Last week, a rider lost his life while riding on I-75. The collision that ended his life was not between two vehicles that were in any way a match for such a situation. One rider on a bike and one driver of a tractor-trailer. My work representing bikers and their families as a Gwinnett County motorcycle injury lawyer involves many match-ups between vehicles, but there is nothing more dangerous to a biker than a tractor-trailer that isn't where it should be on the road.
In this crash, the motorcyclist was riding northbound on the highway near I-675. This crash took place in daylight around 11:30 in the morning. The tractor-trailer crossed the median and traveled into the opposite direction of traffic and into the motorcycle's lane killing the biker. The road was closed for some period of time after the crash. The accident was said to have been the result of an improper lane change by the tractor-trailer. The driver of the truck is likely going to face charges. This could include a charge, based on the improper lane change and resulting death, of second degree homicide by vehicle under Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-393.
As biker's know, trucks are some of the largest vehicles on Georgia's roads and highways. Traveling near or around them can be very treacherous for bikers. There is nothing this motorcyclist could have done to avoid a large vehicle suddenly coming into his path. The loss of his life is a huge price to pay for riding on an open highway.
We do not know the condition of the truck driver at the time of the accident. Perhaps the trucker was fatigued or otherwise compromised. Federal regulations make it very clear how long a trucker can drive in one day, required brakes and rest. We cannot assume anything in this situation, all we know is that the driver left his lane of traffic resulting in the rider's death.
Trucking in Georgia is highly regulated and is in accord with the federal law. If this driver was working for a commercial motor carrier, that company and the driver could well have liability in a wrongful death action brought by the surviving family of the rider.
Wrongful death is a type of action that can be brought after a death caused by another person. It is brought by close family members or spouses and generally is intended to compensate the family, including children for the sudden and perhaps early death of a loved one. Calculations are made that determine what the deceased person would have earned over the course of his or her lifetime and that becomes part of the damages claimed by the victim's family. Other damages and causes of action can also be a part of the action.