How Much is My Semi-Truck Accident Worth in Georgia?
If you have been involved in a collision with a big rig truck, and have suffered serious injuries or the loss of a loved one, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Why?
- The first reason is that there may be a number of parties that can be sued due to their negligence.
- The second reason is that truck drivers are often required to have higher insurance policy limits than ordinary drivers. What does this mean?
If you get in an accident with a truck driver, and it was not your fault, you may be more protected than you would be if you got in an accident with a small passenger car. Semi-trucks often have much more insurance coverage than small passenger cars.
As a result of this, a semi-truck accident case may result in very large verdicts and settlements, depending on the injury, damages, and/or losses. If you have been in a truck accident, this makes hiring the right attorney very important. Getting fair compensation may be at risk if you get an inexperienced attorney.
It would be a terrible thing if you hired the wrong attorney who didn’t get you fair compensation because of inexperience, and then you are left with unpaid medical bills.
What is the Difference Between an Employee Semi-Truck Driver and an Independent Contractor Semi-Truck Driver?
There is an important distinction between truck drivers that are employees and independent contractors:
Getting Compensation as an Employee: Some truck drivers are direct employees of the companies for whom they are driving for. If you were in a collision with a truck driver who was an employee, then their employer may be found responsible. This is known as “vicarious liability” and applies even if there was no direct liability.
Getting Compensation as an Independent Contractor: Truck drivers that are independent agents who agree to work for a company for a limited period of time are legally considered “independent contractors.” If you were in a collision with a truck driver who was an independent contractor, then it may be harder for you to get compensation from the company, unless you can prove that the company acted in negligence, causing the accident. Since there are a lot of complexities in this situation, legal advice can only be given about your case when we know the facts of your specific case.
Who is At-fault When You Are Involved in a Semi-truck Accident?
Although you may have been involved in an accident with a semi-truck, that doesn’t automatically mean it is the trucker’s fault! We’ve actually represented injured truck drivers who were involved in a wreck because the other drivers were driving recklessly.
If you were the one who caused the accident, you shouldn’t expect any compensation through a personal injury case (although if you were driving a company vehicle, and were on the clock, you may have a workers’ compensation case).
What if both parties were at fault? In some cases, a truck driver was partly or mostly responsible for an accident, but the other driver still acted in a way which contributed to the accident. If you were the other driver in this scenario, you many still be able to collect some damages, but they will be lessened according to the rules of comparative negligence.
How to Win a Semi-Truck Accident Case
In most truck accident lawsuits, the plaintiff, or injured person who did NOT cause the accident, must prove the other driver was negligent, and that negligence caused you harm (such as injuries and damage to your car).
In many cases, the trucker merely breaking the law is enough to prove negligence. If a trucker runs a red light and hits you, the traffic violation shows that the trucker was negligent.
WHY TALK TO AN EXPERIENCED GEORGIA TRUCKING ACCIDENT ATTORNEY?
1. Your attorney will have knowledge of ALL the laws that will apply to your case.
2. The attorney will have a good idea of what your case will be worth, and won’t accept an offer that is lower than you deserve.
3. The attorney will know what evidence to collect, what forms should be signed (and not signed), and what to say over the phone.
4. The attorney will be able to fight for the MAXIMUM amount your case is worth.
What Can I Get Compensation for in a Semi Truck Accident?
As with other types of accidents, there are a few different types of damages that you are allowed to collect in a truck accident lawsuit.
- Economic damages: which include specific losses that can be added up, such as medical bills, damage to your car, and money you lost by not being able to work (lost wages);
- Non-economic damages: costs that are not quantifiable, such as pain and suffering;
- Punitive damages: which are sometimes awarded by a jury for no other purpose than to punish an especially egregious offender.
Of course, the types of damages which you are eligible to collect will vary – based on the details and facts of your case and the quality of your legal team.
What to Do FIRST After a Semi-Truck Accident:
- Check your passengers – Make sure you and your passengers are safe from any oncoming traffic, and check for any visible injuries.
- Call 911 – especially if you see any injuries, and do not attempt to move any injured people (unless necessary to get them out of the road).
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
- Don’t leave the scene, or else you might be accused of hit-and-run!
- Get the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance. If the trucker was at-fault, you should also get the name of the company the trucker works for.
- Get the police report. If you called the police, there will be a report written and available in a couple days from the accident. It’s important to obtain this right away. Murphy Law Firm would be happy to order this report for you right away.
- Collect evidence from the scene – if you are able, take pictures of the accident, including your vehicle and the truck. Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses at the scene. They might be able to testify for you later.
- Keep accurate medical records of all your injuries – make sure a medical professional documents all your injuries. You should also write a journal that states how your injuries interfere with your daily life and the activities you can no longer enjoy.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY – Do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company! Insurance companies will take any opportunity to use your words against you so they can either deny your claim, or lessen the value of your claim.
No matter how smart you are, you are no match the insurance companies and their lawyers – who have decades of experience at saving their companies money while the victims suffer.
So don’t talk to the trucking companies or the insurance companies no matter how reasonable they may seem. Don’t even trust your own insurance company! You have nothing to gain, and everything to lose.
Always deal with these big companies with the help of an experienced accident lawyer present. That’s our job: to protect you and make your case as strong as it can possibly be.