According to Georgia state personal injury laws, you are entitled to receive compensation from the liable party if you have suffered physical and financial harm as a result of an accident. Atlanta truck accident lawyer Henningsen Injury Attorneys, P.C., says that the three most common types of damages that victims of accidents receive are economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages often make up the bulk of damages in a truck accident case. That is because they include all of your financial expenses stemming from the accident. If you needed grocery delivery or childcare services because you couldn’t perform them yourself due to your injuries, then you can be compensated for those losses.
Economic damages tend to come from medical expenses including:
- Your ambulance ride
- Your emergency room visit
- Your hospital stay
- Surgeries, diagnostic tests, and medications you received in the hospital
- Follow-up doctors visits
- Follow-up visits with specialists like a neurologist or a physical therapist
- Physical rehabilitation
- Assistive medical devices like a wheelchair or a respirator
- Prescription drugs
If you are unable to return to work, you can receive lost wages for the time you have missed as well as your future losses. To receive damages for lost wages, you need to provide information about your wages and salary like paystubs or a letter from your job’s accounting department.
There is a strong psychological component to injuries following an accident. Although no amount of money can ever repay you for what you have lost, noneconomic damages are intended to compensate you for your subjective losses such as the loss of consortium and loss of enjoyment of life.
As the name suggests, punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant for reckless or gross misconduct. Your attorney must provide clear and convincing evidence for you to receive punitive damages. Only a court can issue punitive damages, so don’t expect these to be part of a settlement offered by an insurance company.
These are meant to deter the defendant and others from committing the same act again. These damages are not to be confused with any criminal proceedings that may parallel your truck accident case. It’s important to speak to a personal injury attorney who can distinguish this for you in greater detail.
Who Do I Receive Compensation From?
Usually, it is the insurance company of the liable party that pays your settlement rather than the individual driver. However, if the facts of your case reveal that the truck driver was responsible for your accident due to their recklessness and outrageous misconduct, then not only could they be held liable but they may also be required to pay punitive damages.
The potentially liable parties include:
- The trucking company: Companies are legally held liable for accidents caused by employees while they are working within the scope of their employment.
- The truck driver: Companies are not held liable for the actions of their employees if the employee breaks a traffic law, uses a company vehicle outside of the purposes of their job, or is driving drunk.
- The cargo loaders: There are federal guidelines on how to load a truck so that dangerous chemicals don’t fall and spill, and the weight distribution remains equal throughout the ride to prevent rollover caused by imbalanced loads.
- The truck manufacturer: When truck accidents are caused by defective parts, then the designers or manufacturers can be held responsible for the accidents they cause.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
There are many different reasons why motor vehicle accidents happen. Some elements that influence the chances of a crash take place before the collision, such as when a vehicle is built or an inexperienced driver was hired. Then there are environmental factors that can increase the risk of a crash, such as snow, rain, and strong winds.
Driver fatigue is a big problem in the trucking industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published a Summary of Hours of Service Regulations. These regulations determine the number of hours a truck driver can drive in a work week. They also mandate other responsibilities of truck drivers to maintain logs and ensure their trucks are in working order. When drivers violate these regulations, they can cause accidents.
Speeding is one of the top causes of motor vehicle accidents in general, including trucks. When a truck slows down, it needs more space because of the size and mass of the truck. This is due to the law of inertia, which truckers are aware of. Truck drivers know that speeding is against the law, yet sometimes they do it anyway, which can result in a crash.
Lastly, a truck accident could be caused by drug or alcohol use. Driving while intoxicated slows down the driver’s reaction time, blurs their vision, and reduces their judgment. The driver could also be charged with driving under the influence (DUI).
Call a Truck Accident Attorney Today
Trucking companies are aware that damages from an accident can be expensive. So they take out large insurance claims to protect themselves financially in the case that one of their trucks collides with a pedestrian or car, resulting in extensive damages or even fatalities.
Even though they have these massive insurance policies, insurance companies are still businesses and will resist having to pay out a large settlement. They are more interested in saving themselves money than ensuring you have all of the compensation you deserve to begin to move forward after your accident.
Having an attorney in your corner fighting for you gives you a better chance of getting the settlement you deserve. When the attorneys for the insurance company argue over the facts of your case, an experienced and successful truck accident attorney can fight back with evidence. You should speak to an attorney today about your accident.