If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options so that you can receive compensation that covers all your expenses. Our attorneys at The Millar Law Firm, located in Clayton County, Georgia, have been helping College Park residents recover the compensation they deserve in truck accident cases for over 25 years.
Located minutes away from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, College Park is a friendly, diverse community where many residents must travel daily on the busy interstates that pass through the city for work or other activities. Unfortunately, sharing the roads with tractor trailers and other large vehicles means that drivers are at risk for the kind of serious injuries and costly expenses associated with truck accidents.
In any type of vehicle crash, you may suffer property damage, medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more, but these costs are likely to be much higher when you collide with a heavy truck traveling at high speeds. Even if you weren’t responsible for the accident, you may still be on the hook for all these expenses unless you can present a strong claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Because of our nearby location and experience, our attorneys know the area and can quickly investigate your claim, gather strong evidence, and negotiate for a fast and full settlement with the insurance company. Our attorneys are also familiar with College Park’s law enforcement agencies and courts, and we use our established relationships with local experts and professionals to build the strongest possible case.
How to Increase Your Chances of a Successful Truck Accident Settlement
To ensure you have the best chance of winning maximum compensation for your truck accident claim, you and your attorney should collect evidence that proves liability and the full cost of your injuries. Most trucking companies have a team of investigators that will show up to the scene of the accident and go to work immediately, looking for any piece of evidence that can help prove that the truck driver, or trucking company, was not at fault.
If the trucking team can find a way to argue that you were at fault, the insurance company may reduce or even deny compensation for your claim. The insurance company may also underestimate your medical expenses and the severity of your injuries, which can also reduce your settlement.
To increase your chances of reaching a successful truck accident settlement, our lawyers recommend the following:
Consult an attorney before agreeing to a settlement
You should never cash an insurance check or sign an agreement without talking to a lawyer who can help you understand the value of your case. Insurance companies may offer a quick settlement after a truck accident to avoid paying the full cost, and you may not realize that you’re leaving money on the table until it’s too late.
Why Experience Matters When It Comes to Truck Accidents
Because tractor trailers and other trucks are much larger and heavier than cars, they can not only cause more damage in a collision but also produce catastrophic, life-changing injuries and higher medical bills. That means it can be harder to accurately calculate the full cost of the accident, which includes current as well as future losses.
To avoid paying high costs, insurance companies often make lowball settlement offers or use unfair tactics to protect their bottom line. An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to fight against these tactics and negotiate with insurance adjusters to get maximum compensation. If settlement negotiations fail, your attorney should be prepared to file a lawsuit to recover the compensation you deserve.
In addition, it can be more difficult to identify who is responsible for the accident because there may be multiple potential defendants involved. There are also different legal issues and safety standards that apply when an accident involves a professional driver working for a trucking company. To effectively fight for you, your attorney must have enough experience to understand the complexities and challenges of handling truck accident cases.
Remember that the trucking company already has an advantage when it comes to collecting evidence because it has a team ready to go to the scene of an accident immediately. To help ensure that crucial evidence is not lost or destroyed, you need an experienced personal injury attorney working for you who can investigate quickly and gather evidence to build a successful case.
Because crashes involving large trucks can produce more serious, life-changing injuries than a typical auto accident, it is often challenging to accurately determine damages. Under Georgia law, an accident victim should receive compensation that makes them whole—that includes both economic losses (e.g., vehicle damage, past and future medical treatment, and lost wages) and noneconomic losses (e.g., pain and suffering and diminished quality of life). To show the full value of your claim, you or your attorney will need to document all losses through bills and records and seek the opinions of experts to assess the impact of the accident on your future.
Another complex issue in truck accident cases is identifying all the defendants who may be responsible and finding all the insurance policies that apply. Unlike typical car accident cases, there may be multiple potential defendants at fault in a truck collision, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the manufacturer, and the cargo loader. If your costs are high, you may not receive full compensation unless your attorney accurately identifies all responsible parties.
Gathering evidence after a truck accident may be more challenging as well. For example, trucking companies often have a lot of resources at their disposal, including teams of investigators and risk managers, which can give them an advantage over accident victims.
There are also mechanical and technical aspects of large truck cases that create challenges, and your attorney will need to gain access to the trucking company’s records and black box data to build your case. Though potentially helpful in proving what happened, your attorney will need to hire experts to analyze the data collected during the investigation.
In addition, there are a number of federal and state regulations that govern the trucking industry. These regulations can be complex and difficult to understand, which can make it hard to prove that the truck driver, trucking company, or another party was negligent.
Trucking Regulations That Can Influence a Truck Accident Claim
The large tractor trailers you see on Atlanta’s roads are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA publishes a field operators’ training manual and federal motor carrier safety regulations. The primary mission of the FMCSA is to create and enforce safety requirements, ensure compliance, and maintain records for all truckers and carriers operating in the country.
The FMCSA has field operations, service centers, and state-level motor carrier divisions in every state—including Georgia. Through its regulations, the FMCSA sets minimum standards for the safe operation of commercial vehicles, which cover all related personnel and business entities (e.g., drivers, owners, dispatchers, trainers, supervisors, and fleet managers). FMCSA regulations cover a wide range of requirements, including registration, permits, driver qualifications, hours of service, vehicle maintenance, financial responsibility, and safety.
Any carrier or driver that fails to comply with FMCSA regulations may lose their licensing and operating authority. The FMCSA ensures compliance through regular audits on trucking companies and their drivers.
Some of the most important regulations that can help prevent truck accidents include:
Though truck drivers have a duty to follow rules and regulations while operating their vehicles, trucking companies are ultimately responsible for ensuring that their drivers and employees comply with federal and state regulations.
During an accident investigation, your attorney should look closely at the trucking company’s records and check for FMCSA violations. If the accident was caused by the driver, carrier, or any other party violating safety regulations, that evidence can be used to prove liability in your injury claim.
When it comes to predicting exactly when you’ll get a check after a truck accident, there are no guarantees. Before you accept any payment from the insurance company or agree to any settlement, you should make sure you understand the full extent of your injuries and costs. Assessing the full value of your claim can take time, but an experienced personal injury attorney can help speed up the process.
After you agree to a settlement, it usually takes two to four weeks to receive payment. If your settlement is complex and requires special conditions or court approval, it may take months to get compensation.
If the insurance company doesn’t agree to a fair settlement, your attorney will need to file a lawsuit to recover compensation. Litigation means you will have to wait longer to get compensation, but if you win the case, you will likely receive payment within 30 days after the verdict.
You Pay No Fee Unless We Win You Money
If you’re looking for a College Park truck accident lawyer, our attorneys can help. When you hire us, we work on a contingency basis, which means that we don’t get paid unless we recover money for your claim. To learn more about your truck accident legal options, call The Millar Law Firm today at (770) 400-0000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys.