Large trucks on our highways are necessary to move the cargo we require for our industries, our economy, and our lifestyles. Especially in Georgia, which plays such an important role in global shipping and international trade, large trucks on the highway are a fact of daily life. But truck accidents are often the most devastating, causing severe injuries and even fatalities.
In 2021, 2,640 vehicles were involved in truck accidents in Georgia, and truck accidents were responsible for 9.3% of all fatal traffic accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, you know that these cases can be incredibly difficult and complex.
There are several reasons why every truck accident claim is complicated, and these cases can be more complex in Georgia than in other states. Here are some of the key reasons why these cases are complex:
- Severity of damages. Truck accidents are simply more dangerous than other types of vehicle accidents because trucks are so large and heavy. The severity of the accident can cause more complex damages like impaired quality of life, loss of future earnings, and even wrongful death. These cases are more complex and difficult to fight and win than simple cases of property damage or lost wages recovery.
- High degree of regulation. The trucking industry is heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Because trucks travel across state lines, multiple jurisdictions may apply. This means that a personal injury attorney may have to review and determine compliance with multiple different safety and operational standards in order to determine liability.
- Modified comparative fault. In Georgia, even if you did not cause an accident, you can be held partially liable if you are found to have contributed to your own damages. If you are found to have caused 50% or more of your own damages, you cannot collect on your case. Trucking companies have expert attorneys who will attempt to shift some of the responsibility onto the other driver, reducing or even eliminating the amount you can collect on your claim.
For all these reasons, it can be difficult to fight and win a truck accident case. If you have been injured in a truck accident, you need an experienced truck accident lawyer who understands these issues.
Aside from the things that make all truck accident claims difficult to pursue, there are often a number of additional complicating factors. Here are some of the other relevant factors to consider when pursuing your truck accident case:
Truck accidents often involve more than two vehicles. The presence of multiple vehicles and drivers, along with the principle of contributory liability, can make these cases even more complicated to investigate and win.
When a person is involved in a truck accident, who is responsible? There may be multiple parties who have some liability in the accident, including:
- The truck driver. Was the driver being reckless or careless? Were they driving under the influence or otherwise impaired?
- The trucking company. Did the trucking company hire an underqualified driver? Did they fail to train the driver properly? Did they have an unreasonable schedule or other demands that provoked the driver to make unsafe decisions? Did the trucking company purchase appropriate vehicles and maintain them properly?
- The maintenance company. Many trucking companies outsource vehicle maintenance. Was the truck maintained properly? Were inspections and repairs completed promptly? Could a proper inspection and care have prevented the accident?
- The cargo loading company. Was the truck loaded properly? Was the weight correct for the vehicle, and was the load balanced?
All of these different parties may contribute to a truck accident, and of course, each potentially relevant party has contracts, attorneys, and insurance policies that may apply to your case.
Large freight trucks have “black boxes” that record information about vehicle operation. Trucking companies, truck maintenance companies, and cargo companies may also be in possession of relevant information and evidence in your case. This evidence can easily be lost or destroyed, especially if a case is pursued well after the incident.
All of these factors may be present in a truck accident lawsuit and can make the case more complex.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident with a truck or other commercial vehicle, it is important to work with an attorney who is experienced in these types of cases and who is willing to take your case to court and fight for your rights. Trucking companies have expert legal teams, and Georgia laws will motivate them to find ways to shift responsibility onto you. Contact the experienced, compassionate legal team at Fry | Goehring today for a free consultation in your truck accident case.