“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. – injured truck accident client)
Unfortunately, collisions involving trucks are usually 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, driver fatigue, and driver distraction are all common causes of truck accidents in Georgia. 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 regulate the trucking industry in 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 changes made by the Department of Transportation (DOT) were an attempt to prevent driver fatigue and avoid collisions. The 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 and 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. When you retain Van Sant Law as your Georgia truck accident attorney, you can be confident you have a strong advocate in your corner. 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 Truck Accident Case
Injuries such as broken bones, burn injuries, crush injuries, spinal cord injuries, and many other catastrophic truck wreck 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 to fight on your side. Van Sant Law is the truck accident attorney that Georgia victims know and trust.Get Our Atlanta Truck Accident Attorneys on Your Side
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 and see for yourself why we are the truck accident lawyer that Georgia accident victims trust for fair and diligent representation. We represent injured truck accident victims throughout the state of Georgia with offices in Atlanta, Alpharetta, Athens, Cumming, Duluth, Lawrenceville, Sandy Springs, and Gainesville.Atlanta GA Truck Accident Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Some of the Main Causes of Truck Accidents?
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 makes 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
There are certain types of evidence that will strengthen the injured party’s case. It is incredibly important that the evidence of the truck accident is preserved. 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 trucker’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
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
- 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?
- 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.
Every case is unique. Our attorneys will help you understand the steps of filing a claim and the important steps you need to take following the truck accident. Many local, state, 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 Statute of Limitations for a truck accident case requires that parties filing a truck wreck 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 a Georgia truck accident lawyer 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, LLC, has years of experience successfully taking legal fights to the trucking industry and obtaining favorable settlements and verdicts for clients.
What Is Involved in a Truck Accident Investigation?
Your truck accident attorney will reach out to the truck driver’s company to obtain information vital to the investigation, including the Driver Qualification File (DQF), which is required documentation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This report is about the driver, but your attorney will also want to gather information about the accident itself. That includes gathering statements from anyone who was a witness to the accident; obtaining and reviewing the police report; evaluating the accident site and vehicles; reviewing data from the truck’s on-board recorder; and more. We will also review relevant reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB.)
How Quickly Will My Truck Accident Case Settle?
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to know at the outset how long a truck accident claim may take to settle. That’s because every case is different, and the ultimate disposition depends on the underlying facts and circumstances of the accident. Sometimes, truck accident victims and the truckers/trucking company can agree on settlement terms in just a few months. In other cases, it can take years to arrive at a settlement or to litigate the claim in court if a settlement is not reached. In many cases, insurance companies will wait to settle claims until it is clear the victim intends to litigate the matter in court.
What Type of Compensation Will I Receive?
There are no guarantees that you will receive damages as a truck accident victim. However, your attorney will advocate for you and will work to help you obtain the best possible settlement. Compensation/damages in truck accident cases can be significant.
Settlements are designed to recognize not only actual expenses incurred that were directly related to the injury accident itself, but also potential expenses and other non-economic relief designed to provide compensation for pain and suffering. For example, you may be entitled to payment for property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish, disfigurement and more. In some truck accident verdicts, victims are also awarded punitive damages, designed to hold the defendant responsible for her or his actions.
Should I Talk to the Trucking Company or Their Insurer Directly?
The short answer to this question is “no.” The trucking company or their insurance provider may reach out to you directly to try to settle the case, and they may seem helpful and friendly. However, they do not have your best interests in mind. Ultimately, their goal is to pay out as little as possible for the accident, not to pay you what you deserve. They may also try to get you to admit some fault or otherwise use what you say against you.
When you retain a truck accident lawyer, your attorney will handle all communications with the defendant and the insurance company on your behalf.
What Are My Options If the Trucking Company Is Outside Georgia?
Truckers often haul loads on interstate highways and simply pass through Georgia on their routes. It is not uncommon for the trucking company itself to be located out of state. Sometimes, these out-of-state carriers may think they can escape liability for accidents occurring in Georgia.
The reality is that they are still responsible, although it is possible that different laws may apply in certain cases. The attorneys at Van Sant Law are experienced at successfully representing clients in truck accident cases where the trucking company is outside the state of Georgia, and partner with local attorneys in such jurisdictions when necessary.
What Is My Recourse If the Trucker Was Texting or Otherwise Distracted?
If an accident resulted because a trucker was texting or was similarly distracted, he or she should be held accountable for those actions. In fact, driving while texting is against the law for commercial drivers in Georgia. Your truck accident attorney will work to help establish the facts of the case and show that the driver was distracted by gathering records from cell phone providers and conducting interviews, in addition to the information typically compiled during a truck accident investigation.