Accidents are unnerving, and it’s even more daunting when it involves a commercial vehicle. In Georgia, the steps you take post-accident are crucial in ensuring your safety and securing your rights for compensation. This guide outlines the essential actions to undertake if you find yourself in such a situation.
What Makes Commercial Vehicle Accidents Unique?
- Multiple Parties Involved: Unlike collisions between private vehicles, commercial vehicle accidents often involve a range of parties – from the driver and the company they work for, to potentially the manufacturer of the vehicle or its parts, and even the company’s insurance provider.
- Higher Insurance Coverage: Commercial vehicles typically have higher insurance policies due to the potential damage they can cause. This can be beneficial if you’re seeking compensation but can also make negotiations more contentious.
- Stringent Regulations: Commercial vehicles in Georgia are subjected to strict state and federal regulations, including maintenance standards, driver training, and maximum driving hours. Any breach of these can play a role in your claim.
At the Accident Scene
First, check your safety and the safety of others involved. If the accident is minor and there are no serious injuries, move vehicles to the side of the road to avoid blocking traffic.
Call the Police
In Georgia, it’s mandatory to report accidents involving injuries, death, or significant property damage. Call the police immediately and wait for them to arrive at the scene.
Collect information from the commercial vehicle driver, including their name, contact details, driver’s license number, and insurance information. Note the vehicle’s make, model, and registration details.
Document the Scene
Take photographs of the accident scene, including the vehicles, any visible injuries, and the surrounding area. This documentation can be crucial evidence for your claim.
Post Steps After Commercial Vehicle Accident In Georgia
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine, seek medical attention. Injuries from accidents may not be immediately apparent. A medical record is also a vital piece of evidence in personal injury claims.
Report the Commercial Vehicle Accident to Your Insurance
Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Provide them with all the gathered information and cooperate fully, but be cautious in your statements to avoid inadvertently affecting your claim.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
Accidents involving commercial vehicles often have complex legal aspects. Consult a Georgia specific personal injury attorney experienced in such cases. They can guide you in understanding your rights and navigating the legal processes for compensation claims.
Understanding Georgia Laws
In Georgia, the clock starts ticking immediately following the accident. The two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims is non-negotiable. This time frame is crucial, and missing this deadline could mean forfeiting your right to seek compensation altogether. It’s imperative to initiate your claim process as soon as possible to avoid any potential legal pitfalls that could delay the process. Early action also ensures the preservation of essential evidence, witness accounts, and other crucial elements that can substantiate your claim.
Navigating a commercial vehicle accident claim in Georgia is a complex affair due to the involvement of multiple parties. The driver, at the forefront, is not the sole individual who may be held accountable. The vehicle owner and the employer are also significant entities in the claim process. The state adheres to the legal doctrine known as respondeat superior. This principle asserts that employers are responsible for the actions of their employees, committed within the scope of their employment. This doctrine amplifies the accountability, extending it beyond the individual driver to the employer who owns the commercial vehicle.
- Statute of Limitations: In Georgia, the general window for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident. However, with commercial vehicles, other timelines might come into play, especially if regulatory breaches are a factor.
- Comparative Fault: Georgia’s modified comparative fault system is particularly crucial in commercial vehicle accidents. If you’re deemed to be partially at fault, it can impact your compensation.
- Regulation Adherence: Ensure that any breach of state or federal regulations by the commercial vehicle or driver is documented. This can play a pivotal role in establishing negligence.
Claim Process and Compensation For A Commercial Vehicle Accident
Your attorney at Rebecca Kay Sapp Law Firm will assist in the claim process, which may involve negotiations with insurance companies or legal proceedings. Compensation may cover medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Being involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle in Georgia can be overwhelming. Being informed and prepared ensures you take the right steps to safeguard your well-being and secure your entitlements. Prioritize your safety, gather essential information, seek medical and legal assistance promptly, and understand the relevant Georgia laws to navigate this challenging situation effectively.