In the state of Georgia, commercial trucks account for a significant portion of crashes involving serious injuries and wrongful deaths. When one considers the number of interstate and state highways that connect to Atlanta alone, the frequency of truck accidents is certainly not surprising. Because of the size of the trucks involved (many are over 50,000 pounds), it is usually the car occupant who sustains the greatest injuries.
To pursue a truck accident injury case against a truck driver and his trucking company, it is important to determine the type of carrier that struck you. Identifying which type of carrier was involved in your truck accident is an important early step that will be beneficial to your truck wreck case down the road. The type of carrier involved determines the set of regulations that govern the trucking company and the driver’s conduct. There are two general types of carriers involved in transporting goods using semi-trucks:
- Intrastate Carrier – An intrastate carrier only operates within the borders of the State of Georgia. These carriers are governed by the regulations of the Georgia code.
- Interstate Carrier – An interstate carrier transports goods across the state lines. These carriers must register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, get a USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) number, and obtain authority to operate from FMCSA (Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration.
Proving that the driver of the truck and/or its trucking company involved in your truck accident failed to comply with Georgia or Federal trucking requirements, whichever is applicable, is the best way to assure justice is served in your truck accident case. These regulations are established to ensure that the drivers of commercial vehicles are operating in as safe a manner as possible. Any violation—whether it is exceeding the maximum number of hours of service or a failure to maintain the proper equipment on a vehicle—can be a factor that contributed to the cause of the truck accident or increased its severity.
Truck drivers are under constant pressure to meet time deadlines, and a driver’s lack of adequate rest may lead to sleep deprivation. A drowsy trucker who does not take mandated scheduled breaks can be the fatal cause of any serious truck accident. Drowsy driving is a growing epidemic among the trucking industry and other drivers need to be on constant alert to avoid a truck accident.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Driver Fatigue
- Unreasonable schedules
- Improperly loaded or overloaded trucks
- Spilled loads
- Defective equipment
- Poorly maintained truck
- Lack of driver training and experience
- Dangerous weather conditions
- Defective roadways
- Excessive speed
- Aggressive driving to meet deadlines
- The truck driver leaves inadequate space between the truck and your vehicle
- The truck driver fails to locate you in his blind spot
- Drowsy Driving
- Negligent drivers of other vehicles
Truck Accident Evidence
- How many hours was the trucker allowed to drive before they were required to pull over for rest?
- Did the truck exceed weight restrictions while on the roadway?
- Verify the types of records the trucker was required to keep during their travel.
- Determine who was allowed to drive the truck.
- Ensure that appropriate licenses were issued to operate the truck.
Obtain copies of:
- The accident report
- The driver’s log
- The driver’s qualification file
- The daily inspection reports
- The annual inspection logs
- The maintenance repair records
- The Qualcomm and onboard recording devices
- The downloadable data from ECM
- The post-accident drug and alcohol testing report
- The accident register
- Bills of lading
- Weight tickets
- Hotel receipts
- Policy and procedure manuals
- Training documents
When selecting a Georgia truck injury lawyer to handle your truck accident personal injury case, you should ask whether he or she has experience in handling accidents involving both interstate and intrastate carriers. Choosing a vehicle accident attorney who is experienced with litigating truck wreck injury cases in Georgia is the key to obtaining an appropriate settlement or award. Call the Monk Law Firm for a free consultation. Our accident law firm is here to help you.