Truck Accident Lawyers in Valdosta
Holding Negligent Drivers & Trucking Companies Accountable
Truck accidents almost always lead to severe or fatal injuries to those in passenger vehicles. While in use, a truck’s weight, size, and velocity make trucking accidents very dangerous to passenger vehicle occupants. If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, you must contact a local truck accident attorney, as you may be entitled to compensation.
Truck Accident Negligence Claims
In a trucking accident case, you must show that the truck driver or their employer (and sometimes both) were negligent in their actions and that such negligence was the cause of the accident.
The following are just a few examples of the types of trucking accidents that usually involve some type of negligence on the part of the driver, employer, or shipper:
Driving While Fatigued or Distracted
Truck drivers are required to adhere to maximum hours of driving time, and when drivers fail to keep their hours under the required maximum, they can become fatigued and inattentive. This puts other motorists on the roadway at risk.
Another negligent behavior is when truck drivers become inattentive due to distractions such as:
- Or otherwise using a handheld device
Any distraction which takes a truck driver’s attention away from their duties and responsibilities while operating a commercial vehicle on public highways is a safety hazard.
Speeding, Following Too Close, & Violations of the Rules of the Road
Truck drivers must obey the same laws as other drivers, and any such failure to do so creates an enormous risk to the public. For instance, 18-wheelers need far more distance to brake and come to a stop in traffic than an ordinary vehicle. It is far more dangerous for an 18-wheeler to be following too close in traffic than an ordinary vehicle.
Truck drivers must be more aware of their surroundings due to the inability to stop quickly, and when not paying attention, they can run:
- Stop signs
- Stop lights
- Pedestrian crossings, etc.
In fact, truck drivers should be trained to always be looking 12 seconds ahead of where they will be.
Truck driver’s failure to obey traffic laws and pay attention while operating a commercial vehicle can cause many of the following dangerous collisions:
An underride crash is when a smaller vehicle becomes trapped underneath the trailer part of a tractor-trailer. The occupants of the vehicle become trapped underneath the truck and sustain serious or fatal injuries.
An override crash is when a truck driver runs over a passenger vehicle.
Wide Turn Crashes
Trucks need to make wide turns, and because of this, they are banned from certain roads. When trucks make wide turns, they may swing into oncoming lanes of traffic.
This type of accident is when the trailer gets ahead of the truck’s cabin. The trailer can drift and cause underride and multiple-vehicle accidents. This type of accident can happen if the truck driver brakes too hard, brakes abruptly, or is speeding.
These crashes can occur due to many factors, such as speeding, alcohol use, road conditions, and an improperly loaded truck.
Federal law requires that truck drivers, and their employers, maintain the truck and trailer in a safe condition. In fact, truck drivers are required to perform both pre-trip and post-trip inspections on their tractor and trailer.
These inspections require them to inspect their:
- Turn signals
- And loads
When they fail to perform the required inspections and something unsafe is undetected, major accidents can occur.
Improper or Unsecure Loading
Federal law mandates how cargo that is being transported on public roadways is to be loaded and secured on all types of trailers. The failure to properly secure a load can lead to many dangerous conditions, such as cargo falling off the trailer or a load shift, which can cause the tractor and trailer to flip over due to the load moving during transit.
These types of truck accidents often result in catastrophic or fatal injuries to the occupants of smaller vehicles. Pedestrians and motorcyclists are more vulnerable to catastrophic injuries due to the large difference in weight in size and the lack of protection.
Wrongful Death Claims & Trucking Accidents
Truck accidents are typically major accidents that oftentimes involve numerous other vehicles and frequently lead to deaths. When someone is killed due to a truck driver’s negligence or the negligence of the employer or shipper, a claim for wrongful death can be brought by the family of the deceased.
Wrongful death claims in Georgia are governed by Georgia law. Typically, if the deceased had a spouse, the spouse has the right to bring the wrongful death claim on behalf of themselves and their children.
If the deceased was not married, the children will have the right to bring the wrongful death lawsuit. And, if the deceased was not married and had no children, the parents of the deceased will have the right to bring the wrongful death lawsuit.
What Are FMCSA Trucking Laws in Georgia?
Under federal and Georgia state laws, there are numerous requirements placed on tractor-trailer drivers and their employers in order to protect the public. One such requirement is that tractor-trailer drivers must get a certain amount of sleep and take breaks while working, and the employer must maintain accurate records of this.
If the employer fails to keep accurate records, claims that the driver was overly tired or fatigued can be made. Under the federal hours of service regulations, drivers are permitted to drive 60 to 70 hours in a seven-to-eight-day period.
Additionally, tractor-trailer drivers are not allowed to use drugs or medications that affect their driving ability, and they must conduct safety inspections to ensure that their trucks are safe and their loads are secured. Sometimes, truck drivers are too tired to drive and stay awake, so they self-medicate. This negligent behavior puts everyone on the road at risk.
How Langdale Law Can Help
If you or a loved one were involved in a truck accident, your lives are forever changed, and the road to recovery will be long and costly. The attorneys at Langdale Law are knowledgeable about federal and state trucking laws and can investigate your truck accident to determine liability.
Contact Langdale Law today to discuss the merits of your truck accident claim.