If you or a loved one has been the victim of a car accident involving a commercial tractor-trailer (often called a “semi truck”), you’ve probably sustained some very serious injuries or maybe even lost a loved one. You may have a lot of questions about what you should do next and if you can hold someone accountable for the losses you have suffered.

There are several things you should do immediately to protect yourself and your family if one of you have been injured or killed in a truck accident. Taking certain steps will help you recover from your injuries and losses and seek fair compensation from those that caused them.

  1. Your first priority is to go to the hospital or a doctor who can treat your injuries and, just as importantly, accurately diagnose the various injuries you’ve sustained and explain how they will affect your medical condition in the future. If you have lost a loved one due to the accident, a healthcare provider should be able to connect the cause of death and to the accident. 
  2. You should also make sure a police report has been filed after the crash which documents the location of the accident, the drivers involved, and the resulting damage. The police report may also indicate which driver is responsible for the accident and can identify whether there were witnesses or traffic cameras at the scene of the accident and other potential sources of evidence.
  3. When possible, you should keep as much documentation as possible relating to your accident and your injuries, including the costs of medical treatment and lost wages due to your inability to work. This may serve as key evidence later when you seek compensation from the driver of the accident or the trucking company that employs them.
  4. Call one of our experienced truck accident attorneys to discuss the value of your case and the options you have to seek the fair compensation for your injuries that you deserve. In many cases, especially when the trucking company responsible for your injuries won’t make a fair offer, we help our clients file truck accident lawsuits in order to get them the compensation they deserve.

Does a truck accident attorney have to a lawsuit to win the case?

An accident involving a tractor-trailer or semi truck is much different than an accident involving two cars. Similarly, a semi truck accident case is different than a case involving two ordinary drivers. For one, the damages are usually far higher—semi trucks are massive, heavy, and dangerous vehicles that fly down highways at very high speeds. The injuries and medical costs involved in semi truck accidents are often much more serious than ordinary car accidents too. That’s especially true when the accident results in a wrongful death.

Perhaps most importantly, an accident involving a commercial semi truck usually means there is also a company employer who you can hold accountable for your injuries. Under Georgia law, a company is liable for your injuries when its employee’s negligence caused the accident, and you may be able to seek extra damages if you can prove that the employer’s policies for its truck drivers contributed to the accident, such as corporate policies requiring them to drive long hours without rest. 

Common causes and examples of accidents involving semi trucks include:

  • Negligent driving and other driver errors, resulting from truck drivers who are over-worked, sleep-deprived, not fully trained, or driving recklessly under pressure from their employers to meet deadlines and mileage requirements.
  • Poorly-maintained trucks, which are common in a trucking industry where trucks are driven hundreds of miles every day with few breaks for maintenance. An unfortunate number of cases originate with a semi truck that had worn brake pads and faulty tires because the trucking company didn’t invest enough in maintenance.
  • Mechanical failures resulting from defective parts on the truck that the driver wasn’t aware of or that the trucking company ignored.
  • Overloaded cargo exceeding the loading capacity of a semi truck, which can make the truck unstable on the road and more likely to cause an accident.
  • Violating the traffic laws and state regulations involving commercial tractor-trailers and semi trucks on the highways, including laws that require them to stay in certain lanes or stay off narrow roads. 

Truckers and trucking companies also carry much larger insurance policies, sometimes up to 50 times as much as a typical car insurance policy. This is because these trucks are more dangerous, but also because they are generally used for commercial purposes by big and powerful companies. This means the value of a truck accident case may be much, much higher than an ordinary car accident case, but it also means the insurance company will fight that much harder to deny you fair compensation or find a way to pay you as little as possible.

If you retain one of our experienced truck accident attorneys, you can expect us to take the following actions to protect your case and maximize the value of your claims:

  • We conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, including the scene of the accident, the truck driver’s driver history, and the trucking company’s policies. This also includes looking at dash cam footage, traffic camera footage, interviewing witnesses, and in some cases retaining an “accident reconstruction” expert. These experts use scientific methods to determine the causes of serious car and trucking accidents.
  • We calculate the value of your case to ensure you can receive the most compensation possible. We can help maximize how much your case is worth by hiring experts who can evaluate your medical costs and lost wages in addition to calculating the intangible losses you’ve suffered due to your injuries, such as pain, trauma, and the ways that your injury will prevent you from enjoying your favorite activities or hobbies in the future.
  • We send a “demand letter” to the insurance company in which we set out the facts of the case, including the full nature of your injuries, the applicable laws that entitle you to compensation, and an explanation of how the truck driver’s negligence caused the accident and your injuries. And, of course, a demand letter includes a formal demand for monetary compensation for your damages. The insurance company can “settle” the case by agreeing to your terms or making a counter-offer.
  • If the insurance company won’t meet your demands, we file a truck accident lawsuit in court. This forces the insurance company to the table, and they can choose between making you a fair settlement offer or risk going to trial and losing big. Our experienced truck accident attorneys know what it takes to beat the insurance companies and win your truck accident case.

What can the truck accident attorneys at Pate & Johnson do for me?

Our experienced truck accident attorneys have been helping victims recover for their injuries for over 20 years. We have been successful over that time because we put our clients’ interests first and put in the work and effort necessary to make sure we get them the best outcomes possible.

Part of our success also comes from our battle-tested strategy. Many other truck accident lawyers will encourage you to take the first or second settlement offer from the insurance company, even though you may be entitled to far more. Some truck accident attorneys are scared of a trial.

Not us. We will prepare your case as if it is going to trial in order maximize your leverage and pressure the insurance company to settle on your terms. If they won’t we will take them to trial and beat them there.

Call our firm to talk to one of our experienced truck accident attorneys. We only take a limited number of cases, so we can dedicate our time and resources to your case and help you get the justice that you and your family deserve.

Not satisfied with your current personal injury attorney? You have a right to a new lawyer at no additional cost to you.  Find out how easy it is to switch to our firm.

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