Atlanta is a vital hub of commerce, with thousands of trucks and semi-trailer trucks making their way through the city each year. With the number of trucks on the road, devasting accidents are more likely to occur. The injuries you suffer in a truck accident can be catastrophic and often requires expensive treatment.
A truck accident can happen for many reasons, and multiple parties could be responsible for your injuries. Fortunately, an Atlanta truck accident attorney can be helpful when deciding if a lawsuit is the appropriate next step to recover compensation. How your accident occurred will significantly impact who could be held liable in a lawsuit.
If you were injured in a truck accident, our Atlanta truck accident attorneys can help you recover compensation from the responsible parties. For a free case assessment, call Howe Law at (888) 559-7033.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Atlanta, GA
There are many reasons truck accidents happen in Atlanta. Establishing how your truck accident occurred will help determine who should be named in your lawsuit. Our Atlanta truck accident attorneys can review the facts of your case to identify the exact cause of your truck accident.
Driving in a Truck’s “No-Zone”
Many accidents happen when a driver is in the truck driver’s “no-zone.” The no-zones are the various blind spots around the truck. Trucks have many areas that are not visible to the driver because of the truck’s size and the length of the trailer they are towing. Sometimes these no-zones can encompass entire lanes of traffic, depending on the truck’s size. No-zone accidents can be terrible or even fatal as the truck driver might not know you are there before it is too late.
Speeding is an all-too-common cause of truck accidents in Atlanta. Speeding trucks are highly dangerous, and the accidents they cause can be deadly. Speeding truck drivers might not be able to stop in time to avoid an accident and are more likely to jackknife and rollover. Fortunately,
most trucks contain black boxes that record logistical data for the vehicle, including its speed.
Driver Fatigue, Distraction, and Impairment
Tight schedules and long shipping routes can lead to accidents caused by a truck driver’s fatigue. A fatigued driver will usually have a slow reaction time and might not make the best decisions when reacting to an emergency.
Distracted drivers can also cause serious accidents. GPS, radio communications, and eating are just a few things that can distract a driver while on their route.
Another cause of truck accidents is driver impairment. Like any other driver, truck operators must not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some truck drivers feel compelled to take certain drugs to keep them awake and driving. But these substances can seriously affect a driver’s ability to operate their truck safely.
Failure to Properly Inspect and Maintain a Truck
Drivers and trucking companies are responsible for maintaining their vehicles so they are safe on the road. State and federal laws require drivers and companies to document routine maintenance checks and make the necessary repairs. Companies and drivers should check brakes, steering, tires, mirrors, and many other systems as part of their inspections.
Improperly loaded cargo can cause significant accidents. Cargo that is not loaded properly can shift in transit, making the truck incredibly difficult for the driver to control. If the cargo is exposed to others on the road, the improper use of cargo straps can cause the cargo to come loose, with devastating results.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Truck Accident in Atlanta, GA
There are many parties responsible for the transportation of a product. The truck driver is just one party in a long chain of those that could be liable for your injuries.
Many accidents are the result of truck driver negligence. Speeding, driving under the influence, and improper lane changes are just a few examples of how a driver can negligently cause an accident. Truck drivers can also be liable for not inspecting their vehicles and addressing any necessary repairs that need to be made.
Driver’s Trucking Company
The trucking company can also be held liable in certain circumstances. Like the driver, trucking companies must inspect and maintain their trucks. However, trucking companies can also be held liable under a legal theory known as vicarious liability. Employers are vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their employees if they were done during the normal course of their work. This can usually be shown if the truck driver was negligent during delivery or other normal job functions. Negligence can also be shown if they violate traffic laws or state/federal trucking regulations to cause the accident.
There are many situations where an accident is caused by an issue with the trailer being towed. Many trailers are owned by third-party companies, not the drivers or trucking companies. Thus, trailer owners must inspect and maintain their trailers for any defects. That does not mean that the driver and trucking company are not also possibly liable for the trailer. It simply provides another means of recovering compensation, if available.
Manufacturers of Defective Truck Parts
There are many parts and systems that are built into modern trucks. These parts are usually designed and manufactured by entirely different parties than the trucking company or its driver. If a truck accident is caused by a defective truck part, the designer or manufacturer could be held accountable for the injuries their dangerous parts caused.
Trucking Company’s Insurance Provider
Georgia law also allows truck accident victims to file what is known as a direct-action lawsuit. A direct-action lawsuit permits you to name the truck driver’s commercial insurance as a defendant in your lawsuit. Also, a direct-file lawsuit can be filed separately from your trucking accident lawsuit. Our Atlanta truck accident attorneys can help you determine if multiple parties should be held responsible for causing your injuries.
Common Types of Trucking Accidents in Atlanta, GA
Accidents can happen in many different ways, but the following are some of the more common ways that truck accidents happen:
Unfortunately, trucks flipping or rolling over on the highway are often the cause of serious, multi-car crashes. Victims in these crashes can easily number into the 20s or even higher, potentially leaving many with permanent injuries or long-term disabilities.
Even when only one other car is involved, rollover accidents can leave a lot of destruction in their path. These accidents often cause substantial damage to the other vehicles and serious injuries to the occupants within.
Often caused by improper loading or dangerous driving, a fishtailing tractor-trailer can strike other cars or cause crashes as drivers try to get out of the way of the truck’s swinging back end. In some cases, fishtailing can lead to jackknife accidents, where the truck essentially folds back against the trailer and crashes into itself. Like with rollovers, this can cause multi-car crashes.
Crashes in intersections often involve T-bone crashes if the trucker ran a red light or head-on crashes during illegal left turns.
Truckers are supposed to be prepared for runaway situations, and some highways even have safety features built in to help truckers avoid crashes when their brakes fail. However, if the trucker or the owner of the vehicle had overlooked maintenance issues or unsafe driving issues that caused the truck to become a runaway, they can be held at fault.
Falling Cargo Accidents
When cargo falls off a truck, it can cause serious injuries to the drivers behind the truck. Although the truck might not literally strike your car, accidents caused by falling cargo can still be the trucker’s fault or the fault of whoever improperly loaded the cargo.
Types of Trucks and Commercial Vehicles
Various different types of large trucks exist, and accidents with these trucks can happen in different ways and cause different kinds of damage. Our truck accident attorneys can help if you were involved in a crash involving any of these kinds of trucks or other commercial vehicles.
Semi-trailer trucks or “semi trucks” are the large “18-wheeler” or “big rig” trucks that commonly drive on highways all around the Atlanta area. If you were hit by one of these trucks, our lawyers can help.
Garbage collection is an essential service, but that does not mean that garbage truck drivers are given leeway to drive recklessly or cause crashes. Accidents with garbage trucks often happen at low speeds, but these trucks do also go on the highway where faster, more dangerous accidents might occur.
Construction vehicles often have warnings that they make sudden stops and turns, but those warnings do not absolve the driver of responsibility for a crash. If you were hit by a dump truck, you could be entitled to sue the driver and the construction company they work for.
Flatbed trucks are used to haul logs, construction materials, and large items that might not fit inside another type of truck. Sometimes these trucks even carry oversized loads that are wider than a normal lane. These drivers must be especially careful to ensure their cargo is properly tied down and will not fall off the vehicle, and drivers must be more careful about how long it takes them to slow down and how hard it is to see around their own vehicle.
Tanker trucks are often used to transport flammable or explosive materials and other hazardous materials. These vehicles are also quite heavy and can cause substantial injuries and vehicle damage by their nature, but the added risk of fire, explosion, or toxic exposure often makes accidents with tanker trucks even more dangerous.
Smaller trucks are often used by commercial truck drivers to make local deliveries, but one of the most common uses of these trucks is as rental trucks by amateur drivers. If a driver was inexperienced in handling this kind of truck, it might have been irresponsible for the rental company to issue them a vehicle. Nonetheless, the driver is usually responsible for their actions on the road, even if they were not experienced with the vehicle in question.
Damages for Injured Truck Accident Victims in Atlanta, GA
One of the most common questions that truck accident victims have is how much their case will be worth. It is difficult to determine how much any injury case is worth without looking into the facts and collecting bills, records, and statements related to your injuries. However, you can start calculating damages on your own by adding up the following expenses and economic harms.
Note that all of the damages listed here are “economic” damages; additional compensation for “non-economic” damages like pain and suffering can be paid on top of all of these damages.
The cost of treatment for your injuries is a major part of any injury case. Serious injuries can lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills or even damages over a million dollars. If the trucker or the trucking company was responsible for the crash, then they should be made to pay every penny of your medical bills.
If your injuries caused you to miss work, then the responsible parties should also be liable to you for any wages you lost. This can also include ongoing wages into the future if your injury is permanent and will lead to lost income going forward.
If you were able to return to work after healing, then these damages are somewhat simpler to calculate. If you have reduced wages for the rest of your life because you had to take a lower-paying job with lighter duties, then we can use the difference between your old and new wages to calculate lost wages. However, projecting future wages will usually be a more involved calculation.
Vehicle Repair and Property Damage Costs
If your car was totaled in the crash, then you should be reimbursed for the full value of your vehicle. If your car only needed repairs, then the fair market value of those repairs should be paid instead.
The lost value or the cost of repairs for other property damaged or destroyed in the crash should also be reimbursed. For example, if you had a phone or laptop that was destroyed in the crash, they should pay you for that.
Replacement Services at Home
If your injury is severe enough that it requires you to pay for household services – either on a temporary or permanent basis – those costs only exist because of the crash and should also be reimbursed. This includes things like reasonable home cleaning, childcare, and meal preparation costs.
Spouses can also claim “loss of consortium” damages for their spouse’s injuries if the injuries prevent them from performing household duties.
Our Atlanta, GA Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, our dedicated Atlanta truck accident attorneys are ready to provide you with a free case review. Contact Howe Law today at (888) 559-7033.