If you suffered injuries in a truck accident, you deserve to recover compensation for your losses. However, determining truck accident liability is more complicated than it might initially seem. There are some legal principles that can determine whether you are eligible to receive compensation and how much compensation you can collect.
If you suffered injuries in a truck collision, contact an attorney as soon as possible to explore your options. You have a right to pursue damages after a tractor-trailer accident in Georgia. Read on to learn more about truck accident liability and factors that may affect your case.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?
As you try to recover from your injuries, you may feel overwhelmed by your medical bills, your inability to work, and a long recovery time. A truck driver’s liability may be crystal clear to you, but it requires substantial work to prove.
Your attorney works to establish a truck driver’s liability by gathering information about your truck crash, negotiating with insurance companies, and helping you pursue compensation for your losses.
What Is Negligent Entrustment in Georgia?
A person or business might be held responsible for another person’s injury or death if they were negligent in loaning or entrusting a motor vehicle to someone they knew was incompetent or unfit to operate the vehicle safely. This liability theory is called negligent entrustment in Georgia.
Proving negligent entrustment requires your attorney to establish the driver was unfit to operate the vehicle for some reason, including:
- Their age
- Lack of experience
- Physical or mental impairment
- History of habitual reckless driving
Georgia also deems a driver incompetent if they did not possess a valid driver’s license for the type of motor vehicle they operated.
To succeed in a negligent entrustment claim, an injured victim must prove the following elements:
- The defendant negligently entrusted a vehicle they owned or had control over to an unsafe or incompetent driver
- The driver was unqualified and unfit to drive the vehicle safely
- The defendant knew the driver was unfit, incompetent, or incapable of driving safely
- The driver caused the collision that injured the victim
Proving negligent entrustment can be complicated. However, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you gather evidence to prove each of these elements.
Are Truck Drivers Responsible for Damages?
After a truck accident, determining fault isn’t always straightforward. Depending on the facts of the case, there might be several parties who are potentially responsible for your damages, such as the driver, the driver’s employer, the person who negligently entrusted the truck to the driver, or the manufacturer of a defective part that caused the crash. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you identify all of the parties who might be liable for your damages.
Sometimes truck crash victims may be partly responsible for their injuries. When it comes to truck accident fault, Georgia law allows an injured crash victim to recover some compensation if they are less than 50% at fault.
In these situations, Georgia’s comparative fault rule provides that if you partially contributed to the crash, then your compensatory award will be proportionally reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, imagine an injured victim receives a judgment in the amount of $100,000 for their losses. However, the court finds the victim 40% at fault for the collision. Under the comparative fault rule, the injured victim only receives $60,000, or 60% of their losses.
What Damages Can I Recover?
After clearly establishing liability, injured victims may be entitled to recover special, general, and, in some cases, punitive damages.
Special damages represent financial losses directly related to your injuries.
These include the following expenses:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
Your attorney uses tangible evidence like receipts, invoices, pay stubs, and bills to support your claim for special damages.
General damages represent subjective losses related to the psychological and emotional harm suffered due to your collision. Because these damages are subjective rather than monetary, they are more difficult to calculate and prove than special damages.
General damages include the following:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Physical impairment
- Permanent disability
It may feel impossible to put a monetary value on your inability to play a favorite sport due to your injuries or your inability to interact with your children like you did before your crash.
The loss of these kinds of fulfilling emotional experiences may cause depression and a loss in the quality of your life. You deserve to recover compensation for these types of injuries, and your attorney can help you do so.
Punitive damages are sometimes sought as a means to punish the defendant for outrageous negligence. Sometimes referred to as exemplary damages, individuals who knowingly made a conscious decision to engage in behavior that can easily harm another person could be liable to pay punitive damages to the victim. One example of this would be drunk driving.
Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers in Georgia
For nearly 40 years, the attorneys at Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C., have been helping clients fight for the compensation they need to recover from their truck collision injuries.
Since our firm’s founding in 1984, we’ve remained one of the largest law firms in the area, providing our clients with the exceptional skill and decades of experience needed to hold the parties responsible for their losses accountable.