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Driver of Truck Brings Negligence Action for Injuries Sustained After Striking a Pothole

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.

The trial court ruled that plaintiffs’ personal injury claim failed to state a claim for nuisance, that the lawsuit against the County and the Deputy and Sheriff in their official capacities was barred by sovereign immunity, and the negligence claims against the Deputy and Sheriff, individually, were also barred by official immunity. Plaintiffs appealed.

The court of appeals affirmed the decision, pointing out that a negligence claim against the County is barred unless waived by statute. Further, county workers – in their official capacity – may raise the defense of sovereign immunity. To overcome these defenses, plaintiffs alleged a nuisance claim, which the court refused to find, noting that nuisance requires either a continuous or regularly repetitious act or condition that causes the injury. Here, the court determined the pothole to be a single, isolated occurrence, not amounting to a nuisance. The court also refused to hold the County employees liable in their individual capacities, noting that they were both protected by official immunity. This case illustrates the types of claims and defenses that may be raised in a motor vehicle accident case. An experienced injury attorney would review your case and carefully identify the realistic extent of a recovery.

If you have been injured in a truck accident due to another’s negligence, the first thing you should do after seeking medical treatment and contacting law enforcement is to contact an experienced Atlanta injury attorney as soon as possible. Stephen M. Ozcomert has over 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases, representing individuals who have been injured as a result of negligent driving in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. Call us today at (404)-370-1000 to schedule your free initial consultation, or you can reach us through our website.

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