Who Can Be Held Liable in an Atlanta Truck Accident?
- Fatalities in Georgia involving a large truck numbered 135 in 2014.
- Over 8% of all fatal crashes in Georgia in 2014 involved a semi truck.
- About 88,000 trucks were involved in fatal crashes throughout the US in 2014.
Drive down the highway, and chances are good that you will see rubber scattered along the shoulder from a tire blowout. Have you ever wondered when the blowout happened or if anyone was affected? While many blowouts are just that and nothing else, other tire debris is the result of a serious collision or a blowout that caused an accident.
When a large truck and a passenger vehicle collide, the results are often catastrophic. The power packed by an 18-wheeler is no match for a smaller car or truck. The damage to the vehicle and the injuries to the people involved can result in astronomical costs.
When this occurs, an Atlanta truck accident attorney can help protect the rights of these victims by seeking compensation for the financial damages they have incurred.
No matter the type of accident, someone can almost always be held liable. When it comes to truck accidents, the person or party held liable often depends on the circumstances of the accident. In other words, causation is a factor in determining liability.
For example, if the brakes on the truck fail, the driver wouldn’t be held liable. Instead, the manufacturer or the owner of the truck may be held responsible, depending on the reason for the failure.
Who Can Potentially Be Held Liable?
There are a variety of parties that may be held liable depending on the cause of the truck accident. These include:
1. The Driver
If the driver caused the accident, they could be held liable. A truck driver may have been distracted, impaired or fatigued. In some cases, the driver may have received inadequate training or loaded their trailer in a hazardous way.
If it can be proven that the driver of the truck contributed to the accident, that person could be held financially responsible for the victim’s losses.
2. The Owner
If the driver and owner are two separate people, the owner may be held liable for the accident. An owner could be held liable if they failed to perform routine or necessary maintenance on the truck, causing equipment failure that led to the collision.
3. The Leasee
In some cases, companies lease vehicles from owners in order to expand their fleet. It then becomes the responsibility of the person leasing the truck to perform maintenance and ensure the vehicle is safe for operation. If a lack of maintenance led to the accident, the leasee could be held liable in a lawsuit.
4. The Manufacturer
Your Atlanta truck accident attorney may find that the manufacturer of the vehicle is the person or part who should be held liable. If the truck was not constructed properly or there was a known defect that the driver or owner was not alerted to, the manufacturer may be the party responsible.
For example, if there was a recall issued on the truck and the owner was not notified so they could seek the necessary repairs, the manufacturer could be held responsible if that defect led to the accident.
In some accidents, more than one party is held liable. In fact, the owner or company that owns the vehicle is almost always named in a lawsuit. This is because federal regulations dictate that any owner is responsible for accidents involving trucks with their placard affixed to it. It doesn’t matter if a non-owner was driving and responsible for safe operation.
What Compensation Is Available After a Truck Accident in Atlanta?
If you are involved in a trucking accident, the important thing is determining liability. Once the at-fault party can be determined, you and your attorney can work together to determine the type of compensation you are entitled to and the best way to secure it.
Generally, you would be legally able to seek compensation for:
- Medical bills: including those that you may incur in the future due to an extended need for care.
- Lost wages: those you have already lost and those you will lose as the result of an inability to return to work.
- Pain and suffering: what you are experiencing now and what you are expected to experience in the future.
If a loved one is killed in a trucking accident, your family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit with a court of jurisdiction. Your family would be entitled to funeral and burial expenses, payment for medical bills and compensation for a loss of support.
Because of all that is at stake, naming the correct parties in the lawsuit is important and will require the assistance of an experienced attorney.
The catastrophic nature of these accidents can lead to injuries that require lifelong care. You may need rehabilitation, surgery and assistance with your daily life. No person should have to deal with these things due to the error or negligence of someone else.
Speak to an Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney Today
The injuries and financial distress caused by a trucking accident can be life changing. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation if you have been involved in this type of accident.
We will talk to you at length in order to determine your best options for moving forward with your case. Our team is here for you and your family. Reach out today to our DeKalb truck accident lawyers and take the first step toward financial recovery.