We’ve all experienced close encounters with a large, overpowering, 18-wheeler on the highway. It is a terrifying feeling. Tractor-trailer accidents are devastating. When a 40-ton semi crashes into a 2-ton car, the results can be catastrophic. Injuries include broken bones, cuts, bruises, whiplash, spinal cord injuries, brain damage, paralysis, disfigurement or death.
Large trucks are almost constantly present on every highway a person travels. With three major interstates running through Macon, I-75, I-16 and I-475, Middle Georgians see more than their fair share of trucking accidents.
According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration statistics for truck accidents, 2017 saw over 4,600 fatal crashes involving large trucks. In that same year, there were 107,000 large trucks involved in injury crashes. Large trucks were also responsible for at least 363,000 noteworthy incidents involving property damage only.
Macon Truck Accidents
Many factors can contribute to large truck accidents. At times, tractor-trailer accidents are simply forces of nature; other times, it’s the fault of the driver. When a professional driver ignores the rules of the road, their actions can be considered negligent, especially when these actions affect other drivers on the road. There are also safety standards set by the government and some trucking or logistics companies that own the vehicles. Violating these standards may be considered negligent acts as well.
What are the leading causes of 18 wheeler accidents?
- Driver Error: Driver error is a broad term that can encompass many actions, or in some cases, failures to act. Trucks travel long distances on highways and may need to travel at high speeds in order to meet their distances and drop-off deadlines. In addition, trucks require a great deal of care to handle, and this necessity of care is increased in poor weather conditions. Failure to take this extra care can result in accidents.
- Fatigued Driving: Many times, truck drivers drive long distances without breaks to meet deadlines. This presents a high danger of the driver falling asleep at the wheel. This can be disastrous enough in an ordinary car, but trucks present a much greater danger. At times, trucking companies require drivers to check in, or allot their drivers periods of rest in an effort to avoid these accidents.
- Poor Maintenance: Trucks hauling products are often part of a greater fleet, which is often either leased by a separate company, or is part of a greater company selling these products. Due to the long distances trucks must travel, a lot of strain is placed on these vehicles. Many companies, and some states, have regulations for ensuring that these vehicles are in working order. Trucks that are in poor maintenance can blow a tire, or have their brakes fail. These occurrences significantly increase the likelihood that an accident will occur.
- Distracted Driving: When a truck driver is on the road, they should preoccupy themselves with making sure they do no not endanger themselves, their cargo, or anyone else on the road. Any distractions that a driver may expose themselves to can cause an accident.
Types of Injuries Seen in Semi-Truck Accidents
- Traumatic Injuries: A traumatic injury is any injury that may be likely to cause severe injury or death to a person. Due to the size, speed, and weights of trucks, when they collide with anything or flip over, they are bound to cause injuries to anyone caught within the radius.
- Fatal Injuries: Unfortunately, fatal injuries can be more common in accidents involving large vehicles, especially trucks with heavy trailers. For as many safety features as the modern automobile may employ, trucks have such heavy mass that they can easily destroy a car, which can seriously or fatally injure anyone who may be inside.
Truck Accident Lawsuits in Georgia
When a person is injured in a truck accident, and the driver’s actions were in some way negligent, the injured party may be able to file a lawsuit. In truck accidents, the truck may belong to a fleet company, who may be responsible for ensuring that their drivers are properly trained, as well as given adequate time to rest, and that vehicles are properly maintained. It may be possible to name these companies as defendants in these lawsuits, especially if facts are uncovered that show unsafe behavior on their part.
Truck accident cases are similar to motor vehicle accidents but much more complex. If you’ve been injured or a loved one has died in a truck accident in Georgia it is very important to have an experienced truck accident attorney who knows how to handle the complicated process of truck accidents and how to win these cases.
What are the types of damages in trucking accident lawsuits?
When a person files a lawsuit over a trucking accident, there is often a wide array of damages they may claim from the results of the accident, due to the serious and heavily impactful nature of these incidents.
- Medical Bills: One of the most common causes for filing a lawsuit is for a person to get the individual responsible for their injuries to pay for the medical costs associated with the injuries. In truck accidents, individuals harmed in the accident can face very severe injuries, due to the nature of these incidents.
- Funeral Costs: A sad truth of this matter is that such an impactful accident can cause the loss of life. If the case is a wrongful death case, a deceased person’s family or another representative may seek damages for the funeral costs associated with the loss of their loved one.
- Loss of Property/Property Damage: Trucks are large vehicles carrying actual tons of weight. If a truck were to collide with a smaller car, through any means, the car is more than likely to be destroyed or rendered inoperable from the impact. In a case for a trucking accident, the plaintiff may demand damages for loss or damage to their vehicle.
- Loss of Income: Trucking accidents can result in severe injuries, and it is very possible that a person or a family may not have access to income following these accidents. This may warrant the demand for damages for loss of income. This is true in wrongful death cases as well and can take the form of lost income that the deceased person would have earned if they had lived.
Safety Tips to Follow to Help Prevent Being Involved in a Tractor-Trailer Accident
Although we can’t avoid driving on roads with large trucks, we can keep ourselves safer by knowing a few statistics and following some safety tips:
The Georgia DOT keeps track of the average number of trucks travelling throughout the state of Georgia.
- Most large trucks in Georgia travel along I-75 and I-285 in Atlanta.
- In Bibb County, on average, over 9,100 trucks will travel the short stretch of I-475 each day. That’s over 379 trucks per hour.
- Most accidents involving large trucks happen Monday thru Friday during daytime hours.
- If possible, we should avoid roads with heavily populated trucks during peak accident hours.
- Don’t follow large trucks too closely. If you can’t see a truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you.
- Do not try to pass a truck on the right side when that truck is turning right. Trucks must swing wide to the left in order to make a right turn. They may not see you if you’re passing them on the right.
- To properly pass a large truck or bus on the highway, accelerate slightly and maintain a consistent speed. Wait until you see the entire cab in your rearview mirror before you signal and pull over.
- Don’t cut in front of a truck or bus. Large trucks and buses need more distance to stop. If you cut in front of a truck, the truck may not be able to stop in time or may be forced to stop too quickly, resulting in a serious or fatal accident.
Trucking v. Car Accident Cases
Trucking accidents are specialized cases that need an experienced truck accident lawyer to ensure full financial recovery. One difference between trucking and car accident cases is determining who is at fault. In a traditional car wreck the at-fault driver is typically the only negligent person. In trucking cases, however, there may be multiple negligent parties, including the commercial trucking company, the shipper/loader of cargo, or the manufacturer or distributor of trucking products. In addition, trucking company insurers are very experienced with injury claims involving their drivers and will often try to get the injured person to accept a lump-sum settlement even though it may not fully compensate them for their loss.
Macon Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a trucking accident, contact Gautreaux Law immediately to preserve evidence and protect your legal rights. Macon truck accident attorney Jarome Gautreaux has the experience and resources needed to develop your case and get you fully compensated.
Call 478-238-9758 or Toll Free 888-876-6935. Free consultation. No fees until we recover money for you.