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The Challenges of Bringing a Personal Injury Claim When You Do Not Have All the Facts


Commercial truck accidents are often the scariest type of motor vehicle crash. When a tractor-trailer crashes it may roll over, causing damage to other multiple other vehicles. Given the dangers that these vehicles pose, it is important that drivers operate them in a safe and legal manner.

Tennessee Court Reinstates Tractor Trailer Accident Lawsuit

When a truck driver’s negligence injures others, the victims have the right to seek damages against not only against the driver but also the truck owner. Of course, commercial trucking companies are experienced when it comes to defending against lawsuits. They will expend every effort to avoid liability.

Consider an ongoing truck accident case from Henderson County. The plaintiff was driving a commercial truck down Interstate 40 when he suddenly came upon another tractor trailer that had overturned and was blocking the road. The plaintiff, unable to stop or swerve, collided with the overturned vehicle.

The plaintiff sued the driver and owner of the overturned vehicle, alleging the driver’s negligence caused the accident. The problem was, the plaintiff had no idea how the defendant’s vehicle overturned in the first place. The defendants blamed a still-unknown third tractor trailer, which they said forced their vehicle off the road during an attempted pass.

The trial court initially awarded summary judgment to the defendants, holding the plaintiff “could not establish a breach of duty” by the defendants and there was no “material factual dispute.” But the Tennessee Court of Appeals disagreed and reverse the grant of summary judgment. The appeals court noted there was more than one possible explanation for what happened, thereby making summary judgment inappropriate.

The trial court simply took the defendants’ explanation–they were the innocent victims of the third tractor trailer’s negligence–at face value. The plaintiff was penalized because he did not personally witness this initial accident. However, the appeals court said there was still sufficient evidence for a jury to conclude the defendant driver’s negligence was the actual cause of his overturning, and thus the second accident that injured the plaintiff. For example, the court said a jury might find the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care when, by his own admission, he tried to pass three other tractor trailers in highway traffic.

Have You Been Injured in a Commercial Trucking Accident?

Summary judgment is designed to quickly dispose of a case where the facts can only logically point to one conclusion. It is not appropriate to deny a personal injury victim his or her day in court simply because they do not have perfect knowledge of the events leading up to an accident.

This is why if you have been involved in a truck accident, you need to work with a qualified Knoxville personal injury lawyer who has experience in dealing with these sorts of cases. Especially where you are not in possession of all of the facts, you need an attorney who can carry out a thorough investigation and make sure you do not go into court unprepared. Call Fox, Farley, Willis & Burnette, Attorneys at Law, if you need to speak with a personal injury lawyer right away.



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