Does Georgia Permit Direct Actions Against a Trucking Company’s Insurance Carrier?

Posted in Truck Accidents on August 8, 2022

After any accident involving a commercial truck that leads to injuries or property damage, victims need to be able to recover compensation for their losses. In many cases, these claims will be settled with insurance carriers, but there may need to be a civil lawsuit filed against various parties. In most cases, the lawsuit will be filed against the truck driver and trucking carrier, and their insurance carrier will be the one to put up the defense and payout compensation if warranted. However, Georgia law does permit individuals to file lawsuits directly against the trucking company’s insurance carrier.

Can You File Against the Truck Carriers Insurance Company

Yes, individuals in Georgia are allowed to file a lawsuit directly against a truck company’s insurance carrier in the aftermath of an accident. However, this decision was arrived at after a Georgia Court of Appeals ruling due to apparent contradictions in the Georgia law.

One Georgia statute, OCGA § 40-1-112(c), states that individuals cannot file a lawsuit directly against the truck company’s insurance carrier because it is only applicable to intrastate motor-carrying companies. However, another statute in Georgia, OCGA § 40-2-140(d)(4), that revolves around Interstate travel does not actually authorize claims against the motor carrier’s insurance company either.

  • Interstate means that the commercial vehicle operates between two or more states
  • Intrastate means that the commercial vehicle operates only in one state

After a vehicle accident involving a tractor-trailer in 2014, the victims filed a lawsuit against the truck driver, the trucking carrier, and the insurance company. They cited the first law mentioned above in the complaint, but this led to direct conflict with the law because the motor carrier operated Interstate. The insurance carrier argued that the law does not apply to them because it only applies to intrastate travel for the motor carrier.

To boil down a relatively complex court case, the Court determined that OCGA § 40-2-140(d)(4) applies to direct actions against insurance carriers that provide coverage to Interstate motor carriers.

In Georgia, individuals who sustain injuries as a result of the negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company that engages in Interstate commerce can file a lawsuit directly against the carrier’s insurance company to recover compensation for their losses.

However, this can get complicated depending on what actions the driver is undertaking at the time the accident occurs. It will be important to examine whether or not the driver was in the midst of an Interstate commerce travel trip, meaning that they were undergoing typical business and not already completed with their business. It is important for an attorney to examine the facts of the case and to help crash victims explore the best possible route for recovering compensation.

Who Else Can Face a Lawsuit After a Trucking Accident?

Along with the insurance carrier, crash victims will likely also need to file a lawsuit directly against the truck driver and trucking company involved. In most situations, the trucking company will be responsible for the actions of the truck driver, so long as the driver was engaged in work duties at the time the incident occurred.

Contact our Atlanta personal injury lawyers today.

Jury imposes $1.7 billion verdict against Ford for F-series pickup roof collapse that killed couple. Read More.