Since trucks are bigger and heavier than other vehicles on Georgia roads, truck accidents usually lead to severe injuries and damages. 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 can 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 Under Georgia Law?
Legally, truck accidents refer to collisions involving sizable 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, so severe injury, or even death is common in truck accidents.
Fatality facts from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in 2019 show that large truck accidents usually result in the occupants of passenger vehicles dying or suffering severe injuries. Therefore, it’s the duty of every truck driver to be extremely cautious and vigilant on the road, as an accident can cause devastating consequences.
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Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident 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 according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §51-12-33. Therefore, 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.
Understanding the 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 violating 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 correctly supervising the driver or were negligent by hiring them in the first place. The company may also have a history of not keeping its 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, the leasing company, or the truck owner. 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 your damages. Here’s what you should do after the accident to build up your case.
Get Medical Attention
The most important step after an accident is making sure you’re okay. If you or a passenger has life-threatening injuries, get medical treatment immediately. Truck accidents can significantly lead to severe injuries, so your well-being is the number one priority.
Report the Accident
If you can stay at the scene, call the police to report the accident and tell them precisely what happened. They will create a police report that is essential evidence for your claim.
Exchange Basic Information
Exchange names, contact information, and insurance information with the truck driver as you wait for the police. However, be careful never to apologize or accept blame. Even if the driver seems like a lovely 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.
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.
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.
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 caused by the accident. On the other hand, seeing a medical professional shows that you were treated for severe injuries resulting from the truck accident. This increases your chances of speeding up the insurance claims process for your financial recovery.
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 you the best chance at a full financial recovery.
How Will a Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Even though filing a claim for a truck accident doesn’t require you to hire a lawyer, that doesn’t mean you should try to negotiate for a settlement without one. Not hiring a lawyer can put you at an extreme disadvantage against the insurance company.
When you hire a lawyer, you invest in getting the maximum compensation available for your claim. It’s well known that just retaining strong legal representation is enough to get the insurance company to listen to your demands. If you have little or no experience in truck accident law, it’s always best to get a lawyer to help you.
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. 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.
How Things Progress Once the Insurance Company Gets Involved
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 altogether. If this happens, your lawyer will work to negotiate with the insurer for a fair settlement.
Most personal injury claims can get 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.
No Upfront Fees with Our Attorneys
Our truck accident lawyers in Georgia dedicate themselves to each and every case. We won’t stop until you get the settlement you rightfully deserve. Don’t let the insurance company try to offer you a lowball settlement and cheat you out of getting fairly compensated for your damages.
We don’t charge any fees upfront for our legal services. In fact, we don’t even accept any payment unless we win a settlement for you. If we can’t win a settlement, you don’t pay us anything. So don’t worry about any hidden fees or paying anything upfront. The last thing we want to be is another source of financial stress. Don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Our attorneys at John Foy & Associates have been helping truck accident victims recover from 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 or fill out the form on this page to get started.