Sadly, truck accidents are a common occurrence. The bulkiness of a truck increases the likelihood of getting injured in an accident involving a truck. Trucking companies have insurance adjusters whose goal is to pay as little as possible in claims. You need an expert Smyrna truck accident lawyer to represent you if you get involved in a truck accident.
Truck Accident Statistics
In a report released in 2017 by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 841 death victims involved in the accidents were truck occupants. Further, 3450 occupants who were death victims in the other vehicles were involved in accidents with large trucks.
In 2018, 135 deaths in Georgia were a result of truck accidents. It has been determined that 24% of these accidents are caused by drunk driving. In 2016, Georgia was ranked 4th in the nation in truck accident cases.
What Should You Do After a Smyrna Truck Accident?
A truck accident is likely to leave you wondering what to do next. Here are the most critical steps to take after a truck accident:
After a truck accident, calling 911 is helpful, especially if anyone got hurt or died on the spot. You may also opt to call the state highway patrol officers responsible for filing an accident report, assessing the situation, and instructing you on the way forward.
Accidents cause a lot of confusion. The best you can do for anyone involved in the accident with you is help them according to their need. However, please refrain from helping critically injured individuals since their situation is best handled professionally.
It is hard to find individuals involved in an accident with you after they leave the scene. Exchanging information will help you trace them easily whenever the need arises. Be sure to exchange contact and insurance information with the other party.
Document the Scene, Speak With Witnesses
You should take photos and videos of the scene showing the damage to vehicles, injuries, road conditions, etc. Take the contact of any witnesses on the scene.
Seek Medical Attention
Your health matters. You should visit a hospital after an accident even when you are convinced you are not hurt. The adrenaline could be masking pain for injuries. Having medical documentation is key for claiming compensation.
Contact an Attorney
Consult a truck accident lawyer if you believe you were not at fault in the accident. A lawyer will help you navigate the case and get the right compensation.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer in Smyrna Help?
A truck accident lawyer plays numerous roles in ensuring that you access justice. Some of these roles include:
Truck accident lawyers examine the case using medical records, police records, the truck’s ‘black box data, and other available documents. We also interview the witnesses to ensure we do not leave anything to chance. Our attorneys know where to check to prove that you were not at fault.
Filing a Claim
Truck accident cases need a lot of paperwork that you might not be familiar with. If the paperwork is wrongly done, it affects the likelihood of having you win the case. Our attorneys make sure that all the paperwork is done timely and correctly.
Insurance companies are never on your side during a claim. In many cases, they will try to pressure you into accepting a settlement amount that is less than what you deserve. Attorneys are here to see that you get the compensation you need.
Most cases conclude with a settlement deal. However, if the insurance company won’t cooperate and pay you fairly, our truck accident lawyers in Smyrna are more than ready to represent you in court. We know how to prepare a strong case and present the evidence before the judge and jury.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive?
At Georgia, you can access several compensations classified into three main categories. These include:
These are compensations that can be monetary quantified. The amounts vary according to the extent and cause of damage. They include;
- Lost benefits
- Lost incomes
- Loss of the earning capacity.
- Medical expenses
- Replacement and repair costs
These refer to intangible losses that cannot be monetary quantified. They include:
- Emotional pain
- Pain and suffering
The court may order the defendant to pay punitive damages if they engaged in reckless acts that showed a disregard for the lives of others. This is meant to act as a punishment and a way to discourage such behavior.
How Much Can I Expect to Recover Through My Truck Accident Claim?
We can only determine your truck accident claim worth by investigating several factors. These factors include:
- Nature and magnitude of an injury
- Financial losses and expenses
- Evidence of fault
- Prompt medical care
- Post-accident lifestyle
- Insurance Coverage
- Pre-existing conditions
- Your statements and actions
Without the help of an attorney, insurances are likely to give you a quick low-ball settlement offer that does not take care of all aspects. Accpeting a quick settlement could cause you to have financial needs that you will find hard to navigate in the future. Contact a trusted Smyrna truck accident lawyer to recover the full compensation you deserve.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Truck Accident Claim?
If you are injured in a truck accident, Georgia’s statutes of limitations for truck accidents require you to file an injury claim within two years. Talk to a trusted Smyrna truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to get your claim started.
How Is Fault in a Truck Accident Determined?
Our injury attorneys help you determine who was at fault and why. They do so by identifying the elements of negligence listed below:
- Duty of Care: Truck drivers have a duty of care to follow traffic laws and FMCSA regulations. Truck companies must hire qualified drivers.
- Breach of Duty of Care: Your attorney must prove that the defendant did not meet the applicable duty of care.
- Damages: Attorneys must prove the victim suffered actual injuries and losses.
- Causation: An attorney needs to prove that the plaintiff’s injury resulted from the defendant’s negligent conduct.
Georgia’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
The modified comparative negligence law in Georgia dictates that you only get compensation from the defendant if your degree of fault in a truck accident is less than 50%. The law also reduces the amount of compensation you receive according to your degree of fault. So if you are 20% at fault, the defendant only pays 80%.
Can a Lawyer Prove the Truck Driver Was Negligent?
We use many ways to prove that the truck driver acted negligently, causing the accident. Some of the ways we use include:
- Training documentation
- Cell phone records
- Repair and maintenance records
- Skid marks
- Photos of the scene
- Audio records
- Drug and alcohol testing results
Who Can Be Held Liable?
Attorneys must determine whether a single person or more than one person was liable for the accident. Several people are likely to be liable in a truck accident. These include:
- The Truck Driver: A truck driver is liable if they were distracted, reckless, or went against the law.
- The Trucking Company: The company can be held liable if they didn’t properly screen applicants, failed to provide adequate training, or pushed drivers to drive for longer than regulations allow.
- The Company that Loaded the Truck: Cargo loaders could be found responsible based on incomplete inspection or not securing the cargo properly.
- The Vehicle or Parts Manufacturers: A manufacturer is responsible when an attorney determines that a mechanical defect in the truck caused the accident.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The following are the most common causes of truck accidents that our firm has seen:
- Driver Fatigue: It is common to have bosses set unrealistic arrival times for the truckers. Truckers often drive for many hours without taking a break, increasing the likelihood of an accident.
- Reckless Driving: Speeding is one of the most common factors in reckless driving.
- Distracted Driving: The large size and longer stopping time of trucks make distracted driving even more dangerous.
- Poorly Trained or Inexperienced Drivers: Truckers need to go through proper training before they begin working. Poorly trained or inexperienced drivers have higher chances of causing accidents.
- Drug Use: The use of drugs impairs a trucker’s judgment on the road. Sometimes these could be prescribed and not illegal drugs.
- Poor Road Conditions: Conditions such as loose debris or potholes can easily cause drivers to lose track, especially when driving at high speed.
- Equipment Malfunction: Any equipment malfunctioning could easily cause the truck to lose control.
- Oversized or Improperly Secured Freight: Improperly loaded cargo can either be a load that exceeds the set limits or is not evenly distributed. Any of these factors increase the chances of a truck accident.
- Lack of Truck Maintenance: Trucks are put through a lot of use and hence need routine maintenance. Lack of maintenance can impact the driver’s ability to control the truck.
Experienced Smyrna Truck Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one was involved in a truck accident where you are not liable, do not carry the burden alone. Let our truck accident lawyers take up your case as you concentrate on the recovery journey. It is the best way to ensure your recover the compensation you deserve!