When Truck Accidents Result in Death

Medical staff removing a patient from an ambulanceA Dunwoody man was killed while driving on I-285 in Cobb County in March of this year. According to police, the accident was caused when a tire blew out on an Isuzu box truck, causing the driver to lose control and crash into two other vehicles. Moments after the accident, another driver tragically smashed into the rear of the truck and was killed. 

According to the most recent data available from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, 2018 saw 34 traffic fatalities involving large trucks and 193 fatalities involving utility trucks. The tragic accident above highlights some of the potential hazards associated with truck accidents. 

Who is at Fault?

The first question that arises is who is at fault when someone is killed in a truck accident. Unlike accidents involving private passenger vehicles, trucks are typically owned, maintained, and operated by corporate entities. These corporate entities are required to comply with specific state and federal laws and regulations intended to ensure the safety of others on our highways. Unfortunately, trucking companies will sometimes fail to comply with these regulations in order to save some money or simply due to mismanagement. 

In the accident mentioned above, the accident was caused when the left front tire blew out. This suggests that the company that owned the vehicle may have failed to ensure that the truck had good tires. If that is the case, the company may be held liable for its negligent maintenance of the vehicle. 

Was the Driver at Fault?

The article suggests that the deceased driver struck the vehicle “moments later.” Unfortunately, this is a vague timeline, and we do not have any other information to judge whether the driver could have avoided the accident. It may require an expert to recreate the accident, and careful analysis of the facts to determine precisely what happened. This will likely include compiling several statements from eye-witnesses, comparing them, and reconciling the differences in their accounts of what happened An experienced car accident attorney can help determine whether the deceased driver’s family has a claim against the trucking company. 

Wrongful Death Claims Are Complicated

Georgia law states that the deceased’s family members can sue the at-fault party for the “full value of the life of the decedent.” However, Georgia law also limits who can pursue a wrongful death claim: 

  • If the decedent was a spouse or parent, the right to pursue a claim goes to the surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, the right to pursue a claim goes to the surviving children. 
  • If the decedent was a child, the right to pursue a claim goes to the surviving parents. 

In addition to sorting out who may be able to pursue a claim, you also have to determine the value of the claim. This is challenging for non-lawyers who typically fail to consider the “full value” their deceased loved one brought to the family. An attorney who handles car accidents and wrongful death claims can help you determine whether you have a claim and what the value of that claim may be. 

Contact the Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers at Slappey & Sadd

Founded in 1992, our lawyers have helped thousands of injury victims across the state of Georgia get the compensation they need. Our lawyers have the knowledge and skill to handle complicated truck accidents and the wrongful death claims that result. If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, call us at 888-474-9616 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation today. 

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