Legal Analysis of Tractor Trailer Accidnet Washington Road I-285

Tractor Trailer Accident on I-285 Near Washington Road: Legal Analysis

  • News Report on Tractor-Trailer Accident on I-285 Near Washington Road

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution and WSB-TV, an accident involving a tractor-trailer resulted in the death of a 4 year old child on Thursday, April 19th. There were other persons in the child’s vehicle as well. The incident occurred on I-285 near Washington Road.

The AJC reports that a Hyundai Santa Fe and a tractor-trailer were stopped in the South Bound lane. The AJC quotes Georgia State Patrol officials as allegedly stating as follows: “The other tractor-trailer did not notice the vehicles were stopped and attempted to avoid the tractor-trailer, but ended up striking the Hyundai in the rear.”

This incident is a tragedy, and it will very likely result in a claim of wrongful death and pain and suffering by the family of the child. In the section below, we discuss the law that may apply to a tractor-trailer accident like this one, so that all persons can be prepared if they are involved in a traffic accident similar to this.

  • Overview of the law.

Georgia law applies to traffic accidents in the state. In addition, when an accident involves a tractor-trailer, the tractor-trailer is subject to the Regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These regulations govern things like how many hours the driver is permitted to drive in a day and week. They also regulate the tractor trailer itself including, for example, regulations related to inspection.

Georgia has a number of traffic laws that could apply here. This includes the requirement not to follow too closely. The Georgia Code Section on this is O.C.G.A. § 40-6-49. It states in part the following: “The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”

If the AJC report is correct, then driver of the tractor-trailer may have violated this traffic law. If true, the claimant could argue that the driver was negligent per se (as a matter of law) based on the violation of this statute.

However, determining negligence is not always as easy as it appears from a news article. There are defenses that the driver may assert including, for example, sudden emergency.  The Sudden Emergency Doctrine states: “One who is confronted with a sudden emergency that was not created by one’s own fault and is without sufficient time to determine accurately and with certainty the best thing to be done is not held to the same accuracy of judgment as would be required of that person if he/she had more time for deliberation.” Georgia Suggested Jury Instructions No. 60.150 (2018). This has been applied to cases of “sudden peril” due to unexpected braking under certain circumstances. Ray v. Anderson, 189 Ga. App. 8Carr & Weatherby, serious trucking lawyers0 (1998).

It is, of course, impossible to tell from a news report whether or not this would apply. In order to determine this, an experienced attorney in this area of law would need to review the case.

If a lawsuit is asserted under a case like this one, it will most likely include a claim for wrongful death and pain and suffering. A claim for wrongful death, under Georgia, includes damages for the full value of the loss of the life of the deceased, without deduction for damages for the pain and suffering of the deceased after the injury and prior to death. O.C.G.A. § 51-4-1. In addition, under Georgia law, the Estate of a deceased person may recover for medical, funeral, and other expenses, as well as conscious pain and suffering proximately caused by the defendant. O.C.G.A. § 51-4-5.

  • Choosing a lawyer.

There are many different types of lawyers that specialize in a variety of areas, one of these areas is tractor-trailer accidents. While a person may be tempted to represent themselves in a tractor-trailer accident, in any serious case, an individual is very strongly advised to hire an experienced and able attorney. This is because trucking law involves a series of interrelated and complex regulations.

In addition, in serious trucking accidents, there may be a need for expert engineering assistance relating to issues from speed, skid marks, computer data, breaking, and more. There may also be important information that needs to be preserved at the scene, in the claimant’s possession, and in the driver’s possession.

A wise person would be suspect of an unknown lawyer calling them out of the blue. This conduct may be prohibited by the Georgia Bar. This is a complex area of law so some contact is allowed under certain circumstances. A complete reading of the rule is available on the Georgia Bar’s website.

  • What is this blog?

We, at Carr & Weatherby, maintain this blog for informational purposes. We are proven trial lawyers, who represent both plaintiffs and defendants in serious personal injury matters like this one. We have recovered millions for folks who are seriously injured, and we have successfully defended companies in serious injury cases. Our work on both sides of the aisle helps us more effectively advise our clients and advocate their positions. Our hope is to inform people about legal issues through this blog. If you have any questions about this blog or if you have any questions about issues related to serious accidents including tractor-trailer accidents, please contact us for free at 404-442-9000 or info@wpcarr.com.