Drivers in Georgia often get a little nervous when they get close to commercial trucks. While most other vehicles on the road pose some type of danger, trucks are especially threatening because of their size and weight. Your typical passenger car weighs around 3,000 to 4,000 pounds but a tractor-trailer can weigh about 70,000 pounds. If a truck hits your car, you’re likely to suffer life-threatening injuries. Some victims don’t survive.
Those that do are often saddled with high medical bills at a time when they are too badly hurt to work. Not every accident involving a truck is the fault of the truck driver. However, if you or a loved one received injuries because of a reckless or negligent truck driver, you deserve compensation. However, you’ll first have to prove that the driver breached their duty to you and other road users. This isn’t something most accident victims can handle on their own even if they have experience with the legal system. You’ll need to contact a skilled auto accident lawyer in Georgia so they can assist you in building a strong case.
Why A Trucker May Be Responsible for a Crash
In addition to the usual traffic laws that all drivers in Georgia must follow, commercial drivers are also subject to special federal safety laws. If they break any of the laws and they cause someone to be injured, they can be held liable.
- Drive too fast for road conditions or above the speed limit
- Drive while texting or talking on the phone
- Drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Drive for more hours than allowed or is safe
- Overload the truck
- Ignore road signs
Even though it may seem obvious to you that the truck driver was at fault, their employer and their insurer will still attempt to evade liability. They may blame a third party or shift the responsibility onto you to get out of paying. Georgia practices a modified comparative fault system. This means you can only get compensation if you were less than 50 percent responsible for what happened. As a result, the other side will be even more motivated to prove that you had a big role to play. Your Albany accident attorney will have to work hard to minimize your share of the blame.
How Fault is Determined in a Truck Accident Case
Truck accidents are somewhat different from the usual crashes involving only passenger vehicles. In the latter case, a driver is usually at fault. However, truck accidents can be more complicated. In many cases, it’s the employer’s insurer who needs to pay compensation and not the driver’s personal insurance company. On other occasions, the person who loaded the cargo or the person who fixed or maintained the vehicle is responsible. Some accidents are due to the action or inaction of more than one party. Therefore, your attorney will investigate your accident thoroughly before determining who is the liable entity. They won’t just assume that the driver is responsible. They’ll look for evidence of how and why the accident occurred.
Some of this evidence will be quite the same as in other accidents. The police report, accident scene photos, and eyewitness reports will still be important. However, there’s evidence that tends to be unique to accidents involving commercial trucks including:
- Truck camera footage. Trucks usually have cameras that record the driver’s actions. If the driver was distracted by something in the vehicle, this may be caught on the camera. The footage may show them eating, drinking or talking on the phone.
- Driver logs. Truck drivers must keep detailed logs of the hours they drive and when they stop to rest. They also need to inspect their trucks and make note of any issues they notice. The logs may show that a driver broke the law by not stopping to rest or that they noticed a mechanical problem but kept driving.
- Alcohol and drug test results. Truck drivers who are involved in accidents that result in injuries or death must be tested. If the driver was impaired, this is evidence of negligence.
Contact Joe Durham Jr. P.C. to Get the Compensation You Deserve!
Truck accidents often result in extensive property damage and serious injuries. If you have to take lots of time off work, you’ll lose out on wages and likely find yourself in financial difficulty. To ensure you get fair compensation, you need to reach out to an experienced Georgia auto accident attorney. Schedule a free consultation today!