Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Atlanta wrongful death lawsuits can be very difficult, not only emotionally but also procedurally. Often times a family must relive the accident as they seek to prove the elements of negligence (duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages), in addition to dealing with the inherent difficulties of placing a “value” on the loss of their loved one.

It might seem that such a case would be easier when it is against one’s own insurance company in an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, but this is not necessarily the case. More often than not, even these types of claims are met with just as much contention as when a case proceeds directly against a negligent motorist.

In most cases, the parties can at least agree on the maximum possible payout of the UM/UIM claim, even if they do not agree on the exact amount due to the claimants. In a recent case, however, a dispute arose as to whether the claimants were entitled to payment under a single policy or under two separate policies. It was an important distinction, since each policy had a limit of $500,000.

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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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insurance contract

How much do you know about your automobile accident insurance coverage? Hint:  this is not a “yes” or “no” question. It’s not about whether or not you have insurance, but instead about the type of coverage and the amount of money available to you if you’re seriously injured in a car crash.

If you aren’t sure of the answer, it is very important that you contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. While Georgia law requires those who own or lease a motor vehicle to have liability insurance, this simply provides a minimum amount of coverage to those who are injured by the driver’s negligence. Liability insurance does not provide any coverage for the driver’s own injuries or for damage to his or her car.

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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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