Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

A white triple-trailer semi truckWhile there are obviously many similarities between car and truck accidents, there are also some fundamental differences. From the potential issues involved to how the claim gets handled, truck accidents can be more complicated than car accident cases on a number of levels. For this reason, some personal injury attorneys specialize in truck accident claims so that they can better represent their clients. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you get compensated for your injuries quickly and fairly. 

The law firm of Slappey & Sadd has been working with truck accident victims in Atlanta and across the state of Georgia since 1992. We have the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to help you put your life back together. If you’re injured and need help, call us at 404-255-6677 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. 

Truck Accidents Are Often More Severe

A semi-truck driving in the mountainsWho Do You Sue in a Truck Accident?

Trucks are typically operated by a trucking company, which can be held responsible for the actions of their drivers. As a result, you will typically sue the trucking company in order to obtain compensation for your injuries.

However, some trucking companies intentionally try to shield themselves from liability. Their drivers may be independent contractors, or the drivers are employed by a subsidiary corporation with little to no assets. It can often be difficult to identify who is the proper party to sue.

Two motorcycles parked on the streetOn March 24, 2019, a Columbus Jury awarded $27 million to the mother of a woman killed in an accident that occurred in January of 2017. The jury’s award consisted of $22 million in compensatory damages and $5 million for the woman’s pain and suffering. The case illustrates the increased dangers for the victims of truck or motorcycle accidents, even under routine circumstances.

The Accident

On January 26, 2017, George Hooks was driving his 18-wheeler westbound on Macon Road while Cindy Tran Huyhn was headed east on her motorcycle. Both entered the intersection with Technology Parkway on a green light. The accident occurred when Hooks turned left in front of Huynh, who had the right of way because she was proceeding straight. Huynh immediately slammed on the brakes, veered left, and went into a skid. According to eyewitnesses, she almost avoided the collision but clipped the back-end of the truck’s trailer. She was taken to the hospital but unfortunately died the next day. The cause of death was listed as “blunt force trauma to the torso and extremities.”

A doctor holding a chartAccidents happen every day. Thankfully, most of them are minor, but many can result in life-changing injuries. If you’ve been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may have a legal claim against them in order to receive compensation for your injuries. However, there are first five things you need to do in order to protect your rights.

Seek Medical Treatment

Your health is your most important asset. If you didn’t see a doctor right after the accident and are in pain, go get checked out. It’s not uncommon for some injuries to manifest themselves days or even weeks after an accident. Your symptoms could signal a more serious injury, and you’ll need medical treatment in order to make a full recovery.  

A semi-truck driving in the mountainsYou have likely heard about the horrific accident that happened shortly after the New Year on I-75 near Gainesville, Florida. Investigators still haven’t issued their final report, but it appears that a car and a semi-truck collided in the northbound lanes of I-75. The two vehicles then broke through a guardrail, crossed the median, and collided with another semi-truck and a church van loaded with children and headed for Disney World. As a result of diesel fuel spilled during the accident, the wreckage was consumed by a fire that burned so intensely it actually damaged the roadway. Tragically, 7 people were killed – 5 children and both truck drivers, with at least 8 others injured.

This accident is a sobering reminder of just how serious truck accidents can be. Reportedly occurring on a flat, straight stretch of I-75 in clear weather with good visibility, it raises the question of what you can do to avoid being involved in a similarly deadly accident.

Avoid Distractions

An overturned and badly damaged semi truckAccording to a report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last month, fatal accidents involving large trucks increased by 9 percent from 2016 to 2017. While this includes fatalities involving the occupants of the truck, the data reveals the shocking reality that large trucks pose to the public at large. In 2017, 841 truck occupants were killed in accidents, while those accidents resulted in 4,761 fatalities of other people. Interestingly, almost all other categories saw a decrease in accident fatalities, and none of the exceptions to that trend saw an increase as significant as the one associated with large trucks.  

The NHTSA hasn’t published data for non-fatalities, but it’s probably safe to assume that the overall number of truck accidents has increased. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, we’d like to take this opportunity to alert you to some of the unique issues involved.  

Truck Drivers – Encouraged to be Negligent?

Who doesn’t love a summer road trip? One of life’s true pleasures is getting out on the road to visit friends and family, head to the beach, or just get out of town for a while.  We all know how important it is to drive safely, and we understand the risks involved in driving on the interstates and highways. However, we don’t often consider the increased danger of sharing the roads with large trucks and tractor-trailers.  

This resource from the Department of Transportation contains a lot of valuable information. If you look at the maps, it’s interesting to note the heavy volume of truck usage in the Eastern states when compared to the rest of the country. The statistics regarding crashes through 2015 are even more sobering:

  • 11.9% of fatal crashes across the nation involved at least one large truck or bus;

Federal safety regulators have shut down a troubled trucking company in Iowa that owned the semitrailer involved in a human trafficking case in which 10 immigrants died in Texas. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration placed Pyle Transportation under an “out-of-service order” after a review found the company’s safety rating so unsatisfactory that it was unfit to remain in business. In July, dozens of immigrants were found packed inside a Pyle-branded semitrailer in the parking lot of a San Antonio, Texas, Walmart. Eight people were found dead inside, and two more died after being hospitalized. The driver, James “Bear” Bradley Jr., 60, of Clearwater, Florida; and Pedro Silva-Segura, 47, of Laredo, Texas, are charged with several offenses, including conspiring to transport and harbor immigrants who are illegally in the U.S. for financial gain. Brian Pyle, who owns Pyle Transportation, has denied knowledge of the alleged smuggling conspiracy. He has said that he sold the trailer and hired Bradley, who had worked previously for the firm, as a contractor to drive it to Brownsville, Texas, to deliver it to the buyer.

Although the company has not been directly implicated in the deaths of the occupants of the truck, the case drew attention to Pyle’s history of safety violations and failure to pay taxes and wages owed to some employees. Several former employees said they were pressured to drive too many hours without rest, to falsify their logs to conceal those violations and to transport overweight loads on unrealistic deadlines. Federal regulators launched a compliance review into Pyle, which had been operating with a “conditional” safety rating due to prior violations, after the human trafficking case.

Information released this week shows the company was cited for knowingly allowing an employee to drive with a disqualified commercial driver’s license and permitting a driver to make a false report regarding his duty status. It’s unclear whether those violations were tied to Bradley, whose commercial driving privileges had been disqualified by Florida for failing to file updated medical information. Federal data also shows that enforcement officers conducting inspections on Pyle trucks found numerous safety violations nationwide. In August and September, drivers were found to have been working beyond the number of allowed hours, failing to log their hours, carrying overweight loads and driving with tires and brakes that weren’t properly maintained.

Any type of car accident can be potentially deadly, but vehicle rollovers are among the most dangerous. While they are relatively rare, accounting for only about three percent of all crashes, they account for about 30% of people who are killed while riding a vehicle. Many people believe that rollovers only affect SUVs and large vans, but a rollover can happen in any vehicle under the right circumstances.

How it Happens

As we said above, any vehicle can roll over but these types of crashes are much more common to tall, narrow vehicles like SUVs, vans, and trucks because these vehicles have higher centers of gravity than sedans and coupes. Rollovers are most common in turns because what happens when a car rolls over is essentially a pendulum effect. When a car makes a turn, sideways forces shift the center of gravity to one side. The faster you’re driving, the stronger these forces are. If these forces become too strong, they can cause a vehicle to roll over.

Automobile accidents of any kind can have devastating consequences, but trucking accidents are particularly dangerous due to the larger size of the vehicle involved. Truck accidents are more common in large metropolitan areas like Atlanta simply due to the presence of more of them on the roadways and more traffic bogging them down. While truck drivers are trained professionals who are generally safer drivers than regular motorists, accidents can and do happen.

Driver negligence plays a large role in trucking accidents, but they can also be caused by a variety of of other circumstances, including weather, road hazards, or the poor driving of others on the road. As with almost all types of automobile accidents, the most popular legal theory underlying liability in a trucking accident is negligence. A plaintiff in a trucking accident suit must show:

  1. That the defendant truck driver owed the plaintiff a duty of care—in this case, they would owe the plaintiff the degree of care to avoid injury under the circumstances

Esteemed Lawyers - ELOA
Georgia Trial Lawyers Association Badge
Georgia Trend
Best Lawyers
Super Lawyers Badge
AV Preeminent - Martindale-Hubbell
Top 100 Trial Lawyers
Litigator Awards
Atlanta Bar Association
American Bar Association
State Board of Workers' Compensation
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
State Bar of Georgia
Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb