Accidents that involve large trucks such as semi-trucks and 18-wheelers are unfortunately a common occurrence in Georgia and are often very serious. If the reckless or careless behavior of a truck driver or their trucking company results in a crash, however, they can be held liable for the subsequent damages.
If you were injured in a truck accident, our Decatur truck accident lawyers at SHElaw firm® may be able to help you seek compensation for your injuries and losses. Call us today at 470-378-1162 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation with an auto accident lawyer.
Truck Accident Statistics
Road crashes and truck accidents are on the rise throughout the United States and Georgia is no exception. Truck accident data from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety shows the following:
- In 2020, there were 234 deaths in Georgia truck accidents
- In 2019, there were 204 deaths in Georgia truck accidents
- In 2018, there were 192 deaths in Georgia truck accidents
One conclusion that you can quickly draw from the above information is that the rate of fatal truck accidents in Georgia has been on the rise over the past several years, which is something that should be addressed.
What Should You Do After a Truck Accident?
If you are ever involved in a truck accident in Decatur, GA, you should do the following:
Calling 911 to request help should be the first step you take after being involved in a truck accident. After calling 911, first responders and the police will be summoned to the accident scene and will file an accident report. Ensure that you get a copy of that report.
Check on your passengers and other people involved in the accident for injuries. While you are waiting for the police and first responders to arrive, provide first aid to anybody that needs it if you are able to do so.
Exchange names, insurance information, and contact information with the truck driver while you wait for the police to arrive. However, you should be polite while also being careful never to accept blame or apologize for the accident.
Document the Scene, Speak With Witnesses
Use your phone to take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, vehicle damage, and anything else you think might be relevant to your case. If there are any witnesses present, ask for their contact information. Your lawyer will likely want to reach out to them later to provide testimony.
Seek Medical Attention
One of the most important steps after a truck accident is making sure that you are okay. That’s why you should seek medical attention immediately after the accident. Truck accidents can significantly lead to serious injuries, which is why seeking medical attention is so important.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Decatur
You should also consult with a lawyer who understands and has experience with truck accidents such as those at SHElaw firm® in Decatur, GA. We can help you decide on the best course of action with your insurance claim and increase your chances of a full financial recovery.
What Are the Laws Regarding Truck Accident Liability?
The fault-based rules in Georgia are perhaps the most important regarding truck accident liability. Georgia is an at-fault state, which means that drivers are required to pay for accidents that occur due to their negligent actions. That’s why it is important to prove who actually caused the accident.
Georgia uses the comparative negligence doctrine, which reduces your compensation if you are partially responsible for the accident. For instance, if you were found to be 30 percent at fault, you can only recover 70 percent of the total costs.
How Can a Decatur Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
A truck accident lawyer can help with the following:
The lawyer will examine various documents such as medical records, police reports, etc., related to the accident. If there are witnesses, they will interview them. The lawyer will know where to look for evidence of negligence that can help your case.
Filing a Claim
Filing a claim following a truck accident involves a lot of paperwork that should be filed correctly and on time. Any mistakes may compromise your ability to recover financial compensation. Your Decatur truck accident lawyer will ensure that all paperwork is properly filled out and filed on time.
Truck accident lawyers are often able to negotiate with insurance companies to obtain favorable settlements for their clients. They are able to do that by building a strong case that shows the insurance company they are ready to fight them in court if that is what it takes.
Insurance companies are sometimes unwilling to negotiate a fair settlement. In such situations, your truck accident lawyer will fight your case in court. At SHElaw firm® in Decatur, GA, we are skilled litigators who are proud of the legal victories we have secured for clients.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive?
You are entitled to the following types of compensation after a truck accident:
Economic damages include compensation for costs that can be quantified in real dollar amounts, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Decreased earning capacity
- Nursing costs
- Property damage
- Lost wages
Non-economic damages include those that cannot be easily quantified in real dollar amounts, such as:
- Mental anguish
- Physical disability
- Loss of consortium
Punitive damages are the extra financial damages awarded by the courts only in rare instances where there’s extreme recklessness by the owner or operator, such as accidents resulting from drunk driving or the willful intent to cause harm.
How Much Is My Truck Accident Claim Worth?
It is incredibly challenging to determine what any truck accident claim is actually worth. The value of your claim will depend on several different factors, which include your injuries and property damage. However, with the help of the experienced Decatur truck accident lawyers from SHElaw firm®, you can be sure that your case is in the best hands.
Our lawyers can help you get an accurate estimate and are determined to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation that you are entitled to for the injuries and damages suffered in a truck accident.
Call us today at 470-378-1162 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our truck accident lawyers to determine the exact value of your truck accident claim.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Claim?
Yes. The deadline for filing a personal injury claim, which is also referred to as the statute of limitations, is 2 years from the date of the accident. Our lawyers may actually file a lawsuit immediately after you decide to work with us to ensure that you don’t lose the right to pursue compensation.
How Is Fault in a Truck Accident Determined?
To determine fault in a truck accident, you or your lawyers will have to prove 4 elements of negligence, which are:
- Duty of Care: The truck driver owed the victim a duty of care to operate the truck in a safe manner.
- Breach of Duty: The truck driver breached their duty of care by failing to conduct themselves in a safe and reasonable manner.
- Causation: The truck driver’s breach of duty of care resulted in the injuries suffered by the victim.
- Damages: The injuries suffered by the victim resulted in damages.
Can a Lawyer Prove the Truck Driver Was Negligent?
Yes. Experienced truck accident lawyers such as those at SHElaw firm® in Decatur, GA know what type of relevant evidence to gather and how to put it all together to build a solid case for driver negligence.
Examples of evidence than can prove useful in proving negligence include, but aren’t limited to:
- The operator’s driving record
- Alcohol and drug testing results
- Travel and engine data from the truck’s black box recorder
- Repair and maintenance records
- Driver logs showing the number of hours a driver was active, stops, breaks, and other information
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Photos of the accident scene, property damage, and skid marks
- Evidence of previous claims or accidents.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
Multiple parties can be held liable in a truck accident, including:
A truck driver may have caused the accident due to negligent behavior, such as distracted or fatigued driving or even speeding. Truck drivers are also responsible for inspecting the rig to ensure proper maintenance or loading of cargo. If shifting cargo or a maintenance problem contributed to a truck accident, the truck driver may bear some responsibility for the crash.
A trucking company is responsible for the trucks and truck drivers it puts on the road, which includes accountability for training and hiring practices, which can be a problem if the company hires drivers that have driving or FMCSA rule infractions on their records or their company records don’t indicate proper training.
Company Who Loaded the Truck
Improperly loaded cargo can lead to loss of vehicle control, tire blowouts, as well as brake and transmission failure. If our Decatur truck accident lawyers examine the evidence and discover negligence on the part of the loading company, that party can be held liable. Negligence could be the result of overloading, improper loading techniques, or a failure to inspect.
Vehicle or Parts Manufacturers
Truck accidents are sometimes caused by one of the parts or components failing, such as tire blowouts, brake failure, or problems with the steering or coupling system. While this might be a maintenance issue, if the failed system or part was defective from the start, the vehicle or part manufacturer can be held accountable.
What Are Some Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents can be the result of any single one or combination of the following:
Truck drivers that ignore the federal regulations requiring them to take a break after a certain number of hours can easily cause accidents.
Truck drivers sometimes engage in reckless conduct while on the road. Speed is a common violation that exposes both the driver and other vehicles on the road to danger. Other violations include frequent lane changes and braking suddenly.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law. It is impossible to make sound judgments while driving when impaired, which is why driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol often leads to serious accidents.
Oversized or Improperly Secured Freight
Federal regulations limit how much a truck can carry, and weigh stations on the highway are intended to ensure that trucks never go beyond the weight limits. If a truck is overloaded or improperly loaded, cargo can shift while in motion causing braking and steering problems and accidents.
Poorly Trained or Inexperienced Drivers
Truck drivers are required to hold a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL), but some actually don’t, and their employers never check. Even with a CDL, it takes years for a truck driver to handle their truck in various traffic and road situations safely.
Lack of Truck Maintenance
Trucking industry regulations require trucks to undergo consistent maintenance and periodic checks. If inspections and maintenance aren’t done, damage to the steering, brakes, engine, and tires may lead to accidents.
A truck’s tires and systems such as the steering and brakes must be in top working condition for the driver to safely operate the vehicle. If any of the parts or components malfunctions or doesn’t function as they should, it may result in accidents.
Poor Road Conditions
Truck drivers are always subject to weather conditions. Ice and snow can make roads very slippery, while fog and rain reduce visibility. To overcome adverse weather and the resulting poor road conditions, truck drivers must adjust their driving techniques and speed, otherwise, accidents may result.
Need a Truck Accident Lawyer in Decatur, GA?
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a Decatur, GA truck accident, the legal team at SHElaw firm® can handle all aspects of your case. We take the time to understand the challenges you are facing at this difficult time and work hard to ensure that the legal process is as stress-free as possible.
We are focused on helping you get your life back on track by fighting for the compensation that you deserve. To find out more about us and how we can help, call us today at 470-378-1162 to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation.