Semi-Truck Accidents in Augusta, GA
Augusta is the second-largest city in Georgia and with automobiles being utilized as the dominant method of transportation, you can expect that this city has experienced its fair share of auto collisions. Commercial trucks of all sizes must pass through Augusta on a daily basis, with accidents resulting when truck drivers are negligent.
In June 2017, the driver of a semi-truck carrying asphalt ran a red light and hit a car. Incidents such as this show how dangerous a truck and car collision can be. Due to the size and mass of these large vehicles, truck accidents more often result in fatal crashes compared to typical car crashes. A fully loaded 18-wheeler truck can weigh roughly 80,000 pounds and range from 70 to 80 feet long. In a video uploaded by an Augusta driver in April 2019, the devastation that a truck and car collision can cause is demonstrated when a pickup truck is flipped several times after being hit by a semi-truck.
Regardless of the type of truck accident, Augusta residents can further protect themselves and their loved ones by searching for credible Augusta, GA lawyers on the State Bar of Georgia website. Otherwise, residents can also be connected to a professional Augusta, GA personal injury lawyer through the Eichholz Law Firm.
What Causes Truck Accidents
Permanent injuries are common in truck accidents and people who are involved in these types of accidents can have life-changing consequences. There are several reasons why truck accidents occur, such as driver error, passenger vehicle driver negligence, and unavoidable environmental factors.
Some causes of truck accidents include unsafe actions by truck drivers. Despite training and well-defined standard operating procedures, truck accidents are often the result of poor decision making by the truck driver or the driver’s employer.
Below is a list of other common causes of truck accidents:
- Overloaded or improperly loaded trucks
- Unreasonable schedules and driver fatigue
- Lack of driver experience or training
- Poorly-maintained trucks
- Defective equipment
- Negligent drivers
- Defective roadways
- Dangerous weather conditions
Sometimes unavoidable and unforeseen circumstances can lead to truck accidents. This can be the result of oil spills, sudden mechanical or brake failures, or hazardous weather conditions. In any case, there may be parties that can be held liable for injuries caused by unavoidable and unforeseen circumstances.
An experienced truck accident lawyer in Augusta, GA can help clients seek compensation for injuries that result from an accident. Truck accident lawsuits can become extremely complicated and it is highly recommended that an injury victim contact an attorney to ensure quality representation.
Truck Accident Injuries
Drivers of cars typically suffer the most serious injuries in a truck accident. Injuries that are often associated with truck accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Brain injuries
- Knee injuries
The consequences of a truck accident can be devastating and the aftermath may be chaotic. Following are steps that a person who is injured in a truck accident should take, if possible:
- Stay at the scene, but in a safe location (move vehicles out of traffic if possible)
- Check both drivers and passengers and request medical attention for those who need it. If an individual has neck or back pain, it is recommended not to move that person until a medical unit arrives.
- Call the police if there are injuries, deaths, or property damage so that a report can be filed once they arrive at the scene.
- Exchange information with other individuals that are involved in the accident, such as passengers, witnesses, and other motorists. Information exchanged should include names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and basic insurance information.
- Take pictures of any damage, including any damage done to the property of another.
- Contact your insurance company.
- If you have injuries, diligently track your medical treatments in order to accurately estimate costs.
Who is Liable in a Semi-Truck Accident?
Unlike regular accidents involving small, non-commercial vehicles, there may be multiple parties at fault in a truck accident. In some cases, truck companies, contracts, employers, insurance companies, and large corporations may be legally responsible for injuries that are incurred in a truck accident. If a truck driver involved in an accident is employed by a truck company, that company could be obligated to compensate an injured party.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration develops regulations for trucking companies and their drivers. These regulations govern hiring processes, outline safety reviews for drivers, designate vehicle inspection and maintenance protocols required, detail the number of hours a driver can safely drive, alcohol and drug testing obligations, necessary safety equipment and procedures, and mandatory record-keeping. These regulations play a vital role in reaching a settlement or succeeding in a court case against a negligent truck driver or truck company.
The key in a truck accident lawsuit is to file a legal claim against the employer. There will be a limit to what can be recovered from the driver since a truck driver may have limited assets. There will likely be a settlement offered by the insurance company, but even that will be limited. The high-dollar truck accident settlement and verdict collections come when there is a corporate defendant who has the ability to pay.
Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit Against Trucking Corporations
The legal theory that allows for a truck accident lawsuit to proceed is called the respondeat superior doctrine. This legal doctrine specifies that the truck driver is an agent of their employer and any actions that they do as a part of their employment is representing their employer.
The three-part test for establishing that the trucking company is liable is as follows:
- The truck driver must have been an employee of the company at the time of the accident. As mentioned above, even if the truck driver was an independent contractor, it does not entirely preclude the possibility of finding the company liable for the driver’s actions.
- The driver must have been engaged in an activity on behalf of the company at the time of the accident. This means that if the driver was on a “frolic and detour,” the truck accident lawyer may have difficulty holding the company accountable. In other words, the driver’s actions must be within the scope of their employment. If the driver was taking the company truck to run a personal errand, then the company may not be responsible unless it knew about and sanctioned this activity.
- The actions of the driver were of benefit to the employer. For example, the driver may not have been conducting “official business,” but they were doing something that helped out their employer. If the driver was out in the company truck with no particular purpose, then the company may not be liable.
Individual cases are varied, and in order to work through the complex litigation process, injured victims will need a truck accident lawyer in Augusta, GA to ascertain the facts and present the evidence to the court.
Truck Accident Settlements & Compensation
People who are injured in truck accidents often deal with large trucking corporations and insurance companies when pursuing claims for injuries. An experienced truck accident lawyer in Augusta, GA can help negotiate a strong settlement offer for injured parties. Several factors will determine the worth of a truck accident case. Economic damages in truck accident cases are awarded in four of the following areas:
- Incurred medical expenses
- Future medical costs
- Loss of wages already incurred
- Future loss of wages
The damages in each area will differ based on the nature of the injury sustained, type of medical treatment, length of treatment, and time lost from work. A person’s age at the time of the accident can also affect the amount of economic damages awarded.
Non-economic damages in a truck accident case may include damages for pain and suffering, anguish, or other factors. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, can vary greatly among cases and may be limited by state law. A sympathetic jury is more likely to award higher non-economic damages than one that does not fully understand your injuries. The strength of the evidence, who the defendants may be, how much insurance coverage is available, and whether liability and duty have been established are all factors that will determine the worth of a truck accident case.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Augusta, GA
Winning a truck accident lawsuit in Augusta, GA is not easy for an individual to do on their own. A successful case requires questioning witnesses, presenting evidence, and reconstructing the entire accident. In order to have the best chance of a successful claim, an Augusta, GA truck accident lawyer is needed. It is optimal to retain this lawyer as early in the process as possible if one intends to file a truck accident lawsuit. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help with the following:
- Dealing with insurance companies
- Interacting with the lawyers from the company employing the other driver
- Negotiating any medical bills that are not covered by insurance
- Preparing and filing a lawsuit if a settlement agreement cannot be reached
The truck accident lawyer will act as a counselor throughout the process. The Eichholz Law Firm has years of experience in helping victims file their truck accident lawsuits in Augusta, GA, and surrounding areas. We work on a contingency basis, meaning that we are not paid unless the claim leads to financial compensation for the victim. Call us at (855)-551-1019 or fill out an online form for a free consultation.
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2017”, United States Department of Transportation, https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2017. Accessed June 13, 2019.
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “The Large Truck Crash Causation Study – Analysis Brief”, United States Department of Transportation, https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief. Accessed June 13, 2019.
- Nolo. “Trucking Accidents: Common Causes & Liability”, Nolo, https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/trucking-accidents-common-causes-liability-30156.html. Accessed June 13, 2019.
- FindLaw. “Truck Accident Law: What You Need to Know”, FindLaw, https://injury.findlaw.com/car-accidents/truck-accident-law-what-you-need-to-know.html. Accessed June 21, 2019.