Atlanta Negligent Truck Driver Accident Lawyer
Tractor-trailer crashes happen for a number of different reasons – fatigued truckers who continue to drive for hours after they are legally allowed, negligent maintenance of critical components such as tires and brakes, manufacturing defects, and more. Sometimes a truck accident occurs because the driver was untrained, inexperienced, or simply failed to drive with the necessary amount of care and attention.
Whatever the reason, 18-wheeler crashes cause some of the most horrific and catastrophic injuries to the people in the cars they hit. Truck crashes are almost always complex events, and sorting out what happened and why can be challenging. Holding negligent truck drivers and trucking companies accountable for their behavior and recovering significant compensation for truck accident victims is what we do at Shiver Hamilton Campbell. Our firm has an impressive record of success in semi-truck accident cases, and other lawyers often refer their cases to us or ask us to co-counsel their trial with them. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a metro Atlanta truck accident, or if you are an attorney needing help with a complex truck accident case, call Shiver Hamilton Campbell for a free consultation to find out how we can help.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Atlanta
Most truck drivers are skilled, careful and conscientious. But there are a lot of trucks on the road, collectively putting millions of miles on their odometers every year. But truck accidents still occur to the tune of about half a million per year, and over 4,000 truck drivers, passenger vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians are killed annually in crashes involving large trucks.
Semi-truck fatalities declined steadily for decades and reached a low point in 2009, but they have been trending upward ever since. Distracted driving due to texting while driving and the popularity of social media and other smartphone apps may be largely to blame. Distracted driving is negligent driving, but it’s only one way truck drivers can cause accidents on the road through their negligence. Here are some of the other ways truck drivers get into wrecks by failing to drive with appropriate care:
Lack of Training or Experience – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates truck drivers and establishes training requirements for entry-level drivers. Drivers must undergo mandatory theory (knowledge) training as well as behind-the-wheel training both on training grounds (ranges) and public roads. Training programs must satisfy FMCSA requirements, and as of February 2022, drivers cannot take the skills test to receive their commercial driver’s license (CDL) until they have completed this training. However, truck driving schools and employers self-certify to the FMCSA that their training programs comply with the law, and the quality of training can vary greatly from school to school and from trucking company to trucking company. Employers who put inexperienced drivers on the road without proper training or supervision should expect to be held accountable when their drivers get into wrecks.
Blind Spots – Tractor-trailers have large blind spots around all four sides and over multiple lanes of traffic. Drivers who fail to check their mirrors before turning or changing lanes, even one time, can cause a disastrous crash to a car that happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Long Stopping Distances – The stopping time and distance required for an 18-wheeler are much greater than that of smaller vehicles, and the distance needed increases with a heavy load or on adverse road conditions such as rain, snow or ice. Even in good road conditions, a fully loaded semi traveling at highway speeds needs nearly 200 yards to stop safely. That’s nearly the length of two football fields. Truckers who don’t leave sufficient distance between their rigs and other vehicles on the road risk causing catastrophic or fatal injuries if they have to quickly come to a stop.
Wide Turns – When big rigs are making right turns on city streets or tight spaces such as truck stops, parking lots, work zones or service stations, they need extra room and might have to move left to create enough turning space. Cars in the way can get crushed or squeezed on the right or forced into oncoming traffic on the left. Truckers should take pains to make wide turns slowly and carefully, and only after signaling well in advance.
Cargo Loading – The initial loading of a tractor-trailer might be the responsibility of the freight company or a third-party cargo company. During the haul, the truck driver is responsible to check and ensure the load remains secure. Truck accidents, including jackknifes and rollovers, happen when drivers lose control due to an overloaded or imbalanced trailer. Unsecured loads can also fall off of or out of the truck, creating chaos and multiple catastrophic accidents on the highway.
Help Is Available After a Metro Atlanta Truck Accident
Truck drivers have a myriad of concerns to look after and make sure they are driving safely, but it’s not an impossible task; thousands of truck drivers get to their destinations safely every day, year after year. Just because truck driving might be more difficult or dangerous than driving smaller vehicles doesn’t excuse truck drivers from careless or negligent behaviors, and it doesn’t absolve trucking companies from their responsibility to hire, train and supervise competent and careful drivers.
If you have been hurt in an accident with a tractor-trailer in metro Atlanta, or if you lost a beloved family member in a truck crash, call Shiver Hamilton Campbell at 404-593-0020 for a free consultation. We take on cases involving the most serious catastrophic injuries or wrongful death, and we fight to secure significant compensation for our clients who were hurt because of another’s negligence or wrongful conduct.