In a recent appellate case, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled on an important issue regarding apportionment of fault in truck accident lawsuits. The case arose when a man crossing the street was hit by a truck driven by the defendant and owned by the defendant’s employer. The administrator of the man’s estate sued the defendants for wrongful death and personal injury. The lower court granted partial summary judgment on the administrator’s claims for negligent entrustment, supervision, and hiring, as well as punitive damages.
At the trial, the jury determined the defendants were 50% at fault and the decedent was 50% at fault. Accordingly, under Georgia’s modified comparative negligence rule, barring recovery if a plaintiff is 50% or more at fault, the administrator could not recover damages for the estate.
The plaintiff administrator appealed. An appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision. It reasoned that because the trucking company admitted that the doctrine of respondeat superior applied, and the lower court granted summary judgment to the employer on the plaintiff’s punitive damages, the employer was entitled to summary adjudication of the estate’s negligent hiring training, supervision and entrustment claims.