Why Hire a Georgia Truck Accident Attorney For Your Truck Accident in Georgia

Georgia truck accident lawsuit lawyers

Four Ways Hiring an Experienced Georgia Truck Accident Attorney Can Maximize Your Damage Claim

Our lawyers often are asked about the importance of hiring an attorney to provide legal representation when pursuing a personal injury claim.  While there are many reasons to have a lawyer on your side, one of the more important reasons is that the attorney can increase the value of your case.  Although only a small percentage of civil cases proceed to trial, you gain a distinct advantage by retaining an attorney with the experience and expertise to take the case to trial rather than a law firm that settles every claim.  In this blog, we review the ways that a proven Atlanta personal injury lawyer can increase the value of your case.

Insurance companies have more of an incentive to reach a fair settlement with a trial lawyer on the other side.

If an insurance company does not have a reasonable belief that a case might proceed to trial, the insurer has almost complete control over the settlement negotiations.  This ability to settle the case by offering the minimum acceptable amount of money means that the insurance carrier is in control of the value of your case at least to a certain degree.  The prospect of a jury verdict takes control over the value of your case and shifts that role from the insurance company to twelve unknown decision-makers.  During settlement discussions, insurance companies frequently rely on software programs and databases to estimate the value of a claim, but a jury can replace these tools that predictably generate lowball settlement values.  When a talented lawyer presents your case to a jury, the attorney will know how to demonstrate the most significant factors the jury will employ to determine the value of your claim.

Effective communication of the severity of your injuries and hardships

Insurance companies do not proceed into litigation blindly.  They know that an attorney is skilled at communicating the harms and losses suffered by a plaintiff to the judge or jury.  The insurer has more of a motive to settle when your attorney has a track record of success at trial that reveals an understanding of how to help a jury to empathize with the plaintiff’s ordeal.

Trial Attorneys Have Expertise in the Effective Use of Experts

When you do not have an attorney representing you, the task of locating and retaining appropriate experts is difficult.  A trial attorney will have the knowledge to identify the precise type of experts you need and to locate those experts.  Depending on the facts of your case, you might need an expert in the grieving process, a life care planner, economist to explain future damages, or very specialized medical experts.  If your injuries are not easy to see on an objective scan like an X-Ray or MRI, a proven trial lawyer will recognize the questions to ask your doctors to facilitate the jury’s understanding of what you have been through due to the negligence of the defendant.  If the insurance carrier believes you attorney can skillfully influence the jury regarding the hardships, pain, emotional distress, and other harm you have suffered, the insurer has a stronger incentive to make a more generous settlement offer.  Trial lawyers also recognize that experts can be expensive, but they are not afraid to invest in this valuable litigation resource when the benefits merit the expenditure.  Since our personal injury attorneys usually advance such costs when handling a personal injury claim, hiring our trial attorneys provides access to experts that otherwise might not be feasible.

Ability to Refute Insurer Efforts to Shift the Blame

In many personal injury lawsuits, the insurance company will explore the option of contending the plaintiff should bear some responsibility or all of the blame for his own injuries.  Insurers will have more incentive to settle if they know that your attorney will exhibit an expert presentation of the evidence, use of experts, and skilled advocacy to refuse efforts to shift financial responsibility for an accident to the plaintiff.

Predictive Technology In The Trucking Industry to Avoid Georgia Truck Accidents

Georgia truck accident lawsuit lawyers

18-Wheeler Tractor Trailer Truck Attorneys in Georgia Discuss Predictive Technology In The Trucking Industry to Avoid Georgia Truck Accidents

Predictive technology is the wave of the future for the trucking industry. Recent developments in technology in the trucking industry point to predictive technology as a means to prevent dangerous situations from occurring. Predictive technology can provide fleet managers with a wealth of information that would allow the fleet manager to take preventative measures and resolve a whole host of potential problems. While the trucking companies assimilate new technologies  into the industry which might render sharing the road with the large trucks completely safe, and avoid Georgia truck accidents,  they have not managed to remove the element of human error from driving a tractor-trailer truck which causes many truck accidents in Georgia.

Predictive technologies were designed to remove “exceptions” from the trucking industry. Exceptions, according to experts, are delays in shipping schedules, unexpected or emergency maintenance, and crashes. The current technology in the trucking industry merely creates reports when a driver encounters a problem. Software installed in the trucks forwards the data to the fleet manager and allows the fleet manager to solve the problem.

Predictive technologies, by contrast, use software to determine when a problem might occur and then determine how best to avoid the problem altogether. Predictive data will allow the fleet manager to know when a truck could breakdown before it does. Additionally, the predictive data could warn fleet managers of a potential problem with the drivers themselves. Conflicts can arise on the roads. Predictive technologies would allow for managers to plan routes to avoid conflict. Most importantly, predictive data could alert the fleet manager to the possibility that a truck could be involved in a Georgia truck accident and then use that information to save a life potentially.

Aside from avoiding accidents, predictive technologies that allow for preventative maintenance could substantially improve highway safety. Mechanical failures such as engine problems, weakening brakes, and failing wheels and tires cause a number of truck accidents annually. Predictive technologies can alert the driver and fleet manager of an issue that needs to be repaired before the component actually breaks.

Having this technology at hand will increase production and safety across the trucking industry. Predictive data could inform the fleet manager that a part will fall into disrepair after driving under certain conditions after a given number of miles. The analysis would occur in real time as the truck rolls along the road. The software can analyze the driving conditions to signal a problem. Then, the fleet manager or driver could take the truck off of the road for repairs. The advantage to using a system in this manner allows the repair center to know in advance of the truck’s arrival what needs to be done and what parts are needed to complete the repairs. This will save time and money. Most importantly it could save lives.

Predictive technologies allow technicians to streamline repairs. Technicians will know in advance which trouble codes present the greatest risk for failure. Technicians can then focus their efforts on fixing problems associated with the codes instead of working their way through a series of codes to reach the problem. The process helps the vehicle get back on the road quickly and efficiently.

In the end, the Georgia motorists riding alongside the heavy trucks benefit from predictive technologies because of the increased safety those systems offer. Drivers who use predictive technologies could anticipate problems and work them into the schedule instead of speeding, while fatigued, or pushing a failing vehicle to the limit just to make a deadline because an “exception” prevented the trucker from hauling its freight.

The Internet of Things (IoT) Technology and the Georgia Trucking Industry

The Internet of Things (IoT) is technology that connects trucks, cars, trains, and planes to each other and to various monitoring systems and databases. Trucking companies can use this technology to monitor their drivers’ behaviors. Most importantly, trucking companies can use this information to analyze the manner in which their employee is operating including speed, amount of force the truck has created, acceleration and deceleration rates, and other operating behaviors. Trucking companies can use this information in various ways, all of which should lead to safer roads in Georgia and greater productivity for trucking companies.

The IoT can send messages to the trucking company about their driver. Many trucking companies use video systems to record their driver while operating. That video can be sent back to the company for risk assessment and develop a profile of their driver. The trucking companies also equip their vehicles with outward facing cameras as well. The video feeds work in conjunction with the sensors placed around the truck and pick up behaviors not otherwise observable from the sensors. The video feeds can help examine how a driver is operating under the current weather conditions, traffic conditions, or assist the trucking company to understand that their driver is unnecessarily creating risks on the roads.

SmartDrive Technology Scores Driving Behaviors

One of most advanced driver monitoring system is used by the United States Postal Service. The Postal Service never monitored its drivers before a service called “SmartDrive” entered the market. SmartDrive uses algorithms to score driving behaviors. The SmartDrive program analyzes the observations it makes of risky behavior and then predicts whether the driver’s history demonstrates a likelihood that he or she will get into an accident. The algorithms calculate relative danger based on the miles driven and the hours spent on the road. Additionally, SmartDrive provides instant feedback to the drivers and their companies that allow them to determine what driving skills upon which the operator needs to improve.

Trucking industry experts worry that as some risky behaviors fade out of practice, others will emerge to replace them. In an attempt to rectify that situation, one company developed predictive technology that captures risky behavior in which the driver engages. For example, the video system could catch the driver sneaking a peak at a cellphone. The program then scores the behavior when combined with other risky behavior, such as following too closely to the vehicle in front. The software then looks for correlative risks to predict whether the driver could be in danger of crashing the truck. An example of a correlative behavior is that a driver who does not wear a seatbelt is almost three and a half times more likely to get into an accident than a belted driver. The software and algorithms determined that risk-taking behavior begets additional risky behavior.

The software company reviewed a lot of data, over 50 million miles driven, to reach their conclusions of predictive behavior. The behavioral theory is known as Heinrich’ Pyramid. Employing Heinrich’s Pyramid, the data analysis revealed that for every 300 acts of risky behavior, there are 29 near misses or minor incidents and one fatality. When risky behavior is combined with other careless practices, the road becomes a dangerous place. Behaviors, like holding a cellphone or eating in the cab plus not looking far enough ahead, create dangerous scenarios for truck drivers and other Georgia motorists on the road.

Preservation Of Evidence From A Truck Crash

Georgia truck accident lawsuit lawyers

Preservation Of Evidence From A Truck Accident in Georgia

A vital component of preparing a claim against a truck driver and the driver’s employer is finding evidence that the driver and company complied, or failed to comply, with state and federal regulations. Proof of that may be found in the driver’s log, which he or she is required to maintain by law and the on-board data recorder. The onboard data recorder is often referred to as the “black box.” It operates in a fashion similar to that of a black box installed in commercial airliners. Obtaining and interpreting the information contained in the event data recorder could be incredibly helpful in many heavy truck crashes.

Event data recorders are not always recording. They do not record the entire trip. Rather, they sit dormant until some pre-condition triggers it to wake up and then record information. Information is always running through the machine, but the actual recording and preservation of an event are not recording constantly. The event data recorder maintains the information passing through it for a short time until the triggering event occurs. The event that triggers recording is some electrical signal, run by an algorithm, which instructs the event data recorder to start working. An example of an electrical signal could be the airbag deployment, a hard stomp on the brake, or seatbelt pre-tension. The recorder can preserve the data generated by the vehicle within a few seconds before, during, and after the crash. Unlike a black box on an airplane, a motor vehicle’s event data recording system cannot record voice or sound.

After a crash, law enforcement investigators can remove the event data recorder from the truck and extract the information. An expert may be needed to decipher the data and determine its significance. Insurance companies might also have access to the information. Upon extraction and interpretation, there could be information that might be very helpful to a victim. The information could contradict the driver’s account of what occurred. Additionally, the event data recorder’s information can supplement traditional crash investigation techniques.

Another important source of information is the driver’s log. A driver’s log should contain information regarding hours on duty, hours driven, sleep hours, hours in the sleeper berth, hours off duty and hours on duty but not driving. Federal regulations require drivers to record this in their log. Truckers and trucking companies also have a log for truck maintenance. Regulations require drivers and trucking companies to record information in the maintenance logs when repairs need to be made and when the repairs are made.

As with the event data recorder, accessing this information as soon as possible when filing a claim could be very helpful. Even if the driver was in compliance with federal hours on duty mandates, the log could show the driver operating at all different times of the day and night, varying from day to day. Working shifts that frequently change will adversely affect a person’s sleep and rest. Consequently, the driver could be fatigued despite not working over the allotted time. However, federal regulations mandate that drivers who feel fatigued must get off of the road.

Drivers and trucking companies might have an incentive to try to conceal this information. There are a couple of legal maneuvers that seasoned truck crash attorneys can use to preserve the information. The first is to file a letter with the truck, the trucking company, and regulatory agency demanding that the information is preserved. Secondly, the claimant’s attorney can file a motion for injunctive relief in court seeking a court order that the event data recorder and the log books be identified and preserved. Failing to do so is called spoliation of evidence, and it can greatly prejudice a claimant, creating tremendous injustice.

Put Our Law Firm’s Over 33 Years Of Legal Experience To Work For Your Case!

The time you have to legally receive compensation is limited.

Sources:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/research-data/event-data-recorder

http://www.meaforensic.com/hs-fs/hub/45635/file-14138109-pdf/docs/mea_event_data_recorders_david_king.pdf?t=1498087741173