Truck Accidents in Macon, GA
The city of Macon is located in central Georgia and is connected to the rest of the state via a network of highways such as State Route 247. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation crash data, this highway is considered the most dangerous road in Macon. The highway’s routing is within portions of Pulaski, Houston, and Bibb counties.
Interstate 16, which connects Macon and Savannah, has unfortunately experienced many semi-truck accidents in recent years. One incident occurred when the front tire of a tractor-trailer blew out, causing the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle and crash into an SUV. Another truck accident in Macon, GA occurred after a semi-truck ran over two vehicles, causing a 10 car pile-up and two deaths.
Regardless of what road a truck accident occurs, Macon residents can further protect themselves and their loved-ones by searching for a credible injury lawyer on the State Bar of Georgia website or connect to a professional truck accident lawyer through the Eichholz Law Firm.
Truck Accident Causes
Automobiles and truck accidents are the leading cause of injury in the United States. Because semi-trucks are much larger and heavier than average cars, the risk of severe injuries and casualties is much higher. There are several factors that lead to truck accidents. Some of these factors are:
- Poor weather conditions that the truck driver did not take precautions for
- Careless operation of trucks
- Poor truck maintenance
- Defective parts such as brakes and alert systems
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Alcohol or drug use
- Exceeding the number of hours truckers are legally allowed to drive
- Failing to follow federal trucking safety laws
You can find more information on our common causes of truck accidents blog.
What to Do After a Semi-Truck Accident
- Stay at the scene, but in a safe location (move vehicles out of traffic if possible)
- Check 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. Doing so will also ensure a police report is filed.
- Exchange information with other individuals that are involved in the accident, including passengers, witnesses, and other motorists. The information recorded should include names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and basic insurance information.
- Take pictures of any damages, including any damage done to the property of another.
- Contact your insurance company.
- If you have injuries, track necessary medical treatments in order to accurately estimate costs.
History of Truck Accidents in Georgia
In 2016, Total Transportation of Mississippi, the employer of a tractor-trailer driver who was blamed for a deadly fiery interstate crash that killed five Georgia nursing students, agreed to settle multiple wrongful death lawsuits for large sums totaling millions of dollars. One victim’s family was said to have received about 14 million dollars. The incident occurred when a tractor-trailer traveling on Interstate 16 slammed into stop-and-go traffic that had backed up because of an unrelated wreck. The large truck collided with two vehicles in which the nursing students from Georgia’s Southern University were commuting to work. According to the truck driver, the cruise-control on his truck was set at 68 miles per hour and other vehicles had been passing him before the collision, however, the collision warning system that was supposed to alert him if he got too close to other vehicles did not sound.
In January 2017, a mother in Georgia received 27 million for the death of her daughter as a result of a semi-truck accident. The daughter was riding a motorcycle when the truck driver collided with her at an intersection at the truck driver’s fault.
In January 2019, a truck crashed into a small family of four in Henry County, Georgia. Sadly, all occupants in the family’s car perished. There had been a stop due to an unrelated car incident 12 miles ahead of the trucking accident. The driver was not paying attention before colliding with the family.
The Difference Between a Truck Accident and a Car Accident
Truck accident lawsuits may be different than car accident lawsuits as victims may not be dealing with the other driver’s insurance company as they would in a car accident. There will still be an insurance company involved, but it will likely be that of the company which employs the truck driver, which means the insurance company will be operating under a different set of rules. The company will likely have lawyers on retainer so it is essential to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Duties and Responsibilities
Truck drivers are held to a higher duty of care when operating commercial vehicles, especially when trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The time it takes for a truck to stop is significantly longer, the blind spots are wider, and maneuverability is more limited compared to an average car. Moreover, loads that trucks carry, such as flammable gas, can contribute to the high risk of injury that can occur.
The federal government has adopted certain regulations that govern the operation of trucks, and in most instances, Georgia has adopted these regulations that impose additional responsibility on truck drivers, the companies truck drivers work for, and even part manufacturers and those tasked with truck maintenance. Some of these duties include ensuring:
- Drivers do not exceed the Hours of Service Regulations, which aim to reduce the impact of fatigued truck drivers.
- Drivers are adequately trained and certified to safely operate their vehicles
- Drivers are medically able to drive professionally
- Trucks are not overloaded or improperly loaded
Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit Against the Driver’s Employer
The legal theory that allows for a truck accident lawsuit to proceed is called the respondeat superior doctrine. This legal rule originates from the fact that the truck driver is an agent of their employer and any actions that they do as a part of their job is representing their employer.
The three-part test for establishing that a company is liable for the actions of its driver are as follows:
- The truck driver must have been an employee of the company at the time of the accident. 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 may have been doing something that aided their employer. If the driver was driving in the company truck with no particular purpose, then the company may not be liable.
Individual cases are all different and in order to work through the complex litigation process, injured victims will need a truck accident lawyer in Macon, GA to establish what the facts are and present the evidence to the court.
Truck Accident Lawsuits in Georgia
Since Georgia is an at-fault state, the person who caused the accident would be covering damages such as medical expenses and vehicle damage. Truck drivers that speed, drive impaired, or fail to inspect their truck can be liable for a crash. The well-established doctrine of Respondeat Superior allows employers to be held vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees when those employees are performing duties in the scope of their employment, such as driving a truck. Georgia truck accident claimants usually have the option to pursue claims against numerous defendants, including truck drivers, trucking companies, and even insurance agencies for trucking companies. In Bramlett v. Bajric, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ruled that plaintiffs can directly file personal injury claims against trucking insurance companies. In some cases, Georgia courts will allow an award of punitive damages to plaintiffs in order to penalize willful misconduct and malice.
Do You Need a Macon, GA Truck Accident Lawyer?
Winning a truck accident lawsuit in Macon, GA is not easy for an individual to do on their own. It requires questioning witnesses, presenting evidence, and reconstructing the entire accident. In order to have the best chance of a successful claim, an experienced truck accident lawyer is a must. It is best to retain this lawyer as early in the process as possible if one intends to file a lawsuit. A 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 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 Macon, GA, and surrounding areas. They work on a contingency basis, meaning that they are not paid unless the claim leads to financial compensation for the victim.
Call The Eichholz Law Firm for a free case consultation if you have been involved in a truck accident.
- 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.