Liability in Auto Accident Cases

The Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday heard another case involving the practice in which juries are allowed to appropriate damages among defendants and parties who have not been sued.

The Zaldivar v. Prickett case is the result of a 2009 collision between two drivers, one of which was driving his work vehicle. Both claimed the other driver was at fault for the accident, which occurred at an intersection. Both were injured, and the driver who was in his employer’s vehicle sued the other.

The defendant in the auto accident case wanted the jury to be able to hold the plaintiff’s employer responsible for damages, according to the Daily Report. The defendant asserted the other person’s employer should not have let him get behind the wheel of a company vehicle after learning of complaints of his driving.

The request was denied in the state court, with the judge explaining that the employer had not breached any legal duty. The Court of Appeals also disagreed with the defendant’s tactic, saying generally an injured driver cannot bring a negligent entrustment claim against the person who gave him or her the vehicle.

The Georgia Supreme Court now must decide what the standard for allowing a non-party to be on the verdict form would be if the standard is not that the non-party’s actions must be a legal cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, according to the Daily Report.

Generally, a person who was injured in an auto accident may be able to seek damages in Georgia depending on whether or not the accident was caused due to negligence of another party. For the accident to be caused by negligence, the driver had to have done something a reasonable driver would not do.

Actions that could be considered negligent when driving include:

  • Speeding
  • Making an illegal lane change
  • Running a stop sign or a traffic light
  • Texting while driving
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Driving aggressively
  • Driving while exhausted

Damages usually are inevitable after an auto accident, even if it is a minor fender bender. A person still could be injured and he or she could seek damages. However, in some instances, a severe crash or an accident with an 18-wheeler could mean more extensive damages.

The type of accident also could affect the damages a person could receive. For instance, a head-on collision or a t-bone collision typically would result in more damage than a rear-end accident. Although, any type of collision can be considered serious.

Damages could be used to pay for repairs to a vehicle and most often for medical bills for injuries that resulted from the crash. Auto accidents can lead to a variety of injuries, including broken bones, fractures, internal injuries and even brain injuries. Damages also could cover loss of wages.

When a person is involved in an accident he or she may be contacted by the other driver’s insurance company with a settlement offer. Often times the companies will argue it is the best assessment of your losses, although you still have the option to seek other damages.

If you have been injured in a car wreck, contact an Atlanta personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you determine your best options in seeking damages, including who may be held liable for your injuries and losses.

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ReShea Balams

ReShea Balams is an award winning attorney and the founder of The Balams Firm.  Prior to answering her true calling to represent families impacted by life-changes tragedies, ReShea gained invaluable experience and insight as an attorney for large insurance companies.  She is known for her record of exceptional results on behalf of clients, and is a zealous advocate for injury victims.

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