Commercial Truck and Big Rig Accidents in Georgia

Commercial Vehicle accident in Georgia
Table of Contents

SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers have more than 30 years of experience representing victims injured in accidents involving commercial vehicles, big rigs, and 18 wheelers.  Heavy commercial vehicles, Big Rigs/18 Wheelers, and other large trucks constitute less than 5 percent of all registered vehicles nationwide.  Yet statistics from the National Safety Council reveal that over 9 percent of fatal crashes on U.S. roadways involve at least one large commercial truck or bus.   A significant observation from this data is that of all the individuals killed in large truck crashes on American roads, more than 70 percent were occupants of other vehicles involved in the accident rather than the occupants of large trucks themselves. While acknowledging the essential role these multi-ton rigs play in sustaining modern society, it's evident that they pose significant risks.

Introduction to Commercial Trucking Accidents

In Georgia, a commercial vehicle is defined as any vehicle that:

  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 lbs. or more (single vehicle or total GVWR of a
    combination of vehicles);
  • Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
  • Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver) and is not used to
  • transport passengers for compensation; or
  • Is used to transport hazardous materials in a type and quantity requiring placards.

Common Types of Commercial Truck Accidents

  1. Truck Rollovers - Drivers/operators of large commercial vehicles must take extra precaution when turning due to their vehicles high center of gravity.  Due to the high center of gravity, commercial vehicles face greater strain when navigating turns, and are more likely to rollover.  Some rollover may be caused by someone acting recklessly or distracted driving, other rollovers can be cause by improper loading of the vehicle or due to tire blowouts.
  2. Rear End Collisions - Whether due to distracted driving, an emergency situation, or just plain bad luck.  A rear end collision involving a large truck can be devastating to the increased amount of forces caused by a large and heavy commercial vehicle.
  3. Jackknife -  This occurs when a trailer being pulled by another vehicle swings around like a folding jackknife or pocket knife.  This can occur due to improper turning or breaking by the driver of the pulling vehicle.  It can also occur during wet weather when a driver attempts to brake to quickly for conditions.
  4. Head-on collisions - Although not as prevalent as some other types of accidents, the results of a head on collision with a commercial vehicle are devastating.  These types of collisions are frequently caused by overworked and/or sleep deprived operators.
  5. Sideswipe Accidents - Have you ever seen the sign on the back of a large truck that states something similar to, "If you can't see my mirrors then I can't see you."  If so, then you know that large commercial vehicles also have large blind spots.  These blind spots result in sideswipe accidents where a large vehicle will change lanes either forcing the other vehicle off the road, or actually making contact with the side of another vehicle.  Because these types of crashes often happen at high speeds, the resulting damage and injuries can be extreme.
  6. Wide Turn Collisions - When making right-hand turns, truck drivers face tighter maneuvers compared to left-hand turns, necessitating special caution. To navigate these turns safely, some truck operators opt to swing their cabs wide to the left before executing the right-hand turn, aiming to avoid the "right turn squeeze" that occurs when trailers lack adequate space for proper turning. However, this maneuver poses risks to vehicles in adjacent lanes, which could collide with the trailer or become trapped beneath the truck as it swings left.

Federal Regulations for Commercial Vehicles

FMCSA regulations, overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, are designed to ensure the safety of commercial truck operations on U.S. roadways.  These regulations cover various aspects of trucking, including driver qualifications, hours of service, vehicle maintenance, and cargo securement.

  • FMCSA regulations set standards for driver licensing, training, and medical examinations to ensure that commercial truck drivers are qualified and fit to operate these large vehicles safely.
  • Hours of service regulations dictate the maximum amount of time drivers can spend behind the wheel and require mandatory rest periods to prevent driver fatigue, a leading cause of truck accidents.
  • Vehicle maintenance regulations mandate regular inspections and maintenance to keep commercial trucks in safe operating condition and minimize the risk of mechanical failures on the road.
  • Cargo securement regulations ensure that loads are properly secured and distributed to prevent shifting or falling, which can lead to accidents or roadway hazards.
  •  Compliance with FMCSA regulations is crucial for trucking companies and drivers to avoid fines, penalties, and potential liability in the event of accidents.

Ensuring a commercial vehicle and it's driver are compliant with the appropriate federal regulations are of the upmost importance when investigating an commercial vehicle accident.  Violations of these regulations can help provide evidence of negligence, and lead to substantial penalties and fines for those find in violation.

Federal Insurance Requirements for Commercial Vehicles

Federal law requires commercial vehicles to maintain a minimum of between $750,000.00 and $5,000,000.00 in liability insurance depending on the cargo carried.  Any commercial vehicle carrying people, for example a bus, is required to have a minimum of $1,500,000.00 for vehicles carrying less than 15 passengers, and $5,000,000.00 for vehicles capable of transporting more than 15 passengers.

Common Injuries in Commercial Vehicle Accidents in Georgia

The most common injuries caused during commercial vehicle accidents include:

  1. Whiplash - This is caused by the sudden jerking motion of the neck.  It can cause pain and tingling in the neck and upper extremities.  It can also cause loss of mobility and stiffness.
  2. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) - This caused when the brain is bounced around within the skull due to impact.  These can range from concussions to long lasting brain damage resulting in a decline in cognitive function, memory loss, and other neurological deficits.
  3. Spinal cord injuries - Trauma to the back and spinal cord can lead to paralysis, pain, and loss of sensation of particular parts of the body.
  4. Broken bones - Due to the size and force created in a commercial vehicle accident, broken bones are common.  Broken bones are extremely painful, and if not treated quickly, can result in prolonged and expensive rehabilitation and therapy.
  5. Burns - Fires or chemical spills in commercial vehicle accidents can result in severe burns, leading to pain, scarring, and long-term complications.
  6. Psychological/Emotional Trauma- The emotional impact of a commercial vehicle accident, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression, can significantly affect the victim's quality of life.
  7. Amputations - Some severe injuries may require amputation of limbs and/or digits, resulting in permanent physical and psychological disabilities.
  8. Death - Unfortunately, some commercial vehicle accidents result in death.  Leaving families to cope with the devastating emotional and financial loss of a loved one.

Steps to Take After a Commercial Vehicle Accident

  1. Get to Safety - Whether it be remaining in your vehicle, or walking to the side of the road away from traffic.  The most important thing following an accident involving a commercial vehicle is to get tot safety.
  2. Contact emergency services - A call to 911 to inform law enforcement and emergency medical personnel is the next step.  Law enforcement can assist in creating and maintaining a safe environment, while also investigating the cause of the accident.  Emergency medical personnel will be able to ensure anyone suffering an injury is stabilized and taken to receive any emergency medical care they require.
  3. Gather evidence - If possible take pictures of any vehicles involved in that accident.  Also document any visible injuries of people involved in the accident.  If possible, collect insurance information from drivers/occupants of any vehicles involved in that collision.
  4. Get medical treatment - No matter how small an injury may seem at the time, due to the forces involved in a commercial vehicle accident, it is important to be evaluated by a medical professional.  Many injuries such as whiplash and soft tissue trauma can take hours or days to manifest.  As such, it is important to be evaluated by a medical provider in order to obtain the proper treatment and documentation any injury may require.
  5. Talk to an experienced lawyer -  It is important to talk to an experienced commercial accident lawyer as soon as possible.  In addition to making sure any injuries are documented, a good lawyer will begin sending spoilation letters to involved parties to preserve evidence that can be crucial in bringing a claim for compensation.  Additionally, a good lawyer will begin to develop a strategy to maximize your compensation by determining the correct jurisdiction, parties, and other legally relevant information specific to you.

Why You Should Hire SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers for You Commercial Vehicle Accident

  1. Experience - Our firm has been privileged to help victims of commercial vehicle accidents for more then 30 years, with our lawyers having more than 75 combined years of practicing law.
  2. Expertise - Our firm only represents victims of commercial vehicle accidents and other personal injury situations.  We have successfully settled and achieved favorable verdicts through Georgia's State and Superior Courts, as well as Federal courts.
  3. Authority - SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers is often the referral choice for many other firms in Georgia who lack the resources or expertise to pursue commercial vehicle claims.  We pride ourselves in being trusted by our colleagues to achieve the best possible results for our clients.
  4. Trustworthy - You can trust our lawyers to treat you like family and go the extra mile to ensure that your legal, medical, psychological, and financial needs are met following a commercial vehicle accident in Georgia.


If you or someone you know has been injured in a commercial vehicle accident in Georgia give our lawyers a call today at (770) 214-2500 for a free consultation.

Big Rig Accident in Georgia
Big Rig Accident In Georgia



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