It’s hard to know the exact number of truck accidents that occur every year, as some of the less serious ones may go unreported, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintain data on reported large truck crash statistics. FMCSA records show the state of Georgia had 192 fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2016, 207 in 2017, 179 in 2018, and 180 in 2019 (the most recent years for which data is published). These numbers average around 190 fatal large truck crashes a year, with even more non-fatal accidents.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Large truck crashes can be very dangerous for anyone in a smaller vehicle that collides with a tractor trailer. If you or someone you love have been in a truck accident, you may be dealing with expensive medical bills, lost time at work, physical and emotional pain, and other damages. You don’t have to fight the insurance company alone – attorney Ali Awad, founder of the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm, is experienced at handling truck injury claims. He and the other knowledgeable truck accident attorneys at our firm will explain your options and help you seek compensation for your injuries.
What Makes an 18 Wheeler Accident So Serious for Non-Occupants?
A semi truck weighs anywhere from 35,000 pounds unladen (unloaded) to 80,000 pounds laden (fully loaded). The more a vehicle weighs, the longer it will take to stop when the driver applies the brakes, increasing the risk of a collision. In fact, the FMCSA found that about 5 percent of large truck accidents happen because the 18 wheeler’s driver was following the vehicle in front too closely. Truck drivers are advised to allow about four seconds of stopping time when going less than 40 MPH, and an extra second for every ten miles over 40 MPH.
However, motorists who drive smaller vehicles can also help reduce their risk by driving defensively, particularly around large trucks. Be aware of the truck driver’s blind spots, and avoid them as much as possible. Never merge in front of a semi without first getting well ahead of it. If you cut in front of a semi too close to the truck, the driver simply can’t see you due to their height in the cab.
The truck’s weight also increases the amount of damage possible in a collision and the risk of injuries or death for smaller vehicle occupants involved in a large truck crash. While the truck driver is usually well-protected in the cab, a motorist in a small car could easily suffer severe injuries. In certain collisions, such as carriage underride accidents, the truck driver may not even realize a crash has occurred, while the vehicle occupants could be seriously hurt.
The trailer itself is also a risk factor. Essentially a large container on wheels, the trailer is boxy and easy to flip, especially in some situations where the cargo is loaded poorly. Jackknife accidents, in which the trailer moves sideways and slams into the cab, are also extremely dangerous to others on the road. Trailers are more likely to flip or jackknife if the driver is speeding, particularly around curves or in bad weather, or if there are unaddressed mechanical or equipment issues.
Who is Liable for a Semi Truck Accident?
It depends on the circumstances of the accident. The at-fault driver should be responsible for costs associated with the accident, but sometimes it isn’t clear who is to blame. The truck driver or the smaller vehicle driver could have made a mistake that led to the accident, or they could both have contributed. Georgia’s modified comparative negligence statutes take into account situations of shared responsibility for accidents, and the party that is most responsible (more than 50 percent at fault) is expected to pay damages to the other party. These damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the injured party, so if you were 15 percent at fault and the truck driver was 85 percent responsible, your award would be diminished by 15 percent.
Insurance Coverage in Truck Crashes
As with other motor vehicle accidents, most truck collision claims are made against insurance companies. Generally, truck drivers are required to carry $750,000 – $1,000,000 in liability insurance due to the high potential for serious injuries in a truck crash. Sometimes the company the trucker drives for will be responsible for this insurance coverage. In either event, if there is evidence that the truck driver was at fault, we will typically begin by seeking damages from the relevant insurance company.
Third Party Claims
The drivers involved in the accident are not the only potentially liable parties. Sometimes a third party may be responsible for the crash, such as a company whose employees loaded the truck’s freight (an unbalanced load increases the risk of the trailer flipping), a mechanic who made an error when fixing the truck, a manufacturer responsible for a defective truck part that failed, or a trucking company that declined to provide regular maintenance for the truck. Because these accidents can be complicated, it’s not always obvious who is at fault, but your Georgia truck accident lawyer will investigate and learn the details of your crash. If we identify a liable third party, you may be able to file a claim against them.
How to File a Tractor Trailor Accident Claim
The first step to securing adequate compensation for your injuries is to contact a truck accident attorney. Large truck collision cases are complex, and in many cases, the insurance adjuster is not eager to pay a claim. If they do offer you a settlement, it may not be enough to cover all your damages. At the same time, the truck driver and other involved parties could try to shift the responsibility for the accident onto you. To safeguard your interests, we recommend that you seek legal advice before talking to the insurance company, and especially before you accept any offer.
Our attorneys will make sure they have the full picture of your damages so we can accurately estimate how much your claim might be worth. At the same time, our investigative team will leave no stone unturned in seeking more evidence to bolster your case. Once we have what we need, we’ll begin the negotiation process with the insurance company, explain any settlement offers they make and answer your questions, and continue negotiations if their offer isn’t sufficient. It’s likely that we will be able to achieve a settlement that meets your needs, but if the insurance company simply won’t agree, we will fight for your rights in court.
Truck Accident Lawyers in Georgia
If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a large truck collision, you need help from an experienced truck accident lawyer. Please contact the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm for a free, no-obligation consultation. If you decide to move forward with your claim and we take your case, we won’t charge you anything until we win. Call us today at 833-254-2923.
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Frequently Asked Questions
After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!
To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
The best way to determine if you have a personal injury case is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our legal professionals have the expertise to evaluate your case and determine a strong legal strategy so that you can obtain the greatest amount of compensation possible under the law. We will enlist investigators, assistants, and other specialists to collect accident reports, speak with witnesses to your accident, and put together a plan. While you focus on your physical recovery, we will remain committed to fighting for the compensation that you deserve.
Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm
Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.
What to Expect From Your Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney?
During your initial consultation with CEO Lawyer team, we will go over the important details of your personal injury accident, which include the nature and extent of your injuries, how your injuries have impacted your ability to earn a paycheck, the cost of your medical treatment, and whether further medical treatment will be required. We will answer any questions you might have, as well, in regards to our experience, our track record of success, and what to expect from the legal process.
Many personal injury victims wonder if they will be able to afford the legal fees required to pursue a lawsuit. CEO Lawyer injury and accident attorneys will not ask for any type of upfront fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. That means that if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, defective product accident, or any other type of personal injury accident, you can absolutely afford to contact our law office today for assistance. In fact, you cannot afford to wait. Reach out today.
We understand that some accident victims might have already obtained the assistance of an attorney but may be dissatisfied with the services provided. We are standing by and prepared to help you change legal representation, regardless of where you are in the process.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of personal injury accident, you should not hesitate to speak with the experienced attorneys at CEO Lawyer personal injury law firm. Call, email, or fill out our online contact form today so that we can begin helping you pursue the compensation you deserve.