With an increase in interstate commerce, the risk of a devastating truck accident is high in states like Georgia.
Many of these accidents result in life-altering injuries, some of which put immense stress on victims and their families.
If you or a loved one sustains an injury due to a negligent motor carrier, you need a truck accident attorney in Gwinnett County with extensive experience.
At MG Law, our skilled attorneys are here to fight for your recovery.
Georgia Truck Accident Statistics
Every year, the Georgia Department of Transportation compiles accident data from around the state.
According to their crash data portal, there were 15,491 crashes involving large commercial trucks in Georgia during 2020.
This resulted in a total of 4,834 injuries and 177 fatalities. About 6% of these accidents occurred in Gwinnett County alone.
In fact, around 4% of all semi-truck crash fatalities happened in Gwinnett County that year. That’s out of a total of 159 counties.
While Gwinnett County saw more than a 33% decrease in the number of large truck accidents between 2019 and 2020, the number of fatalities more than tripled.
This is a worrisome trend and may indicate that truck accidents are becoming more serious.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Despite the number of regulations in place for interstate motor carriers, accidents still happen. There are a wide variety of causes for these crashes, and while some are the trucker’s fault, others may not.
Some common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue or inexperience,
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
- Speeding during adverse weather conditions,
- Broken or defective truck parts, and
- Improperly loaded cargo.
Unfortunately, many of these causes are the result of hiring or safety oversights by the motor carrier. Whether intentional or unintentional, some cut corners to make quicker deliveries, which puts other drivers on the road at extreme risk.
If you suspect the motor carrier responsible for your injury wasn’t following trucking regulations, we recommend speaking to a truck accident lawyer in Gwinnett County.
Why Truck Accident Cases Are More Challenging Than Others
While every auto accident case has its own challenges, truck accidents claims are some of the most difficult.
Generally, the injuries sustained, the number of parties involved, and the safety protocols set by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) all contribute to the complicated nature of truck accident cases.
The Severity of Injuries
First and foremost, the injuries sustained in a truck accident are often catastrophic. As such, victims usually need years of treatment and, in some cases, develop a permanent disability.
This is not only incredibly costly for the victim, but also requires a thorough investigation into the long-term effects of their injuries.
This means consulting with several expert witnesses, such as medical professionals or specialists, and calculating the future treatment costs.
It also involves an extensive examination of the non-economic damages of the victim, such as pain and suffering or mental anguish. Doing this without the assistance of a semi-truck accident lawyer is incredibly taxing.
The Number of Potentially Negligent Parties
A typical accident may have only two drivers involved.
While these cases occasionally have a third party, it’s somewhat rare. In truck accidents, the number of parties that may be liable for the accident is much larger. This is because of the way many motor carriers operate.
For example, a motor carrier may hire a driver as an independent contractor instead of an employee. In addition, they may contract another business to perform repairs on their fleet of vehicles.
So, what if a contracted driver gets into a DUI accident while on the job? What if the mechanic fails to repair the truck and a part failure causes a collision?
During your claim, your Gwinnett County truck accident lawyer considers all of these possibilities when determining the liable party.
Applicable Federal or State Motor Carrier Regulations
For interstate commerce, trucking companies must follow the FMCSA’s regulations. This includes rules regarding safety and driver working hours.
In an effort to increase productivity, some companies try to skirt these regulations, increasing the risk of an accident. One example of this is encouraging or forcing drivers to work longer hours.
The federal hours of service regulations state that a truck driver carrying property:
- May drive for a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty,
- Cannot drive beyond the 14 consecutive hours of work,
- Must take a 30-minute break after driving for eight hours,
- May not drive after performing 60/70 hours of work in 7/8 consecutive days without 34+ hours off.
There are a few exceptions to this rule that may complicate a truck accident case, such as the sleeper berth provision, short hauls, and adverse driving conditions.
However, a Gwinnett County tractor-trailer accident attorney can use service logs to determine whether the driver followed the regulations.
Types of Evidence That May Help Prove Negligence
Due to the complexity of truck accident cases, a Gwinnett County 18-wheeler accident lawyer may collect several pieces of evidence to help prove negligence.
This includes but isn’t limited to:
- Police reports,
- ECM or black box data,
- Eyewitness testimony,
- Background checks,
- Truck maintenance records,
- Images or videos of the crash,
- Service logs, and
- Drug tests.
All of this evidence helps recreate the moments leading up to the accident.
Where there are gaps in available information, an experienced Gwinnett County tractor-trailer accident lawyer consults accident reconstruction specialists or other experts.
By creating a clear timeline of events, it’s easier to show the victim’s side of the story.
How a Truck Accident Attorney in Gwinnett County Can Help
After a truck accident, you may have several questions about the legal process and your options. Our attorneys at MG Law are here to help you every step of the way.
Whether you need assistance gathering evidence, negotiating with the insurance company, or finding adequate care, we can help you navigate your recovery.