NewsPersonal InjuryTrucking Accidents and Compensation in Atlanta, Georgia

November 21, 20220

Trucking accidents happen daily, and they’re devastating to all involved. Those in smaller vehicles can be severely injured or killed in a trucking accident, leading to the need for compensation for injuries and damages. When a trucking accident occurs, working with a lawyer to seek compensation will be a good idea. The laws can be complex, so it is important to have the right help when looking to receive compensation from a truck driver or other liable party. 

How Trucking Accidents Occur

Trucking accidents can occur for a number of reasons, just like other car accidents. Driver error does account for a large number of accidents and can include driving under the influence, speeding, driving while distracted, or driving aggressively. It can also include failing to drive cautiously under poor road conditions, ignoring caution signs for road hazards, or failing to switch lanes appropriately.

There are times when trucking accidents may not be due to the truck driver. Other reasons for accidents that may lead to someone else being liable can include driving an overloaded truck, driving one that’s improperly balanced, not fixing mechanical issues, or driving without taking required breaks for sleep or rest. This can also include drivers who are not properly trained and are not ready to drive the truck, especially in adverse conditions they weren’t trained to handle. 

Liability for Trucking Accidents

Liability can change depending on the exact cause of the accident, and the injured party can only receive compensation from the liable party. While the truck driver is liable in most accidents caused by the truck, there are other parties that could be liable, too. These include the following.

The Employer

The truck driver’s employer may be held liable for the accident if they forced the driver to skip required breaks, failed to train the driver, or failed to inspect and maintain the truck according to local laws. While the driver does hold some responsibility here, the employer may be the main liable party if the accident was caused by drowsiness, improper training, or failure to fix mechanical issues with the truck. 

Manufacturer of Truck

The manufacturer could be held liable if the accident occurred due to a mechanical defect. If there is something wrong with the truck and it wasn’t recalled or repaired by the manufacturer, it could lead to an accident. In these cases, the manufacturer or a related party may be held liable for the accident. 

Cargo Company

Many trucks are loaded by a cargo company before they set off for their destination. If the company that loads the truck doesn’t do it properly, it could lead to an accident, and they could be held liable. This can include putting too much cargo in the truck or failing to balance the load. It could also include failing to secure the load properly. 

Types of Compensation Available

Compensation is intended to provide the injured person with funds to cover expenses they wouldn’t have had if the accident didn’t occur and to make up for the issues caused by the injuries. This is typically covered by economic damages, though there are non-economic damages the injured person can receive compensation for, too. Plus, depending on the circumstances, the injured person may receive punitive damages, though those are a different type of compensation and not based on the person’s injuries. 

Economic Damages 

Economic damages, at their most basic, are ones that are easy to calculate. These types of damages can be proven through bills, receipts, and payment schedules. The following are some of the most common types of economic damages after a trucking accident. 

Current Medical Bills

Current medical costs can include any time spent in the hospital, visits with a doctor, prescriptions, medical devices that may be required, physical therapy, and any other medical expenses related to the accident. 

Future Medical Bills

Severe and permanent injuries will require future medical care. Though this can be difficult to predict, payment schedules can help with predicting the cost of future care. A doctor may be needed to determine how much care will likely be needed in the future. 

Medically Necessary Renovations

If someone is severely injured in the accident and requires a wheelchair or similar medical device, renovations to their home may be required to make it accessible. In these circumstances, renovations may be covered by compensation since they are required due to the accident. Renovations not related to making the home accessible will not be covered. 

Property Damage

Property damaged in the accident, such as the injured person’s vehicle, should be covered under the compensation received. If the vehicle is totaled, the compensation should cover the purchase of a vehicle of equal value. If the vehicle is damaged but not totaled, the compensation should cover the repairs needed to restore the vehicle to how it was before the accident. 

Lost Wages

Wages lost while the injured person is recovering or permanently if they are unable to return to work due to the severity of the injuries should be covered by the compensation they receive from the liable party. 

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are those that are not as easy to calculate as they aren’t based on bills or expenses. These are beyond the amount of money received for economic damages and can include pain and suffering, mental anguish, the loss of a loved one, and more. Information from therapy or doctor’s visits can help with proving mental anguish and similar types of non-economic damage. The severity of the pain and suffering or mental anguish can help determine the price associated with them, and the compensation received. Note that therapy costs will be covered under economic damages, but non-economic damages are designed to provide financial coverage for the feelings themselves. 

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are designed as a punishment for the liable party, so they’re not based on expenses or pain and suffering like the other types of damages. Instead, they’re meant to punish drivers who were negligent and to serve as a warning for other drivers to avoid the same mistakes. Punitive damages can vary wildly depending on the circumstances of the accident. 

Legal Limitations for Claims

While there are many different types of compensation an injured person can receive, there are limitations placed on truck accident cases, too. It is important to understand the limitations to prepare for them. The most important one to be aware of is the statute of limitations. In Georgia, the injured party has two years from the date of the accident to file a claim for compensation. After this point, they can no longer make a claim. It is important to start as early as possible, though, as there may be other limitations. 

In many states, there is a cap on pain and suffering, but this doesn’t apply in Georgia. In some states, there are ways for the liable party to attempt to blame the accident on the victim in a way to avoid a payout. Georgia, however, has modified comparative fault. If the plaintiff was not more than 50% at fault for the accident, they could still recover compensation for the accident. 

Trucking accidents can be challenging to handle, so it’s important to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, who is familiar with these types of cases. If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, call Latin Law Group at 678-890-5868 or visit atlpiattorney.com for a consultation.

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