There’s no question that large trucks are dangerous neighbors on roads. 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, 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, due to their massive size and weight. Determining liability can also be complicated because the truck driver may not be the only one at fault.
At Monge & Associates, our Atlanta truck accident attorneys have the experience you need to stand up to big insurance companies, trucking companies, and whoever else may be responsible for your injuries—and we know how to win your case.
We Can Double or Triple Your Case Value
Call (800) 860-8021 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.
“I loved the service provided by Monge & Associates. They are always very polite and are very eager to help you through your situation. I would definitely recommend them 100%!” - Bryana C
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)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
At Monge & Associates, we believe that the more informed you are, the better able you are to make decisions about your future and your case. If you or your loved one was involved in a tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler, or semi-truck accident, you likely have many questions.
Browse our FAQs to find answers to common truck accident questions:
- Who is responsible for a truck accident?
- I was injured in a collision with a truck. Do I have a case?
- Can I file a claim if my family member was killed in a truck accident?
- What damages am I able to recover in a truck accident case?
- How are truck accident cases investigated?
- How much is my truck accident case worth?
- Should I accept the insurance settlement?
- Do I really need an attorney for my truck accident claim?
- What should I look for in a truck accident attorney?
If you have specific questions about your case, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
Who Is Responsible for Truck Accidents?
In any truck accident case, there may be a number of liable parties. While it may seem like the truck driver is the one who caused the accident, he is an employee of the trucking company. As such, the trucking company may be partially or fully responsible.
For example, some trucking companies attempt to cut corners and maximize profits by pressuring drivers to meet unrealistic quotas. This, in turn, can cause those drivers to violate hours-of-service regulations, drive while fatigued, or use stimulants to meet strict deadlines. In such cases, the trucking company may be found partially responsible for looking the other way or even encouraging these risky and illegal behaviors.
If you were injured in a truck accident, it is in your best interest to have an attorney look at your case and determine exactly who is liable for your injuries and losses.
I Was Injured in a Collision with a Truck. Do I Have a Case?
While many truck accident cases involve negligence on the part of the driver, trucking company, or manufacturer, not every truck accident entitles you to compensation. Some truck accidents are the result of negligence on the part of other motorists.
In order to pursue a claim for damages, you will need to prove that the other involved party/parties are at fault for the accident. You will also need to prove that the accident directly or indirectly caused your injuries, which have diminished your quality of life.
Can I File a Claim If My Family Member Was Killed in a Truck Accident?
In Georgia, certain family members may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a relative who was killed by another person, company, or entity’s negligent actions or inactions.
Individuals who may file a wrongful death claim in Georgia are, in order:
- The surviving spouse and minor children (if any) of the deceased
- The surviving parent or parents of the deceased if there is no spouse or minor children
- The personal representative of the deceased’s estate if there is no surviving spouse, minor children, or parents
What Damages Am I Able to Recover in a Truck Accident Case?
The specific damages you may be able to recover will depend on the detail of your case. If you were injured in the accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost income/wages
- Lost future earnings (“earning ability”)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- and more.
If your loved one was killed in the accident, you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses prior to death
- Funeral/burial costs
- Loss of income (if the deceased was your primary source of financial support)
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional suffering
- and more.
In rare cases, you may be able to recover punitive damages if you can show that the negligence that led to the accident was egregious or that the accident was caused by intentional wrongdoing.
How Are Truck Accident Cases Investigated?
Most truck accident investigations begin when the victim or victim’s family hires an attorney. From there, the attorney requests verification of the truck driver’s qualifications from the trucking company. The trucking company provides the attorney with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) required “driver qualification file,” or DQF.
The DQF includes information regarding the driver’s medical/lab test results, driving record, commercial driver’s license standing, and more.
The attorney will also investigate police reports, take witness statements, review the truck’s electronic on-board recorder, and may even visit the accident site and view the truck. In many cases, the attorney will work with accident reconstruction specialists, trucking industry experts, economists, and other professionals to determine exactly how the accident occurred, the total losses suffered by the victim, and who is liable.
How Much Is My Truck Accident Case Worth?
It is understandable that most people want to know how much their case is worth. They want to know that they will be able to afford their medical bills and ongoing treatment, as well as the other damages, such as lost income, disability, pain, and suffering.
However, it is impossible to say how much your case is worth without looking into the details involved in the accident. Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with our truck accident lawyers to learn more about how much your case might be worth.
Should I Accept the Insurance Settlement?
After an accident, the trucking company’s insurance provider will likely reach out to you. They may ask you to make a statement. However, it is crucial that you remember that these insurance companies are not here to help you. They are trying to save themselves money and avoid paying out the full value of your claim.
All too often, we have seen accident victims accept lowball settlement offers from liable insurance companies. Once you have accepted a settlement, you forfeit all your legal rights to pursue any claim. Rather than speak to the liable party’s insurance adjustor, contact the attorneys at Monge & Associates for a free consultation.
We guarantee a bigger settlement offer than you had prior to hiring us or you pay us nothing.
Do I Really Need an Attorney for My Truck Accident Claim?
In short, yes; it is nearly impossible to successfully pursue a truck accident claim on your own. This is largely due to the complexity of these types of cases. There may be multiple parties at fault for the accident and, therefore, multiple parties liable for your injuries.
Additionally, trucking companies have the money and resources to hire their own lawyers who will do everything they can to prove you were responsible for the accident. They work hard to devalue or even deny your claim. It is crucial that you hire a lawyer who knows how to take on these major trucking companies and insurance providers.
At Monge & Associates, we understand that costs are usually a concern. We are proud to offer contingent fees, meaning there is no upfront cost for you. Instead, our attorneys’ fees are paid via a pre-agreed-upon percentage of your recovery at the conclusion of your case. In other words, you do not pay us unless we win your case.
What Should I Look for in an Attorney?
Because truck accident cases are very complicated, it is important that your attorney has experience handling these types of claims. At Monge & Associates, we have been assisting injured individuals and families throughout Georgia and the surrounding areas since 1993. We have recovered over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf our clients.
You will also want an attorney who takes the time to listen to you and is there to answer your questions and address your concerns. No two accidents or injury claims are the same and, therefore, your attorney should not offer you a one-size-fits-all solution.
At Monge & Associates, we are proud to offer compassionate, individualized services to all our clients. We are available 24/7, and we can even come to you at home or in the hospital. We believe that you have the right to talk to us the same day you call and that you have the right to stay informed and updated about your case throughout the entire process.
If you are not 100% satisfied with how you’re treated within the first 30 days of hiring our firm, you are free to take your file—no costs and no questions asked.
Call the Expert Legal Team at Monge & Associates 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 Georgia?" Because you want to win.
Even if your truck accident seems simple, you need an Atlanta truck accident lawyer defending your rights. We represent clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims arising out of truck crashes. From the moment you contact our firm, 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.