We recently reviewed high-risk roads for trucking accidents near the North Georgia-Tennessee border. This inspired many Pritchard Injury Firm clients to ask: What happens after I’m involved in a trucking accident that I did not cause?
Determining liability is critical in truck accident cases to identify who should be held responsible for the resulting damages and injuries. In Georgia, liability is primarily based on the legal principle of negligence. To prove liability, the injured party must demonstrate four key elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. In this installment, we’ll review duty of care and breach of duty.
Duty of Care - The Liable Parties
The plaintiff must establish that the defendant(s) owed them a duty of care. This means that the truck driver, his/her employer, and other involved parties (such as the truck owner) have a responsibility to operate their vehicles that are safe, up-to-code, and adhere to traffic laws.
Trucking accidents in Georgia often involve multiple parties potentially sharing liability due to the complex nature of the trucking industry. In addition to the truck drivers, the following entities may be held responsible for a truck accident:
- Trucking Companies: If they failed to properly train, supervise, or maintain their vehicles.
- Truck Owners: If the accident resulted from a mechanical issue or lack of maintenance.
- Loading Companies: Liability may be considered if improper loading or securing of cargo caused the accident.
- Freight Brokers: In some cases, freight brokers who arranged the shipment may bear partial responsibility if their actions contributed to the accident.
- Truck Mechanics: If a mechanical failure caused the accident due to negligent repairs or maintenance, the truck mechanics could be liable.
- Truck and Part Manufacturers: The manufacturer might be held responsible if the accident resulted from a defective truck or part.
- Other drivers: If another driver’s actions might have caused the truck to swerve or operate erratically, that person may be held liable for causation.
Breach of Duty and Establishing Negligence
The plaintiff must show that the defendant breached their duty of care. Proving that breach often requires demonstrating negligence, recklessness, or wrongful actions of either the truck driver or the trucking company.
Negligence refers to the failure to exercise a reasonable level of care to prevent harm to others. Examples of negligent or reckless driving include:
Speeding, disregarding speed limits, and endangering other road users.
Failing to yield the right-of-way and making unsafe turns or abrupt lane changes.
Driving while fatigued, impairing the ability to operate the truck safely.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
Neglecting to secure cargo properly, leading to hazardous conditions.
Driving while distracted by food, phones, or other technology, as previously discussed.
Plaintiffs in some truck accident cases may also base their claims on the legal doctrine of negligence per se. This means that a party can be considered negligent solely because they caused an accident by violating safety regulations put in place by the Department of Transportation. This veers into the topic of causation, which we’ll discuss in the next installment.
Your GA/TN Trucking Accident Injury Lawyer
Understanding liability in trucking accidents is crucial for victims seeking fair compensation for their injuries and losses. In Georgia and Tennessee, truck accident cases involve intricate legal considerations, and multiple parties may share potential liability.
If you or a loved one were injured in a car or truck accident due to the negligence of another, our attorneys are here to help. The mission of Pritchard Injury Firm is to provide you and your family with the highest quality of legal help available and a professional, stress-free experience. Contact us today.