Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyer
We are accomplished truck accident lawyers helping those in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia. Over 50% of our practice is dedicated to truck accident cases.
If you have recently been involved with a semi-truck and suffered injuries you should reach out to an attorney at our firm to go over the details of your case. Call us today at 404-689-9454.
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- Our Atlanta trucking accident lawyers have handled hundreds of truck accident cases. We have prosecuted cases against trucking companies and have recovered millions of dollars for genuinely injured folks. We have also successfully defended large trucking companies. We don’t chase ambulances, and we don’t hide the ball. We represent honorable companies, and the genuinely injured. As a result, we know how to handle your truck accident case and put you in the best possible position. Any attorney you hire should have extensive real life experience in truck accident cases.
- We try cases. Trial attorneys get better results. Many firms out there focus on settlements. Not us. We have tried over one hundred cases, so the opposing attorney knows we mean business. We received one of the top verdicts in America in 2018. We have tried dozens of trucking cases. We get things done for folks in truck accidents.
- We know the rules. Truck drivers and trucking companies have specific rules that apply to them and not other folks on the road. We deal with these rules on a daily basis and know them inside and out. We can advise you on how the rules applicable to truck wrecks apply to your situation, whether you suffered real injuries or drive a truck for a living.
- We treat our clients like family. There is no better way to find out if your attorney knows what he is doing than to look at reviews of former clients. Clients who have worked with us will tell you that we pride ourselves on making lives better with honor, efficiency, and effectiveness. We lift you up when you need it most. And, we never take a case that conflicts with your interests.
- Our peers respect us. We pride ourselves on working well with opposing counsel and judges. A lot of our cases are referred to us from other attorneys in Georgia.
- Free initial consultation. We will talk to you about your case for free. During this consultation, we will give you our advice on the next steps in your case, your evaluation. You can also talk with us about trucking cases and our experience.
Do I need to Hire an Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you have been in an accident involving a tractor-trailer, you generally need to hire an attorney.
Some minor cases, like those involving no injuries or those involving very minor injuries and straightforward facts (e.g. rear-end collision), may be able to be resolved by people negotiating on their own.
But, most of the time, an accident involving a commercial truck will involve complex federal and state laws applicable to the truck.
There are also often serious injuries, like broken or fractured bones, spinal cord, neck, and back injuries, concussions and traumatic brain injuries, burns, and death. A serious injury case should never be handled by a person without an attorney.
There is too much money at stake to risk not speaking with an attorney.
At our firm, on the one hand, we represent seriously injured folks, and, on the other hand, we represent trucking companies.
This diverse experience benefits all of our clients.
Our experience gives our client’s insight into the opposing parties’ way of thinking, credibility with the other lawyers and judges, and perspective to evaluate their case with the most up to date information possible.
Recent Atlanta Truck Accident Case Result
Facts: A tractor-trailer was traveling on Georgia Highway 400. Our client, a young lady, was driving her car northbound. She was heading to a nice weekend with her mother. Georgia Highway 400 has traffic lights, and our client stopped for traffic at one of these intersections. She sat in traffic for minutes. The truck driver was driving too fast for conditions, failed to stop for our client’s vehicle, and slammed into the driver’s side of her vehicle. The tractor-trailer careened down the side of our client’s vehicle causing extensive damage. Our client suffered neck, shoulder, and back injuries. She was lucky to be alive.
Law: A truck driver, like all drivers, is required to stop for properly stopped traffic at an intersection. The police officer concluded that the truck’s failure to stop for traffic was the result of the truck driver’s driving too fast for conditions. This is a violation of Georgia law. In addition, given the circumstances the truck wreck, we were able to successfully argue that the truck driver may have been asleep, on his phone, or otherwise zoned out. Accordingly, while in some cases the driver’s hour of service logs and phone records may not be particularly relevant, they were here.
Plan of Action: We had a free initial consultation with the client. We discussed her case, the potential issues, and her medical treatment. We immediately sent a preservation letter to the trucking company to make sure the relevant records were preserved. We gathered the client’s medical records. We prepared a complaint. Ultimately, we were able to negotiate a confidential resolution that compensated her for her injuries, pain and suffering, and the harrowing experience of the truck crash.
What to do after an Atlanta truck wreck?
- Check on everyone at the scene. If you are physically able to get out of your vehicle, your first step should be checking on the other folks involved in the collision, if at all possible.
- Call 911. It sounds cliché, but your first call should be to 911. It is important the police and emergency personnel are aware immediately of the crash and location. This will help them with clearing the scene (moving your vehicle from the roadway), which will keep you and drivers around you safe.
- Take Photos. Your phone is your friend after a crash. If you are in a position to photograph your car, the truck, the scene, it is best to do so. Memories fade. Pictures do not.
- Talk to Witnesses. If there are witnesses around and you’re in a position to speak with them, it is best to get their contact information. Often, witnesses will forget to give their information or leave before the police officer arrives. A key witness will be virtually impossible to find without their name following a truck crash.
- Seek Medical Attention, if Needed. If you’re feeling hurt, you should seek medical attention. It’s not fun to go to the doctor or the hospital. At the same time, quick care is of utmost importance.
- Call Your Insurance Company. Almost all insurance policies require an accident be reported at the earliest opportunity. In policy terms, it will state something like “immediately” or “as soon as is practicable.” It boils down to this: report the claim immediately or you could lose coverage. Even if you’re not at fault, your policy may provide you with health benefits like medical payments or uninsured motorist’s coverage. If you are at fault, reporting the accident quickly is even more important.
- Research and Find a Skilled Attorney. If you have been in a truck accident, you need an experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney. There are numerous laws that govern tractor-trailers and truck drivers in your location. It is also important that you contact a truck accident lawyer in Georgia quickly. There may be important evidence at the scene, like skid marks, or video from nearby businesses that will quickly go away. There may also be important documents in possession of the other driver that needs to be preserved.
At our law firm, one of the first steps that we take is to ensure all relevant evidence is preserved.
As the trucking company, this means ensuring that all relevant information in your possession is kept. As an injured party, this includes sending a “preservation demand.” This is a formal legal correspondence that tells the other side that there are potential claims and lists evidence that needs to be preserved.
In an Atlanta tractor-trailer crash, this may include the driver’s hourly logs, the pre-trip inspection reports, the engine control data from the crash, and other items.
Many of these things may be deleted as of a matter of routine course of business if an attorney does not work to preserve them shortly after the accident.
How do we tackle truck accidents?
Our starting point is to proceed to the scene the minute we learn of an incident. We then obtain statements from all available witnesses to every aspect of the accident. Memories fail; recordings do not. Preserving the physical evidence as well as the eyewitness evidence can be critical.
Without question, one of the most important aspects relating to actual or potential litigation relating to a trucking accident is to immediately accumulate all of the relevant evidence. This must be carefully preserved.
After preserving evidence, we work with the local authorities and, if necessary, any experts. In serious trucking accidents, there may be a need for expert engineering assistance relating to issues from speed, skid marks, computer data, breaking, and on and on.
Given our extensive involvement in the trucking arena, we have in our directory dozens of highly specialized experts and engineers relating to the trucking field.
Our Atlanta, GA truck accident lawyers are in the enviable position of being able to bring them to bear immediately on the most complex incidents.
From there, we address the personal injury claim in pre-litigation and, if we are unable to obtain the best result for our client, we file suit. During suit, we make every effort to build our case as quickly and efficiently as possible. We put what’s happened behind you.
What are some of the key tractor-trailer regulations?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) is a branch of the Department of Transportation. The FMSCA regulates trucking companies and truck drivers. The regulations are voluminous, going on for hundreds of pages. We have spent hours thumbing through them.
The rules that most often come into play during a truck accident are as follows:
- Licensing. To operate a tractor-trailer, a driver must obtain a Commercial Driver’s License commonly called a CDL. The rules for each state vary slightly. In Georgia, a CDL has several more stringent requirements than a regular license. This includes an older age requirement, passing a written exam, road skills test, and obtaining a medical certification.
- A truck driver’s hours. A truck driver has specific rules that control the number of hours that they can operate a truck. This includes hours controlling the number of hours a truck driver can operate a truck in a single day, as well as the number of hours in a week. If there is a reasonable suspicion of fatigue or sleepiness, then these rules come into play. You can read more about driver’s hour of service rules in our blog.
- Hiring and Training. When a truck driver is hired, there are certain steps that the trucking company must take to ensure that the driver is fit to operate a commercial vehicle. This includes a written application, a drug test, obtaining a medical examiner’s certificate showing the driver can physically operate the vehicle, and pulling his motor vehicle report. Often times, lawyers will file a claim for “negligent training.” In Georgia, however, there is no requirement to train a tractor trailer driver, outside of the Federal Regulations.
- Inspection and Maintenance. If there is reasonable suspicion of a problem with the tractor or trailer, the maintenance of the vehicle may be an issue. Most commonly, at issue in truck accidents, are claims of brake or tire issues. The regulations contain specific requirements for these, and an expert is usually necessary to help determine if the tractor-trailer is in compliance.
- Load. The size, weight, and securement of the cargo can be important in truck accident cases. This is particularly true if there is a roll-over accident or an accident where the cargo came loose. The FMCSA regulates the load of trucks.
How much is a truck accident worth?
Folks naturally want to know at the outset, “how much is my semi-truck accident worth?” This is true on both the plaintiff and defense sides. It makes sense. A genuinely injured person wants to know how much compensation to expect in the future, if any. A trucking company wants to know their exposure so they can adequately prepare.
There is no magic formula for determining the value of a tractor trailer accident in Georgia. Unlike worker’s compensation cases, in which statutes generally control the amount of compensation received, in a personal injury case, there is no statutory value assigned to an injury. Instead, it is generally left to “the enlightened conscience of the jury.” This means that the jury could award the injured plaintiff anything, $5.00, $5,000, the list goes on.
While there is no established formula, there are a few things to look at.
In general, a truck accident victim will be looking to recover the following:
- Medical bills,
- Lost wages, and
- Pain & suffering.
For medical bills, the expenses must be casually related to the accident.
This means that preexisting conditions, degenerative conditions, prior injuries, and injuries that occur much after the accident are not generally recoverable. It also means that traumatic injuries caused by the truck crash are recoverable. An easy to understand example of a traumatic injury is a fracture. There are exceptions to every rule, so a solid Atlanta truck accident attorney could give you a better idea.
In addition, the medical expenses must be reasonable. A lot of times folks think that the higher medical expenses, the better. And, it is true that a person with $300,000 in medical bills will generally recover more than a person with $3,000 in bills. However, there has been a recent trend as of late for lawyers to send their clients to injury centers, which charge exorbitant rates for routine procedures.
We never do this for several reasons. First, the law requires that medical expenses be reasonable. The fastest way to a $0 recovery is when the jury gets the impression that the medical providers were selected to inflate medical bills, rather than for medical bills. Second, it increases the amount of liens that the injured party must pay back. This means that the injured party’s take-home will often be less than a person who treated for genuine prices. Third, we want to be certain that our clients are receiving the best care possible. In general, top doctors do not inflate bills.
In addition to medical bills, a plaintiff will seek to recover their lost wages.
If a person misses work due to a tractor trailer wreck, this will typically be a recoverable item of damages. The injured party must have been working at the time of the accident and must have missed work due to injuries related to the accident.
Pain and Suffering
The biggest unknown in evaluating a personal injury case is pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering is awarded by the “enlightened conscience of the jury.” Pain and suffering means “the physical and mental injury, pain, and suffering” of the injured person. Things such as the level of pain, activities the party can no longer engage in, sadness, anxiety are generally recoverable under pain and suffering.
The more serious the injury after an Atlanta truck accident is, the larger the pain and suffering award is like to be.
For example, in a recent trial that we completed for the plaintiff, the jury awarded $3,007,379.90 in pain and suffering for a mother that died in a car accident. This was a horrific and tragic case, which resulted in a larger pain and suffering award for the mother. In a typical truck wreck case, the pain and suffering award will be much lower than this.
In some unique cases, there may be an avenue for punitive damages or attorney’s fees. These are exceptional cases that do not generally apply to the average truck wreck.
What are the statistics for Atlanta Truck Accidents?
Exact statistics are not known, as the reporting by Georgia government agencies is not the best. However, approximately 20,000 trucks move on metro Atlanta highways each day. Most of them, pass through without issue. In 2018, however, there were 187 fatal accidents involving an eighteen wheeler or large truck.
Looking at nationwide statistics, the FMCSA compiles an annual report on “statistics about fatal, injury, and property-damage-only crashes involving large trucks and buses.”
These are the statistics that stand out the most, from the most recent released report in 2017:
- There were 4,889 truck and bus fatal accidents in 2017.
- There were 116,000 tractor trailer and bus accidents with injuries in 2017.
- The amount of truck and bus accidents with deaths or injuries has increased each year since 2009.
You can read more information in an article we wrote.
Truck Accident FAQ
What will it cost to hire a lawyer after a truck accident? If you are an injured plaintiff, then you will pay an attorney on a contingency fee basis. This means that you only have to pay attorney’s fees if the law firm recovers money on your behalf. If you are a defendant truck driver, then your attorney will charge an hourly rate.
How do I choose the right attorney for my trucking accident lawsuit? Choosing the right attorney is important and hard to do. You should look at past cases, client experiences, and beware of “fake awards” (where the attorneys pay money to have a fancy label slapped on them). All the awards we have received are given for free—like an award should be.
What experience do you have with trucking accidents in Atlanta? We make lives better for folks in trucking accidents in Atlanta, Georgia. We have handled hundreds of tractor-trailer wreck cases in recent years. We help the genuinely injured and reputable trucking companies. We have recovered full compensation for genuinely injured folks in truck wrecks. We have also resolved serious cases for trucking companies, with dignity and respect. Our unique experience gives our clients insight, credibility, and perspective that makes their lives better.
Who is liable in a truck accident? This depends on the facts. Just like other drivers, truck drivers are not responsible for an accident merely because it occurred. There must be negligence on behalf of the truck driver for liability to set in.
How do accidents with trucks tend to happen? They happen all different ways. This includes but is not limited to speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, failing to yield, unsecure load, or fatigue. These could be actions of the truck driver, or they could be actions of the other vehicle’s driver.
What should I expect when filing a claim against the trucking accident company? After a tractor-trailer accident, there are several calls you should make as soon as possible. You should call the police department to conduct an investigation. You should call your insurance company to report the accident. You should also seek medical attention if needed.
At the scene of the accident, if you’re able, take photographs of the roadway, the position of the vehicles, and any damage. It is important to document this for your case.
If you are the injured person, you will also want to send the trucking company a preservation letter at the earliest opportunity. A competent Atlanta truck accident attorney can help you with this. The preservation letter should request that the trucking company preserve the records that are reasonably related to your claim.
Following the preservation letter, you gather the appropriate medical records and send a demand letter. The truck accident lawyer will attempt to negotiate a resolution for you without filing a suit.
If a resolution is not possible pre-suit, then the attorney prepares a complaint and files the complaint in the appropriate court. This is usually where the trucking company is located in Georgia. The lawsuit begins a discovery process, where each side passes back and forth written questions and requests for information. There are also sworn statements taken under oath, called depositions.
After discovery, there is usually an attempt to negotiate a resolution. If that fails, then the case is prepared for trial.
How long do truck collision cases take? At our firm, we pride ourselves on moving a case forward as quickly as possible. We know that everyone’s life is better, from the injured party, to the trucking company, when the case is resolved. Even so, it generally takes months or years to resolve a case. Anyone who tells you different is selling a bag of goods.
How is a truck crash different than a car crash? It is very different. A different set of rules, evidence, claims, and defenses apply to tractor trailer crashes. That is why it is important to hire an attorney who has extensive experience litigating truck cases.
What are the different types of truck cases? A truck wreck would generally include all types of commercial vehicles. This includes a tractor-trailer, flatbed truck, box truck, dump truck, garbage truck, tanker truck, and any other type of large truck.
Based on your expertise, what are the advantages and disadvantages of a settlement vs. a lawsuit with a trucking accident case? There’s an old lawyer saying, “a bad settlement is better than a good lawsuit.”
The reason is that litigation is time-consuming, expensive, and uncertain. It’s why over 90% of cases are resolved by settlement.
That said, some cases have to be litigated and tried. Preparing a case from the trial at the beginning helps get the best results.
We practice throughout Georgia including:
- Sandy Springs
- Johns Creek
- Warner Robbins
- Peachtree City
- East Point
And the following counties:
- Fulton County
- Gwinnett County
- DeKalb County
- Cobb County
- Cherokee County
- Henry County
- Richmond County
- Muscogee County
- Hall County
- Forsyth County
- Bibb County
- Paulding County
- Douglas County
- Coweta County
- Clarke County
Here are some example case results:
- In cases we defend, we have never had a case resolve (by way of settlement or at trial) for more than our valuation. We know how much a claim is worth, and we make sure to put you in the best position to win.
For plaintiff cases, we have recovered millions of dollars:
- $27,000,00+ Verdict in 2018 for a wrongful death
- $2,250,000 wrongful death recovery
- $2,000,00 paralysis recovery
- $700,000 brain injury recovery
- And more.
Contact an Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyer
As experienced truck accident attorneys, we will fight to pursue the maximum compensation available under the law for our clients. Contact us online or call (404) 442-9000 to schedule your free initial case consultation today.