Truck Accidents in Athens, GA
Every year in Georgia there are thousands of drivers involved in truck accidents that result in injuries and death. Athens has a variety of interstates and highways that run through it, including but not limited to US 29, US 78, and SR 72. Commercial trucks of all sizes must pass through this city on a daily basis, with accidents resulting when truck drivers are negligent.
Athens has experienced different types of truck accidents such as overturned truck accidents and fatal truck accidents. Regardless of the type of truck accident or where it occurred, Athens residents can further protect themselves and their loved ones by searching for credible accident attorneys on the State Bar of Georgia website. However, Athens residents can also be connected to a professional Athens, GA personal injury lawyer through the Eichholz Law Firm.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Athens, GA?
Truck accidents differ from car accidents in a number of important ways. When trucks are involved, severe injury and casualty risks are much higher. This is because trucks weigh significantly more than cars, leading to catastrophic collisions. Permanent injuries are common in trucking accidents, and people who are involved in these types of accidents can have life-changing consequences. There are several common causes of truck accidents. Some of these are a result of driver error, passenger vehicle driver negligence, or unavoidable circumstances such as environmental causes. Below is a list of common causes of truck accidents:
- Overloaded or improperly loaded trucks
- Unreasonable schedules and driver fatigue
- Lack of driver experience or training
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Defective equipment
- Negligent drivers
- Defective roadways
- Dangerous weather conditions
Steps After a Truck Accident
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.
Truck Accident Liability
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.
Filing a Lawsuit Against a Truck Driver’s Employer
The key to 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.
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 Athens, GA to establish what the facts are and present the evidence to the court.
How Does Your Truck Accident Lawyer in Athens, GA Help?
Your lawyer will start by investigating your case to learn what truly happened. The truck driver’s employer might try to paint a different picture, and you need a lawyer on your side who will work to ascertain the truth. Your Athens, GA truck accident lawyer will determine who the liable parties are and what damages should be recovered.
The Eichholz Law Firm will help you negotiate a settlement when needed. Your lawyer will work through all the lowball offers that you are given by an insurance company or trucking company, and you can take the case to court if a settlement cannot be reached.
Find an Athens, GA Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Our accident attorneys can help with everything from recreating the accident scene to contacting witnesses from the accident. Our team of legal experts can help prepare your claim and can take it all the way through trial if we cannot reach a settlement agreement.
We know how to help truck accident victims in Athens, GA get the compensation that they deserve and will fight for you every step of the way.
Call the Eichholz Law Firm today at (855)-551-1019 or fill out an online form for a free consultation.