Commercial truck wrecks can cause catastrophic damage and lifelong injuries. If you have been in one, you may have serious injuries and skyrocketing medical bills. You may be wondering who is responsible and where to turn for help.
Our semi-truck and 18-wheeler accident lawyers in Atlanta understand these big rig accidents and the injuries they cause. We have helped many truck accident victims recover the money they need to pay for medical care and begin putting their lives back together.
File Your 18-Wheeler Accident Case on Time in Atlanta
One of the most important factors in any personal injury claim is Georgia’s statute of limitations. Throughout the state, you have up to two years to file your claim before running out of time, according to Georgia Code §9-3-33.
Two years can sound like a long time, but it flies by when you are struggling through an arduous injury recovery process and negotiating with opposing insurance companies. Allow one of our Atlanta semi-truck and 18-wheeler accident attorneys to help you ensure that you file your case on time and you retain your right to pursue compensation.
Fault in an Atlanta Semi-Truck Wreck
A semi-truck accident may be the fault of the truck driver or another motorist. Sometimes, there is a different cause, such as poor maintenance or an equipment failure. Fault is a critical part of any accident claim because the party who is at fault must pay for the accident. This includes everyone’s injuries as well as all property damage.
Truck drivers are not always at fault, but there are certain characteristics of 18-wheelers that mean they’re especially prone to accidents:
Trucks have a different braking system than passenger cars. The type of brakes that trucks have, coupled with an 18-wheeler’s size and weight, makes it hard for a large truck to stop or slow down quickly to avoid an accident.
Semi-trucks have larger blind spots than cars – huge blind spots along their sides. This increases the chance that a truck driver will have an accident while changing lanes.
Trucks can tip over or jackknife. Turning and going around curves are especially hazardous for semi-trucks because if these maneuvers are done too fast or handled poorly, the truck can tip onto its side or bend into a jackknife position. The accident may be compounded if the truck also spills cargo or hazardous substances onto the roadway.
A truck’s driver is more likely to be tired. Truckers often have grueling schedules, and that means they may not be able to get adequate rest. Being tired or fatigued impairs a driver’s judgment, making accidents more likely. Federal regulations restrict how long drivers can operate vehicles, and companies or drivers who skirt those rules can be held liable.
Other drivers can also pose risks when sharing the road with large trucks. They may not be aware of trucks’ blind spots or limited braking capacity, or they may force the truck’s driver to react too quickly because of aggressive, drunk or distracted driving.
Why Fault Matters in Georgia Truck Accidents
Georgia is known as a “modified comparative fault” state. This means that the amount of fault attributed to you for the accident will directly reduce your compensation package. Here are the salient points, as found in Georgia Code §51-12-33.
- You can only sue for compensation if you are less than 50% at-fault
- Your percentage of fault reduces your compensation by an equal percentage
For example, if your total damages come to $100,000 and you are 10% responsible for the semi-truck accident in which you were injured, you would end up with 10% less compensation. Your takeaway would be $90,000.
This is why establishing the fault of other parties is so crucial in these cases.
Types of Compensation in Atlanta 18-Wheeler Accidents
If the accident was not your fault, you can recover all your losses, which are also known as “damages.” Georgia law divides damages in a personal injury case into two categories: special damages and general damages.
Special damages are the direct costs you have had, or will have in the future. They include:
- Your initial medical bills
- Physical therapy costs
- Repairs for the damage to your car
- Loss of income due to missed work
General damages are losses that are harder to put a dollar value on. General damages are intended to make up for the way the accident has affected your life. They can include issues like:
- Forced career changes
- Development of a disability
- Reduced participation in raising your children
- General pain and/or chronic pain from the injury
General damages are typically included in an award for “pain and suffering.” In a serious accident, you may receive far more for pain and suffering than for your special damages. A semi-truck and 18-wheeler accident attorney in Atlanta can determine which types of compensation apply in your case.
Wrongful Death Claims in Atlanta Semi-Truck Crashes
If you are the spouse, child, or parent of someone who lost their life in a semi-truck accident, you may have a right to make a claim for wrongful death. A wrongful death claim covers the loss of your loved one’s life, including lifetime earnings and the loss of the ability to enjoy a full life.
You may have a claim for your own suffering, plus medical bills, funeral costs and other losses. A lawyer can advise you on filing a claim if your loved one died.
How Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You Recover
An insurance company may offer you money on its own, but this offer will almost never be as much as your claim is really worth. Insurance companies want to make a profit, even if it means you don’t have enough money to cover all your medical bills.
A semi-truck and 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Atlanta is especially important in a truck accident because injuries are usually serious and there are many parties who might potentially be at fault – and therefore responsible for paying. For example, we may need to look at the liability of:
- The driver themselves
- The driver’s trucking company
- The truck manufacturer
- Maintenance or repair experts who worked on the truck
A lawyer can get evaluations from doctors and experts to show what your special damages will really add up to. A lawyer can investigate your accident and find out who is truly responsible. A lawyer can make a strong argument to win you the general damages you are entitled to. If necessary, a lawyer can recover money through a truck accident lawsuit in Atlanta.
You may need a truck accident lawyer in Atlanta to recover the full value of your claim; without legal assistance, it is hard to get the full amount you deserve. Remember, insurance companies deal with these types of cases on a daily basis. Make sure you are represented by someone who also has that level of experience.
Talk to an Atlanta Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer for Free
Our Atlanta semi-truck and 18-wheeler accident lawyers have been helping truck accident victims for decades, and we won’t charge you a fee unless we win you money. We’d like to give you a FREE consultation to talk about your case. There’s no obligation. Call us or fill out our online contact form to get your free consultation today.