Tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks weighing up to 80,000 pounds travel roads in and around Jonesboro every day. These massive trucks are imposing enough when their drivers are alert and cautious. When truckers are distracted, tired, reckless, or otherwise negligent, serious crashes can result.
The size and weight of 18-wheelers and other trucks mean they are harder to stop, difficult to steer, and more prone to tipping over. To make matters worse, many truckers are pushed to drive past the point of fatigue. Some truck drivers turn to pills to stay awake, and to cell phones, tablets, or other distractions to ease the boredom.
When careless behavior causes a tragic truck crash in Jonesboro, the trucking companies that make massive profits while endangering the public must be taken to task for their negligence.
At Butler Kahn, our truck accident attorneys have a proven track record of helping clients get on the road to recovery after tragic accidents in Jonesboro and surrounding areas. To find out how we may be able to help you, please contact us for a free claim review.
What Makes Truck Accidents Different from Passenger Car Crashes?
Truck accidents are often much more complicated than passenger vehicle crashes because of several factors.
For one, large trucks like semis, box trucks, and dump trucks are much bigger and heavier than typical passenger vehicles, so these accidents typically leave victims with injuries that are much more severe than in other kinds of wrecks.
Trucking companies often gave insurance policies with much higher limits than the policies of average drivers – typically $750,000 at minimum for trucks that work across state lines, and $100,000 for trucks that only operate in Georgia. These increased insurance limits, along with the more severe injuries, often means there is much more money at stake in truck crash claims than in typical auto accident claims. That means that the defendants – the truck company, the truck driver, and the insurance company – fight harder.
Furthermore, multiple individuals, companies, and other entities might be liable for a truck collision. Each party may try to shift blame to others to try to avoid paying their part.
Why You Need a Jonesboro Truck Accident Lawyer on Your Side
You don’t have to go through the difficult process of a truck accident claim by yourself. When you work with a skilled and compassionate Jonesboro truck collision attorney from Butler Kahn, we can relieve your stress by standing by your side and handling all aspects of your claim for you.
Your lawyer can listen to your story, answer any questions you have about your case, help you understand your legal options, and craft a legal strategy based on your personal needs and goals.
Our legal team can launch an independent investigation into the true cause of the truck crash that harmed you. This could involve securing more difficult-to-access types of evidence like driving logs, “black box” data recorders, cell phone records, driving records, and other data. It might also be necessary to work with accident reconstruction experts who can testify to support your claim.
Your attorney can also handle all of the paperwork needed for your case and represent your best interests in any discussions with insurance companies, trucking companies, and others involved in the case. Our goal will be to negotiate with insurance adjusters to seek the maximum compensation you deserve. However, if the insurer won’t agree to a fair settlement, we will be prepared to tackle all of the complexities needed to file a lawsuit on your behalf and fight for your legal rights in court.
Throughout this process, our compassionate attorneys will give you the support you deserve in this difficult time and connect you to resources to help you get on the road to recovery.
Demanding Full Compensation After a Truck Wreck in Jonesboro
After a truck crash, victims have a right to demand full compensation from the at-fault parties to cover both their current expenses and losses that the aftermath of the crash will cause in the future.
Some of the types of compensation that might be available include coverage for:
- Wages that the victim loses while trying to recover from their injuries
- Emotional distress, pain and suffering, and mental anguish
- Reduced capacity to work in the future or inability to earn comparable wages due to injuries from the accident
- Disability or disfigurement
- Medical bills for things like surgeries, hospitalization, medication, skin grafts, ambulance transportation, diagnostic testing, plastic surgery, and other treatments
- Interference with normal living or the victim’s inability to take part in activities that they used to enjoy
- Disability accommodations, such modifications to a car or house
- Future medical expenses, including nursing care, follow up visits, rehabilitation, physical therapy, in-home medical staff, reconstructive surgeries, psychological counseling, prescriptions, and other treatments
- Specialized medical equipment and devices, such as a wheelchair
In some cases with egregious negligence, Georgia law allows victims to recover punitive damages as well.
If an accident is so severe that someone dies from the wreck, the victim’s surviving family members might be able to bring a wrongful death claim. This type of lawsuit helps the victim’s eligible surviving loved ones recover compensation to cover some of the losses caused by the wreck, such as funeral and burial expenses.
How Is Fault Determined in a Truck Accident Case?
Fault is determined by analyzing the evidence of the truck accident case and determining how the law applies to the facts at hand. Some common pieces of evidence in these types of wrecks include:
- Pictures or videos of the accident scene
- Eyewitness testimony
- Medical reports
- Truck delivery records and driving logs
- Maintenance reports
- Data from the truck’s electronic data recorder
- Cell phone records that could indicate driver distraction
- Receipts and other evidence that could show a driver exceeded hours of service limits
Who Can Be Held Responsible?
Multiple different parties might hold some liability for a truck accident. For example, truck drivers themselves might be liable if they did something to contribute to the crash, such as driving under the influence, texting while driving, driving while fatigued, speeding, or tailgating.
The trucking company that employed the driver may also be liable. Under Georgia’s respondeat superior laws, employers can typically be held liable for actions that their employees take within the course of their job duties while they are on the job. Even if the driver was classified as an “independent contractor,” the trucking company could still be held liable under the principles of statutory employment.
Trucking companies can also be liable for negligent hiring and retention of a dangerous driver, for example. Trucking companies must confirm that their drivers have the appropriate licenses and training to operate a commercial truck, and they must run thorough background and criminal checks on their drivers. These companies must also make sure that their drivers meet federal regulations, such as
- Drivers must only work and operate their vehicles for a certain amount of hours in a row and they must rest for a designated amount of time in between shifts.
- Truckers must be at 21 years old if driving out of state or at least 18 years old if only driving within the state of Georgia.
- Truck drivers must meet federal health requirements, such as hearing tests, blood pressure checks, and screenings of blood sugar levels.
- Truckers can’t operate a commercial vehicle while under suspension for any serious traffic violation, plus they can’t have more than one major violation on their record.
In addition to the driver and the trucking company, other parties might be liable for certain trucking accidents. For example, the manufacturer of the truck or the truck’s maintenance company might be responsible if a truck defect or equipment failure contributed to the crash. The company that loaded the truck’s cargo might hold responsibility if there was a problem with the truck’s load that led to the accident.
A government entity might hold liability if a hazardous road condition contributed to the crash. Other parties that might be liable in this type of crash include the bar or restaurant that overserved the trucker or other drivers if they were driving under the influence when the wreck occurred.
How Long Do You Have to File a Truck Accident Claim?
Under Georgia’s statute of limitations, victims usually have only two years from the date of a truck accident to file a claim. If they miss this deadline, then victims typically lose their right to seek compensation for the wreck.
Georgia has some narrow exceptions to these rules that might change a victim’s filing deadline. A skilled Jonesboro attorney with a deep knowledge of Georgia’s complex truck accident laws can help you understand the deadlines that might apply to your specific circumstances.
Steps to Take to Protect Your Rights After a Truck Wreck
Some of the primary steps you can take to protect your rights after a truck wreck include:
- Get medical attention. Your health is the priority after any motor vehicle accident. If you’ve been hurt and you didn’t receive emergency medical attention at the accident scene, visit a medical professional as soon as possible. They can evaluate you for any injuries caused by the crash and help you get the treatment you need as soon as possible. Some potentially serious medical conditions may not show immediate symptoms but could be caught in a medical exam.
- Watch what you say. After an accident, it’s critical to avoid speaking with the other party’s insurance adjuster or legal representatives until you have a chance to speak with your own attorney. Insurers often try to trick victims into submitting a recorded or written statement about the accident. Be careful what you say, because the people you’re speaking with are professionals who would just love for you to say something that ruined your case or claim.
- Call a respected truck accident lawyer. When you work with a trusted attorney, they can handle all the details of your truck accident claim. They can deal with the insurance companies on your behalf, so you don’t have to risk saying something they can use against you.
Common Injuries Caused by Truck Crashes
Some of the most common injuries caused by Jonesboro truck crashes include:
- Pelvis fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Cuts, lacerations, and bruising
- Internal bleeding
- Herniated discs and other back injuries
- Vision or hearing loss
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Get Help from a Jonesboro 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer
Please contact the respected Jonesboro truck accident attorneys at Butler Kahn whenever you are ready to discuss your situation. Talking to us is free and comes with no further obligations on your part.