We believe that it is the duty of an Atlanta truck accident attorney to protect those rights and fight tirelessly for injured people to ensure they are fairly compensated.
Getting Help for your Truck Accident Injury
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 4,440 semi trucks and buses involved in accidents that resulted in one or more fatalities in 2016. There were approximately 119,000 injuries resulting from crashes involving large trucks and buses in that same year.
Mike Rafi is an Atlanta truck accident lawyer you can trust. Crashes involving tractor trailers and passenger vehicles are often catastrophic simply due to the size difference between the two vehicles. These accidents, as any Atlanta truck accident attorney knows, are more likely to cause fatalities than collisions involving two passenger vehicles.
As a trucking crash law firm, we are well aware of the devastation accidents such as these can leave in their wake. Not only are victims forced to undergo weeks or months of medical care, but they can often face financial consequences beyond their control due to lost wages and mounting medical bills.
If you have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler or other large vehicle, you need an Atlanta tractor trailer accident lawyer standing by your side. You and your family deserve nothing less than a fair and equitable outcome, and the at-fault party must be held accountable. Our commercial vehicle accident law firm is here to make sure that both of those things happen.
Tractor-trailers are also referred to as “18-wheelers,” “semi trucks,” and “big rigs.” You will find tractor trailers on almost every major highway and road in the United States. Tractor trailers transport about 75 percent of all cargo that is shipped in this country, making them an important part of our economy.
These large vehicles are legally permitted to haul up to 80,000 pounds or 40 tons of cargo. Consider that a typical passenger car weighs only about 2,000 to 4,000 pounds and it is easy to understand just why these accidents can be so catastrophic.
Why Tractor Trailers Crash
As a Georgia truck accident lawyer, we have witnessed a variety of reasons for tractor trailer accidents. Although each accident is certainly unique, there are causes that tend to be more common than others.
- No Zones: As an Atlanta semi truck accident lawyer, we have spoken with countless victims of truck accidents who found themselves in the no zone or a truck blind spot. Tractor trailers have blind spots on every side of their rig, including in the front and in the back. These blind spots often encompass one or more entire lanes of traffic.
- Improper Loading: Loading a trailer is a delicate job. If the cargo isn’t loaded properly it can shift, causing the trailer and its cab to roll over onto the vehicle of an unsuspecting motorist.
- Driver Fatigue or Impairment: We are not only truck accident lawyers in Atlanta, but car accident attorneys as well. We know the dangers of distracted or impaired driving, and truckers are not immune. Driver fatigue and impairment are very real dangers in the trucking world. A driver who is fatigued or impaired has dulled reaction times and may have an inability to make wise decisions when it comes to the operation of their vehicle.
- Speeding: In 2013, speeding was a factor in 29 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths. Speeding has been a factor in about 30 percent of crash deaths since 2004. Large trucks—even more than passenger cars—should not speed because of an inability to stop quickly and the danger of rolling over or jackknifing. Your lawyer should ensure the truck’s “black box” or data recorder, which records speed, is saved so it can be downloaded and analyzed. Often times, the “black box” is crucial to learning whether the truck driver was speeding.
- Failure to Inspect & Maintain the Truck: Trucking companies and drivers are responsible for making sure only safe and well-maintained vehicles are on the road. For that reason, companies and drivers must document all maintenance checks, and if not properly done, they can be at-fault for an accident caused by poorly maintained equipment. Steering, cargo, brakes, mirrors, tires, conspicuous or reflective tape, and a host of other things must be checked and confirmed to be working before a driver may hit the road. Many times, though, companies do not keep their vehicles in top shape and drivers do not take the time to fully inspect trucks, leading to dangerous trucks being on the road.
Truck Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Commercial Vehicle Codes to know when Talking to a Truck Accident Attorney
- 40-8-2: Unsafe vehicles, DPS safety rules authority
- 40-8-3: Load dragging on roadway
- 40-8-7: Operating unsafe vehicle
- 40-6-50(b): Driving in emergency lane, gore, or median
- 40-6-52(b): Improper lane use on multi-lane highways
- 40-6-254: Unsecured loads
Learn more about these and additional codes at Georgia Department of Public Safety
Medical Injuries After a Truck Accident
If you have sustained serious injuries after a truck accident, your medical bills may quickly pile up. Don’t wait until your debt has threatened your financial security to seek compensation.
As long as you are not solely at fault for the accident, you have the right to seek compensation by filing a lawsuit in Georgia. Unfortunately, you will not receive compensation from the other driver until after your case is resolved, so you may need other methods of payment in the meantime.
If you have health insurance, this is your first option. Even if your physician offers to bill your car insurance, opt for health insurance coverage of your bills first. Your car insurance’s medical pay should be your second line of defense in the event your health insurance cannot cover your expenses.
According to Georgia’s comparative negligence law, the amount you will receive from the other driver’s insurance depends on what percentage you were at fault for the accident. For example, if you are found to be 25% at fault, your total compensation will be reduced by 25%. If you were 50% or more at fault for the accident, you will not receive compensation at all.
How an Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you have been hurt in a truck accident, you need a Georgia truck accident law firm you can trust. We are Atlanta truck wreck lawyers with extensive track records of holding at-fault drivers accountable for their negligence or error. We will do the same for you.
We understand that you may be facing financial difficulty due to the unnecessary strain of medical bills and time off of work. We do not believe that any victim should be forced to deal with this type of burden. You deserve to be compensated for your losses and we want to help make that happen.
Reach out to our office today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your Atlanta truck accident and your ensuing medical needs and financial difficulties and develop a plan for securing the damages you are entitled to. You and your family do not have to fight the system alone.
Call our office to speak with a member of our team and take the first step on the path to recovering what you are owed. We will work tirelessly to ensure the at-fault driver is made to answer for their choices.
What State and Federal Regulations Govern Truck Drivers?
Trucking industries and other commercial carriers fall under the radar of both business regulation and public safety. Accordingly, there are dozens of regulations and rules they must follow. Below are some of the most relevant regulations that apply to truck drivers and industries that use heavy vehicles as it pertains to avoiding truck accidents. An Atlanta truck accident lawyer is likely to cite one or more of these laws when trying to establish how negligence led to an accident.
Substance abuse testing laws can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 49, Subtitle B, Chapter III, Subchapter B, Part 382. All drivers for commercial industries must submit to drug testing before being hired (pre-employment). They should also be tested any time an accident has occurred or when the employer has “reasonable suspicion” that the employee may be abusing drugs or alcohol while driving. Employers have a duty to test in these circumstances.
Hours of service regulations are some of the most important federal laws in place to prevent serious truck accidents. Property-carrying drivers cannot continue to operate their vehicles for more than 11 consecutive hours after 10 hours off-duty. They cannot drive more than 60 hours in 7 days (or 70 in 8 days) unless they take “34 or more consecutive hours off duty”.
Passenger-carrying divers are limited to 10 hours of driving after eight consecutive hours off duty. They are not allowed to drive more than 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight days. If a sleeper berth is available in their vehicle, drivers must take at least eight hours in the sleeper berth, which may be split into two periods of time (no less than two hours). The FMCSA enforces hours of service rules by requiring drivers to maintain accurate logbooks and for employers to regularly review them.
Georgia laws require that all heavy commercial vehicles are inspected regularly to ensure satisfactory maintenance and compliance with minimum operational safety levels. All vehicles that cannot meet these criteria must be taken out of service (OCGA §40-1-1), either permanently or until the vehicle can be repaired adequately. All reports concerning public safety should be copied and sent to the Georgia Department of Public Safety. Violation of any Georgia state truck driver regulations can result in misdemeanor charges per O.C.G.A. §40-1-8.
Commercial vehicles must be clearly marked, especially if they are transporting hazardous materials. Loads must not exceed the maximum weight for specific structures and roadways. Drivers must obey all traffic laws that apply to other drivers in Georgia, particularly speed limits.
Most Dangerous Roads in Atlanta for Truck Accidents
Atlanta’s busy roads are no stranger to serious truck accidents. Interstates and highways in the metro area serve as major corridors for hauling goods or getting large projects completed. Combined with the high level of traffic and our region’s notoriously accident-prone drivers, many of Atlanta’s most-traveled stretches form a recipe for deadly truck collisions.
The following are some of the most dangerous roads in Metro Atlanta for getting into a serious truck accident:
A Vox study infamously described I-285 as the deadliest interstate in America. It had the highest rate of fatal accidents per mile, at an average of about 8 per day. High congestion, high-speed limits, and unexpected curves all increase the risk for driver error, especially around large trucks. Making matters worse, exits tend to come up unexpectedly, causing people to merge or veer away erratically and unpredictably. I-285 is also heavily traveled by commercial vehicles, making it all but inevitable that one of the daily major crashes involves a tractor-trailer, tanker, or bus.
The I-75 interchange can cause major backups during morning and afternoon commutes. Truck drivers must tangle with start-and-stop traffic as well as occasional erratic maneuvers of those trying to escape the gridlock. Drivers traveling southbound on I-75 can also be on the last legs of long journeys, meaning they can be extremely fatigued, distracted, or under the influence of stimulants. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s FARS data, the I-75 stretch near mile marker 31 has an accident rate of 2.7 fatal crashes per mile!
Serving as an arterial route for commercial vehicles coming into Atlanta from the northeast, Buford Highway is rife with heavy trucks at all hours of the day. Sudden lane shifts and ample opportunities for vehicles to sneak into blind spots create a high risk of large truck crashes. Poor vehicle maintenance can also be an issue with contractors coming through this corridor. One recent collision between a tractor trailer and a freight train spilled cargo all over the road, leading to closures while the hours-long cleanup commenced.
Cutting through the heart of Atlanta, I-20 mixes up fast and slow speeds to often deadly effect. Truck drivers often have difficulty maneuvering through traffic, occasionally leading to collisions or overturned semi-trailers. Because of the complexity of such accidents, determining fault can often require the expertise of a truck accident lawyer in Atlanta. FARS data shows that the stretch near mile marker 50 had a fatal accident rate of 2.54 per mile.
Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SW
Accidents are all too common along MLK drive, especially when drunk driving is a factor. Tractor trailers often use this route as a first or final leg of their trip, meaning they are likely to be fatigued or inattentive. The segment of MLK Jr. Dr. SW near mile marker 127 has a fatal accident rate of 3.33 per mile, according to FARS reports.
Atlanta Truck Accident Statistics
As a major corridor for land freight and regional projects, Georgia and particularly the metro Atlanta area acts as a hotbed for large truck collisions. Truck accidents are all too common on our roads, often leading to serious injuries and deaths.
Statistics from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety show that 361 fatal accidents in the state involved large trucks during the years 2015 and 2016. That’s nearly one fatal accident every other day, on average.
FMCSA data shows that statewide truck accident fatalities spiked to 214 in 2017, a 20% increase from the year before. In total, 225 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents that year. The majority of accidents (169) involved multiple vehicles. Put together, these accidents placed Georgia in the top 10 deadliest states for fatal truck accidents per million people.
A massive large truck crash causation study of 141,000 large truck crashes conducted by the FMCSA found that 87% of accidents are driver related. Top contributing factors to truck accidents include brake problems (29%), speeding (23%), use of over-the-counter drugs such as stimulants (17%), driver fatigue (13%), distractions (19%), and pressure from employers to complete routes (10%). Multiple factors can be cited per accident, making the totals add up to over 100%.
He was beyond professional and hardworking.
We highly recommend Rafi Law Firm! Mike’s services led to the most equitable outcome.
Mr.Rafi and his team were a pleasure to work with!