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Atlanta Employment Law Attorney / Blog / Personal Injury / Appeals Court Rules Trucking Company Liable for Crash that Left One Motorist Severely Injured

Appeals Court Rules Trucking Company Liable for Crash that Left One Motorist Severely Injured


On September 20, 2019, a driver for the trucking company Werner was driving a truck on State Highway 38 near the intersection of Bypass Road in Georgia. The truck driver was in the center lane when, without proper warning, he changed into the left travel lane and stopped. At the same time, another driver was attempting to pass a vehicle in the far right lane. When she pulled her vehicle into the passing lane, she struck the truck and sustained severe bodily injuries.

The injured plaintiff filed a lawsuit in Georgia federal court in November of 2020. A jury ruled unanimously in the plaintiff’s favor awarding her $6 million in damages. The jury found that the defendant was 60% responsible for the accident, and that the plaintiff was 40% responsible for the accident. Werner was required to pay the plaintiff 60% of $6 million or $3.6 million. The trucking company appealed the verdict.

According to Werner’s appeal, the plaintiff had failed to meet the burden of establishing negligence. They further argued that the jury’s decision went against the weight of the evidence presented at trial, and that the district court improperly informed the jury that the trucking company had insurance.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, found in favor of the plaintiff and denied Werner’s appeal.

Police report assigns fault to plaintiff 

In this case, the plaintiff admitted that her memory of the moments leading up to the crash were foggy. A police report concerning the accident stated that the plaintiff was primarily at fault. However, it also indicated that the truck was in the left travel lane. There were precious few witness statements regarding the actual accident. However, at trial, witnesses reported that the truck was driving erratically and the driver appeared lost. The truck driver’s testimony revealed that he was navigating based on a map and verbal directions when he was hit while changing lanes. Ultimately, the jury found in favor of the plaintiff assigning 60% of the fault for the accident to the truck driver.

Werner had argued that the plaintiff failed to establish that their driver was negligent for the crash.

Establishing negligence 

In football, you have a term that players and announcers sometimes use to describe plays: “bang-bang play.” This term refers to an incident that happens so quickly, that an individual is unlikely to have enough reaction time to respond (and thus avoid injury). In the case mentioned above, the jury’s finding boiled down to whether or not the plaintiff had enough time to respond to the truck’s sudden lane change. The jury ruled that the plaintiff did not have enough time, and hence, it gave the lion’s share of the fault to the defendant.

Talk to an Atlanta, GA Truck Accident Lawyer Today 

The Forsythe Law Firm, LLC represents the interests of Atlanta residents who have been injured in accidents with large commercial trucks. Call our Atlanta personal injury attorneys today to schedule a free consultation, and we can begin preparing your case right away.



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