During the course of a lawsuit, there are many opportunities for litigants to attempt to end a case early, without proceeding to trial. A defendant may move to dismiss a case at the early stages, arguing that the plaintiff has not alleged any real violation of the law. Later, after depositions are taken and evidence is exchanged, either party may move for summary judgment in a case, arguing that their position is so clearly the correct one that the court should go ahead and find for them at that time. When parties move for summary judgment, they must show that there are no genuine disputes over the material facts in a case, such that a court can rule on it without the case proceeding to trial. If different stories or disputes exist, a jury must be allowed to considered these different facts and weigh the evidence for itself. A recent case before the Court of Appeals in Georgia illustrates these summary judgment considerations.
When dealing with potential liability for a car accident, not only can a driver of a vehicle be held responsible, but also the owners of the vehicle that was involved in the accident may be liable. Claims of negligent supervision, negligent training, or basic liability as an employer can all arise. A recent case before the Georgia Court of Appeals looks at whether such liability can be expanded even further, allowing both owners and their alter egos to be held responsible for accidents that occur.
When a plaintiff sues a defendant about a hazardous condition, he or she must allege that the defendant had knowledge of the condition and failed to address it or failed to warn others. Likewise, the plaintiff must also show that he or she did not have full knowledge of the danger before encountering it. While defendants may be held liable for injuries that occur on their property due to dangers of which they were aware, but a plaintiff was not, they usually cannot be held liable for injuries when a plaintiff knows of a dangerous condition and proceeds anyway. A recent case before the Georgia Court of Appeals looks at when a plaintiff has such “superior or equal” knowledge to that of a defendant.
In Travis v. Quiktrip Corporation, Travis was a truck driver employed by Petroleum Transport Company. He delivered gas to gas stations around the country. In 2011, he was delivering gas to QuikTrip Corporation, at a station managed by Lloyd Thompson. While delivering the gas, he was hit by another driver and suffered serious injuries. He sued the driver, Thompson, and QuikTrip for his injuries. Travis quickly settled with the driver but maintained premises liability claims against Thompson and QuikTrip. He argued that the gasoline delivery process at QuikTrip was unnecessarily dangerous, since it often required drivers to kneel down in the middle of traffic at the station in order to measure gas tank levels. Drivers had repeatedly reported these dangers to QuikTrip, but it did nothing to address them.
Accidents involving large trucks or tractor-trailers often cause serious damages and injuries due to the sheer size of the vehicles. Victims of these accidents may sustain cuts and bruises, broken bones, head trauma, and other life-altering or threatening injuries. In many cases, the victim may be entitled to recover compensation for any suffering and losses attributable to the negligence of another driver. Some of the complicated parts of a personal injury action are determining who is responsible for the accident, preparing the appropriate pleadings and evidence, and ensuring that all local rules and laws are followed. In order to accomplish these legal tasks and others required to file a suit, it is important that you consult with an experienced Atlanta injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
According to a recent news article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, there were two separate deadly tractor-trailer accidents on I-16 in less than a month’s time. These devastating accidents caused multiple fatalities and other serious injuries. In a later article, the most recent accident was described as “almost a re-enactment” of the earlier crash. These two horrific accidents, just weeks apart, have added to the already intense debate over trucking safety regulations. While it is not clear what caused either accident, the article suggests that there are certain safety measures that could be instituted to improve tractor-trailer safety.
Depending on the specific circumstances, a person injured in a car or truck accident may be entitled to recover damages under a variety of legal principles. Ordinarily, an accident victim will bring a negligence lawsuit against the potentially responsible parties, seeking compensation for physical and emotional pain and suffering. There are many different issues that can affect the victim’s eligibility to recover damages, such as the nature and extent of one’s injuries and whether another person’s negligence caused the damages. Of course, there are plenty of legal steps to follow and satisfy in order to successfully bring a negligence case. If you have been hurt in an accident, the best course of action is to consult with an experienced injury attorney from the Atlanta area, someone fully familiar with the local laws applicable to such cases.
In some cases, courts must get involved to determine whether a plaintiff has successfully stated a negligence claim for which relief may be sought. In a recent case, Oliver et al. v. McDade et al. (Ga. Sup. Ct. 2015), the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the court of appeals’ decision to allow a plaintiff to pursue a claim for emotional distress under the pecuniary loss rule. In an earlier blog post, we reported on the lower court’s decision, outlining the facts of the case. To summarize, the plaintiff, John McDade, was a passenger in his own truck that was being driven by his friend Matthew Wood. The truck was towing a trailer at the time of the accident. Wood pulled over to the side of the road in order to check on and secure part of the truck’s trailer. After exiting the truck and walking toward the trailer, a tractor-trailer driven by Jerome Oliver struck the truck and Wood, killing him instantly.
The National Transportation Safety Board (the “NTSB”) recently released a “wish list” of four transportation safety improvements for 2015. Among these items is the improvement of safety in the commercial trucking industry. The press release cites various reasons for its recent initiative, including the Agency’s observations resulting from its various accident investigations. The organization is hoping that these safety pronouncements will serve as a “road map” for legislators and policy makers throughout the country. This is good news for drivers throughout the nation, including those on Atlanta roadways.
According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia, Fulton County experienced the highest number of fatalities on highways within the state in 2011. Perhaps the NTSB’s recent announcement, coupled with many state laws aimed at improving roadway safety, will cause the number of accidents and fatalities involving cars and trucks to decrease significantly. Despite these efforts, many people are injured in vehicle accidents, truck or otherwise. Depending on the circumstances, a person who has sustained injuries may be entitled to recover damages for any resulting pain and suffering. To find out if you are eligible to a recovery, you are strongly encouraged to reach out to an experienced injury attorney from the local Atlanta area. Counsel who is fully familiar with the area laws and procedures would be best positioned to assess your case and prepare an effective strategy.
Accidents involving commercial trucks are of particular concern. Due to the vehicle’s sheer size and weight, such accidents tend to cause massive damage and life-threatening injuries, if not death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2013, there were 3,964 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks, representing a 0.5% increase over 2012. Further data reveals the cause of vehicle accidents in general, suggesting that in 2012, an estimated one in 10 drivers in fatal crashes were distracted, and in approximately a third of these incidents, a driver was under the influence of alcohol.
Victims in vehicle accidents often bring their claims for damages in Georgia courts. One type that occurs fairly often on highways in and around the Atlanta area is a “rear-end” collision. Courts have found that in rear-end accident cases, liability on the part of any driver involved in the collision depends on a factual determination of issues such as diligence, negligence, and proximate cause. Established case law in this jurisdiction requires that a jury – not a judge – have an opportunity to resolve and determine these issues. Since there are many important legal factors to consider and address in any vehicle accident case, it is important to consult an experienced injury attorney who is fully aware of the local laws affecting your case.
In a recent case, Dogan v. Buff et al. (Ga. Ct. of App. 2014), the plaintiff was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer driven by the defendant. According to the evidence, the plaintiff was driving a van in the center lane of I-75, a five-lane highway. The defendant was driving a tractor-trailer (owned by his employer) behind the plaintiff. The defendant’s employer’s trucking manual dictated that drivers must keep at least one truck length between the driver’s truck and any vehicle in front of it for every 10 miles per hour of speed.
A collision of two other cars occurred directly in front of the plaintiff in the center lane. The plaintiff and the defendant both merged into the next lane to avoid the crash. The plaintiff stopped his van due to traffic. The defendant tried to brake in time to avoid hitting the plaintiff but rear-ended him. While both vehicles sustained damages, the plaintiff was physically injured and brought to the hospital. At the time of the collision, the defendant was only three car-lengths behind the plaintiff.
Accidents involving cars and trucks often cause serious damages and devastating injuries. In some cases, a victim may suffer for quite a while after the collision. Tragically, some victims are killed in these accidents. No matter what an accident victim has experienced or endured, it is important to know that at the very least, he or she may be entitled to compensation for any suffering and losses. There are many avenues of relief, and the simplest way to discover what you may be entitled to is to contact an experienced injury attorney who is fully aware of the laws affecting cases brought in and around the Atlanta area.
A recent case, Oliver et al., v. McDade et al. (Ga. Ct. of App. 2014), illustrates the complicated nature of seeking relief after sustaining injuries in a truck accident, under specific Georgia state laws. Here, John McDade brought a negligence claim against defendant Jerome Oliver and the owner of the tractor-trailer he was driving at the time of the accident. According to the evidence at trial, McDade was a passenger in his own truck, which was being driven by his good friend, Matthew Wood. Once they entered the on ramp of I-16 in Dublin, Georgia, Wood pulled over to the side of the road to secure part of the trailer, exited the truck, and walked back toward the trailer.
Oliver swerved the tractor-trailer he was driving onto the shoulder of I-16, striking the trailer and McDade’s truck. Tragically, Wood was crushed between the trailer and the truck and killed instantly. After the accident, McDade saw the horrific injuries suffered by his deceased friend. McDade brought this action against Oliver, the owner of the tractor-trailer, and his liability insurance carrier, seeking relief for neck, back, and knee injuries, as well as insomnia, headaches, flashbacks, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. The defendants sought partial summary judgment on McDade’s claims based on emotional distress stemming from having viewed the injuries to his friend. At first, the trial court granted the relief, noting that under Georgia law, bystanders may not recover for emotional distress as a result of witnessing another person’s injuries. Continue reading
Victims of motor vehicle accidents involving cars or trucks often sustain both personal injuries and property damage. Plaintiffs who have suffered injuries as the result of a car or truck accident may be entitled to compensation for their suffering and losses. It is important to identify the parties involved, since they may include people or entities that are not readily apparent, such as an insurance company or employer of the driver. If you have been injured in a car accident due to the fault of another, you are encouraged to contact an experienced Atlanta injury attorney who will work to seek the best possible recovery under the circumstances of your case.
One of the reasons that it is important to consult with an experienced, local injury attorney is that no two car accident cases are alike. No matter what type of case, an attorney with extensive experience handling such claims would be familiar with many important factors, such as: 1) the likely defendants (parties against whom the case may be brought), 2) the different arguments that can be asserted, and 3) the extent of damages to which a plaintiff might be entitled. In a recent case, Davis et al., v. Effingham County Board of Commissioners, et al., (Ga. Ct. of App. 2014), the plaintiffs (Theron and Dana Davis) brought an action against a variety of defendants: a Board of Commissioners, a Sheriff, a Deputy, two private contractors, and one of their employees. The plaintiffs claimed that on May 29, 2009, Mr. Davis was driving on a county road and struck a pothole that was covered by water.
The driver claimed that he suffered injuries upon striking the pothole and that it was located on the edge of the road. In an affidavit, the County Deputy stated that on May 22, 2009, he responded to a call from a driver who reported that she drove over a pothole on the road in question. After inspecting the road, the Deputy found that the only visible potholes were on the shoulder of the roadway, out of the flow of traffic. Despite finding that the pothole was to the right of the white lines, he requested that it be repaired as soon as possible. The County defendants moved for summary judgment. Continue reading
Car accidents are usually preventable and often caused by driver negligence. Many of these accidents cause serious damage and can result in life-altering injuries. Accidents involving trucks on Atlanta highways have the potential to cause even more devastation, due to the sheer size of an 18-wheeler or other commercial truck.
According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia, in 2012, there were 153 fatalities from truck accidents on Georgia roadways. In addition to fatalities, drivers involved in these accidents suffer serious injuries, including broken bones, head trauma, and paralysis. If you have been injured in an accident involving a truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. To seek an optimal recovery, injured victims are encouraged to contact a local injury attorney who has experience handling truck and car accident claims.
A highly publicized and devastating truck accident took place in New Jersey recently, involving a truck driver from Georgia. According to a recent news article, the driver of a Walmart truck crashed into a bus carrying the comedian Tracy Morgan and several others. One person on the bus died, and four other passengers were injured. There has been some question as to whether or not the driver had slept at all during the 24-hour period preceding the accident. The driver of the truck was charged with vehicular homicide and assault by auto. The criminal complaint alleged that the driver of the truck failed to notice that traffic was slowing down in front of him and crashed into the bus carrying Morgan, despite trying to swerve out of the way.