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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Do Truck Drivers Get Fired for Accidents in Tennessee? | Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys

Trucking is a crucial industry in the United States, with truck drivers hauling everything from household goods and perishable foods to dangerous chemicals across the country.

However, accidents can happen, despite federal trucking regulations designed to keep commercial cargo drivers and motorists safe. Truck accidents can have devastating consequences, particularly involving injuries or fatalities.

Truck drivers often operate large vehicles that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. These vehicles can cause serious damage when involved in crashes, especially if colliding with smaller cars.

While most companies emphasize safety and compliance with federal trucking regulations, accidents still happen. When they do, the question of whether the truck driver will be fired or not often arises. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also answer questions, "Who's at fault in truck driver DUI accidents?"

Reasons Why a Truck Driver Can Be Fired for an Accident

Reasons Why a Truck Driver Can Be Fired for an Accident

The answer to whether truck drivers get fired for accidents is not always straightforward. It depends on the specific circumstances surrounding the event.

If the truck driver was at fault and the accident caused significant damage or injuries, there is a high likelihood that the motorist will be terminated. This is because trucking companies must protect their reputation, as they are responsible for ensuring the safety of their drivers and the public at large.

Most trucking companies have strict policies in place regarding accidents. They may fire a driver following a minor accident, mainly if it is not the first incident.

If a truck driver's actions contributed to the accident in any way, such as impaired driving or failing to follow regulations, they may risk losing their job.

It is worth noting that not all truck drivers are employees of trucking companies. Many truck drivers work as independent contractors. The rules surrounding independent contractors and their relationship with truck companies can be complicated. As a result, the consequences of accidents may differ depending on the situation's specifics.

Sometimes, the independent contractor may be liable for the accident rather than the trucking company.

Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?

Tennessee truck drivers must have a commercial driver's license (CDL) and follow guidelines established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

These statutes ensure that drivers operate their vehicles safely and responsibly to avoid crashes that could cause serious harm to others on the road. However, accidents happen, and when they do, many trucking companies take a hard stance against the truck driver at fault.

Some companies may also terminate the employment of truck drivers if they are involved in a car accident outside of work, especially if impaired driving is a factor. Other reasons for firing a truck driver from work include the following:

  • DUI

Driving under the influence is a major issue nationwide, with hefty fines and possible jail time as penalties. Most trucking companies have a strict policy for substance abuse while on the job.

Failure to adhere to the rules of the trucking company, even if it does not cause a truck accident, can result in instant termination.

  • Compliance Issues

Not maintaining the safety protocols set by the trucking company can also result in termination, especially if it causes trucking accidents. All employees must secure the cargo and perform monthly vehicle maintenance checks.

  • Failing to Prevent Accidents

Most trucking companies may fire drivers if they cannot avoid preventable accidents. Failure to prevent such crashes can deeply affect a company's reputation.

Truckers with a habit of driving recklessly, getting involved in road rage, and being issued warnings for traffic violations, are less likely to receive a pardon for not preventing avoidable accidents. Only the best truck accident lawyer in Nashville can help victims get out of such a mess.

What Are the Most Common Types of Truck Accidents in Nashville?

Truck accidents can take place for several reasons. Some of the most common types of car accidents caused by trucks are:

  1. Head-on Accidents

When two vehicles traveling in opposite directions crash into each other, it is called a head-on collision. These truck accidents can happen when a motor carrier driver loses control of the vehicle, drives the wrong way, or crosses the centerline.

  1. Rear-end Accidents

This is when a truck driver crashes into the back of another vehicle. The impact force can sometimes push the car in front of another vehicle or object, causing a multi-car pileup.

  1. Side-impact Truck Accidents

Also known as T-bone collisions, side-impact crashes happen when a truck strikes the side of another vehicle. These accidents are usually caused when a truck driver runs a red light or stop sign, fails to yield the right of way, or makes an illegal turn.

  1. Rollover Accidents

A rollover crash happens when motor carriers flip onto their sides or roofs. Typically, the reason for these accidents include:

  • Speeding

  • Tire blowouts

  • Sudden swerving

  • Overloading

  1. Cargo Accidents

These accidents take place when the cargo falls off, shifts, or spills onto the road. Usually, improper loading or securing of the goods on motor carriers, overloading, sudden braking, or swerving lead to such accidents.

  1. Multi-vehicle Truck Accidents

Chain-reaction or multi-vehicular crashes happen when a truck collides with multiple other vehicles. These trucking accidents can be due to a truck driver failing to brake in time or losing control of their vehicle and causing a pileup.

  1. Jackknife Accidents

Sometimes a truck's trailer swings out to the side, forming a 90-degree angle with the cab. These are commonly known as jackknife crashes, and they can happen due to sudden braking, slick roads, or excessive speeding.

  1. Underride Accidents

This is when a smaller car crashes into the rear or side of a truck, and the vehicle rolls underneath the trailer. If a truck driver suddenly stops or reverses without warning or when a smaller vehicle follows too closely, it can lead to this kind of crash.

The Most Common Truck Accident Injuries

Accidents with trucks and motor carriers can cause serious injuries. The most common ones include:

  • Internal bleeding

This type of injury is serious and could result in damage to the organs, leading to long-term complications if not properly treated.

  • Whiplash

Whiplash involves the sudden forward and backward jerking movement of the neck. The symptoms include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and dizziness. Most individuals recover from whiplash within a few months with proper medical treatment, such as physical therapy.

  • Bone Injuries

Victims can suffer from fractures, sprains, and dislocations. The most affected areas of the body are the arms, legs, and hips.

  • Concussions

Concussions are traumatic brain injuries that happen when a truck accident victim's head collides with an object or an individual experiences a sudden jolt or impact.

  • Emotional/Psychological Distress

Truck accident injuries may also cause emotional or psychological distress in victims. This can include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and fear.

What Happens If a Truck Driver Lies About Their Commercial Driver's License (CDL)?

The repercussions for a truck driver lying about their CDL are severe. Lying about this can result in many penalties and consequences.

Drivers with reckless behavior pose a risk to themselves, other drivers, and people on the road around them. Most trucking companies have a zero-tolerance policy to penalize motorists who engage in dangerous or illegal behavior while driving, and the consequences can be grave.

If a truck driver is found guilty of lying about their commercial driver's license, they may face charges with a misdemeanor and lose their license. Each state has its penalties and fees; however, federal penalties are usually between $2,500 and $5,000 and may include at least one year of jail time.

Furthermore, the victims of truck accidents can file a lawsuit against the truck driver for damages. Plaintiffs can receive compensation for physical injuries, medical bills, property damages, and other losses.

In addition, trucking companies are also held responsible for ensuring their drivers have valid licenses before operating company vehicles.

The Benefits of Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney

The Benefits of Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney

Truck drivers are held to a higher standard than other motorists because they are responsible for operating large vehicles safely.

However, despite regulations and policies to prevent accidents, many trucking companies prioritizing profits over road safety can force their drivers to work long hours without sufficient rest. This can eventually lead to impaired driving and deadly trucking accidents.

However, companies often try to prevent future liability by arguing that the crash was the truck driver's fault. Victims may not be aware of their rights and what they need to do to seek compensation for their injuries.

A truck accident lawyer can navigate the complex legal system and help plaintiffs get the compensation they deserve.

Many drivers are not employees of the trucking company; they are independent contractors. In such cases, it may be challenging to determine who is responsible for the car accident. A qualified lawyer can guide the victim through the legal process and help them determine who is liable for their injuries.

Final Words

While it is uncertain whether drivers get fired for all truck accidents in Tennessee, the crashes can have significant consequences for motorists, especially if they are at fault.

Truck drivers who do not adhere to safety regulations and traffic laws risk getting fired and losing their licenses.

Victims (including no-fault truck drivers) of such accidents have the right to file a claim against the motor carriers responsible for the crash. The claim may include compensation for economic and special damages.

The lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help clients secure maximum financial compensation for their damages and hold liable parties accountable in court. With "We Go to War for You" as its statement, the law firm offers free consultation sessions for plaintiffs.


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