Who’s at Fault for a Truck Accident? How an Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
Hit by a truck?
Truck accidents are much different than the average car accident. Large trucks and tractor-trailers carry heavy loads, making it impossible for them to stop on a dime. Their impact is also massively destructive. Their resulting injuries are often devastating. If you’ve been injured in a collision with an 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer, or some other large truck, you need the help of a personal injury attorney to get compensated for the medical costs and lasting effects of serious injuries.
Georgia Laws for Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies
Due to the dangerous consequences of trucking accidents, Georgia and the federal government closely regulate the trucking industry. Truckers and trucking companies must adhere to laws that apply to drivers, schedules, truck maintenance, and insurance coverage.
Truck Driver Qualifications
Truck drivers are subject to all state traffic laws and additional regulations.
- Be specially trained and tested to become equipped with a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Maintain a clean driving record
- Meet medical requirements set by the federal government
Georgia law also requires that commercial truck drivers be subject to substance testing—including testing for both drugs and alcohol—to ensure the safety of other vehicles on the road.
Hours of Service Requirements
The State of Georgia mandates that even short-haul drivers adhere to the federal government’s duty hour limits. They must keep detailed and accurate driving logs to prevent drivers from logging too many straight hours or an abundance of hours in a single working week. This prevents driver fatigue and protects other drivers from being put at risk of trucking accidents.
Maintenance Schedule Requirements
Drivers are responsible for inspecting their commercial trucks before and after a haul to ensure the vehicle is in good operating condition. Inspections include checks on brakes, wipers, and other vehicle parts and maintenance reports if any issues are found.
Who’s at Fault for a Truck Accident?
Suppose one or more of these laws aren’t observed, and the truck is involved in a traffic collision. In that case, the potentially liable parties need to be held accountable. The at-fault party may be one individual or a combination of individuals and companies.
A truck driver may be found at fault for a motor vehicle accident for various reasons:
- Disobeying traffic laws
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Failing to keep accurate driving logs
If the cause of the accident is found to be any of the above infractions, the driver’s insurance company—or the driver—could be held responsible for the damages. A personal injury lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company to ensure fair compensation.
Often, the trucks being driven are the property of an owner that isn’t the driver. If the truck is in disrepair and is not kept to maintenance schedule requirements, the truck’s owner could be liable.
Some truck companies may have corporate policies that lead to negligence. These practices include paying by miles driven, negligent hiring practices, not training drivers properly, or pushing for drivers to stay on the road for more hours than federal regulations require. If a trucking company is found negligent, it may be responsible for not only economic damages and non-economic damages but possibly even punitive damages if the infraction is egregious enough.
Truck Parts Manufacturer
In some cases, there are defects in truck parts that lead to significant commercial truck accidents and catastrophic injuries. One extreme example would be brake failure due to a manufacturer’s error or defect. In these types of truck accident claims, a product liability lawsuit may be sought on behalf of the accident victim.
It’s important for the cargo in a truck to be loaded correctly for the materials to be safely transported. If the load is too heavy or imbalanced, the truck could easily roll over or tip in the event of a collision. In this situation, the parties that loaded the truck—whether employees of the trucking company or a separate cargo loading company—could be held liable for the damages.
How Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
When truck accident victims have been seriously injured, it’s difficult to determine who is at fault. The trucker’s or the trucking company’s insurance company will do everything in their power to reduce the liability of the driver they insure. But experienced Atlanta truck accident attorneys know the ins and outs of Georgia trucking laws. They can conduct an investigation that will identify the at-fault party and earn you maximum compensation.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
Maybe you or a loved one have sustained serious injuries—like traumatic brain injuries—after colliding with a large truck. Perhaps you lost a loved one and are seeking to file a wrongful death lawsuit against a negligent truck company. A Georgia truck accident attorney is your best bet to getting the fair settlement you’re entitled to for the ordeal of your truck accident case. Reach out to a personal injury attorney today.