Georgia Trucking Accident Injuries: Who Will Compensate Me?


September 02, 2010

While most people driving trucks are careful, safe drivers, the reality is that when a car collides with a large truck the injuries are likely to be severe. Commercial trucks cause the death of thousands of people and injure hundreds of thousands more in the U.S. each year. The enormous size and weight of commercial trucks can approach as much as 80,000 pounds or more when fully loaded, so such accidents usually result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities.

The types of serious injuries that can result include head and neck injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal coord injuries, broken bones, and damage to internal organs. These types of serious injuries can mean victims face intensive medical treatment for years. The quality of life of a trucking accident victim can be diminished forever.

At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been helping injured people and their families for over 25 years throughout Georgia and the Southeast. The lawyers at Montlick and Associates will protect your rights and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

The commercial trucking companies are well aware of the enormous risks posed by large commercial trucks, and they have taken steps to make it more difficult for victims to make a successful claim. An important part of a successful trucking accident case is ensuring that all potentially responsible parties are involved in the lawsuit. Many trucking companies try to avoid liability (legal responsibility) by hiring drivers as "independent contractors." Because the trucking company alleges that the truck driver is not an employee, the company argues that the driver and not the company is responsible for the accident. However, individual drivers have far less ability to pay compensation for the type of catastrophic injuries suffered in trucking collisions and can more readily declare bankruptcy to avoid paying a judgment.

In such situations, Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, will carefully look behind the trucking companies characterization of the relationship to establish that an employment relationship actually existed based on the conduct of the parties, including the degree of control that the trucking company exerted over the driver. Even if an employment relationship is established, the trucking company will typically argue that the company should not be liable because the employee was engaged in activities that were "outside the scope of employment." If the driver is drag racing with another driver and the company has no reason to know of such activity and does not permit or allow such activity, this may not create liability for the employer. By contrast, alcohol or drug use that has been reflected in prior drug tests may be outside the scope of employment, but if the trucking company is aware of past positive tests, liability may still be imposed.

Additionally, in many cases we will also seek to establish that the trucking company was liable for its negligent hiring of the driver. Even if a truck driver is not an employee of the trucking company, the company is still liable if they are negligent in hiring the driver. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we will meticulously research the background and history of the driver to determine if the trucking company should have known that the driver posed an unreasonable risk of harm to other drivers on the road because of past excessive operating hours violations, drug or alcohol use, traffic violations or other similar factors.

In addition to the truck driver or trucking company, other responsible parties in a Georgia trucking accident case may include companies that perform maintenance on the truck, companies that design or manufacture the truck and its component parts, and even government entities. Failure to properly keep the truck in safe operating condition may mean that a claim can also be made against the company that performed mechanical maintenance on the truck. Similarly, if a trucking accident is the result of a defective part or system, the manufacturer of the part or system may be liable. Finally, government entities may share liability where their failure in the design or maintenance of the roadway contributes to the trucking accident.

A victim may not be fully compensated for injuries suffered in a serious trucking accident unless all responsible parties are part of the claim that is made. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, our Georgia commercial truck accident attorneys recognize the importance of carefully determining all parties who may have contributed to a trucking accident so that our clients can be properly compensated. With so much at stake, we believe in working closely with accident victims who have been involved in serious trucking accidents because we know your future and the future of your family demand no less. For your Free Consultation call us today at 1-800-LAW-NEED, or visit us on the web www.montlick.com.

Category: Truck Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.