Acworth Truck Accident Attorneys
A trucking accident is like no other type of motor vehicle accident because of the complexity involved in these cases and the extremely high risk of catastrophic injury or wrongful death. When a massive, fully-loaded 80,000 pound tractor-trailer collides at a high rate of speed with a 3,000 pound passenger vehicle, the result is all too often horrific carnage and catastrophic injury or fatalities. Given that a fully-loaded tractor-trailer weighs 26 times more than a passenger vehicle, basic physics make it predictable that the injury victims in trucking (big-rig, semi-truck, 18-wheeler) accidents are the occupant of the other vehicle an astounding 97 percent of the time.
Many presume that tractor-trailer accidents are fairly rare. While this is a reasonable assumption given that tractor-trailers pose a small minority of the motor vehicles on the road, the reality is that there are approximately 500,000 commercial trucking accidents annually according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Although commercial trucks constitute only a small minority of motor vehicles, they account for over 11,000 fatalities and almost 800,000 injuries per year based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This means that trucking accidents account for almost 1 in 3 motor vehicle accident fatalities.
Special Legal and Factual Challenges in Trucking Cases
At Montlick and Associates, our dedicated and experienced Acworth trucking accident lawyers understand the unique challenges associated with trucking accident negotiations and litigation. Many Acworth trucking accident victims make the mistake of assuming that any personal injury law firm can successfully represent clients in trucking accident cases. It is tempting to assume that trucking accidents are really just motor vehicle accidents involving extremely large vehicles. This is a misconception as trucking accidents involve a wide variety of issues that are not present in other kinds of motor vehicle accident claims including:
- A complex myriad of federal and state regulations
- Massive trucking company resources including trucking accident experts that can be at an accident scene in minutes
- Unethical litigation tactics like repairing vehicles and quickly putting them back in service so that critical evidence is lost
- Unique causation factors, such as fatigue, lack of inspections, overloaded vehicles and medically unfit drivers
- Industry-wide practices of manipulating and falsifying critical evidence like driver logbooks that track driver hours of service (HOS) to monitor driver fatigue
These are just some of the unique and complex features of Acworth commercial trucking accident cases that make it essential that you work with experienced trucking accident attorneys with a proven track record of obtaining large settlements and verdicts from trucking companies. Our experienced Acworth trucking accident attorneys possess a thorough understanding of trucking industry regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as well as other federal and state regulations. Our trucking accident legal team also understands the litigation tactics and industry practices used by the trucking industry to avoid liability, such as falsification of truck driver logbooks, deletion of black box data and ambiguous relationships with truck drivers, who are often independent owner-operators.
Time Is of the Essence When Pursuing Trucking Accident Claims
Given the unique challenges associated with successful settlement or litigation of a trucking accident, you should contact our experienced Acworth trucking accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates as soon as possible. Because we routinely handle large commercial trucking accidents, we may be able to dispatch accident scene investigators immediately to preserve critical evidence that might otherwise be destroyed. Our Acworth trucking accident lawyers know that when you suffer the types of serious injuries that are typical in commercial trucking accidents, legal issues and insurance claims are typically not your primary concern.
Because the practice of destroying and manipulating evidence is widespread in the trucking industry, time is of the essence to prevent the loss or destruction of critical proof regarding the cause of a trucking collision. We often send a “spoliation letter” to the trucking company, indicating that the vehicle and its black box data recorder are the subject of litigation and must be preserved in their existing condition. If the trucking company fails to comply, we may be able to seek sanctions against the trucking company, including limitations on the evidence that the trucking company may introduce in the case. The bottom line is that any delay in initiating a trucking accident claim may inhibit your ability to obtain the compensation that you need to handle the financial challenges posed by your injuries.
Why Do Trucking Accidents Occur?
While there are a wide variety of causes of trucking accidents in Acworth and throughout Georgia, some of the most common factors that contribute to trucking accidents include the following:
- Drivers exceeding hours of service (HOS) restrictions (truck driver fatigue)
- Trucks that are overloaded or the load is not properly secured
- Truck drivers that are not medically fit to operate their rig
- Lack of respect for adverse weather conditions, such as rain, fog or extreme wind
- Truck drivers using drugs, including methamphetamines to drive longer shifts
- Failure of truck drivers to conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections of such items as tires and brakes
- Lack of awareness of vehicles in a truck's large blind spots known as "no zones"
- Indifference by a trucking company in the hiring, training and supervision of a truck driver
- Distracted driving by a truck driver including use of small electronic devices
- Design or manufacturing defects in the tractor-trailer
- Alcohol impaired truck drivers
- Failure of commercial drivers to map out safe routes that avoid steep grades and other road features that can be difficult to navigate in a massive tractor-trailer
Successful handling of an Acworth truck accident claim requires extensive knowledge and understanding of trucking industry regulations, customs and practices. One of the most difficult issues in trucking cases is the prevalence of manipulating and destroying evidence. For example, federal regulations require drivers to limit their time behind the wheel to certain shifts of a maximum duration during a day or quasi-weekly schedule with required rest periods in between.
Truck drivers routinely disregard these HOS regulations to increase profits often with the tacit or explicit approval of the trucking company. Drivers are also required to maintain a logbook that provides a record of compliance with these hours of service rules. These written logbooks are so routinely fabricated and altered they are referred to within the trucking industry as "lie books." Our experienced Acworth trucking accident attorneys routinely examine other evidence to expose alteration or manipulation of driver logbooks, including fuel receipts, lodging records, toll receipts and traffic cameras.
One of the most valuable pieces of evidence in understanding the cause of an Acworth trucking accident is the black box data recorder. Much like the black box in an airplane, these data recorders provide critical information including gear shift patterns, vehicle speed, sudden acceleration, braking and hours of service data. In the aftermath of a trucking accident, trucking companies frequently put the truck back in service promptly, which results in the deletion of critical data that may be used to explain the cause of an accident and expose logbook manipulation.
Obtaining Compensation to Rebuild and Recover from Acworth Trucking Accidents
If you are the victim of a tractor-trailer accident in Acworth, you may suffer a wide range of injuries, including the following:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Compound fractures and broken bones
- Amputation of one’s extremities
- Serious damage to internal organs
- Spinal cord damage resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia
These are just a few examples of the types of serious and debilitating injuries that are common in Acworth trucking accidents. Our caring team of Acworth trucking accident attorneys frequently represent those who suffer serious life-altering injuries, which may result in staggering medical bills, loss of income, severe pain and long periods of rehabilitative or nursing care.
Our experienced Acworth tractor-trailer accident lawyers strive to obtain the financial compensation our clients need to facilitate the best medical care and highest quality of life following a serious trucking accident. We seek both general and special damages on behalf of our clients. Special damages are economic damages, such as medical expenses, lost income, property damage, future lost earnings, burial and funeral expenses in a wrongful death case and other out-of-pocket expenses. General damages provide compensation for more intangible losses like pain and suffering and impairment of your quality of life. A final type of damages that might be awarded in cases of extreme or gross negligence or intentional misconduct is punitive damages, which are designed to punish a wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.
Be aware of your legal rights! If you have been injured in an Acworth trucking accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Call now for a FREE CONSULTATION with Montlick and Associates' experienced Acworth trucking accident attorneys.
Our attorneys are available to help you and may even visit you if needed. You can call us anytime 24/7 at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) for a FREE CONSULTATION. Alternatively, you can visit our website, www.montlick.com, to make use of our FREE CASE EVALUATION FORM or 24-hour live online chat service.