Which Parties Can Be Sued in a Georgia Trucking Accident Claim?
A Georgia trucking accident claim after a wreck with injuries is considerably more complicated than an auto accident claim. More parties can be potentially sued.
Given the sheer size and weight of tractor-trailers, injuries sustained in these wrecks may be more severe. It’s important to maximize a recovery and you can likely claim from more parties if a commercial vehicle is involved.
An experienced Georgia trucking accident lawyer can find the negligent parties and claim against their insurance policies.
Parties who may be sued over a commercial vehicle crash in Georgia include:
Truck drivers are responsible for a large proportion of trucking wrecks. Common examples of negligence by truckers include drunk driving, speeding, fatigue, non-compliance with federal regulations, poor training and failure to yield.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study of 2007 found driver error was responsible for 87 percent of the 963 big rig crashes studied.
A Trucking Company
A trucking company is considered to be liable for the actions of drivers in many cases. The company will typically have higher insurance thresholds than the driver. It makes sense to sue a trucking company even though the company is likely to defend the case hard.
In some cases, a trucking company may have failed to check out a driver or allowed someone with medical issues or drugs and alcohol problems and a string of convictions to drive. However, a trucking company does not have to be negligent in the hiring process to be held liable.
The law uses the doctrine of “respondeat superior” to hold a company responsible for a traffic accident caused by a truck driver employee. “Respondeat superior” is a Latin phrase that means “let the superior make answer.”
An employer is may be held liable for negligence or wrongful acts committed by its employees or agents, provided the acts in question were unintentional and were committed within the scope of a driver’s employment. The employer may be held liable as if it had committed the wrongful act itself.
The Owner of a Truck
The owner of a truck or trailer can also be held liable for an accident, particularly if it’s poorly maintained and the truck’s condition had an impact on the cause of the crash.
A Loading Company
Loading a tractor-trailer takes considerable expertise. Specialist loading companies are used for this job. They have to comply with stringent federal regulations to make sure trucks are not overloaded and unbalanced.
In some cases, a loading company can be sued for injuries caused in a trucking accident. If a tractor-trailer tips over and causes an accident, the loading company may be liable for failing to balance the cargo. Loading companies may also be liable if items fall off trucks and cause accidents.
A Freight Broker
The freight broker is the middleman in a trucking contract. When a company wants to ship goods it will call the freight broker. The broker will find someone else who owns the truck to ship the goods.
If a broker hires a trucking company with a bad safety record and fails to perform due diligence, the broker may be held liable for injuries from a wreck.
A truck manufacturer or a maintenance company
Although most trucking wrecks are caused by drivers, a defect on a truck may cause an accident. Tire separations and faulty brakes can be devastating when a heavy truck is traveling at a high speed. A manufacturer of a truck, a tire manufacturer or a maintenance company can be held liable in these cases.
A Georgia trucking accident claim can be brought against many parties to maximize an eventual award. These are complicated cases and you should talk to an experienced Georgia trucking accident lawyer. Call us at (404) 913-1529.