat. Emotional trauma involving driving, either as a driver or a passenger, can also occur.

This trauma can be more difficult to diagnose and, in some cases, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) can be diagnosed. Some symptoms of PTSD with regards to car accidents include:

  • Avoiding any emotions or reminders of the accident
  • Avoiding medical procedures or tests
  • Constant feelings of anger, anxiousness, or crankiness
  • Constantly reliving the incident
  • Nightmares or trouble sleeping

In addition, depending on which agency is investigating the accident, obtaining a crash report can be useful.

If you are attempting to obtain this report, it will contain information such as the severity of car damage, injuries to both drivers and passengers, and even witness names who may have provided information about the accident.

This can be of assistance if you decide to contact a personal injury attorney to represent you in filing a legal claim against other drivers.

Who to contact after a car accident

With so many drivers on Chattanooga highways and roads, there are bound to be some drivers who are inattentive.

As a result, there will be accidents which may impact you or your family. If you are in a car, motorcycle, or truck accident within the area or within Tennessee, it is important to first ensure that you, your family, and your loved ones are safe.

Then, it is time to contact an attorney who can represent you and your claim. With over 20 years of legal experience, injury attorneys Dennis and King can help you if you are involved in a car, motorcycle, or truck accident.

If you live in the Chattanooga area, contact Dennis and King. Contact us today at (423)-892-5533 for a free legal consultation.

What Happens When The Other Driver Has No Insurance?

It’s a nightmare no driver wants to face. Everyone on the road is supposed to have insurance to help cover the costs of injuries. The other driver’s insurance company is supposed to provide compensation. But what happens if the other driver doesn’t have insurance? How do you get the money you need for hospital bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering repairing your vehicle, and all the other troubles that come after a car accident?

Here are the steps you can take:

Get Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

All insurance companies are required to offer you uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This is the first step in getting your bills paid if you’re injured by someone without insurance. Tennessee requires motorists to carry uninsured motorist coverage. Unless you reject it in writing, there is a good chance that you can just contact your insurance company and invoke this part of your policy to get compensation. Generally, the amount covered by the uninsured motorist coverage is the same amount that’s covered by your standard liability insurance.

If you have to use this insurance, you may have to pay a deductible. Assuming that the other driver was at fault, you can sue the driver for your deductible amount in small claims court. A personal injury attorney can help you prepare your case if you plan on suing the driver.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage covers the costs of vehicle repairs in the event that the other driver cannot pay enough to cover it. It does not cover the costs of any injuries. But if your car is totaled, then collision coverage can help you get the money you need to get a new vehicle. However, collision coverage is an extra purchase for your policy so it will raise your premium to add it.

What if it’s Not Enough?

If you only have the minimum coverage and your injuries are extensive or long-lasting, your coverage may not be enough to deal with all of the costs. In these cases, you may need to turn to the help of a personal injury attorney to sue the responsible party directly. Tennessee is an at-fault state. In other words, if you can prove to the court that the other driver was at fault in the accident, then they will be held responsible.

However, if the other driver isn’t carrying insurance they may not have enough assets to seize through a lawsuit to make it worth your while. A consultation with a car accident attorney can help you understand your options, as well as help you determine whether or not it would be worth the time and money to file a suit. You have up to one year after the accident for personal injury claims and three years after the accident for property damage claims, so don’t feel like you have to rush this decision. Start with your insurance company first, then contact an attorney.

How to Handle the Aftermath of an Auto Accident

Hopefully, a car accident is a rare occurrence in your life. But nearly everyone will go through an auto accident, large or small, at some point in their life. You need to know what to do, not just for legal purposes, but also for insurance purposes. Here are some tips you need to know to handle the aftermath of an auto accident:

Check for Injuries 

If it is possible, pull over to the shoulder of the road to stay out of traffic. Then, check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If it is safe to do so and you are able to, go to the other car and check on the other occupants. Call 911 to report the accident and any injuries that happened. Follow the instructions of the operator.

Exchange Information 

The next step is to exchange information with the driver. You will need their name, phone number, and insurance information. This will allow you to file a claim for the accident. Give them your information as well. Make a note if any of the drivers do not have insurance.

Do not claim that the accident was your fault, or their fault, to the other driver. That’s for the auto insurance people and the courts to determine. Claiming an accident was your fault could jeopardize your claim.

Document the Scene

Take photographs of the scene and the damage to your vehicle. This can serve as evidence for the insurance companies, and any potential court case you might file, about what happened. It will also help the insurance companies make a better estimate of what needs to be covered.

Give a Report

When the officer arrives, give your report of what happened. Be truthful and complete about the facts of the situation. Assuming nothing has happened that would require an arrest, such as a DUI, the officer will give you information that will let you contact the police station for progress on the investigation. The police should also be able to help tow your vehicle if needed.

Gather Financial Documentation

Once your car is at a mechanic, get an estimate for the repairs. If there were injuries, get an estimate for medical bills as well, if you can. You may wish to call a lawyer at this point. They can advise you on what other documentation you might need to make a strong case to the insurance company.

Call the Insurance Company

Either on your own with good documentation, or with the help of a lawyer, contact the insurance company to report the incident and make a claim to cover the costs. Be prepared for a lot of questions and to file a statement. You might have to wait while the insurance company does their own investigation by calling the other party and the police to get their sides of the story.

When the insurance company comes forward with a settlement offer, your lawyer can help you determine whether or not it is a fair offer. Their first offer isn’t always the best one, but having a lawyer on your side can improve the likelihood that they won’t lowball you. If the offer is really unfair or violates the policy, your lawyer can assist you in fighting the offer in court.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Did you know that distracted driving is one of the most dangerous things you can do on the road? Yes, even more than drunk driving! One day, texting while driving might be as socially unacceptable as drunk driving. But that day hasn’t arrived yet, which is why we’re seeing cases like these:

  • Four bus drivers in Knox County have been charged under a new law that prohibits school bus drivers from using electronic devices while on the road. The new law now mandates 30-day jail sentences for people convicted of this crime. Hamilton County was the first test of the law, but that case also involved vehicular homicide charges when six children were killed in the crash.
  • You know that solar eclipse coming up soon? TDOT has issued a public service announcement warning people not to stop their cars on the interstate or otherwise interfere with traffic while the eclipse is occurring. They are worried that people will wear eclipse glasses and drive down the roads. They are also expecting a huge increase in traffic volume since Tennessee is within the eclipse totality path.

On a much more serious note, traffic fatalities are up in Chattanooga over last year due to distracted driving. The city has the second highest traffic fatality rate in the state this year. So far this year, 65 traffic deaths have occurred, which is 13 more than this time last year.

What can be done to control distracted driving? These days even our vehicles seem like they’re designed to distract with new touchscreen interfaces and all sorts of connectivity options to our wireless devices. From the individual driver standpoint, there are a lot of things you can do:

  • The best thing is to turn off all wireless devices in the vehicle and ask your passengers to do the same. We’ve trained ourselves to feel like we need to respond to every buzz and beep, so shutting a device completely off is the best route. Consider your car like you would a movie theater.
  • If you must keep your phone on, use hands-free devices so you’ll never have to pick up your phone to use it. Keep your calls short and to the point. If traffic starts to get heavy, hang up. It’s better to stay safe.
  • Don’t eat in the car if you can help it. While it may not be illegal like texting, it is a form of distraction.
  • Keep your eyes out for other distracted drivers. Just because you’re safe doesn’t mean that the other drivers around you are!

If you are injured in an accident, any evidence that the other driver was distracted at the time will help your case considerably. The chances that your contributions to a percentage of fault in the crash will be much lower, which means more potential compensation. Likewise, if you’re shown to be distracted before an injury accident, your compensation will be at risk.

Don’t think you can hide it, either. Police are working on ways to detect whether you were using an electronic device prior to a crash. New York is examining a new device they’re calling a “textalyzer” that does just that. It’s still under development, but if it works well and holds up in court, it could create a chilling effect on distracted driving. Ultimately, that makes us all safer.

What Role Do Attorneys Play In Trucking Accident Cases?

When you are in a trucking accident, there are often special circumstances that only an experienced attorney can handle effectively.  Truck accident lawyers use a combination of traffic laws, insurance laws, and personal injury laws to get the most out of the justice system to ensure that the victims involved can receive the most out of their claims or cases.

How a Trucking Accident Case Works

If you have been injured in a trucking accident you will get more protection and feel more secure when you hire an experienced attorney to handle your case.  Attorneys who specialize in personal injury cases dealing with trucking and car accidents are assigned to your case and can negotiate with the other parties involved and they can determine who should pay for the damages that incurred. An attorney can work with the insurance and company if the truck is a commercial vehicle.

Court officials and insurance companies will collect all of the data together in order to conclude exactly what happened when the accident occurred.  This can be completed using police reports, photos, and other evidence, and then use the local traffic laws as well as legal concepts such as to determine who caused the accident.  Whoever is determined to be at fault for the accident is the person who will have to pay for any lost wages, medical and property expenses, as well as any harm related to pain and suffering.

There isn’t an exact science to calculating what a person will be entitled to receive since there are cases where both drivers are at fault for the accident and all states have slightly different rules associated with certain situations where there is more than one person responsible for the accident. Some states require that one party pays all the bills while other states require the two parties to split the damages and fees according to the amount each party is to blame, per the accident history.

What Role Does Auto Insurance Play?

Thanks to insurance policies put in place, most people do not pay for all of the damages stemming from a trucking collision out of pocket. Automobile insurance may pay to repair at least some of the damages or replacement cost for all or some of the vehicles involved and may pay for some medical expenses as well. Insurance companies may also pay for an attorney, if necessary, although in most of these cases the clients have an attorney selected by the insurance company rather than choosing their own attorney to represent them.  State laws also vary widely on the extent and types of insurance coverage that is required for a person to drive a commercial truck.

How To Determine Who Is At Fault?

Determining who pays for the damages after a collision with a truck is slightly more complicated than other kinds of accidents because trucks are often commercially owned, so the liability insurance policies may rest not only on the driver but on the owner of the truck as well.  The laws regarding who is at fault may vary depending on the types of vehicles involved and the coverage.  Most semi-truck drivers are usually professionally trained and certified and have to drive more carefully than most other drivers.  Determining who pays for the damage after a collision with a semi-truck or commercial truck is slightly more complicated than other kinds of accidents due to the particulars involved in trucks that are commercially owned.

For more information regarding personal liability and trucking accidents, contact Chattanooga law firm Dennis & King today!

What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident

After a serious motorcycle accident, you may have questions about what damages and losses can be covered by your insurance or the other parties in the accident.

Contacting a law firm is the best initial step you should take before you do anything.  Attorneys who specialize in motorcycle accidents prevent you from making regretful decisions like settling on an amount from the insurance company that doesn’t cover all  medical bills, injuries, and inconvenience factors like car rentals and loss of wages. In Chattanooga, law firms and attorneys like those from Dennis and King Law, are knowledgeable about motorcycle accidents.

A lot of times,  motorcycle accidents can cause injuries that land you in the hospital, causing you to miss work and rack up expenses that are oftentimes unpaid. Returning to work after an injury is also tough since most people are still healing and need accommodations to their daily routines and often slows their productivity.

When motorcycle accidents occur, the parties involved (whether they are at fault or not) usually have little knowledge about what they can legally ask for to cover damages of assets, medical bills, cost to repair vehicle damages, and insurance issues and hold-ups for paying injury costs.

When you hire an attorney, everything you need to know about claims and laws are clearly defined for you. Having an attorney brings clarity as it makes the overall process of filing a claim and getting what you are entitled to receive. When everything is simplified by the attorney you are not taken advantage of or have to worry about whether or not your claim of personal injury will be fully covered.

When motorcycle accidents involve a company, individuals who have incurred personal injury are usually already stressed enough from visiting doctors, taking their truck or vehicle in for repairs, talking to a ton of insurance agents who give you estimates that are barely comprehensible, and making accommodations for transportation to take care of the things you normally would before the accident occurred.

Having an experienced motorcycle accident attorney walk you through an entire process of lawsuits can provide relief, which is why most people who have been in a motorcycle accident with a lawyer recommend to people they know to do the same.

An experienced attorney in motorcycle accidents can provide a free consultation and choose to have a law firm to work on your case can be the smartest, first step to getting what you deserve for the trauma, damages, and loss that was inflicted.

Personal Injury Laws Involving Commercial Truck and Trucking Accidents

After a serious trucking accident, you may have many questions about the laws and what you are covered for the damages and loss.

Contacting a truck accident attorney may be the best first step you can take before you regret settling for insurance costs that provide you with no comfort or resolution for the injuries you have.

In Chattanooga, the attorneys from Dennis and King have in-depth experience with trucking laws and are knowledgeable about trucking accidents.

When commercial trucking accidents occur, the people and companies involved (whether they are at fault or not) usually have little knowledge about what they can legally ask for to cover damages, medical bills,  and car repair costs.

When trucking accidents involve a company, individuals who have incurred personal injury are usually already stressed enough from visiting doctors, taking their truck or vehicle in for repairs, talking to a ton of insurance agents who give you estimates that are barely comprehensible, and making accommodations for transportation to take care of the things you normally would before the accident occurred.

A lot of times, injuries that occur from trucking accidents can cause injuries that land you into the hospital, causing you to miss work and rack up expenses that are oftentimes unpaid.  Returning to work after having a personal injury is also tough since most people are still healing and need accommodations made to their daily routines and often slows their productivity.

Having an experienced lawyer to walk you through an entire process of lawsuits involving truck accidents can provide relief, which is why most people who have experienced being in a commercial trucking accident with a lawyer recommend to people they know to do the same.

An experienced attorney in trucking accidents can provide free consultation and choosing to have a law firm to work on your case can be the smartest, first step to getting what you deserve for the trauma, damages, and loss that was inflicted.

How Motorcycle Helmets Affect Your Accident Case

If you were in a motorcycle accident but not wearing a helmet, can you still collect damages from the at-fault driver?

This is a question that comes up quite often when clients are discussing their cases. In brief, the answer is “Yes, but with a very important restriction.”

First, the motor vehicle laws in Tennessee and Georgia require that anyone riding a motorcycle must wear a helmet. Not wearing a helmet has no bearing on your right to sue for damages because the accident would have happened regardless of what you were or were not wearing.

Although not wearing a helmet will usually result in nothing more than a traffic citation, not wearing a helmet can influence your lawsuit for personal injury damages after an accident.

Both Tennessee and Georgia have adopted a legal doctrine known as the “premodified comparative negligence, 50% bar rule.” This doctrine can be quite complicated but can be explained in general terms as follows.

If you were injured in an accident, you have the right to seek damages from the person who caused the accident even if you were partially at fault. However, if the jury that hears your case finds that you were partial to blame for the accident, any damages that you are awarded will be reduced by the percentage of your contribution to the accident.

For example, you were in a motorcycle accident and not wearing a helmet. The jury hearing your case awards damages of $100,000 but determines that you were 40 percent to blame for that accident.  In the end, you will receive only $60,000 in damages ($100,000 – 40% = $60,000).

If that same jury determined that you were 60 percent responsible for the accident, you would receive nothing. The law in Georgia and Tennessee prohibit awarding damages to anyone responsible for 50 percent or more of the accident.

Determination of negligence in motorcycle accident cases can be difficult since there are factors that must be considered but aren’t always in a police report. Questions of negligence in motorcycle accident cases should always involve a motorcycle accident attorney with experience in such matters.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Dennis & King today for your free consultation.