The process of filing a lawsuit for an accident with a commercial vehicle in Georgia is the same as for car accident. You need to determine who was at fault in the crash that caused your injuries.
Commercial vehicles are typically larger and heavier than a standard passenger car, so the force of an impact from one of these trucks can result in severe injuries. Federal law requires freight haulers to maintain higher limits of liability insurance than car owners, so there is usually a more significant pool of money to pay for the more severe damages from a commercial vehicle accident.
Insurance Requirements for Commercial Vehicles
If you got hurt in a crash with a commercial vehicle in Georgia and are beginning the process of filing a lawsuit, you might have concerns about whether the negligent party’s insurance will be enough to pay for your losses.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the motor carrier industry, including freight haulers and tractor-trailers. The FMCSA requires this much insurance on these vehicles:
- If the truck hauls freight, there must be at least $750,000 in insurance, and there could be up to $5 million in coverage. The amount depends on the type of cargo hauled. If the truck weighs under 10,001 pounds and only transports non-hazardous commodities, the insurance requirement is $300,000.
- A vehicle that transports passengers must carry $5 million. If the seating capacity is 15 or fewer people, the vehicle’s owner must carry $1.5 million in insurance.
The type of insurance that commercial vehicles must buy is public liability insurance. This insurance can pay claims for bodily injury, damage to property (like your car), and restoration of the environment.
How Commercial Vehicle Accidents Are Different From Typical Car Accidents
Commercial vehicle crashes differ from standard car accidents in several ways. In addition to the higher minimum insurance requirements and the likelihood of more severe injuries, large truck and bus accidents have these unique aspects:
- There are more parties involved. You might have a negligence claim against the truck driver, the trucking company that owns or leases the vehicle, the freight loader, and several other entities, depending on the facts of the situation.
- Many commercial vehicles have to follow rules that do not apply to cars. For example, federal law limits the number of hours that a trucker can drive within a 24-hour period. If the driver exceeded this restriction and his fatigue contributed to the accident, that fact strengthens your case for compensation. We understand the laws that pertain to the trucking industry, so we know what issues to look for in our investigation.
How We Prove the Negligence of the At-Fault Driver
We have to determine whose fault caused or contributed to the accident. Under Georgia law, we must be able to prove all of these elements to hold someone responsible for your injuries:
- The defendant driver owed you a legal duty. Georgia law requires every person who operates a motor vehicle on public roads to operate the car or truck with caution and obey the laws.
- The trucker breached the duty of care. Let’s say that the driver had operated the tractor-trailer for 20 hours straight without stopping to rest. Doing so violates federal law, which is negligence.
- The careless act caused the accident and your injuries. The driver’s fatigue must be the thing that resulted in the crash and the harm you suffered. If something else caused the accident, like someone who ran a red light, you must pursue that person for compensation.
- You have measurable damages. If you have a physical injury, the facts satisfy this element of liability.
When the situation meets all four of these factors, we can proceed against the responsible party for your losses.
Damages in a Commercial Vehicle Accident
The damages in these crashes will vary from one case to the next. Two people injured in the same wreck will have different losses. The amount of compensation you can go after will depend on the facts of your situation. Some of the common types of damages in these cases include:
- Lost wages, if you missed paychecks or self-employment income because of your injuries.
- Medical expenses, for the reasonable cost of the treatment you needed for your injuries.
- Pain and suffering, for the physical discomfort and emotional distress of the accident and the harm you sustained.
- Other losses directly related to the crash.
We will need to talk with you and investigate your circumstances before we can determine the amount of your damages.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Injury Claim from an Accident with a Commercial Vehicle in Georgia
At S. Burke Law, we help those filing a lawsuit for an accident with a commercial vehicle in Georgia to get all the money they deserve. You can focus on getting better while we take care of the rest.
Call us today at (404) 842-7838 for a free, no-obligation consultation.