Commercial drivers and their employers are subject to strictly enforced rules and regulations in the state of Georgia. Compliance with these rules is essential to minimize the risk to drivers on Georgia roads. If a truck driver or trucking company fails to comply with these regulations and injures someone else, the victim can seek compensation for the harm that he or she has suffered. Atlanta truck accident lawyer Terrence R. Bethune can help you if you were hurt in a collision involving a tractor-trailer.
GEORGIA HAS ADOPTED MOST FEDERAL TRUCKING RULES
The Georgia Department of Public Safety Rulebook, at § 1-1, officially adopts the minimum safety requirements promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), to the extent that they do not conflict with state law. The FMCSA is the federal agency tasked with regulating interstate trucking, and it sets the rules that cover many areas of this industry.
For example, 49 C.F.R. § 395.3 imposes a limit on the number of hours that truck drivers can stay behind the wheel. They may drive for up to 60 hours over the course of seven consecutive days or 70 hours over the course of eight consecutive days.
FMCSA rules also regulate several technical features of commercial vehicles. At 49 C.F.R. § 393.52, the law outlines the minimum stopping power that a tractor-trailer’s brakes must have. Other sections of the Federal Register set the weight limits of trucks, usually at 80,000 pounds.
HOLD TRUCK DRIVERS AND COMPANIES ACCOUNTABLE FOR NEGLIGENT ACTIONS
The rules promulgated by the FMCSA and adopted by Georgia law are designed to protect people who share the road with commercial vehicles. If a trucking company or truck driver violates these regulations and harms someone, the victim can seek compensation by filing a negligence lawsuit. To assert a right to damages, the injured person must prove four elements:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the victim;
- The defendant breached this obligation with reckless or careless behavior;
- The victim’s injuries were caused by the defendant’s actions; and
- The victim incurred damages as a result of the injuries.
The defendant in a truck accident case is often a company, even if the wrongdoing was on the part of a driver. This is due to Georgia’s use of a legal concept called vicarious liability, which holds an employer responsible for the actions of an employee acting within the scope of his or her employment.
If a victim successfully proves a negligence claim, he or she may be entitled to compensatory damages. These are intended to reimburse the victim for the losses incurred as a result of the defendant’s behavior. Compensable injuries include financial harm, like hospital bills and missed wages, as well as physical and psychological injuries, including emotional distress, disfigurement and scarring, or pain and suffering.
DISCUSS YOUR INJURY CASE WITH AN EXPERIENCED GEORGIA LAWYER
The success of truck accident lawsuits often depends on the ability to find important evidence that supports the victim’s case. It is therefore vital for people injured in these collisions to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. Georgia personal injury attorney Terrence R. Bethune can help preserve the evidence you need for your truck crash claim. Call 1-800-INJURED or visit our contact page to see if The Law Office of Terrence R. Bethune can help you.