How an Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney Can Help Your Case
Working with a truck accident lawyer removes the task of handling complicated legal processes from your shoulders. You can trust your lawyer to handle confusing paperwork and investigate the truck accident while you focus on medical recovery and moving forward.
When it is time to negotiate with an insurance claims adjuster for a fair and full settlement, your legal team can use aggressive strategies to fight for the monetary award you deserve. This can be vital for your future, as it is the only way you will receive what you need to pay for necessary medical expenses. An Atlanta accident lawyer from BMW Law Group will protect your best interests.
What Damages Are Available in an Atlanta Truck Accident?
If you get injured in a truck accident, you may wonder about the value of your injury claim. It is important to fully understand the costs that you will incur because of the truck accident, including your future expenses, before settling. Otherwise, you may be at risk of resolving your insurance claim for less than you and your family require. Your list of economic and non-economic losses (called damages) may include:
- Hospital stays
- Prescription medications
- Medical devices
- Lost income
- Lost capacity to earn
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Physical pain
- Emotional injuries or suffering
- Lost quality of life
An Atlanta truck accident attorney can help you create a list of all of your losses related to a big rig collision so that you do not overlook anything. Then, your attorney can accurately calculate the value of your losses to pursue the financial compensation that you and your family need.
Average Cost of Injuries and Damages Suffered in a Truck Accident
The cost of a truck accident will depend on factors such as the number of victims injured, the severity of the injuries, whether there are permanent disabilities and the type of behavior that caused the crash. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that a basic truck accident causes close to $335,000 in medical expenses and property damage. When a truck accident results in a fatality, this price tag increases to $7.2 million.
The cost of the injuries and damages suffered in a truck accident can vary greatly depending on the type of injury and many other factors. For this reason, there is no average settlement or judgment award given in a truck accident lawsuit. Case results are given on a case-by-case basis according to factors such as injury severity and the insurance available. Hiring an Atlanta personal injury lawyer can allow you to fight for maximum financial compensation for all of your accident-related losses.
Who Is Liable in an Atlanta Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Liability is the legal term for financial responsibility for someone else’s economic and noneconomic losses. If someone’s negligence gave you serious physical injuries, medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering in a truck accident, that party is liable for your losses. This means his or her insurance company must pay to make you whole again.
Trucking accidents are unique in that rather than holding the individual driver liable for the collision, the rule of vicarious liability gives you the right to file a lawsuit against the trucking company. Vicarious liability states that an employer is accountable for the mistakes and negligence of its employees. If a negligent truck driver caused your accident, therefore, you can most likely hold the truck company vicariously liable.
Truck accident lawsuits are also unique in other ways. Trucking companies must obey many federal laws and safety standards when transporting cargo and goods. Violated safety standards commonly cause collisions. The evidence available to support a case is also different in a truck accident lawsuit. Your Atlanta trucking accident lawyer may be able to collect evidence from the truck’s black box, the driver’s electronic reports, truck inspection records, company compliance history and employment records.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Georgia is a fault car insurance state. This means that after any motor vehicle collision, the driver at fault for causing the wreck is financially responsible for injuries and property damage. When pursuing financial compensation for a truck accident in Atlanta, you or your truck collision attorney will need to determine the cause of the crash.
Common causes of commercial trucking accidents in Atlanta include:
- Careless truck driver
- Reckless truck driver
- Operating under the influence
- Drowsy truck driver (broken hours-of-service rules)
- Poor driver training
- Violated safety laws
- Poor truck and fleet maintenance
- Improperly loaded trucks
- Lost cargo loads
These causes are all preventable. They stem from human errors such as truck drivers or trucking company negligence. In truck accident law, negligence is the failure to take an adequate amount of care, resulting in injury or harm to someone else.
What Laws Regulate Truck Drivers in Georgia?
Many truck accident investigations in Atlanta, Georgia discover that the trucking company or truck driver broke a law and that this caused the accident. There are both state and federal laws that apply specifically to large trucks, or motor carriers. These rules come from the Georgia Department of Public Safety and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Some of the laws that are most often associated with trucking accidents are:
- Vehicle inspection requirements. Georgia requires regulatory compliance in the inspection of vehicles, drivers, cargo, packaging and more. All vehicles must be maintained in a safe condition at all times.
- Basic driver requirements. Truck drivers have state and federal requirements they must meet to be deemed eligible to operate commercial trucks.
- Hours-of-service rule. This is a federal law restricting the number of hours that a truck driver can work without rest or meal breaks. It is meant to prevent truck driver fatigue.
- Drug and alcohol testing requirements. The federal government requires truck driver drug and alcohol testing during the hiring procedure, after truck accidents and at random.
- Caro securement regulations. All motor carrier cargo must be properly loaded and secured to the bed or trailer of a truck to prevent lost cargo loads.
It is imperative for a trucking company, a truck owner/operator and a truck driver to obey all relevant state and federal laws. These laws are in place to improve public safety. Even a minor violation can increase the dangers involved in commercial trucking and result in a devastating traffic accident. If an investigation finds that someone violated a trucking industry regulation in connection to your accident, this can serve as evidence of that party’s liability.
How are Truck Accidents Different from Car Accidents?
The size and weight of the average 18-wheeler make your car no match for it in an accident. Trucking accidents can be more devastating than car accidents for a few different reasons. It is important to contact an attorney if you were involved in a catastrophic truck accident in Atlanta. If you or a loved one has a serious injury, a truck crash lawyer can help you determine the cause of the crash and fight for the financial compensation that you deserve. The right Atlanta truck accident lawyer will have experience handling many different types of truck accident claims and will understand all of the reasons these collisions are unique.
Heavy Vehicle Weight
Most truck accidents are more devastating than standard car accidents due to the size and weight of the average big rig and tractor trailer. A commercial delivery truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds (or more with an oversize truck permit). By contrast, the average passenger vehicle weighs just 3,000 to 5,000 pounds. This drastic weight discrepancy can lead to the large truck crushing or totally obliterating a smaller car and causing catastrophic injuries to the passengers inside – often without injuring the truck driver.
Furthermore, a semi is much taller than a passenger car. In a collision, this height difference increases the risk of the car getting lodged beneath the bed of the truck (an underride accident). This can cause injuries such as traumatic brain damage and decapitation. A rear-end collision can also take the form of an override accident, where the truck rides up and over the passenger car, often crushing the roof and the occupants inside.
Commercial trucks are often carrying hazardous cargo, such as flammable gases or liquids, heavy materials, or oversized loads that may increase the severity of accident victims’ injuries. For example, flammable cargo can lead to explosive blast injuries such as severe burns and amputations. These hazardous materials can even cause injuries to surrounding vehicles and households that are close to the road in a collision.
What to Do After a Truck Crash in Atlanta
The scene of a truck accident can be chaotic and overwhelming, especially if you have been injured in the crash. However, it is important to try to take certain steps to protect your rights from the very beginning of your case. If you can, take the following steps if you get into an accident with a large truck in Atlanta:
- Do not leave the accident scene. Pull over and wait for permission from the police to leave the scene of the truck accident.
- Check for injuries. You have an obligation to render aid to anyone who is injured if you are capable of doing so, such as by calling for an ambulance.
- Call the police. Use your cell phone to call 911 immediately to report the truck accident. Do not admit any fault for the crash.
- Exchange information. Write down the truck driver’s name, the trucking company information, the truck number, insurance company, and license plate numbers. Get the names of any eyewitnesses or passengers, as well.
- Tell your story. When the police arrive, give them your side of the story to include in the police report. If you have a serious injury, record your experience in an injury journal later.
- Get medical care. If you don’t leave the scene of a truck accident in an ambulance, go to a hospital in Atlanta right away for professional medical treatment.
- Call an insurance company. Call your own car insurance company to report the crash. You may also wish to file a claim with the trucking company’s insurer, although your provider can do this for you.
- Contact an attorney. Consult with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and rights – before you sign anything from an insurance provider.
In many cases, the victim of a truck accident is too badly injured to perform many of these tasks. If this was the case after your crash, do not worry – an experienced truck accident lawyer from BMW Law Group can help you build a compelling injury claim no matter what steps you did or did not take after a collision. Consult with our Atlanta law firm as soon as possible for assistance.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia Today
You are not alone as the injured victim of a truck accident in Atlanta, Georgia. There are people and resources who can help you recover the case outcome you need to move forward. At BMW Law Group, our law firm has many years of experience representing clients during lawsuits against truck companies, truck drivers, and other liable parties. We have gone up against powerful insurance corporations and won.