Atlanta Truck Accident Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Most Common Types of Atlanta Truck Accidents?
Left Turn Wrecks – When a tractor-trailer makes a left turn in front of another vehicle, a substantial collision often results. The length and weight of most commercial vehicles create a situation where any collision is likely to yield significant injuries. This is particularly true in left turn cases where the vehicle which has been cut-off is traveling at a substantial speed. We have seen this type of collision occur when the tractor-trailer driver is in a rush to make a delivery or arrive at a destination at a particular time and, therefore, the driver attempts to “beat” oncoming traffic.
Underride Collisions – Underriding is when a vehicle will actually go underneath the trailer portion of the truck. This collision often results in severe injuries or worse because the oncoming vehicle suffers roof and windshield damage.
Stopped Tractor-Trailers – Tractor-trailers frequently stop, or become disabled, on the roadway or the shoulder of the roadway. This is a very dangerous situation for motorists. Federal law requires that commercial drivers place warning markers (usually reflective triangles) at various distances behind the stopped truck in order to alert oncoming drivers that they are approaching a large, stopped commercial vehicle.
Rear – End Accidents – This type of collision is the most common. Commercial drivers are often speeding, in a hurry, inattentive, texting, talking on a cell phone, or otherwise distracted. These conditions result in the truck driver failing to stop the tractor-trailer in time and causing a rear-end collision with the vehicle in front of it.
Improper Lane Change – Tractor-trailer drivers often operate their trucks negligently by changing lanes when it is not safe to do so. The most frequently-seen collision in this category is when a commercial driver moves his truck into a lane and space already occupied by another vehicle. Not surprisingly, this negligent action usually causes a severe collision, frequently sending the passenger car off of the roadway.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Atlanta Truck Accidents?
DISTRACTED DRIVING AND COMMERCIAL VEHICLES
Distracted driving is a large problem for people operating regular passenger cars. Distracted driving is a huge problem for truck drivers because of the massive pieces of machinery which they operate on the roadways and highways. The FMCSA performed an outstanding study of distracted driving and the operation of commercial trucks. The FMCSA has banned texting while driving a large truck and may soon ban cell phone use by truck drivers unless a hand-free device is used.
ALCOHOL USE BY TRUCK DRIVERS
The use of alcohol is, of course, regulated regardless of whether one is driving a car or tractor-trailer. However, the use of alcohol is strongly monitored and regulated in connection with the operation of commercial vehicles. In fact, the FMCSA precludes the use of alcohol for a number of hours before operation of a big truck. Further, alcohol testing of truck drivers is mandatory in many post-accident scenarios, regardless of whether the responding police officer believes that alcohol played a role in the wreck.
COMMERCIAL DRIVER FATIGUE
Driver fatigue or “tired driving” is an issue which has become increasingly important in recent years. The FMCSA actually sets forth rules and regulations pertaining to whether a driver is even allowed to operate a tractor-trailer when he may be fatigued. We have handled cases where various documents (the bills of lading, driver’s logs, and meal receipts) show that the truck driver had been driving for too long and was obviously drowsy, thereby causing a wreck.
STOPPED OR DISABLED TRACTOR-TRAILERS
When a small car is stopped or disabled on the side of a road or highway, it may present a problem for passing motorists. When a huge tractor-trailer is disabled on the roadway, the vehicle presents a grave danger for those in the area, particularly if visibility is limited. The truck and trailer are usually massive pieces of machinery. If a passing car collides with the tractor or trailer, there is usually a terrible consequence. The FMCSA has set forth numerous rules which a driver must follow if his truck becomes disabled in or around the roadway. We have seen many cases of motorists colliding with stopped or disabled trucks which were not appropriately marked and did not have the necessary reflective triangles deployed.
It is important to understand that Georgia, and most other states, impose their own rules on commercial drivers and vehicles. Generally speaking, the FMCSA rules are the most important for lawsuits involving truck claims. The Georgia Public Service Commission (GPSC) regulates motor carriers which operate within the state of Georgia only (i.e., intrastate carriers). In practice, the GPSC had adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations as the law for motor carriers in Georgia.
We encourage you to review our past results in trucking cases, review what our prior clients have said about our work, and then call our firm for a free evaluation of your trucking case. The Atlanta truck accident lawyer is ready to help you today.
UNQUALIFIED TRUCK DRIVERS
As an Atlanta truck accident attorney, I have seen many tragic cases of people badly injured or killed by a truck driver who should never have been on the road. Many truck wreck cases are focused upon the truck driver’s history of accidents while driving commercial vehicles. However, it is important to investigate whether the truck driver even should have been behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer.
First, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates that, with very limited exceptions, anyone operating a commercial vehicle (think big truck, tractor-trailer) must have a Commercial Driver’s License. CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) Applicants must have a “good” driving record. To the FMCSA, a “good driving record” means that during the two years before the driver tries to get a CDL he has not had his license suspended, revoked, and has not had any serious traffic or driving offense (which would be disqualifying) as noted in 42 C.F.R. 383.51. The common sense purpose behind these rules is that the federal government (and by extension state governments) do not want people who have proven themselves unsafe in passenger cars to be operating a 60,000 pound truck.
A truck driver is also permitted to have only one driver’s license. This allows for consistent and effective monitoring of the driver’s license. In addition, a driver must demonstrate appropriate knowledge and skill with respect to the inspection and operation of a tractor-trailer.
Knowing that even a skilled and qualified driver may cause a serious wreck, the FMCSA mandates that trucking companies maintain a minimum level of financial responsibility. This serves to provide at least some compensation to victims of truck accidents.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
In Georgia, any party that contributed to an accident can potentially be held liable for the resulting damages. This issue becomes particularly complex in commercial truck accident cases. There are many different parties that might bear liability for the crash, further two different parties might even split liability in some cases. Common liable parties include:
- The truck driver;
- The truck driver’s employer;
- The company that owned the truck;
- The company that leased the truck; and
- The company that manufactured any part on the truck or the trailer.
What Compensation is Available for Truck Accident Victims?
Georgia truck accident victims are entitled to be made ‘whole’ after an accident. In simple terms, a victim is made whole when they are placed into the position that they would have been in had no accident ever taken place. Obviously, this is not literally possible for cases involving very serious injuries. There is no way to counteract the debilitating pain associated with a serious injury. Therefore, financial compensation must be granted in an amount that fairly accounts for the full extent of a victim’s damages. After an Atlanta trucking accident, a victim may seek recovery for:
- Damages to their personal Property
- Expenses due to Medical Procedures
- Lost Wages Including Wages lost due to ability to work in the future
- Other Intangible losses, Like suffering, disfigurement and loss of quality of life.
If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident, you need to be aware of your legal options. You may be entitled to compensation but you face some large hurdles. One such obstacles is that some damages are difficult to quantify. It’s easy to value a hospital bill for treatment that has already occurred, it is extremely difficult to put a dollar figure on pain and suffering or future lost earning power. All too often, insurance companies use the lack of clarity surrounding these type of damages to try to avoid paying a fair settlement offer. Victims of serious truck injuries need an aggressive attorney by your side to fight for you and your right to be compensated for your losses.
Delayed Pain After an Accident Involving a Truck
As an experience trucking accident lawyer, Mr. Goldner has represented a number of clients who have been injured in collisions with semi and other commercial trucks. Some people experience immediate and obvious injuries at the accident site. Others suffer pain extreme pain after some time before seeking treatment. Insurance adjusters typically argue that any delay in treatment shows that the accident and injuries were “not that serious.” The insurance companies try to paint the injured accident victim as someone who is out for money only and trying to “milk” the accident.
I have seen two primary “delayed” injuries. First, people who suffer broken ribs in car and truck wrecks often do not know that their ribs are broken until xrays are taken. Estimates are that 10% of patients admitted to the hospital after blunt force trauma (for example, an accident victim’s chest impacting the steering wheel) suffer a fracture of one or more ribs. In today’s day of cost-saving medicine, physicians are sometimes reluctant to order xrays of trauma victims. The failure to “look inside” via chest xray sometimes results in rib fractures going undiagnosed until the patient follows up for subsequent symptoms.
Another “delayed injury” we often see in serious truck accidents is bleeding in the brain. A brain bleed may present in many fashions, including subdural hematoma, subarachnoid hemorrhage, among others. Sometimes, the brain injury and bleed presents immediately at the accident scene. However, frequently, the bleeding is delayed. This situation can be dangerous where a car wreck victim present to an emergency room after an accident and undergoes a CT scan which is interpreted as clear. Then, confusion or a headache occurs later in the day. These symptoms are a tell-tale sign of a brain bleeding and injury.
How Will an Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney Help Me?
Trucking accidents are among the most complicated types of personal injury cases. This is partially because of the fact that so many different entities could potentially bear liability; but it is also because Georgia commercial trucking involves complex business relationships and extensive federal regulations. Additionally, the sheer size of commercial trucks means that accidents often result in victims sustaining particularly devastating injuries. Cases involving catastrophic injuries are inherently more complicated. For all of those reasons, it is imperative that you get your truck accident case in front of an aggressive Atlanta attorney as soon as possible after the wreck. Your attorney will help ensure that you are able to obtain the injury settlement offer that you rightly deserve. Some specific actions our truck accident team will take include:
- Acting quickly to obtain all relevant supporting evidence;
- Using subpoenas to seek information from the truck company, including vehicle inspection records, maintenance records, electronic black box data, and driver history;
- Analyzing state and federal regulations to see how they might impact your claim;
- Working to document the full extent of your current and future damages; and
- Negotiating with the insurance company, in order to ensure that you recover fair compensation.
Can I really afford a truck accident lawyer
You can indeed afford a truck accident attorney. We will never require any upfront payment from you. If we don’t win your case, you don’t pay a dime. We are more than happy to take on all of the risks involved in bringing your claim because our team takes on personal injury cases that we truly believe in. We are dedicated to helping all of our clients maximize their settlement offers and awards.
YOU NEED TO ACT QUICKLY
Truck accident claims in Georgia must be filed with the state’s statute of limitations, which is two years from the date the cause of action accrues. Failing to file a claim within the two-year limit will result in a permanent bar from seeking damages. Our attorneys understand the pressing nature of your claim, and will get to work immediately.
Law Offices of Andrew Goldner, LLC
1040 Crown Pointe Pkwy #800
Phone: (404) 869-1580