Located just a few miles from Atlanta, Woodstock sees its fair share of semi-trucks traveling its roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 204 people were killed in accidents involving a large truck during a recent year. If you are ever involved in a Woodstock truck accident, it is vital that you understand your legal rights and what to do in the immediate aftermath.
The Woodstock truck accident attorneys at Geiger Legal Group, LLC have more than 40 years of legal experience helping accident victims pursue maximum compensation for their injuries. We are ready to assist you with every aspect of your claim and hold trucking companies responsible for their negligence. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and options following a serious truck accident.
Common Causes of Truck Collisions in Woodstock, Georgia
There are many possible reasons why a truck accident may occur. The trucking industry consists of many different moving parts and parties. The negligence of any of these parties can cause an accident. An experienced Woodstock semi-truck accident lawyer can thoroughly investigate your case and determine the cause of your accident.
Some of the most common causes of truck collisions in Georgia include:
Driver fatigue is a leading cause of truck accidents. Truck drivers must spend many hours behind the wheel and can get tired while driving. Additionally, many trucking companies pressure truck drivers to make deliveries faster to increase their bottom line. This can lead to drivers exceeding the hours of service rules the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented to help prevent accidents caused by this very reason. These rules limit truck drivers to a total of 11 hours of driving after 10 consecutive hours off duty or 10 hours of driving after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
When drivers violate these rules, they may become drowsy while driving or even fall asleep at the wheel. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that drowsy driving can cause:
- Slower reaction times and ability to respond to hazards
- Altered judgment
- Decreased coordination
The CDC says that driving without enough sleep causes the same effects as drunk driving.
Because trucking companies are usually paid by the load, they may encourage truckers to reach their destinations in less time by speeding. By getting to their destination faster, truckers can pick up another load and complete their delivery in less time, padding the trucking company’s profits.
However, when truck drivers speed, they put other motorists at tremendous risk because:
- Drivers are more likely to lose control of their vehicle at higher speeds
- Drivers have less time to come to a complete stop after recognizing a hazard when speeding
- High-speed accidents cause more severe injuries and fatalities
- Safety equipment in passenger vehicles is less effective at higher speeds
Driving a commercial truck requires a tremendous amount of skill. Drivers must be trained to safely operate these vehicles that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Drivers must learn how to make wide turns safely and how to frequently check their substantial blind spots. However, trucking companies often have a hard time keeping enough drivers on staff because the job is so tough on them. In the rush to get out deliveries, they may skip necessary training, putting inexperienced drivers on the road.
Driving a truck for hours on end can be tedious, leading many truck drivers to look to stimuli to keep them entertained, such as:
- Watching movies
- Talking on the radio or a cell phone
- Eating or drinking
Unsafe Driving Practices
Truckers sometimes take advantage of their vehicle’s larger size and stature. They might tailgate other cars to force them to move over or assume that another vehicle will not turn in front of them. Drivers may ignore traffic signs and signals, such as running a red light. These unsafe driving practices can increase the odds of a truck crash.
Truckers might also travel too fast for road or weather conditions. Trucks require significantly more time and distance to slow down and stop than other vehicles. When they are unable to stop in time to avoid a collision, the results are often tragic.
Trucking companies are responsible for hiring qualified and safe drivers. If drivers cause accidents or take drugs or alcohol, they must take swift action to ensure their drivers are safe. They must also complete background checks and medical screenings on their drivers. When they fail to properly hire or supervise their drivers, they can be held legally responsible for their negligence.
Defective Trucks or Maintenance
Trucks that are poorly designed or not properly maintained can cause serious injuries or death when they fail during operation. The FMSCA requires that trucks be inspected before they are sent out for a delivery. However, some trucking companies cut corners by skipping these inspections, putting other motorists at risk.
The companies that make defective trucks or the components inside of them can be held financially responsible for damages stemming from car accidents due to these defects.
An experienced semi-truck accident lawyer can determine why the truck accident happened and identify all potentially liable parties.
Types of Truck Accident Injuries
Truck accidents can lead to some of the most devastating and catastrophic injuries of all motor vehicle accidents. Truck accident injuries are often life-changing and may require long-term medical treatment.
Some of the most common types of truck accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries – During a collision with a large truck, accident victims may hit their head on a hard surface in their vehicle, leading to traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can impact victims’ cognitive function, memory, communication, and motor function.
- Neck and spinal cord injuries – Truck accidents can also cause neck and spinal cord injuries, which can lead to paralysis and extreme pain. Spinal cord injuries can also cause nerve pain and loss of mobility.
- Fractures – Broken bones commonly occur during truck accidents. These injuries may require surgery and casts to repair.
- Amputations – Accident victims may experience severed limbs or other body parts due to the speed and force involved in the truck accident.
- Burn injuries – Some trucks carry gasoline, fuel, or other combustible materials. When an accident involves them, victims can suffer burns or other disfiguring injuries.
Potential Compensation in a Truck Accident Case
Truck accidents can have a devastating effect on a victim’s life. A victim may require surgery, invasive medical treatment, and years of rehabilitation. Your injuries may prevent you from returning to work or earning a living. If a truck driver or trucking company’s negligence caused you physical, mental, or financial harm, you have a right to pursue compensation for the full value of that harm.
Our experienced Woodstock accident lawyers can identify all potential forms of compensation to which you may be entitled, including:
- Medical expenses, including costs for long-term hospitalization, surgeries, physical rehabilitation, and future medical expenses
- Property damage to cover the cost to repair or replace your vehicle and other personal property that was damaged in the accident
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Costs to modify your home and other disability accommodations
- Pain and suffering
We want you to focus on your recovery while we pursue the maximum compensation available for your claim.
What to Do After a Truck Accident in Woodstock, GA
After an accident in Woodstock, follow these steps to protect your claim:
- Seek immediate medical attention. You may not know the full extent of your injuries, so let emergency medical professionals help.
- Report the accident. Contact law enforcement so an official report can be completed. A law enforcement officer may also investigate if the truck driver committed an illegal act, such as drinking and driving.
- Exchange information with the truck driver. Be sure you get their name, employer’s name, insurance information, and identifying information from their truck.
- Document the scene. Take pictures of the accident scene, the damaged vehicles, relevant road and weather conditions, and your injuries.
- Ask any witnesses for their names and contact information.
- Contact an experienced Woodstock truck accident lawyer for help.
How a Woodstock Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You
An experienced Woodstock truck accident lawyer can assist with every stage of the process, including:
- Investigation – Because multiple parties may be responsible for your accident, it is vital to gather strong evidence to prove your case. Our talented semi-truck accident lawyers can gather photos of the truck accident scene, demand electronic data stored on the big rig, interview witnesses, hire expert witnesses who can explain how the accident occurred, and request other evidence that may establish the cause of the accident, such as maintenance records, delivery reports, and driving logs.
- Demand package – Your lawyer can prepare a demand letter and supplemental documents to explain the legal basis for your claim and the amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
- Settlement negotiations – We will work tirelessly to secure a favorable outcome for your case through aggressive negotiations with the insurance companies.
- Trial – If a fair settlement is not achieved, a lawyer can prepare your case for trial and assist throughout the litigation process.
If you were hurt in a truck accident, contact our Woodstock personal injury lawyers from Geiger Legal Group, LLC. We are a 5-star rated business and family-run law firm. We will focus on helping you recover the compensation you deserve after a serious truck accident.
Contact us today for a free consultation.