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Atlanta Truck Accident Attorneys
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Accidents involving trucks, ranging from flatbed freight trucks to commercial trailers, are very different from ordinary car wrecks. The injuries sustained as a result of these accidents are often significantly worse on account of the sheer size of the vehicles, and they are far more likely to end in a devastating fatality than normal automobile accidents.
Even when the unfortunate victim survives, families and loved ones are then left to deal with a life-changing tragedy that often creates long-term debilitation and exorbitant medical bills.
If you have been injured in such a catastrophe, it is absolutely essential to reach out to our lawyers as soon as possible. At Fry | Goehring, we are devoted to investigating your case and bringing you the justice you deserve for your pain and suffering.
What Are The Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
The number of accidents involving “big rigs” and commercial vehicles has significantly increased over the past decade. Many factors are involved in the recent spike in these numbers.
Commercial drivers are frequently guilty of speeding, failing to stay in their lane, following too close, disobeying traffic signs, driving while fatigued or impaired in some manner, and exceeding the maximum hours of service allowed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
What Rules Must Truck Drivers Follow in Georgia?
Every day millions of trucks are on American roads and highways, hauling every type of freight you can imagine. Trucks are necessary to keep our economy moving; they get goods and items where they need to be for manufacturing and commerce.
With so many trucks sharing the roads with typical passenger vehicles, truck drivers must adhere to lane rules in Georgia.
Georgia Truck Driving Rules
According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, any vehicle equipped with more than six wheels, except buses and motor coaches, must obey the following rules in Georgia:
- On roads, streets, or highways with three or more lanes allowing for movement in the same direction, it shall be unlawful for any truck to operate in any lanes other than the two most right-hand lanes, except when the truck is preparing for a left turn.
- On roads, streets, or highways with two or more lanes allowing for movement in the same direction, it shall be unlawful for any truck to operate in the left-hand lane except when the truck is actually overtaking and passing another vehicle or preparing for a left turn.
Why Georgia Has These Rules
Most drivers have been stuck behind a truck in the left lane of a highway or interstate. More than just irritating, slow-moving vehicles in the left lane can be potentially dangerous. While most truck drivers are safe drivers and follow traffic rules, the sheer size of a truck with more than six wheels makes them different to drive than regular passenger vehicles.
It takes longer for trucks to accelerate and reach the same speed as the flow of traffic. It also takes a truck much longer to come to a complete stop, simply because of its size and weight.
Also, when drivers get stuck behind slow-moving trucks in the left lane, drivers tend to weave in and out of lanes more, as well as slow down and speed up repeatedly. This puts everyone on the road around the lane weavers at risk for a potential accident.
Can the Way a Truck Is Loaded Cause a Truck Accident?
The trucking industry is highly regulated to keep all drivers on the road as safe as possible. The regulations for commercial trucks include restrictions on how much weight can be hauled. According to the Georgia Department of Safety, loaded trucks cannot weigh more than 80,000 pounds.
Weight limits are important because the design of trucks gives them a higher center of gravity. This makes them more unstable than other types of vehicles. An oversized load makes this situation even worse, which may result in a truck accident if it cannot stop in time due to its weight.
Overloading affects steering, braking, and controlling speed. Overloaded trucks must go slower going up and down steep roadways. A truck with an oversized load takes longer to stop than a properly loaded truck. And brakes can fail when placed under undue strain. The proper loading of a truck’s freight is crucial to road safety.
Not only can overloading a truck be hazardous to all on the road, but improperly loaded cargo, even within weight limits, can cause truck accidents. Because of the higher center of gravity, cargo piled up high or heavy cargo on top means a truck is more likely to tip over. These improper loads are most dangerous in curves or if a truck swerves to avoid a hazard in the road.
When there is a truck accident due to an oversized load, a few different parties may be liable, or even share liability. A truck driver is ultimately responsible for the operation of their truck. But liability can be shared with another party that isn’t even present at the time of the truck accident – the freight loading company. In many instances, truck drivers have no part in loading cargo on their trucks. It is the cargo company that is responsible for loading freight in a safe manner.
How Do You Determine Who Is Liable?
In addition to driver infractions, trucking companies are often negligent in their responsibilities. Trucking companies sometimes fail to perform federally regulated safety and maintenance requirements.
Companies also sometimes pressure drivers to fabricate or destroy driver’s logs, and they have even been known to encourage drivers to exceed legal limits on driving hours. We are ready to determine whether any other parties besides the individual driver are also at fault for the suffering you have endured.
Our knowledgeable attorneys can carefully investigate to see how companies have upheld or relaxed required standards for truck drivers and cargo loads, including requirements for:
- Performing regular inspections of the trucks and cargo
- Repairing or replacing damaged trucks
- Maintaining special, unsecured parts on heavy vehicles like tractors and trailers
- Ensuring proper weight loading of a tractor-trailer
- Providing full load security
Can You Establish Liability in a Multi-Vehicle Truck Accident?
Commercial over-the-road truckers are typically paid by the mile and are under increasing pressure to complete their routes faster to earn more income. Consequently, truck accidents are often the result of such unsafe decisions as speeding, driver fatigue, tailgating, and dangerous lane-change maneuvers. Trucking companies, meanwhile, keep their rigs on the road past their maintenance schedules. These and other factors place you, as an Atlanta motorist, at risk of being involved in a truck accident.
In a multi-vehicle truck accident, the resulting damage can be extreme. Death or serious injury is commonplace, and liability is not easy to establish when multiple vehicles are involved. Many times, more than one driver may be at fault. For instance, one vehicle may have been following too closely and another driver was distracted, leading to a chain reaction.
Could I Be Blamed for the Multi-Vehicle Truck Crash?
Contributory Negligence and You
At a time of such pain and suffering, you shouldn’t have to wonder who to turn to for compensation. Least of all, you don’t want to risk being wrongfully accused of being partially at fault, and therefore being denied your just compensation. Georgia law recognizes the legal concept of contributory negligence. In cases such as multi-vehicle accidents, more than one party may be at fault, including the plaintiff. A seasoned Atlanta law firm with solid litigation experience will protect your rights.
What Are the Most Common Truck Accident Injuries?
Truck accidents are a serious and growing concern on our roads. Not only can they cause devastating property damage, but they also often result in catastrophic injuries.
The size and weight of commercial trucks mean that the force of impact in these collisions is much greater than that of ordinary passenger vehicle collisions. This leads to more severe physical damage and higher fatality rates. An experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney can help victims get the compensation they deserve after such an incident.
Common injuries our Georgia truck accident lawyers encounter include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: These injuries occur when a person’s head experiences a severe blow. Such an impact can result in skull fractures, bruising of the brain tissue, internal bleeding and even death.
- Spinal Cord Damage: Victims may suffer partial or complete paralysis due to spinal cord damage caused by truck collisions.
- Neck Injuries: The most common neck injury is called “whiplash” and occurs when your head flies forward suddenly, straining muscles and ligaments in the neck.
- Broken Bones: Truck accidents can cause broken bones by pinning or crushing body parts or by impacting body parts with debris or the interior of a vehicle.
- Internal Organ Damage: When organs like the liver, spleen or pancreas are damaged it can cause significant complications for victims. Treatment can often require hospitalization and long-term treatment options such as surgery or organ transplants.
- Burn Injuries: Severe burn injuries may be sustained if someone comes into contact with caustic chemicals, extremely hot objects, or fire. All of these hazardous conditions may occur due to a truck accident.
If you have suffered any of these injuries in a semi-truck crash, contact the experienced Atlanta truck accident attorneys at Fry | Goehring. Individuals injured in a truck accident may be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and much more. But insurance companies will often attempt to deny liability or discredit the victim’s story in order to avoid paying out a settlement. One of our truck accident lawyers near you can help fight the insurance companies and help recover the compensation you deserve.
The Importance of Securing Legal Support
We understand and empathize with those who have suffered the severe consequences of being involved in a truck accident. However, it is important to never simply agree to waive your rights for compensation, even if you feel overwhelmed in the moment. The exorbitant costs of your hospital visits, medical treatments, and rehabilitative therapy will not be covered by general insurance. Moreover, you will also be dealing with lost wages or salary from having to take time off after the incident, which may extend for several weeks, if not months. Don’t be a victim of the irresponsible failures of the commercial trucking industry; instead, turn to Fry | Goehring for dedicated support.
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