BIG TRUCK ACCIDENTS IN ATHENS, GEORGIA
Causes of Big Truck Accidents
Big trucks present many unique dangers to everyone on the road. Although trucks and truck drivers are not responsible for every crash involving these large vehicles, the sheer size and weight of a large truck mean that, when collisions involve these vehicles, there are more likely to be devastating consequences.
Size And Weight Of Trucks
Trucks outweigh other vehicles on the road by anywhere from 20 to 30 times. Stopping in an emergency can be impossible for individuals operating these massive vehicles. It takes far longer for a semi-truck to slow down and stop than it does for a smaller vehicle. If the driver of a smaller vehicle slams on their brakes because of a hazard in the road, a truck behind them may not be able to slow as quickly and could crash into their car as a result.
In addition to being difficult to slow to a stop, large trucks can also be more challenging to maneuver. Making sudden lane changes or swerving can cause devastating crashes when the driver loses control of the massive vehicle. Sudden movements like these can cause a truck to jackknife, roll, or skid out of control, putting smaller vehicles on the road in serious danger.
Overworked And Overtired Drivers
The size and weight of trucks is not the only issue that makes these vehicles hazardous to others on the road. Often, truckers must travel many miles each day as a part of their jobs. To meet their employers’ high demands, truck drivers will often remain behind the wheel even when they are too tired to operate their vehicles safely.
Trucking regulations permit drivers to travel for up to 11 hours in one stretch. Staying focused for such an extended period would probably be a challenge for most of us, but truckers often must push themselves to this limit. Sadly, some drivers also violate this regulation in order to cover more miles in a day.
Some truckers resort to using medication or illicit drugs as a way of staying awake longer. Drivers who are under the influence of substances intended to keep them awake may experience potentially dangerous side effects. For instance, using cocaine to stay awake can lead to aggressive driving and poor decision-making.
Failure To Conduct Vehicle Maintenance
In the aftermath of truck collisions, inspectors often find that the trucks had flaws in their brakes, steering, or other integral parts. Truck companies should take care to maintain their machinery and be vigilant of any possible malfunctions. Unfortunately, companies often fail to do this, which can lead to accidents.
Liability After an Athens Big Truck Wreck
Liability in an Athens big truck wreck may depend on several factors. If you want to prove that a truck driver is at fault for a collision, you will need to present evidence that the driver behaved negligently. Evidence that the driver was speeding, driving under the influence, violating the 11-hour driving limit, or driving a truck that needed maintenance all could help build a case against that trucker.
Another issue to consider is whether the truck driver was driving as a private or self-employed individual, or working for a trucking company. If the trucker is not part of a company, their responsibility for your damages may depend on their percent of the fault and their insurance coverage. If the driver was working as an employee of a company, the company might be liable under a legal doctrine called respondeat superior. Respondeat superior allows harmed individuals to hold a business liable for its employee’s negligent actions. If the driver was at fault, the company may also be at fault based on this legal theory. For example, if the truck driver dozed off and drifted into your lane, causing a wreck, the company may be liable for the damages because of its driver’s negligence.
It is also possible for a company to be directly liable based on its own negligence. Suppose the cause of the accident was that the truck was not properly maintained, and the company was responsible for maintaining that truck. In that case, the employer might be directly liable for its negligence in failing to conduct regular maintenance on the truck. It is essential to determine all of these facts if you are in a big truck wreck and suffer injuries. Fortunately, a personal injury lawyer might be able to help you gather the information you need to determine who is liable for your injuries based on Georgia law.
Damages in Athens Truck Crash Cases
Damages in an Athens truck crash will depend on the severity of your injuries. You may be compensated for direct financial losses such as hospital bills, surgery bills, or expenses for rehabilitation due to the injury. The court can make the person responsible for your injuries compensate you for those losses.
If you missed time at work because you were hospitalized or recovering from your injuries, the trucker or company may also have to compensate you for your lost wages. For cases in which the injuries are so bad that they prevent you from returning to work or force you to take a job making less money, the court can order the defendant to pay you for your estimated, lost future earnings.
The law recognizes that the financial loss relating to personal injuries is only part of the complete picture. The pain and suffering that crash victims experience can be excruciating and emotionally devastating. Courts may compensate individuals for these non-economic damages in addition to the economic damages.
In rare cases, courts also award punitive damages to punish the driver. If the driver who caused your injuries was drunk or otherwise engaged in extremely or excessively negligent conduct, a court may order them to pay punitive damages.
Keep in mind that if you are partly to blame for your injuries, a court can reduce your damages. Thanks to Georgia’s comparative negligence laws, you may still be able to recover from the other negligent party as long as you were less than 50 percent at fault for your injuries.
Williams Elleby – Athens Truck Accident Attorneys
Have you fallen victim to a truck accident in Athens? If so, you will want to consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights. At Williams Elleby, our personal injury lawyers have more than two decades of experience representing victims of car and truck accidents. Our attorneys will carefully explain your options, and are prepared to aggressively pursue all remedies against those who caused your injuries. Get in touch with a Williams Elleby attorney by calling (833)-534-2542 or contacting us online.