In many Georgia truck accident cases, people leave crucial compensation on the table through no fault of their own. Georgia trucking companies often carry the minimum liability insurance required by state law, which is $750,000. If you get injured or a loved one dies, the trucking company may tell you this is all the insurance they have and ask you to accept this payment in exchange for a full release, which lets them off the hook for their negligence.
Before truck accident victims accept what the trucking company claims is all the insurance that is available, they should consider the following.
Other Sources Of Compensation May Be Available
The negligence of unsafe truck drivers or dangerous trucking companies cause truck accidents. Yet, in many cases, other parties may shoulder some fault as well. When someone gets injured or dies in a trucking accident, it is important to consider all the players who put this dangerous series of events into motion.
Freight brokers and shipping companies may be liable for negligent selection when they choose to work with carriers with checkered safety records. When brokers and shippers choose dangerous carriers, it is often to save money. When they put profits over safety, they risk putting innocent individuals in harm’s way. Unless these parties face accountability, people will continue to get hurt and killed.
In some truck accidents, loads get put in motion by different companies than those listed on police reports. Thus, it is crucial to look for the presence of “chameleon carriers” – companies that change their name after racking up numerous safety violations. Through this sleight of hand, these companies effectively divorce themselves from their past reputations and continue to operate with impunity.
To identify all potentially liable parties and move toward accountability, truck accident victims (or their loved ones) must gather all documents related to the incident. A thorough investigation makes it less likely these parties’ role will get overlooked.
Some Cases Have Many Moving Parts
One example of a case where there may be more insurance and sources of recovery available is an intermodal case. If you have ever been to Savannah, Georgia, you have likely looked in awe at the large ocean carriers with containers stacked high. Each of those containers are put into the transportation system by intermodal providers, who are responsible for the planning, loading and selection of which shipping process and companies they will use.
Pay attention the next time you are driving down the interstate and you will see these containers being hauled by semi-trucks; they look different than a typical trailer. These ocean containers contain markings that can be used to trace who put the entire trip in motion.
An intermodal container chassis trailer is considered a towed commercial motor vehicle once on the road. If the motor carrier can be deemed the agent of a major ocean carrier or a subcontractor, there is a greater chance you will be able to collect a judgment for the full value of your injuries or your loved one’s life. It is important to fully investigate and obtain all the documentation from the ocean carrier because the ocean carrier may not call its document an interchange agreement or lease. Still, if the document meets the requirements of a lease as defined by FMCSR 376.2 (e), the requisite connection back to the ocean carrier may be made.
The Most Important Reason: Fighting For More Can Change The Status Quo
Thousands of people lose their lives in trucking accidents every year. Many people and even many lawyers may take trucking companies at their word when they claim the minimum insurance limits are all that is available to compensate for the value of an injury or a life lost. Pushing for maximum compensation is pushing for real change: People will continue to get injured or killed in trucking accidents if lawyers do not fight for the full value of what is lost.
While many personal injury firms work on truck accident cases, victims and their families should seek out an experienced truck accident attorney. When sources of compensation are easy to miss, it is imperative to build a team with the expertise to recover them.
The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.
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