When you are injured in a truck accident, your entire life comes to a standstill. You have severe injuries and you are likely to spend a lot of time in hospital and physical therapy facilities. As medical care bills keep coming, your wages are stopped. But an experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney can make sure that you receive fair financial compensation for all your economic losses, plus non-economic damages for pain and suffering.
However, it is not an easy task. Trucking companies are big and powerful and extremely aggressive in protecting their profits. They have developed a full arsenal of tactics to deny any liability after a truck accident. After all, they stand to lose a lot of money – up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Thus, they will try to place blame elsewhere, including on the accident victim. This is what an Atlanta truck accident attorney knows.
Georgia Truck Accident Statistics You Need to Know Of
Many people believe that a truck accident is a very rare and unfortunate occurrence. Truck drivers are experienced, professional and carefully trained. They have to hold a special commercial driver’s license. These are sufficient assurances, right? Unfortunately, the answer is no. And we do not speak only out of our experience as truck accident lawyers in Georgia.
The statistical data released by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety show that:
- 234 people were killed in a truck accident
- 40 of the fatalities were occupants in the truck
- the number of fatalities in truck accidents is constantly increasing:192 in 2018 and 204 in 2019.
These numbers show that the passenger car drivers and occupants are not safe from collisions with a large truck. And, as we will show below, accident victims must seek legal representation from an experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
Ways in Which Truck Companies Try to Deny Liability for Your Injuries
Over the years, the truck accident lawyers in Atlanta at Diaz & Gaeta encountered all the possible ways in which trucking companies try to prevent you from filing an accident claim against them.
These are the most common tactics they use after a truck accident:
1. Coming Up with a Lowball Settlement
In some cases, trucking companies try to put an end to any potential claim before it arises. They authorize their insurance company to send an adjuster to your hospital bed with a quick settlement. They will make it look like they are doing you a favor, because you need the money for the hospital bills.
In reality, this settlement amount barely covers the ambulance ride and the first days of emergency care. You will soon realize that your losses are significantly more than the compensation amount you received. Unfortunately, at this point no Atlanta truck accident attorney can help you anymore. Once you accepted a settlement and signed the documents, you no longer have any legal claim. For this reason, you must never discuss with an insurance adjustment and agree to any offer they make, even verbally.
2. Destroying Physical Evidence
The truck driver’s log book is one of the documents that mysteriously disappear after a truck accident. Why? Most likely it would show that the driver had not complied with the mandatory hours of service set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
As truck accident lawyers in Georgia know, this means that, most likely, the truck accident was caused by drowsy driving. The truck driver simply fell asleep behind the wheel. This is a direct consequence of the fact that they got very tight delivery deadlines from the trucking company. If they wanted to keep the schedule – and keep their job, by consequence – they had to break the law.
3. Destroying Electronic Evidence
Commercial trucks are equipped with a device called the Event Data Recorder (EDR). This is the motor vehicle equivalent of the black box equipped on planes. Among others, the EDR records:
- pre-crash vehicle dynamics
- pre-crash system status
- driver inputs
- restraint usage
- post-crash data, such as the activation of the automatic collision notification system.
These data can be very useful for an Atlanta truck accident attorney to prove fault. And for this reason, trucking companies attempt to retrieve the EDR and delete its data before it gets examined.
4. Blaming You for the Accident
Most frequently, the trucking company will say that the victim was responsible for the truck accident. After all, the modified comparative fault principle applicable to personal injury cases in Georgia states that you must be less than 50% at fault for an accident to be eligible for seeking damages.
Thus, for trucking companies, the simplest thing is to claim that you were more than 49% at fault – including by failure to wear a seatbelt or failure to yield or in other ways. You will need a skilled Atlanta truck accident attorney to collect relevant evidence proving otherwise. On your own, it is nearly impossible to put together a strong case disproving the claims made by the trucking company.
5. Blaming a Third Party
When they cannot find any way to place the blame on you, insurance adjusters representing trucking companies will try to find another party liable for the accident. This could be:
- local government agencies in charge with keeping the roads in good condition
- agencies in charge with making sure that road sign are in place
- another driver or motorcyclist
- wildlife getting in the middle of the road.
While the fault can be shared between the trucking company and a third party in some situations, this does not mean that the truck driver’s employer can deny liability.
6. Claiming that the Driver Is Not an Employee
Finally, when all other tactics are not applicable, the trucking company will deny liability on the grounds that the driver is not an employee but an independent contractor or subcontractor.
However, truck accident lawyers in Georgia have ways of finding out the true employment status of the truck driver and proving that the trucking company should pay for your damages.
Let a Dedicated Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney Win Your Fair Compensation!
At Diaz & Gaeta, you will find a multidisciplinary legal team, specializing in all types of personal injury cases, including truck accident claims. We are not afraid to hold large trucking companies liable when vicarious liability is applicable and we know how to build a strong case in your favor.
We believe that anyone should afford legal representation, so we offer each new client a free consultation. Call us to schedule a meeting with one of our truck accident attorneys: 678-329-9084!