18 Wheeler Accidents

Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney

Have you recently been injured, or someone close to you killed, in an accident involving an 18-wheeler? If the accident was caused by a negligent trucker or trucking company, you may have the right to obtain compensation for your injuries. Further, if your spouse, child, or parent was killed by a negligent trucker, you may be able to obtain damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Atlanta truck accident attorney André Dennis has years of experience representing clients throughout Georgia following serious accidents. At The Dennis Law Firm, we understand that bringing a lawsuit following an 18 wheeler accident is very different from one involving a collision among only passenger vehicles. Truck accidents require an entirely different approach to investigating and proving liability against drivers and trucking companies than car accidents, and you need something more than a car accident attorney to secure recovery of the damages you deserve. At The Dennis Law Firm, we are familiar with the highly complex nature of truck accident cases, and are prepared to aggressively assert your rights.

Accidents Involving Large Trucks Often Result in Serious Injuries or Fatalities

According the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 12 percent of all fatal crashes involve big rigs, yet these trucks are involved in less than 3% of all vehicle accidents. And in these fatal truck accidents involving a collision with another vehicle, it will usually be the occupants of the passenger vehicles who suffer injury or death. The NHTSA reports that in 2010, of the 3,675 people who were killed in large truck crashes involving another vehicle (not single vehicle accidents), nearly 95% were the occupants of other vehicles or other users of the road, such as pedestrians. There is simply no getting around the fact that the weight and mass of a large 18 wheeler—which is up to twenty times greater than a passenger vehicle—will always give a semi the advantage in a vehicle collision.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

A crash involving an 18 wheeler can arise from a variety of circumstances. Events most commonly involved in truck accidents include:

  • Left turns;
  • Underrides;
  • Stopped trucks;
  • Rear end collisions;
  • Improper maneuvers; and
  • Cargo Shifts.

A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer can help you take the necessary steps toward investigating and determining the cause of the collision that has left you or a loved one injured, or that has even resulted in loss of life for a member of your family.

18 Wheeler Accidents Are Very Different from Car Accidents

Investigating and proving the cause of an 18 wheeler accident is very different, and requires an entirely different process, than in a case involving an average car accident. Numerous laws govern all drivers and automobiles, but commercial truckers and trucking companies are subject to complex professional regulations. It is critical to enlist an experienced truck accident attorney to investigate your accident right away to determine if violations of any of these rules led to your accident, and if so, to gather the appropriate evidence to build your case.

For example, regulations dictate how long truck drivers may be on the job, how often they must take rest periods, and how often they should be tested for drug use. Truck drivers may violate these regulations by falsifying log books or driving longer than they should in order to meet strict delivery deadlines. Other driver violations and errors may lead to accidents as well, arising from fatigue, unfamiliarity with a road or road conditions, distraction or inattention, or substance abuse. Indeed, the primary cause of trucking accidents is driver error—government regulators estimate it is ten times more likely to be the cause than any other factor.

Additional rules govern how much weight a big rig can haul, how loads must be tied down, and how often big rigs and their systems must be inspected or serviced. Overweight trucks, improper loading, and poor maintenance are common causes of 18 wheeler accidents. You need an experienced truck accident attorney on your side to investigate whether any of the above factors led to your 18 wheeler accident. This is not the same as investigating the cause of a car accident. It is essential that you choose legal counsel who understands this difference and can protect your legal rights accordingly.

Seek Compensation for Your Injuries

Under Georgia law, if you have been injured in a truck accident arising from a truck driver’s negligence or some other cause, you may be entitled to several different types of damages, including:

  • Medical costs;
  • Loss of income;
  • Loss of earning capacity;
  • Punitive damages;
  • Pain and suffering; and
  • Any other available damages.
Theories of Recovery

Your experienced truck accident attorney can help you seek the compensation described above based on a number of legal arguments. For example, it may be possible to hold the trucking company responsible on the basis of:

  • Employer liability;
  • Lease liability; or
  • Negligent hiring, entrustment, or retention of truck drivers with faulty driving records.

Similarly, you can potentially seek to hold trucking companies’ insurers liable under theories including:

  • Negligent hiring by the trucking company;
  • Insurance broker liability; or
  • Negligent maintenance, inspection, or repair of trucks.

In addition, your attorney may advise you to seek damages against a shipper, or to hold any party responsible who may have violated Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. For example, if you or your attorney suspect that any potential defendant has tampered with or destroyed relevant evidence related to the crash (driver logs, accident records, business records, etc.), which they are required to maintain under federal trucking regulations, you may seek to hold them responsible for spoliation of evidence.

Federal Insurance Requirements

In deciding whether to pursue damages, it is important to keep in mind that federal regulations also require motor carriers of non-hazardous property to have an insurance policy or surety bond in place in the amount of $750,000 to cover liability for injuries to members of the public. A carrier of certain hazardous material must also have insurance or a surety bond in the amount of $5 million in liability coverage for injuries to the public. Thus, in the event that you successfully prove liability against a motor carrier, you will have a strong chance of recovering compensation for your injuries under one of these policies if applicable to your case.

Experienced Advocate for Accident Victims

Atlanta personal injury lawyer André Dennis can assist you in recovering damages from an 18-wheeler accident. Don’t make the mistake of entrusting your case to an attorney who will treat it like a car accident case. For a free case evaluation to determine whether pursuing a personal injury claim for your truck accident is the right step for you, contact The Dennis Law Firm at (844) 913-4448, or using our online form. We charge no legal fees unless and until we recover damages for you.