How These Georgia Truck Accident Lawyers Beat Negligent Truckers In Court
As you already know, truck traffic on Georgia’s highways can be awful. But what happens when truck drivers and their companies try to blame everything from the road to other vehicles for truck accidents caused by their own negligence? This is where having great Georgia truck accident lawyers can help you balance the scales.
No one wants to go to court. And, the fact is, most trucking cases settle without a lawsuit or legal action being filed. But, sometimes truckers and their companies will do or say anything to avoid accepting responsibility for causing a serious accident. Here are a few examples of truck collisions in Georgia where the trucker tried to blame everyone but him or herself, and how in the end Justice prevailed:
Truck Drops His Load – Crushing Accident Victim – Blames “The Road”
In the 2007 case Doyle v. RST Construction Specialty, Inc., William Doyle was stopped and waiting at an intersection when a truck pulling a trailer tipped while turning right in the lane beside him. On the trailer was a 16-ton excavator. The excavator’s boom landed on the man’s car, crushing and pinning him inside for over an hour.
Seriously injured, the man filed a suit against the driver of the truck and the construction company that employed him. The plaintiff knew he was blameless; therefore, he claimed that the defendants must have been negligent. Why else would the trailer drop an excavator on top of him?
Trucker blames “the road”
Amazingly, instead of accepting responsibility for failing to properly secure the load, the truck driver argued that the road was to blame. 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 onto 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.
How Georgia Law Allows A Jury to Decide if the Trucker Was Negligent
The plaintiff asked the court to instruct the jury on a legal doctrine known as res ipsa loquitor. This doctrine allows jurors to decide 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.
However, the trial judge refused to instruct the jury on res ipsa. Thus, the jury found in favor of the defendants. The Georgia truck accident lawyers representing the injured plaintiff appealed the case.
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.
The defendants had also failed to fully defend their loading of the excavator onto the trailer or its safety. Upon review, the case was reversed and remanded back to trial.
How Fault Was Proven When Two Semi-Trucks Crashed
Even careful truck drivers can find themselves unexpectedly involved in a rear-end collision. Imagine you are traveling down a Georgia highway at about the legal speed limit when you suddenly see that a tractor trailer ahead in your lane is barely moving. To your left, oncoming traffic prevents you from changing lanes to avoid hitting the slow-moving truck. You are in a bad situation with no clear way out.
This was precisely the case on a long, straight stretch of highway near Dublin in Laurens County, Georgia. Two tractor-trailer vehicles were involved in a collision that destroyed both trucks.
A Truck Driver Was Permanently Disabled Through No-Fault of His Own
The victim driver of the truck behind the slower truck sustained injuries, including a broken wrist, a fractured sternum, and a right leg crushed so badly that it had to be rebuilt several times. As of the trial date, the leg could no longer function well enough to allow this driver to engage in his work as a truck driver. The 57-year-old man was permanently disabled.
Whose Fault Was This Crash Between Two Tractor-Trailer Trucks?
Generally, in a rear-end collision, the driver of the vehicle hitting from behind is considered to be at-fault. The logic is that if he is driving prudently, he should see the stopped or slowed vehicle in time to stop safely.
In this case, however, because the defendant’s truck was traveling at such a slow rate of speed without initializing his hazard lights, the injured driver sought help from the judicial system. Unfortunately, this case was made even more complicated because the trucks were both damaged so badly that the on-board black boxes were useless in determining who was at-fault.
It was up to the Judge and Jury in the Superior Court of Laurens County, Georgia (presiding Judge H. Gibbs Flanders) to decide who was at-fault. The defendant claimed that his truck had been overheating, so he slowed to 50 to 60 mph to allow it to cool down. The injured trucker claimed that the defendant’s vehicle was traveling at or about the minimum allowable speed, 40 mph.
Because both vehicles were so thoroughly destroyed, it was apparent there was a significant difference in the rate of speed the trucks were moving.
Comparative Negligence in a Georgia Truck Accident Case
In Georgia, the law recognizes that sometimes both drivers can be faulted for an accident. This allows the jury to spread the blame and the liability out among all the drivers who are at-fault.
The jury in this Laurens County Superior Court case awarded the victim (plaintiff) over two-million dollars. The award was broken down as $210,401 for medical expenses, and $2,000,000 for pain and suffering. But under comparative negligence, the court subtracted 37 percent from the award because this Georgia Jury found the plaintiff 37% at-fault. In the end, the truck driver was awarded a verdict for compensation in the amount of $1,392,552.00.
If you are a truck-driver, the more you drive, the more likely you are to be caught in a difficult situation like this one. This kind of accident replays itself day after day on highways across the country. Sometimes it is easy to see how the accident happened and why. Other cases are not so simple. Fortunately, as you can see, an experienced Georgia truck accident lawyer can help you and your family receive Justice in court.
Stopped Georgia Box-Truck Causes An Accident, Trucker Wrongly Blames the Victim
On an April afternoon near Chamblee, Georgia, a young factory worker had an encounter with a box truck that altered the course of his life. The DeKalb County Jury that heard his case found his injury to be worth over $3 million.
Usually, when you hit a car or an object in the road ahead of you, it is your fault for not following at a safe distance. But not always. Here, the jury found in favor of a driver who hit a box truck that had become disabled in the roadway.
Here are the facts: The car’s driver was traveling in the far left lane of I-285 about 55 miles per hour—the speed limit—when the vehicle directly ahead of him swerved unexpectedly. This sudden move blocked the plaintiff’s view of the highway in such a way that he did not see a disabled box truck stopped part-way in his lane of traffic.
The defendant truck driver had run out of gasoline and pulled his vehicle to the far left side of the highway. Unfortunately, part of the truck was sticking into the traffic lane. The injured victim’s Nissan Maxima sedan struck the rear end of the disabled Ford Econoline E359 cutaway van. The plaintiff argued that he applied his brakes, but he could not avoid the crash.
The Box-Truck Collision Caused Permanent Injuries
The plaintiff went by ambulance to the emergency room at Atlanta Medical Center in Atlanta. He was unconscious at admission to the hospital for treatment. He suffered three arm and elbow fractures to his left arm and a tear of his left rotator cuff.
The plaintiff immediately underwent surgery to install metal plates and screws to set and hold his shattered bones in place. After his five-day hospital stay, he had a long course of physical therapy. To this day, he has not fully recovered the use of his injured left arm.
Missed Work – The Victim Lost Current and Future Pay
The plaintiff returned to work six months after the accident. But when he came back, he had significant restrictions to the range of motion in his injured arm. His injuries make it difficult to lift or perform ordinary daily tasks that require the use of that arm. He claims that his injuries are permanent and will always limit his mobility and ordinary function. His ability to earn was severely impacted and he asked the court to compensate him for that loss.
The victim proved that he could not avoid the collision. Two eye-witnesses testified that the plaintiff was, indeed, helpless to avoid the collision.
How The Victim Proved The Truck Was to Blame
The defendant truck driver argued that it was the plaintiff who acted negligently. The trucker argued that the victim was speeding and failed to pay attention to the road ahead of him. However, the fact that the defendant truck driver had run out of gas proved to be a deciding factor.
Evidence presented at trial by the victim’s Georgia truck accident attorney proved that the truck driver usually filled his gas tanks every 2.5 to 5 days. He had been driving on a single tank of gas for 3.5 days when he ran out of fuel. His negligence in failing to check his fuel gauge proved to be important in the jury’s eyes.
The Jury found he should have anticipated running out of gas. Also, although the trucker moved over, he left part of his vehicle obstructing the ‘fast lane.’
The trial lasted three days. When it was over, the jury took only 2.5 hours to find for the plaintiff.
Receive a Free Professional Case Review From Our Georgia Truck Accident Attorneys
As you can see from these case examples, when the trucking industry fights back, consult with an expert. Take the time to allow our Atlanta, GA trucking accident attorneys at The Millar Law Firm to review the facts of your accident. Our case reviews are free. We will give you an honest and straight-forward evaluation of your case. 770-400-0000