An 18-wheeler accident may happen the same way a regular crash does, due to a rear-end, a side swipe, or even a head-on collision. However, the damages are often much more severe. These heavy commercial trucks, weighing up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, can quickly cause major injuries, totaled vehicles, and even death.
Since 18-wheeler accident insurance claims are often severe and complex, they are handled quite differently than car accident claims. As commercial vehicles, these trucks have stand-by insurance companies to help them deal with major accidents. The trucking company’s insurance provider will send an adjuster to analyze the details of the accident, look at the police report, and determine the settlement to offer the victim(s).
The company’s insurance adjuster will attempt to settle with you so you don’t sue. The trouble is, initial settlement offers can be lower than what you deserve. That’s why you hire a truck accident lawyer.
How an 18-Wheeler Accident Insurance Claim Works
When a semi, also known as an 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer, is involved and/or responsible for an accident, the claims process is different. While you will need to report the accident to your insurance provider, a lawsuit and legal action are commonly needed to recover full compensation.
Before you decide to file a lawsuit to recover damages from the accident, you will likely be contacted by the trucking company’s insurance adjuster to discuss a settlement. This is one possible route for you to take, but it is not always the best route to get all of the compensation you are legally entitled to. These insurance adjusters are paid to keep the accident out of court to avoid costly settlements and fees.
Filing a Damages Claim
When recovering damages following an 18-wheeler accident, Georgia’s comparative negligence law comes into play. According to O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33, those that are more than 50% at-fault for the accident will not be able to receive compensation for damages.
Additionally, damages awarded will be reduced by the percentage that you are found at-fault for. For example, if you are 25% responsible for the accident, your damages will be reduced by 25%.
Damages are awarded and divided based on how at-fault each party is. When an 18-wheeler accident happens, more parties may be involved, including the drivers, the company that owns that 18-wheeler, and more.
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
A truck accident lawyer can help you from the moment the accident occurs. A lawyer like Mike Rafi comes to the scene of the accident to provide a hands-on investigation into all of the details of the accident, including the driver’s weigh-in documentation, location info, trip details, and more.
Additionally, Mike will thoroughly research the driver, the trucking company, and other involved parties to provide any historical or current evidence that helps prove the negligence of other parties. Mike will help guide you throughout the process and discover the best path for your success.
Common Damages After an 18-Wheeler Accident
There are a number of damages victims sue for following an 18-wheeler accident. Many of these are similar to car accidents, but the severity of the damages is greater, leading to a higher financial award for the victims. Common damages after an 18-wheeler accident include but are not limited to:
- Lost wages or future wages
- Medical bills and expenses
- Property damage, including the vehicle and personal possessions
- Noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering
Get Mike Rafi’s Help with Your 18-Wheeler Accident Insurance Claim
Mike Rafi can gather the evidence you need to win the settlement you deserve. He has a comprehensive understanding of truck accident rules and regulations, common truck driver errors, and how 18-wheeler accident cases work.
Get in touch with Mike today at 404-948-3311 or send our team a message. We provide a free consultation to get started – schedule yours today.