Truck accidents involve a commercial truck, which can be an 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer, a delivery vehicle, a garbage truck, or other large commercial vehicles. While many car accidents are minor and don’t require the help of a lawyer, truck accidents are more likely to be very devastating to the victims.
If you’ve been in an accident with a commercial truck and suffered damages, you may have large, unexpected debts for medical treatment or may be missing work due to an injury.
Since truck accidents involve parties other than just the driver, such as the company that owns the truck, these cases can be challenging. When a settlement with the insurance alone doesn’t cover all of the damages and/or an accident produces significant damages, a truck accident lawyer can help.
An Atlanta truck accident lawyer helps you fight against potentially large, tough defense teams to prove fault and negligence and get all of the compensation that is deserved from the damage that was done during the accident. A truck accident lawyer also helps by performing in-depth investigations, knowing key regulations, and guiding you in the right direction throughout the legal process.
How A Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
A major part of a truck accident lawsuit, and any personal injury lawsuit, is proving the negligence and fault of the other party or parties. In a truck accident case, negligence needs to be proven in four elements:
- The actor had a duty of care
- The actor breached the duty of care
- This breach caused the damages
- Actual loss or damage was suffered
Just like all drivers on the road, a truck driver has a duty of care to not cause harm to another person or their property. When a truck driver acts negligently, they often have either disobeyed traffic laws or one or more of the rules and regulations surrounding commercial trucks.
Truck accidents can be due to truck driver error, such as speeding, distracted driving, fatigue, impaired driving, or bad decision making. They can also include a failure to follow rules or regulations, such as working too many hours, improperly loading the truck, and more. In some cases, defective parts can cause an accident, too.
Many parties can be held responsible for a truck accident, including the truck driver, the trucking company, and even the truck manufacturer. A truck accident lawyer helps you determine who is responsible and for what, so they compensate you for your losses appropriately.
A truck accident lawyer will perform an in-depth investigation on your behalf, starting at the scene of the accident. Evidence is crucial to your legal case, and an experienced truck accident lawyer knows what to look for and look at on the scene.
A top lawyer like Mike Rafi will review physical evidence, such as vehicle damage, any parts left on the road, visibility conditions, any marks from the accident on roads, and more. Mike will work with the vehicle inspector to obtain all information about the state of the truck.
If possible, he will also review the “black box”, which is a data recorder that displays details of speed, brakes, and steering before, during, and after the accident. Attorney Mike Rafi also conducts interviews and depositions and researches the truck company and driver, which will include driving and weight records, employment documents, and more.
Knowing Key Regulations
There is an additional set of regulations and rules that govern all commercial motor vehicles, truck drivers, and trucking companies. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are in place to help reduce accidents and damages. Knowing the minute details of these regulations helps you prove when one or more were not followed properly.
Truck companies must also follow strict rules when hiring their drivers, both contract drivers and employee drivers. Drivers are limited to a certain number of daily and weekly hours that they can drive, and they must have a certain number of continuous hours off in between drives.
Additionally, truck drivers cannot have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .04% or higher, and they are not allowed to drive a commercial vehicle for four hours after consuming alcohol. Prescription medications are also regulated differently for truck drivers, and they can be tested randomly for drugs or alcohol, especially after an accident occurs.
Maintenance and repairs are critical and are regulated by state and federal traffic safety laws. Driver inspections are required before the drive and at the end of the day, ensuring the vehicle is working properly. Fleet inspection is required annually and records of maintenance, service, and out-of-service vehicles must be kept.
Weight limits are also an important regulation to follow. Commercial trucks are typically not allowed to exceed a weight of 80,000 pounds, and loads must be secured properly. Exceeding this weight or not securing the load properly can cause major damage.
Guidance Throughout the Legal Process
As long as you are not 50% or more responsible for the truck accident, you can file a lawsuit to collect damages in full. Many times, the trucking company’s insurance adjuster offers a low, unacceptable amount. Hiring a top truck accident lawyer can help put your best foot forward in getting the compensation you deserve.
A truck accident lawyer can help and guide you through the entire legal process, looking out for you on the scene, answering questions throughout the process, and forming strong claims with clear evidence from in-depth research.
With a history of experience, success, and hands-on knowledge in truck accident cases, you can confidently face a tough defense team and win with Mike’s help.
Contact Mike Rafi Today
To get your free case evaluation and consultation with Mike Rafi, call 404-948-3311 or send us a message to tell us more about how we can help. We look forward to hearing from you!