Atlanta, Georgia Truck Accident Attorney
For more than 42 years, our truck accident lawyers at William C. Head, PC have been providing unrivaled legal representation to truck accident victims who have suffered serious injuries throughout Atlanta. As seasoned Georgia trial lawyers, we strongly advocate for those who have experienced physical, financial and emotional hardships after a collision due to a truck driver’s negligence. With over 42 years practicing law, our firm has been recognized not only regionally but also nationally for raising the bar amongst area law firms representing truck accident clients.
With thousands of trucks traveling through Georgia every week day and night, truck accidents have not decreased by any means. Although the highest number of injuries suffered occur from vehicular accidents compared to truck accidents, the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety shows that there are over 5,000 fatalities and 100,000 serious injuries in 18-wheeler truck accidents on Georgia highways caused by speeding, reckless driving, defective vehicles, and driving under the influence, hit and run, and running a red light or stop sign each year. Somewhat surprising is that the statistic of fatalities per 100,000 vehicle miles traveled has gone up every year since 2014.
The aftermath of these types of accidents can be a nightmare. Medical and hospital bills will surely be severely unaffordable and dealing with the insurance company would be exhausting. Therefore, having a mediator on your behalf to deal solely with the insurance company can certainly alleviate unnecessary stress. That is why our truck accident attorneys are more than ready to help you from the start. Should you hire our law firm over other law firms, it is important to know that our Atlanta legal counsel will take care of your case either completely in-house or even through a collaboration with another area law firm we trust. The other alternative only occurs in some cases, and you’d still only be responsible for paying a single contingency fee, instead of two lawyers’ fees. A contingency fee means that you do not owe any fees unless our lawyers recover compensation for you. Fortunately, we are confident in our level of legal expertise, so you can rest assured that we will successfully represent you in your case. No matter what the statistics may look like, we are equipped to assist you with your truck accident – whether it was a minor accident or serious one.
Personal Injury Case History Number 1 – Truck Accident Lawyer
By way of example, about three years ago, on a clear, sunny day in the middle of the afternoon, on I-75 southbound in Cobb County (in a construction zone), our client’s BMW was rear-ended by a tractor trailer driver from Tennessee, who had fallen asleep behind the wheel. Our client died a horrific death, as did another person. Plus, two more motorists were seriously injured. Because the trucking company only had the federal minimum liability coverage ($500,000 per person/$1 million per incident to all claimants), insufficient money would be available to pay full value to all victims. See the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, Section 387.303. If sufficient insurance had been available, this claim potentially would have been worth over $25 million to all the possible claimants.
Realizing the limited “pool” of money, Mr. Head’s litigation team was able to sue multiple tortfeasors, including the truck driver (who had no assets), the Tennessee truck owner who owned virtually no unencumbered assets, the Georgia DOT for inadequate measures to warn drivers to slow down for the narrowed roadways, as well as the construction company contracted to perform the road widening work. That contractor had not posted sufficient signage of traffic stoppage ahead. These four tortfeasors ended up paying out over $1 million for our client’s claim, which was only a fraction of what the case could have yielded, if the 18-wheeler had more liability insurance.
Throughout this article, mention is made about various personal injury statutes in Georgia. You will see “OCGA” which stands for Official Code of Georgia Annotated, the vernacular used by personal injury lawyers practicing in this field of law.
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Common Truck Accident Injuries
Since commercial semi-trucks are much larger than passenger vehicles, if one is involved in an accident, it will most likely cause a considerable amount of damage to the vehicle involved. Even if the accident were to have happened at a low speed, the massive size and weight of the vehicle would undoubtedly cause the driver of the regular passenger vehicle to sustain severe injuries. For exception of the truck flipping on its side, the truck driver will usually come out of the accident unscathed.
That is why it is important to seek immediate medical attention after your truck accident. The most common truck accident injuries include:
Back and Neck Injuries
Possibly the most common vehicle injury due to the jarring force experienced on impact, back and neck injuries can be seriously damaged. If that is the case, it can lead to severe pain or even paralysis.
Head and Brain Injuries
Severe head or brain injuries that occur during a truck accident can be life-changing. Trauma to the head or brain can produce blindness, disfigurement, hearing impairment, and permanent damage to the eyes and ears. If it is a traumatic brain injury, the truck accident victim could then have permanent disability or impairment. Head injuries can also be as mild as a concussion. Even still, no matter the severity of the head injury, it is still recommended to seek medical treatment to be sure that there are no deeper underlying problems.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can be one of the most severe injuries to suffer in a truck accident. The sensitive nerves that run through the spinal cord allow the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. So, if an injury occurs it can cause serious pain, required surgery, or paralysis. Even if the injuries suffered are not permanent, they mostly require extensive rehabilitation treatment for the injured person to return to regular day to day function. To diagnose and treat correctly, X-ray or MRI image testing may be necessary.
This is a less common type of injury as it relates to truck accidents, but they can happen. An injury to the rib cage can be painful when one is trying to breath, talk, or laugh and if left unidentified or untreated, it could possibly puncture the lungs or cause other serious damage to the body.
When a passenger vehicle is hit by a semi-truck, the impact will usually mean that the airbags would deploy which can cause blunt abdominal trauma. The seat belt can actually cause severe chest pain, liver, bladder, spleen, or kidney injuries.
What to do After a Truck Accident
Do you know exactly what protocol to follow after being involved in a truck accident? It’s actually what you would do after being in any type of car accident. If you’ve never been in a car accident, it is important to be aware of what steps you must take. All drivers should have the Georgia Driver’s Manual in their vehicle, as per the Department of Motor Vehicles’ website. We have provided as much detailed information as we can for what to do in an accident. The driver’s manual also recommends drivers consider the following:
It is imperative to note that because of the complexity of truck accidents, it would be beneficial for you to seek out an experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyer that has vehemently represented victims of commercial truck accidents with the best resources to find out what occurred in the serious wreck.
With the possibility of there being several factors contributing to the accident, we understand that identifying exactly what caused a truck accident may require accessing the dash cam that most trucks have or an independent investigation by traffic reconstruction experts. Our practice partners with reputable accident reconstruction experts whenever needed to assist in building a solid case for full compensation from the insurance provider.
We would also obtain the cell phone records of the truck driver to rule out whether the driver was distracted at the time of the accident or not and we’d look through the driver logs and toll receipts to find out if the driver had been driving too long and therefore had impaired alertness because of fatigue. We even review the truck’s maintenance records to determine if the truck company had serviced the brakes and other safety features of the vehicle according to the schedule.
Since trucking companies are just required to keep maintenance records and driver logs for a specific period, contracting one of our truck accident attorneys soon after the accident is imperative to avoiding lost evidence. If you have been injured in a traffic wreck with a large commercial truck, it is highly recommended to consult with an experienced lawyer from our firm.
After your serious accident, the insurance company representing the trucking company would call you shortly following that. In certain cases, the accident victim or their representative may have to deal with different insurance companies representing the truck driver, trucking company as well as the cargo shipper.
You should keep in mind that the insurance adjuster’s job is to protect their company’s profits and minimize the amount of money the company pays out in claims. Some insurance companies may assure the victim that an attorney is unnecessary but it’s important to have your own attorney represent you to prevent being taken advantage of.
If you have been in an accident, even if it was minor, the person who hit your vehicle may ask you not to call the police. But a car accident with no police report filed is a bad idea. The at-fault party may also try to convince you to have your insurance companies settle it and even offer you their insurance company’s information so that you may contact them directly. Whatever you do, we urge all our clients to always get a police report for a few reasons. It would be in your best interest to have a law enforcement officer at the scene to be able to describe the accident scene and talk to all parties involved. This way an insurance company or a jury, if your case goes to court, will have a credible witness available to confirm what occurred. Choosing not to do a police report will have others believe that the case was not serious. No matter if it was an accident with little damage to the vehicle, if there is no police report, it’s going to be considered a minor incident. For that very reason, it’s smart to have a police report. The more documentation you have, the better chances you have of winning your case and compensation you justly deserve.
Truck Accident Claim
After filing a claim with your insurance company, it will go through a long process that will ultimately lead to a settlement. How the insurance companies investigate accident claims can differ depending on the nature and severity of the accident, your insurance company’s policies and whether the accident involved property damage, injuries, or both.
To find out what your truck accident settlement amount would be, a few things to take into account are the full cost of your medical expenses. The higher the bill is and the more time you need to stay in the hospital to be treated or even rehab time after your hospital stay means you have a better chance of being well compensated. Lost wages in which the amount of time you have missed work due to your injury and your typical wage will also be accounted for. Vehicle damage as well as pain and suffering will also be taken into consideration as well to see what your truck settlement would look like. We can sit down with you during a free consultation to gather all the information we need to be able to provide an estimation of the type of settlement you could expect.
Now if you’re wondering how long it takes to settle a semi-truck accident, it really depends on how soon we can get what we need out of the investigation. It would never be wise to tell you it would be quick. On average, it can last anywhere from a few months to a year depending on the severity of the accident.