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, one of our truck accident lawyers in Georgia can help.
You may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Our law firm dedicates itself to getting you and other accident victims throughout Georgia the financial recovery you deserve. Always speak to a Georgia personal injury lawyer first.
Why Truck Accidents Are More Serious Than Other Accidents
A semi-truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded on the road. Compared to a regular car or truck, that’s enormous, and something heavy can lead to severe consequences during a collision.
Large truck accidents are more serious than other accidents because:
- It takes semi-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.
- Many trucks carry hazardous materials that can cause additional damage during an accident.
- Large trucks risk tipping over or rolling when in a collision.
- Truck drivers work long shifts that can result in high fatigue, tiredness, or irritability if they do not rest enough.
Although drivers are held to much higher standards on the roads, and trucking companies 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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What Are the Most Dangerous Highways for Commercial Vehicle Accidents in Georgia?
Some roads in Georgia are more dangerous than others and have a higher chance of causing truck accidents. According to MoneyGeek’s Georgia fatal accident study in 2022, the most dangerous roads include:
- Moreland Ave. (Georgia 42)
- The Perimeter (I-285)
- Georgia 85
- Old National Hwy. (Georgia 279)
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 differ, giving one “average” settlement amount is impossible. However, we can discuss the main factors in calculating a settlement. When you work with a commercial vehicle accident attorney, they will determine how much your case is worth by looking at each of these damages.
The main factors include the following:
- The at-fault party or parties
- How serious were your injuries were
- Your medical costs
- All your lost wages
- Your total property damage
- Pain and suffering damages
Commercial 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 different, and how much you can settle
for depends on the abovementioned factors.
Damages You Can Collect for a Commercial Vehicle 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 could file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company for your damages.
The damages you can collect in a claim fall into three main categories:
Economic damages are also known as special damages. You must prove them to recover them in your claim; most will have a set dollar amount. Medical expenses typically make up the largest portion of an 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 to offer you less.
- Lost wages: If you were working during your accident, you would 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 cannot 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 required any repairs from the accident, you could include property damages in your claim. Property damage includes other personal property damaged in the accident, such as jewelry or electronics.
- Transportation: Besides the cost of medical care, you can also collect compensation for travel to and from appointments.
- Legal fees: If you work with an experienced commercial vehicle 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 case.
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 you 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 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 maximum compensation for your injuries. By working with our Georgia commercial vehicle 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 an accident is a person or entity that has been negligent. Commercial vehicle 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 maintenance or inspection
- Aggressive driving or speeding
- Unsafe or poor hiring practices
If you do need to sue someone for damages, here are the parties you could 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, our legal team can help you determine 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 secure a fair settlement without taking 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 a reasonable person would provide in similar situations. If a person or party fails to uphold that diligence and it results in an accident, they have been negligent in that accident.
You must show where negligence lies to seek compensation for damages in a commercial vehicle accident. Negligence is established through evidence demonstrating how the accident happened and what damages you suffered. 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 legal options for recovering damages.
In Georgia, you can still receive compensation for your damages if you were less than 50% negligent in the accident. However, what you can acquire is 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, commercial vehicles 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.
- The trucking company has not satisfied the commercial vehicle government regulations.
- The trucking company carries 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 regarding uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. You do not have to carry UM coverage in Georgia, but it’s recommended. You likely have this coverage unless you opted out of it when you purchased your insurance policy.
Uninsured motorist coverage in Georgia is typically limited to:
- Coverage of $25,000 per person.
- Coverage of $50,000 per accident.
Although this may not be enough to cover all your damages, especially because commercial vehicle accidents can be so serious, it might help.
What Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Do?
To seek the money you deserve, you must work with a lawyer with 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 trucking 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. 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 commercial vehicle 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 insurers. With your lawyer handling communications, you have time to focus on healing from any catastrophic 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 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 determines how long 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 crash date is typically how long you have to file a truck accident lawsuit. This applies to filing a personal injury claim and 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 where 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, the limitations will get tolled until it’s no longer pending.
- If there is a wrongful death claim 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 cases still have a limitation of two years to file. A personal injury attorney in Georgia will make sure you file your claim or lawsuit 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, an attorney serving Georgia can take your case to court to make sure you get justice.
Is It Worth Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Yes. It is worth hiring a truck accident lawyer as long as they have experience and skill in working on these types of cases. A commercial vehicle 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 drivers: State and federal regulations govern the trucking industry, and if those laws aren’t followed correctly, different parties may be at fault.
- Fault is complex: Truck accidents can involve many liable parties, and it can be difficult to understand who to sue.
- Damages are serious: Injuries from a commercial vehicle are often very serious, even deadly. Often, you need experienced attorneys to determine the full extent of your damages.
- Insurance might be difficult: Since more than one party may be at fault for a truck accident, you may look at different insurance claims. An experienced commercial vehicle 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 our law firm 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!
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 an excellent track record and have assisted truck accident victims with their cases for over 20 years. 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.