Large truck and commercial truck accidents are some of the most devastating accidents we see across the United States and in Georgia. In Georgia, specifically, the I-285 around Atlanta is one of the deadliest interstate highways in the entire U.S. In 2013, in fact, the I-285 was found to be the number one deadliest interstate nationwide. Many of these deadly crashes are between two or more passenger cars. Many others, however, are between commercial trucks and other vehicles.
Comparatively, an accident between a large 18-wheeler truck and a passenger vehicle will usually result in more devastation than a regular car accident between two smaller vehicles. When an 18-wheeler truck spins out of control or topples over, there’s a good chance more than one car will be affected. Any collisions with the truck will also result in major destruction. This is because commercial trucks carry an immense amount of force and weight in their tractor trailers.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a semi-truck collision in the state of Georgia, you should know that you may have legal options. An Atlanta truck accident lawyer can help you pay for your family’s medical bills and find the road to recovery. First, let’s go over some facts about large semi accidents.
Truck Accident Statistics
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 4,213 large trucks were in fatal crashes during the year 2016. 61 percent of fatal truck accidents occurred in rural areas and 27 percent occurred on interstate highways. There were 475,000 police-reported crashes where trucks were involved.
These numbers are astounding during an era where our cars, trucks, and other motorized vehicles come equipped with tools and devices that feature the technology to help keep drivers and their passengers safe. A.I.-assisted mechanisms, motion and sight-detective radar, automatic brakes and airbags, and guided GPS systems are all available in commercial truck models worldwide.
Unfortunately, most U.S. trucking corporations fall behind in regard to technology and do not take advantage of these options. Most companies choose to prioritize profit over safety technology; and since U.S. commercial truck regulations do not require trucking corporations to outfit their vehicles with the latest technology, most choose not to.
Common Causes of Truck Collisions in Georgia
While a truck collision can happen for a number of reasons, it’s usually because of someone acting negligently. All it takes is for someone to not pay attention or ignore an issue for one moment. When they do this, they’re endangering the lives and wellbeing of others. Below is a list of some of the most common causes of Georgia truck wrecks:
Truck drivers are often pushed to drive long and hard hours to reach their destinations quicker. This can cause them to fall asleep at the wheel or make mistakes due to fatigue.
Most trucking companies have guidelines set in place regarding how often a driver must sleep or take a break, but drivers do not always follow them since the guidelines don’t consider how new a driver is to an area or if there were delays. U.S. truck drivers are also not usually monitored in any way, making it easy for them to bend the guidelines and get behind the wheel when fatigued.
When a driver is tired, they will respond more slowly to situations on the road. They could even forget to do essential things like using their turn signals. Sometimes, drivers fall asleep at the wheel and swerve into the lane next to them or run off the road. You may not know if the truck driver next to you is starting fresh or if they’ve been driving all day and the previous day. It’s best to always exercise caution when driving near big rigs.
Trucks that are made cheaply or not properly maintained sometimes have defects that can cost lives when driven on a busy highway. Proper maintenance helps trucking agencies notice and fix defects before they become dangerous.
Trucking companies are responsible for making sure their vehicles are safe. They shouldn’t cut corners or ignore the maintenance portion of their business. Negligent trucking companies that knowingly put unchecked vehicles on the road are putting their drivers and others at risk.
Manufacturing companies may sell defective products that break down over time. A driver may suddenly find that their brakes or steering don’t work or experience a problem with the engine. These problems can be deadly on the road.
No matter the reason, Bey & Associates will find out what went wrong and hold the right party accountable for their actions.
Trucks that Aren’t Equipped for Maximum Safety
U.S. truck drivers must adhere to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines; however, these guidelines don’t force truck manufacturers and carriers to keep their vehicles upgraded technologically. As mentioned above, trucking agencies could prevent a large percentage of accidents if they enforced these standards and/or gave corporations an incentive to upgrade their vehicles to include the latest safety devices.
Tractor trailers often have weight limits for what the vehicle can safely transport. The cargo needs to be within this weight limit and must be distributed so the truck’s axles can bear it evenly. Failing to follow these steps could lead to the driver losing control of the vehicle or part of the truck breaking down.
Unsafe Driving Techniques
Truck crashes caused by unsafe driving techniques come in two forms. A truck driver who’s in a hurry, for instance, may drive too fast and cause an accident. They may also neglect posted traffic signs or load their cargo too heavy. A driver of a passenger vehicle can also drive too quickly, follow too close to a truck, or drive in a truck’s blind spots. These instances can all cause an accident.
A big rig needs more time and distance to slow down before they make a turn or need to switch lanes because of how heavy they are and how fast they’re going. Drivers that don’t allot for this time or warn other vehicles through turn signals are at risk of causing an accident.
Newer truck drives may not be aware of their truck’s blind spots. The front and rear of the truck have blind spots. So if you’re driving right in front of a truck or are tailgating one, it’s likely that the driver doesn’t know you’re there. The lanes to the left and right of the truck also have blind spots. It’s unsafe to assume that just because you’re next to a truck, they know you’re there. A good way to check is with the driver’s mirrors. If you can see yourself, then they probably can’t see you. When driving near a truck, it may be best to pass them safely and efficiently.
Speeding is dangerous for any vehicle, but tractor trailers are at a specific risk of causing a devastating collision if they’re going too quickly. When traveling at high speeds, the trailer can swing around and form an 90-degree angle next to the tractor. This phenomenon is called jackknifing, and drivers can’t control what happens when they lose control of the trailer.
Other forms of negligence such as driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol or driving too quickly for highway and/or weather conditions can additionally lead to a disastrous accident. As you can see from the above list, negligent or reckless actions cause most commercial truck accidents. When a driver drives recklessly or fails to follow the rules of traffic, that driver can be charged with negligence in a Georgia courtroom.
Negligent truck drivers deserve to be held accountable for their actions. The same can be said for trucking corporations that fail to properly maintain or upgrade their vehicles or that insist their employees drive for too many hours without taking a break. Under the U.S. legal system, fortunately, we can hold guilty truck drivers and companies liable for the accidents they cause.
Truck Accident Injuries
A truck wreck has the potential to cause horrible injuries that need immediate medical care for a long period of time. Many of these injuries could cause chronic issues or make a change that drastically alters the person’s life.
- Traumatic Brain Injury. Also known as TBI, traumatic brain injuries can have long-lasting effects on cognitive ability like memory or communication.
- Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries. Injuries to the neck and spine can be painful and have devastating consequences like paralysis. While a permanent injury may not occur, someone who suffered from a spine injury could have mobility complications in the future.
- Loss of Limb. A big rig accident may cause someone to lose their arm or leg in the accident, or the limb suffers so much damage the doctors have to amputate.
- Broken Bones. The force of the crash can shatter bones that require casts and a lot of time to recover.
Some of these injuries can affect a person for the rest of their life. Their injury could prevent them from returning to their job or even affect their ability to get one. A truck injury could potentially require intense medical care after the initial accident, but some people may need medical equipment and treatment for the rest of their lives. These sudden changes are difficult to deal with physically, emotionally, and financially. That’s why Bey & Associates will do everything possible to get you the compensation you deserve.
When you don’t have to worry about affording medical expenses or what’s going to happen because you can’t work, you’re able to focus on your recovery. Much of that will also be adjusting to your new normal if you have to. We want to provide a way for you to do this without the stress of dealing with all the expenses by yourself.
Get Help from Bey & Associates Today
By filing a truck wreck lawsuit, you and your family can hold the guilty individual and/or corporation responsible while ensuring you get the financial compensation you need to move forward with your lives. Tractor trailer accident claims are incredibly difficult to win in court, but with the help of an experienced lawyer your claim can make a difference.
At Bey & Associates, we have the proven experience you need to win your 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident lawsuit. Our process includes four steps: investigation, claim processing, negotiation, and litigation. Many law firms skim over the first step, investigation, but we have found that this step is paramount to any commercial truck claim.
During the investigative process, we can help determine whether a trucking corporation or manufacturer was at fault for your accident and determine if driver or company negligence played a role by using the following techniques:
- Reviewing vehicle maintenance logs
- Investigating driver credentials and licensing
- Determining if all traffic laws were followed
- Analyzing the scene of the accident, police reports, photographs, and witness statements
- Identifying potential manufacturing defects
After we complete our investigation, we will proceed to process your claim and prepare for the negotiation and litigation phases of your case. Most truck collision lawsuits take a considerable amount of time to complete, but if the truck driver or corporation is indeed found negligent, you will be thankful you reached out to us.
For more information or for a free, no-obligation case consultation, contact us today. Together we can make Georgia highways safer.