Truck Accident Wrongful Death Attorneys Decatur GA
If your loved one died in a truck accident because of someone else’s negligent behavior, you have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. The Krause Law Firm are experienced Atlanta wrongful death attorneys committed to helping our clients get the financial recovery they are entitled to receive. Our attorneys know how to navigate the intricacies of Georgia’s laws and legal procedures. We are devoted to defending the rights of families in wrongful death cases.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Due to the sheer size of a commercial truck, it is not uncommon for serious injuries or fatalities to occur in an accident. When our clients suspect that their loved one died due to negligence, we perform a thorough investigation of the accident. We review the police report and other documentation verifying what happened. We use our research skills to find out if negligence was attributed to the other driver or other factors. Some common causes of commercial truck accidents are:
- Driver inattention
- Driver fatigue
- Tire blowout
- Lack of truck maintenance
- Cargo not securely loaded and attached
Litigating Truck Accident Wrongful Death Cases
When the truck driver engages in negligent conduct, the truck company is liable if the driver was acting within the scope of his employment. As soon as we take on a wrongful death case, we gather and preserve the evidence quickly. We also interview witnesses. Since the truck company has its own legal team protecting its interests, we work aggressively and efficiently to look out for our client’s interests.
It is important to verify if the truck company complies with federal laws in the manner that it conducts its business. When the truck company is suspected of negligence, some of the materials we review include:
- Accident records
- Driver’s log books
- Witness statements
- Truck maintenance reports
- Truck company’s safety policies
Special Issues In Car And Truck Collisions
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 33,000 people die each year due to traffic-related accidents.
One of the problems in these cases is how to recover the full value of the life. This is because most drivers only can afford liability insurance of $25,000. While, on one hand, $25,000 is a great deal of money, it’s a certainty that $25,000 is not going to compensate a family that has lost a father, mother, husband, sister, brother, daughter or son.
Good lawyers look towards other sources of recovery. For example, if a defendant was driving for a company at the time of the collision, the defendant’s employer can be held responsible under the doctrine of res superior. In DUI caused collisions, plaintiff may file suit against the bar that served the driver under Georgia’s Dram Shop Act, O.C.G.A. § 51-1-40.
For more information, view Chapter 8 of our eBook
Free Consultation with an Atlanta Truck Accident Wrongful Death Attorney
If you are interested in filing a wrongful death lawsuit and want to find out the best legal recourse to pursue, call us at 404.835.8080. Filling out and submitting the contact form on our website is another way to get in contact with our office. A member of our legal staff will promptly get back to you to schedule a free initial consultation at our office location in Atlanta. The Krause Law Firm can help you get the financial recovery you need and make sure the negligent party is held accountable for its actions.
Atlanta Truck Accident Wrongful Death Attorney
A Different Approach
As one of Georgia’s only firms that focuses only on wrongful death, our approach to truck collisions is different.
For most folks, they believe that key defendant – the person that you are seeking to hold responsible – is the driver.
While certainly at issue is the driver, we actually believe the key defendant is not the driver. Rather, the key defendant is the trucking company itself.
The truck company owes a duty to the public to make sure that the trucks it puts on the public roads are safe. Yet, this duty, imposed by juries, is opposite to what the trucking company wants to do, it wants to save money and get the merchandise delivered as cheaply as possible. Thus, a conflict is created, between profits over people’s safety. Needless to say, our emphasis is on safety.
Moreover, trucking companies know that drivers, like all people, will make errors. Drivers will get overtired when driving. Drivers will drive too fast. Drivers will fail to perform safety checks on the trucks. These human errors will result in deaths.
So, the truck company, knowing the errors, must have policies and procedures that protect against the known errors. As an important aside, as we have been advocating, the Georgia Supreme Court has adopted our arguments in the case Quynn v. Hulsey, Ga. 850 S.E.2d 725, 727-28 (Nov. 2, 2020)
The emphasis on the employer is actually in aligning with the Georgia Wrongful Death Statute. As discussed by the Georgia Supreme Court, that the Georgia Legislature “may impose an extraordinary liability, such as [the wrongful death] statutes do, not only upon those at fault, but upon those who, although not directly culpable, are able nevertheless in the management of their affairs to guard substantially against the evil to be prevented. Carringer v. Rodgers, 276 Ga. 359, 578 S.E.2d 841 (Ga., 2003)(original citations omitted).
Traditionally, if the trucking company was even included in the lawsuit, the lawsuit’s claim was limited to include the employer to allow recovery under the company’s deeper pockets. The employer is held responsible under the doctrine of Respondeat Superior – roughly translated from Latin, “let the boss answer” [for the acts of the servant]. As discussed above, the possibility to hold a defendant’s employer responsible may turn a $25,000 possible compensation into a multi-million-dollar recovery. The challenge is that the employer-employee relationship is not always easy to prove. On many occasions, a company will argue that the defendant was not an employee, but an independent contractor, and that the company is not responsible. This often happens in cases with cabs, commercial trucks, etc. Yet, by arguing the company’s special duties, we bootstrap the Company for its own negligence, as well as its responsibility under respondent superior.
So, let’s return to the beginning.
Truck accidents resulting in death should never happen. Really, car accidents should not happen. Why? Because there is really no such thing as “accidents”. Accidents are the term that we use to excuse accountability and responsibility. Our firm was one of the first to use the term collision because that is what happens. There is a collision. One large object colliding with another large object. Sometimes, the occupants are fine. Sometimes, the occupants are severely injured. Yet, all collisions occur because the drivers are simply not doing what they should be doing. The driver is distracted, driving too fast, or otherwise taking shortcuts.
Driving a truck is vastly different than driving a car. The average weight of a car is 1.4 tons. The average weight of a tractor-trailer is 40 tons. 26 times the weight of an ordinary SUV on the road. When a small child is running and bumps into adult, the result is no big deal. Yet, when a full-grown linebacker runs into another, there is the possibility of serious injury. Driving a truck carries far more responsibilities, because the dangers are greater, and the responsibility is greater.
The trucking company knows that human errors occur. For example, that drivers get tired and, in an effort to increase their income, may drive too many hours per day. Likewise, that drivers may fail to check the truck’s breaks, mirrors, and the like, because drivers are paid on delivery, not safety checks. These errors will lead to deaths on the highways.
Given that trucking company’s know about human errors causing death, they have a special duty to prevent such deaths. They have a special duty to make sure that their employees know proper procedures, are not driving when they are overtired, and that the drivers have the equipment to drive safely. It is for this reason, that at the Wrongful Death Krause Law Firm, we focus upon the trucking company.