If a truck hit your car, on top of your injuries you are likely confused by all of the complicated questions you are being asked. In order to help you through your truck accident, we have compiled a list of our frequently asked questions after we get a call from a client hit by a truck.
What counts as a “Truck”?
In Georgia, a truck refers to commercial freight transportation like an eighteen-wheeler, tractor-trailer, or semi-trucks. This does not include rental truck companies like U-Haul or Penske vehicles. But, a truck could include a bus, a construction vehicle, or garbage trucks.
Why are Truck Accidents so complicated?
Getting hit by a truck is different than a normal car accident for several reasons. Not only by Georgia Law but also by Federal Law regulates the commercial freight industry.
Federal Law Requirement
The Federal Agency that regulates commercial motor vehicles is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Recently, this agency has made a push to protect drivers of commercial trucks from fatigue in order to reduce accidents on the road. This regulation requires that a driver take 30 minutes of every 8 hours off and dictates that they can only work 60 hours every seven days or 70 hours every 8 days. In order for a new work week to start, the driver must be off duty for a minimum of 34 consecutive hours.
Georgia Law Requirements
In Georgia, trucks are required to do pre and post-trip safety inspections and have annual in-depth safety inspections. Drivers may also be required to have a Georgia Commercial License and must pass tests by GDOT for alcohol and drugs on top of their routine medical inspections.
Georgia law also requires that truck drivers carry minimum insurance coverage to provide coverage in case of an accident. Georgia law dictates these minimums and is an at-fault state. Basically, this means whoever caused an accident is responsible for all damages caused as a result of the collision. This party would pay you compensation after a truck accident and is considered the at-fault party.
Usually, under a theory called respondent superior, the company that the driver is working for is responsible for the damage due to employment law. The trucking company’s insurance would then cover the damage caused by the accident. But that may not be the case. If the driver was breaking company rules or laws, then they could be liable individually as well. If an uneven weight load caused the accident, then the warehouse storing the goods in the truck could be liable if they loaded the tuck incorrectly. In other cases, the mechanic who last serviced the truck may be the at-fault party. In other words, any number of people or companies could be the cause of your accident.
This is why you should hire an attorney to help after a truck accident. Attorneys Julie M. M. Essa and Noor E. Janho can sort through the mess of determining who is the at-fault party of your accident. Then, they can deal with the insurance company of that party and get you the compensation you need for your injuries.
What should I do after I get hit by a truck?
When you are first hit by a truck, there are several things that you should do to make sure that you have evidence proving what happened.
First, you should call the police. This will ensure that you have a police report, which will help establish what caused the accident.
Second, make contact with any witnesses of the accident and get their name and phone number.
Third, you should get all of the medical help you require immediately as needed. Even if your injuries do not require an ambulance, you should receive a medical evaluation as soon as possible after your accident. This will ensure that the attorney will have plenty of evidence to prove your claim and to prove your injuries resulting from the negligence of the truck driver.
What happens after I hire an attorney?
The statute of limitations for a truck accident is two years. This means you have two years from the day of the accident to file a claim with an insurance company. The earlier you contact an attorney the better.
This stage of the process also requires that all communication with the insurance company or other party go through the attorney. You no longer have to answer calls from the insurance company. In fact, you do not even have to tell the insurance company you have hired a lawyer. The attorney will send a letter of representation and direct all communication to her office immediately.
The attorney will need to gather evidence to prove your claim and get you compensation. This evidence includes pictures from the accident, medical records from an ambulance or emergency room, and any witnesses that saw the truck accident take place. Again, the more evidence you have collected the stronger your claim will be.
What other evidence does the attorney gather?
Our attorneys will do more investigative research to gather evidence. If you have contacted us promptly, we can ensure all the evidence
One of the first steps our office will take is to contact the trucking company and request the preservation of evidence. Evidence such as black boxes and the physical truck can provide insight into the accident that eyewitnesses cannot. These insights include the exact location of the accident. Plus, the behavior of the driver up until the point of the accident is also included. Black boxes also track the average speed of the truck, hard braking, and sudden stops, as well as the use of a seatbelt. This information is pivotal when trying to prove that the truck caused the accident, rather than you.
Trucking companies are often reluctant to share this information with those involved in the accident. But, police investigations for accidents require this evidence. This is where hiring a lawyer is helpful. We can get the information that the trucking company does not want to you to have.
Once the attorney gathers all of the evidence and damages you incurred, they will work with the insurance company to get you a settlement offer. If the insurance company does not opt for a settlement or offers you a low amount, then the attorney may suggest a lawsuit. Most cases end in a settlement, but there are circumstances that may make a lawsuit necessary.
What experience do you have?
At the Law Office of Julie Essa, we work on personal injury cases daily. We have worked on cases that have involved many large companies such as FedEx and UPS.
Our attorneys have personally gone directly to trucking companies to see the trucks involved in the accident. There they take photographs of the property damages to the trucks. There is an ongoing investigation that takes place with trucking accidents and liability can be complicated. We are here to help you in your time of need in protecting your rights and interests.