Articles Posted in Truck and Tractor Trailer Accidents

Truck-Accident-can-I-sue-the-Company-Of-The-Driver-300x210If I am hurt in a car or truck wreck, is the company employing the at-fault driver liable for my injuries, or am I limited to suing the driver individually?  In most cases, the answer is “Yes, you may sue the company too.”  An injured party can sue the company as well as the driver, though there are exceptions.

If a driver is in the course and scope of his employment at the time he injures someone in a car or truck wreck, the company is generally liable for the injuries under the doctrine of Respondeat Superior.  This old Latin phrase translates to mean that the master is financially responsible for the wrongdoing of the servant.  In present-day Georgia, that principle exists to this day.  If the employer admits that the employee was on duty at the time of a collision, then the employer is also responsible for damages automatically if the employee is proven to be at fault for the wreck.  An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you in this instance. Continue reading

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Drive Defensively Around Tractor Trailers 

We all know that sharing the road with large trucks can be very dangerous. Large trucks, including tractor trailers, are particularly dangerous when they are traveling at a high rate of speed and are too close to the vehicles in front of them. We have all experienced it while driving on a highway. If you are in a smaller vehicle and large trucks are traveling along side you or around you, it is very important to drive defensively. We know that it is crucial to avoid the truck’s blind spots and to ensure that you are an adequate distance away from the truck. But sometimes there is no warning that a truck is driving too fast or too closely to your vehicle and there is no way to avoid being struck by one of these large vehicles. Tragically, this is exactly what happened on I-75 in Henry County, Georgia recently in a truck crash in which four souls were lost.

Fatal Georgia Truck Crash Leads to Criminal Charges

The fatal truck accident took place close to the exit of Georgia 20 and Georgia 81. An earlier accident had been cleared and traffic was still somewhat slower than normal due to this. One tractor trailer slowed just before coming to this exit, as did a pick up truck behind it. Unfortunately, another tractor-trailer did not slow down when the conditions warranted it and this third truck slammed into the pick up which in turn slammed into the back of the first tractor trailer. The pick up immediately caught on fire as it was hauling flammable pine straw.

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Fiery Fatal Truck Crash in the National News

A fiery tragic truck crash that occurred recently in Florida made national news due to the severity of the injuries and the fatalities that resulted. The crash, which involved multiple vehicles, occurred on Interstate 75 close to Gainesville. Apparently, a truck driver struck a passenger vehicle, lost control of his truck and then crossed the center divide. In crossing into oncoming highway traffic, he hit a van that was filled with children who were taking a church trip from Louisiana to Disney World. Five children were fatally injured in this head-on crash. The passenger vehicle also crossed over into oncoming traffic.

The fire that ensued involved the truck, the passenger vehicle and a second truck. The aftermath was witnessed by many other drivers and passengers who sat in their vehicles in shock. The truck driver who may have started this chain reaction also lost his life in this crash. The driver of the second truck that was struck in the crash also sustained fatal injuries.

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The tragic nationally-covered news of a fatal truck collision with a bus last week in New Mexico has again revealed that maintenance of commercial vehicles on the roads makes a difference, and one that can save or take lives. The truck, which was traveling on the New Mexico highway I-40, apparently blew a tire and jack-knifed as a result. The truck driver said one of the front tires blew out and he lost control of his vehicle. This caused the truck to cross over the median into oncoming traffic, hitting a Greyhound bus in a head on collision. Eight bus passengers and the driver have lost their lives. The driver of the truck survived the crash. Although the accident is under investigation, the initial conclusion is that the tire blow-out caused the crash.

The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) and local authorities are investigating the cause of this horrific crash. The impact of this collision caused catastrophic damage to the front and side of the bus. The authorities will be looking at every aspect of what happened. The truck’s tires will all be inspected as will the truck’s mechanics. The truck involved in the crash has the mandatory tracking device that all trucks are required to maintain. This device will help investigators to learn about the truck driver’s hours and driving patterns. The road itself, the median and whether there was an issue with either of those will also be evaluated to determine whether these were factors and if there is any way the accident could have been avoided. Continue reading

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Over the years we have posted about many Atlanta truck accidents involving all kinds of trucks, including tractor trailers. These accidents can be very dangerous, particularly when two trucks collide and a fuel tanker is involved. This type of truck crash shut down I-20 for many hours earlier this week. Traffic was redirected as the clean up took many hours given the spill involved. Another truck crash the same day happened on I-285, blocking the eastbound lanes for several hours.

The cause of each of these crashes is not yet known. But we do know that truck crashes can be very dangerous and can cause severe personal injuries. Sometimes these crashes are due to driver fatigue. Given these recent truck incidents involving the many trucks that traverse Atlanta’s roads and highways each day, we want to remind our readers about some important aspects of trucking regulations.  Continue reading

Truck1Atlanta Pick Up Truck Loses Tire and Hits Vehicle

Several years ago, a tragic Atlanta truck crash occurred on I-85 when a tire flew off a truck and hit the windshield of a van traveling in the opposite direction. The van driver, a mom, lost her life instantly and without warning. Her daughter was in the vehicle and survived the accident. Tragically, a very similar Atlanta truck accident occurred recently on Georgia 400. A pick up truck traveling at a normal rate of speed lost a wheel and a tire. The tire ultimately flew into the windshield of a woman’s car as she was driving on the opposite side of the road. The impact caused fatal injury to the driver. The deceased driver was a mom of two on her way to work. Her co-workers were stunned by the news and her family is in grief. The deceased mom was a cherished co-worker and loving friend. It is difficult to imagine what her family and community are experiencing. The shock of a sudden accident and loss of life is always difficult to accept.

The driver of the truck was cooperative with investigators and also expressed his sadness over this event. He also mentioned that he had taken a recent trip with the truck and had no mechanical issues with it in the past. The authorities do not expect to charge the truck driver with any crime. Thus far, there is no explanation as to why the wheel and tire came off the truck. However, authorities believe this accident may have been caused by some sort of mechanical failure. The precise nature of the failure is not yet known.

Truck3Some things are worth repeating and we think truck crash avoidance is one of those things. Atlanta highways are some of the most congested in the country. One of the challenges that comes along with that are truck accidents that can involve serious or fatal injury. Whether you are traveling on a local road or highway or you are on a interstate drive with your family, knowing how to travel safely around large heavy trucks is important. There is so much distraction on our roads these days. With large trucks and smaller vehicles sharing the road, paying close attention to what is happening around you is more important than ever. There are specific things you can do to protect yourself around these vehicles.

First, it is important to understand some key facts about trucks. Like smaller vehicles, they have blind spots, but truck blindspots are much, much larger. Know more about truck blind spots, could help keep you from a blind-spot truck collision. Because of this, it is important to be aware of where you are in relation to the truck’s blindspots. The general rule is that if you can see the truck driver in the truck’s side mirror, the driver should be able to see you as well. Conversely, if you cannot see the driver, it is likely you aren’t seen. Given these facts, try to avoid the blindspots, behind and on the sides of the truck.

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photo-200x300This past November, a semi-truck driver caused a major collision in Norcross, Georgia. Failing to heed the clear warning at a railroad crossing that prohibited tractor-trailers from driving on the tracks, he made a dangerous attempt to cross and got stuck on the tracks. He and his passenger were pulled from the truck by local police officers just before an oncoming train struck the truck. The impact caused debris to be strewn across the area. Miraculously, no one was harmed or injured in this collision. A tragedy was prevented by the fast and effective work on the part of the local police. After the crash, Gwinnett County Fire came on scene to help with the clean-up. The contents of the truck belonged to customers of a moving company … which likely caused some additional issues for both the trucking company and the driver. This type of collision involving trains and trucks are dangerous not only to the truck driver and the train passengers and engineer, but to anyone in the vicinity. Other drivers, pedestrians and bystanders can be seriously injured due to these crashes.

In Los Angeles this past September about 20 people sustained injuries when a commuter train crashed into a tractor trailer that was stuck on the tracks. The truck driver was not injured as he attempted to get his truck off the tracks. Witnesses said the truck may have already been on the tracks when the railroad crossing warnings began to sound and the gates went down.

In December of last year, a slow-moving vintage Christmas train with St. Nick himself on board, which was carrying children stopped for a while when it hit a truck that was improperly crossing railroad tracks. St. Nick and his wife visited with the children, while they waited for authorities. The pickup truck driver admitted he had been on the phone when he hit the train. He apologized and thankfully he sustained only minor injuries and none of the children or other passengers were harmed. The local railroad representative called these types of accidents “common.” It is shocking to realize just how often these train and vehicle collisions occur.

iStock_000001983354XSmall-300x199The final chapter has been written on the tragic accident we shared with readers previously that killed five Georgia Southern University nursing students and injured two others. Two years have passed since the truck crash that brought shock and sorrow to many across Georgia and the entire nation. The fatal truck crash occurred when a truck driver from Louisiana slammed into the students’ vehicle which had stopped in traffic due to a wholly unrelated accident. The truck’s destruction was so significant, it literally and violently compressed two vehicles in its path. The nursing students were returning to Georgia Southern University in Statesboro after their duties at a Savannah, Georgia hospital. Ironically, the student nurses were on their final rotation at the hospital.

On several posts in the past, we have discussed the fact that in trucking accidents, not only the driver, but the trucking company or companies and others can often be held liable when a tragedy like this occurs. Those entities in this case had settled with the families of the deceased victims. They also settled with another survivor. But the final victim sustained traumatic brain injuries and claimed that these injuries had continued to make her life difficult. Last week, a jury awarded her $15 million. Both the trucking company that owned the truck and its parent company were held to pay the survivor, now a nurse. In this case, the driver took a plea and was given a reduced sentence of five years in jail.  He pled guilty to all five first-degree vehicular homicide counts among other serious violations. It is reported that he apologized to the nursing student for the accident that injured her and killed five of her cohorts.  Continue reading

Truck4As drivers, we know that sharing the road with large vehicles like trucks and tractor-trailers can be treacherous. These vehicles raise the risk of serious or fatal injury when they lose control on the road and / or collide with other vehicles. In 2014 for example, the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Association (FMSCA) reported that there were over 400,000 trucking accidents causing about 82,000 injuries and over 3,000 deaths in America. These vehicles are also very different in the way they maneuver and operate. There are several examples of the types of dangers that other vehicles have traveling around these massive heavy vehicles. There are also things that drivers can and should do to manage their travel with trucks on the road. Here are several safety tips to help avoid truck crashes that have been noted by the FMCSA that regulates these vehicles.

First, remember that it takes much longer for trucks to stop. If they are traveling too closely to the vehicle in front of them, they can fail to stop or rear end that vehicle. Every day we see truck drivers barreling down the rear of the vehicle in front of them, that  vehicle could even be the one we are driving. It is a frightening experience to be sure. If you can do so safely, give trucks room and move over to the right.

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