TRUCKS, MOTORCYCLES AND BOATS
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- Tractor-Trailers, Dump Trucks, & Commercial Vehicles
Tractor-trailers are the most dangerous vehicles on the road other than any vehicle driven by a drunk driver. We all know this from personal experience. Tractor-trailers are often driven by underqualified and untrained drivers who do not follow the basic rules of the road, much less the specific Georgia and federal guidelines they must follow under the rules of the state and federal government applicable to vehicles which weigh in excess of 26,000 pounds. The federal government created Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations which big trucks must follow. Georgia law has adopted those standards.
If you are involved in a wreck with a big truck, the first thing you want to do is get appropriate emergent medical care, but after that, you need a lawyer who will put the trucker and its insurer on notice of your claim. These days, most tractor-trailers are equipped with dash cams that capture the precise circumstances of the wreck. This objective video footage can be critical in helping you when a truck driver does not tell the truth about how a wreck happened – and it is a common fact in the industry that too many truckers just don’t tell the truth when they are at fault.
Additionally, tractor-trailers are equipped with ECM modules (“electronic control modules”) which capture exactly how fast a big truck was going at the time of a collision, when heavy braking is applied, and what else the tractor-trailer was doing at the time of the collision. We know how to make sure truckers preserve this important data so it may be analyzed by trusted experts.
Secondly, there is an unfortunate epidemic of tractor-trailer drivers using drugs, particularly methamphetamine (among other substances) while on the job, and those drugs obviously impact their ability to safely drive. We put insurers on notice to preserve all drug testing history for their drivers, and make sure they keep the test results so we can independently evaluate them. If you’re struck by a truck driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs, this creates huge pressure on a trucking company and their insurer. Insurers and truckers often try to conceal these tests in violation of Georgia and federal law, and we know how to go get them. We also seek the entire driver qualification file on every involved driver to see what their driving history is, i.e., how many wrecks have they caused? Do they have a history of breaking state and federal law? Have they been reprimanded or terminated for unsafe conduct in the past?
Unfortunately, big trucking companies often want the cheapest drivers they can find, and those drivers often have poor records that put you and your family in danger.
Another thing we do is investigate the medical condition of tractor-trailer drivers. Federal and state law require that big truck drivers have medical certificates showing their fitness to drive. Too often, these medical certificates are not kept, or are performed by cut-rate doctors who will do anything (to include ignoring known health problems) just to get a driver on the road.
A tractor-trailer case just is not like a wreck with a regular vehicle. We have years of expertise in suing these companies and their insurers and holding them to account. Don’t hire a lawyer who doesn’t know how to find the information necessary for a full understanding of your rights and the trucker’s conduct. Hire us because we will make sure that we don’t just focus on how the wreck happened on the road – but we will focus on all the potential negligent and reckless decisions made by the multi-million-dollar trucking companies who make decisions to cut corners and save money, thereby skirting the rules endangering you and your family.
- Motorcycle Accidents
We have handled many cases on behalf of motorcycle drivers involved in terrible wrecks leading to permanent personal injury and death. In these cases, no matter what the facts are, the first thing an insurance company does is to find a way to blame the motorcyclist and play on the fears of people who do not like bikes on the road. Of course, a person driving a motorcycle must do so safely, but they are not automatically to blame when someone else acts negligently and causes a wreck. Motorcycle accidents lead to road rash, broken limbs, severe head injuries, surgery, and often death. We understand how to fight experts and other hired guns who try to blame the people on the bike, often with baseless allegations of speeding. Every case will depend on the facts, but if you or a loved one are injured in a motorcycle accident, give us a call to know your rights in Columbus and South Georgia.
- Boating Accidents
Negligence claims for boating accidents in Georgia
Boaters or boat owners may incur civil liability, criminal liability, or both under Georgia law when they are at fault for a boating accident. If they act negligently, i.e., failing to conduct themselves as a reasonable person would under similar circumstances a jury may award the injured party property damages, medical expenses, and other losses incurred.
A jury determines whether the boater met the “reasonable person” standard. A reasonable boater would typically adhere to all safety rules and precautions and be mindful of passengers and other boaters.
Here are some criteria that must be met before a recovery is authorized:
1. The boat operator owed you a duty. This will typically be satisfied since all boat and watercraft operators owe each other a duty to share the waterways responsibly.
2. The operator breached that duty. This is satisfied by showing that the captain did something that a reasonable operator would not have done. Boating at excessively high speeds or under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a good example of this.
3. The breach of the driver’s duty caused your accident. In short, this criterion is satisfied if the boat operator’s actions were the direct cause of the accident. Following the above example, if the operator weren’t speeding, the operator wouldn’t have collided with another boat. Thus, the operator’s actions put him or her at fault.
4. You sustained injuries as a result of the driver’s actions. This criterion is typically easily met as you are likely suing the boat operator to recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Common causes of boating accidents include:
- 1/3 of all boating accidents involve a driver who is BUI-alcohol. Georgia has criminalized boating under the influence and imposes heavy fines and possibly incarceration for such an offense.
- Severe weather such as winds, heavy rains, or large wakes from other vessels may rock or throw passengers within, or out of a boat. Extreme exposure to sunlight may also cause boat passengers to experience heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses.
- Boat engines produce toxic carbon monoxide, which may cause death or serious injury if passengers are exposed to high concentrations of the gas.
- Accidents most often occur when inexperienced boaters encounter dangerous or unfamiliar conditions, and when experienced boaters are not paying attention to the safety of their passengers