When police officers are dispatched to traffic accident scenes in Tennessee, they are usually able to identify the at-fault party fairly quickly. Things are rarely as clear cut with semi-tractor trailer accidents, however. Crashes involving large commercial vehicles are investigated thoroughly by the authorities because they usually cause serious harm, and it sometimes takes months of painstaking investigation to identify the cause of the accident and the responsible parties.
Truck drivers and trucking companies
Accident investigators run toxicology tests and scrutinize electronic hours of service journals to find out if truck drivers were fatigued or impaired when they were involved in crashes, and they may obtain cellphone records to check for evidence of distraction. Logistics companies can be held responsible for truck accidents when they fail to adequately maintain their vehicles or hire unqualified drivers, and they may be sued under the legal doctrine respondeat superior for the actions of their negligent employees.
Repair facilities, loading companies and other drivers
Semi-tractor trailers that are involved in serious accidents are inspected carefully, and commercial vehicle maintenance facilities may be blamed for a truck accident if one of these inspections uncovers signs of lax maintenance or botched repairs. Commercial vehicle accidents can also be caused by shifting or dislodged cargo. In these situations, the company that loaded the cargo would likely be identified as the at-fault party. Passenger vehicle drivers often become impatient around large trucks, and this sometimes leads them to engage in dangerous maneuvers. When these maneuvers cause accidents, passenger vehicle drivers are held responsible.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you will have to determine fault if you decide to pursue civil remedies. When a large commercial vehicle is involved, the negligent party could be a truck driver, trucking company, commercial vehicle repair facility, cargo loading company or a passenger vehicle driver. Truck accidents can also be caused by product defects. This means that you may not be able to determine fault until an official accident report is released.