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Truck Accident Attorney in Atlanta

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Trucking companies earn their profits by sending 80-foot, 80,000-pound tractor-trailers across public roadways that the trucks share with other traffic. We see more than our share of trucking traffic in Atlanta since three major interstates converge in the city. Trucking companies and truckers who earn private profits by using public roadways owe a duty to make sure that their tractor-trailers operate safely, in Atlanta and elsewhere. Most trucking companies and truck drivers take that responsibility seriously. But unfortunately, there are some who don’t. We have some of the best truck accident lawyers in Atlanta.

Heavy trucks are not like cars. They don’t stop as quickly. Trucks don’t handle as nimbly. Truck drivers continually spend long hours behind the wheel. When a crash occurs with a heavy semi-truck, the damages and injuries are often quite worse – especially for the occupants of the car.

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If you have been involved in a serious truck accident, you may have severe, even catastrophic injuries. You may feel anxious about your massive medical bills when you have no way to pay for them and can’t even earn income from work due to disabilities. If the negligence of the truck driver, a trucking company, or someone else caused your collision with a commercial truck, you may have the right to recover compensation. It is critical that you hire a knowledgeable truck accident attorney who understands how to hold truck companies accountable in these complex cases.

As one of the leading truck accident law firms in Atlanta, the Butler Kahn has successfully recovered millions of dollars in compensation for people who were injured in truck accidents, as well as for families who lost someone in a truck crash.

If you think we might be able to assist you with your Atlanta truck accident claim, please call us or contact us online. We are ready to talk to you – for free – about your situation as soon as you are ready to discuss it.

How Truck Accidents Are Different from Car Accidents

Several factors make truck accidents different from car accidents. Those factors include:
  • So-called “independent contractors.” When a tractor-trailer causes a collision, many trucking companies immediately try to disavow the truck driver who caused the wreck, often claiming that the trucker was an “independent contractor” and that the company isn’t responsible, even if the trucking company’s logo and DOT number appeared on the side of the truck. A good trucking lawyer won’t fall for this “defense.” Under FMCSR § 390.5, the trucking company is responsible for the truckers operating under its authority.
  • Size and weight – Commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. In contrast, the average passenger vehicle weighs about 3,000 pounds. When a large truck crashes into a passenger vehicle, the truck’s size and weight can have devastating impact on the much smaller vehicle and the people inside.
  • More potentially liable parties – Multiple parties may have a share of the liability in a truck accident. In addition to the truck driver and trucking company, liable parties can include truck part manufacturers, suppliers and cargo loaders. Numerous liable parties can make your case more complicated but also provide you with more sources of compensation.
  • Rules and regulations – Trucking companies must follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules and regulations. These regulations cover how many hours truck drivers can spend behind the wheel, called Hours of Service rules. Other regulations address maintenance, cargo loading and many other aspects of trucking. If these rules and regulations are violated, you may have additional ways to show that the trucking company was negligent.
  • Licenses – Under the law, truck drivers must obtain a special commercial driver’s license. If a truck driver does not complete the necessary requirements and obtain the required license, the accident victim may have a claim against the trucking company for negligent hiring and training practices.
  • Insurance and the direct action. In most vehicle accident cases, the jury never gets to hear about insurance. The rules of evidence prevent the plaintiff from discussing the subject. But in a trucking case, the rule is different – in a trucking case, in addition to suing the truck company and truck driver, the plaintiff can sue the insurance company directly in what the law calls a “direct action.”
  • Injuries – Because trucks are much bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles, the injuries in accidents tend to be more severe. Truck accident victims can sustain life-altering long-term injuries, such as spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Why You Need an Attorney After a Truck Accident in Atlanta

Truck accidents can have devastating effects on victims and their families. If your life has been turned upside down by a truck accident, turn to the experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Butler Kahn. We can help you make your way through the recovery process. We are committed to providing truck accident victims with aggressive legal representation. Our truck accident attorneys work with a team of experts. We build a strong case that can get you the full and fair compensation you deserve.

When people hire our Atlanta truck accident attorneys at Butler Kahn, their interests become our interests, and their goals become our goals. Our extensive efforts on their behalf may include:

  • Investigating the scene
  • Working with investigators
  • Asking reconstructionists to rebuild the accident scene
  • Identifying any potentially liable parties
  • Asking witnesses for a sworn statement
  • Reviewing police and investigative reports
  • Analyzing any video footage
  • Asking medical doctors for their opinion on your injuries and treatment
Truck Accident Damage

Who Can Be Responsible for a Truck Accident Claim in Atlanta?

If the truck accident that caused your injuries was due to someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to financial compensation. Truck accidents in Atlanta and throughout Georgia can result in severe injuries. Those injuries are caused by the sheer size and weight of semi-trucks and the force of their impact when they crash into passenger vehicles.

Truck accidents are often the result of negligence by the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck owner, and the cargo loader. The aggressive and skilled Atlanta truck accident lawyers at Butler Kahn can identify all the liable parties and seek to hold them accountable.

The causes of trucking accidents can vary, and parties that may be held liable for a truck accident include:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company employing the driver
  • The truck owner
  • The manufacturers of defective truck parts
  • The freight forwarding company
  • The company that loaded the cargo
  • The owner of the cab
  • The owner of the trailer
  • Companies responsible for the truck’s maintenance

Our goal is to identify all potentially liable parties and all potential sources of insurance coverage to provide truck accident victims with the best opportunity to secure full compensation.

Investigating Tractor-Trailer Accidents

If you were injured in a truck accident in Atlanta, you may be eligible for financial compensation. However, to receive that compensation, you must prove that the truck driver or someone else was at fault. You must also show that your injuries were a result of the accident.

Collecting evidence can be difficult. This is why you should hire a skilled and experienced Atlanta, Georgia truck accident attorney. We can help with the investigation and evidence collection for truck wrecks.

Important evidence that can help your truck accident injury claim could include:

  • Police report – The police report includes key details about the accident, such as where it happened, who was involved, and statements made by witnesses.
  • Surveillance videos – This could include videos from nearby businesses and traffic cameras, as well as videos taken from cameras mounted inside truck cabs or dash cams in other vehicles.
  • Driving log and company GPS tracking information – Truck drivers are required to log the hours they drive each day. Many trucking companies also keep GPS data on their drivers. This can be essential information for your truck accident case.
  • EDR data ─ Information from the truck’s electronic data recorder (EDR or “black box”) can show what the driver was doing before the accident. For example, it could show if and when the brakes were applied, how fast the truck was traveling, whether the driver attempted to swerve, and other important data.
  • Vehicle damage – The damage done to the vehicles during the truck accident is a critical piece of evidence. Visible damage to your vehicle and damage to the truck can help show what occurred during the accident.
  • Alcohol and drug test results – If the truck driver who collided with your vehicle seemed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the police may have performed sobriety tests. If these sobriety tests reveal that the driver was intoxicated while operating the truck, that evidence is an important part of your negligence claim.
  • Medical reports – If you were injured in a truck accident, immediately seek medical attention. A doctor will evaluate your injuries and recommend treatment. The doctor will include this information in a medical report. The report is evidence that you suffered injuries during the accident. Ask your doctor for a copy of the medical report.
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Fighting for Full Compensation in a Truck Accident Case

The Atlanta truck accident lawyers at Butler Kahn help clients recover many types of economic and non-economic damages. Those damages include:

  • Past medical bills – If someone is hurt and incurs medical costs, the trucking company should pay those medical bills. The trucking company is liable for the full amount of the bills, even if the injured person carried health insurance. (The injured person may have to pay back the health insurance company.)
  • Future medical bills – Serious injuries can have an effect for the rest of a victim’s life. Future medical treatment, such as physical therapy or in-home nursing care, may be required. The trucking company should also pay for those future costs.
  • Past pain and suffering – Victims of a tractor-trailer collision are entitled to be compensated for the pain that the accident has caused.
  • Future pain and suffering – If an injury is serious, the pain may not go away immediately. For example, pain from neck or spinal injuries can last a lifetime, especially if arthritis sets in at the site of the injury. Metal plates and bone screws can cause pain when the weather changes. If the victim of a truck accident faces future pain, Georgia law allows compensation for that.

Because commercial trucks are much larger than other vehicles on the road, they are more likely to cause a fatal accident. If you had a family member who died from a truck accident in Atlanta that was someone else’s fault, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

What to Do After a Truck Crash in Atlanta

If you have been involved in a truck accident in Atlanta, take these steps:

  • Call 911. Truck accidents can cause serious injuries and even fatalities. After the accident, your health and safety should be your No. 1 priority. If you are able, call 911 immediately. Medical help and law enforcement will arrive. Police can help you gather eyewitness accounts. They will also file a police report.
  • Stay at the accident scene. Remain at the scene of the accident until the paramedics and the authorities have arrived. Move your vehicle out of the road for safety, if necessary. However, if possible, leave your car in the position where it came to rest. This will help you preserve evidence of what caused the accident.
  • Exchange information. Collect the contact information from all parties involved. Get the truck company’s name and exchange contact information with the truck driver.
  • Take photographs. If possible, take photos with your smartphone of the damage to all vehicles involved in the truck accident. Pay close attention to skid marks and any details that tell the story of what occurred. Get photos of your injuries as well.
  • Contact an experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney. It is critical that you consult with a seasoned truck accident lawyer as soon as you can. Truck accident claims involve many complicated legalities. Assistance from a knowledgeable attorney will be essential.
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butler law firm team photoHow to Hold Truck Companies Accountable in Atlanta

Day after day, trucking companies (for-profit trucking companies, at that), send out their fleets of large vehicles to drive hundreds of miles up and down the streets that you, your family, and your friends drive every single day. These vehicles—known as tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, commercial vehicles, 18-wheelers, and more—have been lauded for their usefulness, delivering goods and products across the country quickly and, in most cases, efficiently.

But these vehicles are different. Just by looking at them, you can see how different they are. These 80,000, 80-foot tractor-trailers that are running the road are logistically incapable of performing like the rest of the vehicles on the road. Not only are they unable to stop quickly, but they’re also not logistically able to perform quick turns, make speedy reactions, and in most cases, they’re driven by professionals who have been on the road for hours—sometimes up to 10 hours at a time.

These for-profit trucking companies are privileged to use these roads—our roads—to make the profits they’re legally allowed to make. But here’s the thing—if trucking companies are going to put these massive vehicles on the road, they have a single obligation they must abide by, no questions asked—they must do everything in their power not to endanger private citizens.

And yet, every few days, we see reports of overturned semi-trucks streaming across our news channels, we see 18-wheelers on the sides of the road, and worst of all, some of us have been personally affected by the throes of a tragic or fatal tractor-trailer accident.

These vehicles can cause serious accidents. These vehicles can hurt people. These vehicles, run by for-profit trucking companies, can change lives in an instant.

At Butler Kahn, we believe it’s vital that trucking companies are held accountable and vigilant about how their 18-wheelers interact with the daily lives of private citizens.

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The Complications Behind the 18-Wheeler Issue

Obviously, it goes without saying that accidents involving any type of vehicle are tragic—whether it’s a small vehicle, a bicycle, or a tractor-trailer, no accident is a good accident. Still, these massive vehicles carry with them more than just the weight of what they’re delivering for profit—even without extra weight, these vehicles can be up to 100,000 pounds and stretch longer than 80 feet.

When driving down the road next to much smaller, much more reactive vehicles, these enormous 18-wheelers can be dangerous and deadly. Tack that onto the fact the employees who drive these vehicles are operating them at high speeds, for long periods of time, often without adequate rest.

Legally, it is a truck driver’s and the trucking company’s responsibility to abide by federal rules and regulations that are absolutely required when a truck is stopped or on the move. According to The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (also called the FMCSR), truck drivers must abide by a specific amount of time that they’re allowed to be on the road. They’re required to take specific and allotted breaks before they’re able to begin driving again, and they’re also required to pay attention to what’s happening 12-15 seconds down the road so they can ensure they have enough reaction time to stop, turn, brake, swerve, and respond accordingly to traffic patterns. Further, if a truck is stopped, it must be in a parked location that will not endanger other drivers, passengers, or themselves.

Both federal and state laws confirm that should drivers not abide by these laws, the trucking companies are responsible for the repercussions. That’s why drivers of tractor-trailers are required by law to keep accurate logbooks that state when they’re been driving, that those hours do not go over the limits and that a driver has had adequate rest before they take to the open road again. These regulations even take it a step further, stating that drivers are solely responsible for inspecting their trucks and are not able to consume alcohol or any intoxicating substance of any amount while on the job.

What’s more? Trucking companies are legally required to hire honest, competent drivers who keep their trucks in perfect condition and in good working order. If not, legally, the trucking companies are supposed to pay the consequences.

And yet, despite these strict federal and state regulations, accidents still happen.

Case Study: Semi-Truck Accidents & Their Deadly Results

While there have been too many semi-truck accidents to count, a most recent and incredibly tragic occurrence near Atlanta, Georgia, best illustrates the danger of semi-trucks on the roads private citizens drive—and further can show just how wrong something can go if a driver and a trucking company do not follow their legal obligations flawlessly.

On February 1, 2020, a fiery, tragic crash on I-85 in Gwinnett County killed two people. According to the Gwinnett Police, the accident occurred between a fuel tanker and a passenger vehicle—a silver Volkswagen Passat, which was stopped in the second lane after having been involved in a different accident.

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For unknown reasons, the truck, which was pulling a fuel tanker with 8,500 additional pounds of fuel approached the vehicle and was unable to stop, resulting in the fatal, fiery crash that shut down the highway for more than 10 hours and started a massive fire that burned for several hours. The cause of this accident has not yet been confirmed, but it also is a prime example of how dangerous these enormous vehicles can be. While it’s not yet determined if the driver was at fault, this perfectly illustrates the sheer power of a vehicle of this size—and the absolute need for drivers and trucking companies to take their federal obligations seriously.

At Butler Kahn, we’ve found that, oftentimes, in the event of a crash, trucking companies move quickly to cover their tracks. They’ll hire investigators. They rush to the scene. They deny, deny, deny that the company has done anything wrong, but in several cases, we’ve dealt with personally, we’ve seen that these efforts to cover the truth won’t squeak by our diligence.

There are several other cases we’ve dealt with personally that illustrate how trucking companies don’t always do their best to retain those state and federal standards. In a case involving a tractor-trailer incident that was fleshed out in June of 2017, a safety director was being cross-examined about a collision where the company denied that their employee and their company had done anything wrong. Our representative, however, knew differently. He’d gathered a monthly newsletter from the trucking company (whose driver had crashed into our client) and learned that the company was under federal investigation for allowing their drivers to drive too many hours in a row. The safety director denied it. We were ready with the evidence that said otherwise.

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How You Can Protect Yourself

Should you, a loved one, or someone you know unfortunately end up in the midst of a large vehicle accident—causing serious injury or not—it’s vital that you hire a firm that knows how to not only protect you, but also hold large trucking companies accountable.

What’s the vital difference in hiring a lawyer or firm who’s capable of protecting you versus one who isn’t? The knowledge and background needed to understand these federal regulations that are absolutely required. At Butler Kahn, we’re not just well-versed in the federal restriction and regulations trucking companies and their employees must abide by, we know them backward and forward.

We firmly believe that trucking companies should strictly honor these obligations and responsibilities to the public sector, doing everything in their power to keep citizens safe. And we believe it’s our job to do everything we can to make that happen. The problem is, some trucking companies don’t operate under these standards, and when they don’t, tragic—and often fatal—accidents happen.

Talk to an Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney

Truck accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries, potentially leaving you with long-term complications. If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident in the Atlanta metro area, you may be faced with a mountain of medical bills, lost work time, and other physical, mental, and financial stresses. The knowledgeable and compassionate Atlanta truck accident attorneys at the Butler Kahn know how to help. We’ve been serving Atlanta for years and know how to best handle your case. You only get one shot at a personal injury claim. Make it count.

We’re ready to talk to you if you think we might be able to help you. Contact us whenever you’re prepared to discuss your situation. It costs you nothing to talk with an expert semi-truck accident lawyer, and the consultation has no strings attached.

We serve all areas of Atlanta, including Brookhaven, Druid Hills, Buckhead, Chastain Park, Garden Hills, Piedmont Heights, Midtown, Downtown Atlanta, Grove Pak, Inman Park, South Atlanta, East Atlanta Village, West End, and Atlantic Station.