Atlanta Truck Accident Injury Attorney
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MY BILLS IF I AM INJURED BY A TRACTOR TRAILER?
Tractor trailers are some of the scariest vehicles on the roads. Their sheer size means they can do serious damage if they crash into your vehicle.
If you have been injured in a crash caused by a tractor trailer, it is important that you contact an Atlanta truck accident attorney, experienced in handling personal injury and property damage claims against tractor trailer drivers and their employers because you may have multiple entities from which you can recover money to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Be Careful! Multiple Insurance Policies At Play in Atlanta Semi-Truck Accidents
The Trucking Company’s Insurance
Because semi-truck drivers are almost always driving for the benefit of a company that hired them, the most common insurance policy available to pay your medical bills is the insurance policy of the trucking company that hired the truck driver at-fault for the semi-truck crash. In Georgia, an employer is responsible for the injuries caused by their employees while the employees are acting within the scope of their employment.
Tractor trailer drivers who are hauling a load for the purpose of making money for the trucking company that hired them are acting within the scope of their employment, and in those cases the trucking companies are as responsible for your injuries and other expenses as the truck driver who caused them. Because trucking companies usually have far more money than individual truck drivers do, this is a huge advantage to you to be able to sue and recover money from not only the truck driver but the trucking company to pay your medical bills and other expenses.
Tractor trailer companies are required to carry certain minimum insurance by federal law. Georgia law allows you to recover not only from the tractor trailer driver and his employer but also their insurance company to recover money to pay for all of your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other out of pocket expenses resulting from the crash caused by the insured tractor trailer driver.
This is also a huge advantage to you because in most personal injury cases resulting from automobile crashes in Georgia, you are not allowed to tell the jury that the person who caused the crash is covered by insurance which is paying for their attorney and will pay any judgment awarded by the jury at the end of the trial. That often leaves juries uncertain as to whether any amount they award will be the responsibility of the individual driver or their insurance company and can frequently result in a lower jury verdict.
We have unfortunately experienced cases where a jury awards little to nothing because they are afraid the individual driver as opposed to their insurance company will be on the hook for paying the bill. But when juries know there is an insurance company involved on behalf of a tractor trailer driver and trucking company they are far more likely to give an injured party the full amount of compensation they deserve for their injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering because they know it is the deep pocketed insurance company and/or trucking company, not the individual driver, who will be paying the judgment they award.
This is why it is critical to hire an experienced tractor trailer injury attorney who knows how to bring claims against not only the truck driver and his trucking company but the insurance company as well in order to maximize the recovery you receive for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other out of pocket and future medical expenses resulting from a crash caused by a tractor trailer.
Other Companies Involved That May Have Insurance
This is why we believe every Atlanta 18 wheeler injury victim should hire a truck accident lawyer. There are a number of other companies that may be involved in your case that are liable for the wreck. Knowing where to look for the involvement of other companies leading to the crash is vitally important to make sure there is plenty of insurance coverage available to pay your medical bills.
Here is a sample list of potential companies that could be involved:
- Shipper: Often times the trucking company is hired by a shipper to haul goods or material to a buyer. The shipper’s negligence may come into play in your case and thus its insurance company may be required to cover some or all of your medical bills.
- Broker: Many times there is a middleman company between the shipper and buyer who is responsible for hiring and routing the truck company to facilitate the purchase and sale of the goods being shipped in the tractor trailer at the time of your wreck. The Broker company may be liable for contributing to the wreck in a number of ways thus requiring its insurance company to contribute toward the payment of your medical bills.
- Dispatcher: Some times there is an independent company that is tasked with being the dispatcher of trucks to haul goods from the shipper to the buyer. The dispatch company and its insurance policy may be required to pay some or all of your medical bills.
- Difference In Tractor and Trailer Ownership: Often times the company that owns the tractor is a different company from the company that owns the trailer. If so, each company’s insurance policy would be required to contribute to the payment of your medial bills.
Your Auto Insurance
Further, if for some reason the insurance and assets of the trucking company or other companies involved were not enough to pay for all of your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other expenses, you may be able to obtain additional insurance coverage through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage. Every automobile insurance policy issued in Georgia is required to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage which in certain cases may be added onto the insurance coverage available from the at-fault driver.
Thus, if you are injured in a crash caused by a tractor trailer driver, you may be able to recover money to pay for your damages from the tractor trailer driver, the trucking company employing the driver, their insurance company, and your own insurance company. The more sources available to potentially pay your bills, the more likely you are to obtain full and fair value from your case.
But the best way to ensure you obtain the maximum value for your case if you are injured in a crash caused by a tractor trailer is to contact an experienced tractor trailer injury attorney.
Remember—Semi-Truck Wrecks Are Different
Semi-truck crashes differ from other automobile crashes in several respects that are important to you if you are injured by a tractor trailer. First, tractor trailers and trucking companies are governed by federal regulations known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which are more strict than the rules of the road that govern ordinary motorists.
Because they are commercial vehicles carrying heavy loads for profit, tractor trailers are held to an even higher standard than ordinary motorists, and often an experienced tractor trailer injury attorney can identify violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations which can help you prevail in your personal injury claim against a tractor trailer driver. If a tractor trailer driver or the trucking company he works for has violated a federal regulation governing the safe operation of tractor trailers, it can result in a significant jury award for you if you are injured as a result.
For example, federal regulations restrict the number of hours truck drivers can drive at a time in order to make sure they are fully awake and alert while operating these heavy, dangerous vehicles at high speeds on our roadways. An experienced tractor trailer injury attorney can obtain logs of the truck driver’s hours to see if they have been violating the limitations imposed by federal regulations in order to help you recover if an excessive hours violation led to the crash that injured you.