Liability for trucking companies under Restatement rule
The "statutory employee" rules regarding "independent contractor" truck drivers generally are sufficient to hold trucking companies financially responsible for their drivers’ negligence. However, when there are gaps to be filled an old Restatement of Torts rule that was used by courts prior to development of the "statutory employee" rule, may be just the right tool to hold the company to a nondelegable duty to the public.
“An individual or a corporation carrying on an activity which can be lawfully carried on only under a franchise granted by public authority and which involves an unreasonable risk of harm to others, is subject to liability for physical harm caused to such others by the negligence of a contractor employed to do work in carrying on the activity.” Restatement (Second) of Torts § 428; Black v. Montgomery Trucking Co., Inc., 129 Ga.App. 36, 198 S.E.2d 378 (followed Restatement rule), reversed on other grounds without mention of either Restatement rule or federal statutes or regulations, 231 Ga. 211, 200 S.E.2d 882 (1973)(compare Dove v. National Freight, Inc., 138 Ga.App. 114, 225 S.E.2d 477 (1976)); Venuto v. Robinson, 118 F.2d 679 (3rd Cir., 1941)( Restatement (Second) of Torts § 428 applied to hold interstate motor carrier liable for negligence of independent contractor driver); Hodges v. Johnson, 52 F.Supp. 488 (D.C.VA. 1943)(same); War Emergency Co-op. Ass’n v. Widenhouse, 169 F.2d 403 (4th Cir. 1948)(same); Lehman v. Robertson Truck-A-Way, 122 Cal.App.2d 82, 264 P.2d 653 (Cal.App. 3 Dist. 1953)(same); Louis v. Youngren, 12 Ill.App.2d 198, 138 N.E.2d 696 (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 1956). See also, Eli v. Murphy, 39 Cal.2d 598, 248 P.2d 756 (Cal, 1952)(nondelegable duty of motor carrier to public).
The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a "SuperLawyer" in Atlanta Magazine and one of the "Legal Elite" in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks.