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.