After a truck accident that you didn’t cause, you have legal options. You might wonder who exactly you can sue for damages from your accident. While you may not need to sue anyone, you can technically sue any party who was negligent in the cause of the truck accident.
It’s best to contact a truck accident lawyer in your area to discuss your legal case and how you should proceed. You and your lawyer can determine who was responsible for the truck accident and whether or not you need to sue.
You Typically Don’t Have to Sue for a Truck Accident Case
Although it’s in your legal rights to sue an at-fault party in a truck accident case, you probably won’t need to. Instead, you can usually file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company proving liability and outlining your damages. Most of the time, your lawyer can reach a fair settlement with the insurance company through negotiation.
In a truck accident case, you can seek compensation for damages like:
- Hospital and doctor bills
- Prescription medications
- Ambulance fees
- Costs of tests, surgeries, and physical therapy
- Future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering damages
If an agreement cannot be reached with the insurance company, your lawyer may advise you to consider suing for compensation. This decision should not be made lightly, as lawsuits can be lengthy and expensive. However, if you have a strong case and a good chance of winning, it may be more than worth it to sue.
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Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Who you can sue for your truck accident damages depends on who was at fault for the crash. The negligent party or parties will be liable for your costs.
Although there are many reasons truck accidents happen, some of the most common causes we see include:
- Driver tiredness or fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Manufacturer defects
- Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo
- Poor truck maintenance or inspection
- Aggressive driving or speeding
- Unsafe or poor hiring practices
Now, let’s go over the different parties you may be able to sue in a truck accident case. As you read, keep in mind that you may get the compensation you deserve through a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Parties You Can File a Claim Against
There are several parties that you can file a claim or lawsuit against after your truck accident. While we can’t list every single one, here are just a few of the most common. First, you must identify the correct negligent party responsible for your accident so that you can get the most out of your time and effort.
Again, even if you don’t see the party you believe to be responsible for your truck accident on here, don’t worry. Our lawyers can inform you about the best steps you should take to recover financial compensation with a free case review.
The Truck Driver
Although the trucking company is usually responsible for the actions of their employees, you may be able to sue the truck driver directly if the accident was caused by their own error, such as if they were driving while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drivers must also be careful to follow all of Georgia’s commercial motor vehicle traffic codes and safety rules.
The truck driver is one of the first parties to investigate after a truck accident. Although their work schedules and training should be closely regulated to prevent accidents, many truck drivers become overworked and exhausted trying to meet strict deadlines. This can quickly become dangerous to other drivers and result in accidents where the driver was at fault.
The Trucking Company
Trucking companies that employ drivers must follow specific federal regulations and safety measures. This may include regulating how long drivers can work and how much weight their vehicles can haul between destinations. They must also be careful to train their drivers so that they are safe on the roads.
If a trucking company violates state or federal laws, it can be found negligent in a truck accident and may be responsible for the damages.
It’s important to know that trucking companies must carry insurance policies with higher limits than other drivers. This can mean more coverage for serious damages, but it also means the company’s insurance carrier will work hard to avoid paying too much on your truck accident case.
The Truck’s Parts Manufacturer or Maker
If the truck accident happened due to a defect in the vehicle’s parts, you may be able to sue the company that makes the truck or manufacturers its parts. Your lawyer will probably need to investigate the truck’s history to determine whether or not one of these companies was negligent in what led to the accident.
A Repair Shop or Mechanic That Worked on the Truck
If the truck accident happened due to issues caused by poor repairs, the person or company that did those repairs may be responsible for the accident. Repair shops and mechanics are supposed to do quality work. Should they fail to deliver on this standard, you can hold them liable for your damages.
A Goods Shipper
Sometimes, serious injuries or even death can result from hazardous materials that a truck was carrying. Therefore, goods shippers must let truck drivers and their employers know about the dangers of certain goods. If they do not do this and it results in injuries, they can be sued for the damages.
A Government Entity
Sometimes, truck accidents don’t involve anyone related to the trucking company at all. For example, suppose the accident happened because of bad roads, broken or missing signs, or anything else related to road conditions. In that case, the government body responsible for maintaining those roads may be at fault.
While you can sue a government entity in Georgia, you must provide written notice of intent to pursue legal action against the state government within 12 months of the accident date according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 50-21-26. These rules may vary for city governments.
The Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents in Georgia
Remember that you will only have a certain amount of time to file your truck accident claim after the accident. The statute of limitations is typically two years from the date of your accident under the OCGA § 9-3-33. However, there are situations where you have even less time, such as if you are seeking legal action against a government entity.
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Always File a Claim Against the At-Fault Party
Never pay for your truck accident damages out of pocket. Remember, what happened to you wasn’t your fault, so it makes no sense to have to front the costs of your damages. The law allows you to get reimbursement for your damages and a settlement that can help you recover without having to go into financial trouble.
The first thing you should always do is contact one of our truck accident lawyers to assist you. Even though you can file and fight for your claim on your own, this gives the insurance company advantages over you that can result in a settlement that is well below what you actually deserve. Don’t find yourself fighting an uphill battle while injured. Allow us to assist you today.
When Would I Need to Sue for a Truck Accident?
The time to sue a responsible party in a truck accident is when negotiations break down. If an insurance company refuses to give you enough to cover your costs and we disagree about their reasons why, we may need to sue them.
A much rarer case is if the responsible parties have no insurance at all. In this instance, we would try to find another party with insurance if we could. Even if you win your lawsuit against someone without insurance, they may not have the funds to pay you back.
One of the reasons insurance exists is to keep cases out of the courtroom and still compensate victims of accidents. Yet as long as insurance companies are interested in their own profit, there will need to be a way to force them to comply if they don’t listen.
Is Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit Worth It?
We definitely encourage you to seek all avenues of compensation if you’ve been injured in a truck accident. Insurance claims are the fastest way, and sometimes, you do need to sue the insurance company to make them pay up.
Yet there is one big downside to going all the way with a lawsuit. There is a chance you could lose. Your truck accident lawyer can tell you the pros and cons of your particular situation and your chances of winning your case. The choice is ultimately yours.
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer in Georgia for Free Today
To discuss your case and legal options with a trusted and experienced truck accident lawyer, contact John Foy & Associates. We have been helping injured truck accident victims win the compensation they deserve for over 20 years, and we’re ready to help you, too. Call us or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation.