Many drivers get scared when they encounter big trucks on Georgia’s highways. This is not surprising since the size and weight of commercial trucks make them particularly dangerous. If you get into a collision with a truck, you’re likely to be seriously injured. The average family car weighs 3,000 to 4,000 pounds. This may seem like a lot. However, when a passenger car gets hit by a 70,000-pound tractor-trailer, the results can be catastrophic. Victims who survive usually face massive medical bills, an inability to work, and other consequences. If you suffered injuries because of a truck driver’s negligence, you deserve to get compensation. However, you will need to prove that the truck driver who hit you broke the law or was otherwise negligent.
It will be very difficult to handle this on your own, especially when you’re recovering from serious injuries. However, a competent truck accident attorney in Atlanta, GA can help you to build a solid case.
Reasons Why A Truck Driver May Be at Fault for a Crash
Commercial truck drivers should follow state and federal safety laws. In addition to the usual traffic rules that other motorists have to follow, there are also special regulations for truck drivers. If a driver doesn’t follow the rules and they cause a crash, they can be held liable. Truckers may:
- Drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Speed or otherwise drive recklessly
- Drive while texting
- Drive more hours than they should
- Drive with improperly balanced cargo
- Overload the truck with too much cargo
- Fail to adapt to road or weather conditions
- Ignore caution signs for road hazards
Even if the truck driver caused the crash, their employer and insurer will try to escape liability. They may try to blame you for the accident so they can pay as little compensation as possible. Since Georgia follows a modified comparative fault doctrine, you can recover damages as long you were less than 50 percent at fault. A Georgia trucking accident attorney will look at all the facts to ensure you aren’t unfairly blamed.
Determining Fault in a Truck Accident Case
Unlike regular car accident cases where the driver is usually the at-fault party, truck accidents can get more complicated. Sometimes, the employer of the truck driver who hit you can be held liable. Other times, the entity who loaded the cargo or the person responsible for maintaining the vehicle is responsible. In some cases, there may be more than one party that can be held liable. Even though you may believe the driver broke the law, your attorney will look for all possible defendants. This means they will have to gather and examine all the available evidence. Knowing how and why the accident occurred is essential.
Some of the evidence that can support your claim is the same as you would need following any other accident. For example, you’ll need pictures of the scene and a copy of the police report. Eyewitness reports can also be helpful. However, there’s also evidence that’s unique to truck crashes including:
- Driver logs. Truckers are required to keep detailed logs of the hours they drive and when they rest. They also need to inspect the vehicle before and after trips and log their observations. These records can show the truck driver who hit you was working for too long without a break. They can also show that a trucker continued to drive even though the vehicle had maintenance problems.
- Truck camera footage. The truck will likely have a camera that records the driver’s actions. If the driver was drinking, talking on the phone or texting, you may be able to pick this up. Your attorney will need to move quickly to get this footage before it is destroyed or taped over.
- Black box recorders. Many trucks have black boxes that record things like speed and braking patterns. They also log how long the driver was driving and whether the truck’s airbag deployed. All this can be very helpful in proving your case.
- Drug and alcohol test results. Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules, truckers involved in accidents that cause injuries or death must undergo testing. The results may show the driver was impaired at the time of your crash.
- Internal records. Trucking companies must keep records on the condition of their vehicles as well as the history of their drivers. Your attorney will seek to access truck inspection records, the driver’s accident history, their medical status, and more.
Contact The Bethune Law Firm Immediately After Your Truck Accident
If you want to get the compensation you deserve, you must hire an Atlanta trucking accident law firm. At the Bethune Law Firm, we have a team of skilled, experienced attorneys who fight on clients’ behalf. We will do everything they can to help you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.