Truck accidents are often severe. Since large commercial vehicles like semi-trucks and 18-wheelers are so massive and heavy, they can cause a lot of damage and even death during an accident. So, if you were injured or a loved one got killed in a truck wreck, you’ll want help from our truck accident lawyers in Georgia.
Truck accident victims are rarely at fault for truck-related accidents, and you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. At John Foy & Associates, we dedicate ourselves to getting you and other truck accident victims throughout Georgia the financial recovery you deserve. Never pay for any of your damages out of pocket. Always speak to a lawyer first.
Why Truck Accidents Are More Serious Than Other Accidents
When a semi-truck is fully loaded on the road, it can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Compared to a regular car or truck, that’s enormous, and something that heavy can lead to severe consequences during a collision.
- It takes these trucks longer to stop or change positions quickly when moving at high speeds
- Truck drivers have a lower amount of visibility compared to other drivers
- A lot of trucks carry hazardous materials that can cause additional damage during an accident
- Large trucks are at risk of tipping over or rolling when in a collision
- Truck drivers work long shifts that can result in high fatigue levels, tiredness, or irritability if they’re not resting enough
Although truck drivers get held to much higher standards on the roads and their employers are supposed to uphold specific scheduling rules, not everyone is compliant. Drivers often face stringent deadlines that may encourage them to avoid rest periods and get onto the road while tired. This can lead to unsafe conditions that increase the risk of accidents.
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Truck Accident Lawyer FAQs
Truck accidents can leave victims severely injured, disoriented, and overwhelmed. Knowing what to do at the scene and in the days following a crash can be extremely difficult but also vital to the success of your case. We answer several frequently asked questions about truck accidents to help you better understand the elements of the claims process.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Truck Accident?
Since every truck accident claim can be different, it’s impossible to give one “average” settlement amount. However, we can discuss the main factors that go into calculating a truck accident settlement. When you work with a lawyer for a truck accident, they will determine how much your case is worth by looking at each of these damages, as well.
The main factors to consider include:
- The at-fault party or parties
- How serious your injuries were
- Your medical costs
- All your lost wages
- Your total property damage
- Pain and suffering damages
Truck accident victims often wonder how much they should accept as a settlement in their claim. Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to determine this. Every case can be so different, and how much you can settle for depends on the factors listed above.
Damages You Can Collect for a Semi-Truck Accident in Georgia
The damages you can collect after a truck accident will depend on your specific losses from the accident. If you were not at fault for what happened, you can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company for your damages.
The damages you can collect in a truck accident claim fall into three main categories:
Economic damages are also known as special damages. They must be proved in order to be recovered in your claim, and most will have a set dollar amount. Medical expenses typically make up the largest portion of a truck accident claim. They may include:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Doctor visits
- Hospital stays
- Prescription medicines
- Physical therapy or other long-term treatment
- Future medical care
You will need to keep track of all medical bills and receipts related to your medical costs. Also, make sure you’re following all treatment orders from your doctor and not missing any appointments. If you are not careful to keep up with your treatment, the insurance company may use it as a reason to offer you less.
- Lost wages: If you were working at the time of your accident, you will probably need to miss a lot of work. You will likely need to provide previous pay stubs and other documentation from your employer to demonstrate lost wages in your claim.
- Loss of earning capacity: If you end up not being able to work in the same capacity as before because of your accident injuries, you may also be able to collect “loss of earning capacity” damages.
- Property damage: If your vehicle was totaled or requires any repairs from the accident, you can include property damages in your claim. Property damage also includes other personal property that was damaged in the accident, such as jewelry or electronics.
- Transportation: Besides the cost of medical care, you can also collect compensation for the cost of travel to and from appointments.
- Legal fees: If you work with an experienced truck accident lawyer, you will not have any lawyer fees unless we win you money—and you won’t pay until after your case is closed. That being said, you can usually claim any legal fees as damages in your claim.
Non-economic damages are also known as general damages. Unlike economic damages, they cannot be demonstrated through bills or receipts. These damages account for physical and emotional suffering from the accident like mental anguish, disfigurement, fear, or anxiety.
Since non-economic damages are very hard to calculate, you will need the help of a lawyer to determine how much yours are worth.
Punitive damages in any injury accident have one main purpose: to punish the wrongdoer. They are typically available to collect if the defendant exhibited extremely terrible behavior like willful misconduct, malice, or fraud.
Who Can Be Sued in a Truck Accident Case?
You can technically sue anyone responsible for your truck accident. The good news is that you may not need to file a lawsuit against someone to get the compensation you deserve. By working with truck accident lawyers, you can file a personal injury claim and try to settle with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
The at-fault party in a truck accident case is a person or entity that has been negligent. Truck accidents may be caused by factors like:
- Driver fatigue
- Drunk driving
- Driving while distracted
- Manufacturer defects
- Cargo that was overloaded or improperly loaded
- Problems with truck maintenance or inspection
- Aggressive driving or speeding
- Unsafe or poor hiring practices
If you do end up needing to sue someone for damages, here are parties that you may be able to sue (depending on the details of your accident).
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The parts manufacturer
- A mechanic or repair shop
- A shipper of goods
- A government entity
As skilled truck accident lawyers in Georgia, the team at John Foy & Associates can help you figure out which person, organization, or combination of parties might be liable for the harm you’ve suffered.
We can also help you understand how long you have to file your claim and how much you should get as compensation. However, you may be able to secure a fair settlement without needing to take the government to court.
How Negligence Is Established in Georgia Truck Accident Cases
Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-1-2, “ordinary negligence” means the lack of ordinary diligence, which is care exercised by regularly prudent individuals in the same or similar situations. If a person or party fails to uphold that diligence and it results in a truck accident, they have been negligent in that accident.
To seek compensation for damages in a truck accident, you will need to show where negligence lies. Negligence is established through evidence demonstrating how the accident happened and what damages were suffered as a result. This can be difficult to do, which is why it’s so important to work with a lawyer for a truck accident early on in the process.
How Fault Affects Compensation in Your Truck Accident Claim
Even if you are partially at fault for your accident, you probably still have options for recovering damages.
In Georgia, if you were less than 50% negligent in the accident, you can still receive compensation for your damages. However, what you can acquire would be reduced based on the percentage of fault you hold. If you are 10% responsible for the crash, your compensation is reduced by 10% as well, for example.
When the At-Fault Party Doesn’t Have Truck Insurance
Commercial truck drivers are supposed to have insurance in the event of an accident. However, there are situations where a driver might not have the full insurance coverage they are legally required to hold. In Georgia, trucks are usually covered by at least $750,000 in liability insurance, at least $100,000 per person, and at least $300,000 per accident.
A truck driver may be uninsured or underinsured if:
- They are an independent contractor and less regulated by a company.
- Their company has not been satisfying commercial vehicle government requirements.
- Their company is carrying the minimum insurance coverage, and it’s not enough to account for all your damages.
You may still be able to collect compensation even when the other party does not have insurance. Every state has different laws when it comes to uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. In Georgia, you do not have to carry UM coverage, but it’s recommended. You likely have this coverage unless you opted out of it when you purchased your insurance policy.
UM coverage in Georgia is typically limited to:
- $25,000 per person
- $50,000 per accident
Although this may not be enough to cover all your damages, especially because truck accidents can be so serious, it might help.
What Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Do?
To seek the money you deserve, you will need to work with a lawyer who has extensive experience working on these types of cases. Truck accident lawyers are a type of personal injury lawyer. They work specifically on truck accident cases. Below, we’ll cover some of the main things truck accident lawyers do for their clients.
Truck Accident Attorneys Deal With the Insurance Companies for You
Your 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer can deal with the insurance companies. It’s a great idea to let them do this. Insurance companies are always looking for ways to reduce what they have to pay injury victims, and an experienced lawyer will know how to handle their tactics.
Insurance companies will look for any way to pay you less after you file a personal injury claim. They may do things like:
- Using anything you say against you
- Offering you a lowball settlement upfront
- Pressuring you into taking a smaller settlement than you deserve
- Blaming you for some or all of the accident
- Delaying their response to your claim
- Intimidating you during the process
Here are some of the best ways a truck accident lawyer can help handle insurance companies after a truck accident:
- Communicate with the insurance companies: Your lawyer will speak to all involved insurance companies, including yours and the at-fault party’s (or parties’) insurers. With your lawyer handling communications, you have time to focus on healing from your injuries. You also won’t have to worry about saying or doing something that an insurer could use against you.
- Negotiate for a fair settlement: Insurers will typically make a lowball initial settlement offer, often worth much less than the true value of your total damages. Knowing that you’re working with a lawyer, insurers will often agree to a higher settlement to avoid going to court.
- Gather evidence of fault and damages: A lawyer’s investigations can unearth strong evidence of the at-fault party’s liability and damages that they can present to the insurance company to prove the extent of your damages.
A Georgia Truck Accident Lawyer Can File Your Case on Time
The statute of limitations is what determines the amount of time a victim has to file a claim or lawsuit. These deadlines vary depending on the type of incident and also by state.
Two years from the date of the crash is typically how long you have to file a truck accident lawsuit. This applies to both filing a personal injury claim and filing a lawsuit under Ga. Code § 9-3-33.
If you do not file a claim or lawsuit within two years of your truck accident in Georgia, you will usually not be able to pursue action for that accident.
There are also some circumstances in which the statute of limitations is “tolled,” and you have more time to file. For example, this applies in situations like:
- If the at-fault party is a minor and the limitations would get tolled until they turn 18 years old
- When a criminal prosecution is pending related to the accident and the limitations would get tolled until it’s no longer pending
- If there is a wrongful death case where the deceased person’s estate hasn’t been probated which may get tolled for up to five years
These are rare cases, so most truck accident cases still have a limitation of two years to file. A truck accident attorney in Georgia will ensure your claim or lawsuit is filed within the deadline.
Attorneys for Truck Accidents in Georgia Can Take Your Case to Court
Most truck accident cases do not have to go to court at all. About 90% of injury cases get resolved during the negotiation phase after the victim has filed their insurance claim. However, there are always exceptions.
If the at-fault party and their legal counsel refuse to negotiate a fair settlement that meets your needs, a truck accident attorney serving Georgia can take your case to court to ensure that justice is served.
Is It Worth Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Yes. It’s almost always worth it to hire a truck accident lawyer, as long as they have experience and skill in working on these types of cases. A semi-truck accident lawyer can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Here are four main reasons why hiring a lawyer for a truck accident is worth it.
- Complicated regulations for truck drivers: State and federal laws govern the trucking industry, and if those laws don’t get followed correctly, different parties may be at fault.
- Fault is complex: Truck accidents can involve many different at-fault parties, and it can be difficult to understand who to sue.
- Damages are serious: Injuries from a truck accident are often very serious, even deadly. Often, you need experienced attorneys to determine the full extent of your damages.
- Insurance might be difficult: Since there is more than one party who may be at fault for a truck accident, you may be looking at different types of insurance claims. An experienced truck accident injury attorney will know how to handle the complexity of insurance—and they’ll be able to communicate with each insurance company on your behalf.
It’s also important to remember that a Georgia truck accident attorney from John Foy & Associates will work on your case on a contingency basis. This means we get paid a portion of your compensation package at the end of the case, so we don’t get paid unless and until you get paid!
Georgia Truck Accident Lawyer Near Me 404-400-4000
Get a FREE Consultation With an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Don’t handle the disastrous consequences of a truck accident alone. If you were injured during an accident or lost a loved one in a truck collision, call John Foy & Associates for help.
Our Georgia truck accident lawyers have been assisting victims with their cases for over 20 years, and we know what it takes to get fair compensation. Don’t hesitate to contact us online or over the phone to schedule an appointment for a FREE consultation today