Truck accidents are often incredibly serious. Since semi-trucks and 18-wheelers are so large and heavy, they can cause a lot of damage—even death—during an accident. If you were injured or a loved one was killed during a truck accident in Georgia, you’ll want help from a truck accident lawyer.
Truck accident victims are rarely at fault for truck-related accidents—and if you were hurt in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. At John Foy & Associates, we are dedicated to getting you (and other truck accident victims throughout Georgia) the financial recovery you deserve. Contact us today and we’ll give you a FREE consultation to discuss the details of your case and how we can help.
To get started with your FREE consultation, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call.
Truck Accident Statistics to Know
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were 4,136 people killed in large truck accidents in 2018. Most of those deaths (67%) were occupants of cars or other passenger vehicles, while 16% were truck occupants and 15% were bike riders, motorcyclists, or pedestrians.
In 2018, 74% of large truck accident deaths were with tractor-trailers, while 27% were with single-unit trucks. In some situations, the crash involved both types of trucks. Although 52% of large truck accident deaths happened on major roads, truck accidents can occur anywhere.
No matter where your accident happened, you are likely entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. To seek that compensation, you’ll need to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s or the trucking company’s insurance company—which an experienced lawyer can help you do.
Why Truck Accidents Are More Serious Than Other Accidents
When a semi-truck is fully loaded on the road, it can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Compared to a regular car or truck, that’s enormous, and something that heavy can lead to serious consequences during a collision.
Large truck accidents are more serious than other accidents because:
- It takes these 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
- A lot of trucks are carrying hazardous materials that can cause additional damage during an accident
- Large trucks are at risk of tipping over or rolling when in a collision
- Truck drivers work long shifts that can result in high levels of fatigue, tiredness, or irritability if they’re not resting enough
Although truck drivers are held to much higher standards on the roads and their employers are supposed to uphold certain scheduling rules, not everyone is compliant. Drivers often face very strict deadlines that may encourage them to avoid rest periods and get onto the road while fatigued. This can lead to unsafe conditions that increase the risk of accidents
Is It Worth Hiring A Truck Accident Lawyer?
Yes. It’s almost always worth it to hire a truck accident lawyer, as long as they are experienced in working on these types of cases. Most truck accidents are very serious and can leave you with serious, life-threatening, and costly injuries and other damages. A truck accident lawyer can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Here are four main reasons why hiring a truck accident lawyer is worth it. These are not the only reasons, but they are some of the most common reasons people need a truck accident lawyer to help on their case.
1. Complicated Regulations for Truck Drivers
Truck accidents are different because the truck driver is an employee rather than a regular driver. They must maintain a specific schedule on the road, log certain hours, and keep up with maintenance and other factors. The trucking industry is governed by state and federal laws, and if those laws are not followed correctly, different parties may be at fault.
Truck drivers also have strict deadlines that may encourage them to forgo rest, put off regular maintenance, or make other decisions that put other drivers in danger. The complicated regulations surrounding truck drivers can make it hard to know where to investigate after a collision. An experienced truck accident lawyer will know where to look and what to consider.
2. Fault is Complex
In other types of accidents, the at fault party is usually one of the drivers. However, in truck accidents, there are a number of parties who may be at fault. Sometimes, fault lies with multiple parties at once.
Those who could be at fault in a truck accident include:
- The truck driver
- Another driver on the road
- The trucking company that employed the driver
- Someone who worked on the truck
- The manufacturer of the truck’s parts
Your lawyer will research every angle of the accident to consider who has ultimately negligent in what occurred. Without this legal expertise, you may miss crucial details that could hold the right person or organization responsible.
3. Damages Are Serious
Trucks are huge, heavy vehicles. Many of them are also carrying hazardous materials that could lead to fires or other dangerous conditions during an accident. For these reasons, the injuries from a truck accident are often very serious, even deadly.
You deserve to get compensation for your damages in any type of accident, but it’s especially vital after a truck accident. A lawyer will consider the total of your medical bills, missed work time, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. They will work to build a strong case showing all of your damages.
4. Insurance Might Be Difficult
Since there is more than one party who may be at fault for a truck accident, you may be looking at different types of insurance claims. Sometimes, there will be insurance coverage on the driver, the trucking company, the actual truck, and more. This can get confusing very quickly.
An experienced truck accident lawyer will know how to handle the complexity of insurance—and they’ll be able to communicate with each insurance company on your behalf.
Should I Hire A Truck Accident Lawyer For A Minor Accident?
The damage from truck accidents are not usually minor, but even if yours are, it’s best to work with an experienced truck accident lawyer. A lot of times, the damages from a truck accident are more serious than they initially appear. Plus, the at-fault party’s insurance company will try to reduce what they pay you.
For the above reasons and more, it’s best to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer even for a minor accident—or at least schedule a consultation with one.
Why Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer Lawyer is Worth It Even After a Minor Accident
There are many reasons for working with a lawyer after a minor truck accident. Here are some of the most significant ones.
Your Damages May Be More Serious Than You Realize
Right after your truck accident, the damages might seem minor. Maybe you don’t feel much pain, if any at all, and your vehicle damage doesn’t seem too bad either. You might think hiring a lawyer is too much of a hassle, and you just want to move on from the accident.
The problem is that truck accident damages are often much higher than they initially seem. A lot of injuries from truck accidents worsen over the next few days or weeks. When your adrenaline is high right after an accident, it can be hard to feel the full effects of your injuries until later. You might face large medical bills in the future that will need to be accounted for.
Vehicle repair costs can also be a lot more expensive than they seem. There might be significant damage that you can’t see right after the accident. A truck accident lawyer will know how to check for each type of damage you face, including emotional damages that are hard to determine on your own.
The Insurance Company Won’t Fight Fair
First of all, the insurance claims process after a truck accident is often very complicated. Since there might be an insurance policy covering the truck and trucking company as well as the driver, it can be hard to know where to turn. Second, insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid paying out much money on an injury claim.
Even if an accident seems minor, the insurance company will offer you much less than you deserve. We call this a “lowball” offer. However, when you have a lawyer on your side, it levels the playing field. The insurance company will see that you’re serious about getting the compensation you deserve, and your lawyer will work to negotiate a settlement that actually accounts for all of your damages.
Your Legal Rights Will Be Protected
If you did not cause your accident (or were less than 50% at fault), you should not have to pay for all of the costs—even if they were minor. Your lawyer will make sure your legal rights are upheld from the beginning so you don’t take advantage of. Plus, since most truck accident lawyers (like John Foy & Associates) work on contingency, there is no fee unless they win you money—so, no risk in working with them.
What Is The Average Settlement For A Truck Accident?
Since every truck accident claim can be so different, it’s impossible to give one “average” settlement amount. However, we can discuss the main factors that go into calculating a truck accident settlement. When you work with a truck accident lawyer, they will determine how much your case is worth by looking at each of these damages, as well.
The main factors to consider include:
- The at-fault party
- How serious your injuries were
- Your medical costs
- All of your lost wages
- Your total property damage
- Pain and suffering damages
1. The At-Fault Party
Fault and liability are the backbone of personal injury claims in Georgia. Before you can file a claim for your damages, you need to determine who was at fault for the accident. In truck accidents, there is sometimes more than one party who was negligent (or careless) in the collision.
The at-fault party in a truck accident may be:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- A parts manufacturer
- A maintenance company that worked on the truck
- Another driver on the road
You will also need to prove that the at-fault party was negligent in your accident. If the insurance company tries to deny they were at fault or blame you for some of the accident, it may reduce what they offer you. That means you and your lawyer will need to fight for a settlement that is actually fair to you.
2. How Serious Your Injuries Were
The injuries from a truck accident are often very serious, even life-threatening. The severity of your injuries will impact the full value of your settlement. You and your lawyer will need to consider every way in which the accident affects your daily life.
3. Your Medical Costs
The severity of your injuries will also impact how much medical treatment you need to receive—and how much your treatment will cost. You’ll need to keep track of all proof of your medical expenses to include in your claim.
Medical care typically makes up the largest portion of a truck accident claim. That includes current and future medical costs, which you and your lawyer will need to calculate based on your prognosis and the treatment advice given by your doctor
4. All of Your Lost Wages
If you have had to miss work because of the accident and your injuries, these are known as “lost wages.” You can include any lost wages from the accident in your claim.
You can also seek compensation for “loss of earning capacity” if your injuries prevent you from doing the same type of work you could before.
5. Your Total Property Damage
A lot of vehicles end up totaled from a truck accident. Whether your vehicle was totaled or requires a lot of repair, the insurance company should pay for these costs, which would be factored into your settlement value.
6. Pain and Suffering Damages
The above damages are “economic” because they can be proved through a set dollar amount. Pain and suffering damages, on the other hand, are “non-economic” and do not have a straightforward value. If you have pain and suffering damages from your accident, your lawyer will work to determine how they contribute to the full value of your settlement.
What Damages Can I Collect For A Truck Accident?
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 can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company for your damages. Here are some of the most common damages in a truck accident claim that you may be able to collect.
The damages you can collect fall into three main categories:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
- Punitive damages
Let’s take a closer look at each.
Economic Damages for a Truck Accident
Economic damages are also known as special damages. They must be proved in order to be recovered in your claim, and most will have a set dollar amount.
Medical expenses typically make up the largest portion of a truck 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 as a reason to offer you less.
If you were working at the time of your accident, you will probably need to miss work—and possibly a lot of it. Lost wages are damages that you can collect. You will likely need to provide previous pay stubs and other documentation from your employer to demonstrate lost wages in your claim.
If you end up not being able to work in the same capacity as before because of your accident injuries, you may also be able to collect “loss of earning capacity” damages.
If your vehicle was totaled or requires any repairs from the accident, you can include property damages in your claim. Property damage also includes other personal property that was damaged in the accident, such as jewelry or electronics.
Besides the cost of medical care, you can also collect compensation for the cost of travel to and from appointments.
If you work with an experienced truck accident lawyer at John Foy & Associates, 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 claim.
Non-Economic Damages for a Truck Accident
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 yours are worth.
Punitive Damages for a Truck Accident
Punitive damages in any injury accident have one main purpose: to punish the wrongdoer. They are typically available to collect if the defendant exhibited extremely terrible behavior like willful misconduct, malice, or fraud.
Can I Sue Someone Personally After A Truck Accident?
You probably can sue someone personally after the truck accident, but you might not need to. It will depend on who was at fault and what degree of legal action you need to take to get the compensation you deserve.
The two main entities you’re dealing with after a truck accident are the truck driver and their employer, the trucking company. There may be other parties involved too. To know your exact options based on the details of your accident, it’s best to consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Determining Fault in the Accident
Before suing anyone, you’ll need to know who was responsible for the truck accident in the first place. In Georgia, the negligent party in an accident is legally liable for the damages. So, you and your lawyer will need to investigate the details of your case to see who was at fault.
Unlike other types of auto accidents, there are many different parties who may be at fault for a truck accident, including:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The truck parts manufacturer
- A cargo company
- A maintenance company that inspected the truck
- Another driver
One person or entity may be fully at fault for the accident, or there may be several parties at fault. The negligent party in the accident would determine where you need to file an injury claim or bring a lawsuit.
Personal Injury Claims Versus Lawsuits After Truck Accidents
The first step in seeking compensation for a truck accident is usually filing an injury claim with the negligent party’s insurance company. The goal is to reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company. If you can agree to a fair settlement, the insurance company will pay that amount and your case will be closed.
If a settlement agreement cannot be reached, you may need to pursue further legal action by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Lawsuits are lengthy and expensive, so you will want to think carefully about this decision.
Suing the Truck Driver Personally
Since most truck drivers are employed by a trucking company, you’ll typically sue their employer rather than the individual driver. However, you may be able to sue the driver personally or sue both the driver and their employer. It really depends on the details of the accident and your case.
If the truck driver is an independent contractor, they will not have a set employer, so you would probably need to sue them directly for compensation. That being said, a self-employed truck driver will usually have fewer assets to draw on for compensation. You’ll want to discuss the pros and cons of suing a driver directly with your lawyer.
Suing Another Driver Personally
Sometimes, the at-fault party in the truck accident may be another driver besides the trucker. If another driver was at least partially at fault, you can file a lawsuit against them for damages too. However, you might not need to do this if you can reach a settlement through an injury claim with their auto insurance company.
Will My Truck Accident Lawyer Deal With The Insurance Companies For Me?
Yes, your truck accident lawyer can handle all communication with the insurance companies. It’s actually a great idea to let them do this. 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 Company Tactics After a Truck Accident
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
It can be hard to know where to turn, what to do, or who to trust after a truck accident—especially if you are in pain and stressed. Insurance companies know they can use this to their advantage, so it’s best to have a lawyer on your side who can protect your legal rights.
How Your Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help With the Insurance Companies
Here are some of the best ways a truck accident lawyer can help when it comes to handling insurance companies after a truck accident.
Communicating with the Insurance Company
When you have an experienced lawyer, you won’t have to worry about talking to the at-fault party’s insurance company at all. In fact, we highly recommend letting your lawyer do the talking. They will know how to deal with insurance companies throughout the entire claims process.
While your lawyer deals with the insurance company, you can focus on healing from your injuries and being with family. You won’t have to worry about saying or doing something that could be used against you in your case.
Negotiating for a Fair Settlement
Most of the time, after you file your injury claim, the insurance company will send a lowball counteroffer. This amount will be so much less than you need to cover your damages, so your lawyer will begin negotiating with the insurance company for a settlement that is fair to you. When they see you are working with an experienced lawyer, the insurance company is much more likely to agree to a higher settlement.
Gathering Evidence of Fault and Damages
The insurance company will be looking for strong evidence of the at-fault party’s liability and of the damages you have. Your lawyer will do a lot of investigation and compiling of evidence to build a strong claim. This will greatly increase your chances of getting a fair settlement.
Talking to Your Own Insurance Company
You will probably need to report the truck accident to your own auto insurance company. While this is less risky than reporting to the at-fault party’s insurance company, you’ll still want to be wary of giving too much information.
Instead of worrying about what to say to your own insurance company, you can have your lawyer communicate with them for you.
To make sure everything is handled in a timely manner, it’s best to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
How Long Does A Truck Accident Claim Take To Settle?
The amount of time it takes for a truck accident claim to settle depends on several factors. Every case can be drastically different depending on certain elements. Since truck accidents often leave victims with serious, life-threatening injuries, they can take longer simply because there is more to investigate.
Although it can be frustrating to wait longer for your case to settle, a shorter settlement is not necessarily better. In fact, it can mean you’re missing out on the full compensation you deserve. Instead, it’s best to consult with a truck accident lawyer right away who can give you an idea of how your case should go.
Here are some of the most important factors that determine how long a case may take to settle.
Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer
Having a lawyer on your side can actually extend how long your case takes to settle, but that’s usually good. When insurance companies see you are working with a competent lawyer, they will be more likely to offer you a higher settlement—but they won’t make it easy.
The insurance company may drag their feet, hoping that you’ll accept a lower settlement just to speed things up. Plus, a lawyer will want to negotiate if the insurer offers you a lowball settlement, and this takes additional time. Thankfully, this extra time usually means it will be worth it in the end.
In a Georgia truck accident claim, liability is key. Both the insurance company and your lawyer will want to investigate which parties were at fault in your accident. Unlike other types of auto accidents, it’s not uncommon for there to be more than one at-fault party in a truck accident.
Since both sides will want to research who caused the accident—and what percentage of fault they hold—the investigation process can take a lot of extra time.
Trucking companies (and their truck drivers) are often covered by huge insurance policies. That also means their insurance companies will be armed with experienced adjusters and their own attorneys fighting to reduce how much they pay on each claim.
Both your lawyer and the insurance company will spend time looking into each insurance policy and how it applies to your accident.
Your Medical Treatment Timeline
Before you can truly know how much your damages will be, it’s best to complete medical treatment as fully as possible. Your medical damages will make up the largest portion of your truck accident claim.
Since truck accidents can be so serious, it’s likely that you will require a lot of treatment, which will take time. Although it can be tempting to seek a settlement before you’re fully healed, it’s best to wait so you can get a good idea of all current and future treatment costs. That includes lost wages and other costs associated with treatment.
The Negotiation Process
After you do file your claim, your lawyer will likely end up negotiating with the insurance company. The negotiation process can take a lot of time, especially if you have a lot of damages and there are multiple parties at fault for the accident. However, negotiation is typically good and often leaves you with a much better settlement than if you hadn’t hired a lawyer.
Do You Have To Go To Court For A Truck Accident?
Most truck accident cases do not have to go to court at all. Something like 90% of injury cases gets resolved during the negotiation phase after you the victim has filed their insurance claim. That being said, there are always exceptions.
It’s important to understand what could lead a truck accident case to go to court. Here are the most significant factors.
If there are disagreements about which party is liable for damages in the truck accident, it can increase your chances of needing to go to court. Insurance companies do not like to admit full liability for an accident, so they may try to blame for some (or all) of the accident. Your lawyer will need to compile strong evidence of the at-fault party’s responsibility for the accident and your injuries.
Truck accidents can also be particularly complex because there are multiple parties who may have been negligent in the accident. They might include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- A maintenance company
- A parts manufacturer
- The cargo company
- Or another driver involved in the accident
The more questions there are about who was at fault, the more risk there is of a case needing to proceed to court. Your truck accident lawyer can give you an idea of what to expect in your own case based on the details.
The Seriousness of Your Injuries
Large trucks can cause very serious damage when they get into an accident. This can leave truck accident victims with a lot of severe injuries and other damages. You may need weeks, months, or even years of treatment before you fully recover.
Serious injuries from a truck accident can actually decrease your chances of needing to go to trial. If the evidence is clear that your damages resulted from the truck accident, you are more likely to get the compensation you deserve. However, if the insurance company tries to say that your treatment costs exceed the seriousness of your injuries, they might try to offer you less—which can lead to a case going to court.
When it comes to both liability and gathering evidence of your damages, it’s best to work with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
It’s best to work with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident so they can help you compile evidence of the at-fault party’s liability, your injuries, and your medical damages. The stronger your case, the greater the chance of a resolution before you going to court.
Why Truck Accidents Are Different
There are some key differences between truck accident cases and other types of auto accident cases:
- The insurance claims and settlements are often much higher because truck accidents can cause such serious injuries and other damages.
- It can take a lot longer to reach a settlement agreement because there are so many parties who may be liable and damages to prove.
For the above reasons, truck accident cases can take longer to resolve. You will need to work with a lawyer who can help you seek the compensation you actually deserve. Your lawyer can also help you determine whether or not going to court is in your best interest.
What Happens If The At-Fault Party Doesn’t Have Truck Insurance?
Although most trucking companies will make sure their drivers are covered by truck insurance, that’s not always the case. If you find yourself the victim of an accident where the at-fault party does not have sufficient insurance coverage, don’t give up hope. You might still have options for seeking compensation.
The best thing to do right after discovering the at-fault party is uninsured (or underinsured) is to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer. They will be able to give you the best, most detailed advice tailored to your specific situation.
Why the At-fault Party Might Not Have Insurance
Commercial truck drivers are often covered 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, trucks 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
- Their company has not been satisfying commercial vehicle government requirements
- Their company is carrying the minimum insurance coverage, and it’s not enough to account for all of your damages
Most drivers and companies are smart enough to ensure they have sufficient insurance coverage, but negligent parties may fail to uphold the minimum requirements or they might have allowed their coverage to lapse before renewing it. Either way, it can be scary to realize that there is no insurance coverage to turn to for your damages.
You might have more options than you think, though. Here are some avenues you may be able to explore for compensation.
Your Own Uninsured Motorist Coverage Policy
Every state has different laws when it comes to uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. In Georgia, you do not have to carry UM coverage, but it’s recommended. You likely have this coverage unless you unchecked a little box to opt-out of it when you purchased your insurance policy.
UM coverage in Georgia is typically limited to:
- $25,000 per person and
- $50,000 per accident
Although this may not be enough to cover all of your damages (especially because truck accidents can be so serious), it might help.
Pursuing Legal Action Against the At-fault Party
Even if the at-fault party does not have sufficient insurance, you may still be able to file a claim if they have some insurance coverage. If they do not have any insurance at all, you and your lawyer can discuss bringing legal action against them anyway. However, suing an uninsured driver often means that there are very few assets to pull from if you file a lawsuit against them.
Filing a Claim with Another At-fault Party
Since truck accidents can be so complex, there may be more than one party who was at-fault for a portion of your accident. In that case, you may be able to cover a lot of your damages through a personal injury claim is another at-fault party’s insurance company.
Who Can Be Sued In A Truck Accident Case?
After a truck accident, you can technically sue anyone who was responsible for your accident. The good news is that you may not need to file a lawsuit against someone to get the compensation you deserve. By working with a truck accident lawyer, you can file a personal injury claim and try to reach a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
The at-fault party in a truck accident case is a person or entity that has been negligent. Truck accidents may be caused by factors like:
- A truck driver who was tired or fatigue, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving while distracted
- Manufacturer defects
- Cargo that was overloaded or improperly loaded
- Problems with truck maintenance or inspection
- Aggressive driving or speeding
- Unsafe or poor hiring practices
If you do end up needing to sue someone for damages, here are parties that you may be able to sue (depending on the details of your accident).
The Truck Driver
The truck driver is one of the first parties to examine after a truck accident. Truck drivers may make poor choices on the road if they are fatigued, underslept, overworked, or otherwise not attentive while driving. This is, unfortunately, more common than people realize, as truck drivers are often held to incredibly high standards to meet strict deadlines.
If the truck driver was responsible for your accident, you may be able to sue them directly.
The Trucking Company
Trucking companies must follow certain regulations and safety standards when training, employing, and monitoring their truck drivers. If they do not uphold these duties and it results in an accident, the company may be liable for your damages.
In some situations, you may have grounds to bring legal action against both the truck driver and the trucking company. Often times, both are covered by insurance policies with high coverage limits.
The Parts Manufacturer
If your lawyer discovers that the truck accident was caused by a defective truck or truck part, the company that manufacturer said part may be responsible for your damages.
A Mechanic or Repair Shop
Commercial trucks must go through regular maintenance. If a repair shop or mechanic did not properly fix or notice an issue that led to the accident, they may be sued for damages.
A Shipper of Truck Goods
Goods shippers have a duty to warn truck drivers and trucking companies of dangers related to hazardous cargo. If they do not do this, they may be liable for injuries.
If the truck accident happened because of poor road conditions, a local or state government may be responsible. You may be able to sue the government entity, but you typically have to provide written notice of your intent to sue within 12 months.
Thankfully, you will likely not need to sue anyone to seek compensation for your damages in a truck accident case. A good truck accident lawyer can usually negotiate for a fair settlement after you file an insurance claim. However, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options.
What Should I Do In The Days Following A Truck Accident?
The days following a truck accident are especially important for your injury case. In fact, you can do things to help your case on the same day as your accident. Here are some of the best actions you can take in the hours and days following your accident.
Call the Police
Make sure you report the accident to the police right away. You must do this after any accident where there were injuries or at least $500 in property damage, and both are highly likely in a truck accident.
Get Medical Attention
Most truck accident injuries are serious. If you need immediate medical attention, get it right away. It’s better to get checked out before your injuries become worse or even life-threatening. If you need help, ask someone to call for an ambulance.
If you don’t see a doctor right after the accident, be sure to see one that same day or within a couple of days of the accident. Waiting too long to see a doctor could reduce the amount of compensation you’re able to receive for your medical bills.
If you can, take pictures of the accident scene, the position of the vehicles, all vehicle damages, your injuries, and anything else that helps show what happened. Picture evidence of how the scene looked right after the accident can be very helpful to your case.
Get Information from the Other Driver
While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, exchange the following information with all drivers involved in the crash:
- Names and phone numbers
- Physical addresses
- Insurance information
- Driver’s license numbers
- License plate numbers
Also, make sure to get the name and contact information of the trucking company that employs the truck driver. In a lot of truck accident cases, the trucking company holds some degree of fault too.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer
Reach out to an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as you can. If you don’t do this on the same day of your accident, make sure you call them within the next couple of days. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner they can begin working on your case.
Your lawyer will know where to start investigating and gathering evidence. They can also communicate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Be Wary of theInsurance Company
The at-fault party’s insurance company might contact you soon after the accident. It’s best to not talk to them at all until after you’ve hired a truck accident lawyer.
If you do end up talking to the insurance company, do not give them any detailed information about the accident, admit any blame, accept any money, sign anything, or agree to any recorded statements. It’s really best to let your lawyer handle all communication and negotiation with the insurance company.
Keep Track of All Damages
You will need to present evidence of your damages in your truck accident claim, so keep track of all medical bills, receipts, and other documentation of your costs from the accident.
Keep Up with Your Medical Treatment
Lastly, be sure to follow all the advice from your doctor and not miss any follow-up appointments. Otherwise, the insurance company might try to say you were not hurt as badly as you’re claiming.
What Should I Do At The Scene Of A Truck Accident?
What you do at the scene of a truck accident can really help your insurance claim. You can gather certain information that will help you and your lawyer build a strong case to show what happened and who was at fault. Here are some of the most important steps to take ·(if you’re able) directly at the scene after a truck accident.
Pull Over and Stay Calm
Always stop after any truck accident. In Georgia, you must stop if there are any injuries, anyone was killed, and/or there was at least $500 in property damage. It’s always safest to stop immediately after any collision.
If it’s possible, try to move your vehicle out of the way to oncoming traffic and take safety measures like putting on your hazards. Although it’s hard to keep a clear head after an accident, try to remain calm as best you can.
Report the Accident
Always report an accident like this to the police. Call 911 and say that you’ve been in an accident. You can mention basic facts like injuries, but avoid admitting any blame or pointing the finger at anyone. You’ll want to speak with a lawyer before making any definite claims yet.
It’s a good idea to exchange certain information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Make sure you get the following information:
- Full names of drivers and passengers
- Phone numbers
- Insurance company names and policy numbers
- License plate numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Makes and models of all vehicles
Since a truck accident typically means a collision with a commercial truck driver, make sure you ask for the trucking company’s name and contact information too.
Get Medical Attention
Injuries from truck accidents tend to be very serious. If you have severe injuries that are dangerous or life-threatening, don’t delay getting emergency medical treatment right away. If you’re able to call to report the accident, you can also tell the police that you need an ambulance.
If you are well enough to stay at the scene to collect information, make sure you see a doctor as soon as possible after leaving the scene. Seeing a doctor as soon as you’re able shows the insurance company that your injuries (and resulting damages) are serious.
If you can, use your phone to take pictures of:
- The accident scene
- Vehicle damage and locations of each vehicle
- Your injuries
- Any debris, skid marks, or other damage
- Anything else that might be helpful to your case
Pictures can be extremely helpful in a truck accident case because they preserve the scene as it was right after the accident. Don’t be afraid of taking too many pictures of the accident.
Talk to Witnesses
If anyone else saw the truck accident occur, talk to them and get their contact information. Your lawyer will want to reach out to them later for statements.
Call a Truck Accident Lawyer
Don’t delay getting a trusted and experienced lawyer on your phone, either. Even if you don’t call at the scene, it’s best to contact them on the same day or in the next few days. They can begin helping you with your case immediately.
What Percentage Do Accident Lawyers Take?
Most accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that they don’t charge you a fee for their services unless they win you money. If they do win you money, their fee is taken as a percentage of the settlement or award that you won.
Contingency fees can vary slightly depending on the lawyer or how far your case goes, but most lawyers take between 33.3% (or one-third) and 40% of what they win for you.
Understanding the Contingency Fee
Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency because it allows you to begin working with them right away and not worry about any upfront costs. It also helps ensure your lawyer has your best interests in mind since they do not get paid unless they win you money.
While most accident lawyers take a contingency fee between 33.3% and 40%, there are times when you may see slightly higher fees.
Contingency Fees Based on Case Resolution
For example, if you hired a lawyer who won you a $90,000 settlement from a car accident caused by another driver, their 33.3% contingency fee would be about $30,000 and you would receive the remaining $60,000. Some lawyers will charge a higher fee if the case processes to trial or you file a lawsuit, as well as if the case requires mediation or arbitration.
A higher fee is typically meant to account for the extra work and costs associated with the lawsuit process. Even if you are able to reach a settlement before actually going to trial, a good lawyer will be doing the investigation and research to prepare you for trial along the way.
Other Case Costs
Besides the contingency fee, there are other expenses related to the case process like:
- Police report copies
- Copies of medical records
- Court filing fees
- Postage costs
- Expert witness fees
- Investigator fees
- Deposition fees
- Trial exhibits
- And more
Most lawyers will not charge you outright for these costs as they happen. They’ll simply deduct them from your settlement after their own fees. In some cases, a lawyer may absorb certain fees depending on your case and your contract with them.
It’s best to schedule a consultation and ask specific questions about how a lawyer takes their fees. This will give you an idea of what to expect along the way.
When Your Lawyer Gets Paid
After your lawyer wins you a settlement, they will usually receive the check from the insurance company directly. This allows your lawyer to deduct their fees before sending you the rest.
Your lawyer will take out the contingency fee you agreed upon before working with them plus any additional fees that were accrued during your case. Your lawyer will also provide an itemized list detailing each cost and expense.
Asking Your Lawyer About Their Fee Percentage
Although most accident lawyers work on a contingency fee between 33.3% and 40%, each will approach your case a little differently. You should schedule a consultation as soon as possible and ask questions about how the lawyer structures their fees. That way, you can know what to expect and ensure that you’re a good fit for each other.
What Lawyer Deals With Truck Accidents?
After a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. To seek the money you deserve, you will need to work with a lawyer who has extensive experience working on these types of cases. Here’s what you need to know about finding a truck accident lawyer to help with your case.
What Does a “Truck Accident Lawyer” Mean?
Truck accident lawyers are personal injury lawyers that specialize in truck accident cases. Personal injury lawyers deal with any type of case involving injuries caused by negligence. Those injuries might happen during truck accidents, car accidents, bus accidents, or premises liability accidents.
A truck accident lawyer works specifically on truck accident cases. You also want to work with this type of attorney after a truck accident because they’ll understand the complexity these types of accidents involve.
There are a number of reasons truck accidents are different than other auto accidents.
The Injuries Are More Serious
Because large trucks are so huge, especially when they are loaded with cargo, they can cause a lot of damage during an accident. It’s common for truck accidents to result in a lot of damages and very serious, if not deadly, injuries. A truck accident lawyer will need to be prepared to take on a case with such high damages.
Vehicles are routinely totaled during truck accidents, and victims are left with injuries like spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), severe burns, and amputations. If someone is killed in a truck accident, their loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death claim for damages.
Several Parties Are Involved
Unlike other auto accidents where there are usually just two drivers involved, truck accidents are more complicated. Truck drivers work for trucking companies, so you may be dealing with both the driver and their employer. Plus, there are sometimes other parties, such as a repair shop, the truck manufacturer, or the cargo loader, at-fault for a portion of the accident.
Your lawyer will need to have experience working on cases that involve multiple parties, all of which may be blaming each other for what happened. This can get complicated and overwhelming quickly without a competent lawyer.
Multiple Insurance Companies
Each potentially at-fault party may also be covered by a different insurance company or policy. This can make the insurance claim process confusing, so you’ll need a truck accident lawyer who can handle the different moving parts.
Insurance companies also don’t like to payout much for injury claims. Your lawyer will need to help you build a strong case and protect you from getting taken advantage of during your case.
More Than One State Might Be Involved
Since truck drivers work across multiple states, the driver, the victim, and the trucking company might all live/be stationed in different states. This can make the legal process more complicated, as well. Truck accident lawyers will know how to handle this, especially if you end up needing to file a lawsuit for your damages.
So, a truck accident lawyer is the lawyer you want to hire for dealing with truck accidents. To schedule a FREE consultation with one of our truck accident lawyers, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today.
What Can I Do To Protect My Rights After A Truck Accident?
Truck accidents can be incredibly stressful events. After the collision happens, it’s important that you’re able to protect your legal rights.
If you were not at fault for the accident, you should not have to pay for the damages. However, the at-fault party’s insurance company may look for ways to blame you for some of the accident or undermine the severity of your damages. You can protect yourself by gathering information, not accepting any blame in the accident, and contacting an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Here are some of the six best ways you can protect your rights after the truck accident.
Here are some of the most important things you can do to protect your rights after being injured in a truck accident that was not your fault.
1. Gathering Information
You can start compiling information to help your case right at the scene of the accident. Some ways you can do that include:
- Getting pictures of the scene, vehicle damage, and your injuries
- Call 911 to report the accident to the police
- Exchange names, contact information, insurance information, and vehicle information with the truck driver
- Getting the name and contact information of the truck driver’s employer
- Talking to any witnesses and getting their contact information
Getting this information right at the scene will help preserve the details of the accident so you can include them in your claim.
2. Not Admitting Any Fault
Be careful what you say to anyone after the accident. Even a simple “sorry” may be used against you later. It’s best to avoid discussing fault or liability with the truck driver, their insurance company, or anyone else except your truck accident lawyer.
3. Getting Medical Attention
If you have serious or life-threatening injuries from the accident, don’t delay getting medical attention right away. Otherwise, see a doctor as soon as you can after leaving the scene.
If you wait too long to get medical attention, the insurance company may use it to say you weren’t hurt as badly as your claim portrays. Plus, truck accident injuries can worsen with time, so it can be dangerous to your health to wait.
4. Track Your Expenses
Keep up with all costs and losses from the accident like medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repairs or replacement. You will need to include documentation of your damages in your truck accident claim.
5. Never Accept the First Offer
Insurance companies often respond to claims with a lowball settlement offer. They might even make this seem like the best recovery you’re gonna get. However, you should never accept the first offer because you can get better—and it won’t come close to covering all of your damages.
6. Speak to a Truck Accident Lawyer
Before you make any big decisions, talk to a truck accident lawyer. They can help you take the right steps to protect your legal rights and seek the fullest compensation possible for your damages. That includes communicating and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf, gathering proof of your damages, and determine exactly who was at fault for the accident.
How Much Will It Cost To Hire A Truck Accident Lawyer?
After a truck accident, you might wonder if you really need to hire a lawyer to help you with your insurance claim. If you were not at fault for your accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent party in your crash. There’s a lot to navigate, and an experienced truck accident lawyer can be incredibly helpful.
The main concern most injury victims have is cost. Thankfully, the way most truck accident lawyers structure their fee is virtually risk-free to you.
Truck Accident Lawyers Cost Nothing Upfront
Most truck accident lawyers work on contingency, which means:
- You pay nothing upfront.
- They only get paid if they win you money.
- The lawyer’s fee is taken as a percentage of whatever they win you.
Contingency fee ensures that you don’t need to worry about paying for a retainer and that your lawyer is working in your best interests. Whatever they win for you is a win for them, too.
How Much is the Contingency Fee?
For most personal injury lawyers, the contingency fee is between 33.3% (or one-third) of your settlement or award and 40% of that award. However, this may vary slightly depending on the lawyer’s or law firm’s policies. Most truck accident lawyer contingency fees are within this range.
Some lawyers may take a slightly higher fee based on how far your case progresses. For example, if you end up having to file a lawsuit or require mediation/arbitration, some attorneys may charge closer to or more than the 40% range. The upside of this is that you may win a lot more money if you’re successful at the trial.
Other Truck Accident Case Costs
It’s important to know that there are other expenses related to the truck accident case process. As your lawyer works to gather evidence and fight for your rights, they may have certain costs like:
- Expert witness fees
- Investigator fees
- Fees to obtain copies of the police report or medical records
- Court filing fees
- Court reporter fees
- Postage costs
Most lawyers will handle these costs as they come and then deduct them from whatever you win at the end of your case. Some fees may be absorbed by your lawyer, but that depends on each case.
It’s best to schedule a consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer so you can ask questions about these costs beforehand. That way, you can get a good idea of what to expect. No matter what, though, working with a lawyer who takes cases on contingency allows you to get legal help without worrying about upfront costs.
Do You Really Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
As you look into your options after the truck accident, you might wonder if you really need to hire a lawyer at all. Although it can be tempting to consider taking on your case alone, we do not recommend it.
Truck accidents can be incredibly expensive and complex. They can lead to serious injuries, vehicle damage, a lot of pain and suffering, and more. Further, the insurance companies will look for any way to reduce what they have to pay you.
To avoid getting taken advantage of and having to pay for your expenses out of pocket, it’s best to work with a truck accident lawyer who can fight for your rights.
How Much Should You Settle For After A Truck Accident?
Truck accident victims often wonder how much they should accept as a settlement in their claim. Unfortunately, there isn’t one number—or even an average—we can give to everyone. Every case can be so different, and how much you can settle for depends on a number of factors.
Who Was at Fault for the Accident
In Georgia, the at-fault party in an injury accident is legally liable for the damages. Truck accident cases can get complex because there are sometimes multiple at-fault parties. The truck driver, their trucking company, a mechanic that worked on the truck, the parts manufacturer, a cargo loader, or even another driver may have been negligent in the accident.
When more than one person or party is to blame for what happened, it can make your case more complicated. If you were partially at fault for the collision, that can also reduce what you are legally allowed to recover. These are details you’ll want to discuss with your truck accident lawyer.
The Insurance Companies
When it comes to truck accidents, there may be an insurance policy on both the trucking company and the truck driver. Sometimes, the truck itself and even its cargo may be covered by a policy. This can make seeking compensation more complicated and may involve more than one insurance claim.
You might even end up having different parties (and their insurance companies) blaming each other for the accident. You will need to work with a lawyer who knows how to handle this type of conflict and understands how it may affect how much you can settle for.
One of the most important factors in a truck accident case is your damages. You will need to get a good idea of your costs from things like:
- Medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Lost wages
- Future medical costs
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Pain and suffering damages
- Funeral or burial costs (if you are filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one)
The damages from a truck accident can be huge, and they can last for a long time. If you have a catastrophic injury, you may require years of treatment. The injuries might impact your life for a long time, if not forever. You may have emotional damages that stay with you for years, as well.
You and your lawyer will need to consider all of your losses from the truck accident. This will give you a better idea of how much you should settle for—and, just as importantly—what you should not accept as a settlement.
Your Truck Accident Lawyer
To make sure you’re seeking the fairest settlement possible, be sure to work with an experienced truck accident lawyer. There may be many lawyers who are willing to take on your case, but you want someone who understands the complexities of truck accident cases.
It’s best to schedule a consultation to discuss the details of your case, what type of settlement you may be able to seek, and the lawyer’s level of experience and familiarity with cases similar to yours.
How Much Is A Rear-End Accident Worth?
The worth of your rear-end accident depends on a number of factors, including your medical costs, your lost wages, damage to your vehicle, pain and suffering damages you experience, and how you interact with the insurance company. To make sure your claim accounts for all of your damages, it’s best to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help.
What You Need to Know About Rear-End Accidents
A rear-end accident is a collision where one vehicle crashes into the back of another vehicle. Rear-end accidents make up around 29% of all collisions, and they can lead to serious consequences.
When a rear-end accident involves a semi-truck or 18-wheeler, the effects can be even more disastrous. Even at low speeds, rear-end truck accidents can lead to severe injuries and extreme vehicle damage. If you were in a rear-end accident with a large truck, you’ll want to work with a truck accident lawyer who can help you handle the complexities of truck accidents.
How to Calculate the Worth of Your Rear-End Accident Claim
If you were in a rear-end accident caused by someone else, you should not have to pay for the costs. You can seek compensation for your damages by filing a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. To do this, you’ll need to determine how much your damages are worth.
To calculate how much your accident is worth, you’ll want to look at the following types of damages.
Injuries and Medical Costs
Medical damages are typically the largest part of a rear-end accident claim. They can include costs like:
- Doctor bills
- Hospital stays
- Ambulance fees
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapies
- Future medical costs
Common injuries from rear-end accidents include whiplash, other neck injuries, back injuries, concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and more. You should see a doctor as soon as you can after your accident to get your injuries evaluated. A lot of times, injuries become worse over time and are more serious than they initially seem.
You can include missed work time in your rear-end accident claim as well as “loss of earning capacity.” You’ll need to consider whether or not your accident injuries have impacted your ability to work as you did before.
Vehicle damage from a rear-end accident can range from very minor to so serious that your car is totaled. It’s a good idea to get your vehicle evaluated by a mechanic soon after the accident. This will help you know how much your vehicle damage contributes to the value of your accident claim.
Pain and Suffering
If you have emotional damages or physical pain and suffering after the accident, this can be included in your claim too. Examples of pain and suffering include:
- Emotional distress
- Fear, humiliation, or shock
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Pain and suffering damages can be worth a lot in an accident claim, but you’ll need to know how to prove them. This usually requires the expertise of a personal injury lawyer.
How Much Do Lawyers Charge For Accident Claims?
Most accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means:
- The lawyer doesn’t get paid unless they win you money in your accident case.
- If they do win you money, their fee is taken as a percentage of what you win.
For most personal injury lawyers, the contingency fee is 33.3% (or about one-third) to 40% of the settlement or award that they win you. This may be slightly different depending on how the lawyer runs their practice, however.
When the Contingency Fee Might Change
Sometimes, the contingency fee may vary based on how far the case goes. For example, a lawyer might charge a lower contingency fee if they settle your case before you have to file a lawsuit. If you do file a lawsuit but still settle before going to court, they might charge a low-to-middling fee. If you end up going all the way to court, of if you require mediation/arbitration, the lawyer’s contract might state that the fee increases to 40% of what they win at trial.
You’ll want to schedule a consultation with any lawyer you’re interested in hiring for your accident case. During the consultation, you can discuss how the lawyer charges for their services and whether or not the contingency fee changes at any point.
Other Fees Related to Accident Claims
There are other fees and expenses you may need to be aware of when working with a lawyer on your accident claim. As your lawyer gathers information and helps build your case, they will have fees for things like:
- Expert witnesses
- Copies of the police report or your medical records
- Court reporter services
- Trial exhibits
Different lawyers may handle these fees in different ways. Some might charge you upfront for these costs as they come, while others might take on the costs themselves and then deduct them from your settlement at the end of the case.
You’ll also need to get clear on whether or not you will still be responsible for any of these costs if you do not win any settlement. That’s something else to ask during the consultation. To schedule a FREE consultation with one of our experienced lawyers at John Foy & Associates, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today.
When a Lawyer is Worth What They Charge
After learning what a lawyer charges for an accident claim, you might wonder if the fee is worth it. This is understandable, as we know how stressful and experience accidents can be. However, it’s important to remember that hiring a lawyer usually leaves accident victims with a much better settlement than if they had tried to handle their case alone.
Insurance companies know that most injury victims are not well-versed in tort law or even aware of their full legal rights. An accident lawyer can make sure your rights are upheld and that you don’t get taken advantage of. Most importantly, they know how to fight for the compensation you need and deserve after being involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault.
How Long Do I Have To File A Lawsuit After A Truck Accident?
You typically have two years from the date of your truck accident to file a lawsuit. This applies to both filing a personal injury claim and filing a lawsuit. The sooner you can start working on your truck accident case, the better it can be for your outcome.
What to Know About a Truck Accident Case Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is how long you still have to pursue legal action after an injury has occurred. The statute of limitations in Georgia is two years, which is why that’s how long you have to file a lawsuit. That amount of time varies between states, though, so make sure you understand the limitations where you live.
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’s also a lot of work that needs to happen between the date of your accident and the actual filing of your lawsuit, so it’s best to start working on building your case immediately.
There are also some circumstances where the statute of limitations is “tolled” and you have more time to file. This applies in situations like:
- If the at-fault party is a minor (and the limitations would be tolled until they turn 18 years old)
- When a criminal prosecution is pending related to the accident (and the limitations would be tolled until it’s no longer pending)
- If there is a wrongful death case where the deceased person’s estate is not probated (which may be tolled for up to five years)
These are rare cases, so most truck accident cases still have a limitation of two years to file.
Filing a Lawsuit Versus an Insurance Claim
You actually might not need to file a lawsuit at all in order to get compensation for your truck accident damages. After the accident, you can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company to seek a settlement.
Your insurance claim will need to show how the driver was at fault for your accident and prove that your damages were caused by the accident. You’ll also need to deal with the insurance company, as they will look for ways to reduce what they can pay you. It usually requires the help of a truck accident lawyer to negotiate with the insurance company for a settlement that is actually fair to you.
If you and your lawyer are not able to negotiate a good enough settlement with the insurance company, then you may decide to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Lawsuits can be very lengthy and expensive, so you will want to carefully weigh the pros and cons before suing.
Either Way, You Have Two Years
It doesn’t matter whether you file an insurance claim or end up filing a lawsuit. The statute of limitations to bring legal action in either situation is two years from the date of your accident. To make sure you have sufficient time to seek the compensation you deserve, contact a truck accident lawyer today.
Can You Sue For A Rear-End Collision?
Yes. If you were not at fault for the rear-end collision, you have the right to sue for compensation for your damages. In many situations, though, you might not even need to file a lawsuit. A personal injury lawyer can help you file an insurance claim to seek compensation before suing.
The Legal Process After a Rear-End Accident
After a rear-end accident happens, there are things you can do to gather information for your case, whether you plan to file a claim or file a lawsuit. Some of those things include:
- Reporting the rear-end accident to the police
- Taking pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and your vehicle damage
- Exchanging names, contact information, and insurance information with the other driver
- Getting the contact information of witnesses
The person who rear-ended you is likely at fault for the collision, so you will want to pursue legal action against them or their insurance company for compensation of your medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damage, and more.
Getting Settlement Offer
After the rear-end accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company might reach out to you and offer a settlement. This will be a lowball amount that doesn’t come close to covering all of your damages. You should be careful not to accept any money or sign anything without speaking to a personal injury lawyer first.
Once you have a lawyer, they can help you deal with the insurance company. They will work to negotiate for a higher settlement amount that is actually fair to you. This includes calculating your damages (including future costs) to know how much your accident is worth.
A lot of rear-end accident claims get settled here, which would mean you do not have to sue. However, if you and the insurance company cannot reach a settlement that both agree on, you might decide to sue the at-fault driver.
Suing for a Rear-End Collision
You and your lawyer will want to weigh the pros and cons before filing your lawsuit, as lawsuits can be lengthy and expensive. If you decide going forward with the lawsuit is best, you’ll begin gathering evidence to support your case like:
- The police report
- Copies of your medical bills
- Receipts from prescription medications and other costs
- Evidence of lost wages, such as past pay stubs, and loss of earning capacity
- Evidence of vehicle repairs or replacement
- Future medical cost calculations
- Evidence of physical or emotional pain and suffering you’ve endured because of the accident
After gathering evidence of your damages from the rear-end accident, your lawyer will file the actual complaint. This document will details what occurred during the accident, your injuries, and how you’re seeking recovery for your damages.
After your complaint is filed, it officially establishes that you are suing for the rear-end accident. However, there is still potential to reach a settlement before the case actually goes all the way to trial. This is why you’ll want an experienced injury lawyer on your side who can help you make the right decisions for the compensation you deserve every step of the way.
When Should You Get A Lawyer For A Truck Accident?
After a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. However, seeking recovery from a truck accident case can be difficult in many situations. You might wonder if you need to get a lawyer for help with your accident claim.
An experienced lawyer can improve your chances of fair compensation in just about any situation, but there are some of the most important reasons to get a lawyer.
Several Parties May Have Been Involved
In truck accidents, there are often multiple parties involved—and many of them may be partially at fault for the crash. Those who may be responsible include:
- Truck drivers
- Trucking companies
- Truck manufacturers (or parts manufacturers)
- Mechanics or repair shops
- Cargo companies
- Government entities
- Or other drivers in the accident
Since truck accidents can be so complicated, you will need help from a lawyer who can identify all involved parties. They can make sure you are seeking compensation from every angle and protecting your legal rights in the process.
You Don’t Know Where to Start with Your Case
There are a lot of details to keep up with after a truck accident. You will need to gather evidence of the at-fault party’s liability, your damages, and more. If you wait too long to do this, you might significantly reduce (or even miss out on) the compensation you can receive.
When you contact a truck accident lawyer, you’ll be speaking with someone who can examine your case and determine the best place to start. Since most truck accident lawyers do not take any upfront fees and only get paid if they win you money, you’ll know they are making each decision with your best interest in mind.
Your Damages Are High
After your truck accident, you’re likely facing costs like:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages or loss of earning capacity
- Vehicle damage (or a totaled vehicle)
- Pain and suffering damages
Although these damages are common in any auto accident, they can be especially serious after a truck accident. Large trucks can cause catastrophic injuries and enormous damage. A lawyer can make sure you are seeking compensation for all of your losses.
You Can’t Work
If your injuries prevent you from working for a long period of time or may prevent you from working in the same capacity as before, contact a truck accident lawyer. They will help you calculate what has been lost and seek compensation for how the accident has impacted your ability to earn a living for yourself and your family.
The Insurance Company is Making Things Harder
Since there may be multiple parties at fault for your accident, you might be dealing with several insurance companies too. This can get frustrating quickly, as insurance companies often spring into action looking for ways to reduce what they have to pay you.
It’s best to hire a truck accident lawyer from the beginning how can handle the insurance companies for you. That way, your rights are protected and you can’t be taken advantage of.
How Do I Find A Good Truck Accident Lawyer?
Finding the best truck accident lawyer for you is a very personalized process. You will need to make sure you choose someone who has the right background for your case and who you feel comfortable working with.
Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when looking for a good lawyer for your truck accident case.
Truck Accident Cases Are Different
Truck accidents can be a lot more complex than other types of auto accidents. They often involve multiple at-fault parties, which can also mean multiple insurance companies. You will need to work with a lawyer who understands these complexities and knows how to handle all the working parts.
Before deciding on any lawyer, it’s best to schedule a consultation where you can tell them more about your case, discuss the details, and talk about how their experience relates to your accident. During the consultation, you can find out more about the following factors.
Make Sure They’re Experienced
Always ask about the lawyer’s experience, especially as it relates to truck accident cases like yours. Find out where they earned their degree, how long they have been working on truck accident cases, and details about specific cases like yours they’ve won.
It’s crucial that you work with a truck accident lawyer rather than any type of injury lawyer. A truck accident lawyer will be well-versed in the complicated nature of truck accident cases and how to handle them to your advantage.
Look Into Their Reputation
Besides experience, your lawyer’s reputation matters too. You can ask friends and acquaintances if they have any recommendations based on attorneys they’ve worked with in the past. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need a truck accident lawyer specifically to work on your case.
If you don’t have any personal connections to good truck accident lawyers, look at online reviews, lawyer review sites, and social media sites where people can talk about their experiences with specific lawyers or law firms. You can also ask any lawyer you’re interested in for a list of past client references.
Make Sure They Can Negotiate
Chances are good that you’ll need a lawyer who can negotiate for the compensation you deserve. Whether you are trying to reach a settlement from your insurance claim or plan to file a lawsuit, you’ll need a legal expert who knows how to build a strong case and negotiate for a settlement that is actually fair to you.
During the consultation, ask the lawyer about past cases where they have successfully negotiated a settlement that compensated their client.
Inquire About Their Resources
Experienced truck accident lawyers will have a thorough list of trusted experts they can turn to as needed. These might include medical experts, accident reconstruction experts, manufacturer experts, or engineering experts. Having a lawyer with resources can be incredibly helpful to your case.
Pay Attention to How You Feel Around Them
You will also need to work with a truck accident lawyer that you feel comfortable being around and discussing the details of your case. Make sure they give your case plenty of attention and seem genuinely interested in getting you the best outcome possible.
What Does A Truck Accident Lawyer Do?
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 truck accident lawyers do for their clients.
Truck Accident Lawyers and Tort Law
Like all personal injury lawyers, truck accident lawyers focus on tort law, which involves a private or civil wrong or injury that may be accounted for through financial compensation.
Truck accident lawyers help truck accident victims seek recovery for their injuries from the party that was negligent in their accident. They seek to legally make the injured party “whole again” through compensation of damages like medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Personal injury lawyers may specialize in many different types of accident cases. As you can tell by the name, truck accident lawyers are experts truck accident claims and lawsuits. When it comes down to what truck accident lawyers do, there’s a lot that goes into their work.
Truck accident lawyers will research and investigate the cases of injury victims who come to them for legal services. If they feel a case is valid and has a good chance of winning, they may choose to work with the client.
Truck accident lawyers may be careful when choosing what cases they take on because they work on a contingency basis. That means they only get paid if they win the client a settlement or award, and their fee is taken as a percentage of that amount.
When a truck accident lawyer decides to take on a truck accident case, they will start investigating the details. That might involve going to the accident scene, looking over pictures from the scene, talking to witnesses and getting statements, reviewing the victim’s expenses, and calculating future costs.
When they have gathered sufficient evidence, the lawyer will start building a strong truck accident claim.
Sending the Demand Letter
The demand letter is a document that shows the facts of the accident and the amount of compensation the victim is seeking in damages. A truck accident lawyer will send this demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Negotiating for a Settlement
After the truck accident lawyer sends the demand letter, the insurance company will have to respond. They can either accept the claim, deny the claim, or send a counteroffer. Sometimes, insurance companies will try contacting the truck accident victim right after the accident.
Insurance companies usually either try to deny a truck accident claim or send a very low settlement offer. The lawyer will then work to negotiate with the insurance company for a settlement that is actually fair to their client. A lot of cases end here, but not always.
Sending the Complaint
If the insurance company won’t negotiate and the victim decides to sue, the lawyer will send a complaint. This officially begins the lawsuit process.
Discovery and Preparing for Trial
A case can still settle before it actually goes to trial, but a truck accident lawyer will begin preparing for anything. They will gather evidence and begin researching to prepare for the discovery process of the lawsuit. If they end up needing to go to trial, they’ll be ready to represent their client through each stage.
What To Do After A Truck Accident
Truck accidents can be incredibly serious. Whatever you can do after the crash to gather evidence and document what happened will help you seek compensation for your damages. Here are ten of the best ways to do that.
1. Call the Police
Call 911 to report the truck accident to the police. This is a legal requirement in Georgia if there are any injuries, deaths, or property damage exceeding $500 from the accident. Officers will respond to the scene and create a police report of the accident, which will be the first form of documentation showing what happened.
2. Call for an Ambulance
If you or anyone else needs emergency medical attention, do not hesitate to get it. When you call 911, let them know that you need an ambulance.
3. Take Pictures at the Scene
Use your phone to take photos of the accident scene, your injuries (and the injuries of anyone else in your vehicle), and your vehicle damage. Picture evidence preserves the scene as it was right after the accident, which is very important for your claim.
4. Exchange Information
Although responding officers will request this information too, it’s always a good idea to exchange information with the other drivers in the accident. That information should include:
- Names, physical addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- License plate numbers
- Auto insurance company names and policy numbers
- The trucking company’s name and contact information
5. Talk to Witnesses
If anyone is standing around who saw the accident happen, talk to them and get their contact information. Your truck accident lawyer will reach out to them later for witness statements. This can be powerful evidence to back up your insurance claim.
7. Be Careful What You Say
The insurance company will be looking for ways to reduce what they pay on your claim. So, be careful what you say or how you act after the accident—even at the scene.
Avoid saying sorry or anything that could make you seem at-fault for the accident. Even if you are worried you were partially responsible, that’s something to discuss with your lawyer—not the truck driver, their insurance company, or anyone else.
If the insurance company contacts you after the accident, do not discuss the details of the accident or your injuries with them. Insurance adjusters are skilled at creating a dialogue that may get you to say something that could be used against you later. It’s better to hire a truck accident lawyer who can speak to the insurance company for you instead.
8. Get Your Vehicle Appraised
Before you pay to have any repairs done to your vehicle, get it appraised so you can see the full extent of the damage. Often, truck accidents leave a vehicle with severe damage or even totaled. You will need to know exactly how much damage so you can include the totals in your injury claim.
9. Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
Make sure you are keeping up with all of your doctor’s treatment advice and not missing any appointments. If you fail to do this, the insurance company can use it against you and offer you a lower settlement.
10. Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer
Lastly, make sure to contact an experienced and trusted truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. They will be your biggest advocate against the insurance company and know where to start with building a strong claim to seek compensation for all of your damages.
How Truck Accidents Are Different Than Car Accidents
There are a number of ways truck accidents differ from car accidents, and it’s important to understand the difference. If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, you’ll want to reach out to a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Truck accidents can be incredibly complex, and it’s unwise to try and take on the case alone.
To schedule a FREE consultation with one of our experienced truck accident lawyers at John Foy & Associates, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.
Trucks Are So Much Larger
Commercial trucks are huge vehicles that can easily weigh tens of thousands of pounds, especially when fully loaded. Because of their size, trucks cannot stop, turn, or avoid dangers as quickly as cars or other vehicles.
The sizes and weights of trucks can cause a lot more damage than cars when in a collision. This means serious or life-threatening injuries and totaled vehicles.
More Serious Damages
Damages tend to be a lot more serious from truck accidents versus car accidents. This can make seeking compensation more difficult, as you’ll need to account for all costs. Serious injuries can take months or even years to fully heal, and they might even leave you with a disability or affect your ability to work as you did before.
Since a truck accident can easily derail your life, you will need a legal professional on your side who can help you seek the fullest compensation possible.
Safety Standards and Regulations Are Different
Truck drivers and their trucking companies must be careful to follow certain federal regulations and safety standards. If they do not, they may be responsible for all damages from the accident.
Unfortunately, truck drivers or the companies might also cut corners to meet tight deadlines, putting drivers out on the road while fatigued and underslept. This can increase the risk of serious accidents happening.
Several Negligent Parties
When car accidents happen, the at-fault party is typically one of the drivers. The cause might be driver negligence, such as someone running a red light or merging without putting on their blinker. With truck accidents, the cause can be a lot more involved.
The at-fault party in a truck accident could be one or more of the following:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- A maintenance company
- A manufacturer
- The company that loaded the cargo
Compared with car accident cases, truck accidents often require a lot more investigation to determine who was responsible for the accident.
Aggressive Insurance Companies
After an auto accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company is always looking for ways to reduce their liability. However, with truck accidents, insurance companies can be especially aggressive at protecting their money. Plus, you might be working with more than one insurance company or insurance policy at once.
To know where to turn first after a truck accident, it’s best to work with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. They can research the parties involved in the accident, how the accident happened, what insurance policies are involved, and how much your total damages will be. The goal is to seek full compensation for your costs so you can begin to heal and move on.
Is The Truck Driver Or Trucking Company Responsible In A Truck Accident?
It depends on the situations surrounding the truck accident. The truck driver, the trucking company, or a combination of the two may be responsible. In some situations, neither the driver nor the company is fully at fault and a third party is involved.
To know for sure who was responsible for your truck accident, you’ll want to consult with a truck accident lawyer as soon as you can. They will know how to research the accident and determine who is liable for your damages. That way, you’ll know where to turn when seeking compensation for your costs.
When the Truck Driver is at Fault
It’s actually fairly rare for the truck driver to be completely at fault for a truck accident. However, there are situations where it’s the case. If the truck driver works as an independent contractor, not an employee, they may be fully liable for an accident that happens while operating the vehicle.
The truck driver could also be completely responsible if they were performing deliberate or reckless actions before or during the collision. For example, if a driver rammed their truck into another vehicle out of anger, they would likely be fully responsible if there was good evidence of those actions.
When the Trucking Company is at Fault
Most of the time, the trucking company is mostly responsible for the accident, even if the truck driver’s actions caused the collision. Under the law of respondeat superior, employers are typically liable for employees’ actions if they fall under their scope of employment.
Trucking companies have also been found guilty of cutting corners, as far as following regulations or local laws, in order to meet deadlines. They might hold their drivers to unrealistic standards or schedules that force them to avoid getting enough rest, for example.
Both the Truck Driver and Trucking Company Could Be Responsible
In some situations, both the truck driver and the trucking company might be partially at fault for the truck accident. The exact details will depend on how the accident happened, whether or not the driver’s actions fell under their scope of employment, and more.
You’ll want to work with a truck accident lawyer who can investigate who exactly was at fault for your accident. This will let you know who to file a claim or lawsuit against for your damages. If both the driver and the trucking company are at fault, it might also mean you’ll be dealing with more than one insurance policy, which you’ll also need an experienced lawyer’s help to handle.
Other Parties Might Be Responsible
When it comes to truck accidents, the driver and the trucking company might not be the only at-fault parties. Sometimes, there are other people or entities at fault for what happened. The responsible parties might include:
- The owner of the truck if they failed to keep up with maintenance or inspection of the vehicle
- A manufacturer or the truck or certain truck parts that were defective
- A cargo loader that failed to properly inspect, load, or secure certain cargo
Types of Truck Accidents
Large trucks are very common anywhere you drive. They are regularly transporting goods from one location to another. While this can be great for the economy and business, truck drivers must be very careful to operate their vehicles safely. If they do not, the damage from a collision can be catastrophic.
There are many ways truck accidents can happen. Since the vehicles are so large and heavy, there are unique situations where a truck might increase the chance of a collision. Here are some of the most common types of truck accidents that can occur anywhere.
The size and weight of large commercial trucks increase the chance of rollovers if the driver loses control of their vehicle. Any other drivers that are near the truck can become crushed or otherwise seriously injured during a truck rollover.
If a truck driver brakes too fast, the trailer of their truck can skid forward and create a 90-degree angle with the cab. This is known as jackknifing. Jackknife accidents can occur with other vehicles near the truck or when certain lanes of traffic become blocked off.
3. Squeeze Play
Also known as wide turn accidents, “squeeze play” accidents happen when a vehicle gets trapped between the front and side of a truck as it’s turning right.
To make proper right turns, truck drivers often have to swing slightly left to have enough room. If the driver doesn’t watch for other drivers approaching on the right, the driver might not realize the trucker is attempting to turn right. If the other vehicle tries to pass on the right, they can get stuck and a deadly accident can occur.
When a truck driver brakes quickly and a vehicle behind is not prepared, the latter vehicle can actually get stuck underneath the truck. This is more common with small vehicles and motorcycles. Underrides are usually very serious and typically deadly.
5. T-Bone Accidents
If a truck driver runs a red light, it can lead to a t-bone accident where another vehicle collides into the truck’s side, forming a “T” shape.
6. Blind Spots
Trucks tend to have very large blind spots that drivers must be aware of. Truckers should regularly check their blind spots to avoid merging into a lane where another vehicle is traveling. Otherwise, it may lead to a serious truck accident.
7. Tire Blowouts
Tire blowouts can happen if a driver fails to check their tires regularly. Although blowouts can happen with any vehicle, they can be especially serious with trucks due to the size and weights of these huge vehicles.
8. Rear-End Accidents
Even at low speeds, rear-end truck accidents can be extreme and leave victims with serious injuries can vehicle damage.
9. Head-On Collisions
Head-on accidents are deadly when they involve any vehicle, so it’s even worse when large trucks are involved.
10. Brake Failure
Improper installation, poor maintenance, overheating, and old brakes are all reasons truck brakes might fail on the road.
11. Spilled Cargo Accidents
Cargo that is not properly loaded or secured can spill out onto the road and cause an accident.
12. DUI Accidents
If truck drivers drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the consequences can be incredibly devastating. Unfortunately, it sometimes happens.
How Negligence Is Established In A Truck Accident
To seek compensation for damages in a truck accident, you will need to show where negligence lies in the accident. Negligence is established through evidence demonstrating how the accident happened and what damages were suffered as a result. This can be difficult to do, which is why it’s so important to work with a truck accident lawyer early on in the process.
What Negligence Means
Under Georgia Code § 51-1-2, “ordinary negligence” means the lack of ordinary diligence, which is care exercised by regularly prudent individuals in the same or similar situations. If a person or party fails to uphold that diligence and it results in a truck accident, they have been negligent in that accident.
When it comes to truck accident cases, truck drivers and trucking companies are especially expected to be careful on the roads. They are providing a service and operating enormous vehicles that can be very dangerous in a collision.
When someone is negligent in an injury accident, they are legally liable for the damages. That means, if you were the victim of a truck accident, you would need to establish negligence before seeking compensation for your damages.
To prove that someone else was negligent in your accident, you’ll need to show that:
- They owed you a duty of care.
- That duty of care was breached (establishing negligence).
- The negligence caused the truck accident.
- Your injuries and other damages directly resulted from the accident.
In truck accidents, there may be several parties who were negligent in the crash. They may include the truck driver, the trucking company, the owner of the truck, a manufacturer, a cargo loader, or even a government entity responsible for maintaining the roadways.
You and your truck accident lawyer will need to investigate exactly what caused your accident, then dip deeper to see who was negligent in those dangerous actions or conditions. It could be that the accident was caused by negligent driving choices, poor safety standards, lack of maintenance, poorly-loaded cargo, bad road conditions, something else, or a combination of several factors.
Gathering Evidence of Negligence
You will need to gather evidence of the negligence in your accident, which requires the expertise of a truck accident lawyer. They can help you by investigating the accident, gathering evidence, talking to witnesses, compiling proof of the damages, handling the insurance companies for you, and more.
Damages You Can Claim
When you have evidence of the at-fault party’s negligence, you can file a claim or lawsuit against them for damages like:
- Medical bills for current and future care
- Prescription medications
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death damages
Even if you are partially negligent in your accident, you probably still have options for recovering damages.
In Georgia, if you were less than 50% negligent in the accident, you can still receive compensation for your damages. What you can receive would be reduced based on the percentage of fault you hold. To learn more about this, talk to a truck accident lawyer today.
Talk to a Georgia Truck Accident Lawyer for Free 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. We have been assisting truck accident victims with their cases for over 20 years, and we know what it takes to get fair compensation.
Call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get a FREE consultation and case evaluation. We’ll discuss the details of the accident, your legal options, and how we can help. Call (404) 400-4000 to get started for FREE today.