Few accidents in Athens can be as devastating as truck accidents. Fortunately, truck accident victims will likely have a few options to recover compensation from the liable parties.
In many cases, the truck driver will not be the only party you can hold responsible for your injuries. Special legal rules allow many truck accident victims to pursue damages against the driver and their employer. However, reviewing your case could reveal additional parties that share the blame.
Our truck accident attorneys at Howe Law can provide you with your free case review by calling us at (844) 876-4357.
Who Can be Held Liable for a Truck Accident in Athens, GA
Truck accidents are often complicated cases since several parties usually need to be analyzed to determine where all the blame lies. Truck drivers are typically most responsible for the accident since they operate the vehicle. However, a trucking company that employs a negligent driver might also be held accountable. Our experienced truck accident attorneys can help you identify the responsible parties and help you recover compensation for your injuries.
Trucking accidents often occur because of the negligence of the truck driver. Negligence can take various forms, but distracted driving, driver fatigue, and speeding are among the most common causes. Sometimes, a trucker might be held accountable for violating state or federal trucking regulations, such as exceeding the maximum number of driving hours in a specified period. In addition to the driver, other parties might share the blame for your injuries.
The Driver’s Employer
If a truck driver’s negligence caused a truck accident, it can result in the trucking company being held accountable under the legal doctrine of “vicarious liability.” This means that if an employee was performing their regular job functions when they caused an accident, their employer will usually be held liable for any resulting injuries. For example, if a truck driver violated the number of hours they were permitted to drive, the driver and the trucking company could be named in your lawsuit.
In addition, trucking companies could be held liable for their own negligence. Trucking companies must ensure that their drivers are properly trained for the trucks they are operating. They must also conduct background checks before hiring drivers so reckless drivers are not behind the wheel. Trucking companies must also comply with state and federal trucking regulations, including making regular inspections and maintaining their vehicles in a safe condition.
However, in cases where the truck driver is an independent contractor, the trucking company might not be held liable for injuries caused by the truck driver. This is because independent contractors are not considered typical employees. For example, Amazon delivery truck drivers typically work for a local delivery company, not Amazon itself. While Amazon would likely not be able to be sued, the contracting trucking company and the driver could still be held liable.
In other cases, another driver’s negligence may have caused your injuries. For example, if another failed to check for traffic before changing lanes, a truck driver might have to swerve to avoid the car illegally changing lanes. However, it is possible that the truck driver was also driving negligently. For example, if the truck driver was speeding when the other driver changed lanes, both drivers should be sued for damages.
In rarer cases, another company responsible for loading the truck’s cargo could be held liable if they loaded the cargo negligently and against regulations. Cargo must be loaded properly to prevent it from shifting during transport. This typically means placing it in direct contact with other cargo and using the appropriate straps to secure it.
Faulty or badly designed truck parts can also cause trucking accidents. If a defective truck system, such as the brakes or steering systems, fails and causes a truck accident, the manufacturer or designer of the part could be to blame for your injuries. Our truck accident attorneys can review your case to determine who should be held responsible for your damages.
Damages that You Can Claim for a Truck Accident in Athens, GA
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Athens, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages. In Georgia, these damages are known as special and general damages and include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could also pursue punitive damages or file a wrongful death claim. Our truck accident lawyers can help get an accurate calculation of your damages so that you recover the compensation you deserve.
The bulk of your damages will likely be in medical expenses. These include emergency room costs, surgeries, prescription medications, and any other medical treatment related to the injuries that you received. Also, your future medical expenses can be claimed in addition to your current ones. Further, your medical records will serve as important evidence in your case when it comes time to prove your damages.
If you missed work because of your injuries, you can claim lost wages for the time your injuries caused you to miss out on. You can also claim losses you suffered if you had to take a new position with reduced wages or needed time off for doctor’s visits.
Pain and Suffering Damages
Pain and suffering damages, known as general damages in Georgia, can also be claimed. Damages for pain and suffering are awarded based on the subjective measure of how much your injuries have affected your life on a daily basis. This can include pain from your injuries, emotional trauma, humiliation, and many other losses. Importantly, Georgia does not cap the amount of pain and suffering damages you can be awarded in a successful lawsuit.
Punitive damages may be awarded if a party acted in a particularly egregious manner that caused harm to others. In general, punitive damages are not intended to compensate the injured party but rather serve as punishment for the wrongdoer. They are often awarded in cases where a defendant’s actions were especially reckless or malicious, like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Our truck accident attorneys can help you determine the full range of damage that you can claim in your case.
Our Athens, GA Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
For a free case evaluation with our truck accident attorneys, contact Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 today.