Late last month, a tractor-trailer collided with two vehicles, causing a massive crash and a fiery explosion. According to local news reports, the crash occurred at the intersection near Interstates 16 and 95. Evidently, a tractor-trailer initially slammed into two cars, but that impact was so great that it caused a chain reaction. In total, seven vehicles were damaged.
The highway was closed for several hours as cleanup crews and investigation teams got to work. An initial investigation revealed that witnesses reported that the tractor-trailer was swerving and drifting in and out of lanes right before crashing into the cars. It has been suggested by some that the tractor-trailer driver may have fallen asleep, but no official statements have been made to that effect.
Unfortunately, three people in one car were pronounced dead, and two people in another vehicle were killed as their car became smashed between the tractor-trailer and another large truck. Although the tractor-trailer driver was traumatized, he did not suffer any serious injuries. As of the time of the report, no charges were filed against the tractor-trailer driver.
Employer Liability in Georgia Trucking Accidents
Respondeat superior liability is a form of vicarious liability that is often used in cases when an individual is hurt or killed in a trucking accident. Under this theory, an employer may be held liable for the tortious acts of their employees. This theory is often imposed in trucking cases when the truck driver was working within the scope of their employment when the accident occurred.
In Georgia, certain elements must be met in order to pursue a claim of this nature. First, as mentioned above, the employee (truck driver) must be shown to have been acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the accident. In order to determine whether a driver was acting within the scope of his employment, there must be a factual inquiry as to the exact circumstances of the accident and what exactly the employee was doing when the accident occurred. Georgia does have a presumption of “scope of employment” when the driver was operating a vehicle owned by their employer. The defendant, usually the trucking company, then has the burden in these cases to show that the driver was on a “frolic” when the accident took place.
In many situations, employers try to preemptively protect themselves from suit by hiring their employees as “independent contractors.” It is important to contact an attorney to discuss your case because there are many hurdles to overcome and investigations that must be conducted prior to the case going to trial.
Contacting a Georgia Attorney After You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may consider bringing a personal injury suit against the culpable party. In many situations, there is more than one party that can be held liable, and it is important that you consult with an attorney to determine who those individuals or entities are. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries. This compensation can include payments for your past medical bills, future medical expenses, and other damages related to your claim. Contact Miller Legal Services at 770-284-3727 to schedule a free initial consultation.
See Related Blog Posts:
Litigation Against General Motors Continues, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 15, 2015.
State Supreme Court Precludes Driver from Amending Complaint to Add Additional Defendant, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 28, 2015.