Injured in a truck accident in Georgia?
If you’ve driven in Georgia for any period of time, you’ve probably had your fill of having to share the road with huge commercial trucks. But there’s no getting away from the fact that you’re going to see them. Even when motorists are as safe as possible, they can still be involved in a truck accident, through no fault of their own. In far too many cases, these accidents result in disaster.
What can you do if you’ve been hit by a truck, but you know the accident wasn’t your fault? You talk to a Georgia truck accident attorney with Penn Kestner & McEwen. We have decades of experience representing people whose lives have been turned upside down because of the negligence of a truck driver, a trucking company, or some other party. We also deliver results for our clients on a regular basis.
Georgia Truck Accident Statistics
The numbers tell a depressing story regarding truck accident deaths in Georgia. Even though 2020 was a year where there were far fewer vehicles on the road due to the pandemic, the number of fatalities rose to its highest level since 2016. Here’s a quick look at the number of deaths that occurred during the years 2016-2020.
- 2016: 203
- 2017: 228
- 2018: 192
- 2019: 204
- 2020: 234
Important Trucking Regulations You Should Know
These numbers continue to be far too high even though there are strict federal regulations in place, regulations that are designed to prevent truck accident deaths. One of the most important is the hours of service rule, mandated by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) to keep fatigued drivers from taking the wheel. Here are a few of the rule’s most important components.
Drivers aren’t allowed to do any of the following:
- Drive for more than eight consecutive hours without taking at least a 30-minute break.
- Stay behind the wheel for 11 hours or more than any period of 14 hours. The driver must not drive for 10 straight hours before the 11-hour clock resets.
- Drive for more than 70 hours over a period of eight straight days, or 60 hours over seven consecutive days. Their workweek can’t start over until the driver has been off for no less than 34 hours.
Common Causes of Georgia Truck Accidents
There are many different reasons Georgia motorists become involved in collisions with commercial trucks. The following are just some of the more common causes.
- Violating the rules. Even though truckers and their employers can face stiff fines for breaking FMCSA regulations, they continue to do so in an effort to make more money. This will often result in a catastrophe.
- Lack of maintenance. One of the most common violations on the part of trucking companies is to put off maintenance. When they do this, and a truck has a tire blowout or a brake malfunction, that company can be forced to pay dearly for their negligence.
- Defective parts. In some cases, neither the driver nor the trucking company are to blame. Instead, a part fails due to negligent design or manufacturing. In this instance, the company that made the part will be held liable.
Who’s Liable for My Injuries?
One of the most complicated aspects of a truck accident lawsuit is determining who to sue. The reason this is often difficult is because there could be more than one liable party. The truck driver may have been fatigued, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The trucking company may have failed to check the brakes, which failed. The company that manufactured a tire that blew out may have done so in a negligent manner. The company that loaded the cargo could have been negligent as well, causing a load shift to occur that caused the driver to lose control.
This is one of the many reasons why it will be so important to hire an attorney as soon as you can. They will investigate to determine all the potentially liable parties, and take the action needed to help you obtain maximum compensation.
How Do Truck Accident Injuries Impact One’s Life?
Truck accident injuries can lead to a lifetime of pain and debilitation. These are three of the worst.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI occurs when the victim’s head strikes a hard surface with extreme force. It’s one of the more common injuries that results from a truck accident. A victim with a severe TBI may not be able to perform the most basic of tasks that the vast majority of us take for granted.
- Spinal cord injuries. The force with which a large commercial truck hits a car is almost impossible to comprehend. The human body simply can’t take that force without suffering severe damage. One example is a spinal cord injury, which, when bad enough, can result in permanent, total paralysis.
- Loss of limb. Truck accident victims will often be crushed, with limbs so badly affected that amputation must be performed.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive?
In general, the more severe the injury, the higher the medical bills will be. As a result, the victim will receive more compensation. A broken foot is bad, of course, but it will very likely heal completely after a certain amount of time. If someone is completely paralyzed, they won’t get better. Their medical bills will be exponentially higher, so the amount of compensation they receive should be exponentially higher as well.
Process of a Georgia Truck Accident Lawsuit
In a nutshell, once you hire an attorney they will file a claim against all of those responsible for the accident. They’ll send letters demanding the amount of compensation it will take to make you financially whole.
The insurance companies of the liable parties will usually make a counter offer, and will then negotiate with your attorney. If the insurer fails to offer a fair settlement, then the case will go to trial. However, most truck accident lawsuits don’t get to trial due to the added expense.