Collisions between tractor trailers and passenger vehicles are notorious for resulting in devastatingly severe injuries, many of which leave victims to struggle with chronic pain and permanent disability for the rest of their lives. While recovering damages from the person or entity who cause these types of collision cannot truly compensate those who find themselves in this situation, it can go a long way towards helping injured parties get started on the long road to recovery. Unfortunately, filing toxic tort claims can be difficult, as these claims often involve multiple liable parties, extensive losses, and serious injuries, so if you were injured in a tractor trailer accident in Georgia, it is important to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer who can help you seek compensation for your losses.
How Common are Tractor Trailer Accidents?
Collisions between commercial vehicles and standard sized cars occur much more often than most people realize. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that there were at least 450,000 police-reported truck accidents in 2017 alone. Tragically, 4,237 of those accidents proved fatal, while 344,000 more involved injuries. Because commercial vehicles are so much larger than their passenger sized counterparts, a disproportionate number of those who lost their lives in these kinds of accidents were occupants of the smaller vehicle.
What Vehicles Qualify as Tractor Trailers?
Tractor trailers are commercial vehicles that are made up of a tractor unit and at least one semi-trailer to transport cargo. Semi-trailers attach to the tractor portion of the vehicle with a fifth-wheel coupling, or hitch, so much of the weight of the semi-trailer is actually carried by the tractor. Unfortunately, this design means that tractor trailers and commercial vehicles in general are susceptible to certain types of collisions, including rollovers and jackknife accidents, both of which can be extremely dangerous for anyone else on the road.
A number of commercial vehicles actually satisfy the definition of a tractor trailer, including: tanker trucks, dump trucks, flatbed trucks, and tanker trucks, oil and gas rigs, and refrigerated trucks. While all of these trucks may vary in size and purpose, the effects of collisions between them and other vehicles are largely the same.
Common Truck Accident Causes
Recognizing that commercial vehicles are much larger and more dangerous than standard sized vehicles, federal regulators instituted a series of rules with which trucking companies and their drivers must comply. These rules cover a wide range of topics, including:
- How to properly load, secure, transport, and unload cargo;
- Maintenance, inspection, and repair standards;
- Hours of service limits;
- Driver training and licensing; and
- Keeping proper records.
Unfortunately, many trucking companies fail to ensure that their drivers comply with these rules, and in some cases, actually encourage their drivers to violate hours of service and record keeping rules. When this type of conduct results in tractor trailer accidents, the at-fault company can be held liable for damages compensating injured parties for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
While driver error can and does contribute to thousands of truck accidents every year, many can also be attributed to mechanical error, such as suspension system failure, defective or degraded brakes, or tire or wheel failure. When these defects can be linked to a failure to properly maintain a vehicle, the trucking company could be held at least partially liable for resulting accidents. If, on the other hand, it was a vehicle part manufacturer’s negligence that caused the defect, it too could be held liable for a portion of the injured party’s damages.
Collecting compensation from the at-fault parties who cause tractor accidents is extremely important for those who are injured in truck-related accidents, as the injuries sustained in these types of collisions tend to be catastrophic in nature. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spinal cord damage, amputations, crushed or broken bones, and burns are some of the most commonly reported tractor crash-related injuries, all of which require long-term treatment and can leave an injured party permanently disabled. Fortunately, damages awards can compensate injured parties for these costs, as well as lost wages and pain and suffering.
Contact an Experienced Georgia Truck Accident Lawyer
To learn more about your own legal options following a truck accident, please call the dedicated truck accident lawyers at MG Law at (770) 629-0586 today. You can also request a free consultation with a member of our legal team by completing one of our online forms.