Debunking the top truck accident myths in Georgia
In 2017, roughly 4,400 motor vehicle collisions in the United States involved trucks. The accidents resulted in 5,000+ fatalities. The number of truck-related accidents and subsequent fatalities increased by 8 percent over the preceding year. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that Georgia remains 1 of the top 10 states having the highest number of motor vehicle collisions involving trucks.
However, there are many myths that have the potential to contribute to collisions or prevent accident victims from pursuing the compensation they deserve. Separating the fact from fiction is important if you’re considering a truck accident claim.
Myth #1: Limited driving hours are enforced
According to Georgia law and regulations, truck drivers are required to take breaks after driving so many hours or miles. Drivers must also document driving and break times in a logbook. However, there is nothing stopping drivers from entering false information in their books. Some keep more than 1 logbook: 1 book to show law enforcement authorities (should they be stopped) and 1 with factual driving times, which is often used to base company wages.
If a driver does not get sufficient rest, they become fatigued, which leads to drowsiness, slowed reaction time and poor judgment. Thus, accidents are more likely to occur.
Regulations and requirements are also different for truck drivers traveling within the state vs. cross-country excursions. Federal statutes do not apply to in-state trucking companies. So, trucks may not be loaded properly or overloaded. Drivers may drive overtime to ensure desired wages. Local trucks might also exercise poor judgment and adopt irresponsible habits that lead to collisions.
Myth #2: All truck drivers are well-trained
Most drivers undergo training programs before they may acquire a CDL license. It is also common for new drivers to accompany seasoned professionals for a period of time before they are allowed to get behind the wheel.
However, there are also companies that may not be as conscientious in terms of the people they hire, which increases the potential for having a dangerous driver on the road.
Myth #3: Drivers are always responsible for truck accidents
Whether or not a truck driver is responsible for a motor vehicle collision depends on many variables. The driver may be at fault if they’re driving recklessly by disobeying regulations or not taking road and weather conditions into consideration.
An accident may occur if the driver could not control the truck secondary to a defective part or another type of malfunction. In this instance, the manufacturer becomes responsible. A collision may occur if a motorist acts irresponsibly, which causes a collision with a truck. The motorist is then deemed responsible.
Myth #4: Trucking companies aren’t liable for driver errors
Companies may attempt to remove themselves from the situation to prevent adverse judgments in the event one of their trucks becomes involved in a collision. However, there are many factors that point to negligence on behalf of the company that led to an accident. The company is liable if they failed to perform a background evaluation, validate a driver’s license or test drivers for substance abuse. Companies might also hire drivers without knowledge that the individual is safe or qualified to drive.
Trucking companies are also liable if they fail to supervise driver behavior. Some hire individuals and do not provide sufficient training. Companies that do not regularly maintain trucks to ensure optimal function are also at fault. When supervisors and company owners are more concerned with production rather than regulations and safe driving habits, they are then responsible.
Myth #5: Don’t expect large compensation from trucking companies
Large, well-known trucking companies and their insurance providers may attempt to relinquish themselves from responsibility in order to prevent a payout settlement. Tuck-related accident victims consulting with a qualified and experienced firm increase the likelihood of getting results.
Quality law firms perform extensive evaluations of the case and gather evidence to determine fault in addition to presenting a case that clearly denotes the losses, pain and suffering of their client.
Myth #6: Securing accident compensation takes years of fighting
In rare instances, motor vehicle collision lawsuits may span years before the court comes to a conclusion. Each personal injury and property damage claim is unique. In the majority of situations, however, trucking companies and insurance providers prefer to offer a monetary settlement rather than going to court to settle a claim.
In the event that a company and their provider refuse to offer a fair settlement, the case may proceed to court, which is why having an experienced attorney is crucial.
Myth #7: Truck accident victims don’t need legal representation
Accident victims who prefer not to obtain legal advice and representation do themselves a disservice. The average motorist typically does not have the knowledge and experience needed to navigate the legal process. Victims may not be able to acquire all of the information necessary to prove their case in court. They may also agree to settle for far less than they are entitled to.
Consult with a Macon truck accident law firm
In the event that you become involved in a truck-related collision, contact one of our experienced Macon accident attorneys. With the assistance and guidance of an experienced lawyer, collision victims are more likely to be awarded for the medical bills, lost wages, property damages and other losses suffered.