Truck accidents are among the worst on the road and Georgia is one of the worst in the country for trucking wrecks.
The same large trucks that transport so many of the items that we all need in our everyday lives can cause catastrophic accidents resulting in thousands of injuries and deaths every year. Data released annually by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) tends to consistently rank Georgia in the top five states for the number of fatal commercial motor vehicle accidents.
The Mann Law Firm has been helping truck accident victims for more than 50 years. We offer these answers to frequently asked questions for the benefit of potential clients and invite you to contact us at (478) 742-3381 or through our online form if you have any other questions.
How common are truck wrecks?
A commercial truck is generally considered to be one that has a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds. In 2012, large trucks were involved in 3,464 of the 30,800 fatal crashes that happened in this country. There were also 317,000 nonfatal wrecks that involved at least one large truck. Here in Georgia, large trucks were part of 149 fatal collisions.
What causes truck accidents?
Common causes include:
- Driver fatigue
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Improper road signs (often concerning height or weight restrictions)
- Improperly maintained or defective equipment, especially brakes or tires
- Improperly secured loads
- Insufficient training
- Poor road conditions
- Poor weather conditions
- Reckless driving
- Sudden turns or high speed turns causing a rollover
- Unrealistic schedules set by trucking employers
- Weight violations.
What are some of the differences between truck accidents and car accidents?
Accidents that involve a large truck are far more likely than ones involving only passenger cars to result in serious injury or even death because of the size and weight of a typical truck. An average car weighs less than 3,500 pounds, while a fully loaded commercial truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Another difference is the blind spots or “no-zones” on large trucks that prevent them from seeing vehicles behind them or directly next to them. A further consideration is that a truck’s cargo may be hazardous or flammable, making the possibility of an accident even more dangerous.
Are drugs and alcohol a problem for truck drivers?
Studies by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) consistently show that there are many truck drivers who turn to illegal substances as a way to stay alert or deal with boredom on the road. Alcohol and marijuana tend to be the most commonly used substances, followed by cocaine and amphetamines/methamphetamines. Stimulants are also often attractive options to truck drivers who may feel pressure to forgo sleep in order to meet unrealistic schedules.
I hear a lot about truck driver fatigue. What is that?
The pressure to meet or even beat strict deadlines can cause some truck drivers to keep driving despite being exhausted. Not getting enough sleep, loading and unloading heavy loads, putting in overtime and the monotony of driving can all lead to driver fatigue, which is the main reason for nearly half of all trucking accidents. In response, last year the federal government revised the hours-of-service (HOS) safety requirements. The rules restrict the maximum average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours; they can resume once they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two off-duty periods between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. This is known as the 34-hour restart rule.
What kinds of injuries happen in truck wrecks?
Common injuries include:
- Broken arm and leg bones
- Crushed limbs
- Head trauma/traumatic brain injury
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord damage and paralysis.
What can a truck accident lawyer do to help me?
An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to investigate a truck accident and preserve crucial evidence. The sooner a lawyer is consulted and retained, the more likely it is that the evidence can be protected. Timeliness is also important because trucking companies have teams of lawyers and insurance adjusters who begin immediately looking for ways to minimize liability after an accident. Additionally, a lawyer can help identify parties other than the driver that may share in the liability for your injuries, such as trucking companies, trailer owners, maintenance companies, contractors, employers, shippers and insurance companies.
How much is my case worth?
If you have been injured and another party is found to be responsible, you are entitled to compensation for all your costs associated with the accident. This value will be different for every claim, but generally it includes medical expenses for treatment of the injury, medical expenses for future treatment of the injury, lost wages, disability costs, pain and suffering, and property damage.
What areas of Georgia do you serve?
Although our offices are in Macon, the seat of Bibb County, our personal injury attorneys are pleased to serve clients located in towns and cities all across Middle Georgia, specifically Dublin, Milledgeville, and Warner Robins. If you have been injured by a negligent truck driver, we welcome the opportunity to make a free and confidential evaluation of your case. Call us at (478) 742-3381 or use this convenient online contact form