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Georgia Court Rules Question of Negligence In Car Accident Case to Be Decided By Jury

Some form of negligent conduct on behalf of one or more parties is the cause of most car accidents. A person who has been injured in such an accident may be able to recover damages from the negligent party. But in order to do that, one must be able to “plead” and “prove” the essential elements of negligence as required by Georgia case law:  1) a legal duty to behave in a manner that conforms to a standard created by the law for the protection of others against the unreasonable risk of harm; 2) a breach of this standard of care; 3) a legally based causal connection between the conduct and the resulting injury; and 4) loss or damage suffered as a result of the alleged breach of duty. If you are unsure whether you are entitled to compensation for injuries related to a car accident, you are strongly encouraged to contact an experienced injury attorney from the local Atlanta area.

In a recent car accident lawsuit, Newsome v. LinkAmerica Express, Inc., et al. (Ga. Ct. of App. 2016), the court reviewed whether a jury should determine the issue of “ordinary negligence.” According to the facts, Eric Rivers worked for a truck company, LinkAmerica, which required him to have access to his tractor-trailer at all times. For this reason, Rivers kept the tractor parked in the street, next to the curb in front of his home. On a morning in 2011, the plaintiff was driving on that street when the bright sunshine affected his ability to see for a brief moment. He slowed down but struck the back of Rivers’ tractor parked in the road.

The plaintiff allegedly sustained injuries in the crash and was transported to the hospital for treatment. A police officer at the scene of the car accident issued Rivers a citation for parking the tractor illegally, reporting that he could have parked it off the roadway, where it would not impede traffic. Further evidence indicated that in 2010, a similar accident occurred involving Rivers’ tractor parked in the exact same location. The plaintiff filed this lawsuit against LinkAmerica and Rivers, alleging claims of ordinary negligence and negligence per se. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that a jury should have the opportunity to determine the question of ordinary negligence.

The court of appeals agreed, citing the following evidence:  1) despite the similar accident occurring in 2010, Rivers parked his car in the same place where it was hit previously; 2) the police report stated that the tractor impeded other vehicles from passing; and 3) photographs showed the tractor entirely in the lane. Based on these findings and others, the court concluded that there was a genuine issue of material fact to be decided by a jury.

This case illustrates the unique nature of personal injury cases centered on a car accident. Each incident is fact-specific. It is extremely important to understand how the facts and circumstances surrounding your accident and your resulting injuries can affect your right to compensation. For help with your claim and to determine whether, and to what extent, you can expect to recover compensation for any pain and suffering, contact an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible. Stephen M. Ozcomert is an injury attorney with over 20 years of experience handling car accident cases, representing individuals who have been hurt as a result of another’s negligence in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. Call us today at (404)-370-1000 to schedule a free initial consultation, or you can reach us through our website.

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