Unpacking Truck Accident Liability: Who’s Really Responsible?

Truck accident attorneys at The Dressie Law Firm can help you understand the complexities of determining truck accident liability. Call us.

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Trucking Accidents and Liability

Road accidents involving large transport vehicles can be extremely stressful. Truck accidents are more complex than car crashes, partly because they often involve multiple parties and may be caused by several factors. Therefore, determining who’s liable can be difficult without a proper truck accident investigation.

In 2021, over 520,000 large truck accidents occurred in the U.S. Meanwhile, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that 4,714 people died in 2021 due to large truck crashes. Of these deaths, 16% were truck occupants, 68% were passenger vehicle occupants, and the remaining 16% were pedestrians, motorcyclists, or bicyclists.

If you were involved in a truck accident and sustained damages, you may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault party. An Atlanta truck accident attorney at Dressie Law Firm can assist you in proving your case and holding the liable party accountable.

Read on to understand who may be liable for damages in truck accidents and what victims can do to seek the compensation they deserve.

    Factors Leading to Trucking Accidents

    According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), various factors can be attributed to large truck accidents. “Speeding of any kind” was the most frequent driver-related factor that resulted in fatalities in 2020. Other driver-related causes of truck crashes include impairment due to alcohol, fatigue, or illness, distraction, and careless driving. Weather conditions, defective vehicles, and road conditions can also cause truck accidents. 

      When are Truck Drivers Held Liable in Truck Accidents?

       

      Truck drivers are considered commercial motor vehicle drivers. Before they can drive large trucks, they must have a commercial driver’s license. It also goes without saying that every truck driver should know by heart the safe driving practices every truck driver should follow.

      If the truck driver was negligent or reckless and their behavior caused the accident, they can be held liable. The liable driver’s insurance company is expected to pay for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages and earning ability, and the pain and suffering of the accident victims.

      Under Section 51-1-2 of the Georgia Code, a person is considered negligent if he fails to exercise the degree of care that an ordinary prudent person should observe under the same or similar circumstances.

      However, it is best to remember that even if it appears that the driver of the truck was the one who caused the accident, determining truck accident liability is another matter. Other parties’ negligence may have contributed to the accident. For example, the trucking company may be liable for negligently hiring an unskilled or incompetent driver.

      Determining who is liable in any accident is a matter that should be handled by those who know the law. If you or your loved one suffered a truck accident, consult an accident attorney as soon as you’re healthy enough.

      Other Parties That Can Be Sued for Truck Accident Liability

      In a truck accident claim, it is necessary to prove that there was negligence and that it directly caused the accident.

      The following parties may be held liable for the truck accident:

      • Trucking companies: The trucking company is responsible for the drivers it hires and the trucks it puts on the road. Therefore, the drivers must be competent and trained, and the trucks must be well-maintained and inspected.
      • The truck manufacturer and vehicle parts manufacturer: If it is the defect of the motor vehicle that caused the collision, such as faulty brakes, the manufacturer can be held liable, especially if the broken part or failed system was defective from the beginning.
      • Other parties: This includes third-party drivers and local government agencies.

      Georgia Commercial Trucking Insurance

      Georgia, like other states in the United States, requires commercial trucking insurance for businesses that operate trucks or other commercial vehicles.

      According to Rule 515-16-11-.03 of the Georgia Rules and Regulations, intrastate trucks must have a minimum insurance coverage of:

      • $100,000 for bodily injury or death per person

      • $50,000 for property damage per accident

      • $300,000 for injury and deaths of all persons per accident

      The FMCSA details the minimum insurance requirements for commercial interstate trucks:

      • Commercial trucks that weigh over 10,000 pounds and travel across state lines or carry large amounts of hazardous materials should have liability insurance coverage of at least $750,000, $500,000 of which is for injuries.

      • Truck drivers who haul non-hazardous material in a vehicle weighing 10,000 to 26,000 pounds are required to have at least $300,000 in truck accident liability coverage.

      • Trucks that carry oil products should have $1,000,000 in liability insurance.

      • If hazardous materials are hauled, the coverage should at least be $5,000,000.

      Proper insurance coverage protects the driver and the company from being personally liable in case of accidents or incidents.

      Aside from liability insurance, other types of commercial truck insurance coverage options include physical damage coverage, cargo insurance, and non-trucking liability insurance.

      Owner-operators or independent contractors must also carry liability insurance that meets the state and FMSCA standards.

      How Much Are Most Truck Accident Settlements?

       

      Settlements in trucking accident claims are typically larger than claims involving smaller vehicles because the extent of injuries and damages is more significant. Even if it was a minor accident, the impact is still damaging.

      In determining the value of a truck accident case, lawyers often look at the extent of injuries and severity of the damages. Generally, truck accident victims may be entitled to recover the following from the at-fault party’s insurer:

      • Medical bills

      • Rehabilitation expenses

      • Property damage

      • Lost wages

      • Pain and suffering

      Talk to an experienced truck accident lawyer before signing any offer from the insurance company. You have to ensure that your rights are protected and that you aren’t being underpaid.

      What Is the Statute of Limitations on Truck Accident Claims?

      In Georgia, claimants have two years from the accident day to file a truck accident lawsuit against the driver or trucking company. Want to know more about making a truck accident claim in Georgia? Check out our truck accident FAQ page.

      The Dressie Law Firm Can Help You

      Your truck accident lawyer from Dressie Law Firm can help you recover compensation from the liable party. Our experienced truck accident attorneys have over two decades of experience obtaining maximum compensation for injured clients in commercial truck accident cases.

      Our legal team will help you determine liability, investigate and collect evidence, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. We can handle your claim from the initial filing to reaching a favorable settlement.

      Know more about how we can help you. Call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation.

      The Dressie Law Firm Can Help You

      If you or a loved one is a victim of a reckless or negligent driver, we want you to know that the law is on your side and so is the Dressie Law Firm.

      Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!