Causal link between violation of trucking safety rules and truck crashes
In order to use Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation violations to support liability or punitive damages, it is essential to establish that the violation was a proximate cause of the crash.
Some judges don’t easily grasp the obvious connection between extreme driver fatigue and driver error. For example, in one Georgia case the court failed to recognize driver fatigue and extreme
hours of service violations as proximate causes of a crash, limiting proximate cause to a stop
sign violation only.
Therefore, one must consider the most effective methods to explain the connection between violation of safety rules and the predictable results.
With adequate support to educate the judge and build the record for appeal, Georgia law on causation is favorable.
A legal or proximate cause of injury, damage, loss or harm is any act or omission that is a contributing factor in bringing about the injury, damage, loss or harm.
What amounts to proximate cause is undeniably a jury question and is always to be determined on the facts of each case upon mixed considerations of logic, common sense,justice, policy, and precedent.
It is axiomatic that questions regarding proximate cause are `undeniably a jury question’ and may only be determined by the courts `in plain and undisputed cases.
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Ken Shigley is a civil justice attorney in Atlanta, Georgia whose practice focuses on representing people who are catastrophically injured, and families of those killed, when companies violate rules designed for protection of public safety. He has been listed as a "Super Lawyer" (Atlanta Magazine), among the "Legal Elite" (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale). He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Mr. Shigley has extensive experience representing parties in trucking and bus accidents, products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury and burn injury cases. Currently he is a national board member of the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group and Treasurer of the 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia.