You might have never thought you’d need a Macon, Georgia truck accident lawyer. Then again, you never planned on being involved in a truck accident in the first place. Hopefully, you can avoid ever having that happen, but if it does, it can have a profoundly negative impact on your life.
Having the right Macon truck accident lawyers at your side can help you turn things around after such an accident though. Here at Bethune Law Firm, we have experience in helping clients get their lives back after an accident. We can help you too, starting with gathering evidence after a case and following all the way through to your compensation and successful claim.
The legal process following a truck accident is not a short one, but if you want to restore your life as best you can, then you need the right auto accident attorneys by your side in this perilous stage of life. Call 1-800-INJURED for your free consultation today.
Table of Contents
What is Classified as a Truck?
First, it helps to know if you were genuinely involved in an actual truck accident. These aren’t accidents involving pick-up trucks, as these are still considered small passenger vehicles.
In legal parlance, a ‘truck’ is usually a freight carrier or commercial transport vehicle. The NHTSA lists these as having a gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR, of more than 10,000 pounds.
Commercial trucks might also be known as 18-wheelers, semis, tractor-trailers, and heavy trucks. They typically weigh between 35,000 to 40,000 pounds. They’re eight times the weight of passenger vehicles and 20 times bigger.
Big trucks that you see on Macon, Georgia roads aren’t always tractor-trailers. There are also cement trucks, concrete trucks, tank trucks, haulers, refrigerator trucks, log carriers, tow trucks, and dump trucks or garbage trucks at any given time of day.
What Should You Do After a Truck Accident?
The first minute after you’re involved in a Macon, Georgia truck accident might be the moment you realize you need a truck accident attorney or lawyer. However, that’s far from the first step you should take, although what you do right after an accident can help your future lawyer with your case.
Start with contacting emergency services. Let local law enforcement know that there has been an accident. At the least, they might need to direct traffic and file a report. At worst, you’ll also need emergency services like EMS and medics to tend to anyone who is injured in the accident.
Check yourself out and any passengers in your vehicle, if you’re in one at the time of the accident. Not all truck accidents involve collisions with passenger vehicles, but many do. Still, make sure everyone is either okay or getting first aid until help arrives. That includes anyone in the truck and pedestrians nearby that might have been impacted.
Identify anyone else who was there at the time of the accident, especially the truck driver in question. Exchange names, phone numbers, and insurance information.
Document the Scene
Take photographs and videos with your smartphone if you have one and can use it. Talk to any available witnesses to record statements about what they witnessed while it’s fresh in their minds.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel okay at the time or just consider yourself lucky that you can walk away from an accident, have an emergency room, urgent care, or doctor look you over that very day. Do this as soon as you can. First, you want to make sure that you are in fact fine.
Second, you don’t want to let someone else’s lawyer or insurance company say they don’t owe you compensation because you weren’t injured enough to go to a doctor that day, even though many injuries or complications may not present themselves right away.
Contact an Attorney
Once all these other steps are done, it’s time to find a Macon, Georgia truck accident attorney who can collect your gathered evidence, information, and statements. They’ll start preparing your case while you focus on keeping your life together, even if it’s just putting it back together and recovering from wounds or injuries.
Let Your Lawyer Do Your Talking For You
Having an experienced lawyer start putting together your claim for you is only the first benefit to having one at your side. However, there is one other advantage you can enjoy just as quickly. That’s letting your attorney speak for you. You’re likely to get contacted by an insurance adjuster or possibly even someone else’s lawyer.
Let your representation handle it so you don’t have to. They might try for statements, including written ones, from you that they can use against you. They might also offer you money, and while it can be tempting to take it, early offers are usually far below what you can get with your own full claim.
What Are the Laws Regarding Truck Accident Liability?
The state of Georgia operates under what is known as comparative negligence. That means it’s possible that more than one person or entity might be blamed for contributing to or causing an accident, including victims. These liabilities are apportioned on a 100-point scale. So long as your own personal liability is 49 percent or below, you have the right to file a claim for compensation. If you are deemed liable 50 or above, then you have a much harder time pursuing things, if you even can.
How Can a Macon Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
You’ll get immediate peace of mind that someone is working on your case, and they can handle communications for you with other parties so you don’t make any unwitting legal mistakes that might haunt you later on. As the process goes on, a trucking accident legal expert in Macon, Georgia can do 4 other things for you too:
Any photos, videos, and statements you gather at the scene of the accident will be very useful. however, an experienced lawyer knows who to talk to and where to look for far more information than that, be it trucking logs or getting camera footage from a nearby surveillance device. A successful truck accident lawyer can discover for themselves who is liable and by how much before proving it to others.
Filing Your Claim
A legal claim is best left in the hands of a legal professional. However, even if you know how to put one together, having an industry veteran working alongside you makes your chances that much better.
Insurance adjusters and lawyers for liable parties will contact you, and they might even offer you a settlement. Insurance companies love doing this so they can wrap things up fast and avoid a trial where anything can happen. A negotiated settlement can work for you too since it expedites the conclusion of the process and gets you the money you need or deserve. Still, in order to get a fair settlement, you need a shrewd negotiator who isn’t fazed by the other side’s tactics. In fact, they should be familiar with them and know how to deal with them.
Most parties involved don’t want a court proceeding to happen. It delays your compensation, and it costs both sides money and time in legal fees. If negotiations don’t bear fruit, heading for litigation might be necessary. Even if the situation revolves at the last minute before litigation, as is often the case, you want someone who knows how to prepare and participate in litigation to continue representing your case with strength.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive?
Anyone involved in a Macon, Georgia truck accident can be entitled to three different kinds of compensation. They are economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages cover things like medical costs associated with an accident, property damage, and lost wages.
Non-economic damages can still be rewarded with monetary compensation, although calculating the right price tag is more subjective. Damages such as these might be rewarded for things like physical impairment or disfigurement, anxiety and depression, lower quality of life, and the loss of someone you love.
Punitive damages might be listed as something more than you actually deserve, but you get them anyway. If a guilty party is deemed to be worthy of punishment for their actions, or lack thereof, then punitive damages might be awarded as a way of hopefully preventing others from following suit in the future.
How Much is My Truck Accident Claim Worth?
There’s no set figure for all truck accident claims. They can range from hundreds of dollars to several millions of dollars. Here at Bethune Law Firm, we have a track record of winning claims many times in the hundreds of thousands of dollars with multi-million awards for several clients too.
The specific value of a claim might just be enough to replace your totaled vehicle if no one was hurt, or it might soar into six and seven digits, based on pain and suffering, physical injuries, loss of consortium, diminished earning capacity, medical bills, and potentially the death of a loved one. Sometimes, the upper limit is simply the policy cap of the at-fault party’s insurance.
Is There a Deadline For Filing a Claim?
Another great advantage of having a truck accident lawyer helping you is not missing any filing deadlines. As a general rule, the state of Georgia allows you two years from the day of the accident to file a claim. However, there might be filing and regulatory hurdles along the way that need to be honored first just to keep your right to a claim alive.
Personal injury and wrongful death claims typically follow the two-year guideline. Having said that, filing purely for property damage or negligence might mean you have four to five years to file your claim. Deciphering which specific date applies is based on the case particulars, and only a lawyer well-versed in such matters can really tell you. They can also make sure you file your claim properly, which matters more and more the closer the filing deadline approaches.
How is Fault in a Truck Accident Determined?
As mentioned earlier, Georgia uses a comparative negligence system in assigning fault or liability. If you are at no fault, then you get assigned no points on this scale. However, even if you get assigned some blame, as long as it’s less than half, you are entitled to some level of compensation. Of course, the fewer points you have, the more money you can get.
Who Can Be Held Liable For a Truck Accident?
If you’re not at all liable for a truck accident, then someone else must be. It’s sometimes the truck driver, but not always. It could wind up being the trucking company, the manufacturers of particular vehicles or parts, and even the company that loaded up the truck in the first place.
Common Causes Of Truck Accidents
Determining the cause of a truck accident is crucial to assigning both the liability and the level of it. Frequent causes include driver fatigue, distracted driving, reckless driving, drug use, oversized freight, improperly secured freight, drivers with poor training, inexperienced drivers, and a general lack of truck maintenance.
Poor road conditions and inclement weather can also contribute to truck accidents.
Call the Truck Accident Lawyers at Bethune Law Firm
As stated before, no one plans on being involved in a Macon, Georgia Truck accident. Hopefully, you’ll not suffer badly if you do. However, if you suffer serious property damage and physical injuries, followed by a lower quality of life and loss of income, then you deserve compensation for what you’ve lost and been through.
Trust the personal injury attorneys of Bethune Law Firm to handle everything for you, from preventing insurance adjusters from taking advantage of you in your time of crisis to handling the final settlement arrangements, including potential litigation. We’ve helped previous clients win hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars in compensation, and we can help you do the same. Contact us right away for a free case evaluation that involves no obligation or commitment on your part.