The core of seeking compensation for damages from a truck accident is negligence. In fault states like Georgia, you will need to prove that the other party was negligent or careless in the collision. Demonstrating fault is often easier said than done, so it’s best to consult with a lawyer who can help you establish negligence in your truck accident.
What Negligence Means in a Truck Accident
According to Georgia Code § 51-1-2, ordinary negligence is defined as the absence of ordinary diligence, which is the “degree of care which is exercised by ordinarily prudent persons under the same or similar circumstances.”
Every driver has a duty of care to others on the road. They must exercise ordinary diligence to prevent harm to other drivers and their passengers. This applies to truck drivers, as well. In fact, truck drivers have an even higher degree of responsibility on the road because they are acting under the supervision of an employer for commercial reasons.
When someone is negligent in a truck accident (or any personal injury accident), they are legally liable for the damages. The victim in said accident has a right to seek compensation for their damages (Georgia Code § 51-1-6).
How to Establish Negligence in Your Truck Accident
To seek compensation after a truck accident, you will need to prove that the other party was negligent. To do this, you’ll need to establish that:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care (as mentioned above).
- The at-fault party breached that duty of care (and were therefore negligent).
- Your truck accident and injuries were caused by that negligence.
- You suffered damages as a result of the accident and negligence.
In other auto accidents, the at-fault party is typically one or more drivers or passenger vehicles. However, in a truck accident, there are multiple parties who may be responsible, including the:
- Truck driver if they performed negligent actions that led to the accident
- Trucking company if they violated certain regulations, encouraged drivers into unsafe practices, provided inadequate training, etc
- Owner of the truck if the accident was caused by failure to keep up with maintenance or inspections
- Manufacturer of the truck’s parts if said parts had defects or were not properly inspected
- Cargo loader if the accident was caused by improperly loaded, inspected, or secured cargo
- Government entity if the accident was caused by poor local road conditions
The truck driver is not always automatically negligent in the truck accident. Even if their actions did lead to the accident, the trucking company might be ultimately liable. An employer is often responsible for an employee’s actions if those actions fall within the scope of employment.
Gathering Evidence to Show Negligence in a Truck Accident
As a truck accident victim seeking compensation, the burden is on you to prove negligence in the accident. This can be difficult to do, and it’s virtually impossible to gather the correct information on your own. You’ll want to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as you can after the accident.
Your attorney can immediately get to work by performing actions like:
- Investigating the accident
- Gathering evidence of negligence
- Looking at driver logs
- Taking pictures at the scene of the accident
- Getting statements from any witnesses to the accident
- Determining how the accident occurred and who is liable
- Compiling evidence of all of your damages
A truck accident lawyer will also help protect you from the insurance companies. When a truck accident happens, there could be multiple insurance companies involved. The truck driver, the trucking company, and even the truck might be covered by policies.
Since truck accidents are often covered by a lot more insurance than the average accident, the insurance companies will be aggressive in protecting their funds. That means may look for ways to blame you for the accident, thus reducing how negligent their policyholder appears, or try to reduce the value of your truck accident claim. To make sure you don’t get taken advantage of, it’s best to let your truck accident lawyer handle all communication with the insurance companies.
Damages You Can Claim from the Negligent Party in a Truck Accident
If you are able to successfully establish negligence in the truck accident, you can claim compensation for damages like:
- Medical bills
- Doctor bills
- Prescription medications
- Future medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Pain and suffering damages
- Wrongful death damages (if you are filing a claim on behalf of a loved one who died in a truck accident)
Your lawyer will work to calculate the full value of your damages. Since truck accidents can leave extremely serious, you may need to wait until your injuries are fully healed and you know how much the accident will affect your finances and life in the future. The goal is to prove negligence and get you full compensation for all current and future costs from the accident.
Partial Negligence in a Truck Accident
Many injury victims worry that they might have been partially responsible for their accident. It’s rare for truck accident victims to be at fault for what occurred, but if you were partially responsible, it doesn’t mean you don’t have options.
Many states have comparative negligence laws that still allow you to recover money even if you were partially at fault. In Georgia, you can still seek compensation if you were less than 50% negligent in the accident (Georgia Code § 51-12-33). Your settlement or award would simply be reduced based on your percentage of negligence.
If you think you may be partially responsible for the accident, discuss it within your truck accident lawyer—NOT with the insurance companies, the truck driver, or anyone else. Your attorney will want to fully investigate before assuming you have any degree of fault in the accident.
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer in Georgia for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, our truck accident lawyers can investigate the negligent party or parties in your accident. We have more than 20 years of experience helping truck accident victims win the recovery they deserve. Let us help you, too—starting with a FREE consultation.
To get started with your FREE consultation, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today.