Being involved in any vehicle collision is never a pleasant experience. However, if your car is involved in a truck accident, the experience can be even more intense and result in major injuries, or even death, due to the strength and weight of the truck. The Atlanta area and other parts of Georgia are known as traffic meccas and numerous truck accidents have occurred on the heavily traveled highways, including Interstate 85, and the I-285 Beltway. Therefore, it helps to be prepared and to know what to do after a truck accident in Georgia.
Initial Steps to Take at the Scene
There are first steps that one should take after any accident. First, you should stop and remain at the scene. Call for first responders as appropriate and render aid as needed. You should also exchange license and insurance information and driver contact information. You can also document the scene by taking photos and speaking with witnesses.
Georgia has adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which means that these safety rules also apply to large trucks traveling within the state of Georgia except for a few changes. One provision where Georgia law deviates from the federal regulations is that of the driver's age requirements. Truck drivers must be at least 18 for an instructional permit or license to operate a commercial vehicle within the state of Georgia only; the age requirement is 21 to cross the state line.
Civil Liability in Truck Accident Cases
If you're involved in a truck accident, before you can show the wrongdoing of the driver or other parties, you must first show that the driver and his employer are liable for your injuries. Typically, this is achieved based on the theory of vicarious liability.
Possible defendants who could face civil liability resulting from a truck accident include the following:
- Driver of the truck;
- Employer of the driver;
- Owner of the truck;
- Leasing company;
- Owner of the truck trailer;
- Manufacturer of the truck;
- Truck maintenance company; or
- Motor carrier's insurance carrier.
What to Do After a Truck Accident in Georgia: A Summary of the Law
To make it easier to understand the complexity and nuance of truck accident laws in Georgia, the chart below provides a plain-language summary.
Causes of Action and Damages
Although a truck might collide with another vehicle because of various factors, the most common cause of truck accident claims is negligence.
Examples of driver negligence:
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Poor decision-making
- Unfamiliarity with the area
- Drunk driving/drugged driving
Injured parties in a truck accident may be eligible to receive compensation for their losses, including the following:
- Medical expenses (present and future);
- Missed wages from work;
- Decrease in future ability to earn;
- Decrease in quality of life;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish; or
- Funeral and burial expenses.
Regulations and Violations
Truck drivers are required to follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulations.
Statute of Limitations
Personal Injury: 2 years
Property Damage: 4 years
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
What to Do After a Truck Accident in Georgia: Related Resources
After a Truck Accident in Georgia, Talk to an Attorney
If you're still confused and need additional clarification regarding what to do after an accident in Georgia, then the best thing to do is to get some help from a professional. Talk to a Georgia personal injury attorney near you right away to learn more.