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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construction work

Under Georgia law, most employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance if they have at least three employees. Generally, this is true regardless of whether those three workers are considered full-time, part-time, or seasonal.

There are only a few exceptions to this general requirement. Farm laborers, domestic servants, and federal government employees are among those who are not required to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Unfortunately, not everyone follows the law.

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lungs

Under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws, an employee who is out of work for at least seven days due to an on-the-job injury is entitled to weekly income benefits. These benefits are paid at the rate of 2/3 of the employee’s average weekly wage (subject to a state minimum and maximum).

The first check is to be mailed within three weeks of the date the employee was first out of work. If the employee is out of work for more than 21 consecutive days, he or she is to be paid for the “waiting week” as well.

In a recent case, an administrative law judge was asked to determine not the date upon which an employee’s weekly benefits began but whether those benefits should be ended based on a change in the employee’s condition.

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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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dark highway

Recognizing that there are instances in which the plaintiff in a lawsuit may have a reason to voluntarily dismiss an action prior to trial but wish to refile the claim at some later time, Georgia law provides a procedure for what is referred to by some as “a nonsuit.”

However, there are certain procedural steps that must be followed in order for the second lawsuit to survive a challenge on statute of limitations grounds, assuming it was filed past the normal deadline.

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calendar appWhen a worker is injured on the job and becomes temporarily unable to perform his or her usual work duties, he or she may be entitled to either temporary total disability benefits (if the worker is totally unable to work) or temporary partial disability benefits (if the worker returns to work but earns less than before the injury).

Of course, temporary benefits do not continue forever – hence, the name “temporary.” Generally, these benefits end when an employee returns to their usual work duties or when their medical condition returns to its pre-work-injury state. This is commonly referred to as a return to “baseline”. This concept comes in to play primarily when the injured worker had an injury or pre-existing condition to the same body part prior to his or her work accident. The most popular way for employers to attempt to prove that an injured worker’s injury has returned to baseline in an attempt to suspend benefits is to present medical evidence in the form of statements from the injured worker’s treating physician(s).

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18 wheeler

If you have been hurt in a work-related accident, you should be very careful about what you share on social media, as well as the activities in which you engage when in public – and by “in public,” we mean any occasion in which you could be visible to a surveillance company hired by your employer to observe your activities and physical condition.

No, we haven’t been reading too many George Orwell novels. The reality is, if your work injury has caused you to miss work for even a few weeks, someone may be watching you. If your daily activities and social media postings conflict with your claimed limitations from a work injury, you can bet the administrative law judge will hear about it when your case proceeds to a hearing.

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dental tools

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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paid

There’s a familiar expression to the effect, “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.” The idea is that something may seem to be coming to a certain conclusion, but it isn’t truly over until a particular event takes place. This concept has application in many walks of life, including the settlement of personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from car accidents caused by a negligent driver.

Recently, a federal court certified a question to the Supreme Court of Georgia inquiring as to whether, under Georgia law, the parties in a car accident case had reached a legally binding settlement even though one party had allegedly failed to perform its part of the agreement – in other words, was the case really over?

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