A tractor-trailer, also known as a semi-trailer truck or a semi-tractor truck, is a type of vehicle used to carry freight. This vehicle is the combination of a front tractor unit, where a truck driver sits and operates the truck, and a trailer, which carries cargo.
A collision with a large tractor-trailer can be catastrophic, especially if the accident involves a smaller motor vehicle. Unfortunately, these accidents are common throughout the state of Georgia, including Augusta. If you are injured in an accident in Augusta, it is important to understand your legal options.
Georgia Truck Accident Statistics
Each year, thousands of people are injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents on Georgia roads. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), these collisions are the leading cause of injury deaths and the second-leading cause of hospitalization in the state. Many of these collisions involve large commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT), approximately 15,345 motor vehicle accidents in 2020 involved commercial motor vehicles. Of these collisions, 160 crashes involved fatalities, resulting in 174 deaths. Approximately 5,026 people sustained injuries in accidents with commercial vehicles throughout the state.
In Augusta alone, the DOT provides the following statistics.
234 accidents involving commercial motor vehicles occurred in 2020, resulting in 78 injuries.
Between 2016 and 2021, 1,310 collisions involving commercial motor vehicles occurred in Augusta.
Between 2016 and 2021, 430 people suffered injuries and 5 people died in accidents that involved commercial motor vehicles.
Your Legal Options After an Accident with a Tractor-Trailer
An accident with a tractor-trailer can be extremely catastrophic, resulting in very severe injuries that require extensive medical care. If you are involved in this type of collision, you can experience financial, emotional, and physical hardship. In these situations, you deserve justice.
Under Georgia law, you could file an insurance claim or lawsuit and recover compensation following a tractor-trailer accident. Any of the following parties could be liable for your collision, depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident.
The Tractor-Trailer Driver: If the actions of the truck driver caused your accident, you could file an insurance claim or lawsuit against him or her. For example, a driver who speeds, drives under the influence, or runs a red light could be liable for an accident caused by these dangerous actions.
The Trucking Company: Trucking companies are responsible for any accidents caused by their employees who are performing their job duties. If you are injured by the employee of a trucking company, you could file a claim through the company’s insurance policy or name it in your lawsuit. In some cases, the negligence of the company itself could be responsible for your accident, such as failing to repair or maintain tractor-trailers. In these situations, you could file a lawsuit against the company directly.
Tractor-Trailer Manufacturers: If the accident was caused by a defective tractor-trailer part or a completely defective vehicle, the manufacturer may be liable for your injuries. You could file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, as well as the distributor and the retailer.
What to Do After a Tractor-Trailer Accident
If you are involved in a tractor-trailer accident, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Call 911 and receive emergency medical attention. If you can, gather evidence by taking photographs, speaking to witnesses, and briefly exchanging information with the tractor-trailer driver.