People injured in truck accidents frequently make insurance claims, and when another party is found to be at fault, claimants may receive considerable settlements or be awarded damages in court cases. These kinds of claims tend to be more complicated than other kinds of motor vehicle accident claims because determining who was responsible is more challenging.
The seemingly most obvious answer to this question would be the truck driver, but this is not always true. The person who owned or operated the vehicle can be responsible. A truck driver can own and drive a truck and be an independent contractor, and others are employees. So, a driver can be fully or partly liable, and the trucking company that employed that person may have also been negligent.
The truck’s manufacturer or a parts manufacturing company might also be named as defendants. Other possibilities include truck maintenance and repair providers and cargo loading companies.
Truck driver errors can lead to life-threatening and deadly crashes, and they can be intentional or unintentional. Texting while driving, illegal maneuvers like passing on the right, speeding, and driving under the influence or while fatigued are all examples of negligent behaviors. In other instances, drivers are inexperienced and do not react properly to road hazards; others are simply careless.
Photos of the scene, eyewitness testimony, and proof of your injuries can help show liability. There may have been a traffic camera or camera inside the truck that also caught what happened. An experienced truck accident lawyer can explore other angles, like driver logs and skid marks from the scene.
Those driver logs can also show that a trucking company was negligent if there is proof that the driver was forced to work longer hours than permitted by law. Trucking companies are also responsible for ensuring the fleets are regularly maintained. This includes tune-ups and parts replacement.
They are also responsible for doing background checks on drivers and making sure that they are properly trained. Looking into these details for evidence takes time, but the efforts can yield valuable information. When there are multiple at-fault defendants, like a truck driver, an employer, and a truck maintenance vendor, in a personal injury lawsuit, any damages awarded to the plaintiff will be paid by all the parties.
A truck or parts manufacturer might have installed defective brakes, or the technician who installed them could be to blame. Truck accident lawyers work with professionals who handle these kinds of investigations, and also look into product recalls and how the manufacturer communicated them to trucking companies.
Service provider and inspection station logs can also be examined by third parties who can provide objective assessments of the truck’s maintenance. As an example, if the tires were not checked or properly replaced, a tire vendor could be to blame for your crash.
Truck accident laws vary from state to state and will play a part in your case. For the company to be held responsible, the driver must be an employee who was “acting within the scope of employment” when the crash happened. In other words, the driver must have been working at the time. Courts also consider the driver’s conduct, the type of work they were hired for, and the driver’s intent.
Truck drivers, their employers, and manufacturers must adhere to state and federal trucking laws, too. In addition to limitations on driving hours, there are regulations pertaining to how much weight rigs can haul. There are also specifications for the amount of insurance that commercial drivers have to carry.
Georgia also has a fault-based system for motor vehicle accidents that applies to insurance claims. The at-fault party’s insurance company generally covers the injured party’s losses from the accident up to the policy’s liability limits.
There is also a comparative negligence rule. You can recover damages in a lawsuit when a defendant is more at fault than you. If a court finds that you are 50 or more percent responsible for the accident, you will not be awarded damages. When the percentage is less than half, the plaintiff’s compensation is reduced by that amount.
There is also a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim, and that is two years from the date of the accident. Wrongful death cases have the same time frame for filing, but it starts on the date of the person’s passing. If you file a claim after the deadline, your case will most likely be dismissed.
Devastating truck accidents can lead to complicated claims, negotiations, and court decisions. For a free consultation, contact our knowledgeable Savannah truck accident lawyers at Childers & McCain, LLC today. Call us at 478-254-2007 or contact us online for more information. Located in Macon, Georgia, we serve clients in Savannah, Albany, and Atlanta.
Facing the aftermath of a serious accident can be overwhelming. Before you speak with the insurance companies, make sure you schedule a free consultation with the Macon personal injury lawyers at Childers & McCain. We can protect your rights while anticipating the insurance company’s tactics to make sure you get the full compensation you deserve. You don’t have to navigate this tough road alone – let our team of professionals help you move forward.