The trucking industry is heavily regulated to help prevent trucking accidents in Brookhaven. The federal government and the State of Georgia do this because they know that truck crashes often result in serious injuries and even death. But, all of the regulations in the world can’t prevent every accident. And, there are cases where semi drivers ignore the rules and drive dangerously. If you or your loved one were hurt, you need to talk to a Brookhaven semi-truck/18-wheeler accident lawyer.
Our lawyers have extensive experience dealing with complicated trucking accident cases. These situations may involve multiple parties, including large, aggressive insurance firms—having a lawyer who has dealt with similar cases is absolutely essential to getting the money you deserve. Let us give you a FREE consultation and put our 20+ years of knowledge to work for you. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.
Who can I hold liable for my truck accident claim?
If you are in an accident with a truck, there could be several parties involved on the other side. You may assume that a truck driver is working for a trucking company so the focus will be on the company, but that’s not always the case.
In some situations, for example, the driver may own his own tractor, but the company that he’s driving for owns the trailer. That situation involves at least two parties, but it could be more. Under those circumstances, the driver will usually have his own insurance coverage as well. The company that owns the trailer will likely have another insurance company too. Then, the load that is in the trailer could belong to someone else entirely. It’s easy to see how these cases can get complex very fast.
Some of the parties that could be involved in a trucking accident include:
- The truck driver
- The driver’s insurance company
- The company that the driver is employed by
- The company that owns the trailer
- The company that owns the tractor
- The company or entity that owns the load the semi is hauling
- Anyone who did maintenance on the vehicle before the accident
- The manufacturer of the truck or trailer
- Third parties that may have caused the accident
- Passengers and their insurance companies
All of these parties are in the trucking business. They likely understand the rules and regulations that specifically apply to trucking companies and their drivers. This knowledge is critical. They may immediately recognize when a law was violated, for example, but you may not. Having a semi-truck accident attorney help with your trucking accident case gives you the same type of knowledge and experience that these other parties have.
What are the most common causes of 18-wheeler accidents?
Driver error is by far the most common reason that semi-truck accidents occur. While some of these errors could be the fault of the passenger car, they can be the truck driver’s fault too. Some of the most frequent truck driver errors include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving while tired
- Speeding or driving too fast for the road conditions
- Improper truck loading
- Taking corners too tightly
- Improper lane shifting
- Driver inexperience
- Failure to obey traffic laws
A truck driver must meet specific qualifications to drive a semi-truck. Some types of loads also require further licensing. For example, you often need a particular endorsement to haul liquids or hazardous materials. When a driver doesn’t meet these qualifications, but a trucking company lets them drive anyway, that could mean that the trucking company is liable for improper training or negligent entrustment.
Other causes of truck accidents that may not involve the driver include:
- Road defects
- Poor or improper vehicle maintenance
- Manufacturing defects
- Bad tires
- Third parties that force a truck driver to make unsafe maneuvers
Keep in mind that even when you may be partially at fault for an accident, you may still have a legal claim. Talk to a truck accident lawyer to discuss your options in these situations.
How does driver fatigue play into trucking accidents?
Trucking companies sometimes put pressure on drivers to be on the road longer than the law allows to meet deadlines and increase revenue. Drivers sometimes violate these laws by choice to make more money—because they are often paid by the mile, not by the hour.
In situations where drivers violate federal and state laws regarding driving hours or break times, it can significantly increase the occurrence of fatigued driving. Truck drivers who are behind the wheel and tired are far more likely to be involved in a crash for several reasons:
- They are more prone to lane drifting
- They are not as attentive to the road or what is happening around them
- They are more likely to doze off while driving
- They are more likely to overcorrect when they realize that they are drifting or running off the road
- Their judgment may be impaired
- They may not be able to control their speed very well
- They are less likely to notice drivers in their blind spots, motorcycles, pedestrians, and bicycles
Truck drivers are required to keep log books of their driving activities. With the increase of electronic systems that track each truck with GPS, fake log books are far less likely to be used. But, situations where a driver alters their diary sheets can still occur. A truck driver might keep two log books—one that is actually true (so they can get paid their full miles driven), and one that complies with strict trucking regulations. Some trucking companies look the other way when drivers do this because it makes them more money as well.
Trucking companies and drivers are only required to keep data about driving time for a specific period of time. Don’t wait to get started on your trucking accident case—this valuable evidence may be gone for good.
Talk to a Brookhaven Semi-Truck & 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer for Free
You don’t have to go through this experience alone, and you don’t have to take the first settlement offer the insurance company provides. Our lawyers offer personalized, compassionate service—and we offer a FREE consultation to help you determine your legal rights and options. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.