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Conditions leading to 18-wheeler crashes

Thanksgiving weekend is synonymous with many Americans traveling to friends and family, leading to crowded roads. Not only will many motorists take to Tennessee roads, but also many big trucks. The increase in traffic, along with potentially wintry conditions, create risk for 18-wheeler crashes.

In only three Tennessee counties, 2,896 semi-truck accidents have been recorded in the last five years, of which 23 were fatal. According to instructors at a truck driving school, it is important for truckers to remember that they have to take note of weather conditions, slow down, stay off the phone and -- most importantly -- stay aware of the smaller vehicles surrounding them. If the trucker stays safe, other road users may be safe too.

Unfortunately, not all truck drivers adhere to this advice. A learner truck driver reports that, during his training, he observed truckers swerving across roads, texting and even drinking on the job. Trucks take a lot longer to stop, so half a second delay in reaction time because the trucker is distracted can make a significant difference.

There is no doubt that 18-wheelers crashes can have devastating consequences. Sadly, the occupants of smaller vehicles are the more vulnerable parties in such an accident. A moment of distraction can change someone's life forever, and definitely not for the better.

In Tennessee, the seriously injured victims of 18-wheeler crashes may be entitled to file personal injury claims against a trucker and/or the company, while wrongful death claims may be appropriate for surviving families after a fatal accident. Successfully litigated personal injury claims, which must be based upon proof of negligence, may provide for the reimbursement of any related monetary damages. Monetary damages awarded from a successful claim could help the victim better cope with medical bills, rehabilitation costs and any lost wages due to missing time from work. Furthermore, a successful wrongful death claim may assist the family of the deceased to better cope with the unexpected expenses, such as funeral costs and other damages recognized by Tennessee personal injury laws.

Source: wbir.com, "Staying safe behind the wheel of a big rig", Brittany A Bade, Nov. 16, 2015

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