Reasons To Hire An Expert Semi Truck Accident Attorney In Columbus, GA
Have you or a loved one been in a serious accident with a big rig (also known as 18 Wheeler, Semi-Truck, etc.)? If so, the Columbus Law Offices of Kenneth S. Nugent, P.C. can help get the compensation you deserve!
In a large majority of accidents involving 18 wheelers, people often suffer catastrophic injuries and in many cases, there is loss of life. You need to understand that accidents involving commercial trucks are different as compared to accidents involving other types of vehicles. The damage caused due to truck accidents happens to be much more severe and the injuries are also much more intense. It can be said that a truck accident often changes lives.
A number of laws and regulations have been enacted by the state government as well as the federal government concerning these commercial vehicles as the potential for damage is severe in accidents involving commercial vehicles. These laws have been enacted in order to increase the safety of people on the roadways. Unfortunately, not all trucking companies abide by these laws due to either poor management or desire for excessive profit, and it typically leads to accidents involving commercial vehicles.
In case you or someone you know has been in an accident involving an 18 wheeler, you should immediately seek out the services of an experienced Columbus big truck accident attorney. If you are wondering why the rush, you need to know that as soon as the trucking company finds out that there has been an accident involving one of their vehicles, they will start working on ways to reduce their liability as much as possible. These big trucking companies have specialized attorneys and along with their insurance company, these professionals will begin working on ways to reduce the legal or financial obligations they might have.
In fact, it’s a common occurrence for a representative of the insurance company to arrive unannounced at the accident scene or at the hospital where the victims have been seeking treatment in order to get a recorded statement from them. Usually, they make every effort to convince the victims to sign a waiver absolving them of their responsibility. This goes a long way in helping them either reduce or completely eliminate their liability.
You can rest assured that this waiver or recorded statement is never in the best interests of the injured. These professionals working for the trucking company try to take advantage of the victims by convincing them of the advantages of signing a waiver. Many victims are in a confused state of mind due to their injuries as they fail to realize the seriousness of the papers they are signing.
Keep in mind that if you are the victim of an accident involving an 18 wheeler, you should never sign a paper or make a recorded statement without speaking to an attorney first. If not, your attorney will be at a distinct disadvantage in trying to claim fair compensation for your accident injuries.
Here at the Columbus Law Offices of Kenneth S. Nugent, P.C., we work diligently for our clients to protect their rights as accident victims. We are a specialized personal injury law firm and we work to protect the rights of accident victims as well as their families.
Common Types of Columbus GA Truck Accident Injuries
We have worked with thousands of accident victims and we can assure you that the injuries involving a truck accident tend to be far more devastating as compared to injuries involving other vehicles. When a heavy commercial truck hits a passenger vehicle, there is usually no chance for passengers in the SUV or an average car escaping unscathed.
Some of the common injuries we have seen our clients sustain when involved in a truck accident include spinal cord injury, serious bruising, partial or complete paralysis, burn injuries, whiplash, ligament injuries, back injuries, neck injuries, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, organ damage as well as lacerations and others. In addition to these, most accident victims suffer undergo emotional damage and might suffer from guilt, PTSD, anxiety about driving as well as depression among others.
Common Causes of 18 Wheeler Truck Accidents in Columbus Georgia
One of the leading causes of commercial truck accidents is driver fatigue. Tired drivers operating huge vehicles do not have normal response times and there are times they also fall asleep at the wheel. This is the reason federal regulations have been created to limit the number of hours a day a driver is allowed to be behind the wheel each day. Federal regulations also specify the minimum amount of rest time drivers are required to have between each shift.
Drivers are also required to write down everything in a logbook. This logbook should include information about the additional stops to be made by the driver and time spent on taking naps or having lunch. Unfortunately, these logbook entries are often forged by drivers in order to maintain their predetermined schedules. This leads to driver fatigue as they overwork themselves and become a danger for other vehicles on the road.
There have also been cases where drivers are forced to take stimulants in order to remain awake while driving. While stimulants tend to keep the drivers awake, they also impair their abilities leading to longer response times.
As per federal regulations, a driver is not allowed to be behind the wheel for more than 11 hours a day and is also supposed to have a 10-hour break between each shift. Federal regulations also state that the driver cannot spend more than 60 hours driving in a seven-day period. A minimum of 34 consecutive hours of rest is required for a driver each week.
Another reason for semi-truck accidents is loads that are improperly secured. When the load is improperly secured, it can shift leading to an unbalanced trailer. If the load is unbalanced, it can cause the trailer to flip and make it harder for the driver to control. If the load is on a dump truck or a flatbed and is covered by a tarp, the tarp also needs to be secured properly. If the truck is overloaded, it becomes difficult for drivers to stop or control their vehicles.
Sometimes, accidents happen due to improper maintenance of the truck. An improperly maintained truck is a hazard to the truck driver as well as other drivers on the road. All the drivers are required to inspect the truck tires, brake lights as well as brakes among other things before each trip.
Many truck accidents also occur due to excessive speeding. Big trucks are harder to stop and the faster a truck is going (above the speed limit) will make it harder for them to avoid other vehicles or can possibly lose control of the vehicle.
Alcohol use for commercial drivers has some strict regulations. Keep in mind that while a passenger vehicle driver is considered intoxicated only when their blood alcohol level is above 0.8% but the driver of a commercial vehicle such as an 18 wheeler is considered intoxicated if they register blood alcohol level of 0.4%.
Some prescription medications and over-the-counter medications might also impair the ability of the drivers when it comes to reacting to hazards and road conditions. Many drivers use legal and illegal stimulants to stay awake in order to maintain their schedules but the stimulants often result in longer response times and it makes them dangerous.
18 wheeler drivers are not allowed to use any controlled medication which is not prescribed by a qualified doctor. The doctor is also required to determine whether the medication they are prescribing will impair the ability of the driver to operate the vehicle. All truck drivers are required to take a drug test before they are hired. All truck drivers are also required to undergo random drug testing.
Responsibility for Semi-Truck Accidents
While commercial truck drivers are often considered responsible for causing truck accidents, it does not mean that they are the only ones who are liable for the accident. In fact, you should know that several other parties might also be found liable and at fault for an 18 wheeler accident.
One of the first parties is the trucking company. As mentioned above, trucking companies are required to follow a number of standards and procedures to comply with federal and state trucking laws. It’s possible that these are ignored or overlooked by the company. In such cases, the trucking company might be found at fault for various reasons.
The trucking company can be found liable if:
- They forced the truck driver to drive for more hours than the daily allowed limits
- They didn’t perform the required drug testing or background checks before hiring
- They forced the driver to drive an overloaded truck
- They hired someone without proper experience or training
- They forced the driver to hurry by imposing deadlines
In some cases, the truck manufacturer might be at fault for causing personal injuries or property damage. If the manufacturer knew about a defective part but they didn’t recall that item or failed to tell the public, they could be found at fault.
Simply put, a number of parties could be wholly or partially at fault for the accident but it can be a complicated exercise to determine the role of other parties in the accident. Therefore, it is best to give us a call in case you or someone you know has been injured due to an 18 wheeler accident.
The victims of a truck accident can seek compensation for a variety of things. Some of these include physical injuries, wrongful death, medical expenses, emotional trauma, disfigurement, inconvenience, loss of income, pain, and suffering, loss of future earning ability, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life among others.
Choosing the Right Columbus 18 Wheeler Accident Attorney
If you or someone you know has been injured in an 18 wheeler accident caused due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek fair financial compensation for your injuries. Our team of lawyers has over 350 years of the collective experience and we have helped thousands of clients across the state of Georgia.
We make sure that your injury claims are handled professionally and quickly to allow you to focus on recovery as we take care of your legal issues. Our team of expert lawyers deals with insurance companies and adjusters each day and makes sure our clients get fair compensation for their injuries.
Give us a call today at 1-800-CALL-KEN to get expert consultation for your Columbus personal injury case.
Kenneth S. Nugent, P.C.
1234 1st Ave #200, Columbus, GA 31901