Truck Accident Attorney in Lawrenceville, Georgia
The purpose of this page is to help commercial truck accident victims better understand what to expect in their clams and to better understand how their compensation payout is calculated. Some truck accidents— pickup truck, sport utility vehicles (SUV), or small truck accidents—may be handled just like any other car accident. But 18-wheeler truck and trailer accident cases are different.
How Truck Accidents Are Different from Car Accidents
Commercial freight trucks or 18-wheelers tend to weigh 80,000 pounds or more, twenty times the weight of passenger cars. Drivers are often given financial incentives for traveling longer distances faster; which can affect other drivers’ safety. Commercial truck drivers’ and their employers are required to carry much larger insurance policies than that required of passenger cars and small truck drivers, which often puts the total value of available insurance available for damages compensation into the millions.
These are just some of the many ways commercial truck accidents can be drastically different from car accidents and having a trusted lawyer by your side can help make the process considerably less stressful. Here are some other key differences:
Increased Property Damage - the weight and overall size of an 18-wheeler is much larger than that of a typical vehicle. That means that any surrounding property is going to be affected much more than in a crash involving two cars.
More Serious Injuries - injuries that are common in car accidents are also far more severe and can include intensive medical care and bills. From serious whiplash and broken bones to brain trauma and severe lacerations, injuries following a truck accident are often life changing.
Much Larger Medical Bills - hospital stays tend to be much longer than car accident-related injuries and victims of truck accidents are often unable to return to work for a prolonged period of time, if at all.
Greater Chance of Death - An accident with a large commercial truck is far more likely to result in death than a crash between two passenger cars. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Georgia sees between 180 and 230 fatal truck accidents each year.
What are the Leading Causes of Truck Accidents?
The leading causes of truck accidents can be broken down into four main categories. This is important because, to win against the defense as a lawyer, you have to know the mechanisms behind each case and the defenses you can expect.
Those categories are:
Driver Error – despite the myriad of rules and regulations governing the commercial trucking industry, truck drivers often drive recklessly. Very often they drive over the mandated daily hour requirements and are sometimes on the road when they are fatigued and or sleepy. Sadly, it is true that just as with all drivers, commercial truck drivers often drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This category often leads to accidents in which the driver has difficulty stopping in time to avoid a rear-end crash, jackknifing, or in the most extreme cases, the driver simply crashing into someone after falling asleep at the wheel.
Poorly Maintained Trucks – things such as worn brake pads, cracked windshields, and other equipment failures can lead to a fatal accident if not dealt with and resolved quickly on a commercial truck.
Equipment Failure – defective equipment in a commercial truck, in most cases, may not be the fault of the driver but nevertheless can cause a fatal accident. In such cases the trucking company or the manufacturer of the truck may be held liable.
Improperly Loaded Cargo – there are very specific rules to follow when loading and unloading a commercial truck. If loaded improperly, the contents can spill out onto the road and cause an accident, or if there’s an imbalance in the cargo this may cause the driver to overcorrect or oversteer, also leading to an accident.
What Should I Do Following a Truck Accident?
Getting into an accident with an 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer, semi-truck, big rig or any other type of large commercial truck can be a frightening experience that leaves you confused and shaken. If you get into a truck accident, one of the most important things you can do is breathe and attempt to remain calm so you can think about what you need to do next. Once you’ve regained your bearings and have control of your faculties, the following steps should be followed:
Call 911 to ensure that police and emergency assistance, i.e. ambulance, firefighters, paramedics, emt’s, etc. are on the way to assist and treat you, your passenger(s), the truck driver, and any others impacted by the accident. with your injuries. If it’s safe to do so and your car still drives, move it out of the road and to the shoulder or a nearby parking lot to prevent another collision and keep the flow of traffic moving. Remain at the scene until a police officer arrives to investigate; remember, the police accident report will be a key piece of evidence in your claim.
Gather information. Get driver information: the trucker’s name and contact information, what trucking company they work for, their license and insurance information, and any contact information they have for their employers. Get contact information for witnesses, too. The police will take extensive notes, statements from all the involved parties and any witnesses, and take photos as part of their accident report. You should also document as much as you can, including witness statements. If your phone’s camera is working, take as many pictures as possible or even a short video of the damage to your vehicle and any injuries you and any other passengers sustained. Doing so can help you ensure that anything the police missed is still documented. Do not talk about the accident with the truck driver or anyone else involved in your crash. It’s also critical that you do not post anything about it online, including social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc.). Anything you say or post could be used against you to deny your claim.
Write down everything you can remember. While it’s all still fresh in your mind, write down in detail what you can remember about the truck accident. Include the date, time, location, weather conditions, and anything of note that happened immediately before, during, or after your crash. How was the truck driver acting after the accident? Did the trucker say anything like “I didn’t see you” or “I’m sorry”? These are important details to note.
Finally, do not talk to the insurance company. Anything you say to the insurance company can be used by them to challenge or deny your claim. You should instead contact The Fleming Firm, LLC. During our free case evaluation, we will help you understand your legal options and your rights.
Who is Liable in a Truck Accident?
If you were injured or a loved one died in a truck accident, there may be multiple parties liable for your damages. You may be able to recover compensation from; the truck driver, the trucking company, the shipping company, the truck manufacturer, or a trucking broker:
What are Common Truck Accident Injuries?
As mentioned above, a fully loaded tractor-trailer truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, which means even crashes at lower speeds with cars and other passenger vehicles can result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries. Some of the most common injuries sustained in truck accidents include; concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), fractured and broken bones, back and spine injuries, partial or permanent paralysis, spinal cord injuries, burns, and internal bleeding or organ damage (collapsed lung, ruptured spleen or lacerated kidney).
It’s critical to take any symptoms seriously and get checked out by a doctor right away. Go to the ER, your primary care provider, or an urgent care clinic. You may need diagnostic tests like an MRI or X-ray. Tell the doctor about any symptoms you may have, such as headaches or dull pain. Those seemingly minor problems could be symptoms of a concussion or another serious injury.
No matter what type of injury you’re dealing with, it’s critical that you know your rights and understand your legal options. Your injury may require surgery, chiropractic treatment or other costly medical treatment. You shouldn’t be stuck with the bill.
How Negligence is Established Following a Truck Accident
To receive the compensation you deserve following a truck accident, you will have to prove negligence on the part of the truck driver and any other parties you believe are responsible. This means that your lawyer must show that the truck driver had a duty of care and breached that duty of care by negligently causing the accident, which in turn led to your injuries and related damages.
Negligence can be proven by showing that a truck driver was; texting while driving, speeding, running a red light or stop sign, and falling asleep at the wheel
Due to the high-risk nature of truck drivers’ work, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations stipulate drivers must adhere to the following regulations: Maintenance of logbook detailing hours driven Documenting hours of service and rest breaks Adhering to scheduled and legally-mandated maintenance requirements, proper loading of truck cargo, including hazardous materials, non-use of controlled substances and alcohol, and driving no more than ten consecutive hours at a time, which must be followed by 8 consecutive hours of rest.
How Compensation is Determined Following a Truck Accident
Like other personal injury lawsuits, the types of compensation available to those affected as the result of an accident involving a truck fall into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Compensation involving economic truck accident damages serves to cover specific monetary costs, including the following:
Current Medical Expenses: This may include fees for emergency room visits, hospital care, surgery, assistive devices and appointments with approved medical professionals.
Future Medical Expenses: Compensation for extended medical attention and care.
Lost Wages: Compensation for the wages lost between the time of injury and the conclusion of the lawsuit.
Loss of Earning Capacity: If the victim can demonstrate that their ability to earn a living has been negatively impacted, compensation may be available. The awarding party will look to establish the amount victim could have earned had the car accident not occurred.
Compensation involving non-economic truck accident damages compensate the victim and/or family for non-financial, intangible losses, including:
Pain and Suffering: compensation for the physical pain suffered as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. The nature of the injury, the extent of the pain, and the length of time the victim is expected to suffer are all included in the calculation of the award.
Mental Anguish: Compensation for emotional pain stemming from a truck accident, including fright, embarrassment, nervousness, worry, grief and other forms of emotional distress caused by the accident.
Loss of Consortium: Compensation awarded to a spouse, parents, and minor children loss of services, assistance, aid, society, and companionship/care of a loved one, a child, or parents. In addition to economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages may be applicable if the defendant’s actions causing the injury were willful, malicious, fraudulent or reckless. Punitive damages serve to punish the offender and dissuade similar behavior in the future.