Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney
Glass & Robson Trial Attorneys
According to a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, of the approximately 411,000 commercial truck accidents in 2014, nearly one-quarter involved a fatality or non-fatal injury. For truck accidents involving injury or death, the overwhelming majority occurred during weekdays between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Unfortunately, truck accidents happen every day throughout Georgia often with devastating consequences.
Due to the large size of commercial trucks (some can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when loaded), the most vulnerable people in a truck accident are other drivers and their passengers who are typically riding in much smaller vehicles. In fact, commercial trucks can often weigh 20-30 times as much as a passenger car, SUV, or pick-up truck.
Because America’s economy relies heavily on commercial trucks to transport goods across the country, they will remain a fixture on our nation’s roadways. While most truck drivers act like professionals and obey the rules of the road, many do not. When a truck driver chooses to drive in an unsafe manner or a trucking company permits an unsafe truck driver to operate one of its commercial vehicles, the results can be catastrophic with innocent motorists and their families bearing the high costs.
The lawyers of Glass & Robson have nearly two decades of experience in handling all kinds of truck accident cases, including commercial motor vehicles, tractor trailers, RVs, buses and delivery trucks. Having handled numerous truck cases throughout Georgia (and even out of state), our knowledgeable attorneys are well-versed in the specific trucking industry rules and regulations that apply to truck drivers and trucking companies. Our knowledge has allowed us to recover millions of dollars for our clients and their families.
WHEN CAN A TRUCK ACCIDENT VICTIM RECEIVE COMPENSATION?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) is a federal agency that falls under the United States Department of Transportation. This federal agency regulates the trucking industry in the United States. The mission of the FMCSA is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial trucks and buses. To achieve this goal, the FMCSA has created safety rules that apply to truck drivers and trucking companies, known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (“FMCSR”).
A truck driver must operate his vehicle with due care when driving on Georgia’s roadways and follow all Georgia traffic laws and ordinances. In addition, truck drivers and trucking companies must also comply with the FMCSR. If a truck driver or trucking company violates Georgia’s traffic laws or the federal rules and causes a truck accident, they can be held liable for the injuries or death caused by their violations. Some of the frequent examples of violations our firm encounters in truck accident cases include:
- Fatigued truck drivers
- Hours of Service and logbook violations
- Impaired and/or intoxicated truck drivers
- Improper maintenance of vehicles and equipment
- Reckless driving (speeding, unsafe passing, tailgating)
- Distracted truck drivers
- Overweight vehicles
- Improperly loaded trailers
- Unqualified drivers and excessive moving violations
In addition to holding a truck driver responsible for causing a wreck that injures or kills someone, the trucking company, the shipper or freight broker, and the insurance company may also be named as parties in a truck accident case. Ultimately, state and federal law determines whether additional parties may be held responsible for you or a loved one’s serious injuries or death, and only an experienced truck accident lawyer can properly advise you on your family about your legal rights.
WHAT COMPENSATION IS AVAILABLE IN TRUCK ACCIDENT CLAIMS?
Depending on the severity of a truck accident, victims may suffer serious physical injury and emotional trauma. In some cases, a driver or their passengers can be paralyzed or killed in a truck accident. A truck accident victim who suffers a life-altering injury because of a truck driver’s negligence is entitled to compensation for their injuries. If the victim is killed, the family may be entitled to pursue a claim for the victim’s wrongful death.
Georgia law specifically allows a person injured in a truck accident to recover their past and future medical bills for treatment related to the wreck, even if health insurance paid for all or a portion of the treatment. If a person will need surgery in the future, they may also be entitled to recover the costs associated with surgery as well as post-op care. A truck accident victim may also receive money for lost wages from time missed from work, both past and future, as well as any decrease in earnings from a reduced work schedule or hourly rate.
In addition to medical bills and lost wages, a truck accident victim is entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and permanent disfigurement or disability. While money cannot undue the physical and emotional scars, it can help a person cope with the mental anguish and provide financial security for them and their family.
In truck accident cases involving a fatality, the surviving family members may pursue a claim for the victim’s wrongful death. In Georgia, the family member or person entitled to bring the claim on behalf of the deceased may recover the full value of the life of the deceased without any reduction for necessary or other personal expenses had the deceased lived. This includes both lost wages as well as intangible losses such as lost relationships, friendships, hobbies, hopes and dreams. A wrongful death claim can also include compensation for pre-death medical expenses, burial and funeral expenses, and pre-death fright and/or conscious pain and suffering, if any.
In many truck accident cases, there is a minimum insurance policy of $750,000 available for the injured victims. Oftentimes, larger trucking companies will carry several layers of excess or umbrella insurance, which will afford significantly more coverage. This is especially important in cases involving catastrophic injuries, multiple victims, and/or wrongful death claims. While no amount of compensation can undo a person’s injuries or restore the losses of a loved one’s wrongful death, money can assist a family to cope with their loss and provide financial security to the family going forward.
HOW CAN AN ATLANTA TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYER HELP?
Often there are numerous factors that cause or contribute to a truck accident or fatality. In every serious injury or death case, the trucking company and its insurance company will respond immediately to the scene to conduct an investigation, collect evidence and meet with witnesses. Hiring a law firm with extensive experience in truck accident cases can help level the playing field.
The lawyers of Glass & Robson will start working immediately to gather evidence, obtain witness statements, locate all responsible parties to the wreck, work with expert witnesses, and notify the various at-fault parties to preserve the evidence necessary to win your case. Many times, the key evidence needed to win a truck accident case can be lost or destroyed, so hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer early is always in your best interest.
While there is usually a clear relationship between a truck driver and the trucking company, this is not always the case. Determining possible corporate entities who can also be named as parties in a truck accident case is especially important where there is limited insurance or where the at-fault truck driver is an owner-operator or driving under a special lease agreement. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help identify these issues and ensure all legally responsible parties their insurance providers are placed on notice of your claim.
The lawyers in our firm have gone up against some of the biggest corporations and insurance companies in the country fighting on behalf of our clients for justice. We are ready to help your family pursue justice if you or a loved one have been hurt in a truck accident. Please give us a call at (404) 751-4702 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.