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Federal vs. Georgia State Regulations: How They Apply to Commercial Truck Accidents

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After a serious truck accident, establishing liability is an important step in the process of recovering compensation for your injuries. Truck drivers and their employers may be held liable for accidents and injuries caused by their negligence. Violations of both state and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations can constitute negligence in a Georgia truck accident case.

If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, your best course of action is to seek experienced legal representation right away. Our skilled Georgia truck accident attorney can conduct a thorough investigation of the crash to establish fault and liability and secure evidence to support your claim, including evidence of state or federal trucking regulation violations. 

Which Commercial Vehicles Are Subject to State and Federal Regulations?

According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety Motor Carrier Compliance Division, FMCSA regulations apply to all commercial vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,001 lbs. or more. This is true whether or not a commercial truck crosses state lines. Georgia has adopted the FMCSA regulations, as well as the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations, as state law. 

There are no exceptions under the law for non-profit carriers, such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, or Goodwill. If tax benefits are derived from the vehicle or the truck carrying advertising for the business, it is considered a commercial entity, and its trucks are subject to the same state and federal regulations. In addition, Georgia has adopted regulations for all vehicles, regardless of weight, which meet any of the following criteria:

  • For-hire carrier of passengers or property (including non-emergency medical transporters, courier services, parcel delivery services, limousines, and tow trucks);
  • Vehicles that transport hazardous materials in quantities that do not require placards.

How Is Liability Determined in a Georgia Truck Accident?

After a catastrophic collision involving a large commercial truck, the truck driver, the trucking company, or another party may be found liable if negligence caused or contributed to the crash. It is crucial to get an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney on your side to begin an investigation as soon as possible and to preserve evidence, such as truck black box data, which might otherwise be destroyed. Trucking companies and their insurers have teams of lawyers to fight against your claim. A truck accident investigation to determine liability may involve:

  • Review of the truck driver’s licensing, qualifications, medical condition, and driving record
  • Accessing electronic data recorder (black box) information for evidence of what led up to the crash, such as vehicle speed, acceleration, braking, and any violations of FMCSA hours of service regulations, which could indicate fatigued driving
  • Review of trucking company records to determine if the company has a history of hiring unsafe drivers or failing to conduct background checks or if company policies incentivize drivers to speed or continue driving while fatigued
  • Witness interviews to obtain eyewitness accounts of what occurred
  • Working with experts such as reconstruction specialists and medical professionals

Why Do You Need a Lawyer After a Serious Georgia Truck Accident?

Truck accidents are complex, high-stakes cases involving state and federal regulations and multiple potentially liable parties. Insurance companies are in business for profit, with the main goal of minimizing their payouts. Your best chance of recovering full compensation for your injuries is to have an experienced truck accident attorney handling your claim. The statute of limitations (time limit imposed by law) for truck accidents in Georgia restricts the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. It is crucial to act quickly to ensure you meet the deadline and to preserve vital evidence in your case. 

Why Choose The Scott Pryor Law Group?

We rank among the top 1% of trial attorneys in the nation. Our attorneys have been awarded membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and named among the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers. Contact The Scott Pryor Law Group at (404) 474-7122 for the help you need after a Georgia truck accident. 

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