Truck accidents are unlike other accidents typically involving standard-sized vehicles. Trucks are incredibly large and heavy, and truck accidents are often devastating or even deadly.
If you are injured in a truck accident, your first concern should be calling for help. Once emergency responders and the police are on the way, just wait for help. If you can do so safely, take photos of the scene for insurance purposes and as evidence in a lawsuit. Finally, call a lawyer. Evidence that might help you includes the photos you took, witnesses, and details about the truck itself. Damages in truck accident cases tend to be significant, and your economic and non-economic damages might be very high. While many injured victims sue truck drivers for damages, the trucker’s employer might also be liable.
Speak with our truck accident lawyers at Howe Law about a free review of your case by calling (844) 876-4357.
What You Should Do After a Truck Accident in Augusta, GA
The first thing you need to do after a truck accident is to call for help. Sometimes, people are badly hurt that they cannot call for help on their own. In that case, someone else at the crash (e.g., other drivers, passengers, pedestrians) should make the call.
You should wait for emergency assistance to arrive to get medical treatment as quickly as possible. Getting immediate treatment is important because your injuries might be severe, and we need your medical records to prove the extent and severity of your injuries in court.
While waiting for help to arrive, you should record photos and videos of the accident scene. These recordings might help save valuable details we can use later in insurance claims and a lawsuit. Remember, only do this if you can. If you are badly hurt, or it is unsafe to move about the accident scene, stay put and wait for help.
When you are ready, call a lawyer to discuss getting financial compensation for your injuries and expenses. It is never too early to speak with a lawyer, and our truck accident attorneys can often handle much of your case while you focus on resting and recovering.
Elements that Must Be Proved to Win a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Augusta, GA
In Augusta, truck accidents happen quite frequently. Although most trucking companies take their responsibilities seriously, plenty of others fail to do so. In such cases, it is essential for victims to understand the necessary components for a successful lawsuit. To prove that a truck driver or company was at fault, you must demonstrate that they breached their duty of care towards you, resulting in significant damages.
Duty of Care
In an Augusta truck accident lawsuit, the first element to establish is duty. Duty refers to the responsibilities that individuals owe to each other based on their relationship, like a truck driver’s responsibility to operate their vehicle with care for themselves and others on the road. If a person fails to fulfill their duty in the case of a truck accident, it means that they have not driven safely and with reasonable caution towards others.
The second element that needs to be proven is breach of duty. This happens when someone fails to perform a necessary action or performs an action that should not have been performed. For instance, if a truck driver disregards trucking regulations like overloading cargo and causing an accident, this would qualify as a breach of duty.
Establishing causation is the third crucial element in your truck accident lawsuit. It refers to the direct link between the event that caused the accident and the resulting injury or damage. To prove causation in court, you must demonstrate a clear connection between your injuries and the truck accident you were involved in. This is necessary to rule out any pre-existing conditions or prior accidents that might have caused your injuries.
Finally, you must present proof of actual damages that you have incurred. This typically involves financial losses, including medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses paid out of pocket. Moreover, you may also seek compensation for non-economic damages that have resulted from your injuries, such as physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
What Evidence is Needed in Augusta, GA Truck Accident Cases?
The great thing about evidence is that it could be almost anything and come from anywhere as long as it is relevant to your case and tends to prove your claims. The bad thing about evidence is that it can be fleeting or in short supply. Our truck accident lawyers can help you gather the strongest evidence available to prove your claims in court.
Some evidence can be gathered right away after the crash. If it is safe, you should take photos and record videos of the crash scene and the surrounding area. This is common when people want to present some proof of the accident to insurance companies. Photos are also useful in a lawsuit as evidence.
Even if physical evidence is hard to find, we can construct a strong case based on witness testimony. Truck accidents are often big events with numerous witnesses, and a lot of people might have details about how the truck driver was negligent. Other drivers on the road, passengers, or pedestrians in the area can take the witness stand and explain their first-hand knowledge.
Trucks are complex pieces of machinery, and a malfunction with the vehicle itself might be to blame for the crash. We can obtain details about the truck from driver logs, business records, and inspection records. Additionally, many trucks are equipped with black boxes – similar to those on planes – that record things like speed and brake times. We can use the data from the black box to determine whether the driver was negligent during the crash.
Recoverable Damages for Injuries Sustained in Augusta, GA Truck Accidents
Your total damages calculations should reflect all the losses, injuries, and expenses you incurred because of the truck accident. Damages may encompass your economic loss measured in dollars and cents in addition to non-economic losses like pain, suffering, and humiliation.
Economic damages often include medical bills, property damage, and income you lose because you are too injured to return to work. Assessing these damages tends to be simpler because all we need to do is tally up your bills and losses. The trick is to make sure all losses are accounted for. Even small expenses can add up over time, and our truck accident lawyers can help make sure all economic damages are accounted for.
As mentioned, non-economic damages do not always take a financial toll, so assessing financial compensation can be challenging. Things like physical pain, emotional anguish, humiliation, and reduced overall quality of living should be considered when assessing non-economic damages. In the end, a jury usually decides the value of these damages.
Who You Can Sue for a Truck Accident in Augusta, GA
When filing a lawsuit for a truck accident, most injured drivers name the truck driver as the primary defendant. Since the trucker’s negligence is the direct cause of your injuries, you should definitely hold them responsible. However, truck drivers are often unable to cover all the damages involved since damages are often very significant. As such, you might also want to sue the trucker’s employer.
Under a legal doctrine known as respondeat superior, a person’s employer can be held vicariously liable for that person’s negligent behavior under certain conditions. Generally, the negligence must have occurred in line with the person’s job duties. If the truck driver was not authorized to drive the truck or was otherwise not in the course of furthering their professional duties, the trucking company might not be vicariously liable.
It is important to note that trucking companies can be held accountable for their own negligent actions. Specifically, if they fail to adhere to federal and state trucking regulations, such as insufficient vehicle maintenance or inadequate driver training and background checks, they will likely be liable for any resulting damages.
In the event that your injuries were a result of a malfunction with the truck or a specific truck component, you might be able to take legal action against the manufacturer of the truck or part. For example, if you sustained injuries due to faulty brakes or tire blowouts, you could file a lawsuit against the designer or manufacturer. If a single company is responsible for both designing and producing the truck that caused your injuries, such as Ford or Dodge, they can be held liable for negligence.
Further, it might be necessary to hold other drivers accountable for an Augusta truck accident. If another driver’s actions caused a truck to collide with your vehicle, they should be made to compensate you for the damages and injuries you sustained. For instance, if a driver ignored a red light, causing a truck to suddenly brake and causing your car to rear-end it, they could be held responsible.
What Our Augusta, GA Truck Accident Attorneys Can Do for Your Case
Dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident in Augusta can be a daunting task on your own. You will have to manage medical bills, lost income, and other expenses that can accumulate rapidly. Along with these financial concerns, you will likely also be coping with the physical and emotional pain caused by your injuries. Fortunately, you do not have to meet these challenges alone as there are a number of services our team can provide to support your case during a difficult time.
Gather Evidence to Prove Your Case
For starters, we can assist you in gathering valuable evidence that will greatly strengthen your case. This evidence typically consists of photographs and videos of the scene and your injuries, employment records from the trucking company, and any other pieces of evidence that our investigation turns up. Witnesses who saw your accident can also be contacted so that they can provide valuable testimony to support your case. Additionally, official police records can be obtained from the agency that investigated your accident, which can help identify the parties involved and other evidence that might be useful.
Evaluate Your Damages
It can be challenging to determine the worth of your case after being injured in a truck accident. Often, insurance companies offer undervalued settlements that fail to cover all your damages. However, we can help you calculate the accurate value of your case, ensuring that you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Our evaluation includes assessing your current losses, like lost wages from time you missed from work, as well as any future expenses you might incur, such as physical therapy sessions, potential surgeries, and prescriptions for medication.
File Your Lawsuit
If you are seeking compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or mental anguish, you will typically need to file a lawsuit. These damages are not covered by insurance claims in most cases. If an insurance company does offer compensation for pain and suffering in a settlement, it is likely far less than what could be awarded in a trial. Our team can assist you in preparing a complaint for the court using the evidence that has been gathered, and determining which court your case should be filed in.
In order to gather more information, we can question both defendants and potential witnesses in depositions after a lawsuit is filed. These questions are answered under oath and can be used in a trial even if the individual who answered the questions is not present in court. This is also an effective way of determining if the defendant is lying and exposing weaknesses in the other side’s defense. If a settlement cannot be negotiated, pursuing legal action in a truck accident lawsuit is the best way to recover the full amount of damages you are owed.
Our Augusta, GA Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
For a free case evaluation with our truck accident lawyers, contact Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357.