Is there such thing as a ”Slam Dunk” Injury case in Georgia?

In the 2007 case Doyle v. RST Construction Specialty, Inc, a man was stopped and waiting at an intersection when a trailer carrying a 16 ton excavator, being pulled by a dump truck dropped  the excavator onto the man’s car. The car was crushed and the man was seriously injured and pinned inside for over an hour. 286 Ga. App. 53 (2007).

A Commercial Truck Injury Lawsuit

The injured man filed a suit against the driver of the dump truck and the construction company that employed him. The plaintiff knew he was blameless, therefore, he claimed that the Defendants must have been negligent. How else could the trailer drop the excavator on top of him?

At trial the driver admitted that the injured man was not at fault and that he and his crew were solely responsible for the loading of the excavator on the trailer. But, when asked what caused the accident, the truck driver blamed everyone but himself and his crew. While the truck driver admitted that trailers did not normally roll over by themselves, he argued without proof that the road itself caused the trailer to tip and drop its load on an innocent motorist.

The Plaintiff asked the Court to instruct the Jury on a legal doctrine known as res ipsa loquitor which allows Jurors to infer from the circumstances that the Defendants must have been negligent in how they loaded and secured the excavator and operated the dump truck and trailer. The Trial Judge refused to instruct the Jury about res ipsa loquitor, and the Jury found in favor of the defendants. The injured Plaintiff appealed.

Environmental Factors Influencing an Accident

On appeal, the Appellate Court found that while it was possible that the tilt of the road may have been a contributing factor, the defense had failed to provide significant proof that the road was the most probable cause of the Plaintiff’s injuries and that the defendants had failed defend their loading of excavator onto the trailer or its safety.

The case was reversed and remanded back to trial.

Why Hire an Injury Lawyer When a Case Can Seem Like an Easy Win

Unfortunately, as this case shows, even when a case looks like a “slam dunk” outcomes can be difficult to predict. In this case had the plaintiffs not been properly represented by an aggressive counsel, this case might have ended with the Jury’s verdict.

Getting to justice is not always easy. Nor is it always quick and painless. Sometimes insurance companies can muddy the waters sufficiently to throw even the most honest jurors off course. Complicated cases require specialists. If you go to court, be sure your team is well practiced and thoroughly trained in the rules of the game.