4 Reasons to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer
The number of fatal truck accidents on the nation’s roads are at record highs, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). There was a 7.2 percent increase in deadly wrecks in a recent three-year period. During that same time, 827 people in Georgia were killed in large truck crashes, and thousands more injured.
Tractor trailers can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. That’s five times the size of the average passenger car. What does that mean for motorists? It means that when crashes happen, the occupants of the car stand a far greater change of harm, not the truck driver. It also means expensive medical bills, lost time from work, and in the worse cases, no guarantees for a full recovery.
It’s wise to hire an experienced Canton truck accident lawyer if you or someone you love has been injured. Here’s why:
Federal and State Laws
The truck industry is governed by both federal and state laws. FMCSA develops strict regulations governing every aspect of trucking, such as:
- Weight limits
- How cargo must be secured
- Driver qualifications
- Hours of service (how long a trucker can drive before resting)
- Alcohol limits
- Pre-employment checks that motor carriers must conduct before hiring drivers
- Inspection requirements
- Distracted driving
In addition, Georgia sets its own laws regarding commercial trucks. Understanding the intersection of these laws and how they apply after an accident can be hard for someone without legal training to unravel. A truck accident attorney understands the complexities of these statutes and can identify whether any violations contributed to the wreck that injured you.
Unlike the typical car crash, multiple parties may be at fault after a semi-truck accident. These include:
- Truck driver
- Truck company
- Owner of the truck
- Maintenance and repair companies
- Truck parts manufacturers, if an equipment failure contributed to the wreck
- State or municipal governments
- Other drivers
A truck accident lawyer can investigate the case thoroughly to identify every party that should be held responsible for the accident.
If multiple parties are to blame, the case immediately becomes more complex. First, there will be several insurance policies to review and multiple insurers to negotiate with. Second, each party will be blaming the other for the accident in an effort to reduce their ultimate payouts.
Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which is used to assign fault when more than one party is to blame for an accident. In order to receive compensation, you must be able to prove that you are less than 50 percent responsible for the crash. Even one percentage point higher will prevent you from obtaining any compensation whatsoever. With so much on the line, you need to hire a truck accident lawyer to protect your interests and ensure that you are not assigned an unfair portion of blame.
Negotiating for a Full and Fair Settlement
The settlement values for truck accident victims have the potential to be much higher than for individuals injured in car crashes. That’s because truck drivers, trucking companies, and other corporations have higher limits on their insurance policies than individual motorists. In other words, the pool of potential money is bigger.
Unfortunately, that also means the fighting among all involved parties will be intense. You can guarantee that each party will dispute its own liability in an effort to push blame away from them. And usually, they will try to place blame squarely on you.
Having a skilled truck accident attorney by your side during settlement negotiations provides you with a knowledgeable ally who can collect the evidence necessary to dispute even the most persuasive arguments. A lawyer can also subpoena evidence that can be difficult for a private individual to access (such as a truck driver’s cell phone records), which could provide valuable information to help your case.
The other advantage of hiring a truck accident lawyer is that you will have an advocate who truly knows what your case is worth. Numerous factors go into determining what a full and fair award might be. These include:
- The severity of your injuries
- Your prognosis for a full recovery
- Your economic losses from lost wages and lost earning potential
- Your non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering
- Your degree of fault for the wreck (if any)
- Your age
- Any pre-existing conditions
A Georgia truck accident attorney will look at your individual injuries and also at how much cases similar to yours have settled for in the past. That helps your lawyer put a reasonable estimate on how much your case is worth and what a fair settlement would be.
A Fierce Advocate at Trial
The goal of any personal injury case is to arrive at a fair settlement without the need for trial. Why? Trials take longer, are more expensive, and riskier.
When you sign a settlement offer, that’s guaranteed money. Take the case to trial, and you have the potential to win big — or not at all. Your fate will rest in the hands of the judge or jury.
However, the reality is that settlement talks sometimes break down, especially when a lot of money is at stake. Your truck accident lawyer may recommend filing a lawsuit and taking the case to trial to give you a better shot at getting the money you deserve.
Having a proven trial lawyer by your side is a huge advantage if your truck accident case goes to court. Plaintiffs in personal injury cases stand a much better chance of success with a lawyer who understands legal procedures and protocols by their sides.
Contact a Canton Truck Accident Lawyer
Have you been hurt in a truck accident in northern Georgia? Talk to a Canton truck accident lawyer at Geiger Legal Group, LLC today. Our battle-tested trial lawyers understand the hardships that innocent victims face in the aftermath of accidents caused by negligence. Let us help you get the justice you are owed.
Call or contact us today for a free consultation.