After suffering through a serious truck accident, you could face staggering medical expenses, pain and suffering, and trauma. You may not know how to pay your monthly bills when you can’t go to work.
An Atlanta truck accident lawyer can help you navigate the legal confusion and pursue the best possible strategy for recovering compensation. This article details how hiring a lawyer can benefit your case.
A Lawyer Can Handle All Aspects of Your Trucking Accident Case
Truck accidents are often life-altering. It could take years for victims to return to their normal lives. Fatal truck accidents can leave surviving family members grieving and wondering how to pick up the pieces.
One of the biggest reasons to hire a truck accident lawyer is to help with your case during a physically, emotionally, and financially stressful time. You are facing enough challenges in your day-to-day life as you attempt to heal from your injuries or losses. You shouldn’t have to take on the burdens of a major legal battle.
A lawyer can handle all the tasks involved with a truck accident case while you rest and recover. It can be a full-time job to attend doctors’ appointments, seek out necessary counseling, and manage your life after an accident. An attorney can handle your fight for financial recovery while you focus on what matters most.
Truck Accident Lawyers Can Build a Solid Foundation for Your Claim
When presenting your claim, you’ll need specific evidence to demonstrate liability and the extent of your losses, also known as damages.
Your trucking accident attorney can build a robust case. Some of the duties your lawyer may take on when investigating your accident include:
Obtaining Evidence for Your Case
A lawyer can gather many sources of evidence to build your case, including:
- Police reports
- Accident witnesses
- Smartphone videos of the accident
- Traffic camera footage from the accident
- Information from the truck’s onboard electronic information system
Gathering Your Medical Bills
You will need your medical records to demonstrate:
- The direct link between the truck accident and your injuries
- The extent of your injuries and your prognosis
- Any expected future medical treatment
An attorney knows which records to gather and how to present them compellingly to establish the medical basis for your compensation.
Gather Additional Evidence
The more compelling evidence you have to support your case, the better. A truck accident lawyer in Atlanta can obtain additional evidence, such as a commercial truck’s black box.
Data from a black box can answer:
- How fast was the truck moving?
- Did the truck speed up or slow down right before the accident?
- What were the truck’s tire pressures?
- How long did the driver operate the truck before the accident?
This evidence is valuable during settlement negotiations. Your lawyer can work to determine which, if any, pieces of additional evidence can support your claim.
- Medical bills, such as emergency transport and treatment, surgical costs, medications, assistive devices, and any necessary ongoing care
- Lost income
- Diminished earning capacity, if your injuries affect your ability to work in the future
- Miscellaneous expenses, such as the cost of getting to and from doctor’s appointments
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
We can also help you fight for compensation if you lost a loved one in a truck accident.
Once a lawyer has determined a value for your case, they can negotiate with the insurance representatives for a truck company, manufacturing company, and other potentially liable parties.
Many personal injury cases never go to trial as both parties generally want to avoid a jury trial’s additional expense and time. However, if the insurer refuses to offer you a fair settlement, a lawyer can file suit. An attorney can fight common negotiating tactics and work toward a satisfactory solution.
Remember that negotiations can even continue if your case goes to trial. Both sides can continue to negotiate-even until the jury begins deliberation. In addition, your lawyer can leave the door open for negotiation if the opposing party offers a fair settlement at the last minute.
A Lawyer Can Handle Any Roadblocks to Your Case
After your Atlanta trucking accident, you may hope those responsible will do the right thing and offer a fair settlement. However, that is not always the case.
Major trucking companies often have significant legal resources, including attorneys and other insurance representatives. These companies are dedicated to preserving profits-not paying out liability claims. As a result, lawyers for trucking companies may use their deep understanding of the law to minimize victims’ settlements or awards.
The insurance representatives may take steps to limit your financial recovery, such as:
- Using high-pressure tactics to convince you that the accident was your fault
- Goading you into saying things like “I’m sorry,” which a lawyer can use against you
An Atlanta personal injury attorney can counter these unfair tactics, protect your rights, and argue for the settlement you deserve. An attorney can protect your rights by speaking with the other party for you. This prevents you from saying anything that might jeopardize your case.
A Lawyer Handles Your Trial
If negotiations are not successful, your lawyer may advise that you move forward with a trial to seek financial compensation.
Going to trial is often a complicated process. You must file the proper paperwork and follow strict procedures, such as meeting deadlines. However, a truck accident lawyer can take on the pressure and challenges of a trial. They can handle the details involved in preparing a lawsuit and manage all the crucial litigation tasks.
A Lawyer Can File Before Your Claim’s Deadline Expires
Every state has laws regarding the statute of limitations for personal injury cases. The statute of limitations simply means that you have a deadline to file your lawsuit. For example, you generally have two years to do so in Georgia. However, under certain circumstances, this deadline may be shorter or longer. Hiring a trial attorney in Atlanta can also help you avoid missing your filing deadline.
Many unscrupulous insurance companies and other representatives may also use various stalling tactics to delay claims until these deadlines pass. A personal injury attorney can take steps to prevent missing your deadline.
A Lawyer Can Identify All Liable Parties
When involved with a commercial truck in an accident, the legal process is much more complicated. Simply finding out who to turn to for your compensation can present difficulties. It may seem like the driver should bear responsibility for your case on the surface.
However, the truck driver may not be the only target for your financial compensation.
Other entities that you may need to consider include:
- The truck driver’s employer
- The manufacturer of the truck
- The cargo loading company
- The trucking company’s insurance company
- The truck driver’s insurance company
- The manufacturer’s insurance company
- Government entities
The employer may be vicariously liable for the driver's actions if the truck driver is a company employee. You can hold the trucking company directly liable for an accident. Some trucking companies may skirt federal regulations. They may ignore laws and pressure their drivers to do the same. Federal safety rules may fall by the wayside by placing unrealistic demands on the trucking companies and drivers.
However, some truck drivers could be independent contractors. As a result, the trucking company may claim it has little or no control over the actions of an independent contractor-and may attempt to avoid liability accordingly.
An Atlanta truck accident lawyer can help track down the responsible parties and hold them accountable for your injuries and suffering. A lawyer also understands federal regulations that govern how commercial trucks may operate in the United States. Understanding these regulations can go a long way in pinpointing liability for your claim.
Lawyers Understand Important Trucking Regulations
The trucking industry does a significant amount of business in the United States. Nearly 40 million trucks transport commercial goods each year. That amounts to trillions of dollars in transported products moving through the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Because there are so many truckers driving so many miles, truck accidents involving passenger vehicles are bound to happen-and knowing trucking industry regulations can be crucial for demonstrating your case.
Your Atlanta personal injury lawyer understands how these regulations may affect your case. They can use this understanding to show the insurance companies why a driver or another party’s actions broke the law and resulted in your injuries. This information can help your cause when negotiating with these representatives.
#1. Limitations on Driving Hours
When a trucking company employs a driver or enlists the services of an independent driver, the driver must follow certain rules. For safety, commercial truck drivers can only drive a certain number of hours each day and week. They also must have a set minimum of hours off between driving shifts. These rules prevent fatigued drivers from causing accidents due to poor or reduced reaction times.
#2. Blood Alcohol Content Limits
Commercial truck drivers cannot have any measurable amount of alcohol in their system while behind the wheel. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations prohibit drivers from getting behind the wheel if they drank within the last four hours.
The law considers a commercial driver under the influence if they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 or above.
#3. Prescription Medication Regulations
Commercial truck drivers must also adhere to strict regulations when taking prescription medications. Truck drivers are also subject to random alcohol or drug tests because many medications can impair driving. Truck drivers may also face immediate testing after an accident. Knowing these regulations, your truck accident lawyer can find past test results for the driver, looking for patterns of impaired driving.
#4. State and Federal Maintenance and Repair Laws
State and federal laws keep commercial trucks safe and well maintained for traveling on the roads. Commercial trucks must undergo inspections before driving. Trucking companies must also keep records proving the proper maintenance of their fleet. Trucking company vehicles must comply with annual fleet inspection requirements.
#5. Weight Limits
Truck drivers and commercial trucking companies must also adhere to weight limits. Federal law typically requires commercial trucks to keep their loads below 80,000 pounds. Cargo loading companies must follow specific procedures to properly secure the cargo and balance the load. Ignoring these laws can lead to an increased likelihood of accidents and severe injury.
An attorney can understand the nuances of these and other regulations. A personal injury lawyer can pinpoint where and how a company could have broken these regulations.
An Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyer Can Offer Guidance
Dealing with the aftermath of such a trying ordeal can leave even the most resolute person shaken. Recovering from the trauma of a serious accident and trying to make sound legal decisions can overwhelm you. If you hire an Atlanta personal injury attorney, you can devote more time to recovering from your accident. Choosing the right accident lawyer means you will have someone to turn to when deciding what to do next.
A law firm with experience handling truck accident cases can help guide you through the complicated paperwork and legal requirements when seeking justice for your suffering. By hiring a truck accident attorney, you can get peace of mind knowing that someone is doing everything possible for your case while you focus on your recovery.