Our client contacted us after being hit by a UPS semi tractor trailer in Athens Tennessee on I-75 on November 24, 2019. The driver had apparently hit a number of other drivers and we are looking for witnesses. The Tennessee State Police arrested the driver and charged him with 4 counts of vehicular homicide.
While we do not yet know whether the driver of the UPS truck was drinking or intoxicated through prescription or non-prescription drugs, Federal safety guidelines are extremely strict for drivers. 49 CFR 392.5 prohibits drivers from using or being under the influence of alcohol within 4 hours before going on duty with a commercial motor vehicle. Furthermore, unlike the passenger vehicle standard where .08% is considered DUI, the threshold for commercial drivers is 0.04% because of how challenging it is to safely operate commercial motor vehicles.
Our Tennessee barred attorney is handling the case and Tennessee law provides of “punishment” or punitive damages in certain cases like this. Tennessee code Section 29-39-104 lays out the requirements that a plaintiff show by the clear and convincing standard. Tennessee law also provides for a cap on punitive damages at 2 times the compensatory (medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering) damages or $500,000 but in cases like this involving a DUI, the cap is not in effect.