There’s no question that large trucks are dangerous neighbors on roads. Most big rigs are colossal in size and can crush smaller passenger vehicles in seconds. Despite modern auto safety features, many motorists barely escape with their lives when truck crashes occur. Tragically, others do not survive at all.
The trucking industry is heavily regulated by the federal government. The rules are intended to prevent common causes of catastrophic semi-truck wrecks, such as driver fatigue, impaired drivers, and improper maintenance. But the sad reality is that violations are increasingly common.
The injuries sustained in truck crashes are usually much worse than ones that occur in other types of wrecks. Determining liability can be complicated because the truck driver may not be the only one at fault. Our Atlanta truck accident attorneys have the experience you need to tackle insurance companies, trucking companies, and whoever else may be responsible for your injuries—and we know how to win your case.
Call (800) 860-8021 or submit an online contact form to get started with your free Evaluate Without a Wait Guarantee to find out if you have a case and how much it’s really worth.
Georgia Semi-Truck Accident Statistics
Large trucks are classified as any vehicle that exceeds 10,000 pounds. However, many tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, logging trucks, single-unit trucks, and semi-trucks can tip the scales at as much as 80,000 pounds. When you consider that the average car weighs about 3,000 pounds, it’s not surprising that the majority of those killed and hurt in truck accidents are the drivers and passengers of other vehicles, not the truck drivers themselves.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) reports that in an average year, the percentage of fatal large truck crashes is four times greater than in accidents involving passenger vehicles. GDOT statistics also show that about 5,000 people are injured and more than 200 are killed in Georgia truck collisions each year.
The upward trend in the frequency of truck accidents across the country continues to capture nationwide attention, particularly from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Recent measures to improve truck safety have involved:
- Developing stricter hours-of-service rules that dictate how long truck drivers can stay behind the wheel
- A proposal to impose a top speed limit for heavy trucks
- A proposal to prevent rollovers by requiring stability control systems on trucks
- Rejecting a petition to drop the requirement that heavy trucks have anti-lock brakes
Unfortunately, we know that even the best regulations cannot prevent truckers and companies from disregarding the rules when money is at stake. When profits trump safety, tragedies can happen.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck crashes are no different from car accidents or motorcycle accidents when drivers behave recklessly behind the wheel. Speeding, tailgating, erratic lane changes, and running red lights are deadly no matter the type of vehicle. They’re especially unacceptable coming from truck drivers, who receive specialized training to get their commercial drivers’ licenses.
However, there are some violations that are especially noted among the top causes of truck driver accidents, both in Georgia and nationwide:
- Driver fatigue: Truck drivers are on the open roads for hours at a time. The hauls can be long and monotonous, which can strain the eyes and lead to sleepiness, headaches, irritability, and problems with concentration. FMCSA has set strict hours-of-service regulations for drivers in an effort to reduce truck accidents caused by driver fatigue, but each year more than 750 people die and another 20,000 are injured in fatigue-related truck wrecks.
- Poor truck maintenance: FMCSA regulations outline how often a truck must be inspected for properly functioning brakes, tires, headlights, speedometers, and other parts that are needed for safe operation. This is an area where truck owners or other parties tasked with truck care may be liable if an accident occurs because they skimped on maintenance in an effort to save money.
- Drunk driving or other substance abuse: Driving drunk or while under the influence of drugs is illegal among all motor vehicle operators. But truckers are also vulnerable to crashes when taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs without knowing how it affects their bodies.
- Pressure from employers: Sadly, truck companies and shipping companies often hound drivers to make early deliveries in order to receive extra profits. That can lead truck drivers to violate the federal hours-of-service requirements, which increases the likelihood of fatigue-induced accidents.
- Defective parts or equipment: Defective truck tires can lead to tire blowouts, which may cause the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle. Other truck parts and equipment that can be defective include brakes, airbags, horns, power steering, headlights and brake lights, doors, and locking mechanisms.
- Unsafe cargo: Dangerous cargo or overloaded trucks can also lead to serious accidents. Trucks that are too heavy or difficult to maneuver cause numerous accidents every year. Improperly secured hazardous waste can also lead to serious accidents.
How Do Truck Accident Claims Work?
Establishing proof in your truck accident case is essential. We understand the importance of quickly identifying witnesses, interviewing police officers, and if necessary, retaining accident reconstruction experts.
Truck accident cases can yield a lot of evidence because drivers are required to keep log books that document every single hour of their trips, including where they stopped, when they took a break and if they performed required safety checks along the way. However, sometimes drivers falsify their log books or give a fake copy to accident investigators. Recognizing this, the Atlanta truck accident attorneys at Monge & Associates can obtain fuel and gas receipts, along with other paperwork, to prove the driver’s negligence.
Once liability is established in your truck accident case, the next step is to prove, explain, and quantify the seriousness of your personal injuries. We have extensive contacts in the medical community to assist our clients in documenting the severity of their injuries and the long-term consequences faced by injured victims. In many cases, we use economists, medical experts, and even life care planners to bolster our case.
Our mission is to make sure that you receive compensation for economic and non-economic losses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages and productivity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Rental car reimbursement
- Costs for assistive devices like wheelchairs or walkers
- Travel expenses for doctor’s appointments
- Scars and disfigurement
- Punitive damages (in certain cases)
Call Our Expert Legal Team Today
At Monge & Associates, our mission is to help you get money that can ease some of the financial strain that comes with medical bills, therapy, time off work, and other losses. Why should you call Scott Monge, The Hammer of Monge & Associates? Because you want to win.
We offer a satisfaction guarantee; if you are not completely satisfied with our services during the first 30 days after hiring our firm, your case file will be returned to you with no questions asked and no legal fees due. Another promise: If we don’t win, you won’t pay us.
Even if your truck accident seems simple, you need an experienced law firm like us defending your rights. We represent clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims arising out of tractor-trailer and other large truck crashes. From the moment you contact us, you can count on us to fight for you in settlement negotiations or, if necessary, in the courtroom.
Call us at (800) 860-8021 or use our online contact form for a free settlement evaluation.