Each year roughly 5,000 people are killed, and more than 150,000 are injured in trucking accidents in the United States. Truck accidents frequently cause severe injuries and fatalities - and trucking companies may be on the hook for significant damages. Because tractor-trailer trucks and similar commercial vehicles are much larger and heavier than the small cars they share the road with, it is common for them to cause significantly more damage than a passenger car accident.
When a truck crash is caused by the negligence of a truck driver or a trucking company, accident victims and their families may be entitled to significant compensation for their physical injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, or the loss of a loved one in a crash. The Graham Firm has recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for victims of truck accidents in Atlanta, Marietta, Griffin, GA, and throughout the state.
What To Do If You Are In An Accident With A Commercial Truck
One of the most important things to do following a large truck accident is to contact a lawyer immediately. Personal injury lawyers are paid on a contingency fee arrangement, which means that there is no fee unless the lawyer recovers compensation for your injuries. Most personal injury attorneys will offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case and whether you may have a claim against the trucking company. It is important to act quickly, as there are strict deadlines for filing a claim following an accident.
A knowledgeable Georgia truck accident lawyer can help you secure evidence, investigate liability, and ultimately recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
But there are certain things you should do: such as obtaining a police report and getting prompt medical care.
There are also things you should not do: such as providing g a recorded statement or posting on social media about your accident. For more information, see our blog post about the 6 Worst Mistakes to Avoid After a Truck Accident.
How To Prove The Company Truck Was At Fault
Truck accidents have major differences from collisions involving passenger vehicles.
The trucking industry is governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) - a federal agency in the United States Department of Transportation.
The FMCSA's major goal is to reduce deaths, injuries, and collisions involving big trucks and buses.- and they have many regulations pertaining to vehicle inspections, vehicle loading, driver training, driver medical requirements, and driver hours of duty. A violation of an FMCSA regulation can determine whether a trucking company is at fault for a crash.
In certain cases, proving that the truck driver caused the crash is more or less obvious. Although it is possible that the driver of the truck was also the owner of the truck, very often truck drivers are an employee or contract drivers for a trucking company.
Frequently, a thorough investigation is necessary to determine the sequence of events that led up to the crash, and who was responsible. One of the best ways you can determine fault for an accident is to promptly hire a knowledgeable truck accident attorney to investigate your crash - and consult with third-party experts as necessary. The Graham Firm works with some of the top accident investigators and reconstructions to determine fault and liability.
What Damages You Can Claim?
Truck accident claims are meant to make a victim or their families whole for their injuries or loss. Although it is impossible to restore life to before an accident, significant compensation can allow victims to get proper care and live more comfortably. Damages available include:
- Personal Injuries: Trucking companies are responsible for the medical expenses of anyone injured in a truck accident, from ambulance transportation and hospitalizations to future rehabilitation and home care. Additionally, victims may be compensated for lost wages, lost earning capacity, physical pain, and emotional suffering.
- Wrongful death: If someone dies as a result of a truck accident, the trucking company can be held liable. Surviving family members may recover money for funeral and burial expenses, lost earnings the decedent would have earned over their lifetime, and the services they provided at home, such as home maintenance, meal prep, and care for children at home.
- Property damage: Trucking companies are responsible for repairing any damage their trucks cause, including your vehicle and any other property destroyed or damaged in the crash.
What To Do If The Trucking Company Denies Responsibility
For trucking companies, insurance claims are in some respects, a cost of doing business. Their aim is to:
- Settle a claim as quickly as possible
- Settle a claim as cheaply as possible.
A claim may be denied for several reasons. The trucking company may actually try to blame you for a crash. They may claim the driver was not in fact their employee and instruct you to contact the driver and their insurer) directly. Sometimes, denials are part of "deny and delay" tactics to give you the runaround.
As soon as you retain a truck accident lawyer, your attorney will handle all communications with the trucking company on your behalf. A major benefit of retaining a lawyer early is you do not have to negotiate directly with the insurance company.
How To Get The Commercial Truck Company To Pay For Your Damages
Numerous parties may be liable for a Georgia trucking accident, such as the trucking company, the truck driver training school, and the manufacturer of a defective tire on the truck. If liability is not clear or contested, you may need to “work up” the case, having an inspector go through the damage closely, and investigate all aspects of vehicle and driver records. It is important to act quickly before evidence is repaired, destroyed, or lost forever.
In cases where liability is blatantly obvious, such as a driver admitting to falling asleep or clearly under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the trucking company may promptly accept liability and offer to settle a case. However, the amount offered may be significantly less than you could recover with a truck accident lawyer.
Contact An Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer At The Graham Firm
Do not trust a big case to an inexperienced lawyer. The Graham Firm has the truck accident experience to get results. If you’d like to speak with a lawyer about your truck accident case, contact The Graham Firm to schedule a free consultation. We represent truck accident victims compassionately and aggressively, fighting for every dollar they are entitled to.