Commercial truck accidents are far more likely to result in catastrophic injuries than are other motor vehicle crashes. According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 120,000 people are injured and 4,000 people are killed in large truck accidents in the United States each year.
Following a large truck accident, injured victims need strong legal representation. At MG Law, our Atlanta truck accident attorneys are committed to pursuing justice and maximizing financial compensation for injured victims. We know how to hold trucking companies and their insurers accountable under the law. If you or your family member was injured in an 18-wheeler accident in North Georgia, please contact our Atlanta law office for free legal guidance.
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The Georgia Statute of Limitations
Under Georgia law (Ga. Code Ann. Sec. 9-3-33), the statute of limitations for a truck accident lawsuit is typically two years from the date that the “action accrues”. In other words, your claim must be filed within two years of the date of the crash. If the statute of limitations runs out, your case may not be heard at all. Take action by calling a lawyer as soon as possible after a major accident.
What You Need to Prove in a Truck Accident Claim
Large trucking companies are required to follow a number of different state and federal safety regulations. When companies violate these rules, it puts the health and safety of everyone else on the road at considerable risk. In Georgia, truck accident injury claims are based on negligence. Plaintiffs must prove that the trucking company, or one of its representatives, such as the driver, acted in a careless or reckless manner that contributed to causing the accident. Some of the most common examples of negligence in commercial truck accident cases include:
Truck drivers speeding on tight schedules;
Truck driver fatigue;
Lack of proper driver training;
Improperly loaded trailers;
Brake problems; and
Failure to conduct adequate truck maintenance.
Truck accident claims are complex legal cases. In order to prevail in a lawsuit, plaintiffs must present strong and persuasive evidence that proves liability. Our Atlanta, GA commercial truck accident attorneys have the skills and experience needed to help you build a successful personal injury claim. We will gather all relevant evidence so you can hold the defendant legally liable for your accident.
Why Truck Accident Claims Are So Complex
As described above, there is a large range of potential acts of negligence that can lead to a crash. This is one of the primary reasons that truck accident claims are so complex – there are multiple parties who could potentially be to blame, including the truck driving, the trucking company, a shipper or loader of cargo, the vehicle manufacturer or a vehicle part manufacturer, or another third party, such as a third-party driver. Gathering and reporting the evidence that’s necessary to make a determination about negligence and fault is incredibly complicated, especially if a significant amount of time has passed between when the accident happened and when the investigation is being conducted. Usually, at the very least, spoliation of evidence letters will need to be sent to the trucking company and any other parties that may have evidence (such as a gas station with a security camera that caught the accident on tape), and various experts will need to be brought into the investigatory process, including accident reconstruction experts, vehicle design experts, and experts who can provide insight about NHTSA rules for large trucks and their drivers.
And that’s not the only reason that truck accident claims are so complicated. These types of claims are also complex because the extent of harm that a victim suffers is often enormous. Types of injuries that a victim of a truck accident claim may suffer include:
Head and traumatic brain injuries. An injury to the brain can be catastrophic. If the head is hit with enough force (or if the brain is shaken or penetrated by an object), motor and sensory function, cognitive abilities, language, and emotion can all be disrupted. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) may never fully heal, changing a person’s life forever.
Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries. Another type of devastating injury is a back, neck, or spinal cord injury. With enough force, a person may suffer a bone fracture in the spine, could incur a serious soft tissue injury (such as whiplash) that is painful and temporarily disabling, or, in the worst-case scenario, suffer a spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury can result in partial or complete paralysis from the site of the injury downwards. Spinal cord injuries are permanent.
Limb amputation/loss of use of limb injuries. With the amount of force that’s involved in a truck accident (determined by the mass of the vehicles involved and the speed at which they are traveling at the time of impact), it is not uncommon for the smaller vehicle to be utterly destroyed in the crash. If the smaller vehicle is severely damaged, so too may be any occupants of that vehicle. Injuries to limbs are very common and, in some cases, these injuries might include serious crush injuries or limb amputation injuries. Losing the loss of use of a body part is emotionally devastating, as well as incredibly limiting physically, too.
Burn injuries. In some cases, truck accidents may result in vehicles catching on fire, resulting in burn injuries to any occupants of the vehicles. Occupants may also be ejected from the vehicle and skid along the road, resulting in road burn/rash injuries.
Internal injuries. An injury to an internal organ, such as a kidney, occurs when the body is hit with a large amount of force or a bone fracture occurs that punctures an organ. In either case, the outcome can be tragic. Internal bleeding can be fatal and a person who suffers any internal injuries needs medical treatment immediately.
Injuries to extremities. In addition to the injuries to extremities mentioned above, such as burn injuries and amputation injuries, other injuries to arms, legs, hands, and feet might include bone fracture injuries and soft tissue injuries, as well as bruises and lacerations.
Psychological injuries. Finally, a victim of a truck accident may develop psychological injuries following a truck crash as well. Common psychological harm that may develop after a serious accident includes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. Of course, this list is not inclusive; there may be other emotional and mental challenges that a person who has been involved in a truck accident experiences.
Truck accident claims are also complex because the parties involved–trucking companies and large insurance companies–are not eager to pay out settlements to victims and will try to get away with paying as little as possible. These companies are represented by smart lawyers who may use aggressive tactics to protect a company’s interests.
Compensation Available to Injured Victims
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In Georgia, truck accident victims have a right to seek financial relief for monetary damages and intangible losses. Sadly, large trucking corporations and their insurance companies are aggressive in handling claims. If you were hurt in a truck accident, they will try to settle your claim for as little as possible — far less than you need to pay your bills and support your family. Effective legal representation can make all the difference. At MG Law, our skilled Atlanta tractor-trailer accident lawyers know how to help injured victims recover a maximum settlement offer or injury verdict. We can help you seek money damages for:
When you are offered a settlement by a truck accident company/insurance company, you maintain the right to reject that settlement and renegotiate for a greater amount. You deserve to be compensated for 100 percent of your losses, both economic and noneconomic. You may feel pressured to accept a settlement offer, especially when you are ready to have the process behind you and need to cash to start paying your medical bills and supporting yourself. While it may be tempting to accept anything you can get, don’t fall into this trap. Instead, know that our passionate Atlanta truck accident lawyers will fight for your right to your full settlement amount and can handle negotiations on your behalf. If necessary, our lawyers have trial experience and will not hesitate to bring your case to litigation.
Why Choose the Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers at MG Law
Our Atlanta, GA tractor trailer accident attorneys have a proven track record of obtaining successful results for our clients. Justice matters. We will work tirelessly to get you the full and fair financial compensation that you rightfully deserve. Our legal team offers every client personalized representation. We are prepared to:
Offer a free, no obligation personal injury consultation;
Take the time to answer your questions and help you explore your available options;
Conduct a complete investigation of your truck accident;
Put resources into your case, including working with medical professionals and other experts;
Negotiate with the trucking company and their insurance provider; and
File a personal injury lawsuit in Georgia court.
Similar to other personal injury claims, the majority of truck accident injury cases are settled prior to litigation. However, there are certainly exceptions. If a full and fair settlement is not offered, our trial-tested Atlanta truck accident lawyers are always ready to take your case to court. When you choose our law firm, you can count on us to give personal, committed attention to your case and to design a case strategy that is unique to you.
6 FAQs About Truck Accidents
1. Who’s Liable for a Truck Accident?
Liability for a truck accident may be based on fault/negligence or a theory of a liability, such as vicarious liability or respondent superior. For example, a truck driver who causes the crash may be held liable for the damages that result, or the trucking company for which the truck driver is employed could be held liable based on the employer-employee relationship. Liability for a truck accident can fall on the shoulders of:
The truck driver
The trucking company
A third party, such as the driver of another vehicle involved in the crash
A shipper or loader of cargo
A truck part manufacturer
The insurance company for the trucking company under the Georgia Direct Action law contained in O.C.G.A. § 40–2–140
The above list is not inclusive. What’s important is that after a truck accident, a thorough investigation into your case is opened and all evidence that provides clues about fault and liability is gathered. Important evidence includes truck driver logs, vehicle maintenance logs, truck ‘black box’ data, witnesses’ testimonies, and more.
2. Can I Bring Forth a Claim if a Loved One of Mine Was Killed in a Truck Accident?
When you are injured in a truck accident, you maintain the right to file a claim for damages against the responsible party – compensation received will be allocated to you to pay for things like lost wages, property damage expenses, medical bills, and pain and suffering. However, some truck accidents are fatal. If a loved one of yours has been killed in a truck accident, you may have a cause of action to bring forth a wrongful death claim. Please consult with our lawyers about wrongful death claims in Georgia, what you have to prove, and types of damages recoverable.
3. Do I Have to Accept a Settlement?
After the insurance company has conducted its investigation and made a determination about fault and damages, it will likely approach you with a settlement offer. You may be very tempted to accept this settlement, especially if your damages are serious and your financial losses large. However, accepting the first settlement offer may not be in your best interests. This is because first settlement offers are often low-balled, which means that an insurance company offers you less than you deserve in hopes that they will get away with paying out less than your claim is really worth. Once you accept a settlement, you give up your right to ask for further compensation. As such, it is usually wise to reject a first settlement offer and enter into negotiations; at the very least, you should have your settlement reviewed by an experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney.
4. How Long Will My Case Take to Settle?
A common question that we hear from our clients and prospective clients is that of how long a case will take to settle. Unfortunately, there is no way to know how long a case will take to resolve – this depends on various different factors, including the complexity of a case, whether or not fault is disputed, the degree of damages, the types and values of insurance policies involved, and more. Some cases will settle in a few months – others take longer. In some cases, a case may result in litigation, which can take over a year to resolve.
5. How Much Is My Case Worth?
Similar to the question of “How long will my case take to settle?”, there is no way to predict how much a case is worth, especially without a thorough evaluation of the case. (This is why you should never trust an attorney who promises you millions of dollars, yet hasn’t even reviewed the evidence in your case.) The value of your case will depend on numerous factors, including the degree of damages you’ve suffered. One thing that our lawyers can promise is that we will aggressively advocate for your right to your full compensation amount.
6. Do I Have to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney?
You are not compelled under the law to hire a truck accident attorney when pursuing a truck accident claim; in fact, even if your case goes to litigation, there’s no requirement to hire a lawyer. However, not working with an attorney may be a big mistake. An attorney will know the ins and outs of the law and the claims process, can gather the critical evidence that your case will rest on, will know how to calculate the value of your claim and review your settlement, can negotiate on your behalf, and more. Working with a skilled Atlanta truck accident attorney is one of the smartest things you can do.
Speak to Our Atlanta Truck Accident Attorneys Today
At MG Law, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers have extensive experience handling commercial truck accident claims. If you or your loved one was injured in a large truck collision, we are here to help. From our office in Atlanta, we serve injured victims throughout Fulton County and DeKalb County.
We always offer free case consultations to new clients and always commit the resources, time, and energy to our clients’ cases that are deserved. If you are ready to take the first steps towards improving your future and seeking justice for the harm you’ve suffered, we can help. Please call us directly or use the contact form on our website to send us a message telling us more about what’s happened to you. We can begin working on your case immediately.
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