Studies show that more than 3,900 people lost their lives in truck accidents throughout the United States in 2014. Nearly four percent of that group died specifically within the state of Georgia. This may seem like a relatively small number in comparison. However, when you focus on the figures, it is an average of nearly three people each week. That does not even include the thousands of others who suffered injuries from truck accidents within the same state. A truck accident attorney in Atlanta at Schneider Hammers can help you if you have been injured in a truck accident.
Have you recently suffered an injury from or experienced the loss of a family member in a truck accident? You can strive to fight for justice for yourself or your loved one. You do not have to end up as another statistic in the list of Georgia road fatalities and casualties. Also, you may already be aware of the urgent need to retain a truck accident attorney in Atlanta to assist. However, there are six other things you must do to increase the chances of winning your case.
Be Careful Before You Speak. This Will Make Things Easier for Your Truck Accident Attorney in Atlanta.
Shortly after the moment of impact, you are likely to be eager to speak, shout or even scream. Surviving a major truck accident (or surviving a relative who died in one) may compel you to speak up.
However, discretion is imperative when you are working through the aftermath of a truck accident. If you have plans to take legal action, it is of the utmost importance to keep your mouth shut. Don’t say anything without having a truck accident attorney in Atlanta present to speak on your behalf. Even if you were potentially at-fault for the accident, discretion and silence are still cornerstones that you must apply. Your truck accident attorney in Atlanta will make this clear to you.
You may speak to the other driver, law enforcement officials or even the insurance company. Make sure that you do not say anything that could be classified as an admission of fault. Don’t use phrases like “I didn’t realize how fast I was driving” or “I never even saw the truck!”. It is not wise since those same statements could go against you in a court of law. It is also recommended to avoid apologizing even passively (i.e. “Wow, I’m so sorry!”). As mentioned, it is best to keep your public expressions to a minimum. This until you can have your truck accident attorney in Atlanta take care of everything for you.
Gather as Much Information as Possible Upfront for your Truck Accident Attorney in Atlanta
Another way to fortify your case is to gather as much information as possible. The longer you wait to gather information, the details of the accident will slip through the cracks of your mind. Make sure that you gather all relevant information within the first 24-48 hours. This will ensure you maintain an accurate account of the events leading to the accident and those that followed. A good Georgia truck accident lawyer will appreciate this.
For instance, it is highly recommended for you to gather such pertinent details as the:
- Name of the driver (first and last)
- Vehicle registration number
- Trucking company name (if applicable)
- Contact information for any available eyewitnesses
- Other valuable information found on the back of the truck
In addition to getting as much information in writing as you can, document the scene with quality pictures. You do not need a professional camera or photographer to handle this task for you. A basic smartphone camera will suffice. Your primary objective should be to capture as much on camera as possible. Include the scene of the accident, the visible streaks in the road, property damage and/or bodily injuries. It is imperative for you to capture photos of as much as you can without delay.
Why do I need to take photos?
After a few days have passed since your accident, the memories of the event will start to fade. The scene of the accident is cleaned and wiped away within just a few hours in most cases. This is especially if there were no major occurrences of bodily harm because of the accident. Capturing everything on camera allows you to maintain a visual record of everything (and everyone) related to the event. Damaged property will be repaired or even replaced. Injuries will heal or be repaired as time passes by. Photographs will allow a record of the accident to live on for many years. This longevity that will serve as a quality tool during trials, courtroom appearances and settlement negotiations.
Advice from a Truck Accident Lawyer in Atlanta: Take the Opportunity to Seek Medical Attention
You may feel “fine” moments after the truck accident has occurred. This is typically due to the adrenaline flowing through your body as your mind catches up with the accident. However, chances are that the soreness, pain and other physical symptoms will settle in before you realize it. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
If police officers dispatched to the scene of the accident, they will request an ambulance. If you can check out by the responding paramedics and escort to the nearby hospital, you should go. Accepting a transport to a local hospital allows you to receive a thorough examination. You will receive all applicable tests based on your condition like X-rays, CAT scans, and MRIs.
Many people make the mistake of rejecting medical care at the accident scene based on the belief that they are “fine”. They may think they are just suffering from “minor bumps and bruises.” Sadly, an increasing number of cases have escalated from bad to worse without medical care. Very often, those “bumps and bruises” end up being telltale signs indicating the massive presence of internal bleeding. Your truck accident attorney in Atlanta sees this all the time.
Receiving a timely diagnosis and the necessary documentation is critical. It is essential to your physical and mental health and the success of any legal claims and lawsuits. Please remember to get everything in writing. That way you can keep your truck accident lawyer in Atlanta fully informed of the entire process.
Follow Doctor’s Orders Cautiously and Carefully. Assist Your Truck Accident Attorney in Atlanta.
Let’s say you have received medical attention from a clinic, hospital or Urgent Care facility. You will be provided with follow-up instructions within your discharge paperwork. In most cases, after diagnosis, the doctor’s orders and prescriptions are filed away. A copy of the paperwork is given to the patient.
It would be in your best interest to follow the doctor’s orders cautiously and carefully. Never assume you can handle things on your own due to the severity, degree, and extent of the injuries.
Depending on your condition, your doctor may prescribe that you take several weeks off from work to recuperate. You will possibly get at least one week so you can rest and get a fresh start upon your return. He or she may suggest you follow a modified or reduced workload when you finally do return to your job. This is to minimize the chances of reinjuring yourself. Either way, you should make sure that you follow your doctor’s orders carefully and cautiously.
Failure to do so may compromise your case. You will be left open and vulnerable to the opposing counsel and insurance company. Think of this way. The opposing counsel will strive to essentially poke holes in your case and the corresponding legal argument. Therefore, anything that could possibly sway the judge to rule in their favor is “fair game”. This includes your apparent refusal to follow the doctor’s orders.
Not taking medication or not taking the time to recuperate can contribute to your own injuries. Insurance companies relish situations like this. Don’t play into their hands. Conversely, following the doctor’s orders closely will make it much easier for you to present a solid argument. You will have justified explanations for your condition from your medical physician during the trial.
Research, Study and Learn FMCSA Regulations Although You Have and Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney
All trucking companies and their hired drivers must comply with the regulations in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations are enforced to keep truck drivers and the roads on which they travel safe. They are also aimed at reducing the likelihood of potential truck accidents.
These regulations cover a broad range of topics, including, but not limited to, the:
- Payment of transportation charges
- Transportation of goods via interstate commerce
- Motor carrier routing regulations
- Financial responsibility of motor carriers
- Parts and accessories required for safe vehicle operation
- Cooperative agreements with states
- Safety fitness procedures
There are even regulations that outline required service hours for drivers. There are also health and safety standards in place that must be followed by all employees. Many of these rules are listed on the FMCSA website. The driver of a property-carrying vehicle can only work 14 consecutive hours after spending 10 consecutive hours off duty. This is just one of the many regulations implemented. It is to ensure all truck drivers have ample resting periods in between shifts. This should drastically reduce the chances of falling asleep behind the wheel as they work.
However, just because the rules are in place does not mean that every truck driver or trucking company follows them. Your truck accident attorney in Atlanta will work to build a solid case against the at-fault driver and/or company. However, you should take the time to study and learn the rules and regulations that apply to your case. Make sure that the attorney you hire has a solid knowledge of these regulations as well. The lawyer should have a successful track record of referencing these regulations in court to effectively defend their clients.
You Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney Says Target the Truck Company, Not Just the Driver
If you are injured in a truck accident you should enlist the assistance of a car accident lawyer in Atlanta. Your best bet would be to target the truck company and not the individual driver. As mentioned, based on the rules and regulations, there may have been a slip-up somewhere along the way. The driver may have kept certain conditions and behavioral changes away from his or her company. Alternatively, the company strived to keep those things away from the rest of the management team. They may have hoped to figure it out on their own or correct the behavior.
You may want to target your truck accident courtroom filings towards a specific party. It is a good idea to target the company first – not the driver. The driver likely has a fraction of insurance coverage and overall protection compared to that possessed by his company. Let’s not forget his company’s insurance company. Aiming for the insurance company allows you to set the bar high. It may even seem as if it is impossibly high at this time.
You no doubt want to save time jumping over hurdles and through hoops. It is in your best interest to specifically target the trucking company that hired the truck driver who was behind wheel. Perhaps he or she did not follow the resting period protocol during a busy week or weekend. On the other hand, the driver may have already admitted fault. He may be a few steps ahead of you already when it comes to figuring out how to save the company.
The Bottom Line: Do Your Research, Trust Your Truck Accident Attorney in Atlanta
The aftermath of a truck accident can quickly become as traumatic, stressful and shocking as the actual accident itself! At times, it may seem unbearable and impossible to survive. This is especially if there is an intense and heated courtroom battle at stake. The circumstances can vary. Your best bet is to still trust in the expertise and insight of your truck accident attorney in Atlanta. Do your research and follow your lawyer’s instructions. It is a surprise by how relatively smoothly your courtroom battle will become as you fight for justice.