Some of the most catastrophic accidents that occur on Georgia highways are caused by commercial trucks. The difference in size between passenger cars and tractor-trailers results in increased fatalities and injury rates. If you or a family member was injured in a trucking accident it is very important to call a Macon truck accident lawyer. Multiple cars are often involved in truck accidents which can mean there are several insurance companies that are part of the clam, which makes it harder to navigate these kinds of cases.
You deserve to receive compensation for your emotional loss as well as the physical injuries you must deal with due to the accident. Our team of committed accident attorneys is prepared to assist you with this process, starting with collecting and compiling evidence, to providing you with legal representation in court. Our personal injury lawyers at Calvin Smith Law have decades worth of combined experience in assisting victims with recovering compensation for the damages that other’s negligence has caused. Call us today at (404) 383-7552 to get your free consultation scheduled and learn how we can assist you.
What are Common Truck Accident Causes?
When we take on your case, we will do our best to determine if there was any negligence and preserve any evidence that may be needed for your case. There are common causes of fatal and severe accidents that we have identified over all of the years that we have dealt with these types of cases. Some of those causes include the following:
Violating Commercial Rules
The public is protected by the FMSCA by putting regulations in place regarding logged hours and maintenance. Whenever those standards are violated by a trucking company or employees, it can have disastrous consequences.
Truck driver employers are obligated to thoroughly vet prospective employees to check to see if they have a substance abuse history and to review their driving history. When they fail to undertake the proper investigations and background checks, they can be held liable whenever an injury is caused by the negligent actions of one of their employees.
Inadequate Truck Maintenance
When it comes to inspecting and maintaining vehicles, thee are very strict regulations in place. Both employers and drivers must follow them. If they fail to adhere to those regulations, then they can be considered negligent.
Lack of Proper Training
A truck company is responsible for training its drivers and the behavior of these drivers when they are behind the wheel. It is essential for employes to be given adequate training and to be aware of the regulations, and the employer is the one responsible for this.
Tired, Impaired, or Distracted Driver.
An accident may be caused by a truck driver who has been out on the road for a long time, is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or is distracted while driving.
Calvin Smith Law lawyers know that there will be different laws applied to commercial vehicles. They understand the different approaches that may be used when dealing with a case where an accident resulted in injuries. Several factors may have caused an accident in some cases and the lawyer handling your case needs to understand that and aggressively investigate your case.
What Should You Do Following a Truck Accident?
There are certain steps you should take following a truck accident. They include the following:
- Call 911 and ask for emergency services or the police
- Assist anyone who needs help
- Exchange information with all of the other drivers who were involved in your accident
- Get insurance information from the other drivers
- Take the names and contact information of potential witnesses
- Document the accident scene through photos and videos using your cell phone
People have a tendency to have a difficult time being polite and responsive following a traumatic experience. However, if you can stay cool, then collect whatever information you can following the accident. It will help you a great deal with you being the process of seeking compensation.
Our trail accident lawyers understand that it can be difficult for you to do all of the above after you were involved in an accident. Your main priority, if you have been injured, is to get to a hospital. If that is your situation, be sure to call us as soon as you can. We will be there from the very beginning to investigate the accident and collect any evidence that can be used, while you focus on your recovery.
How can I Lower My Chances of Being in a Truck Accident?
Whenever you and a truck are on the same road, make sure:
There is enough space between the truck and your car. If you drive too close to a truck, it increases the risk that you will hit the truck in the back or go underneath it. Some people think they will save on gas if they drive close to a truck. However, that is not true and is very dangerous.
Make sure you are able to see the driver’s side mirror. If you can see the truck’s side mirror that means the truck driver is also able to see you. Trucks have a larger width than regular cars do, and truck drivers are unable to see things near to them unless they are visible from their side mirror.
You need to remember that trucks need plenty of stopping room. When your car is in front of an 18-wheel truck and you need to stop. the truck will need to stop too and that can result in an accident. That is because they need to have enough room to be able to stop. A jackknife can be caused by sudden braking.
Keep in mind that trucks tend to make extra-wide right turns. Whenever a truck is turning right, do not attempt to turn right at the same time as the truck. Allow the truck to turn first. That will help to prevent your car from being hit if the truck swings wide as it is making its turn.
What are the Differences Between Truck Accidents and Other Types of Vehicle Accidents?
There are a number of differences, and the following are five of the biggest ones:
How Severe the Injury Is
Truck accidents have a tendency to have ore fatal and serious injuries compared to car accidents. Whenever a commercial vehicle is involved in an accident, even when traveling at a low-speed, it may result in injuries that require long-term medical care. There is also no guarantee that the injured person will return to full health. Truck accident victims must deal with the financial, emotional, and physical consequences of their injuries for many years and sometimes for life.
The Complexity of the Truck Accident
Whenever commercial vehicles are part of an accident, it makes things more complex. There are specific laws regarding commercial trucks, and it is very important to have a Macon car accident attorney who thoroughly understands those laws since they will be needed throughout your case, particularly in terms of placing liability on a third party, the truck company, or the driver.
The Underlying Cause of the Accident
When a semi-truck is being driven, many things can go wrong. Some of those things are the responsibility of the driver such as sleeping regularly, staying sober, speed, and following the proper distance. Others are not the responsibility of the truck driver such as safety equipment, schedule, and the weight and size of the load. To receive compensation, it is essential to determine the actual cause of your accident.
How Many People were Involved
In an accident that involves one car and one semi-truck, there could be two or more parties involved. Although at times it may appear that the driver is at fault, the accident liability may not rest with them. Factors such as equipment failure, unrealistic schedules, and poorly secured loads could have caused the accident, and the individuals liable may be thousands of miles away from where the accident occurred.
Difficulty Obtaining Compensation
A majority of insurance companies and trucking companies have teams of lawyers who are prepared to minimize liability. If you are not fully prepared, you could end up receiving less compensation than you deserve.
Trucking Regulations and Laws
The reason why truck accident claims are different from regular car accidents is there are state and federal laws that must be followed by trucking companies. Those laws have a tendency to be complex and strict. If one or more of these regulations were violated when the accident occurred, then it may be used as evidence to demonstrate the truck driver was negligent.
Regulations include inspections, repairs, maintenance, licenses, hours of service, etc. Drivers will be required to have a commercial driver’s license and may need other endorsements as well. However, that will depend on the kind of truck they are driving and what they are transporting. The hours of service rules are one of the regulations that are violated by many. Truckers tend to know how to get around these rules. That may be because they want to earn more money or are being pressured by their employer. It is very common for drivers to alter their numbers and do more driving than they are supposed to in one day. There are very strict rules outlining how cargo must be loaded, how much cargo can be carried, and when repairs and maintenance need to be performed.
There are rules regarding impaired driving as well. If a trucker driver has a .04 or higher alcohol concentration, the person can be charged with a DUI. That level is less than the standard .08.
The Truck Accident Lawsuit Process
After a truck accident in Macon, GA, the following steps are taken while processing your lawsuit:
The insurance company (of the truck driver, the owner, the maintenance company, etc) will immediately send someone out after the accident has occurred so they can obtain as much information they can, which can be used to limit their liability. That is why it is essential for you to contact an attorney so they can do an investigation for you.
Creating a Claim
All of the information that was gathering during the investigation will be used to create your claim. The claim will contain what the state of your injuries are, demonstrate how another party was negligent and is responsible for the injuries that you have suffered, and ask for compensation. Your claim will be the basis of a suit and can be solved through litigation, arbitration, or settlement.
Prior to filing your suit, the insurer and attorney will attempt to negotiate a financial settlement without having to go to court. After the suit is filed, there could be another meeting for negotiating a settlement. If that fails, there is still the option to take your case to court.
Your lawyer and the other party will have a chance to present their cases in court. After both parties have presented their evidence and case, the jury or judge will deliberate and then make a verdict. That will determine who was at fault for the accident. If you win, it will also determine how much compensation you will receive.
Proving the Truck Driver’s Negligence
When doing our investigation for determining negligent behavior, we will:
- Investigate to ensure the vehicle was maintained properly
- Review the company’s logbooks to ensure they followed all federal and state regulations
- Review the driver’s credentials
- Research the accident via police reports, witness interviews, photos, and work with experts in order to reconstruct the accident.
- Determine if there were any manufacturing defects in the other vehicles or truck
How Much Compensation Can I Receive From a Truck Accident?
If you were injured as a result of a truck accident, you are eligible to receive compensation. There are certain losses and expenses you can recover. However, it will spend on the specific nature of your case. They include the following:
There is a calculable monetary value to economic damages, and they can include the following:
When severe injuries are treated, expensive medications are necessary. Extended hospital stays, and post-injury rehabilitation may be necessary. Your attorney will do an evaluation in order to calculate the medical compensation that you will need due to the accident.
If you cannot return to work due to your injuries, that will get factor into your compensation in the form of a loss of future and present wages.
Speak to your attorney about getting compensated for your property damage such as damage to your vehicle.
There is no set value to non-economic damages and they are more difficult to calculate. They include the following:
It can be due to the loss of your loved one, severe injuries, or depression. The attorney who is handling your case can estimate the approximate value to compel a negligent party to pay compensation.
Loss of Consortium
If it is difficult for you to take pleasure in life due to things like brain injuries, amputation, paralysis or you cannot enjoy the physical company with your wife the way you used to before, then this can be added to your claim to be compensated for.
The lawyer handling your case also can bring it to court to seek punitive damages in addition to non-economic and economic losses discussed above. Punitive damages will be awarded whenever the other party demonstrated malicious action that caused the accident and it resulted in severe injuries, complications that cannot be cured, or wrongful death.
Contact a Macon Truck Accident Lawyer
When you speak to one of our attorneys at our reputable injury law firm in Macon, you will be informed whether or not punitive damages may be added to your claim, which can help you get the maximum amount of compensation. Call Calvin Smith Law today at (404) 383-7552 to get the help you deserve.