There are over 1 million commercial trucks on the road at any given time. These truck drivers travel more than 140 billion miles every year. When these heavy trucks are used on public roads the drivers are burdened with a duty of care. They are expected to operate their vehicles in a safe manner that does not cause harm to people or property. Most truck drivers take this duty very seriously, but accidents can still happen.
If you’ve been injured by an accident with a commercial truck driver, then you may be owed financial compensation for your damages. The truck driver, the company they work for, or even the company who loaded the truck may be responsible for your suffering. With the help of a professional auto accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Gilbert Sperling, you can find out who is responsible and fight for compensation. Call our Fayetteville truck accident lawyer at 404-418-7816 to discuss your case today.
Truck Accident Statistics in Georgia
There are more than 500,000 accidents involving trucks every year in the United States. Those accidents account for more than 5,000 deaths. In Georgia, there were 182 deaths caused by truck-related accidents in 2015. Roughly 83 percent of these fatalities were drivers and passengers in other vehicles. In 2016, there were 37 fatal truck-related accidents involving only a single vehicle and 132 involving multiple vehicles.
What Should You Do After a Truck Accident?
Accidents involving large, commercial trucks often result in serious property damage and personal injury. Commercial trucks can weigh more than 40 tons when they are loaded with cargo. When they collide with smaller passenger vehicles the damage can be devastating. Injured victims may spend the rest of their lives seeking treatment or living with a disability.
Here are the steps you should take directly following an accident:
The first step to take after any automobile accident is to contact authorities. If you are physically able, then you should contact 911 as soon as possible. They will send the police and ambulance to the site of the accident. Not only is this required by law, but it also ensures that you have an official accident report.
If possible, attempt to help others who might be trapped, injured, or in danger. Truck accidents are often very severe, particularly for anyone who is not in the truck. Do your best to get yourself and any other passengers to a safe position.
Take the time while waiting for authorities to exchange information with any other parties who were involved. You need to get the name and contact information of the truck driver. Also, take down the name of the company the driver works for.
You should also gather as much evidence as possible while awaiting the authorities. Photographs of the scene can prove to be extremely useful during negotiations as well as a potential trial. Use your phone to take pictures of the vehicles before they have been moved. Take pictures of any damage to yourself or the vehicles. Take pictures of any tire marks on the road. Finally, if there were any witnesses, ask for their contact information because their testimony could be useful in the future.
Get Medical Attention
Hopefully, the police and the ambulance will arrive shortly and you can receive medical attention. You should accept medical attention even if you don’t believe that you are injured. Certain injuries may not be detectable at the moment but can be identified by a trained professional. Having a record of medical treatment is also important when negotiating with insurance companies.
Call Our Law Offices
You need to speak with a professional attorney as soon as possible. Do not admit fault to the police or anyone else until you’ve had time to receive legal counsel. With the help of a skilled truck accident attorney, you can fight to receive compensation for any damages you have suffered.
What Are the Laws Regarding Truck Accident Liability in Fayetteville, GA?
Georgia relies on a modified comparative fault system to determine liability for automobile accidents. These regulations state that if you are more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, then you are not entitled to compensation. Both drivers can share some percentage of liability, but the truck driver must always be at least 50 percent liable. This makes determining liability one of the most important aspects of a truck accident claim.
How Can a Fayetteville Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
Here are a few ways that our Fayetteville truck accident lawyer can help your case:
One aspect of our job is to prove that the truck driver was at fault for the accident. We do this by collecting as much supporting evidence as possible. During our investigations, we can find police reports, video footage, vehicle damage reports, drug test results, and EDR data. We use all of this information to paint a clear picture of what exactly happened and who is responsible for the damages.
Filing a Claim
Handling paperwork and filing claims are tedious even for a healthy person. It can be far more difficult if you’re recovering in a hospital. We handle these time-consuming tasks for our clients so that they can focus entirely on healing. We ensure that all forms are filed properly and on time.
Another important aspect of our job is negotiating with the insurance providers, truck companies, and the driver’s defense counsel. Our primary objective is to negotiate a fair settlement that will account for your current and future financial losses as well as any mental anguish caused by the accident. The insurance company will want to pay out as little as possible. We make sure that doesn’t happen.
As experienced lawyers, we negotiate fair settlements for the vast majority of our clients. Roughly 95 percent of all automobile accident claims are settled before going to trial. But there is still a small percentage of cases where the insurance company refuses to make a fair offer. In those cases, we represent your needs and your legal rights in front of a judge and jury.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive in Fayetteville?
The compensation you receive in your settlement is calculated according to the types of damages or losses you received due to the accident. These damages can fall into two separate categories. There is also a third type of compensation that is used as a form of punishment.
Monetary losses that can be easily measured. Examples include medical bills, lost wages, and physical therapy.
Compensation for physical and mental suffering that is not directly linked to a monetary loss. Examples include loss of consortium and mental anguish.
A form of punishment applied in certain cases at the jury’s discretion.
How Much is My Truck Accident Claim Worth?
Settlements involving commercial trucks can vary wildly according to the severity of the accident. The average truck accident settlement in the United States is close to $43,000. However, truck accidents can cause enough damage to warrant much larger settlements. Some cases settle for anywhere between $200,000 and $3,000,000.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Claim in Fayetteville?
Yes. Truck accident claims follow the same statute of limitations for all personal injury claims in the state of Georgia. You have a period of 2 years from the date of the accident to file your claim. This is commonly known as the statute of limitations.
How is Fault in a Truck Accident Determined?
Evidence and witness testimonies are used to determine who was at fault during an accident. A driver who failed to follow laws, was distracted or intoxicated, or was operating their vehicle in an unsafe manner will be considered at fault. In Georgia, both parties can share fault during an accident. You can seek financial compensation if the truck driver is at least 50 percent responsible. The compensation you receive will be modified based on your percentage of fault.
Can a Lawyer Prove the Truck Driver was Negligent?
Yes. Truck drivers owe a duty of care and are considered negligent when they break this duty of care. There are multiple ways that we can prove a truck driver or a truck company was negligent. We then show that the negligence is what resulted in your injury.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
There are a few parties that can be held liable for the truck accident:
This is often the first party we investigate after a truck-related accident has occurred. If the accident occurred while the driver was on break or off the clock, then they will likely carry all of the responsibility.
Georgia operates with a respondeat superior doctrine. This doctrine makes the “superior” trucking company responsible for their “inferior” employee when they are performing their job. That means if the accident occurs while the driver was working, then the trucking company will be considered liable for any injuries.
Company Who Loaded the Truck
Sometimes, an accident is caused by the driver but rather because of unsafely loaded cargo. The cargo might become dislodged and cause a serious accident. In those cases, it may be the company responsible for loading the cargo that is held liable for your injuries.
Vehicle or Parts Manufacturers
As with all automobile accident claims, there is a chance that the accident was caused by a defective part. The manufacturer of the vehicle or a specific component may be held liable for damages in these cases. Cases like these are rare.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Here are the main causes of truck accidents we typically see:
Truck drivers often spend long hours driving across entire states. There are regulations in place to limit the hours they spend driving, but driver fatigue still happens. It’s a common cause of all automobile accidents including those without commercial trucks.
Another leading cause of all types of automobile accidents. A truck driver who looks away from the road to check their phone puts themselves and everyone around them at great risk. It only takes a single second of distracted driving to cause a fatal accident.
This often involves drivers who exceed the speed limits in hopes of reaching their destination faster. It’s incredibly dangerous for a 40-ton vehicle with poor brakes to exceed the speed limit.
Whether it’s drugs or alcohol, driving a commercial truck under the influence is a recipe for disaster. Truck drivers are prohibited from driving after taking certain medications as well. Any truck driver who causes an accident while under the influence will easily be found at fault.
Improperly Secured Freight
The cargo carried by large trucks can make up for a large percentage of their overall weight. If not properly secured, they can pose a serious risk to all nearby motorists. This is why the company responsible for loading the cargo may be found liable.
Poorly Trained Drivers
The trucking company is responsible for hiring and training professional drivers. Driving a commercial truck is very different from driving a normal passenger vehicle. Any driver who isn’t properly trained becomes a major risk when they are behind the wheel.
Poor Truck Maintenance
Commercial trucks move massive amounts of cargo over very long distances. They require constant maintenance to counteract the excessive strain on the vehicle. A driver or company that chooses to ignore maintenance increases the likelihood of an accident.
A truck may be properly maintained but still experience an unfortunate equipment malfunction when driving. If a malfunction occurs because of a product defect, then the manufacturer of that equipment may be held responsible for the accident.
Poor Driving Conditions
Whether it’s poor road conditions or bad weather; some external elements can cause an accident. It takes a well-trained driver to safely operate their vehicle in these cases. Inexperienced drivers caught in bad driving conditions are far more likely to cause an accident.
Let The Law Offices of Gilbert Sperling Help You
Truck accidents can cause serious devastation to multiple vehicles and passengers in a single accident. Drivers who aren’t properly trained and rested become a safety risk when they are behind the wheel. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a commercial truck driver, then we are here to help. You deserve compensation for everything you’ve lost. Pick up the phone and call The Law Offices of Gilbert Sperling III at 404-418-7816 for a consultation today.