Commercial trucking companies have a duty to operate their fleet in a reasonably safe manner.
Unfortunately, in reality, large truck crashes remain a serious public safety problem throughout the country.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that 170,000 Americans were injured in trucking accidents in 2017 alone.
Everyone on the road needs to be prepared for the possibility that they could eventually be involved in a serious truck crash. Here, our Georgia 18-wheeler accident attorneys provide an overview of four important steps that injured victims should implement after being involved in a wreck with a commercial truck.
1. Stop Your Vehicle, Render Aid, and Exchange Information
In Georgia, drivers involved in an accident have a legal duty to stop their vehicle, attempt to render emergency aid to anyone who is in need, and to exchange relevant information with other parties involved in the crash.
After an eighteen-wheeler accident, make sure to get the truck driver’s name, their employer, vehicle identification, and their insurance details.
It is also recommended that you take photographs of the accident and secure the contact information for eyewitnesses. Take photos of any damage to your vehicle or the truck, debris on the road surrounding the crash site, skid marks on the road, damaged road signs, injuries sustained, and any identifying markers such as license plates or truck numbers.
2. Report the Accident to the Police
In Georgia, any motor vehicle accident that results in an injury should be reported to law enforcement. After a truck accident, it is in your best interest to call the police and to get an officer dispatched to the scene of the collision. The officer can help to secure the scene and draft an official crash report. Though, even if no officer came to the scene, you can still submit an accident report through the Georgia Department of Driver Services.
3. Get a Professional Medical Evaluation
All truck accident injuries should be examined by a qualified medical professional. Certainly, severe injuries necessitate emergency medical attention. Further, seemingly mild or moderate injuries should still be checked by a doctor. You cannot bring a truck accident injury claim unless you have been seen by a physician for your injury. This is a required step in the claims process.
4. Call a Lawyer Before Speaking to an Insurance Adjuster
You are likely to receive a phone call from the trucking company’s insurance carrier. Do not make a statement to the insurance company without first consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney.
The insurance company is not on your side — they are searching for information that can be used against you to reduce your settlement or deny your claim.
Work with the insurance company through your lawyer. Under Georgia law (Ga. Code Ann. Sec. 9-3-33), truck accident claims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations.
Your lawyer can negotiate directly with the insurance company to get you a full and fair financial settlement. If the insurer refuses to handle your claim fairly, your attorney will file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out.
Contact Our Georgia Truck Accident Lawyers Today
At Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C., our Georgia eighteen-wheeler accident attorneys are strong, aggressive advocates for injured victims and their families. If you or your loved one was hurt in a truck accident, we are here to help.
For a free, no-obligation, initial consultation, please contact our law firm today. With law offices in Athens, Atlanta, and Greensboro, we handle truck accident claims throughout the region, including in Fulton County, Cobb County, DeKalb County, Clarke County, and Greene County.