The Georgia Department of Public Health reports that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injury and death in our state. While all motor vehicle crashes have the potential to lead to serious or fatal injuries, truck accidents are particularly dangerous. When a large truck and a smaller vehicle collide, the amount of force involved in the crash due to the truck’s size increases the risk of accident severity.
At the law office of DuBose Miller, our Georgia truck accident lawyers understand how severe these crashes often are and the life-changing effects they can have for those involved and surviving family members. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in our state, let our lawyers help you understand your options and recover compensation for your losses. Call us today for your free consultation.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are caused by driver error and negligence, vehicle defects, road hazards, and cargo loading errors. Some of the most common causes of truck crashes in Georgia include:
- Truck driver fatigue. Truck drivers are often expected to drive for long hours and while federal regulations require stop and rest periods, drivers may not always adhere to these regulations or may still suffer from fatigue.
- Truck driver impairment. The use of drugs and alcohol by truck drivers is very dangerous. Sometimes, drivers may use substances, including over-the-counter substances, to try to aid in sleep or combat fatigue; these substances may be impairing.
- Driving at an unsafe speed for conditions. Whether actually breaking the speed limit or not, large trucks are more difficult to maneuver than are smaller vehicles. Slowing down in traffic, in poor weather conditions, and around turns is critical; the failure to do so could result in a serious accident.
- Distracted driving. The use of a cellphone while driving, as well as other distractions, can be incredibly dangerous. When truck drivers fail to pay attention to their surroundings, the risk of a crash is increased.
- Aggressive or illegal maneuvers. In addition to the above, performing any sort of illegal or aggressive maneuver can lead to a crash. Examples include tailgating, performing illegal lane changes, and failing to yield.
Common Types of Truck Accidents in Georgia
Truck Rollover Accidents
The immense bulk of the truck can sometimes make the driver lose control in a way that causes the vehicle to literally roll over. In this type of accident, there is usually widespread destruction when a vehicle of this weight and size rolls over.
Another serious hazard for vehicles is the space present underneath the trailer of the semi-truck. This space between the road and the underside of the trailer is large enough for fitting a small passenger car or a part of it. Unfortunately, many cars get wedged in this space in underride accidents.
Semi-Truck Tire Blowouts
Tire blowouts on regular passenger vehicles have potentially destructive consequences. Tire blowouts on trucks can be downright dangerous. In general, there are 8 tires on semi-trucks. The popping of a single tire can have devastating effects. Each tire plays an important role in supporting the immense weight and size of the semi-truck.
Jackknifing is unique to semi-trucks and tractor-trailers. This type of accident occurs when the back of the hitched trailer swivels and tries to meet the front of the cab. Trailers are hitched to aid maneuverability and fluidity in motion. Unfortunately, it also leaves the truck open to accidents.
Lost Load Accidents
Tractor trailers haul significant amounts of goods and products across the nation. Based on this, this cargo can cause dangerous accidents if not secured properly. Semi-trucks haul everything from food and lumber to unstable chemicals. The goods can quickly become dangerous road hazards if they come loose and fall from the trailer.
Wide Turn Accidents
Trucks cannot take sharp turns. The trailer has to wrap completely around a turn. This means the truck has to take extra wide turns. There is also the risk of the trailer tipping over while making a turn. The force of turning can cause the weight of the trailer to shift to one side making it jackknife or rollover.
Damages from a Truck Accident
A large truck can weigh up to 20 times that of a passenger car; this means that the amount of force involved in a crash is up to 20 times greater than it would be in an accident that occurs at the same speed using two smaller vehicles (force is a calculation of mass multiplied by acceleration). The damages in a truck accident are often severe. Examples of damages include:
- Physical injuries. Physical injuries in a truck accident might include traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries, spinal cord injuries, crush injuries, amputation injuries, bone fractures, and soft tissue injuries. These injuries can be painful, debilitating, and expensive to treat.
- Medical expenses. A person who is involved in a truck accident will likely incur tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and related medical expenses, including future care and therapy costs.
- Property damage costs. It’s likely that the smaller vehicle involved in the truck accident will be destroyed. Replacement costs can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
- Lost wages. If a person is injured in a truck accident—which is more likely than not—they are also likely to suffer lost wages as a result of their inability to return to work. Sometimes, wage loss occurs for weeks or months; other times, the victim is permanently disabled and suffers thousands or millions of dollars worth of lost wages as a result.
- Emotional anguish and physical suffering. In addition to the losses suffered above, many of which are economic and reflective of actual financial losses, a person may also suffer noneconomic damages. Common types of non-economic damages include psychological injury, physical pain and suffering, emotional anguish, loss of consortium, and grief.
Our lawyers know that we can’t put a price tag on your suffering. But we will work hard to get you your maximum settlement amount after a Georgia truck accident.
Understanding Truck Accident Liability
Liability for a truck accident is based on fault and, sometimes, the theory of vicarious liability, which holds that there are situations in which one party may be held liable for the actions of another based on the parties’ relationship with one another. For example, an employer can be held liable for the actions of their employee if the actions occur during the course of employment. In a truck accident claim, parties who could be held liable include:
- The truck driver. If the truck driver’s actions were to blame for the crash, the truck driver could be held liable. However, in most cases of a truck driver’s fault, the trucking company/employer is held liable under the theory of vicarious liability.
- The trucking company. The trucking company could be held liable for its employee’s (truck driver’s) actions. It may also be held liable for other errors it makes that contribute to or cause the crash, such as failing to properly service trucks or adequately train drivers.
- Shipper/loader of cargo. Sometimes, truck accidents are caused because of a shift in cargo that’s improperly loaded. If this was the cause of your crash, the shipper or leader of the cargo may be held liable.
- Vehicle manufacturer. Defective brakes, tires, engines, steering, and other vehicle parts may be the cause of a crash. If so, the manufacturer, distributor, or party responsible for maintenance could be to blame.
Ways a Georgia Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
Working with an experienced attorney is one of the best things you can do after a crash. When you work with our law firm, our Georgia truck accident lawyers will be responsible for investigating your crash, preserving evidence, proving fault, calculating your damages, and negotiating your settlement. We only get paid if you do—we’ll work hard to make sure that you recover the maximum settlement available. We work on a contingency fee basis and always offer free consultations.
To learn more about how we can help you, our background and experience, and your rights when you or a loved one has been severely harmed in a truck accident, request your free consultation by calling us directly, visiting our law office, or sending us a message.