David is an excellent attorney and a very knowledgeable person of the insurance industry. I was in a serious auto/semi accident in 2010, thanks to David’s knowledge and dedication to my case we were able to reach a very favorable settlement. I would give the highest recommendation. (David W. – personal injury client)
Unfortunately, collisions involving trucks are commonly more severe than car collisions due to the weight and size of the vehicle. Many accidents are preventable, had regulations regarding driver and vehicle safety been followed. Commercial vehicles log high mileage and require regular inspection and maintenance. Long hours can make drivers fatigued which can lead to accidents. Driving overloaded or improperly loaded vehicles, drug use, alcohol abuse, and driver distraction are all common causes. The pressure to make schedules and deliver loads on time can result in violations, leaving victims in their wake. Truck accidents are dangerous and have led to countless fatalities in the past. The federal government continues to add guidelines to the trucking industry as an effort to prevent accidents.
On July 1, 2013, there was a change to the regulations involving the hours that truck drivers can work. The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) changes are an attempt to prevent driver fatigue and avoid collisions. The new schedule requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break within the first eight hours of driving. On top of the added breaks, the maximum hours a driver can work per week was cut down from 82 to 70 hours. The DOT also added a requirement that when drivers restart their week, meaning move into the next 70 hour period of work, they have to take a full 34-hour break once during the week. This is an effort to ensure that they receive a full day and night off to receive a full night of sleep. The dangers of truck accidents continually lead to changes by the government to help avoid accidents.
David Van Sant, an Atlanta truck accident lawyer from our firm, worked for years defending tractor trailer companies and motor carriers who were involved in accidents. This experience can now go to work for you by understanding the federal statutes which regulate drivers and navigating the sometimes complex legal issues involved. Our goal is to obtain the highest compensation in your case so that you can regain your life and property as much as possible.
Gathering Evidence for Your Case
Injuries such as broken bones, burn injuries, crush injuries, spinal cord injuries and many other catastrophic injuries can all result from a violent collision. The end result for you may be medical bills, legal battles, an inability to earn wages and emotional turmoil. Unfortunately, insurance companies are frequently unwilling to pay proper compensation for injuries and attempt various tactics to delay or drastically reduce payments. The insurance and trucking companies are not going to give you a friendly hand when it comes to damages for negligence. This is why it is important to hire a skilled truck accident lawyer in Atlanta, GA to fight on your side.
Truck Injury Attorneys in Atlanta
We utilize witness statements, driver logs, skid marks and other on-site information, data on truckloads and many other facts, in order to put together an accurate picture of the actual cause of the collision and who was responsible. At times, mechanical failure can be traced to the manufacturer of the vehicle as the one to be held accountable. Whoever is at fault, rest assured that we will fight hard to see that you are justly compensated for the consequences of your accident. Call one of our Atlanta truck accident attorneys today if you need representation for your case.
What are some of the main reasons why truck accidents happen?
Due to the sheer size of commercial trucks – which include delivery trucks, big rigs, 18-wheelers and everything in between – the damage that they can inflict in an accident is immense. When a truck collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, resulting injuries tend to be much more severe. Average-sized passenger cars weigh around 3,000 pounds while some big commercial vehicles weigh up to 70,000 pounds. If the two collide, odds are high that the truck will win the battle. Because commercial trucks are so heavy, the weight causes frequent tire blowouts, which may lead to sudden loss of control.
Additionally, truck drivers face greater challenges than other drivers. Their vehicles have large blind spots on both sides of the vehicle. Wide turns and greater stopping distances can lead to unexpected collisions.
A few of the major causes of commercial truck accidents include improper maintenance, as well as overloading of cargo. The pressure placed on drivers to deliver their loads as quickly as possible unfortunately leads to driver error and negligence. Vehicle failure coupled with driver failure truly make commercial trucks some of the most dangerous vehicles on our roadways. Specific causes have been reported as follows:
- Speeding and other traffic violations;
- Improper training and practice;
- Road construction;
- Sudden decelerations and stops;
- Driver fatigue;
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including prescription drug use;
- Unfamiliarity with the roadways.
If I have been involved in a truck accident, what type of evidence will strengthen my case?
There are certain types of evidence that will strengthen the injured party’s case. Photographs of the accident scene – from all angles – are very important. Witness statements, police reports, and medical records are also critical in establishing both liability and damages. Documentation regarding the truck driver, employment status, and the truck itself are also important. These types of documents include:
- The truck driver’s personnel record – including documentation regarding his or her status as an employee or independent contractor;
- The truck driver’s log book;
- Any data collected from the truck’s onboard recording device;
- The truck driver’s driving history, including records of any violations;
- Any safety violations committed by the owner or manufacturer of the truck, cab, or other vehicle components.
If I’m injured in a truck accident, who can I potentially bring a lawsuit against?
When trucking accidents occur and people are injured, there may be a number of parties partially or wholly liable for the collision. A number of variables must be evaluated in order to determine liability, such as:
- Whether the truck, trailer, cab, or any of their components were defective or improperly maintained; and
- The employment status of the truck driver.
Many questions must be asked in order to determine liability. Was the driver an independent contractor, employee, and/or the owner of the vehicle? Did the driver lease the truck and/or the trailer? What company owned or leased the vehicle? Who ordered that the freight be shipped, and who owned the cargo? What companies manufactured and serviced the truck, cab, trailer, and every little piece that makes up those components? All of these parties may be potential defendants in a trucking accident case.
Van Sant Law, LLC has significant experience in representing clients throughout Georgia and can evaluate the evidence to determine which parties should be held responsible and accountable for your injuries.
When and why should I hire a law firm to represent me in my truck accident case?
Every case is unique. Many local, state, and federal rules, regulations and laws may have been violated, and our experienced, Atlanta truck accident lawyers know how to apply these rules and laws to your case. Additionally, the State of Georgia requires that parties filing a personal injury lawsuit must do so within two years of the date of the collision. However, there are always exceptions and you should certainly discuss your case with an Atlanta truck accident law firm who knows what deadlines pertain to your case. It is always advisable to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible.
In addition to understanding the legal framework and procedures for bringing successful truck accident claims, our experienced Atlanta truck accident attorneys are ready, willing, and able to battle with the team of lawyers and insurance representatives who undoubtedly represent the truck driver, the trucking company (or companies), and the insurance companies. Van Sant Law has years of experience successfully taking legal fights to the trucking industry and obtaining favorable settlements and verdicts for clients.