Even the most skilled motorists occasionally experience a modicum of nervousness when passing big rigs – also known as the behemoths of the road. The sheer size of trucks, tractor-trailers, 18 wheelers and semi-trucks has inspired the common belief that a truck accident with one of those vehicles necessarily results in a proportionally larger number of fatalities and/or debilitating injuries when compared to car accidents. Factor in truck driver negligence, couple that with unsafe driving conditions or other unexpected, outside influences (such as distractions, fatigue or defects in loads or vehicles), and any capable truck driver attorney would immediately tell you you’ve concocted a recipe for disaster.
Truck driver negligence, which is one of the leading causes of trucking accidents, is typically be attributed to the feeling of invincibility engendered by the insulation a cavernous truck cab seemingly provides against the world. That particular feeling, as one tractor-trailer driver in Gwinnett County, Atlanta recently discovered, is a mere illusion. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that over the weekend, Gwinnett police arrested 35-year-old truck driver Raymond L. Hatt Jr., 35, of Manton, Georgia for his purported role in a fatal truck accident.
According to police officials, Hafiz M. Ilyas, 40, of Marietta, was traveling southbound on I-85 in the far right lane when Hatt’s 18 wheeler cut off his vehicle. In attempt to avoid hitting the truck’s trailer, Ilyas swerved his green Toyota Camry onto the shoulder of the highway before losing control and striking Hatt’s truck as his Camry reentered the roadway. His car became trapped under the trailer and caught fire. Ilyas, unfortunately, perished at the scene. Hatt was subsequently charged with making an unsafe lane change, failing to signal and second-degree vehicular homicide.
Because truck drivers have a higher safety standard and are subject to stricter rules and regulations than the average motorist, especially when it comes to cell phone use and alcohol consumption, it would seem that truck accidents could be easily avoided. In addition to higher safety standards, truck drivers must also follow federal regulations, which are promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Designed to curb instances of driver negligence, the rules require that drivers adhere to specific guidelines regarding hours of service and mandated rest times.
Due to the possibility that they will have to pay injured parties in order to compensate them for their loss or injury, insurance companies will often attempt to induce an unwary potential plaintiff into a quick settlement. Insurers are for-profit companies and gain the most advantage from low-balling during negotiations.Those who fall for this trap don’t realize that it may take months to properly assess and discover the extent of one’s injuries – or their long-term effects. By settling hastily, and without consulting counsel, injured persons face the risk that they will never be fully compensated for their medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
In addition, because the State of Georgia only requires truck insurers to carry liability insurance coverage of $100,000.00 per person and $300,000.00 or $500,000.00 per accident, the funds that appear to be readily available may, in fact, be insufficient. Truck accident lawyers have resources that the average victim does not – resources that will allow them to root out alternative sources for remedy, including the assets of the company operating the truck, tractor trailer, 18 wheeler or semi-truck allegedly at fault.
For the aforementioned reasons, a trucking accident attorney will be better equipped to file a claim on your behalf. If you or someone you know has been injured in a trucking accident, it’s easy to find out if you may have legal recourse. If you wish to discuss your claim with an Atlanta lawyer handling accidents involving trucks, tractor trailers, 18 wheelers or semi trucks without any charge or obligation, click here.