Not every auto accident is the same. The damages and parties involved can vary across the board, but truck accidents are often much more serious than the average car accident. There are a number of reasons for this, and if you were involved in a truck accident, it’s important to understand the distinctions.
In Georgia, an accident is defined as a collision where anyone is injured or killed or where there is $500 or more in property damage (Georgia Code § 40-9-2). The term “truck accident” can refer to a collision with a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler, or some other type of commercial truck that results in injuries and/or vehicle damage.
Let’s look at the main ways truck accidents are different than car accidents—and what it means for your case.
Trucks Are So Much Larger Than Other Vehicles
Commercial trucks are enormous vehicles compared to cars and other vehicles. When fully loaded, these trucks weigh multiple tens of thousands of pounds. This increases the risk of accidents because:
- It takes trucks longer to stop.
- Trucks cannot maneuver around or away from a dangerous road condition as easily as cars.
- When a collision happens, the damages can be incredibly serious.
Trucks are also more prone to dangerous situations like rollovers, t-bone collisions, and serious damage even at low speeds. When a truck accident happens that involves a car or another smaller vehicle, it can be life-changing for the other driver.
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Damages Are Much More Serious
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 13% of the fatal crashes on roadways in the United States in 2017 involved at least one large truck or bus. In addition, 7.9% of non-fatal crashes involved at least one large truck or bus.
Although truck accidents are less common than car accidents, they are much more likely to be deadly or leave victims with catastrophic injuries and other damages. They might experience:
- Thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs
- Lost wages or loss of earning capacity from an injury that prevents the victim from working in the same way they could before
- Lifelong disabilities or treatment that takes many years
- A lot of pain and suffering, such as fear, anxiety, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, or disfigurement
- Instant death or death resulting from serious injuries
These are damages that you should not have to pay if you were not at-fault for the truck accident. You likely have the legal right to file an insurance claim or sue for compensation.
To make sure your rights are protected, contact a truck accident lawyer right away. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact John Foy & Associates online for a FREE consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate truck accident lawyers.
Different Safety Standards and Regulations
Since truck drivers are operating their vehicles as employees, their employers (the trucking companies) must follow certain federal regulations and other safety standards. This includes performing background checks, regular evaluations, drug testing, and more on their drivers.
Trucking companies should also carefully control the hours drivers can log per day. Unfortunately, a lot of drivers are also under enormous pressure to meet certain deadlines, which may encourage them to drive for too long or not be honest about when they are taking rests.
If the truck accident happens as a result of negligence regarding scheduling or safety standards, the driver and/or the trucking company may be responsible.
Multiple Potential Causes
With car accidents, the at-fault party is usually one of the drivers. If one driver was negligent in the accident, the other driver could file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for compensation. However, truck accidents are rarely that straightforward.
When it comes to truck accidents, there may be multiple causes for the accident. The truck driver might still be mostly at fault, but there could be other factors involved. For example, some of all of the collision may have resulted from:
- The trucking company’s negligence
- Equipment failure
- Poor maintenance
- Cargo that was improperly loaded
A truck accident case requires a lot of investigation to understand exactly what caused the accident and which party or parties were responsible.
For example, equipment failure could be partially a result of poor manufacturing, but the driver might also be partially at fault for not conducting certain pre-trip inspections. Or, the trucking company might be partially negligent for poor maintenance or not fully training the driver on safety practices.
Since there can be so many moving parts in a truck accident case compared to a car accident case, you will need to ensure the details are thoroughly investigated and examined. This is why working with a truck accident lawyer is so vital.
Insurance Companies May Be More Aggressive
Every driver in Georgia is required to carry auto insurance (Georgia Code § 33-34-4). When it comes to commercial trucks, they are often covered under much larger insurance policies than car drivers. In addition, the truck driver, their trucking company, and possibly even the truck itself may be covered.
High insurance coverage means that truck insurance companies will be especially aggressive at defending their claims. They will be looking to protect their money as much as possible, which means trying to reduce what they pay you. This combined with multiple insurance companies after the accident can leave any truck accident victim confused and overwhelmed.
Truck Accident Cases Are More Complicated
As you can probably see from the information above, the legal process following truck accidents can be a lot more complex than car accident cases. You will need to be prepared for a lot of investigation into the details. This can be costly—in time, finances, and emotional health.
Thankfully, you do not need to handle the truck accident claim process on your own. In fact, we recommend contacting a truck accident lawyer in your area as soon as you can. They can begin investigating the details of your case, communicating with the insurance company on your behalf, and pursuing the fullest compensation possible for your damages.
Talk to a Georgia Truck Accident Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have been helping truck accident victims win the compensation they deserve for over two decades. We are not afraid to do what it takes to protect your rights. Plus, there is no fee unless we win you money.
To schedule a FREE consultation with the best truck accident lawyer for your case, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today.