Tractor-trailers, 18-wheeler trucks, and other large vehicles fill our freeways to transport goods all over the nation.
Driving alongside massive vehicles such as these can already be stressful.
Truck drivers can be exhausted after many days or hours of driving.
Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers also sometimes have mechanical problems during their long drives.
And truck drivers sometimes encounter drivers zipping through traffic without paying any attention to the safety requirements of a large vehicle.
These situations can result in accidents on the road that can be more disastrous than regular car accidents.
Truck accident cases are different from other regular car accident cases. If you or a loved one has been in an accident with a truck, you need a Georgia truck accident lawyer who knows the specific complexities of truck accident cases.
You need experienced truck accident lawyers who will fight insurance companies and large trucking agencies to ensure that you get the compensation you are entitled to under the law.
The attorneys at MG Law are competent and experienced Georgia truck accident attorneys knowledgeable about the complexities of truck cases.
With our representation, you can focus on recovering from your accident. You can rest assured that we will fight for you.
Contact us online or call today for a free consultation.
Truck Accident Case Basics
Some lawyers treat truck accident cases just like any other car accident case. However, truck accident cases have unique complexities.
A GA truck accident lawyer who has extensive experience with truck cases will be able to help you understand these complexities.
What Is a “Truck” in a Truck Accident Case?
A truck in a truck accident case, as we use here, refers specifically to a vehicle regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Generally, a truck is subject to FMCSA if used for interstate commerce and has “a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 4,537 kg (10,001 lb) or more, whichever is greater.”
Examples of a “truck” that fit this definition include:
- 18 wheeler trucks,
- Sanitation trucks,
- Tanker trucks,
- Dump trucks, and
- Any other large truck that meets the weight threshold.
Other types of vehicles, such as large passenger buses, are also regulated by the FMCSA. So too are vehicles, regardless of the size, transporting hazardous materials.
The FMCSA and the United States Department of Transportation created specific safety requirements for all large commercial vehicles, which Georgia adopted.
The need for such large vehicles to have specific safety requirements is a public need.
With particular safety needs and regulations, this makes it all the more critical that you consult with an experienced Georgia truck accident attorney who knows the ins and outs of these regulations.
The Legal Standard in Truck Accident Cases
Generally, the Georgia laws of negligence that apply to regular car accidents also apply to truck accident cases.
If someone is injured in a truck accident, the standard for negligence will apply, as it would for most other personal injury lawsuits.
For negligence, one must prove the following elements:
- Duty—the truck driver owed you a duty, such as the duty to follow the specific safety regulations imposed by the federal government on large trucks;
- Breach of duty—the driver breached the duty to follow the large vehicle regulations or other laws; and
- Causation—the driver’s failure to abide by the law, or breach of duty, caused you harm.
Causation can be indirect or proximate causation. If a truck driver, for example, is intoxicated and they hit another car that then hits your vehicle, you may have a claim against the truck driver.
Experienced large truck and tractor-trailer accident lawyers would be able to tell you if the truck driver or trucking company caused your injury.
Specific Issues for the Trucking Industry
As with any driver, truck drivers must follow vehicular laws, such as not driving while intoxicated.
However, there are specific regulations that those in the trucking industry must follow, and if they breach some of those regulations and cause you harm, they may be liable.
Some examples of failures that could result in liability include:
- Driving for too many hours at a time and not enough rest,
- Failing to secure the load properly,
- Reckless driving with a large vehicle, or
- Failing to maintain the truck in good repair.
The FMCSA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Georgia Department of Transportation have numerous laws and regulations specific to the trucking industry.
It is essential to talk with a Georgia truck accident lawyer who is very familiar with these laws.
Responsible Parties in a Truck Accident Case
As you can see from the examples above, some problems on the road may not be solely a truck driver’s fault.
Plus, even if it is, if the truck driver is working for a company, the company could potentially be a responsible party too.
Some possible liable parties in a truck accident case include:
- The truck driver,
- The company that employs the driver,
- An insurance company, and
- The truck manufacturer.
Depending on what happened in the case, you may name more than one party as responsible in a truck accident lawsuit.
For example, if the truck driver was driving drowsy because his company forced him to work too many hours, both the truck driver and company may be named in the case.
Having an experienced truck wreck lawyer investigate your case as early as possible will help lead you to all of the parties responsible for your injury.
Georgia uses the principle of contributory negligence in assigning fault in these cases. This means that if you are somewhat at fault for the accident, the court will determine your percentage of fault.
Then, if you are more than 49% at fault, you will not be able to recover anything in the case. However, if you are 49% or less at fault, the court will reduce your award based on your percentage of fault.
You should discuss your case with an experienced Georgia truck accident lawyer to understand how your role in the accident may affect your case.
Possible Compensation in a Truck Accident Case
The award amount for truck accident cases can vary. Georgia permits the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages.
Some examples of damages that you may be able to recover in a truck accident case include:
- Property damage (such as to your car),
- Lost wages,
- Medical bills,
- Rehabilitation costs,
- Emotional distress damages, and
- Pain and suffering.
Some of the above damages are easier to quantify than others. Knowledgeable truck and semi accident attorneys will be able to help you calculate your potential compensation.
If the driver’s or company’s behavior or actions were particularly bad under the law, a jury might also award punitive damages to punish the bad behavior. Punitive damages awards cannot exceed $250,000.00.
How Can a Lawyer Help After A Truck Accident?
An accident with a large truck is traumatic. Your injuries may be severe, and your loss may be significant.
A knowledgeable and dedicated Georgia truck accident lawyer can take the reins and help you navigate the process of filing a claim for your case.
An experienced truck accident attorney in Georgia can:
- Collect documents,
- Find witnesses,
- Examine any police reports,
- Assess the damages,
- Negotiate with insurance companies, and
- File your claim in court if a settlement cannot be reached.
If you are recovering from a truck accident, the last thing you need is to run around trying to learn the truck accident litigation process and collect the proof in your case.
An attorney who has handled truck accident cases can take the burden of dealing with your truck accident case off of your shoulders so you can focus on recovering.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Truck Accident Case?
Hiring a skilled Georgia truck accident attorney early in your case can save you a great deal of stress and headaches. Negligence laws in Georgia can be challenging to navigate in vehicle accident cases.
Plus, many additional regulations apply to the trucking industry that could affect your case. Insurance companies and large trucking companies have large law firms representing them who will fight to minimize their financial liability.
A skilled truck accident attorney will be able to advocate for the best possible settlement possible for you so that you can focus on healing from this traumatic incident.
The Experienced Georgia Truck Accident Lawyers at MG Law Can Help
Having a skilled and fierce attorney on your side during this difficult time is critical. Our attorneys at MG Law are strategic negotiators dedicated to fighting for justice for our clients.
Our attorneys have garnered numerous awards from the National Trial Lawyers, 40 Under 40, and Top 100 Trial Lawyers.
Turn to the passionate and award-winning attorneys at MG Law for your truck accident case.