What Should You Do If You Are Involved in an Accident with a Semi-Truck?

Any collision with a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, eighteen-wheeler, or big rig can be devastating. An empty semi and trailer can weigh up to 35,000 pounds. A fully loaded truck meeting legal limits can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. Your car, SUV, or truck most likely weighs 3000-7,000 pounds. In any crash, the semi-truck is going to dominate. Our truck accident experts at SHElaw firm® offer some information to consider as you decide how to proceed with any further action.

What You Should Know About the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Like the rest of us, truck drivers are prone to some of the usual preventable causes of vehicle accidents. But these mistakes are accentuated when the vehicle is 8 to 10 times the weight of the average car. Our experienced semi-truck attorneys have ways of investigating the accident that will reveal if any of these issues are the reason for the accident. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, some of these include:

Driver Fatigue

Evaluations by the officers that 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.

Distracted Driving

Witness interviews are frequently invaluable to establish that drivers were eating, drinking, or on their cell phones when the accident happened.

Reckless Driving

Reviewing the information immediately before the accident may reveal speeding, dangerous lane changing, or excessive 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 issues. We will also look into any history or habits of these problems.

Poorly Trained or Inexperienced Driver

There are laws requiring semi-truck drivers to receive minimum training and on-the-job experience. A lack of this is illegal and dangerous.

What Other Factors are Specific to Commercial Vehicle Accidents?

Several other issues need examining when an accident with a semi-truck occurs. If one of these factors is the cause of the collision, it will also affect the entities liable for the accident.

Poorly Trained or Inexperienced Driver

This issue makes both lists because the transport company can also be liable if they allow the driver to drive before meeting the qualifications.

Dangerous Road Conditions

If the driver reports road conditions as dangerous and the employer requires the driver to continue driving, the employer will be liable for an accident.

Equipment Malfunction or Lack of Truck Maintenance

There are regulations for regular maintenance of large truck tires, brakes, lights, steering, and brakes. When regular inspections are neglected, malfunctions are likely. Again, this is the responsibility of the trucking company.

Mechanical Part Failure

If there is any indication of a part failure, we will seek to prove the part was defective. We will investigate to find any other similar incidents, even nationwide. If the manufacturer is aware of the problem but has not recalled it, that manufacturer can be held responsible. If there is a recall, but the employer did not address it on their truck, the trucking company will be held liable.

Improperly or Overloaded Cargo

Even quick lane changes or sudden braking can cause the cargo to move too much in one direction and throw the entire rig off balance if loaded too heavy or improperly distributed. If this occurs, the company that loaded the cargo will be liable also.

What Damages Can We Help You Recover After an Accident with a Semi-Truck?

Due to an eighteen-wheeler truck’s size and weight, stopping and maneuvering require diligence and more distance for any driving maneuver. Calculations show a semi-truck is moving at a speed of 20%-40% higher than a vehicle would be at an equivalent rate on the speedometer. This increased speed and weight can easily mean devastating results for the cars and occupants involved in any impact. A SHElaw firm truck accident attorney can file suit against the proper entity or entities for several types of damages in Georgia.

Economic Damages are for costs that you have incurred due to the accident.

  • Medical Expenses for the care you received
  • Nursing Costs for at-home nursing care
  • 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 if you are unable to return to your previous job or any employment

Non-Economic Damages are for costs that are 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
  • Physical Disability applies to loss of use of a limb(s), loss of a limb(s), or loss of mental abilities.
  • Mental Anguish, or Pain and Suffering is for the psychological pain the accident has cost you and your loved ones. You will likely need future mental health care due to nightmares and memories of the accident.

Punitive Damages can only be collected when there is proof of recklessness or irresponsibility by the driver or the other responsible entities. Due to the extent of damages incurred when this happens, judges are usually sympathetic to the victims.

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.

In Georgia, judges assess fault in every vehicular accident by 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.

How The SHElaw firm® Can Help You Win Against Big Trucking.

The sooner you contact us to discuss your case, the better. In addition to documenting your official statement, we can get the police reports promptly. We will contact witnesses while their memories are fresh. It can be beneficial to record the witness statements soon after the accident. We can also examine the scene of the accident. There will still be some tire marks and other evidence that can be helpful. Our Accident Reconstructionist will organize this information to show how the accident occurred. If you or any witnesses have photos of the accident, our skilled personal injury attorneys can use them to improve your case.

We file all the paperwork that is necessary, on time, and effectively. This filing specifies our intentions to the attorney for the other party(ies). They will respond with their information. We will consult with you to get your responses to their replies at every step. Many insurance companies are interested in negotiating, and we will handle that as you wish. If we can reach a settlement you agree to, we can avoid court. If not, we will represent you in a Decatur courtroom.

Today, The SHElaw firm® uses advanced technology to build a winning case for you. Most current cars and semi-trucks have black box computers. Depending on the type installed in the truck, it may log information such as speed, braking, seatbelt usage, sudden swerving, and hours of driving. This data helps us determine the actions when the accident occurred. The carriers and insurance companies do not easily release these unless legally required. Contact The SHElaw firm® here, or call 470-378-1162 today to start recovering your losses.