Due to their massive size, tractor trailer accidents are far more likely to result in fatalities than car accidents. Tractor trailers can weigh 80,000 pounds, crushing far smaller passenger vehicles and severely injuring those inside. Sadly, truck accidents tragically kill thousands annually and also make for complex legal cases. The victims killed in truck accidents across Georgia will require the assistance of an attorney well versed in the unique field of truck accident law so that their rights will be fully protected.
Fatal Truck Accidents and Wrongful Death Actions
All commercial truck drivers have a legal duty to operate their trucks in a reasonably safe manner. Additionally, truck drivers, trucking companies, and the manufacturers of truck parts must comply with a wide array of state and federal regulations. If the truck driver, trucking company, or manufacturer fails to comply with these requirements, they should be liable to the family members of those killed in the truck accident.
Wrongful death lawsuits are civil actions brought by the family members of deceased accident victims who are killed due to negligence. In Georgia, the surviving spouse has the first priority in bringing a wrongful death action. If the deceased and the surviving spouse have minor children, the interests of the children must also be represented in the action. If there is no surviving spouse or children, the parents of the deceased or the personal representative of the estate can bring the wrongful death action.
Wrongful death lawsuits involve complex issues of liability and damages. Plaintiffs must establish that the defendant acted in a negligent manner. Truck driver or trucking company negligence can be established based on speeding, drug or alcohol use, fatigue, distracted driving, exceeding hours of service requirements, and failure to obey safety rules.
Once the plaintiff establishes liability on the part of the trucker or trucking company, the issue of damages arises. Wrongful death damages can be difficult to calculate. Your wrongful death attorney will prove instrumental in gathering the evidence you need to establish certain categories of damages. Georgia plaintiffs can seek to recover for the value of the loss of the decedent’s life, which can include lost wages and benefits, as well as intangible losses, such as loss of care and companionship. The decedent’s estate can also be compensated, through a survival action, for funeral and burial expenses, among other costs.
Losing your loved one in a truck accident is unfair and heartbreaking. Do not bear the financial burden of this loss alone. Consult with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Your attorney will examine the facts and circumstances of your case as well as take the necessary steps to protect your rights.