Trucking accidents in Atlanta are among the most complicated and it is often difficult to assign blame. However, since these accidents often result in extensive property damage and serious injuries, you need to know who was at fault. People tend to assume the truck driver is responsible even when they don’t know the details. That’s because trucks are considerably bigger, and their drivers tend to have a bad reputation. However, the truth is that more than one party is often at fault.
The key is to find out who was most at-fault so the victim can get the compensation they deserve. If you’ve been involved in a tractor-trailer crash, your Atlanta truck accident injury attorney will have to prove someone else was responsible. This means they need to prove that an individual or entity was negligent. This may be the truck driver but as you will soon see, there may be several other defendants.
Truck Driver Actions Which Can Lead to Trucking Accidents in Atlanta
Like other Atlanta motorists, commercial truck drivers may drive while impaired, run red lights or take their eyes off the road. However, they may also cause accidents because they are poorly trained in driving such a big vehicle. In addition, truck drivers are likely to be fatigued because many drive for much longer than anyone can safely handle. Given the demands placed on truckers to make deliveries on time, they are also likely to speed and drive recklessly.
How Trucking Companies Can be Responsible for Crashes
Trucking companies can be held liable for the actions of their drivers. This is based on the principle that employers are responsible for what their employees do in the scope of employment. This is called strict liability and it doesn’t indicate that the company was negligent in any way. Since companies have more insurance coverage than individuals, your truck accident attorney in Atlanta may recommend that you pursue the business.
However, sometimes trucking companies are negligent in the way they handle their drivers. There are cases in which this negligence leads to an accident. For example, when companies need large numbers of drivers, they may hire people without thoroughly looking into their backgrounds. They may also send trucks on the road without following a proper maintenance schedule. Some companies even encourage drivers to violate their hours of service requirements so they can make more deliveries in a day.
That being said, several factors determine whether the driver was acting within the scope of employment or not. If the driver was an independent contractor, you may not be able to hold the trucking company liable. Similarly, the company may deny liability if the driver was off-route when the crash occurred.
Other Potential Sources of Fault for Trucking Accidents in Atlanta
It’s not always the truck driver or their employer who is at fault. Truck accidents can have several causes including:
- Loading errors and shifting cargo. Cargo can move around in transit if it is not properly loaded or secured. Depending on what the truck was carrying, the trailer may swerve or tip over when the cargo shifts. When this happens the person responsible for loading the truck may be held responsible.
- Vehicle defects. A truck driver can lose control of their vehicle through no fault of their own. If a tire blows out or the brakes fail to respond, there is little the driver can do. The results can be disastrous. Sometimes a product manufacturer or repair shop can be held liable for defective parts or shoddy work.
- Third-party drivers. A regular passenger car can cause a serious tractor-trailer accident. If a driver cuts off a truck, drifts into the wrong lane or follows too closely, this can be dangerous. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or driving in a truck’s blind spot can also lead to an accident.
Contact The Bethune Law Firm in Atlanta, GA
We know truck accidents can have several different causes. That’s why our Atlanta trucking accident attorneys will investigate your crash to determine exactly what happened. If we need to work with an accident reconstructionist to get to the root of the accident, we’ll do so. We can also analyze the driver’s logs, the truck’s black box data and the vehicle maintenance records. Our goal is to get you the compensation you deserve. That’s why we’ll do everything we can within the law to identify to the correct defendant(s). We’re skilled negotiators and excellent trial attorneys so your case will be in good hands. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.