On December 2nd, Alwyn Fredericks presented at the South Carolina Association of Justice’s Auto Torts-Advanced Trial Lawyer College held at the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta, Georgia. He spoke to the group about the effective use of demonstrative evidence in brain injury cases.
Earlier this year, CBS News Atlanta reported that Bryan County’s district attorney would not prosecute the trucking company involved in the crash that killed five Georgia Southern nursing students last spring. The Mississippi-based trucking company established a scholarship fund in honor of the victims in exchange for the dropping of the criminal charges. The situation was unique in the state of Georgia, signifying the first time that a corporation had been criminally charged in relation to a truck accident. The dropping of the criminal charges in exchange for a payment of a fine may seem unusual for those more used to seeing jail time handed down, but in the state of Georgia, the only form of justice against companies available comes in monetary form, and when it stems from criminal charges, monetary criminal fines against companies is groundbreaking.
No Jail Time
The problem with criminal charges and corporations is that while corporations are legal entities, they have no physical form. Criminal charges that involve jail time are good for individuals but not for corporations. The CEO of the corporation did not criminally injure or kill anyone with their truck, and neither did anyone else involved in the running of the company. The only person personally criminally liable for the trucking accident was the driver of the truck. The driver that was employed by the Mississippi trucking corporation is being held liable in an individual capacity for his role and will most likely face jail time.
The usual remedy in trucking accidents is monetary compensation. As a victim of an auto accident, you are entitled to recover for all of the damages to your property as well as for the costs of any injuries that you suffered. This includes all medical costs, future medical costs, lost wages, and damages for your physical and mental suffering. You can recover these costs from the driver of the truck as well as the company that employed him or her, any insurance policy that the driver had, as well as any insurance belonging to the employer, as well. The driver of the truck may also face criminal charges if he or she was criminally negligent.
The mere fact that a trucking company faced criminal charges for a car accident is unusual but the addition of a monetary settlement is even more peculiar. The Mississippi trucking company could have fought the criminal charges brought against it. After all, it would have been an uphill battle to prove that a corporation had committed a crime like vehicular manslaughter. Instead, by choosing to prosecute and use that to induce a company to settle and provide funds for public education, as the Mississippi trucking company was required to do here, the district attorney has set a precedent that holds companies liable for more damages in trucking accidents than they have been in the past. By requiring additional fines to stave off criminal charges now, it is likely that in the future this could be expanded upon in more instances of corporate liability.
No one can say for certain how corporations will be held liable for the misconduct and negligent behavior of their employees in the future. The ruling appears to open up new avenues for governments to punish negligent corporations. The law may even evolve to seek to punish corporations for not acting properly and provide new avenues for enforcing good corporate behavior.
Trucking Accidents are Difficult
As of now, though, it is still difficult to recover damages if you are in an accident with a trucking company truck. Trucking companies have deep pockets and retain experts to dispute claims against them. Right now it is very important to have the right people representing you if you are ever in an accident with a truck. If you or a family member have been injured in an auto accident involving a truck, contact the Atlanta-based attorneys at Cash Krugler & Fredericks LLC. They have been fighting for plaintiffs bringing suit against trucking companies for years and have helped many others get the compensation they deserve. Contact them today at (404) 659-1710 or visit them online.
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Recently a 61-year-old woman was killed after being struck by a car in downtown Atlanta. The woman was crossing the street at an intersection around 8:30 pm on a Thursday evening when the accident happened. The driver of the vehicle stopped briefly, left the scene, and returned about half an hour later.
Large-Scale Pedestrian and Driver Safety Measures
In 2014, nearly 15% of all traffic fatalities were pedestrians. This rate has been slowly increasing each year despite local and state efforts to increase visibility at intersections, clearly mark crosswalks, and better inform both pedestrians and drivers. 72% of the fatalities happened at dawn or dusk in 2014, as with the Atlanta woman’s accident, which occurred in the dark when driver visibility was low.
Cities seeking to protect pedestrians have several options as to how to approach the situation. The Governors Highway Safety Association works with state highway safety offices to identify and address behavioral highway safety issues. Recommended measures to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries include:
- Increasing the Separation of Pedestrians from Motor Vehicles: This includes refuge islands, sidewalks, and pedestrian overpasses/underpasses
- Making Pedestrians More Visible to Drivers: This includes improving street lighting, making crosswalks more visible, and having rapid-flashing beacons mounted on pedestrian crossing signs
- Engineering and Enforcing Measures to Reduce Speeds: This includes roundabouts in place of stop signs, traffic calming devices such as speed humps and curb extensions, and automated enforcement
Safety Measures You Can Take
Keep yourself and your family safe by remembering a few key things:
- Always cross at an intersection: The majority of pedestrian fatalities occur at non-intersections where drivers are less likely to expect pedestrians.
- Alcohol can play a major role in all types of traffic incidents: In over a third of fatal pedestrian accidents, the pedestrian had a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.08 or higher.
- Pay attention: Basic safety precautions, such as looking both ways prior to crossing, can save lives.
If you or a loved one were injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be able to recover for damages. Injured pedestrians can seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses – both immediate costs, such as emergency room and hospital bills, and future medical expenses, such as rehabilitation services and future surgical needs
- Lost wages or income
- Pain and suffering
An Experienced Georgia Personal Injury Attorney is Your Greatest Ally
No one plans for an accident to happen, but when it does your life can be turned upside down. Even the most minor of traffic accidents can cause permanent injuries that may never fully heal. That is why it is of the utmost importance for you to consult with a personal injury attorney.
Getting the compensation you need to keep your life as regular as possible should be the goal in every personal injury case. Even if a traffic accident was partially your fault, you can still recover for some of the damage and injuries that you have suffered. Consult with the personal injury attorneys at Cash, Krugler & Fredericks LLC. Contact them today at (404) 659-1710 or visit them online to schedule an initial consultation.
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