Articles Posted in Trucking Accidents and Injuries

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Georgia truck accident lawsuit, addressing the state’s vicarious liability law. The case arose after the plaintiff appealed a trial court’s ruling in favor of an employer who owned the truck that was involved in an accident that killed one of his daughters and injured the other. The driver of the truck worked for the defendant’s company, and on the day of the accident, he and a co-worker were making a stop before traveling to their next job site. When they were leaving the job site, another vehicle suddenly changed lanes and swerved in front of the truck. The truck driver quickly changed lanes to avoid a collision, but in doing so, his driver’s side tire flew off his vehicle and struck the plaintiff’s daughter’s car.

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the truck driver’s employer based on Georgia’s vicarious liability laws. Specifically, the plaintiff argued that the driver did not properly maintain his truck, and the driver’s actions were attributed to his employer.

Under Georgia law, employers may be subject to vicarious liability laws if their employee’s negligence results in a car accident and injuries to another person. Under the doctrine of respondeat superior employers may be liable in these cases if their employee’s negligent acts occurred while the employee was engaged in the “course and scope” of their employment. However, this theory does not apply if the employee is on a personal errand which does not provide any benefit to the employer. Issues often arise when determining whether an employee was within the “course and scope” of employment, especially in instances where the employee is taking a brief detour during work. In most situations, employers are not liable when the accident takes place on the way to or from work or if the employee was on a lunch break. However, exceptions exist when the employee is on a “special mission” for the benefit of the employer, or if they are in an employee-owned vehicle. In these cases, employers possess the burden to overcome the presumption of liability.

Last month, a Georgia truck accident resulted in a University of Georgia student losing his life. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the collision occurred in the evening hours on Interstate 20, when an eastbound trucker lost control of his rig. Evidently, the truck flipped over onto its side before colliding with two vehicles and then a barrier wall. After the truck smashed into the wall, debris was thrown across the highway.

Apparently, the student was traveling in the westbound lanes on I-20 when debris from the truck struck his vehicle. The student died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident. Police arrested the truck’s driver, charging him with several serious crimes, including second-degree homicide by vehicle.

Georgia Wrongful Death Cases Following Fatal Truck Accidents

In Georgia, family members who have lost a loved one due to another motorist’s negligence can pursue a claim for compensation through a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit. Under Georgia law, a wrongful death claim can be brought by a surviving spouse, child or, if the accident victim as a minor, a parent.

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In 2017, our client was travelling down a 4-lane divided highway when a truck driver, driving only his tractor, pulled out of a parking lot and into the path of his motorcycle. Our client had no chance to avoid the collision and died almost immediately upon impact.

Initially, the trucking company denied responsibility for our client’s death.  However, our thorough investigation and accident reconstruction work ultimately convinced the trucking company to abandon this defense.  One of the key reasons the trucking company initially denied fault for our client’s death in this trucking accident case was because Continue reading ›

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia car accident case involving the question of whether the plaintiff’s insurance company was responsible for his injuries, based on the policy’s uninsured motorist clause. Ultimately, the court determined that the accident was not within the scope of the plaintiff’s insurance policy because the vehicle involved in the accident was furnished for the plaintiff’s everyday use.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff, an employee of a logging company, was provided with a logging truck to help carry out his duties. The truck was owned by his employer, but the evidence suggested that the plaintiff was able to keep the truck overnight at his own residence once he was done working for the day.

One day, the two tires on the truck blew out. The plaintiff pulled over and called his employer, who arrived to assist in changing the tires. However, while the two were changing the tires, one of the tires blew out, injuring the plaintiff.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia car accident case requiring the court to determine if the defendant, a local utility company, was entitled to government immunity. Ultimately, the court concluded that the utility was not entitled to immunity because the employee alleged to have caused the accident was not exercising his discretion as a government employee.

The Facts of the CaseThe plaintiff was injured in a car accident when she crashed into a pile of dirt and then into a back-hoe that the defendant utility company was using to replace a pipe underneath the road’s surface. According to the facts as laid out in the court’s opinion, the utility employee had removed the dirt covering the pipe and placed it in a large pile in front of the back-hoe. When the back-hoe was not in use, it was left on the shoulder of the road, partially in the roadway.

The plaintiff testified that she saw a “blur” and was unable to avoid the pile of dirt that was immediately ahead of her. After her car ran into the dirt pile, it then continued to crash into the back-hoe. The plaintiff’s car flipped over onto its side, and the plaintiff was injured as a result.

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The transportation of hazardous materials is highly regulated, and those who violate those regulations are subject to large fines. The federal Hazardous Materials Transportation Act requires all transporters to follow the regulations outlined in the Act.In addition, if a truck is carrying chemicals or explosives that qualify as an “abnormally dangerous activity” and is involved in an accident, the truck owner will generally be subject to strict liability in any subsequent personal injury claim. Strict liability means that the person responsible is liable for the harm caused, even if that person acted with the utmost care in trying to prevent the harm. However, if hazardous materials do not qualify as abnormally dangerous, or if strict liability does not apply, injured parties have to prove negligence in order to recover compensation for their injuries.

When a hazardous spill occurs, there is a safety risk not just to the people who were transporting the materials but also to other drivers, homes, community members, and the environment. And even in a highly regulated industry, some transporters still manage to slip through the cracks.

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The crux of a wrongful death action in Georgia is the homicide of the deceased.  Homicide includes any case where the death of a human being results; for example, from a crime, from criminal negligence or simple negligence, or from a defective product causing death even where there there is no negligence in the manufacture of the property or product.   Continue reading ›

In a Georgia personal injury case, the “impact rule” applies.  What this means is that in order to recover for purely emotional damages caused by another person or corporation, the person bringing the claim, the plaintiff, must first prove that there was an impact to his or her body.   Continue reading ›

On the New Jersey Turnpike in the early morning hours of June 7, 2014, a truck driven by a Wal-Mart employee rear-ended a limousine bus that was carrying famous actor and comedian Tracey Morgan and four other passengers. As a result of the accident, James McNair, a fellow comedian and friend of Tracey Morgan that was on the limousine bus, was killed. Tracey Morgan sustained multiple injuries including broken ribs, a broken nose and a broken leg.
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In a few short years, social media has become an inescapable addition to our lives. Each day, one of the first and last things we do include browsing and sharing news and photos with our networks. While these habits are part of our daily routine, in the midst of a personal injury case, it’s advisable to pull away from those activities for some time.

Everything on the internet is public, including so-called “private” profiles. Considerable amounts of personal details can be obtained with a quick scroll over your page. Because all this information is available for general public consumption or for purchase, courts are increasingly allowing social media transcripts admission in court.

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