Your Rights Under Law
Georgia Tractor Trailer Accident Library
Trucking accidents are far and away the most destructive crashes due to the inherent imbalance between the mass of the tractor trailer and the mass of a typical family vehicle.
Because juries know that the impacts are worse, tractor trailer accident claims are generally worth far more than a basic car accident case. It is for this reason that every personal injury lawyer in Georgia claims to handle trucking cases. The reality is far different and as a consumer it can be a challenge to separate the B.S. from reality.
How can you tell if an attorney has real experience with tractor trailer cases? Interview them and ask for specifics. Mr. Simon spent 10 years defending trucking companies and large commercial insurers prior to switching sides. The last trucking accident case that the firm tried to verdict was in February 2014. Ask every lawyer you interview for case names and real examples.
Why can't a run of the mill car accident lawyer effectively handle a tractor trailer accident case? The simple answer is trucking crashes are far more complex from an investigative and legislative standpoint.Primary Differences
1. Trucking crashes often involve advanced collision reconstruction information from the Georgia State Patrol. This data is tough for a novice to interpret.
2. Tractor trailers have advanced data onboard from the engine and braking components that can be downloaded and interpreted by expert collision reconstructionists to determine speed prior to impact, braking power and whether the cruise control was on.
3. Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations require a dizzying array of documentation on everything from:
- Hours of service records on the driver's driving time
- Pre and Post trip inspection reports are required under Federal Regulations and when safety items are missed for components that lead to the collision it can create legal liability.
- Tractor trailers have sophisticated data recorders that must be downloaded after a crash and the data shows speed, braking and gear. This data can prove that the driver was speeding or failed to brake correctly.
- Some trucks are equipped with Eaton VORAD radar collision avoidance systems.
- Trucking companies are required to thoroughly vet their drivers' background and to maintain a driver qualification file. CFR Sec.391.21
- Trucking companies are required to conduct an annual review of their driver's performance every year. If a company fails to take action on a serious offense, it can disqualify the driver and expose the company to punitive damages. CFR Sec. 391.25
- Annual medical exams for the driver can reveal dangerous conditions like severe diabetes that should have kept the truck driver off the road.
- Driver's operating at highway speeds of 55 and above will overdrive their low beams and are required to use high beams when not facing oncoming traffic.
- Proper right turn technique prohibits jug handle turns.
- U-turns are improper
- Radar detectors may not be used.
- It is impermissible to use cruise control in the rain.
- Strict requirements on the use of QualComm data and cell phone use.
In short, you cannot use a "jack-of-all-trades" attorney to handle a trucking accident. Interview at least 3 attorneys and make an educated choice.