Commercial trucks are large, and truck drivers are responsible for ensuring they don’t endanger other drivers on the road. However, there are times when truck drivers don’t follow the law. When this happens, it can cause a minor or life-threatening truck accident.
A truck accident can result in hospital bills and an overall loss in the quality of your life. If you were injured in a truck accident in Lithonia, one of our lawyers can help you build your case and fight for the compensation you deserve. We fight for our clients’ rights so they can live their lives again.
Why Are Truck Accidents More Dangerous?
When you get hit by a truck, the accident and injuries are often more severe because of the truck’s large size. The features of large commercial trucks make the accident’s impact harder and more forceful, increasing the chance of fatalities. Some of the factors that make a truck accident more dangerous include:
Contents in truck: Unlike cars, semi-trucks are often responsible for transporting goods across the country. If you get into a collision with a truck with chemicals or flammable materials, it could cause greater injuries than a regular car accident.
Center of gravity: Trucks have a higher center of gravity which can increase the chances of rolling over, which could cause a multi-lane collision on the road or highway.
Length: Semi trucks’ long bodies can cover more area meaning if they tip over, they can crush multiple cars.
Weight: The average semi-truck weight is about 80,000 pounds. Compared to cars, trucks are significantly heavier and can cause more damage if they fall on cars.
Height: Semi-trucks are greater in height and farther from the ground. If a semi-truck falls, its greater height and weight will create a stronger impact.
Other factors like delayed stopping distance and blindspots make truck accidents and driving close to semi-trucks more dangerous. A way to avoid truck accidents is to be aware of your surroundings and drive defensively.
Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents
According to Ga. Code § 9-3-33, you have two years to file a personal injury claim for injuries you sustained from a truck accident. If you wait some time before you file, your chances of winning your case and the amount of your settlement decrease. In some cases, the defendant’s lawyer may try to use that you waited to file against you.
Their lawyer may suggest that the accident didn’t affect you to the degree you say it did, accusing you that your intentions are not genuine. Filing a claim as soon as possible can help you remember as much information as possible, making a clearer picture of the accident.
Determining Fault in a Truck Accident
Georgia is an at-fault state which states that if one driver is found to be 51% or more at fault, they cannot seek compensation from the other driver. In addition, Georgia has an apportionment statute that allows fault to be split between the responsible parties if one driver’s fault does not add up to more than 51%. This means that each party’s compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault in the accident.
In truck accidents, more people could be at fault in the accident. So determining fault may require an in-depth investigation of fault due to the various people responsible for commercial trucks. Some of the people who could be an at-fault party include:
The truck driver is the most common at-fault party because they are in charge of the truck and interact with other drivers on the roads. When hired, drivers agree to drive at a safe speed and take extra precautions because of their truck’s large size. However, when they don’t follow these rules, accidents often occur.
Truck drivers are required to follow federal and Georgia state laws. Some of these laws include the prohibition of drinking alcohol, speeding, and texting while on duty. If a commercial truck driver does any of these things while driving and causes an accident, they may share fault or be fully responsible for the accident.
The company that owns the truck can also be responsible for the accident. Trucking companies are obligated by law to provide drivers with proper training, regularly perform background checks and drug tests, and provide safe working conditions for their employees.
According to C.F.R § 395.3, a truck driver cannot work for more than 14 hours straight. If the truck driver that hit you was tired or fell asleep while driving, the trucking company may share some of the fault because overworking employees isn’t a safe working condition. If the company scheduled the driver for more than 14 hours, that can be used as evidence to prove fault in the accident. Other actions that can make the trucking company at fault include:
- Failure to drug test drivers
- Creating a schedule that requires drivers to speed
- Failure to report a faulty truck
Keeping commercial trucks up-to-date on maintenance ensures that truck drivers can drive safely and do their job. Mechanics inside or outside the trucking company often complete truck maintenance and inspections. But if mechanics don’t service the truck properly and the truck gets into an accident, the mechanic or entire auto company may be partially at fault.
For example, if the truck that hit you was missing a part it needed causing it to malfunction, the mechanic who worked on the truck could be partially at fault. A service receipt can prove that the mechanic didn’t fully service the truck.
Other actions that can make the mechanic at fault include:
- Improper or incomplete repairs
- Skipping inspections
- Improper installations
If the truck driver’s cargo contributes to an accident, the shipping company may be partially at fault. Shipping companies should have a good understanding of the center of gravity when loading trucks. If they do not, this can result in improper loading, contributing to an accident and resulting in the shipping company being partially at fault.
Improper loading can make a commercial truck imbalanced, which increases the chance that it will roll over and cause an accident. A photo of how the shipping company loaded the truck is a good piece of evidence to have to prove the shipping company’s fault.
Other actions that can make the shipping company at fault include:
- Shipping illegal cargo
- Improper loading training
- Failing to communicate details about the cargo to the driver
Seeking Compensation for Damages After a Truck Accident
When you’ve been in a truck accident, there may be more damages than if it were a regular car accident. Your lawyer can help identify and calculate the amount of damages you are eligible to receive. Based on the details of your case, you may be able to receive compensation for:
- Current and future medical bills
- Vehicle repairs or replacements
- Physical therapy
- Loss of income
- Non-economic losses like pain and suffering
We offer a free case evaluation, where one of our lawyers will examine your case and determine if you have a valid case. If you have a valid case, they can estimate how much in damages you may receive.
Talk to a Lithonia Truck Accident Attorney Today
At Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer, we take truck accidents seriously because we’ve seen the damage they can cause, physically and financially. Whether the truck driver or the shipping company is at fault, we are dedicated to fighting for your compensation.
Call us or fill out the form on our contact us page to schedule your free case evaluation. We’ll answer any questions you have and provide detailed information about your case.