Even though federal trucking regulations play a great role in establishing standards in the trucking industry, the number of trucking accidents has increased by 20 percent. Georgia is ranked as one of the most dangerous states to share the road with. Highways 411, 278, and 27, and Interstate I-75 and I-20, that large commercial trucks use to travel southbound, have some of the most deadly on-road accidents.
Northwest Georgia among the most dangerous parts of the state
In April of 2016, I-75 was shut down after a two-vehicle crash involving a tractor-trailer halted all traffic. The tractor-trailer was completely engulfed in flames and traffic was diverted at Exit 345. In this incident, like so many others, serious injury was involved.
Unlike normal passenger vehicle accidents, trucking accidents can be far more complicated to solve. There are a lot of factors involved, like who caused the accident, who owns the truck, and whether the driver was employed by the trucking company or was hired as an independent contractor. In order to answer questions of liability, you must establish what went wrong in the first place.
Who’s At Fault?
While the drivers are mostly at fault for causing accidents, there are other common causes. Weather conditions, mechanical failures, road designs, and traffic signal failures contribute as well. Because northwestern Georgia is relatively hilly in nature, curving around the giant masses of Appalachia, road conditions are rather dangerous, especially for 18-wheelers.
If the driver of the vehicle is primarily at fault, then you need to establish who’s responsible for your injuries. As this can depend on multiple factors, it can be difficult to figure out. You need to consider the following:
The truck driver
The owner of the truck/trailer
The company that leased the truck
The manufacturer of the vehicle
Each and every one of these individuals or companies may attempt to point their finger at the other, claiming the accident was caused by some mishap apart from their own for the sake of avoiding liability. The trucking company could potentially point their finger at the brake company, claiming the accident was caused by faulty brakes.
An attempt to avoiding liability
Previously, trucking companies could get away with shimmying any responsibility in the case of an accident by simply distancing themselves with the driver and equipment. Truck companies were known to hire independent contractors so they did not have to hire their own operator, or they would rent or lease the equipment they used to haul material. Then, if the truck ever got into an accident, they would avoid liability by stating the driver wasn’t an employee of the company and the equipment didn’t belong to them.
Due to new federal laws and regulations, these arguments and loopholes no longer exist. Now any company owning a trucking permit is responsible for any and all accidents, as long as the company name is on a placard or displayed somewhere on the vehicle.
Inspecting the incident
Normally, victims of an accident rely on eye-witness accounts or police reports to see how and why the accident occurred, but your Georgia personal injury lawyer can also approach a government agency to obtain critical evidence to support your case. With federal and state regulations, a member of the reconstruction division of the Georgia police is required to inspect the truck and trailer involved in the accident. The inspection reveals the overall condition of the truck and trailer.
Getting the proper help
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in an accident involving a commercial truck or delivery van in northwest Georgia, it’s important to turn to the right source for help. Your best option is to contact a Georgia truck accident lawyer serving the geographic area where your accident occurred. Gammon, Anderson & McFall, in Cedartown, offers years of experience and is ready to provide the right advice and representation.