Big-rigs, tractor-trailers and semi trucks are bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles. This makes it much more likely for severe injuries or death to occur in a large truck crash than in an accident with a regular passenger vehicle.
More large trucks on the road mean there are more opportunities for truck accidents to occur. And there are a lot of large trucks on the road in DeKalb County and Decatur.
Trucking in DeKalb County and Decatur
The Atlanta metropolitan area is a hub for the manufacturing and distribution of goods. An Atlanta Regional Commission report found that over 150 million tons of cargo are transported through the metro Atlanta area each year. Eighty-three percent of those goods are moved by large trucks.
Four major interstates in DeKalb County are part of this enormous distribution network—I-20, I-85, I-285, and I-675. This means that there are many large trucks transporting cargo through DeKalb County every day. In fact, one review of truck driver-reported data found that DeKalb County truck stops were the busiest and most congested truck stops in the country.
DeKalb County is also the location of the Tom Moreland Interchange, known as "Spaghetti Junction." This tangle of roads and ramps connects I-285 (the "Perimeter") and I-85, and it was recently ranked as the worst trucking traffic bottleneck in the country.
What Causes DeKalb County and Decatur Truck Accidents?
There are many factors that can contribute to causing truck accidents, including:
- Driver fatigue. Truck drivers may not follow "hours of service" regulations, which limit the number of hours they can drive and require periodic rest breaks.
- Driver distraction. Like any other driver, a truck driver can be distracted while driving. If a driver takes his or her eyes off the road for even a few seconds, an accident can easily occur because trucks are less maneuverable and take much longer to stop than other vehicles.
- Speeding or other traffic violations. Truck drivers can and do break traffic laws, just like any other driver. But because trucks are so much bigger and heavier than other vehicles, the consequences of breaking traffic laws can be much more severe when a truck is involved.
- Drug or alcohol use. A truck driver could be driving under the influence of alcohol, despite the very strict regulations regarding commercial driver alcohol consumption. A driver may also take prescription, over-the-counter or illegal stimulant drugs to stay awake on long drives.
- Vehicle malfunction. Truck drivers and trucking employers are required to regularly inspect and repair their trucks. If they fail to do so or do so improperly, the truck's brakes, tires, or other equipment may malfunction and cause an accident.
- Overloaded or improperly-loaded trucks. Improperly-loaded cargo may shift in transit or even fall out of the truck, causing an accident. An overloaded truck may not be able to stop in time to prevent it from hitting another vehicle.
- Improper hiring, training or monitoring of drivers. Trucking employers must take appropriate steps to ensure that their drivers can operate a large truck safely. This includes ensuring the driver has the right training and the proper commercial driver's license. Employers are also required to perform background checks prior to hiring to make sure the driver doesn't have a history of traffic violations, truck accidents, or drug or alcohol abuse.
It is not always easy to determine what exactly caused a truck accident. There are hundreds of detailed state and federal regulations governing commercial trucking activity. A knowledgeable truck accident attorney will be able to determine whether a violation of any of these regulations contributed to causing your injuries and the best way to recover compensation for your injuries.
Compensation for DeKalb County Truck Accident Injuries
Because commercial trucks are so much bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles, truck accidents can result in catastrophic injuries. Truck accident victims may need expensive long-term medical treatment and they may miss work due to their injuries. In the most severe cases, truck accident victims may be permanently disabled or even killed.
It may be possible to recover compensation (damages) for these types of truck accident injuries via a truck accident lawsuit. Damages in DeKalb County and Decatur truck accident cases include compensation for tangible financial losses such as current and future medical expenses, as well as lost compensation due to missed work. Damages can also be awarded for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life or reduced quality of life.
It may be difficult to determine who was actually responsible for a trucking accident. Depending on the specifics of the case, a truck driver, truck owner, trucking employer, cargo owner, cargo loader, or other entity may have contributed to causing a truck accident. In some cases, multiple individuals or entities may be responsible. Trucking jobs can also involve multiple layers of leases, contracts and sub-contracts, making it complicated to determine who is responsible for a particular trucking job.
Were you injured in a DeKalb County or Decatur truck accident?
If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident in DeKalb County or Decatur, you should contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. They will review the facts of your case and apply their in-depth knowledge of state and federal trucking laws to holding the right party responsible for your injuries.
The Hadden Law Firm has the knowledge and experience to help you get the just compensation you are due for your injuries. Contact us today to get started.