Georgia Truck Accidents are Not The Same as Car Accidents

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As a car and truck wreck attorney practicing around Dekalb, Clayton, and Fulton Counties, I have handled a number of car and truck wreck cases over the years. These metro Atlanta counties have major state roads like Highway 41, Jonesboro Road, Tara Blvd. and highways like I-85, I-75, and I-20, running through and around the area. Unfortunately, major roadways and numerous cars and trucks yield many collisions.

Over the years, I have learned that Georgia car wrecks and tractor-trailer wrecks are very different. In fact, most good lawyers who handle these types of cases approach car and truck wrecks differently. Why? In a car on car wreck, there are usually a limited number of factors in play. While every case has unique facts, we generally see rear-end and T-bone type collisions when there are two cars involved. Of course, it is necessary to investigate the at-fault driver; however, absent a DUI issue or a long history of reckless driving, the background of a private car driver is generally not a significant issue in a car on car wreck. Also, insurance is usually straightforward when two cars are involved. Generally, you have the at-fault driver’s insurance and, perhaps, the injured person’s Un/Underinsured Motorist coverage. While there are, of course, any number of potential complexities which arise in car on car wrecks, we usually see straight-forward facts patterns.

Georgia big truck wrecks are a different story. Before you hire a Georgia truck attorney, be sure to interview him or her. Ask how many truck wrecks the firm has handled. Where? What sorts of injuries were involved? Trucking litigation is a specialized area. First, and quite obviously, tractor-trailers are massive vehicles which usually cause horrendous damage to both property and people when they are involved in wrecks. Tractor-trailer wrecks occur in numerous ways, such as under-ride collisions, lane changes, disabled trucks which are not marked with reflective triangles, left-turn collisions, and many more. Unlike car wrecks, the actual wreck is just the first part of the “big truck story.” Detailed and often-times painstaking investigation must take place into the driver of the truck.

Many (many) documents must be secured including but not limited to: the employment application, the qualification file, the DOT physical, hours of service for the time period surrounding the wreck (note that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing rule changes for hours of service, bills of lading for deliveries at or near the time of the wreck, electronic information stored by the truck which reveals things like speed, braking, and the location of the truck at various points during the day (GPS), post-accident drug/alcohol screen of the truck driver, and maintenance records for the truck and trailer. These documents can often make or break a truck wreck case and these same documents are almost always absent in a “regular” car wreck case.

Even when there is overlap in some categories, such as alcohol testing, truck wreck cases generally involve far greater detail and documentation. For example, in a “regular” car wreck case, an alcohol breath or blood test is usually done only if the responding officer suspects alcohol use by one of the drivers. No so in big truck wrecks. In fact, in many instances, alcohol testing after tractor-trailer wrecks is mandatory, regardless of whether the officer suspects its use. The FMCSA has a detailed explanation of when alcohol and drug testing is necessary after truck wrecks.

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