Truck Accident Lawyer Atlanta
Commercial trucks provide essential services in the American economy. They’re responsible for transporting vital goods all over the country and getting those goods to their destination in a fraction of the time a train can. They’re responsible for transporting vital goods all over the country and getting those goods to their destination in a fraction of the time a train can. Unfortunately, a collision with one of these trucks often results in severe injuries or fatalities. If you or a loved one have been injured in a commercial truck accident, contact a truck accident lawyer in Atlanta. An experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyer will know exactly how to handle this type of complex claim and will have the resources to build a solid case that can hold all of the responsible parties accountable for your accident.
Truck Accident Attorneys
A commercial truck is much larger than a passenger car, weighing thousands of pounds. Because of their larger size, collisions with passenger cars often have catastrophic results. The larger size of the commercial truck requires more room to maneuver on the road. A truck also needs significantly more room to stop compared to a passenger car. An attempt to quickly maneuver a commercial truck can cause its trailer to jackknife, resulting in a total loss of control.
The Aftermath of a Truck Accident
After a serious accident, many people find themselves struggling to understand what comes next and how the legal process works. Because these massive trucks can cause serious injuries or even death, survivors of a truck accident often have a very long road to recovery, which includes ongoing medical care, rehabilitative treatment, and in serious cases, modifications made to the home to make it more accessible for people with permanent disabilities. A big truck attorney realizes the complexities of this type of case and the severity of the injuries that are often debilitating and permanent.
Once you have met with a truck accident attorney, they will immediately begin investigating your accident to build a case that ensures you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Recovering Compensation in a Truck Accident
A trucking company and its insurance provider can become very aggressive when they’re facing the possibility of a large payout. However, an accident victim has the right to pursue compensation for their losses, and the damages received can be substantial. Federal law requires that interstate commercial trucks have increased insurance policies. A vehicle that weighs at least 10,000 pounds must have the minimum coverage of $750,000. If the truck is hauling hazardous materials, their coverage requirement goes up to $5,000,000.
The Trucking accident lawyers at the Ferguson Law Group can help accident victims to recover compensation for the following damages after a truck accident:
- Lost wages and loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Physical rehabilitation
- Medical equipment costs
- Medical bills
- Modifications made to the home
Unfortunately, after a truck accident, many victims find themselves facing a long and painful recovery. This can include a long hospital stay, rehabilitative treatment, and ongoing medical care. Because of the massive size of a big rig, the injuries sustained in this type of accident are often severe. Not all rehabilitative services are covered on an insurance plan, which means the accident victim will need to pay for some of their medical treatment out of their own pocket. A lawyer will hold the truck driver, the truck company, and any other parties that contributed to the accident, responsible.
Medical expenses will begin with the ambulance that transports you from the scene of the accident to the emergency room. You may be hospitalized for several days, weeks, or months. With a long hospital stay comes an even longer recovery process that can include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and modifications made to the home and your car.
Pain and Suffering
If you have sustained serious injuries, you likely suffered severe physical pain. You may also have suffered emotional disturbances and PTSD related to the accident.
After the accident, you may have missed several days, weeks, or months of work. These lost wages can quickly add up. In a truck accident lawsuit, you can claim these lost wages from the insurance company. If the injuries sustained are severe and have resulted in permanent disabilities, you can also claim lost earning potential.
What to do After a Serious Truck Accident
The aftermath of a truck accident is chaotic. The injuries sustained in this type of accident are often severe. While every truck accident is different, there are some steps you must follow if you ever find yourself in an accident with a commercial truck:
Get to Safety
The scene of any type of accident can be very dangerous, and even more so in a truck accident scenario. If you’re able to move following the accident, get to safety and move to a safe location. If you’re able to move following the accident, get to safety and move to a safe location if possible.
Contact Emergency Help
Contact 911 to get help for yourself and other people involved in the accident.
Make a Police Report
Provide a full account of the accident to the investigating officer. Be as detailed and as accurate as possible. A good, thorough police report can help a truck accident attorney build a solid case that clearly indicates the other driver was at fault.
Document the Accident and Injuries
Immediately after the accident, write down all of the details you can recall. Make sure you write down a timeline of events. Writing down these details can help you preserve the memories of the event. This written testimony can also be a huge help to your case.
Seek Medical Treatment
Even if you have not sustained serious injuries, seeking medical attention immediately after an auto accident is crucial. Unfortunately, due to the sheer size of commercial trucks, in most cases, the injuries a victim sustains in a truck accident are often severe. If you are hospitalized due to your injuries, you must continue to seek the recommended medical treatment as prescribed by your physician. Failure to do so can significantly hurt your claim. Lack of ongoing necessary medical treatment can indicate that your injuries are not as severe as you claim they are. This will give the defense the ammunition they need to argue that the amount of damages you are requesting is too high.
Common Injuries in Truck Accidents
Truck accident injuries will vary based on the site of impact, the speed of your vehicle and the truck, and the stability of your vehicle.
Victims of truck accidents often suffer from injuries such as:
A TBI, or traumatic brain injury, causes long-term issues. This can include difficulty with processing normal activities, sensory processing challenges, and issues with emotion regulation.
Spinal Cord Injury
Damage to the spinal cord can result in paralysis or the loss of mobility. Whether movement ever returns usually varies from case to case and heavily depends on the individual, their ability to recover, and their overall health.
The weight and overall size of a commercial truck can cause substantial crushing damage that may lead to the amputation of limbs due to the inability to restore function or blood flow. It’s also possible for an amputation to occur during the accident.
Fractured bones can lead to long-term limitations and trauma, making it difficult for accident victims to return to their normal lives.
Soft Tissue Damage
Usually, torn tendons and ligaments can cause more ongoing difficulty and discomfort than a broken bone. The healing process is often slow and very painful.
Negligence in a Truck Accident
The driver of the truck can bear partial or full liability for an accident. However, the accident victim may share part of the blame. Reckless driving, such as distracted driving, can cause both parties to contribute to an accident. If the accident victim failed to adhere to traffic laws, including failing to leave enough room for a commercial truck, they can be held liable for the accident.
Other parties can also share liability in a truck accident claim, including:
- A mechanic who did not repair a problem with the truck can be held responsible for the accident.
- A trucking company with unrealistic expectations for their drivers including requiring them to work too many hours or driving in an unsafe condition can also be held responsible for the accident.
Working closely with an 18-wheeler lawyer can help you determine who bears liability for your accident.
There are many federal and state regulations and laws that specifically relate to commercial trucks and the trucking industry in general. These requirements and rules can have a major impact on your case. The FMCSA, also known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, oversees many safety groups to ensure there are strong and reasonable requirements that drivers and trucking companies must follow. An investigation often involves reviewing the FMCSA’s rules to determine all parties responsible for the accident. Some of the rules that are specifically applied to trucks by federal and state governments include:
Driver Fitness and Licensing
A driver must acquire a commercial license to operate a commercial truck. Too many incidents on their driving record can prevent them from operating a big rig.
A commercial truck must undergo inspections regularly. The failure to meet a high score in certain areas can penalize the owner of the 18-wheeler or keep them off the road.
An insurance company will most likely send out an investigator and insurance adjuster to the scene of the accident, to obtain evidence. During this time, you must contact an attorney as soon as possible, so they may also gather evidence and build your case before evidence is lost or begins to fade.
A lawyer may hire a private investigator to obtain evidence. This often begins with visiting the scene of the accident to photograph the accident site, noting any skid marks, debris, or damage in the road and the immediate area. If there is any video footage available, a PI and the attorney will also review this form of evidence.
An attorney will also review the official police report, which is a form of evidence that serves as an important framework in terms of identifying liability for the accident. They will also obtain copies of your medical records, which detail your injuries. This information will connect your injuries to the accident and serves as justification for compensation for your current and future medical expenses.
Truck Drivers Driving Record/Company Records
An attorney will examine the driver’s driving record, logbooks, and personnel file. The logbook lists the times the driver drove and when they took a break from driving. This can tell a lawyer whether or not the driver violated safety regulations by driving more than eleven hours in a fourteen-hour period, without taking ten hours off for rest and recovery. Their driving record and personnel file can also show the attorney whether the driver has a history of accidents or strikes against them for unsafe driving.
This process will involve interviewing any other drivers that were involved in the accident, in addition to first responders, police officers, and any other potential witnesses.
Black Box Data
A lawyer will want to refer to a truck’s data recorder, also known as a black box. In some commercial trucks, the black box records event data, which can be used to identify unsafe driving.
An experienced truck accident lawyer will have the resources to bring a variety of experts on board to help investigate your case. This can include life care providers, economists, accident reconstruction experts, forensic toxicologists, and black box specialists.
Examining the 18-wheeler allows the lawyer to determine if the accident was caused by poor maintenance or defective parts and equipment.
This thorough investigation will help an attorney build a solid case to prove liability.
How a Big Rig Attorney Can Help
Every accident is different. It can be difficult to determine who’s responsible for a trucking accident. The trucking company that owns the truck may have acted carelessly, or the company that loaded the truck’s cargo may have done so incorrectly. Some trucking companies may send out a driver that’s underqualified, or they may allow a dangerous vehicle onto the roadway. A big rig lawyer must be able to identify all of the parties involved in a case and know what their responsibilities are.
Commercial trucking attorneys understand which trucking regulations will come into play in a case. If there’s a clear violation of a trucking industry standard, it can make it easier for the accident victim to receive a quick, large settlement. However, the laws and regulations surrounding the trucking industry can be complex and very technical. Because of this, you must have a lawyer on your side that knows how federal and state regulations apply to your care. The commercial trucking attorneys at the Ferguson Law Group understand which trucking regulations will come into play in your case. Our lawyers have a deep knowledge of truck accidents and have successfully used their extensive knowledge of trucking laws and regulations to help many clients recover the compensation they deserve.
Statute of Limitations
In Georgia, a person will have two years from the date of their accident to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver and other parties involved. Failing to file a claim within this time frame can result in your case being barred. This means you will be unable to collect any type of compensation for your accident. Because of this, having an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side will be crucial. A lawyer will be well aware of the state’s statute of limitations and will ensure you have all the required paperwork filed correctly and on time.
Building a Truck Accident Claim
Aside from providing a copy of the medical report from your physician, you’ll also need to provide your attorney with a copy of the police report. Both reports, combined with evidence from witnesses at the scene of the accident, will form the foundation of your personal injury case. Once your attorney has determined the parties that should be held responsible for your damages, you can begin to establish the four elements of negligence in order to succeed with your claim.
Duty of Care
A lawyer needs to prove to the jury that the at-fault parties in your claim owed you a duty of care. A truck driver has a duty of care to obey traffic laws and operate their vehicle safely.
Breach of Duty
A lawyer will then need to prove how the defendant failed to uphold their duty of care. For example, if the driver drove for several hours, going over the allotted hours a commercial driver is allowed to drive consecutively, this can be used as proof that the driver was responsible for the accident.
If you didn’t suffer any damages, then you don’t have a claim. A truck accident attorney will help you prove the full extent of losses that were incurred due to the negligent behavior of the defendant. The defendant may be the truck driver, their employer, a third-party driver, the company that loaded the truck’s cargo, the trailer manufacturer, or the truck manufacturer.
Do I Need a Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer?
Truck accidents are far more likely to cause severe injuries than a passenger vehicle. This type of auto accident often leads to fatalities, serious injuries, and costly vehicle repairs or replacement. Due to their massive size, many big rig collisions in Atlanta wind up injuring multiple other drivers. Hiring an Atlanta truck accident attorney can help you navigate the many complications and complexities that can arise from an accident that involves multiple vehicles.
Hiring a big truck accident attorney also means that you’ll no longer have to fear any administrative or procedural errors with the court that could jeopardize your case. If you decide to handle this type of personal injury claim on your own, you’ll have to file a variety of forms with your local courthouse. If the defendant in a claim is a major distributor or trucking company, then you can expect them to have a large in-house legal team that’s ready to defend the company’s interests in court. A personal injury lawyer with experience will know how to deal with the defense and navigate this type of complex claim.
Insurance Company Negotiations
Trucks must be covered by higher policies due to the increased bodily injury and property damage that accompanies truck accidents. However, insurance carriers who represent trucking companies do not pay out easily. If an insurance adjuster knows that a policyholder has been negligent, they will try to avoid paying out a large settlement by offering an attractive payment right away. This initial offer is designed to entice the accident victim into signing on the dotted line, giving up their right to sue for damages. Yet, these offers are never close to the amount the accident victim actually deserves for their losses and injuries. Never consider the initial offer an insurance company tries to sell you on, especially without first consulting a lawyer. Most truck accident attorneys are skilled at negotiating with insurance companies and can get accident victims a larger settlement than they could get on their own.
Common Types of Truck Accidents in Atlanta
Each year, hundreds of accidents involving commercial trucks occur in Georgia. Many of these accidents result in catastrophic injuries. Some accidents can result in harm that will only be apparent in the days and weeks that follow.
Some of the most common types of truck collisions include:
A rollover can happen for many reasons, but most commonly this type of accident is due to the driver of the truck losing control due to carelessness or distracted driving.
Trucks that suddenly slam on their brakes can be especially dangerous since a passenger vehicle can easily become lodged under the trailer. This type of accident is referred to as an underride and it also happens on the side of the trailer.
A T-bone accident happens when the truck fails to stop for stop signs or red lights, or when the driver loses control of the trailer.
A truck has large blind spots that can create a deadly accident when the driver fails to notice pedestrians or other vehicles as they make a lane change or turn.
A truck that brakes too hard can result in its trailer skidding out and to the side, moving into another lane.
Being in a head-on collision with a truck usually results in catastrophic injuries and even death.
A truck will usually swing in one direction as they start to turn towards the opposite direction. This type of wide turn takes up a large portion of an intersection and may trap vehicles between the curb and the truck.
Spilled cargo can result in a serious accident. In some cases, the cargo that’s being hauled may be sharp or hazardous.
Causes of Truck Accidents
A truck accident occurs when one or more parties acted negligently. There are often many more factors in play when a truck is responsible for a collision. The truck may be loaded, owned, and operated by three different parties. Each party is seeking to reduce its liability. Additionally, a truck accident can be much more complex than a passenger car accident. The details behind a wide turn or jackknife accident can be very confusing to people who are unfamiliar with the trucking industry. Because of this, settlements for big rigs are won only by an attorney that has several years of experience handling this specific type of case.
The most common causes of truck wrecks include:
- Truck drivers driving under the influence
- Drivers who are inexperienced or not trained properly
- Overly aggressive driving
- Cargo loaded improperly
- Distracted driving
- Driver exhaustion
Contact the Ferguson Law Group Today to Schedule a Consultation
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, you have a long road to recovery ahead of you. The truck accident lawyers Atlanta at the Ferguson Law Group have the knowledge and experience to handle even the most complex truck accident claims. These cases are very different from a passenger car accident case. There are several technical facts involved. Unfortunately, insurance companies have significant resources to fight a claim to avoid being held responsible. Our attorneys will give your case the attention it deserves. We will use our decades of knowledge and experience to effectively negotiate a settlement that’s fair and provides the compensation you deserve to cover the cost of damages. If the insurance company fails to offer a fair settlement, we are prepared to take a case to trial and fight aggressively to seek justice on your behalf. Contact the Ferguson Law Group today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help.
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