Articles Posted in Negligence

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In an Atlanta personal injury lawsuit filed against a municipal corporation (such as a city government), the injured person must give written notice of his or her claim prior to filing suit, or else he or she will not be allowed to maintain a negligence case seeking compensation for his or her injuries.

This claim must be made within six months of the event giving rise to the plaintiff’s claim, and it must be made in writing to the governing authority of the municipal corporation.

Additionally, the notice must state the time and place of the accident, the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries, and the manner in which the defendant’s negligence is alleged to have caused the injuries in question. Continue reading

man holding gunLaw students are taught that there are four basic components to a negligence lawsuit:  duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.

Theoretically, an Atlanta personal injury claimant who can prove each of these elements by a preponderance of the evidence should be able to recover fair compensation for injuries suffered due to another party’s negligence.

That’s the theory. In reality, however, unless the defendant has liability insurance – and in an amount sufficient to fully compensate the plaintiff for his or her losses – it can be difficult or impossible to recover fair compensation even if all of the traditional elements of negligence are present.

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man on motorcycleWhen the cause of an Atlanta motorcycle accident is disputed, one or both parties may seek to introduce the testimony of an accident reconstructionist. Such testimony is not automatically heard by the trier of fact at trial, however, since the burden of proving the admissibility of the witness’ testimony is on the party seeking to introduce it. Unless the proposed expert is properly qualified to testify as to the issues at hand, the trial court judge will not allow the testimony.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case under consideration by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, the plaintiff was a man who was injured in a motor vehicle collision in August 2014. At the time of the crash, the plaintiff was riding a motorcycle. He filed suit against the defendants, the driver of the truck that allegedly struck the plaintiff’s motorcycle and the driver’s employer. Two insurance companies were also named as defendants.

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One of the reasons that it is so important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible after a motor vehicle collision or another accident resulting in injuries or death is that there may be several potential theories of recovery, some of which may not be obvious to the injured party or his or her family.

Unless these claims are handled promptly and appropriately, the plaintiff may not be able to effectively pursue compensation from certain potentially liable parties later. Continue reading

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Under Georgia Code § 36-11-1, a claim against a county government must be presented within 12 months after it accrues or becomes payable. Otherwise, the claim is barred, and the plaintiff has no further recourse.

It seems like a simple enough idea, but the issue can be more complex than it initially appears. The parties in a recent case had a strong difference of opinion as to whether a particular claim was “presented” within the meaning of the statute.

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bucket truckWhen a product defect or failure causes a personal injury or wrongful death, the accident victim (or his or her family, in the event of a fatality) may be able to recover money damages via a product liability lawsuit. In Georgia, the general rule is that a product liability claim must be filed within two years of the date of the accident or within 10 years of the date that the product was first sold. (Of course, it is always best to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney about your particular situation, since different or additional deadlines may apply.)

Product liability lawsuits typically involve multiple theories of liability, including defective design, manufacturing defects, or failures to warn. In some cases, strict product liability may be a viable legal theory.

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deckIn a court of law, some issues are within the province of the jury, and some are to be determined by the judge. Generally speaking, the jury decides issues of fact, and judges decide issues of law. Sometimes, however, a judge acts as the trier-of-fact in the absence of a jury (which is called a “bench trial”). A judge may also act as a “13th juror” with the authority to decide that “reasonable jurors would have reached a contrary result” and take appropriate action to correct the error.

Additionally, when a party seeks something called “summary judgment,” the trial court judge must carefully consider the evidence in deciding whether the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Notably, the judge does not decide which party is in the right with respect to disputed issues but instead only decides whether there is a factual issue that must be resolved by the jury. If the facts are undisputed, the judge decides whether, based upon the applicable law, the moving party is entitled to a judgment ending the case (or at least the particular claim upon which the party seeks summary judgment).

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Under Georgia law, an injured person must prove four elements in order to establish a cause of action for negligence:  duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. A failure to prove any one of the elements by a preponderance of the evidence will lead to a judgment for the defendant.

While most negligence cases are based upon an action (or a failure to act) by the defendant, it is within the province of the jury to find a defendant liable for injuries that resulted from an intervening act (such as a crime committed by a third party), but this is so only if the intervening act was foreseeable, and the defendant could have, with due diligence, prevented it.

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Most people have never heard of the “exclusive remedy” provision of Georgia’s workers’ compensation law. Given the frequency with which the word “exclusive” is used in conjunction with a sales pitch in popular culture (such as an “exclusive offer” or an “exclusive resort”), the term might be quite confusing in the context of a work-related injury
claim.

Prior to modern-day workers’ compensation laws, if a worker was hurt on the job, he or she had the right to sue the employer in tort. To be successful, the worker had to show that the employer was negligent – that is, the employer failed to act in a reasonably prudent manner, thereby causing the worker’s injury. Proof of negligence is no longer necessary under today’s Georgia workers’ compensation laws, which is a good thing because there are many ways that employees can be seriously injured at work without the employer necessarily being negligent in causing an accident.

But isn’t there a catch, you may wonder? Yes – the “catch” is the exclusive remedy provision.

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empty hospital bedWhen a medical provider’s treatment of a patient falls below the applicable standard of care, a cause of action for medical negligence or wrongful death may lie. Of course, liability is not automatic – even when a patient dies.

The burden of proof in a negligence case, including a case sounding in medical malpractice, is always on the plaintiff. Unless he or she can convince the jury by a preponderance of the evidence, the case fails.

Many wrongful death cases are decided by a judge before a jury even has an opportunity to hear the evidence. This happens via a summary judgment motion. By granting summary judgment, the trial court is effectively saying that the plaintiff has no chance of success at trial, even if everything he or she is saying is true. Fortunately for the plaintiff in such cases, an appellate court may reverse the lower court’s decision if it finds that the trial court erred.

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