Accidents involving semi-trucks often cause severe damage and injury. A semi-truck with a loaded trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Even an unloaded semi-truck weighs in at around 35,000 pounds. Compared to an average city vehicle, which weighs between 2,200 and 5,900 pounds, it’s clear why semi-truck accidents pose a high risk of harm to other drivers.
If you’ve been in a semi-truck accident anywhere in Georgia, you probably know firsthand the damage a truck can cause. And you may be wondering, Do I have to go to court for a truck accident in Georgia?
The answer depends on the specific facts of your accident. But the good news is that most truck and insurance companies try to settle auto accident injury claims outside court. Read on to learn more about the factors that make your truck accident case more or less likely to head to trial.
Factors That Influence Whether or Not You’ll Have to Go to Court for Your Truck Accident
Most car accident lawsuits settle and don’t end up in court. But every case is different. Ideally, the insurance company you’re working with will offer you a settlement that covers all your damages. If the payment covers your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and any other expenses from your accident, you probably won’t need to file a lawsuit. However, if there’s any dispute about who caused the crash or the extent and severity of your damages, filing a truck accident lawsuit might be your best option.
Generally, whether you will go to court for a truck accident in Georgia depends on the factors discussed below.
The Type and Severity of Your Injuries
Semi-truck accidents can cause a lot of damage. Because of their size, victims injured in truck accidents often suffer severe injuries that result in lost time at work and hefty medical bills. If you can clearly show an accident caused serious injuries, you are less likely to go to trial. But if the at-fault driver’s insurance company doesn’t think there’s enough evidence to show the crash caused your injuries or if your injuries aren’t severe enough to warrant treatment costs, you may have to go to trial to recoup your expenses.
Who Is at Fault for the Accident
Georgia law allows accident victims to collect damages from the party who caused their injuries. Determining fault is key to collecting damages in a truck accident case. According to Georgia Code section 51-1-6, anyone who breaches a legal duty they owe to another person is responsible for that person’s damages. When it comes to semi-trucks, a truck driver’s duty is to act reasonably while on the road. If a truck driver breaches this duty, and their negligence leads to your accident, they might be at fault and responsible for your damages.
Even if, after an investigation, the truck driver’s insurance company determines you were partially at fault, you can still collect compensation. Under Georgia law, as long as you are less than 50% at fault for an accident, an insurance company can still award you damages minus the percentage you were responsible for. However, some companies will try to pin 50% or more of the fault on you to avoid paying you compensation.
For these reasons, you are less likely to go to court if you can convincingly show the truck driver breached their duty and caused your accident. But if the truck driver’s insurance company disputes fault or tries to assign you 50% or more of the blame, you are more likely to head to trial.
Whether the At-Fault Driver Has Insurance
If the at-fault driver doesn’t have auto insurance coverage or if they’re underinsured, you may have to take them to trial to recoup your losses. Unfortunately, many uninsured drivers lack the money to pay for the damages they might owe after a trial. A lack of funds is usually why people drive without auto insurance to begin with. While it may still be advantageous to go to court, it’s best to consult with an experienced truck crash attorney to review all your options and help you decide whether filing a lawsuit is in your best interest.
Will I Need an Attorney for My Truck Accident?
You don’t need an attorney to file an accident claim with another driver’s insurance company. But having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference. Between going to doctor appointments, taking time off work to recover, and trying to fix or replace a damaged car, truck accident victims have a lot to worry about. An experienced truck accident attorney will work with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to help get you a fair settlement. Having an attorney take care of dealing with the insurance company lets you focus on your recovery.
A truck accident lawyer will also help you gather evidence proving the at-fault party’s liability, your injuries, and your medical damages. This evidence is important because the stronger your case is, the greater the chance you’ll be able to settle before going to court. Having an experienced truck accident attorney in your corner will also help ensure the at-fault driver’s insurance company plays fair because they can challenge the insurance company if it tries to argue you’re 50% or more to blame for the accident.
A truck accident attorney will usually work with the insurance company to help you get maximum compensation while doing what they can to avoid going to court. Trials are lengthy, expensive, and their outcomes are uncertain. An experienced truck crash attorney knows this and can fight to settle for a just amount.
Call MG Law Today
The experienced Georgia truck crash attorneys at MG Law know this is a stressful time for you. Our team of skilled, hardworking advocates value leadership, service, and problem-solving and will work tirelessly to help you achieve the best possible outcome. We’ve won millions of dollars for our personal injury clients and will work vigorously to help you collect what you deserve. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, contact us today by phone or online to set up your free consultation.