When a container of freight is shipped from Shanghai or Rotterdam, the bill of lading is for shipment to the ultimate destination, not just to the port of Savannah or Charleston or Jacksonville. The ocean carrier than contracts the transportation of the freight container is responsible for the movement of the freight all the way to the inland destination, even though it contracts with another company to haul it by truck on the last leg of the trip.
Under the definitions in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, the ocean freight carrier qualifies as a motor carrier, and is subject to liability when the container shipment operations injures an innocent motorist on the highways of Georgia.
It’s considerably more complicated than a regular road wreck, but the distinction can make a huge difference in the availability of adequate insurance coverage in a catastrophic case.
Ken Shigley is a trucking safety trial attorney representing seriously injured people in tractor trailer, big rig, intermodal container freight, cement truck, dump truck and bus accidents statewide in Georgia. He served as chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Litigation Institute in 2005, is a national board member of the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice, and is on the National Advisory Board for the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America.
He has extensive experience representing parties in interstate trucking collision cases, and in the past two years has spoken at national interstate trucking litigation seminars in Chicago (trucking insurance), New Orleans (trial tactics and side underride issues), St. Louis (punitive damages), San Francisco (dealing with insolvent trucking companies), Atlanta (trucking insurance, closing argument), Nashville (use of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations), and Amelia Island (overview of trucking litigation).
A Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, he has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” (Atlanta Magazine), among the “Legal Elite” (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale). In addition to trucking litigation, he has broad experience in products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, spinal cord injury, brain injury and burn injury cases. Currently he is Treasurer and a candidate for President-Elect of the 41,000 member State Bar of Georgia.This post is subject to our ethical disclaimer.