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Court Discusses “Foreseeability” Requirement in Chain-Reaction Truck Accident Case

This fall, an appellate court in Mississippi issued a written opinion affirming the dismissal of a case against a truck driver and his employer on the ground that the injuries sustained by the plaintiff were not a foreseeable consequence of the defendants’ allegedly negligent actions. In the case, Ready v. RWI Transportation, the court held the defendant truck driver and his employer could not be held liable because the plaintiff’s injuries were too far removed in time and physical proximity from the defendants’ alleged act of negligence.

The Facts of the Case

The defendants were a truck driver and his employer. On the day in question, the defendant truck driver caused an accident on the highway when he made an improper lane change. As a result of the collision, the defendant’s truck as well as another vehicle blocked traffic, causing a traffic jam to form.

Approximately one hour later, while traffic was still slowed from the original accident, the plaintiff approached the traffic jam and crashed into the rear of another vehicle that had come to a complete stop. This accident occurred approximately three-quarters of a mile away from the original accident. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver and the driver’s employer.

The defendants asked the court to dismiss the case against them, arguing that the plaintiff’s injuries were not a foreseeable consequence of the truck driver’s actions – even if the truck driver’s lane change was negligent and was established to be the cause of the original accident. The trial court agreed, determining that the truck driver and his employer did not owe a legal duty to the plaintiff. The plaintiff appealed.

The Appellate Court Affirms the Decision Below

The court’s opinion began by discussing the requirement that a personal injury case establish the following four elements:  duty, breach, causation, and damages. Here, the court considered whether the defendants owed a legal duty to the plaintiff. The court explained that in order for a duty to exist, the plaintiff must fall within a category of people who could be foreseeably harmed by the defendant’s allegedly negligent conduct. Since the accident occurred roughly three-quarters of a mile away, and nearly an hour after the original accident, the court determined that the plaintiff’s injuries were “too remote” to consider them a foreseeable consequence of the truck driver’s negligence. The court did acknowledge that in some cases, one party’s negligence in causing an accident may result in a duty to motorists who later approach the accident, but the accident injuring the plaintiff in this case was too far removed from the original negligent act.

Have You Been Injured in a Illinois Car or Truck Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Illinois car or truck accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled personal injury lawyers at Moll Law Group have decades of combined experience bringing cases on behalf on their injured clients, and we know what it takes to be successful. Call 312-462-1700 today to set up a free consultation with a dedicated personal injury attorney today. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation to you unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

See More Posts:

Plaintiff’s Expert’s Conclusions Protected by Work Product Doctrine, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, November 23, 2016.

Property Owners May Be Held Responsible for Negligent Acts of Others on Premises, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, October 31, 2016.

Baby Powder Found to Cause Cancer; Moll Law Group Can Help, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, November 7, 2016.

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