If you or someone you love recently suffered harm in a truck accident, you should immediately hire a truck accident attorney. Time is of the essence in the aftermath of a truck crash. Your rights to compensation are at risk, and you need someone to advocate for you and pursue compensation for your losses as soon as possible.
In this post, we examine the unique aspects of truck accidents that make it essential to hire a lawyer and discuss the services a Atlanta truck accident attorney can provide in seeking compensation on your behalf.
Overview of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents involve large commercial vehicles such as semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, or other heavy freight carriers. They're among the most serious crashes that can occur due to the sheer size and weight of trucks and the extensive damage they can inflict on smaller vehicles and their occupants.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents have various causes, but most of them are preventable and result from human error or misconduct.
Many truck crashes result from the negligent or wrongful actions of drivers and trucking companies, such as:
- Driver fatigue: Truck drivers often work long hours and may not take sufficient breaks, leading to fatigue, which reduces their reaction time and increases the likelihood of an accident.
- Speeding: Given the pressure to meet tight deadlines, some truck drivers exceed the speed limit or drive too fast for the conditions, contributing to accidents.
- Distracted driving: This includes activities such as eating, using a mobile phone, or adjusting the radio while driving that could divert the driver's attention from the road.
- Improper truck maintenance: A trucking company's failure to keep its trucks in proper working condition can lead to mechanical failures, causing accidents.
- Overloading or improper loading: Trucks carrying more than their stated capacity or with an unbalanced or unsecured cargo load can be hard to control, leading to accidents.
- Lack of training: If a driver hasn't received the proper training to handle the demands of driving a large truck, they may make mistakes that can cause an accident.
- Intoxication: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a significant factor in many truck accidents.
Truck accidents don't only result from trucker and trucking company errors.
Other preventable, contributing causes of crashes that might not involve human error or dangerous conduct on the part of the truck driver include:
- Poor road conditions: Badly maintained roads, potholes, poor signage, or a lack of proper lighting can contribute to accidents, especially for large trucks that require longer response times than smaller vehicles.
- Vehicle defects: Some truck accidents occur due to a defect in the truck or its components, such as faulty brakes, steering mechanisms, or issues with the tires or engine. Such cases may result in the manufacturer of the defective part or the entire vehicle being liable.
- Negligence of other drivers: Drivers of other vehicles can also contribute to truck accidents by being alert on sharing the road with large trucks. They might, for example, cut in front of a truck without leaving enough space, brake suddenly, or drive in the truck's "no-zones," where the truck driver has limited or no visibility.
These are by no means the only potential causes of truck accidents, but they illustrate the various factors that can contribute to a preventable crash.
The Severity and Complexity of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents tend to result in significant damage and loss compared to other vehicle accidents. The massive weight and size of trucks, often loaded with heavy cargo, create extreme forces that can easily destroy smaller vehicles, inflicting severe, life-altering injuries or causing fatalities. The costs of truck accidents are typically extremely high, and suffering comes with injuries and loss of life.
Truck crashes can also result in significant and complex legal and insurance issues. Multiple parties may have a commercial or financial interest in a truck and potential liability if it crashes, and many victims may have significant claims for compensation. In the aftermath of a truck accident, each party may take conflicting legal actions to assert their rights or shield themselves from damage. It takes a skilled lawyer to navigate these complexities.
Services a Truck Accident Lawyer Provides
An experienced truck accident attorney provides a range of valuable services and advice to ensure you have the strongest possible chance of receiving the maximum compensation for your losses.
Truck Accident Investigation and Damages Evaluation
Your lawyer can conduct an independent investigation of the cause of your accident and identify the liable parties.
A skilled truck accident lawyer does not accept the findings of official inquiries but examines the evidence to ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. Your truck accident lawyer can review whether the trucker or trucking company complied with trucking industry regulations and, if not, how those violations contributed to your accident and their liability.
An attorney can also evaluate the full extent of your damages by calculating the value of all your economic and non-economic losses to secure the maximum possible compensation from the at-fault parties and insurance companies.
Your Advisor and Representative
Your truck accident attorney offers advice and guidance to assist you in overcoming the challenges you face after a truck accident. They can answer your questions, explain the legal process, and walk you through your options. They also handle all interactions with insurance companies, ensuring they process your claim fairly and protecting you from making mistakes in conversations with aggressive insurance adjusters.
Claim Filing and Litigation
Your truck accident attorney will prepare and file insurance claims and lawsuits and seek compensation. Your skilled lawyer will present your claim thoroughly, accurately, and convincingly, ensuring liable parties and insurance companies acknowledge liability and pay the damages they owe.
Negotiating a Fair Settlement
Most truck accident claims settle out of court through negotiations with the at-fault party and their liability insurance company. Your experienced truck accident attorney will conduct those negotiations and advise you about accepting or rejecting any settlement offers. The decision whether to settle your claim, however, is always yours to make.
Taking Your Case to Court
Courts often resolve truck accident cases that do not settle through negotiation. Your truck accident attorney can take your case to court and present it to a judge and jury. Trials involving truck accident cases are relatively rare, but when they happen, you need an advocate with the knowledge to explain complex issues and make convincing arguments.
Enforcing Your Judgment
If your case achieves a favorable outcome through a settlement, judgment, or jury award, your truck accident attorney will ensure you receive your compensation. They will undertake additional legal proceedings to force payment if necessary.
Characteristics to Look For in the Right Truck Accident Attorney for Your Case
You need an attorney who can handle the unique challenges of truck accident cases. You should feel comfortable trusting your attorney with your future.
Here are some key characteristics to look for in a truck accident attorney.
Experience With Truck Accident Cases
Truck accident cases are notoriously complex. You should choose an attorney who is familiar with those complexities and knows how to navigate them effectively to secure the compensation you deserve.
Reputation in the Legal Community and Track Record of Success in Truck Accident Matters
A solid track record in successfully handling truck accident cases demonstrates an attorney's ability to handle your claim. Fellow professionals' opinions of an attorney often indicate their competence and integrity. When choosing an attorney, research their past cases and their standing in the legal community.
Clear Communication and Availability to Clients
You will likely interact with your attorney throughout your truck accident case. Your attorney's ability to communicate effectively and their availability when you need them is important. Ask potential attorneys about their communication style, such as how often they send updates and how accessible they are to answer your questions or address your concerns.
Someone You Feel You Can Trust
Most importantly, choose a truck accident attorney you can trust. Your attorney will be your advocate, representative, and, sometimes, counselor in a stressful and challenging time.
You should feel comfortable and confident that they are looking out for your best interests. Trust your instincts when meeting with potential attorneys; if you don't feel comfortable or confident in their abilities, continue your search until you find the right fit.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Today
Hiring an experienced truck accident attorney is the most critical step you take to protect your rights after suffering losses in a vehicle accident. A lawyer can advocate for you, advise you, and fight to ensure you receive every penny of compensation you deserve.
Don't wait a second longer. For a free consultation about your rights and options, contact an experienced truck accident lawyer today.