A Brief Summary of the Following Article
- Complexities of Truck Accidents: Truck accidents are notably complex due to the involvement of large vehicles and the trucking industry’s rigorous regulations. These incidents often result in significant injuries and require an understanding of unique laws and regulations governing commercial trucking.
- Investigation and Liability: Proper investigation and determining liability in truck accidents are essential. This process includes analyzing driver conduct and truck maintenance records and identifying all potentially liable parties, such as trucking companies, vehicle manufacturers, or cargo loaders.
- Insurance Negotiations: Truck accident claims typically involve dealing with multiple insurance policies and adjusters. Navigating these claims demands expertise in negotiating fair settlements that adequately cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
- Legal Representation by Hasner Law: Hasner Law specializes in providing legal assistance for truck accident victims in Atlanta. Their experienced attorneys adeptly handle the intricacies of truck accident claims, from thorough investigations to assertive negotiations with insurance companies, ensuring that victims receive the compensation they deserve.
Have you suffered injuries because you were involved in a motor vehicle accident involving a truck in Atlanta? You may be entitled to compensation from the truck driver, trucking company, or another negligent third party. Call an Atlanta truck accident attorney from Hasner Law at (678) 928-8784.
Our Atlanta attorneys will work tirelessly to secure maximum compensation on your behalf. Give our law offices a quick call to schedule a free consultation and learn more today.
Why Should I Call a Personal Injury Attorney After My Atlanta Truck Accident?
It’s not surprising to learn that our economy relies heavily on the trucking industry. Commercial hauling of products on our roadways is a crucial part of nearly all business sectors. But, sometimes, these large vehicles get into accidents.
Due to the sheer size of these rigs, which include 18-wheelers, delivery trucks, tow trucks, and garbage trucks, the resulting damage can be devastating. If you are involved in a collision with a truck, you may require expensive medical treatment, a lengthy rehabilitation process, and your ability to work and day-to-day living may be impacted.
Note that truck accidents can be more complicated than simple car accidents near you. This is because the driver is typically an employee for a commercial company, and/or there may be underlying problems with the vehicle. These issues can make it difficult to sort out liability. For these reasons, it’s important to speak with our personal injury attorneys about your case.
5 Benefits of Hiring an Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney
The following are five benefits of working with a truck accident attorney:
- Understanding Truck Laws and Regulations
After a truck accident in Atlanta, understanding and using the intricate laws and regulations governing the trucking industry is paramount to strengthen your case. Unlike typical road accidents, commercial vehicles are bound by a unique set of federal and state regulations that influence everything from vehicle maintenance to driver working hours.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates strict guidelines on the number of hours a truck driver can operate within a given period to prevent fatigue-related accidents. Additionally, there are regulations regarding the weight and loading of trucks, mandatory rest periods for drivers, and regular maintenance and inspection schedules. Violations of these regulations play a significant role in the causation of accidents. A seasoned truck accident attorney at Hasner Law brings an in-depth understanding of these regulations to the table.
- Dealing With Large Truck Companies
Truck accidents often involve not just the drivers but also the large trucking companies they work for. These corporations typically have extensive resources, including teams of experienced attorneys and substantial insurance coverage. For an individual involved in an accident with a truck, facing this kind of corporate power can be daunting.
One of the primary roles of a Hasner Law truck accident attorney in such scenarios is to level the playing field. At Hasner Law, we understand the tactics these companies might use to minimize their liability or to offer settlements that are less than the victim deserves. We may effectively counter these strategies, ensuring the victim’s rights are protected.
- Experienced Accident Investigation
One of the first steps a Hasner Law truck accident attorney takes is gathering and preserving evidence. This includes images of the accident scene, witness statements, police reports, and surveillance footage, if available. Given the larger scale and potential severity of truck accidents, the evidence-gathering process can be more complex compared to standard car accidents.
It’s also worth noting that truck accident attorneys at Hasner Law are well-versed in identifying and dealing with cases involving hazardous materials. Trucks carrying dangerous goods are subject to stringent regulations, and a breach of these can have severe implications.
- Determining Liability of One or Multiple Parties
In truck accident cases, liability can extend beyond the truck driver. Potentially responsible parties may include the company, the owner of the truck, the truck or parts manufacturer, and even third-party logistics providers or contractors. Each of these entities can have a varying degree of responsibility for the accident.
A skilled truck accident attorney at Hasner Law will meticulously examine the relationships between these parties to determine liability. For instance, if a mechanical failure caused the accident, the manufacturer of the faulty part might be liable. If it was due to improper cargo loading, the company responsible for loading might be at fault. In cases where the trucking company pressured the driver to ignore rest periods or vehicle maintenance regulations, the company itself could be held responsible.
- Handling Communications With Insurance Adjusters
Commercial truck accidents often involve multiple insurance policies, which can include the truck driver’s personal insurance, the trucking company’s commercial policy, and possibly additional policies from other involved entities like cargo loaders or truck manufacturers. Each of these policies can have different terms, coverage limits, and conditions.
A Hasner Law truck accident attorney ensures insurance companies do not undervalue or deny legitimate claims. We know the tactics insurance companies might use to minimize payouts, such as disputing the severity of injuries or arguing over fault.
Moreover, we can handle complex discussions with insurance adjusters, using the gathered evidence to strengthen your case. This is particularly important in truck accident cases, where the extent of damages—including medical bills, lost wages, and emotional suffering — can be substantial. We will ensure that all damages are properly documented and accounted for in the claim, including potential long-term effects and expenses.
Information on Truck Accidents
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are nearly 500,000 truck crashes reported each year. Of these, 0.8% result in death, and 22% result in some sort of injury. Interestingly enough, the most dangerous places for trucks are non-urban environments. In fact, 61% of all fatal crashes take place in rural locations near you.
Keep in mind that driver-related factors are far less likely to be the cause of a fatal crash involving a truck. By comparison, these factors are present in 55% of passenger car crashes but in only 32% of truck accidents.
The most common driver-related factor is speeding, followed by distraction or inattention, such as using a cell phone or eating/drinking.
Other factors include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Being fatigued or falling asleep
- Emotional distress
- Aggressive driving
- Unbalanced/improper cargo distribution, and
- Ignoring hazards.
It’s important to make sure that your truck accident is investigated carefully. You’ll want to be certain that you know why it happened and who might share the blame. Contact Hasner Law to learn more about how we can help you with your truck accident injury case today.
Steps to Take After Being Injured in a Truck Accident in Atlanta, GA
Being a victim of a truck collision can be a disorienting and traumatic experience. Knowing the right steps to take immediately following the incident can be crucial for both your safety and any future legal action. Here is a guide on what to do in the aftermath of a truck accident:
- Ensure Your Safety and Check for Injuries
First and foremost, assess your own safety and health. If you are able to move without causing further injury, get to a safe location. Check on others involved in the accident and provide assistance if you can do so safely. If anyone is catastrophically injured, call emergency services immediately.
- Call the Police
Even in seemingly minor accidents, it’s important to contact the police. A responding officer will create an accident report, which can be critical in any legal proceedings. Cooperate with the police officers at the scene, but avoid admitting liability or making statements that may be used against you later.
- Document the Scene
Capture images and videos of the accident, including vehicle positions, damages, road conditions, traffic signs, and any injuries. Note the time, location, and weather conditions. If there are witnesses, collect their contact information.
- Exchange Contact Information
Exchange contact and insurance information, making sure to note the truck’s license plate, the company name on the truck, and any identifying details.
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine, it’s crucial to see a doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries, particularly related to the head, neck, or spine, may not be immediately apparent. Follow all medical recommendations and keep records of all treatments and diagnoses.
- Consult With a Truck Accident Attorney
Consider consulting with a truck accident attorney at Hasner Law, especially if you have sustained injuries or significant vehicle damage. Our legal team can provide legal counsel on how to proceed next, deal with insurance companies, and, if necessary, represent you in legal claims.
- Notify Your Insurance Company
Inform your insurance company about the accident, but be cautious in your communication. Provide basic facts, but avoid speculating about fault or liability.
- Keep Detailed Records
Document all details related to the truck accident, including medical bills, repair estimates, lost wages, and other related expenses.
Truck Driver Regulations in Georgia
Commercial truck drivers have more rules and regulations to follow than drivers of passenger cars. This is important because failing to follow these rules can be grounds for finding a driver at fault for an accident, provided the violation caused the collision.
Here are some examples of rules that apply to commercial truck drivers in Georgia:
- Licensing: The driver must have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Georgia requires drivers to be at least 18 years of age and 21 years of age if they will be crossing state lines.
- Testing and Inspection: The driver must be drug tested prior to employment and tested again if there is any suspicion of drug use. Further, the truck must be inspected regularly and comply with the state’s minimum safety requirements, such as having working brakes, lights, and equipment.
- Vehicle Weight and Signage: The driver’s load cannot exceed the weight limit for the road. In addition, proper signage must be displayed if the driver is hauling hazardous materials.
- Time limits: If the driver is hauling property, he or she has a window of 14 hours in which to drive before taking a mandatory consecutive 10-hour break. During these 14 hours, the driver can have up to 11 hours of actual drive time.
- The driver cannot go more than 8 hours without a 30-minute break
- The driver cannot drive more than 60 hours in one week or more than 70 hours in an 8-day period
Note that this clock resets once a driver has taken 34 or more consecutive hours off.
Rules of the Road: The driver must follow basic rules of the road applicable to all drivers, including complying with all post speed limits, using turn signals, and stopping at red lights.
Steps to Investigating a Truck Accident in Georgia Near You
If you are injured in a truck accident, you may be interested in what legal options are available to you. Keep in mind that if you decide to file an Atlanta truck accident lawsuit, you must prove that someone acted negligently. Negligence means that the person failed to act reasonably under the circumstances, and this behavior led to your injury.
Negligence is not always easy to show. For that reason, it’s important that you have evidence to back up your claim. This will give you a greater chance of success during settlement negotiations or if your case goes to trial.
As you might have guessed, there are more issues to investigate in a Georgia truck accident than with a simple car crash. In looking for evidence of negligence, an experienced accident attorney in Atlanta will review the following:
- The truck driver’s credentials. Was the driver properly licensed for the vehicle he was driving?
- The truck driver’s track record. Was there a history of accidents caused by the driver?
- Maintenance records for the truck. Could the trucking company have acted negligently? Are there manufacturing defects on record for this truck?
- The company log. Was the organization following state and federal laws and regulations?
- Local and state statutes. Are there any laws particular to this area?
- Reports from the accident. Was there anything reported to the police?
Note that after an accident, it’s always good practice to document and photograph what you can. It’s also helpful to write down the contact information of any witnesses who can help corroborate your side of the story.
How Can I Get Money After an Atlanta Truck Accident?
In a typical car accident, the process of collecting from a driver that was at fault is fairly straightforward. In most cases, you either go through the driver’s insurance company and negotiate a settlement or file a claim in court and pursue a damage award.
But, with a truck accident, this process can be much more complicated. If you believe that the driver was negligent, you may have grounds to bring the lawsuit against him directly. But, the company employing the driver may also be liable. In many cases, this will depend on whether the driver is classified as an employee or an independent contractor.
This classification is not always clear, but it often depends on the degree to which the company has control over the driver’s actions. Specifically, the less control the company has, the less likely they are to be found liable. But, in some cases, an employer can still be considered at fault, even in independent contractor arrangements.
For example, if the company knew that the driver had a poor driving record, but they chose to work with him anyway, this could be considered negligent hiring practices. Further, if you are able to prove that the accident was caused by an issue with the truck itself, it might be possible to sue the manufacturer of the vehicle for negligence. As you can see, these cases can get very complex. For that reason, it can be helpful to reach out to a qualified attorney to help you navigate the process.
Damages Available to Georgia Truck Accident Victims
If you were injured in a large truck or tractor-trailer accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. These are referred to as “damages” and are amounts paid to you to cover your medical bills, lost income, and even pain and suffering.
Calculating Damages After Your Atlanta Truck Accident
Now, medical expenses and lost earnings are fairly straightforward forms of damages. They are objective, which means the calculation is based on your actual out-of-pocket costs.
Pain and suffering, on the other hand, are subjective and much more difficult to reduce to a specific dollar amount. These damages are typically decided during settlement negotiations or by a jury after a trial and consider such factors as your physical pain and mental anguish as well as loss of enjoyment of life.
Note that there is no cap on what you can get for pain and suffering.
Damages Following a Fatal Georgia Truck Accident
Keep in mind that dependents and spouses of a deceased victim can also be awarded damages. These are typically meant to compensate for lost income that the victim would have made during his life as well as additional amounts to cover funeral/burial expenses. They also may compensate for more subjective factors, such as loss of companionship.
Sharing Fault for a Georgia Truck Accident
It’s important to note that you can generally still recover compensation from a truck driver even if you were partially at fault for the accident. An example might be if you were texting while driving but were hit in an intersection by a truck driver who ran a red light. In Georgia, you can be awarded damages so long as you weren’t more than 50% to blame for the collision. This means that if you are found to be 51% at fault, you would be entitled to nothing.
Apportioning fault in an accident is not always easy, and in close cases, there can be a lot of uncertainty if these matters go to trial. For that reason, it’s important to speak with an Atlanta truck accident lawyer to evaluate your case and advise you on how best to proceed.
How Long Will It Take for a Truck Accident Claim to Settle?
If you’re a victim of a truck accident relying on compensation for financial stability, you may wonder about the duration of truck accident claims. The timeline for these claims can vary, ranging from a few months to several years. This variation largely depends on the complexity of your truck accident case, the willingness of the involved parties to negotiate, and the specific laws applicable to the case. A significant portion of the time is often consumed by the discovery process, during which both sides gather and exchange crucial information about the accident’s cause and the subsequent legal consequences.
The strength of your argument and the strategy of your case are key factors influencing the likelihood of securing compensation. To increase your chances of a successful lawsuit, seeking the legal guidance of the Hasner Law truck accident attorneys is in your best interest, as it often makes insurance companies and at-fault parties take your claim more seriously.
Contact Our Atlanta, GA Truck Accident Lawyers Today
If you were involved in a truck accident, it’s important to contact a qualified personal injury attorney early on in the process. Don’t feel pressured into accepting a settlement until you speak with a law firm that has experience with trucking accident cases.
At Hasner Law, we have years of experience negotiating with insurance companies and navigating complex cases involving multiple parties. Often, these matters lead to a settlement, but we are also prepared to take your case to trial if we can’t reach an agreement. We are dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve. Call our law firm today at (678) 928-8784 for a free consultation or fill out a contact form.
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