DON'T LET A TRUCK DRIVER'S NEGLIGENCE RUIN YOUR LIFE.
All truck drivers are required by law to follow driving rules set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These rules cover how many hours a truck driver can be behind the wheel before taking a break or stopping to sleep, maintenance and repairs for their trucks, and the types of distracting devices allowed in their cabs.
When a truck driver breaks one of these regulations, your life can be at stake, while the truck driver may walk away unscathed. Any accident involving a truck and a car will likely cause severe or catastrophic injury or death to the driver and passengers of the smaller vehicle. This is based solely on the size and mass of the truck hitting the car.
Worse yet, as soon as the truck driver calls the accident in to his or her trucking company, an agent may be sent out to the accident scene to mitigate any damage, including trying to blame you for causing the accident. If you or someone you love has been in a truck accident, you need an experienced lawyer on your side, right away.
At Weaver Law Firm, our attorneys have extensive experience with traffic trailer wrecks in Gainesville, Cumming, Gwinnett, North Georgia, and the entire Atlanta Metro area. We have helped many people who have suffered severe injuries recover maximum compensation from trucking companies and their insurance carriers.
HOW TRUCKING COMPANIES TRY TO PROTECT THEMSELVES
Trucking companies do everything possible to deny fault in a tractor-trailer accident. Truck drivers may keep two sets of logs, one that is accurate and one that claims they have followed the rules regarding how long they should drive.
Our attorneys will review all of the evidence in your case, including the black box, which records a semi's speed and direction. We will inspect the truck's maintenance logs and work with accident reconstruction specialists to determine who is actually at fault.
We will consult with your doctors and other medical specialists to discover the long-term effects of your injuries so we can calculate the full cost over the rest of your life. Once we have the full picture, we will present this to the trucking company and its insurance carrier to open negotiations on your behalf. If they are unwilling to compensate you fully, we will take your case to court.
What to Do Following a Truck Accident? (If you are not severely injured)
Check yourself, loved ones, and surroundings.
Contact the police; the emergency personnel will be dispatched.
When the police arrive on the scene, they will take extensive notes, statements from all witnesses, or involved parties; including photos to include in their accident report.
If you are physically able, it may be best to also take photographs of the damage to your vehicle and your injuries. In doing so, it may prove to be beneficial later in case your report does not support the events that occurred in the incident, by error.
5. Call Your Attorney
The Leading Causes of Big Truck Accidents: There are many factors to consider when investigating a big truck accident, with the purpose being to uncover what ultimately caused the accident. At Weaver Law Firm we look at every aspect of a case to determine the real reason the accident occurred.
Truck driver fatigue is one of the chief causes of truck accidents. A sleepy or fatigued truck driver is a real danger on the road; he/she is controlling an 80,000-pound metal “tank” that is traveling at speeds of 60 to 80 miles per hour. Fatigued truck drivers are slow to react in emergency situations. Drivers who actually fall asleep at the wheel commonly cross over the centerline, force other cars off the road or crash into vehicles from behind.
Federal law limits truckers to no more than 11 hours behind the wheel during one shift, and further requires drivers to rest for at least 10 hours between shifts. Truck drivers must keep a detailed account of their hours in their logbooks. These logbooks become crucial pieces of information in these cases, and we’ve seen instances where logbooks are falsified in order to hide evidence that could be damaging to the defense. Weaver Law Firm attorneys know where to dig to prove that truck drivers ignored the hours of service regulations. We compare suspicious logbooks to data received from GPS tracking devices and the onboard “black box,” as well as truck stop receipts and other pertinent evidence.
Truck Driver Deadlines
The last place you want to encounter a fatigued commercial truck driver is on the highway, but oftentimes these drivers are driving long routes while trying to meet unreasonable deadlines. Commercial trucks can weigh up to forty tons when fully loaded, so when you put a fatigued truck driver behind the wheel the probability of a major accident increases considerably, with the results often being catastrophic. Complying with tight company deadlines can create added stress for commercial truck drivers, resulting in risky behavior such as speeding and longer stretches of driving. Trucking companies profit from delivering the most amount of goods in the shortest amount of time, so they offer incentives and bonuses for the fastest delivery times. Drivers can sometimes feel pressured to push their limits too far.
Nationwide, as many as twenty-five percent of traffic fatalities in multi-vehicle accidents involve commercial trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has created specific guidelines for truck drivers and trucking companies to help prevent driver fatigue. The FMCSA currently limits how long a driver may be driving on the road without stopping for a rest. Despite these regulations, the driver is ultimately responsible for operating the truck safely.
Poor Truck Maintenance
Common sense and federal regulations dictate that 18-wheelers and other big trucks be inspected and maintained regularly to meet certain standards. Truck maintenance is expensive and pulls trucks off the road, causing corporate greed to sometimes trump public safety.
We work with top experts specializing in truck maintenance and repair to prove the negligence of a trucking company in the upkeep of the tractor or trailer for deficiencies such as:
Any of these maintenance issues can lead to an accident if the truck’s load shifts, drops freight, or leaves shredded tire treads in the roadway. Poor maintenance can cause the operator to drive erratically, such as suddenly stopping or swerving. Poor maintenance can also cause accidents if the driver cannot see his surroundings or if other motorists cannot see the truck.
Overweight or Improper Loading
Oftentimes trucking companies try to make more money by overloading a truck or cutting corners on cargo loading regulations. When we investigate a truck accident, we work with experts who can reconstruct the crash and identify the potential loading causes of a big truck accident such as:
Big trucks are dangerous enough without compounding this danger with unsafe loading practices. It sometimes requires extensive investigation and dogged determination to get to the real cause of a big truck accident.
Falsified Log Books
Truck drivers are required by law (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act) to keep accurate records regarding rest breaks, cargo weight, driving time, meals, and other important information. Big Rig drivers keep these records manually in logbooks. False records and skipped entries are a serious violation of federal regulations. From our experience, we know that truck drivers routinely violate the FMCSR laws, with the most common violation involving driving too many hours. To find out if a logbook is fraudulent, and to determine a truck driver’s true behavior, you have to know how to dig deep.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Georgia
We leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of the truth, holding those responsible for your suffering accountable. If you have been injured in a trucking accident, you need experienced attorneys with a proven track record to handle your case. Contact us to schedule your free and confidential consultation today.
Shifting freight that caused the truck to jackknife or tip over
Overloading which increased braking distance
Unbalanced loads that reduced maneuverability
Improperly secured hazardous cargo
Unsecured freight that fell from the truck
Driver error (failure to judge stopping distance)
Cargo that broke free in a crash and caused injury
Worn or broken tarps and tie-downs
• Worn brakes, bald tires or worn axles
• Broken headlights, taillights or trailer lights
• Missing mud flaps
• Broken trailer latches
• Cracked mirror or glass
• Ripped tarps and broken tie-downs
• Eroded reflective tape