Georgia Truck Accident Lawyer
Learn How a Georgia Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You
On any roadway in America, you will likely see tractor trailers.
These are the large, jointed trucks that deliver goods to retailers where you can purchase them.
Sharing the roadway with these trucks can be intimidating – they are much larger than any passenger vehicle and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
If there is a tractor-trailer on the road, there is a chance you will be involved in a truck accident. Truck accidents can be similar to car accidents, but they are not the same thing.
One thing to always keep in mind when you are sharing the road with large trucks is that in a truck accident, the person in the passenger vehicle faces a much higher risk of suffering a severe injury.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents can result from many of the same issues that cause car accidents.
- Poor roadway maintenance and design
- Vehicle malfunctions
- Driver negligence
Driver negligence can occur on the part of the truck driver or an individual driving a car, either the car that collides with the truck or another car that creates a scenario where a collision between the truck and another car are inevitable.
Any driver can cause a truck accident through the following types of negligence:
- Drunk driving;
- Driving while under the influence of drugs, including prescription medication;
- Aggressive driving;
- Disregarding posted traffic rules;
- Distracted driving;
- Drowsy driving; and
- Poor vehicle maintenance.
Types of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Commercial vehicle accidents can involve a range of traffic collisions and various circumstances, but all share the commonality of involving vehicles that are used for commercial purposes.
Common commercial vehicle accidents include:
- Truck accidents (box trucks, delivery trucks, flatbed trucks, tractor-trailers, etc.)
- Garbage trucks and other public utility vehicles
- Dump trucks and construction vehicles
- Tanker trucks
- Tow trucks
- Buses and transportation service vehicles
Challenges in Commercial Vehicle Accident Cases
Although victims of commercial vehicle accidents have the same right to compensation as victims of any car accident, they face additional issues and challenges. These include:
Potential for Serious Injuries
Vehicles operated for commercial purposes are often much different in terms of construction and size than standard passenger vehicles. Commercial trucks, tractor-trailers, garbage trucks, and other specialized vehicles are often much larger, heavier, and more difficult to maneuver than standard cars or pickup trucks, which makes them more likely to cause serious injuries, if not fatal injuries, in accidents. When victims suffer catastrophic injuries that require serious and long-term treatment, and which can result in longer recoveries, impairment, or life-long disabilities, their need for full and fair compensation is elevated.
Commercial vehicles are often operated by corporations that care more about profits than they care about people, including people harmed by their employees and fleet. As such, these corporations, as well as commercial insurance providers, often devote extensive resources toward fighting any personal injury or wrongful death claims in hopes of paying victims less than they deserve, or avoiding liability and payouts altogether. When up against these corporate powers, victims can level the playing field by working with proven attorneys who have the experience and resources to ensure commercial companies are held responsible for the injuries and damages they caused.
Because commercial vehicles pose risks to public safety, they are subject to many regulations, including regulations for driver training, cargo loading and securement, hours-of-service rules that limit the amount of time commercial drivers can be behind the wheel, and regulations for vehicle maintenance, among many others. These regulations can also vary by industry, especially when commercial vehicles transport cargo or dangerous materials or operate for transportation purposes. When pursuing lawsuits involving commercial vehicle wrecks, victims should work with attorneys who have verifiable experience with the numerous regulations that may apply, as well as the resources to conduct investigations and determine whether any violations or failures of commercial operators led to preventable wrecks.
Additional Challenges in Commercial Vehicle Accident Cases
- Potential causes – Commercial vehicle accidents can be caused by many factors not limited to driver error and traffic violations such as running red lights, speeding, or unsafe lane changes alone. Depending on the type of vehicle involved and applicable regulations, these types of wrecks may be caused by the negligence of commercial companies that fail to properly hire and train qualified commercial drivers, negligent maintenance of vehicles, regulatory violations, and more. Exploring all potential causes of a crash is critical in any personal injury case, which is why your attorney needs to know what to look for when working to establish fault and liability.
- Liability – Aside from there being many potential causes of commercial vehicle accidents, difficulties in establishing liability can also arise from the fact that multiple entities may be involved. Commercial operations, such as cargo shipping, often involve multiple companies responsible for different aspects of transactions and transportation, such as shippers and distributors, vehicle maintenance companies, specialized auto part or vehicle manufacturers, and more. When multiple parties are involved, meticulous investigations must be conducted to determine not only the underlying cause of a crash but also which party (or multiple parties in some cases) failed to abide by safety regulations or take reasonable steps to ensure public safety.
Negligence Unique to Truck Drivers
Certain types of negligence are unique to truck drivers and the companies that employ them.
- Overloading trucks. When a truck’s trailer is too heavy for its tractor to pull, it can topple over or become dislocated from the tractor;
- Dangerously drowsy driving. Anybody can drive when they are too tired to safely do so, but quotas and deadlines can force drivers to go beyond their safe driving limits. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration maintains hour and workweek requirements for drivers to keep them safe; and
- Poor truck handling. Commercial trucks are much larger and shaped much differently from passenger vehicles and because of this, must be driven differently. A truck driver who speeds or fails to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles can increase his or her risk of causing an accident.
Ways you Can Suffer Injuries in a Truck Accident
There are many ways you can suffer injuries in a truck accident.
In some cases, a victim only suffers a minor scratch or bruise in an accident.
In others, he or she sustains a severe injury that leads to permanent disability or even premature death.
A few types of injury you can suffer in a truck accident are:
- Broken bones;
- Soft tissue injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries; and
- Traumatic brain injuries.
In many cases, the injury the victim suffers immediately is not the only injury he or she will face because of an accident.
A traumatic brain injury can cause a victim to suffer from:
- cognitive disabilities,
- memory loss,
- and loss of function in his or her body.
A spinal cord injury can leave a victim permanently paralyzed.
There is are also psychological ways a victim can suffer after a truck accident. Facing a severe injury can launch a victim into depression or cause him or her to experience anxiety. These individuals may need psychological therapy and medication to recover from these conditions.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
Stop your vehicle and if possible, take it to a safe place off the roadway. Call 911 if anybody involved in the accident needs emergency medical care.
If nobody needs emergency care, call the local police to have an officer sent to the scene. Fill out an official accident report with the officer and be sure to take a copy with you when you leave.
It is also important that you take as many photos of the accident scene. This allows you to fully illustrate what happened. Also, it is important that you do not leave without exchanging insurance information with the truck driver.
If there were witnesses to the accident, take down their contact information as well.
As soon as you can after the accident, get medical care for yourself.
Guide to Georgia Trucking Accidents
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Pursuing Compensation for your Truck Accident Damages
A truck accident injury can be very expensive for a victim.
If you are facing financial damages after suffering injuries in a truck accident, you can file a personal injury claim to pursue compensation for the following damages:
- Your medical bills;
- Your lost wages; and
- Your pain and suffering damages.
Initially, your lawyer will likely advise you to file your claim with the negligent party’s insurance provider. According to Georgia insurance laws, if the truck driver is an owner-operator, you will file your claim with his or her motor carrier insurance policy.
If the driver is an employee, you will file your claim with his or her employer’s insurance provider.
In your claim, you will need to demonstrate how the accident occurred because the driver was negligent in some way. The photos, testimonies, and official accident report you collected at the scene can support this claim.
You will also need to demonstrate the financial extent of your damages. You can do this with:
- copies of your medical bills and projections for long-term medical needs,
- documentation of your career-related financial losses,
- and documentation that shows your intangible damages related to the injury, like your reduced quality of life and emotional trauma.
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years from the date of the accident. If you cannot resolve your claim with the insurance provider, your lawyer may advise you to file a lawsuit to have the case handled in court.
Work with an Experienced Georgia Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have injuries from a collision with a truck, you can potentially be facing steep financial damages. If the collision occurred because of another party’s negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages through a truck accident claim.
Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. is a proven personal injury law firm that has a track record of securing the results victims deserve in auto accident cases. This includes complex cases involving vehicles operated for commercial purposes.
If you or your loved one has been harmed in a traffic wreck involving a commercial vehicle, you can equip yourself with the representation and resources needed to handle all legal issues by working with our award-winning Athens, Georgia truck accident attorney.
Learn more about filing and pursuing a personal injury claim with our team of experienced Georgia truck accident attorneys. Contact Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. online today, or call us at (706) 707-3217 to schedule your initial legal consultation with us.