Commercial truck accidents can present a particularly difficult legal issue when it comes to determining liability. Statistically, these accidents result in severe injuries, significant property damage and fatalities far more commonly than accidents involving only passenger vehicles. Multiple factors can contribute to liability and that liability can be shared by various parties.

Central to any truck accident case in Georgia is the concept of negligence. Negligence occurs when a party fails to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to others. In the context of truck accidents, negligence can take many forms, including:

  • Driver negligence: This includes behaviors like speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and violating traffic laws.
  • Trucking company negligence: Trucking companies can be held liable for accidents caused by factors such as inadequate maintenance of vehicles, negligent hiring practices or violations of federal and state regulations governing the trucking industry.
  • Manufacturer negligence: If a defective truck part or component contributes to an accident, the manufacturer may be held liable for damages under product liability laws.

Determining fault in a truck accident requires a thorough investigation to gather evidence of negligence on the part of one or more parties involved.

Comparative fault in Georgia

Georgia follows a modified comparative fault system, which means that even if a plaintiff is partially responsible for an accident, they may still recover damages as long as their fault does not exceed 50 percent. However, their recovery will be reduced by their percentage of fault. If the plaintiff’s fault is determined to be half or more, they are barred from recovering any damages.

This aspect of Georgia law underscores the importance of establishing clear evidence of the defendant’s negligence while minimizing any contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff.

Vicarious liability

In many truck accident cases, the doctrine of vicarious liability comes into play. Under this principle, employers can be held responsible for the actions of their employees if those actions occur within the scope of employment. This means that a trucking company may be held liable for the negligent actions of its drivers while they are carrying out work-related duties.

Vicarious liability can significantly impact the outcome of a truck accident case, as it allows victims to pursue compensation from the trucking company in addition to the individual driver.

Statute of limitations

Like all civil claims in Georgia, truck accident lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations, which sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including those arising from truck accidents, is generally two years from the date of the accident. Failing to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations may result in the forfeiture of the right to seek compensation.

Importance of legal representation

Given the complexity of liability issues in commercial trucking accidents, securing the representation of an experienced attorney is essential. A knowledgeable attorney can:

  • Investigate the accident to gather evidence of negligence.
  • Handle communications with insurance companies and other parties.
  • Advocate for the rights of the victim in settlement negotiations or trial.
  • Ensure compliance with all applicable deadlines and legal requirements.

If you are injured or have lost a loved one in a trucking accident, Farrar, Hennesy and Tanner can help. Call 912-384-2287 or schedule your free case review online today.