Truck Accident Lawyer Atlanta
Truck Accident Lawyer Atlanta: Not Your Fault, Not Your Expense!
Did you know there are over eleven million trucks operating actively across the United States, many with overworked drivers carrying hazardous materials? In 2016 alone, there were 475,000 large truck accidents with human error accounting for roughly ninety percent of them. And while a Harvard study found that about a quarter of drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel, 50% of professional truck drivers have reported the same issue. With so many drivers relying on highways to get to work every day, it takes just one overworked truck driver for your life to change in an instant. After all, trucks weigh 20-30 times more than a typical car, which can seriously amplify the impact and consequences of an accident. Truck accident cases are complex thanks to the many rules and regulations for the industry. So, if you or a loved one are involved in an accident with a truck, seeking the help of a truck accident lawyer Atlanta becomes vital.
Because truck drivers are often insured in the millions and more than one party can be held vicariously responsible for a driver’s negligence, having an experienced, reliable, and dedicated attorney by your side as soon as possible will help to ensure your case is handled in the most professional and efficient manner.
Remember, identifying all the different lines of insurance is difficult in trucking accidents as the truck and trailer are often insured by different companies, with either or both possibly being guilty of negligence. This is exactly where a truck accident attorney can be very helpful.
What to Do Following a Truck Accident
The amount of confusion immediately following a truck accident can be great. You will want to make sure the police and any necessary emergency workers are called immediately to assist with any injuries or burns.
The police will take extensive notes, statements from all the involved parties and any witnesses, and take photos as part of their accident report. If possible, you will also want to document as much as you can, including witness statements.
If your phone’s camera is working, be sure to take as many pictures as possible of the damage to your vehicle and any injuries you and any other passengers sustained. Doing so can help you ensure that anything the police missed is still documented.
The Leading Causes of Truck Accidents
- Driver Error – Despite the increased size and impact of truck accidents, truck drivers often drive recklessly. They often drive drowsy to reach mileage goals set by their companies and may be operating their truck while under the influence or while distracted.
- Poorly Maintained Trucks – Trucks are often driven thousands of miles per week and if they are not properly cared for, they can become dangerous quickly. While worn brake pads or a cracked windshield must be dealt with if they occur on smaller vehicles, they can be the cause of a major traffic accident on a truck.
- Improperly Loaded Cargo – Loading the beds of commercial trucks must be done carefully and in accordance with the law. If they are loaded improperly, the contents of the cargo on the truck may spill out onto the road and cause accidents and injuries.
- Equipment Failure – Defective parts on a truck may not be the fault of the driver, but they can turn deadly. Your truck accident lawyer Atlanta will be able to tell if a trucking company or manufacturer may be liable for your accident in addition to the truck driver.
How Truck Accidents Are Different from Car Accidents
Commercial freight trucks (or ‘big rigs’) tend to weigh 80,000 pounds or more, twenty times the weight of passenger cars. Despite rules and regulations that are put in place to ensure truck drivers do not drive more than ten hours per day, they are often given financial incentives for traveling large distances faster, which can directly impinge upon other drivers’ safety.
Here are some of the things to consider that make the difference:
- Larger Insurance Policies – Truck drivers’ insurance policies are up to fifty times larger than car accident policies. This often puts the total value of insurance in the millions, so you can bet that the different insurance carriers named in a lawsuit will do everything in their power to prove they were not liable. Veteran insurance adjusters will be called in and employ intricate tactics, such as offering a seemingly-large payout, when your case might be worth far more. Having an experienced and trusted lawyer by your side can help make the process considerably less stressful.
- Increased Property Damage – As noted above, the weight and overall size of an 18-wheeler commercial freight truck are much larger than that of a typical vehicle. That means that any surrounding property is going to be affected much more than in a crash involving two cars.
- More Serious Injuries – Similarly, the injuries that are common in car accidents are also far more severe and can include intensive medical care and bills. From serious whiplash and broken bones to brain trauma and severe lacerations, injuries following a truck accident are often life-changing.
- Much Larger Medical Bills – The amount of time spent in a hospital tends to be much longer than car accident-related injuries. Victims of truck accidents are unable to return to work for a prolonged period, if at all. By working with an experienced lawyer at Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC, we can more accurately calculate your current and future pain and suffering to obtain the compensation you truly deserve.
- Greater Chance of Death – An accident with a large commercial truck is far more likely to result in death than a crash between two passenger cars. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are between 3,000 and 5,000 deaths due to truck accidents every year. Considering the number of variables involved in truck accidents and the considerable resources wielded by the trucking companies and their insurers, getting a no-cost case assessment is a recommended first step when deciding whether to obtain the services of a lawyer.
How Negligence is Established Following a Truck Accident
If you or a loved one were injured by a commercial truck driver and you wish to pursue legal action to seek the compensation you deserve, you will have to prove negligence on the part of the truck driver and any other parties you believe are responsible.
To establish that the accident resulted due to negligence, your truck accident lawyer Atlanta will establish the parameters of the truck driver’s duty of care and demonstrate that there was a breach of that duty that led to your injuries and related damages.
A few common examples of negligence for truck drivers include speeding, texting while driving, running a stop sign or red light, and falling asleep at the wheel due to the high-risk nature of truck drivers’ work.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations stipulate drivers must adhere to the following regulations:
- Maintenance of logbook detailing hours driven
- Documenting hours of service and rest breaks
- Adhering to scheduled and legally-mandated maintenance requirements
- Proper loading of truck cargo, including hazardous materials
- Non-use of controlled substances and alcohol
- Driving no more than ten hours per workday
For a full list of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) related to truck drivers, click here.
Determining Compensation Following a Truck Accident
Like other personal injury lawsuits, the types of compensation available to those affected as the result of an accident involving a truck fall into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Compensation involving economic truck accident damages serves to cover the specific monetary costs, including the following:
- Current Medical Expenses – This may include fees for emergency room visits, hospital care, surgery, assistive devices and appointments with approved medical professionals.
- Future Medical Expenses – Compensation for extended medical attention and care.
- Lost Wages – Compensation for the wages lost between the time of injury and the conclusion of the lawsuit.
- Loss of Earning Capacity – If the victim can demonstrate that their ability to earn a living has been negatively impacted, compensation may be available. The awarding party will look to establish the amount victim could have earned had the car accident not occurred.
Non-economic damages compensate the victim and/or family for non-financial, intangible losses, including:
- Pain and Suffering – This includes compensation for the physical pain suffered as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. The nature of the injury, the extent of the pain, and the length of time the victim is expected to suffer are all included in the calculation of the award.
- Mental Anguish – Compensation for emotional pain stemming from a truck accident, including fright, embarrassment, worry, nervousness, grief, and other forms of emotional distress caused by the accident.
- Loss of Consortium – Compensation awarded to a spouse, parents, and minor children for loss of services, assistance, aid, society, and companionship/care of a loved one, a child, or parents.
In addition to economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages may be applicable if the defendant’s actions causing the injury were willful, malicious, fraudulent, or reckless. Punitive damages serve to punish the offender and dissuade similar behavior in the future.
Why You Should Hire a Truck Accident Attorney
Being involved in a truck accident can be a life-changing event. You may be facing serious injuries with a long recovery ahead of you.
And because truck accident cases can be much more complicated than other auto accident cases, it is crucial to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer Atlanta. Below, we discuss six important reasons you should hire a truck accident attorney, including:
- Trucking Accidents Can Cause Catastrophic Damage
- There May Be Multiple Parties Involved
- Identifying Damages Can Be a Challenge
- The Trucking Industry Has Many Rules and Regulations
- Trucking Insurance is Complex
- Your Attorney Can Develop the Best Legal Strategy
Trucking Accidents Can Cause Catastrophic Damage
The average semi-cab can weigh up to 25,000 pounds, while a fully loaded semi-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When a semi-trailer collides with a 2,000 or 3,000-pound car, the outcome can be devastating for the car’s occupants.
What’s more, semi-trailers and other large trucks have a much longer stopping distance than smaller vehicles. They also don’t maneuver well. This may make accidents more likely when you’re traveling on congested highways.
Because trucks cause more serious, catastrophic injuries and generate more financial damages, truck accident cases are higher stakes than most car accidents.
An experienced truck accident lawyer Atlanta can help you navigate and demystify this daunting process.
There May Be Multiple Parties Involved
If you are injured in a truck accident, you have the right to recover financial damages from anyone responsible. To recover damages, you will need to prove three things:
- Duty (the party had a duty of care toward you)
- Breach (the party breached this duty)
- Damages (this breach caused your injury)
Often, this liability goes beyond the at-fault driver.
The more potential parties that may be involved, the more complex the case becomes, and the more you need a reputable attorney with specific truck-accident experience.
A truck accident attorney will investigate the crash and identify who is liable for the trucking accident. These can include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company or driver’s employer
- The truck manufacturer
- The loading company
- The city or state government
Identifying Damages Can Be a Challenge
For many car accidents, damages are pretty straightforward. You may be able to recover the cost to repair your vehicle and whatever medical expenses you have incurred.
But huge, heavy trucks can cause major damage – and not all this damage may be immediately apparent.
If your injuries are life-changing, you may not know whether you will achieve a full recovery. You could be facing significant medical expenses, physical therapy or rehab, or an extended period off work.
You might not be able to return to work, which means that a damages award will need to compensate you for your lost earning capacity.
It is important for your truck accident lawyer Atlanta to have experience in investigating and developing the evidence you will need to recover full compensation for your losses.
The Trucking Industry Has Many Rules and Regulations
From hours-of-service regulations to sleep apnea testing, the trucking industry is heavily regulated by the federal government.
Agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) have strict rules and regulations all truckers must follow.
Often, negligence and a DOT or FMCSA regulation violation can go hand-in-hand. For example, a driver who regularly violates the FMCSA’s hours-of-service regulation or uses illegal drugs while driving is far more likely to be involved in an accident.
Our experienced truck accident attorneys are well-versed in these regulations, as well as the common causes of trucking accidents. This working knowledge allows your lawyer to more easily identify any potential claims that can be brought.
Trucking Insurance is Complex
Trucking insurance can be just as complex as the broad web of federal trucking regulations.
And even in cases where liability is clear, the trucking company’s insurer has a vested interest in settling a claim as cheaply as possible. This can mean making lowball offers or dragging a claim out for years to pressure you into settling.
You need an attorney who has the skills and resources to fight back against trucking companies and their well-funded insurers.
Your Attorney Can Develop the Best Legal Strategy
If you have suffered serious injuries in a truck accident, it is important that your attorney has the expertise to fight for the compensation you deserve. Trial strategy can be important, especially if your case goes to a jury.
We Are Here to Help You: Count on Us!
For over 30 years, the experienced truck accident attorneys at Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC have helped truck accident victims recover hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation. We can help you too, whether you decide to file a truck accident lawsuit or negotiate directly with the other party’s insurance company.
Not only are our truck accident lawyers deeply familiar with the different tactics used by insurance companies to reduce the compensation amount you deserve, but we also boast a deep network of expert witnesses and investigators to investigate every aspect of an accident.
Following a crash, the trucking company and their insurance company will start an immediate investigation of the scene. They may record statements from witnesses, take photos of the accident scene, and examine the vehicles to determine the extent of damage caused by the crash. State authorities may also launch their own investigation into the accident, which may prove beneficial for your claim.
Once you have chosen to retain the services of our law firm, we go right to work examining every aspect of your case. Our attorney may record statements from witnesses, take photos of the accident scene, and examine the vehicles to determine the extent of damage caused by the crash. These steps include:
- Review camera footage, if available
- Interview witnesses
- Review mandatory police and accident reports
- Analyze and review medical records
- Interview medical staff
- Consult experts to reconstruct the accident scene and recreate the accident
- Help ensure that important evidence is preserved by the truck company and driver
- Obtaining alcohol and drug testing from the truck driver
- Obtain data from the truck’s Electronic Control Module (ECM; i.e. “black box”)
Moreover, our truck accident lawyer Atlanta will also protect any critical evidence from being corrupted by sending a spoliation letter to the truck company before any crucial evidence is lost or destroyed.
Truck Accident Lawyer Atlanta
After receiving this letter, truck companies legally must retain records of evidence pertinent to the case, such as driver logs and black box information. This miss is sent immediately following an accident, however, as truck companies may destroy these records as part of their typical course of business.
To set up a FREE, No-Obligation Consultation/Case Review, call us at (470) 268-5802 or contact us online.