Liability in Georgia Truck Accidents
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A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh 12 times more than a passenger vehicle. When one of these big rigs gets into an accident, it can cause a massive amount of damage. If the tractor-trailer is moving at a high speed on I-75, Highway 41, or another busy Cobb County road, that damage can be catastrophic.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a truck accident, it’s crucial to determine liability for that accident with a thorough investigation. Liability is the key to a successful truck accident claim. With help from a truck accident lawyer, you can get the legal guidance and support you need in your case.
Contact The Champion Firm at 404-596-8044 for a free consultation.
At The Champion Firm, we advocate aggressively on behalf of our clients. Discover how we’ll handle your claim with The Champion Firm Difference:
- More than $90,000,000 won through settlements and verdicts
- We don’t pressure you to settle. We are ready and willing to take your case to court.
- Our team knows how important your claim is, so we focus on providing prompt updates and responses to your questions.
Who Is Liable for Your Truck Accident?
Liability means that one party is responsible for another party’s injuries, due to the first party’s own negligence. In personal injury claims, the injured party is trying to prove that the liable party owes them financial damages. With truck accidents, there can be many liable parties.
Possible Liable Parties
- The truck driver may be liable if driving recklessly, while fatigued, or while under the influence. The driver may also be liable if they did not properly inspect the truck before beginning their trip.
- The driver’s employer may be liable if they do not follow the rules and regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA). Employers must ensure that their drivers are properly vetted and trained. Employers cannot force drivers to ignore FMCSA rules, such as driving while fatigued.
- The truck’s manufacturer could be held liable if it produced an unsafe truck or used defective parts.
- The repair shop that services the truck may have liability in a truck accident claim if they used unapproved or defective parts, lied about performing requested repairs, or skipped necessary maintenance.
- The cargo shipper and loader may be liable in an accident if they improperly loaded cargo or ignored federal and state regulations while loading a truck.
Liability vs. Fault
The primary difference between liability and fault is who pays. The party whose negligent actions cause an accident is at fault. For example, a truck driver who is on the road after drinking alcohol is at fault because they knowingly drove while impaired.
However, liability typically falls to the insurance company, as they are financially responsible for claims resulting from their insured drivers’ actions.
How to Determine Truck Accident Liability
When a tractor-trailer is in an accident, the damage can be significant. Sometimes, even catastrophic. Because of this scale, truck accidents often catch the attention of local police, Georgia police, the truck driver’s employer, and the employer’s insurance company. These groups quickly begin investigating the cause of the accident.
Even though these groups are quick to respond to the accident, that doesn’t mean that it will benefit the victims of that accident. When the trucking company and insurance company investigate a crash, they are looking for evidence that’s in their favor. That’s why you need a truck accident attorney on your side, to investigate the circumstances and advocate on your behalf.
There are many different types of evidence used in a truck accident claim. Here are some of the most common forms of evidence:
- The police report will provide essential details about the parties involved, the weather and driving conditions, and who may be responsible for your truck accident
- The truck’s black box will record information prior to, during, and after the crash. The black box may be able to determine whether the driver was speeding, the truck was drifting, or if there was another issue happening right before the crash
- Paper trucking logs may offer insight into legally-required break times and if the driver followed FMCSA regulations
- Company policies and procedures that may show if the driver was encouraged to skip breaks or drive longer than what is legally permitted
- The company’s hiring procedures and standards to verify that the company did proper vetting of the driver and their CDL before employing them
- Truck’s maintenance records to find out if the truck received necessary maintenance, and how often
- The truck driver’s driving history may show whether they have a history of reckless driving
Dealing with Insurance and the Truck Company
When an insurance company or trucking company investigates an accident, they are looking for any evidence that will help them deny or reduce a claim. These companies are looking to protect their own financial interests.
This might make it more difficult for the accident victim to uncover the real cause of the accident and to fight for the compensation that they deserve.
In cases with multiple liable parties, one strategy is to keep shuffling the accident victim between the different parties – they’re hoping that the victim will get discouraged and either give up or take a low settlement.
Why Consult a Lawyer
Hiring a truck accident attorney in Georgia can help you avoid the issues you may face with a personal injury claim. When you hire The Champion Firm, we will provide:
- A thorough investigation into the accident and its causes
- Communication with the relevant parties and insurance companies, protecting you from constant phone calls
- A full breakdown of the costs associated with your accident and the compensation you may receive
- Aggressive representation during negotiations and, if necessary, take your case to court
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Truck Accident Liability FAQs
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you may have many questions about the process of investigating and filing a claim. The Champion Firm has compiled a list of frequently asked questions concerning liability. If you have additional questions, please contact us for a free consultation.
What if multiple parties are liable?
Under Georgia law, there can be multiple liable parties in a truck accident. This is sometimes referred to as shared liability. In these situations, the financial obligations and compensation are divided proportionately among the liable parties.
What if liability is contested?
If the liable party refuses to acknowledge their liability, this is where the negotiation process typically ends. The liable party will not admit their role in the accident, they’re not likely to offer a fair settlement. When settlement negotiations stall, your truck accident lawyer will likely move forward with a lawsuit.
How much compensation can I receive?
The amount of compensation you may recover depends on your injuries and the insurance coverage available. However, tractor-trailers tend to have much higher insurance policy limits than insurance coverage for passenger vehicles.
Contact The Champion Firm
The sooner you contact The Champion Firm after a truck accident, the sooner we can begin working on your case. Let us help determine liability and handle your legal needs while you focus on your recovery. Give us a call or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.