Semi-truck drivers must meet particular standards and obtain a special license in order to operate their trucks. Large trucks pose a special risk to motorists because of their size and weight. To ensure the safety of others around them, their drivers must exercise extreme caution.
When big rig drivers do not follow the guidelines and rules set forth, they run the risk of seriously injuring people with their reckless or irresponsible behavior. If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident, it may be time to contact a Conyers, Georgia truck accident attorney at Joel Thrift Law.
How Can Truck Accident Attorneys Help?
Truck accident lawyers can determine who is at fault, gather evidence, speak with eyewitnesses, negotiate with the insurance provider, and, if necessary, take the case to trial. While you concentrate on getting well or caring for a family member who was hurt in an accident that was not your fault, a truck accident lawyer can handle every element of your case.
A truck accident attorney can handle all facets of a case up until and through trial, which can include:
- Collecting all evidence applicable to the case, including getting statements from witnesses and hiring expert witnesses to testify
- Gather medical bills and all expenses to help determine the amount of the claim
- Putting together a claim to present to the insurance company
- Handling court filings and making arguments in court
If you are in the state of bringing a claim in court or fighting with the insurance company, it’s likely that liability is being argued. An attorney will be able to help prove who is at fault after a truck accident, which can be more than one person.
Types of Truck Accidents
On today’s highways, truck accidents of all kinds are responsible for catastrophic injuries and destruction. Large trucks, namely an 18-wheeler, have the potential to destroy a significant amount of property and seriously hurt a number of unwitting people based on their size alone. Just like car accidents, there are various ways truck accidents can occur:
- Blind Spot Collisions: Compared to other vehicles, large commercial trucks have larger blind zones. Due to the wide blind spot, changing lanes can be challenging, and smaller vehicles run the risk of being sideswiped by trucks that lose them in the blind areas.
- Head-On and Rear-End Collisions: When a car strikes the front of a commercial truck, it is defined as a head-on-collision. A rear-end collision occurs when a truck runs over the back of another vehicle. Both crashes pose serious risks.
- Jack-Knife Accident: These happen when a commercial truck brakes suddenly, causing the trailer to swing to the side and slide to an angle of 90 degrees with the cab. Trucks that are jackknifing frequently roll over, posing serious risks to traffic.
- Rollover Accident: Big rigs can tip over and roll when drivers lose control because of their size and weight. This poses a risk of rolling over on other cars and causing pile-up accidents because they create an obstacle and a roadblock.
- T–Bone Collision: These frequently happen when commercial trucks plow into the side of other moving cars after failing to stop at stop signs or red lights. When a moving truck collides with the side of another vehicle, the opposite might also happen.
- Undercarriage Accident: This happens when smaller vehicles collide with a truck’s trailer, which is frequently fatal. Smaller vehicles frequently have their tops torn off and suffer catastrophic damage.
Not all accidents are avoidable, but having proper safety procedures and following guidelines from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration can help reduce the number of truck accidents each year.
Common Injuries Sustained in Truck Accidents
Numerous factors, including novice drivers, inattentive driving, broken equipment, poor road conditions, and inappropriate loading, can result in truck accidents. These mishaps result in fatalities and severe injuries every year. Every year over 100,000 truck accidents result in injury, according to the National Safety Council, and nearly 6,000 result in fatality.
The most common types of injuries seen in commercial truck accidents include:
- Neck and Back Injuries
- Broken Bones and Amputations
- Brain and Head Injuries
- Cuts, Lacerations, and Punctures
People who survive truck accidents usually sustain soft tissue damage, muscular strains, and ligament and tendon injuries. Additionally, fires and explosions sometimes accompany truck collisions, which results in severe burns. Also, when survivors are thrown from cars and scrape the pavement, friction burns or road rash can happen.
Moreover, just like any accident, the force and collision of the accident can cause limbs to be crushed and broken, sometimes requiring amputation. These injuries are generally accompanied by serious cuts and puncture wounds from parts of the vehicle.
Who is at Fault in a Truck Accident?
Typically, trucking companies employ their drivers. As a result, they might not be fully to blame for any accidents they cause. Similarly, maintenance businesses that do not do enough repairs might be held accountable for mishaps brought on by mechanical breakdowns.
There are other parties that can be found responsible for truck accident claims. They include the driver, trucking companies, manufacturers, maintenance companies, cargo companies, and other motorists.
Unbalanced loads in a truck bed or trailer may make it more challenging for the driver to maintain control of the truck. The person or organization responsible for loading the truck may be held accountable when accidents happen as a result of inadequately loaded cargo. However, it might be challenging to show this in court without the right evidence.
Many trucking businesses hire outside contractors to maintain their vehicles. When trucks are not properly maintained, the company responsible for the repairs may be held responsible. Also, if the truck was overdue for repairs, the person or company responsible for sending the truck in for repair may be liable.
This is a crucial area to investigate for fault in the event that a system failure results in an accident.
Trucks sometimes suffer troubles because of defects in their manufacture or design. The manufacturer may be held accountable for an accident if one of these faults was the cause. Engineering problems are rare, but successful litigants have successfully demonstrated that the truck is defective.
In this situation, your attorney may consider filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer rather than the truck driver in your truck accident claim.
In certain situations, trucking companies may be held responsible for accidents in which its drivers were engaged. There are many scenarios in which a trucking company could be held accountable. It is more difficult to establish liability for an accident caused by a trucking company than it is to blame the driver.
It will be necessary for drivers to retrieve transportation company-held evidence, which is inherently challenging. When bringing a complaint, one can increase their chances of getting the documents they require to get fair compensation from the trucking company by hiring a lawyer.
You could potentially hold the truck driver accountable for an accident if their activities directly contributed to the accident. If you can show that they were breaking the law or evading rules intended to keep truckers and other drivers safe on the road, it is frequently simpler to hold them accountable. You would have a good case against a truck driver, their employer, or an insurance company, for instance, if they drove past the limit on service hours and hit your car or were found to be under the influence while driving.
Can Multiple People be at Fault for a Truck Accident?
Our truck accident attorneys put forth the maximum effort to gather evidence following a truck collision to identify the responsible party. We occasionally find that numerous parties are jointly responsible for a crash.
For instance, the trailer the truck driver was hauling may have been towing, may have been overloaded, and the truck’s brakes may have needed to be replaced due to wear and tear. Due to the interaction of these elements, the driver lost control of the truck and collided with another car, raising the possibility of numerous parties sharing responsibility. In this situation, not only can the driver be held responsible, but the maintenance company, the cargo loading company, and even the original trucking agency.
In these situations, a great Georgia truck accident attorney will hold every party responsible. Georgia law allows multiple parties to be found liable for an accident. If fault can be shown and the party responsible can be found, then they will be held accountable for the negligence.
Georgia Modified Comparative Negligence Laws
Personal injury claims are based on the principles of negligence, in which the injured party was subject to a duty of care that was breached by the defendant. Sometimes the injured victim and the defendant(s) may share some of the blame or culpability for the accident. The legal term for this is comparative negligence.
The Georgia Statute O.C.G.A. 51-12-33 establishes the modified comparative negligence standard in Georgia. Even though you shared some of the blame for the accident, you are still entitled to compensation from the party or parties at fault as long as your share of the blame does not equal or exceed that of the other party’s or exceeds the sum of the shares of all other parties. Your share of blame will also be deducted from the damages awarded.
Collectible Damages in a Truck Accident Case
In addition to having a considerable negative impact on people’s physical well-being, truck accidents can also have serious and long-lasting financial effects. Fortunately, victims of truck accidents can obtain compensation for the financial hardship caused by their physical and mental impairments by filing a civil lawsuit. When recovering these damages, they will be divided into economic and non-economic damages.
The financial losses (both medical and property) you have endured as a direct result of the truck accident are referred to as economic damages. These are typically easier to compute than other forms of damages since they have a definite monetary value.
Medical expenditures resulting from a truck accident include a variety of fees related to medical care and recovery. Hospital bills, doctor appointments, prescription prices, out-of-pocket spending for physical therapy, and rehabilitation charges are all examples of medical bills that can be calculated in damages.
To guarantee you obtain the required care and support to recover from your injuries without facing financial restraints, you should pursue reimbursement for all medical expenditures along with property damage expenses.
In addition to medical bills and property damages, economic damages will also include the loss of wages for missed time at work due to injuries. The loss of income that results from having to take time out of work to recover from truck accident injuries can make things more difficult financially. You can recoup the money you would have made while absent from work by requesting compensation for lost earnings.
Your non-economic losses resulting from the truck accident are included in the category of non-economic damages. Since these damages don’t have a specific monetary worth, they are typically more difficult to estimate.
The most typical non-economic damage is pain and suffering, which describes the physical discomfort, emotional turmoil, and psychological trauma a victim has gone through as a direct result of the truck collision.
These losses take into account pain, suffering, mental anguish, and any ongoing difficulties one may experience as a result of the accident. Compensation for pain and suffering, albeit difficult to measure, tries to give you financial support to lessen the impact of the injury on your emotions and mind.
Moreover, loss of consortium and loss of enjoyment of life are also included in economic damages. These will be calculated based on the life you lived before sustaining injuries from the accident or the outlook your life had before the accident. If a victim had been studying to be a doctor in medical school but had not graduated, and the accident caused a brain injury resulting in the student dropping from school, this can be taken into account when calculating non-economic damages.
Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer
At Joel Thrift Law, we are committed to providing the best legal representation you can find. When you need a truck accident lawyer in Conyers, GA to fight for what you deserve, we offer compassionate service to ensure you do not face bills you should not have to pay. We will help you seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us through our convenient online form today to schedule your free, no-risk consultation.