Usually, when people discuss a truck accident case, they mean an accident with a big truck, semi-truck, or eighteen-wheeler. The Motor Carrier Compliance Division of Georgia thoroughly investigates every “truck” incident. A truck is any vehicle with six or more wheels that is not a bus or motor coach. Accidents involving these trucks differ significantly from accidents involving cars or commercial trucks. The truck accident lawyers at SHElaw firm® want to provide this information if you or someone you love has had an accident with a big truck.
Big Trucks are BIG!
That statement may sound silly, but it is very true. Your car, truck, or SUV might weigh 5,000-7,000 pounds. New legislation passed in May 2023 allows for the legal limit for a fully loaded semi-truck on the highways of Georgia to be up to 88,000 lbs. Even an empty eighteen-wheeler weighs about 35,000. Your vehicle does not stand a chance in a crash with one of these mammoths. That is why they require special training for the operators and a special license to drive them. The drivers of these trucks must follow specific legal requirements when they drive. Violations of these regulations can be very costly for independent drivers or the companies they work for in the event of an accident.
Federal Laws and Georgia Regulations that Only Apply to Semi-Trucks
Classifications of Commercial Driver’s Licenses
Understanding the Different Classes of CDL is an article that explains the differences between the three classes of a Commercial Driver’s License and which each driver needs to have.
Poorly Trained or Inexperienced Driver
The driver must meet minimum requirements to qualify for a CDL. They must also maintain logs to monitor their routes and drive times so they are at their best when driving. These are federal laws that must be adhered to..
Equipment Malfunction, Mechanical Part Failure, or Lack of Truck Maintenance
There are laws and regulations for regular maintenance of semi-truck tires, brakes, lights, steering, and brakes. Neglecting regular inspections causes malfunctutions. The manufacturer and employer can be responsible if they know there is a parts problem but chose not to issue a parts recall. If the employer does not require regular maintenance check-ups, they will be held responsible for any incident resulting from this failure.
Improperly or Overloaded Cargo
When the cargo is overloaded or improperly distributed, something as simple as a quick lane change or sudden braking can cause the load to move too much in one direction and throw the entire rig off-balance. This erratic shift results in a catastrophic event for the truck driver as he cannot control the slide of the rig. The load weight is now in control of the rig and is throwing it in the wrong direction.
Dangerous Road Conditions
When a driver reports road conditions as dangerous, but the employer requires the driver to continue driving, if there is an accident, there will be a problem. The company has a deadline to reach, or a connection to make and the employer believes it is safe to continue. If an accident occurs, the employer will be liable for the accident because he was made aware of the dangers.
What Compensation Can SHElaw firm® Help You Recover in Your Truck Accident?
Three areas of recovery may be available in every truck accident in Decatur, Georgia. These are won or lost by the evidence brought forward by your Expert Truck Accident Attorney at the SHElaw firm®. Judges assess fault based on comparative negligence. This standard mandates the court must rule on the negligence of each driver. If the truck driver is determined to be 100% at fault, you will receive 100% of the damages awarded to you. But if you are 20% at fault, you will receive 80% of the damages awarded to you. That is one of the reasons why you must have an attorney who pursues the appropriate amount of damages for you.
Economic Damages are for actual costs that you have incurred due to the accident.
- Medical Expenses for the care you have received
- Nursing Costs for at-home nursing care you are receiving
- Rehabilitation to help you recover from your injuries
- Property Damages for losses to your vehicle or repair costs
- Lost Wages during the period you were unable to work
- Decreased Earning Capacity is if you cannot return to your previous job or an eqal payinging employment and must take a lower paying position.
Non-Economic Damages are for costs that should be compensable but can not be easily assigned monetary amounts.
- Permanent Disfigurement that you have from the accident, including scarring, or loss of function of parts of your body for the rest of your life.
- Physical Disability applies to loss of use of a limb(s), loss of a limb(s), or loss of mental abilities for the remainder of your life.
- Mental Anguish, or Pain and Suffering is for the psychological pain the accident has cost you and your loved ones. This settlement includes future mental health care due to nightmares and memories of the accident. Loss of joy of life, loss of future companionship with a partner, loss of enjoyment that you had the potential for in the years to come.
Punitive Damages can only be collected when there is proof of recklessness or irresponsibility by the driver of the other vehicle or the other responsible entities. Due to the extent of damages incurred when this happens, judges are usually sympathetic to the victims.
Violation of the reasons listed above will result in a punitive award, as will the following:
Evaluations by the officers who respond to the scene frequently reveal indications of driver fatigue that the drivers later try not to disclose. We review driver data for miles, hours on the road, breaks, and any violations of Federal Trucking Time of Service Laws.
Witness interviews frequently establish that the truck driver was eating, drinking, or on their cell phones when the accident occurred.
The driver’s history may reveal speeding, dangerous lane changing, or sudden braking.. Driving in road conditions that the driver knew were unfavorable can also fall into this category.
Alcohol or Drug Use
Our investigators will thoroughly investigate any impaired driving reports from witnesses or any history or habits of these problems. Driving records will be carefully reviewed.
Drivers are required to keep thorough records of trips, mileage, and stops. Today, many trucks keep these records themselves. The records are maintained automatically by the driver’s login. Our expert truck attorney and the Driver’s Safety Board will review these in the event of an accident to assess any factors influencing the accident.
Truck Accidents and Wrongful Death Claims
A wrongful death claim may be filed by a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a deceased if the death is due to a negligent or reckless truck accident. Consult our wrongful death attorneys near you if you think a case of this type is appropriate. We can help you review the information and determine if you have a case. If you do, we have the attorney to help you win it.
Contact SHElaw firm® Today if Your or a Loved One Have Been Injured in a Truck Accident!
The team at SHElaw firm® hope some of this information will be helpful in your quest for justice following a truck accident. Please complete our contact form or call us at 470-378-1162 for a free consultation. We look forward to helping you get your life back.