Need to establish proximate cause link between rule violations and crash
In order to use FMCSR violations to support liability or punitive damages, it is essential to establish that the violation was a proximate cause of the crash. Some judges don't easily grasp the obvious connection between extreme driver fatigue and driver error. For example, in one Georgia case the court failed to recognize driver fatigue and extreme hours of service violations as proximate causes of a crash, limiting proximate cause to a stop sign violation only.
Consider use of an expert to help judge understand common sense
Therefore, one must consider whether a trucking safety expert may be needed to explain what should be obvious to anyone with common sense regarding the connection between violation of safety rules and the predictable results. With such support to educate the judge and build the record for appeal, Georgia law on causation is favorable. A legal or proximate cause of injury, damage, loss or harm is any act or omission that is a contributing factor in bringing about the injury, damage, loss or harm. "What amounts to proximate cause is undeniably a jury question and is always to be determined on the facts of each case upon mixed considerations of logic, common sense, justice, policy, and precedent." "It is axiomatic that questions regarding proximate cause are `undeniably a jury question' and may only be determined by the courts `in plain and undisputed cases."