A 16-year-old girl, a passenger in a vehicle, is dead after a single-vehicle crash in Georgia.
According to investigators, the crash happened when a gray 1996 Toyota 4Runner, driven by a 17-year-old, struck the curb on the right side of the road. Deputies say the teenage driver overcorrected, and the vehicle went out of control and rolled over several times. The vehicle eventually hit an electric pole, killing the 16-year-old passenger.
The driver only suffered minor injuries.
Injured passengers have the same legal and financial rights as injured drivers. Injured passengers deserve declarations that another person was responsible for the wreck. Granted, most settlement agreements don’t include liability admissions. However, we can read between the lines. These financial rights include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
However, mostly for emotional reasons, many injured passengers voluntarily give up these rights. Typically, these individuals, or their survivors, do not want to “blame” anyone, especially a friend or relative, for the “accident.”
Initially, personal injury cases do not blame anyone for anything. Blame is a criminal concept. Instead, a Marietta personal injury attorney files claims to force tortfeasors (negligent drivers) to accept responsibility for their mistakes. We all make mistakes, and we must all face the consequences of our mistakes. In this case, these consequences include paying the aforementioned compensation.
As a side note, in most cases, individual drivers are not financially responsible for compensation or any other litigation costs. Generally, an insurance company writes all these checks.
Furthermore, most vehicle collisions are not “accidents.” People do not accidentally take curves too fast, hit curbs, and lose control of their vehicles. For this reason, many media and public information agencies no longer use the A-word when they describe vehicle collisions and other such incidents.
Aggressive driving, like speeding, and impaired driving, like fatigued driving, cause most vehicle collisions. If the error was negligence, or a lack of care, a Marietta personal injury attorney may obtain compensation in court.
Not all such errors are negligence. For example, in the above story, if the driver was traveling 1 mph above the limit and the road was wet, many jurors would say the driver was not negligent. If the driver was traveling 10 mph above the limit and the road was dry, that is different.
Third-party liability is often even more complex in Georgia, especially in negligent entrustment cases. State law places an extra twist on the typical negligent entrustment doctrine. In many states, owners are liable for damages if they allow incompetent operators to use their motor vehicles and these operators cause wrecks. But under Georgia’s unusual family purpose doctrine, the driver’s competence usually is not relevant. Instead, if the tortfeasor was a member of the defendant’s immediate family, a victim must prove the defendant:
- Owned, controlled, or had an interest in the vehicle,
- Made the vehicle available for family use, and
- Gave implicit or implied permission to use the vehicle.
Commercial cases, such as U-Haul truck crashes, are even more complex because of the federal Graves Amendment.