Since trucks are so much bigger and heavier than other vehicles on Georgia roads, truck accidents usually lead to serious injuries and other damage. It’s very common for truck accident victims to suffer from multiple injuries that are often life-threatening. If you were the victim of a truck accident, you are probably legally entitled to financial recovery to help pay for costs. To seek that money, you’ll need to file an insurance claim with the at-fault person or party in the accident.
To help you get started, here’s everything you need to know about truck accident claims in the State of Georgia.
What Counts as a “Truck”?
Legally, truck accidents refer to collisions involving large commercial freight carriers like 18-wheelers, semi trucks, tractor trailers, delivery and commercial trucks, and dump trucks. These vehicles are huge and weigh tens of thousands of pounds, which is why serious injury or even death is common in truck accidents.
Who Is Liable for Truck Accidents in Georgia?
Georgia is an at-fault state, which means the person who causes a personal injury accident, including a truck accident, is responsible for all damages. Accident victims can make a personal injury claim with the at-fault party for the damages they face because of the accident.
To make a personal injury claim, you’ll need to know who is liable for your damages. In car accidents, that person is usually the other driver. But since truck accidents often involve truck drivers who are on the job, liability may look a little different.
Liability of the Trucking Company
Typically, the company that hired a commercial truck driver is actually responsible for damages under most employment laws. Trucking and freight companies should have liability insurance to cover their drivers in the case of an accident like this.
However, there are some situations where the trucking company may try to escape liability, such as if the truck driver was breaking company rules, not driving an authorized vehicle, or breaking the law during the accident. But even if that is the cause, it could be argued that the company is still responsible because they weren’t properly supervising the driver or they were negligent by hiring them in the first place. The company may also have a history of not keeping their trucks maintained properly or violating trucking regulations. A truck accident lawyer can help you uncover details like this and prevent the company from shirking the blame.
Other potential at-fault parties in a truck accident could be the truck driver himself or herself, the leasing company, or the owner of the truck. This is why it’s best to work with a truck accident lawyer. They will be able to investigate your accident situation and find out who exactly is liable for the damages you seek.
How to Prepare for the Georgia Truck Accident Claims Process
To prove the trucking company or truck driver is at fault, you’ll need to provide evidence of that fault and of your damages. Here’s what you should do after the accident to build up your case.
1. Get Medical Attention
The most important step after any accident is making sure you’re okay. If you or a passenger has life-threatening injuries, get medical treatment immediately. Truck accidents can especially lead to serious injuries, so your well-being is the number one priority.
2. Report the Accident
If you’re able to stay at the scene, call the police to report the accident and tell them exactly what happened. They will create a police report that is important evidence for your claim.
3. Exchange Basic Information
Exchange names, contact information, and insurance information with the truck driver as you wait for the police. However, be careful to never apologize or accept blame. Even if the driver seems like a very nice person, anything you say after the accident could be used against you. Be polite, but don’t apologize or take on any of the responsibility for what happened.
4. Take Pictures
Use your phone to take photos of your injuries, vehicle damage, the accident scene, and anything else you think could be relevant to your case. Injuries can change a lot from day to day, so your attorney will appreciate having photo evidence of what your injuries looked like directly following the accident.
5. Talk to Witnesses
If anyone saw the accident happen, ask for their contact information. Your lawyer will likely want to reach out to them later for testimony.
6. See a Doctor
If you didn’t get medical treatment right after the accident, see a doctor as soon as possible after handling things at the scene.
The longer you wait between the accident and seeing a doctor, the easier it is for the at-fault party’s insurance company to say your injuries weren’t actually caused by the accident. Seeing a medical professional shows you were treated for serious injuries resulting from the truck accident. This increases your chances of speeding up the insurance claims process for your financial recovery.
7. Call a Truck Accident Lawyer
Consult with an attorney who understands and has experience with truck accidents. They will be able to help you decide on the best course of action with your insurance claim. They’ll also be able to build you a strong case that gives the best chance at a full financial recovery.
At John Foy & Associates, our consultation is always free, so you can speak with an attorney about your accident without worrying about any costs.
What Happens When You File a Truck Accident Claim
From the date of your truck accident, you have two years to file a personal injury claim in Georgia. This is known as the statute of limitations. While this might seem like a lot of time, it goes quickly—and the sooner you can build and file your claim with the help of an attorney, the better.
When you and your lawyer have gathered the evidence needed to prove the at-fault party caused your accident and damages, your lawyer will send a notice of representation to the responsible party and their insurance company. This establishes that you have legal representation and they should not contact you directly.
Once the insurer gets the notice, their adjusters will review your case and do one of two things:
- Offer you a settlement, or
- Deny your claim
If the insurer agrees to the amount you’re seeking to cover your damages, you’ll receive that compensation. However, insurance companies are for-profit businesses always looking to cut costs. It’s typically for them to try and offer you a lower settlement or even deny the claim completely. If this happens, your lawyer will work to negotiate with the insurer for a fair settlement.
Most personal injury claims are able to be resolved between the attorney and insurance company. But if a fair resolution can’t be reached or the insurance company won’t accept your claim at all, your lawyer may recommend filing a lawsuit.
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer for Free Today
The truck accident claims process can take several years, so it’s important to have a legal professional on your side. A truck accident lawyer will give you the best chance at a full recovery so you can cover your costs and move on from this accident as fully as possible.
Our attorneys at John Foy & Associates have been helping truck accident victims recover for their damages for more than 20 years. We know what it takes to build a strong claim and get the compensation you need and deserve. For a FREE consultation to discuss your case, call us today at 404-400-4000, or fill out the form on this page to get started.