An 18-wheel tractor trailer left the scene of a deadly accident on I-85 in Gwinnett County, Georgia, Monday, July 8, 2013, according to news sources.
Law enforcement quoted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution said that the driver of the tractor trailer changed lanes on I-85 southbound near Steve Reynolds Boulevard, forcing a Nissan Pathfinder out of its lane and into the side of another truck. The Pathfinder left the road and flipped several times. A female passenger was killed, and three passengers – including two children — were injured. Following the wreck, police said the 18-wheeler’s driver left the scene but was later located in another county.
In addition to potential criminal charges for vehicular homicide if the driver of this vehicle is at fault, there are numerous civil causes of action that often arise in accidents involving commercial vehicles. These causes of action can include negligence on the part of the driver, as well as negligent hiring and retention, negligent supervision and possibly negligent entrustment by the driver’s employer.
In order to prove some or all of these causes of action, an experienced personal injury attorney will need to be familiar with the numerous state and federal regulations effecting large commercial vehicles. This mass of regulation, known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations found at 49 CFR § 390.5 et al., sets minimum standards for everything from vehicle maintenance to driver qualifications, hours of operation, and even a driver’s medical history. A thorough knowledge of these regulations is often vital in these types of serious commercial vehicle accidents to ensure that all potential responsible parties are held liable.