In Georgia in 2012, 149 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, accounting for 8.8 percent of all fatal accidents in the state, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Most of the people injured and killed in those accidents were occupants of other vehicles.
After a truck accident that results in significant injury and loss, an experienced attorney can ensure your legal rights are protected. Without a lawyer to demand that the trucking company preserve data, it is possible that important evidence may disappear. This includes GPS and “black box” data within the truck, written logs, safety inspection and maintenance records, drug testing and driver history records, and other evidence that requires special expertise to locate and analyze.
If you or a family member has been seriously injured in a commercial truck accident, please call or contact an experienced truck accident lawyer from Millar & Mixon, LLC today for a free initial consultation. We are proud to say that most of our serious trucking accident cases are referred to us by other lawyers and law firms who do not handle these complex cases and are aware of our reputation for good work in this area.
Determining the Cause of a Truck Accident
In its handbook for truck drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration identifies several preventable causes of truck accidents. They include:
Driver’s failure to control speed or to check cross-traffic.
- Failing to slow down in time to avoid striking another vehicle in the rear.
- Forcing cars, motorcycles or smaller trucks off a highway when changing lanes.
- Sideswipe and head-on collisions caused by a driver not entirely in the proper lane.
- Squeeze plays and shutouts in which the driver fails to yield to avoid an accident.
- Failure to operate at a speed safe for road, weather or traffic conditions.
- Misjudging available clearance, such as at overpasses.
- Mechanical defects that should have been discovered during inspections.
Determining the exact cause of a truck accident is critical to your claim for compensation after an accident. The skill and commitment to investigate the contributing factors in a truck accident often mean the difference between winning and losing. Prompt action must be taken to gather evidence before valuable information is lost and to identify the at-fault parties, insurance companies, and causation factors involved in your accident.
Statistics about Tractor Trailers and Accidents
As the federal statistics below show, unsafe tractor trailers and unsafe truck drivers are far too common on our nation’s highways.
- 1,105,149 – Total number of driver violations cited during truck roadside inspections in 2014.
- 194,074 – Total number of violations requiring driver be taken off the road for a period of time.
- 20,507 – Number of drivers pulled off the road in 2014 and cited for driving beyond the 14-hour duty period.
- 198,673 – Number of violations issued to trucks during roadside inspections in 2014 for brakes out of adjustment.
- 183,057 – Number of trucks issued violations in 2014 for running on worn tires without enough tread depth.
- 16,956 – Number of violations issued for truck drivers operating a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver’s license.
- 389,000 – Estimated number of total crashes involving a large truck or bus in 2013.
Source: 2015 Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Why Truck Accident Cases Can Be Complicated
Many truck accidents result in multiple claims for compensation. In addition to the truck driver involved in an accident, the cause of a truck accident may be traced to one or more of the following:
- How the truck itself operated
- The trucking company or carrier
- Employees who maintain or load the truck
- Road conditions
- Weather conditions.
Some truck drivers are independent owner-operators, but most commercial trucks are owned by companies, or carriers, which hire drivers. These carriers are responsible for the people they hire and for the trucks they put on the road. Because carriers are profit-oriented businesses and time is money, some trucking companies bend or break the rules pertaining to drivers’ time behind the wheel (which is governed by federal Hours of Service regulations) or timely maintenance of 18-wheelers.
If a truck driver has been pressured by his or her employer to drive too far without enough rest, or lack of maintenance has led to an equipment failure, or a lack of training has led to improperly loaded cargo shifting and causing a wreck, the trucking company may be held liable.
In addition, if the failure of the truck or its parts, systems or components contributes to a wreck, the manufacturer(s) or distributor(s) may be liable for the faulty design or manufacture of the product that failed.
In a few cases, road conditions – such as road construction or work zones, faulty maintenance or faulty design – contribute to truck accidents. In these instances, a local government or a contractor, or both, may have some liability for the injured party’s losses.
We often call upon accident reconstruction experts to assist in our investigations of truck accidents and to help us determine how the accident occurred. Once we have compiled all of the available facts of your accident and the evidence to support them, we explore all options in seeking compensation for the harm you have suffered.
Getting Help From Our Georgia Truck Accident Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck accident, contact Millar & Mixon, LLC today so we can begin to investigate your tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler accident case as soon as possible. When necessary we will bring in qualified experts to assist in proving your case and work with your medical professionals to help with your recovery.
We may be able to obtain compensation to assist you with medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and your other losses.
Call Millar & Mixon, LLC today at 404-620-4301 or fill out our online contact form for a free evaluation of your case. If we can help you, we will do so on a contingency-fee basis. This means that if we do not recover compensation for you, you will not be charged legal fees.