With Atlanta being a major transportation hub, and the Port of Savannah acting as one of the country’s busiest seaports, Georgia’s interstate systems are often filled with large trucks and tractor trailers. The state’s busy roadways can mean a higher risk of collisions with a tractor trailers – and, if this happens, you want to get a personal injury lawyer involved as soon as possible. Tractor trailer collisions are different than crashes involving smaller passenger vehicles, and they present a different set of legal challenges.
To begin, if you are in a collision with a tractor trailer, you may suffer serious injures because of the size and weight of the truck. Commercial 18-wheelers are some of the biggest, heaviest vehicles allowed on the roadway. There are a number of ways to be injured in a tractor trailer collision: some of them might be obvious at the scene, other injuries could take time and proper medical attention to detect.
Second, interstate trucking companies are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This group publishes the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which contains very specific rules about: hiring drivers, annual safety reviews, truck inspection and maintenance requirements, how many hours the driver can safety operate the truck, substance abuse testing, safety procedures, and record retention. If a driver violates any of these regulations, the driver and/or the trucking company can be held responsible and charged with negligence.
Third, tractor trailer collisions are different than crashes with passenger vehicles because tractor trailers have complex computer tracking systems built into them. These devices are similar to an airplane black box; it tracks what happened in the seconds before the crash. A lawyer can help preserve this tractor trailer computer system in order to determine what the driver was doing right before the collision, as well as any patterns of problematic driving behavior (ex: speeding, improper braking, etc.).
Fourth, tractor trailer collision cases may require a “tractor trailer collision reconstruction engineer” to help clarify exactly what happened during the collision. These engineers have specialized skills; they inspect the truck’s computer system and parts of the vehicle itself to determine what happened during the crash. Not only would a lawyer be needed to connect with one of these engineers; a lawyer would also need to file the appropriate paperwork so that the trucking company does not destroy the tractor trailer before the completion of the personal injury case.
In addition to preserving the vehicle itself, an attorney is also needed to request and preserve the records relating to: the driver, the trucking company, and the tractor trailer inspection and maintenance. The attorney should also speak with the driver (under oath) about the circumstances surrounding the crash.
Tractor Trailer collisions are different not only because of the severity of the incident, but also, because of the trucking industry’s unique regulations and policies. Hiring an attorney is imperative, because they know how to access and interpret the records to prove your case. If you or someone you know has been involved in a collision with a tractor trailer, give Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group a call today at (404) 436-1529.