Commercial trucks, whether they are carrying cargo or not, are extremely large and heavy. Their size and weight pose a significant danger to smaller, lighter vehicles on the road. If you were injured or if someone you love was injured or killed in a truck accident, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
The attorneys at Athens Injury Law investigate all details of an accident to determine who was at fault and to hold negligent truck drivers and companies responsible, utilizing our nearly 50 years of combined experience. Our attorneys know Georgia auto accident laws, and we can advise you on a viable course of action to recover financial damages.
When Truckers Violate Safety Regulations, The Consequences Can Be Dire
Commercial truck drivers are required to follow more laws than other motorists, both on and off the road. One of the most well-known rules is called the hours-of-service regulation.
The main purposes of this set of regulations are to prevent fatigued driving and ensure that truck drivers get enough sleep and are not overworked by the companies they drive for. According to this law:
- Truck drivers can work a maximum of 14 hours a day. However, of these 14 hours, only 11 hours can be spent driving. The remaining time must be spent on rest or meal breaks.
- Truck drivers must rest for at least 10 consecutive hours before beginning a new day at work.
- Truck drivers are required to take days off work at regular intervals.
Unfortunately, whether due to truck driver negligence or pressure from their employers, these rules are not always followed, leading to serious accidents.
Other Common Causes Of Truck Accidents
In addition to violations of hours-of-service rules, trucking accidents are commonly attributed to:
- Failure to inspect, maintain and repair vehicles (especially problems like work-out brakes and balding tires)
- Cargo that is unbalanced, too heavy or improperly secured
- Distracted driving
- Drunk and drugged driving
- Failure to adapt to changing traffic and weather conditions
In some cases, truck drivers engage in dangerous behaviors on their own. In other cases, they are required to do so by their employers or the demands of the job. In either case, trucking companies are typically considered liable for the harm caused by their employee drivers.
Types Of Vehicles Involved In Truck Accidents
Trucking accidents commonly involve the following vehicles:
- Tow trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Flatbed trucks
These large vehicles are prone to jackknifing or tire blowouts, especially if they have to brake suddenly. Because of their size, if one of these trucks hits another vehicle head-on or even on the side, they can cause catastrophic injuries and damage, or possibly even death.
Determining Liability For A Trucking Accident
After being injured in a trucking accident, seeking legal counsel may not be your first thought. However, knowing where to turn to for support is essential, especially as the medical bills and related expenses start to pile up. Liability is difficult to determine and, likewise, so is proving that the truck driver or trucking company was negligent in your accident.
After a trucking accident, your attorney will perform a thorough investigation of the evidence surrounding your collision to determine who is liable. This may involve:
- Collecting and analyzing police reports
- Data from electronic on-board recording devices (EOBRs)
- Vehicle inspection records
- Trucking company hours of service logs
- Sophisticated accident reconstruction techniques to uncover evidence of negligence
It is not uncommon for multiple parties to share liability for a trucking crash, such as the trucking company, the truck driver, the manufacturer of the truck or its parts or even another motorist.
Potential Damages Available To Truck Accident Victims
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, you may be able to recover compensation for a wide range of economic and noneconomic damages. The value of your case will depend on a variety of factors, including the type and severity of injuries suffered.
The attorneys of Athens Injury Law can help you seek compensation for the following damages:
- Present and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and other income
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy costs
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Wrongful death (if a loved one was killed)
Since every case is different, it is important to consult with an attorney to determine the most appropriate course of action and maximize your potential compensation.
How Common Are Truck Accidents In Georgia?
Accidents involving trucks create havoc on Georgia’s roads, highways and interstates all the time, leaving behind scenes of destruction and chaos. According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, fatal truck accidents have gradually been on the rise in recent years, from 192 in 2018 to 244 in 2021. Nonfatal wrecks, too, leave victims with severe injuries – even though the statistics on those accidents are less clear.
Proving Fault For A Georgia Truck Accident
Determining liability in a Georgia truck accident involves a complex assessment of various factors. Liability may be attributed to multiple parties, depending on the circumstances of the accident. Potentially liable parties include the truck driver, trucking company, vehicle manufacturer or even entities responsible for maintenance.
Proving fault in a Georgia truck accident typically involves collecting and presenting evidence. An experienced attorney can help in this process by:
- Obtaining the police report, eyewitness statements, a pictorial of the accident scene or any surveillance footage available
- Reviewing the truck driver’s logbook, driving history and compliance with regulations to establish if they violated any laws
- Analyzing maintenance records to support that poor maintenance contributed to the accident
- Calling upon accident reconstruction experts or other professionals to testify about the cause of the accident and who is at fault
- Examining the policies and practices of the trucking company to reveal if they were negligent in their hiring practices
Our skilled personal injury lawyer can guide you through the entire process to maximize your compensation chances.
What Should You Do After A Truck Accident?
Once you have immediately alerted the authorities and sought medical treatment, you need to get a truck accident attorney on your side. Because truck accidents lead to large settlements and jury verdicts, trucking companies and their insurers waste no time closing ranks. You need someone to act on your behalf and make sure that your legal interests are protected.
Don’t Wait To Seek Legal Help – Contact Athens Injury Law Today
The attorneys at Athens Injury Law have decades of combined experience providing compassionate advocacy and sound advice to accident victims just like you. We will work tirelessly to help you recover compensation for your medical bills and related expenses, should we find the other party liable for your injuries.