Savannah Truck accident Lawyers

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Like car accidents, truck accidents can be devastating events that lead to massive damages, serious injuries, and even death. Since tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles are so much larger than passenger cars, their potential for destruction is far greater. In addition to the seriousness of truck accidents, they are also incredibly complex cases. When facing the aftermath of a devastating truck accident, you may feel helpless or overwhelmed. You will need a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer on your side who can represent your best interests.

What Are Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

Cars and trucks normally share the road without incident. However, there are those times when circumstances will lead to an accident between the two. There are rules and regulations for which trucking companies and truck drivers must abide. However, when they cut corners on these rules, it can increase the chance of an accident. A few common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Driver fatigue: No matter the vehicle a person is driving, if they are tired or in need of sleep, they should not be driving. It is best to get some rest before heading out on the road. Some truck drivers will push past fatigue to get their cargo to a particular destination on time or early if there is a bonus. When a truck driver is tired, their reaction time is limited, making it more dangerous for those on the road.
  • Drugs and alcohol: Drivers may stop off for a bite to eat on the road and have an alcoholic drink or two during their meal. They may lose track of how much alcohol they consume and get behind the wheel of the truck. They could also use legal and illegal narcotics to stay awake. Either one of these impairs a driver’s ability to react in time to situations that occur and makes it harder for them to concentrate on the road.
  • Braking time: Given the excessive weight that trucks must haul, it takes these large vehicles more time to stop than cars. If an incident occurs in front of them that a driver must react to quickly, they may not have as much time to bring the vehicle to a complete halt.
  • Speeding: Since drivers have deadlines to meet, and they may find themselves behind schedule. As a result, they may attempt to speed on the highway. Given the extra time it already takes trucks to slow down at normal speeds, speeding reduces that time even more and means that if a truck impacts another vehicle, the force of that collision will be that much greater.
  • Turning: Another problem synonymous with trucks is turning. To compensate for the size, trucks must make massive turns, with right-hand ones being the most precarious. Considering how a truck must move and its size during this type of turn, car drivers could get caught in a truck’s blind spot or in a sideswipe accident.
  • Unsecured loads: Truck companies are responsible for properly securing their loads on the back of a truck. If loads are improperly secured, they could become loose out on the highway and cause problems for other motorists.

Truck accidents are unique in that sometimes it is not solely the drivers that could be held liable for an accident, but the trucking company that secured the cargo to the truck or even the manufacturer of the truck itself. A lawyer can look over the evidence and determine the best course of action.

What Are the Types of Truck Accidents?

When the conditions are right for an accident involving a truck, there are a variety of ways in which it can occur. The types of accidents can have a bearing on the severity of the injuries. A few truck accident types include the following:

  • Head-on collisions: These are the most dangerous truck accidents, but also the rarest. They could occur when a driver loses control of their vehicle and swerves into oncoming traffic. This may occur because the driver is distracted, tired, or otherwise impaired.
  • Rear-end collisions: If a truck driver is driving too fast or not paying attention and the vehicle in front of them stops, the truck has less time to stop, meaning they could collide with a car. Given the size and weight of a truck, even a light hit could cause significant damage.
  • Underride collisions: These can be traumatic and dangerous for a car driver, as they involve a car failing to stop behind a truck and getting lodged underneath. The car could be stuck there until the truck stops. The truck driver may not even know that the car is under the truck. These accidents can cause fatal injuries as well.
  • Side-impact collisions: Luckily, these accidents are rare, however, they can be among the most devastating when they occur, given the mass size of a truck.
  • Jackknife collisions: A truck is connected to its cargo through a joint. When the truck stops abruptly and the cab does not react in time, the two begin to fold in. These tend to be caused by a truck braking fast or doing so in poor weather conditions.
  • Rollovers: These are the most dangerous accidents for truck drivers, as it involves the truck literally rolling over. They are usually caused by tire blowouts but could also be caused by a truck steering around a sharp turn.
  • Cargo-related accidents: When cargo is improperly secured to a truck, it can become loose during transport and spill debris all over the road, causing problems for other drivers.

What Injuries Can I Sustain in a Truck Accident?

Truck accident injuries will generally be more severe. Although there might be minor injuries, they are less frequent than in regular car accidents. The common injuries caused by truck accidents include:

  • Broken bones
  • Cuts, bruises, lacerations
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Whiplash
  • Internal injuries
  • Rib and torso injuries
  • Amputation
  • Disfigurement
  • Burn injuries

When injured in any accident, whether it involves a truck or a car, you should seek medical attention immediately to ensure any condition is treated quickly.

What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?

When involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, it can be difficult to know what to do. The first step is to make sure that everyone involved receives proper medical attention if necessary and notify the authorities.

When speaking with others at the scene, a motorist should be wary of what they tell other drivers who might have been injured. They should not give any recorded statements without the guidance or counsel of a truck accident lawyer. Recorded statements to the authorities, insurance companies, or other drivers can and will be used in court.

In the immediate aftermath of an accident, a driver should do what they can to collect evidence. That includes taking pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved, including their own. They should also take pictures of any other conditions that existed that might have led to the accident. Drivers should take notes on what happened and take down the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene so that their lawyer can reach out to them later. When the police arrive, drivers should provide their registration, insurance card, and driver’s license. They should also sign any tickets issued and not disagree. The time to do so will be in court.

What Evidence Is Unique to Truck Accidents?

When a lawyer is involved in a truck accident case, there is specific evidence that they will seek to collect that is unique to the situation. It also makes it easier to conclude what happened, as it provides a clear picture of the circumstances of what led to an accident and the aftermath. This evidence includes the following:

  • GPS tracking data: Since trucking companies need to always monitor the location of their trucks and cargo, these devices are used for revealing what was occurring in the time up until and during a truck accident.
  • Black box information: Many trucks have electronic devices that record valuable information about the truck during the accident, such as how fast a truck was traveling, when the driver applied the brakes, what steering actions the driver took, and other important data.
  • In-truck cameras: Cameras mounted inside a vehicle might show the circumstances that led to an accident and prove or disprove a theory about the case.
  • Dispatch records: These will show where the driver was headed and the route they were taking. It will also provide valuable information of how long the driver was on the road at the time of the accident.
  • Inspection reports: Trucks must undergo routine inspections, and these reports will explain if there were any lingering issues with a vehicle that could have been a contributing factor to an accident.
  • Driving logs: These are supposed to log how long a driver has been on the road, how long it had been since they took a break, and the length of time that break took.
  • Cargo-loading records: These will explain who secured the cargo to the truck and when that occurred. This is important, as it will allow a lawyer to know who to go after if the cargo was to blame for an accident.

This evidence can paint a detailed picture of the events that took place prior to an accident, which will make it far easier for a lawyer to prove what circumstances or conditions led to the accident.

Can I Sue a Truck Driver’s Insurance Company?

In most car accident cases in Georgia; the injured party can sue the at-fault driver only for compensation. However, the state has a different approach when it comes to truck driving accidents and allows for direct action. This means that a person can sue not only the truck driver, but also their insurance. There are people who will do it as a part of a single lawsuit, but others will file separate lawsuits.

There might be those venues that will require a separate lawsuit, but it is wise to consult with a truck accident lawyer to determine which path is the better one.

What State and Federal Regulations Govern Truck Driving?

Trucking companies and the drivers they employ have rigorous guidelines that they must follow. When these guidelines are disobeyed, such as allowing truck drivers to exceed their mandated driving limits, the risk of having an accident can skyrocket.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency that specifies requirements for truck drivers and trucking companies. For instance, federal law specifies how long a truck driver can be out on the road, how many breaks they should take, and the length of those breaks.

State laws also provide requirements for both in concert with federal regulations. They mandate that drivers maintain accurate logbooks to ensure that they have not been driving too long and are getting suitable rest, they must keep the trucks from rolling away out of control during inspections, and they must not park their trucks in ways that put other people in danger.

A trucking company must guarantee that their drivers are honest and competent, and the company must keep their trucks in good working order.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer After My Truck Accident?

In addition to the various regulations in the trucking industry, trucking companies will have a team of lawyers on the case immediately following an accident. Large companies will do whatever they can to protect themselves from lawsuits. This makes it crucial for the injured party to have a lawyer on their side following a tractor-trailer accident.

Once a lawyer comes on board, they will immediately begin working for their client to bring about a swift and satisfactory result. To accomplish that goal, a lawyer will go through a rigorous process, which includes the following steps:

  • Investigation: After an accident, a trucking company will send their own insurance agents to the scene of an accident to investigate. The injured party should do the same with their lawyer. They should never allow an insurance company to talk them into a settlement without first consulting a lawyer. The insurance company will try to offer a modest figure. As part of the investigation, a lawyer will gather the evidence at the scene as well as the other evidence described above.
  • Creating a claim: Once the investigation is complete, a lawyer will gather the evidence and use it to create their claim. The claim will list the injuries sustained by the client, request compensation for those losses, and detail how the opposing party’s negligence directly led to the injuries. The lawsuit is then settled via settlement negotiations, arbitration, or litigation.
  • Negotiations: Before taking the matter to court, a settlement will be negotiated. A lawyer will take whatever offer is presented back to their client and provide legal advice on whether it should be accepted. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement, the matter will be resolved in court.
  • Litigation: At trial, both lawyers will have the opportunity to present their case before a judge or jury, including all the evidence they have collected. Based on those arguments, the judge or jury will make a ruling.

When a person is injured in a truck accident, they should move as quickly as possible to hire a lawyer, as they will have only two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in Georgia. There are conditions when that window can be shorter or longer. An experienced lawyer will be able to advise a person on the amount of time they have to file suit.

Contact the Kicklighter Law team at 912-754-6003 
to schedule a consultation!

Savannah Truck Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Help Clients Fight Powerful Trucking Companies

The trauma and devastation that follow a major truck accident can be overwhelming. You should have someone fighting for you. Our Savannah truck accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law can take on that responsibility. Call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we proudly serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.