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Atlanta Truck Accident Attorneys
After a serious trucking accident, you may be at a loss as to how to handle the responsibilities of requesting documents from the truck company’s insurance provider, assembling evidence, and quantifying the value of your current and future damages all while trying to recuperate from your injuries.
An attorney can help you in a variety of ways, including:
- Acquiring the driving records of the truck’s operator at the time of the crash;
- Compiling an accurate maintenance history of the rig and combing it for discrepancies;
- Discovering past disciplinary action against the truck’s operator, employer, or owner; and
- Researching and verifying that licenses, certifications, and other obligations have been met by the truck’s driver and owner.
Trucking companies are often resistant to releasing the documents related to this information, and it may be difficult to obtain or analyze them without the assistance of a lawyer. Nevertheless, this information can be crucial in your case.
To maximize your compensation, speak with a lawyer who has handled cases involving big rig collisions before and will fight for your right to a fair recovery and settlement.
What To Do After A Trucking Accident?
Because so much can be a stake following a truck accident, it is important that victims take steps to maximize their chances of recovery. Some of these steps include the following:
- Check to see if anyone is injured – Call 911 and report any injuries. Truck accidents usually involve large amounts of damage and injury, so police must be called.
- Collect information – After an accident, it is important to collect as much information about your accident as possible. Document facts such as the name of the driver, the trucking company that owns the truck, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, and the license plate numbers of the vehicles involved.
- Seek medical attention – Make sure that you undergo a thorough medical evaluation as soon as possible after an accident. Making sure that your injuries are properly documented is an essential step in establishing legal liability and damages.
- Notify your insurance company – This may seem like a no-brainer, but you want your insurer to hear about the accident from you, not from the other party.
- Retain an attorney – After a truck accident, it is essential for victims to retain legal representation as soon as possible. Often, trucking companies or their insurance companies will try and get victims to inadvertently admit fault or accept an unreasonably low settlement offer. An attorney can help advise you as to your rights, and also represent you in any dealings you may have with insurance companies. In addition, an attorney can help ensure that you receive the highest settlement or award possible in your case.
What to Avoid After a Truck Accident
There are many things you do NOT want to do after being involved and injured in a trucking accident, including:
- Leaving the scene of the accident – You should never leave the accident scene if you are in a truck accident in Georgia. On the same note, you should always call 911 and make sure that a police officer documents your wreck and makes an accident report so that you have proof that the accident took place.
- Admitting fault – You never want to apologize or admit fault immediately after the crash. Emotions are running high, and it is easy to say the words “I’m sorry” or start blaming the other driver. Remember to keep your cool and don’t say too much.
Types of Trucking Accidents
There are 4 common types of truck accidents that can occur, which include the following:
- Underride Accidents – the vehicle ends up under the rear trailer of the truck, possibly due to sudden braking;
- Rollover – most trucks roll over at excessive speeds or may veer off the road;
- Jackknife – the trailer ends up in a 90-degree angle with the truck, when the brakes lock; and
- Tire Blowout – often results in the driver losing control of the truck.
The following are the some of the most common categories of truck accident causes:
- Driver error: This category of causes can include driving under the influence, distracted driving, violation of traffic laws, fatigued driving, and other mishandlings of the truck.
- Negligent hiring: This cause occurs when a company negligently hires a driver who is actually not qualified to drive commercial vehicles. Companies have a duty to thoroughly check out their drivers and may be held liable if they hire unqualified or dangerous truck drivers.
- Truck malfunctions: Trucks have countless parts and pieces of equipment that allow them to haul heavy loads properly and safely. If equipment is defective in either design or assembly, the manufacturing company many be held responsible. If equipment malfunctions because it has not been properly inspected or maintained, the trucking or maintenance company may be liable.
- Improper cargo loading: Cargo must be loaded and secured in a specific manner to be safe. If cargo is off balance or comes unsecured, it can cause the trailer to sway, veer into other lanes, tip over, or even jackknife, all of which may cause serious accidents.
Providing Answers & SolutionsWe understand that this can be a scary and overwhelming time. We pride ourselves on providing you with the answers you need to make educated decisions about your case. Each step of the way we want to ensure you are fully aware and on board with the trajectory of your case.
Solely Focused on Personal InjuryUnlike other firms, our ONLY focus is helping individuals and families who have been wrongfully injured. We dedicate all of our time, efforts, and resources to those who have been injured because of someone else's negligence.
No Case is too Big or Small
When you have been injured, whether it's a small accident or a major one, our team dedicates the same amount of professionalism and commitment to maximize your result. Small or large we are committed to getting you a good and fair settlement.
Focused on Your RecoveryAt Shane Smith Law, we care about you, the individual. We genuinely want you to feel better and get good treatment. Thus, we not only help you obtain results, but we also help you obtain quality doctors and providers.
When you are injured in a crash with a semi-truck, you need an attorney who has experience with trucking laws and understands what it takes to recover from catastrophic injuries.
Truck crashes differ from passenger car accidents in the following ways:
- Truck drivers are subject to different laws. Under federal and state laws, tractor-trailer drivers must get a certain amount of sleep, they must take breaks, they must refrain from using drugs and medications that affect driving ability, and they must make sure that their trucks are safe and their loads are secure. Many truck drivers are paid by the mile and must adhere to strict timetables to keep their jobs, so trucking company pressure may compel truck drivers to take shortcuts and make unsafe decisions. Sometimes, truck drivers get behind the wheel even if they are too tired to drive. In order to stay awake, drivers may self-medicate. This negligent behavior puts everyone on the road at risk.
- Victims may suffer life-altering injuries and death. Occupants of smaller vehicles involved in crashes with trucks are more likely to suffer devastating injuries such as paralysis, traumatic brain injury, amputations, and serious fractures. These injuries could lead to a need for life-long treatment and support. An experienced truck accident attorney will not settle for less than you need.
- More than one party may be liable. While the driver may be liable for causing a truck crash, his employer, the owner of the truck, and others involved with loading and maintaining the truck may also be liable. Our attorneys will identify all liable parties.
Challenges in Truck Accident Cases
One of the more complicated and challenging claims to pursue is one involving a truck accident. It can become even more problematic when you are trying to do this on your own.
Some common challenges you may encounter include:
- Not knowing the trucking company’s policies (this could impact the outcome of your claim);
- Determining if there is more than one party liable;
- Truck driver records that are falsified;
- Not having enough evidence; and
- Trucking company having strong legal representation to defend them.
Because of these problems, trying to pursue a truck accident claim on your own is never a good idea. The average person doesn’t understand the regulations that govern trucking industries and how they can impact a claim. You should speak with an attorney about your case immediately so you can learn the best way to protect your claim and your rights.
Determining Liability After a Truck Accident
The reasons that truck accidents can occur can widely vary, and determining what lead to an accident is essential to establishing legal liability. Because so many different parties are involved in the trucking industry, the potential sources of recovery can be much more than exist in an accident only involving passenger vehicles.
For example, often a truck is serviced by a different company than the one that actually owns the truck. If an accident occurs due to improper or substandard servicing of a vehicle, that company may be held liable for any injuries that resulted from the accident.
Some potential sources of liability in a trucking accident include:
- The truck driver
- The company or person who owns the truck
- The lessee of a truck or trailers
- The manufacturer of the truck or the truck’s equipment
- The owner or loader of the cargo in the truck
Key Evidence in a Truck Accident Case
Some of the types of evidence that may be helpful in establishing liability include the following:
- Paper or electronic logbook;
- Driver’s cell phone records;
- Eyewitness statements;
- Accident report;
- Driving history;
- Truck inspection reports;
- Testimony from an accident reconstruction expert.
- Records of truck repairs; and
- Photographs of the accident scene, damage to vehicles, and injuries;
Common Truck Accident Injuries
We understand the challenges you face. As truck accident attorneys, we’ve represented clients with many types of serious injuries following a truck wreck, including:
- Brain injury or head trauma
- Spinal cord injury
- Nerve damage
- Neck and shoulder injury
- Broken collarbones
- Pelvic fractures
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
Recovering Compensation After a Trucking Accident
You may be able to receive damages for your medical expenses and lost wages. And if you are facing future medical treatment, those costs and any additional time off from work may also be covered.
However, you may have the right to other types of damages that address the psychological aspect of your injuries. These could include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish;
- and more.
Tips When Filing a Truck Accident Claim
Here are 4 tips to know when you are filing a truck injury claim:
- The less you say immediately after the accident, the better (don’t discuss with the truck driver or any witnesses what you think happened or who is at fault);
- Be aware of how you use social media during the claims process (the other side will likely look into what you post online);
- Don’t agree to anything (oral or written) without first seeking legal help; and
- Getting help from an attorney in Atlanta will help protect your rights and your claim.
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