Across the United States, there are millions of commercial trucks being operated each day. Due to the size of these vehicles, any accident has the potential to be severe. In Georgia, there are approximately 180 to 230 fatal truck accidents each year. That means trucks are involved in 14% of all crash fatalities.
Even if an accident isn’t fatal, it could lead to serious, potentially disabling injuries. Common injuries associated with truck accidents include broken bones, back and neck injuries, head injuries, and internal injuries.
Since the stakes in a truck accident are so high, it’s important to work with a Smyrna truck accident lawyer that has plenty of experience with these kinds of cases. Jamie Ballard specializes in auto accident cases and will fight to collect compensation for you in the aftermath of a truck accident.
Call 571-331-2381 today to schedule your free case review!
What Should You Do After a Truck Accident?
It’s never easy to stay calm in the aftermath of an accident, especially when a commercial truck is involved. With that said, taking the right steps after an accident can help preserve evidence, making it easier for you to recover compensation later down the road. If you’ve been involved in an accident, you should:
Calling 911 is the fastest way to bring police and first responders to the scene of the accident. If possible, you should talk to the police at the scene and tell them what happened in the moments before the collision. You can request a copy of the police report later on.
Do what you can to assist others and keep them safe. If it’s possible to safely move vehicles off the road, you’ll want to do so. If someone is severely injured, however, you shouldn’t move them yourself unless they’re in immediate danger.
You’re legally required to exchange contact and insurance information with other drivers involved in the collision. If possible, ask the truck driver to provide you with the truck number and the name of the trucking carrier as well.
Do your best to document the scene of the accident and preserve valuable evidence. Take photos from different angles. Photograph damage to vehicles and any skid marks on the road. Talk to any witnesses and request their contact information so that they can provide a statement later on.
Get Medical Attention
Truck accidents often involve severe injuries, which is why swift medical attention is so important. It’s best to see a doctor even if you don’t think you were injured. Some injuries, like whiplash, may not be immediately noticeable.
Contact an Attorney
The sooner you talk to a lawyer, the better. An attorney can assess your case early on and get the claims process rolling. Securing a settlement can take time, which makes fast action indispensable.
What Are the Laws Regarding Truck Accident Liability?
In Georgia, accident liability is determined using a modified comparative fault system. Under this law, you can only seek financial compensation if you hold less than 50% responsibility during the accident.
Numerous parties can be held liable for a truck accident, including the truck driver, the trucking company, and even the manufacturer of the vehicle. This makes it all the more important to collect evidence that shows you’re not at fault. Liability is likely to be contested, and without the support of a lawyer, you may not be eligible to collect damages.
How Can a Smyrna Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
Accident claims are always complex, but seeking damages after a truck accident can be especially challenging. Not only are truck collisions more likely to involve significant amounts of damage, but you’ll also be going against teams of lawyers that want to pay you as little as possible.
That’s why you need an experienced legal professional advocating on your behalf. Jamie Ballard Law can assist you in a number of ways, such as:
Investigating the Accident
We’ll look closely at all available evidence while also working to obtain additional evidence that could show negligence, such as the black data from the truck. We’ll work to establish fault and build a rock-solid claim.
Accident claims are time-sensitive and often involve a lot of paperwork. We’ll handle all forms, making sure that everything is filled out correctly and submitted on time.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses that are motivated to pay as little as possible. We’ll handle all negotiations and will make sure you’re not pressured into accepting a low settlement. During the negotiations, we’ll present our evidence and will work to obtain a suitable settlement for you.
If the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement, we can file a lawsuit on your behalf and fight your case in court. We’ll do everything in our power to collect a favorable judgment for you.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive?
The damages you’re eligible to collect after a truck accident will vary based on the losses that you’ve suffered. In Georgia, there are three main categories of damages:
These damages are designed to provide compensation for verifiable monetary losses. Economic damages an accident victim could be owed may include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- Rehabilitative care costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of future wages
- Property damages
It’s important to hold onto bills, receipts, and other documents related to these expenses so that you can show what you’re owed. In addition, it’s crucial to attend medical appointments and keep up with treatment. If you don’t obtain the appropriate treatment for your injuries, insurance adjusters may try to pay you less.
Sometimes described as “general damages,” non-economic damages are subjective damages that don’t have a specific monetary value. You may be able to seek compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of companionship
These types of damages can be difficult to qualify, which is why working with an experienced Smyrna truck accident lawyer is so essential. Many factors are considered when calculating non-economic damages, and the right attorney can fight to secure the largest possible settlement for you.
While other types of damages are intended to compensate accident victims for losses, punitive damages are designed to serve as a punishment for the at-fault party. In Georgia, these damages can only be awarded if the defendant shows willful misconduct or extreme negligence. We can assess your case and determine if punitive damages are an option.
How Much Is My Truck Accident Claim Worth?
No two truck accidents are exactly alike. In order to calculate the value of your claim, we’ll have to look at the specific circumstances of your case. Other factors, such as insurance policy limits, will come into play as well.
We’ll examine your case closely so that we can identify all recoverable damages. We’ll also identify all at-fault parties so that everyone that’s responsible can be held liable.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Claim?
If your claim involves bodily injuries, it must be filed within two years of the accident. For claims that only involve property damage, you have four years to file a claim.
With that said, you’ll have a higher chance of success if your claim is filed right away. Evidence that supports your claim can be lost over time. If you wait to file a claim, it may be more difficult to prove that the other parties are at fault.
How Is Fault in a Truck Accident Determined?
In Georgia, there are specific legal requirements that must be met to prove fault in a truck accident. There are four elements of negligence that must be established, which are:
Duty of Care
All motorists have a duty to operate their vehicles safely. Truck drivers are held to especially high standards. Because of this, it’s easy to show that the truck driver owed the accident victim a duty of care.
Breach of Duty of Care
For someone to be at fault for a truck accident, you must show that the duty of care was breached. This means that you will have to show that the at-fault party engaged in unsafe, reckless, or negligent behavior. While drivers are often held liable for accidents, other parties, such as the trucking company or the truck manufacturer, could also breach their duty of care.
It’s necessary to establish that the breach of duty was the cause of the accident. For example, if an accident occurred after a truck driver ran a red light, you can demonstrate that their failure to follow traffic laws lead to the accident.
To seek damages, you must show that the accident linked to the breach of duty resulted in actual injuries or losses. This could include physical injuries as well as property damage.
Can a Lawyer Prove the Truck Driver Was Negligent?
Proving negligence isn’t always easy, which is why you need the support of an attorney that has experience with truck accident cases. Truck drivers are required to abide by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. A skilled attorney can investigate your claim closely to find evidence that shows that the driver showed negligence.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be other negligent parties as well. We can use subpoenas to gather vital pieces of evidence that can give us a clearer picture of what led to your accident, such as driver logs, maintenance and repair records, and travel and engine data.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
In addition to the truck driver, there are many other parties that could potentially be liable for a truck accident, including:
- The trucking company
- The vehicle or truck manufacturer
- Vendors that loaded the truck
This makes it all the more important for you to work with a lawyer that can conduct an in-depth investigation of the accident. We can gather evidence that will help establish the factors that lead to the accident. From there, we can determine who should be held liable.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The size of commercial trucks makes the risk of accidents significantly higher. There are many factors that can lead to truck accidents, including:
- Driving while fatigued
- Reckless or distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failure to secure cargo
- Lack of driver training
- Lack of maintenance or service violations
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Adverse weather conditions
It’s difficult to safely drive a truck, and even a minor mistake can have major consequences. We’ll take the time to investigate your accident so that we can identify the causes that contributed to it.
Truck accidents can occur at any time. In fact, in Georgia, truck accidents are more likely to occur during the day than at night. While most of these accidents can be prevented by following the appropriate laws and safety protocols, if a truck driver or a trucking company engages in negligent behavior, it puts all other motorists on the road at risk.
Book a Free Case Review With a Smyrna Truck Accident Lawyer Today!
Many truck accidents result in severe damages and injuries. Not only can this put accident victims under financial stress, but it can have a lasting impact on their quality of life. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a truck accident, you deserve to be compensated for the damages that you’ve suffered.
Jamie Ballard Law is here to help if you need a Smyrna truck accident lawyer. You can trust us to carefully assess your case and represent your interests at every turn. We’ve successfully represented a number of clients that have been involved in truck accidents, and we can provide you with the same level of guidance and support.
If you’d like to learn more, call our offices today at 571-331-2381 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. During this meeting, we’ll assess your case, answer your questions, and tell you more about what we can do for you. We work on contingency, which means we won’t get paid unless you do. Talk to us today so that you can recover the compensation you’re entitled to.