Articles Tagged with Personal Injury

Man’s best friend can turn into a legal headache when a dog bite occurs. Understanding the potential legal liabilities surrounding dog bites is essential for both dog owners and those who find themselves on the receiving end. In this crash course, we delve into the intricacies of dog bite laws and the responsibilities that come with canine companionship.

The Legal Landscape of Dog Bites

In many jurisdictions, dog owners are held strictly liable for injuries caused by their pets. This means that regardless of the dog’s previous behavior or the owner’s knowledge of aggressiveness, they may be held responsible for damages resulting from a bite. This strict liability extends to public places, private property, and even the dog owner’s home.

Subrogation is a complicated concept, likely unfamiliar until you find yourself entangled in a lawsuit. In the realm of personal injury cases, it empowers insurance providers to step into the injured party’s shoes, posing critical questions about medical expenses and responsibility.

Illustrating Subrogation in Personal Injury

Imagine being in a car accident through no fault of your own, resulting in medical treatments covered by your health insurance. If you decide to sue the at-fault driver, the crux becomes whether their insurance should reimburse your health insurance. Subrogation enables the health insurance company to seek recovery from the at-fault party’s insurance.

To start, let’s define what a demand is. Demands come in many forms, but when it comes to personal injury, a market is a written formal request for payment to settle an outstanding claim or legal matter.  More simply, it is an offer stating the amount of money it would take for your client to pay all claims and dismiss or refrain from filing a lawsuit against the party that caused harm.  Accordingly, it must be presented well.

Writing a demand is an art form. It is an opportunity to lay your cards on the table and show the seriousness of your claim or case.  The language that you use needs to strike a balance between presenting objective facts and being persuasive. You need to build your case and demonstrate the consequences if the terms of your offer are not met (i.e., that suit will be filed, attorney’s fees incurred, etc.).

There are multiple pieces needed to create a persuasive and effective demand.  To start, consider dedicating a portion of the market to introducing your client.  Give a background.  Humanize the name and the injuries sustained.  Next, discuss liability.  Demonstrate the facts that indicate who is at fault.  Following, go through the damages.  In a personal injury case, that will mostly mean going through your client’s medical treatment resulting from the incident.  Do not skim over the damages.  Take time to articulate the effect/impact of the negligence on your client.  Next, outline the terms of your settlement. Identify the monetary amount that would be required to settle, set a deadline for response and payment, and describe the nature of the release you are providing.  Finally, close your demand out with a punchy conclusion, reiterating your offer and position.

Understanding the intricacies of damages is crucial in legal battles concerning medical malpractice. 

These cases involve compensation for various losses incurred by the plaintiff due to negligent medical care. 

Contrary to popular belief, the scope of damages in a medical malpractice case is not vastly different from those in typical personal injury cases. 

Time is a pivotal factor in legal proceedings, especially when dealing with medical malpractice cases in Georgia. 

These cases come with stringent limitations and exceptions, shaping the window of opportunity for seeking justice. 

Understanding the intricacies of these limitations is crucial, as they significantly impact the ability to pursue a case successfully.

In the realm of legal proceedings, understanding the nuances of filing a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) case can be a complex but crucial endeavor.

Whether you’ve suffered injury, property damage, or any form of harm due to the actions of a federal government employee, the FTCA provides a path for seeking compensation.

This article delves into the process of filing an FTCA case, offering insights and guidance every step of the way.

Georgia trucking accidents and commercial vehicle accidents are significantly different than typical motor vehicle collisions that involve two individuals driving privately in vehicles and are not working on behalf of their employer at the time of the wreck.  The primary reason for this is that tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles are governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which have also been adopted by the State of Georgia.  A “commercial vehicle” is defined as any vehicle used on the highway or interstate transporting people or property with a gross weight lading of 10,001 pounds or more.  This means that if the vehicle, trailer, and load equals more than 10,001 pounds, the vehicle is a “commercial vehicle.”  And subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (“FMCSR”).

The FMCSR is a comprehensive framework of policies and procedures governing the operation and maintenance of tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles.  Every company that operates commercial vehicles is subject to these regulations and the State of Georgia and all over the Country.  A company can be held liable for any trucking accident or commercial vehicle accident that resulted from a violation of the FMCSR.  Every driver of a commercial vehicle must perform a Pre-Trip inspection which involves inspecting the service brakes, parking brake, steering mechanism, lighting devices and reflectors, tires, horn, windshield wipers, rear vision mirrors, and coupling devices.  The driver must document this Pre-Trip inspection and the driver’s employer must maintain these Pre-Trip inspection forms and keep them on file.

For drivers operating commercial vehicles in excess of 26,001 pounds, employers are required to conduct a comprehensive background check of the driver prior to beginning their employment.  A driver applying for a job with a trucking company must complete an Application disclosing any moving violations or accidents for the 3-year period prior to the date of application and identifying each employer for whom the driver has worked for the past ten (10) years.  In turn, within thirty (30) days of hiring a driver, the trucking company must send written inquiries to the driver’s prior employers for the 3-year period prior to the date of their employment and also must obtain a Moving Violations Report (“MVR”) from any state that has issued a license to the driver for the preceding 3-year period.  The driver is also required to undergo an examination by a physician and obtain a Medical Examiner’s Certificate of Fitness.  A Pre-Employment Drug and Alcohol Screening is also mandatory.

Prior the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to successfully bring a medical malpractice claim in Georgia, a plaintiff was required to offer expert medical testimony to the effect that the defendant physician or healthcare provider failed to exercise that degree of care and skill which would ordinarily have been employed by the medical profession generally under the circumstances.  See Boling v. Foster, 254 Ga. App. 374 (2002).  The legal duty owed by medical professionals was to exercise “a reasonable degree of care and skill.”  See O.C.G.A. § 51-1-27.  This is the standard that applied in the vast majority of medical malpractice cases.  A narrow exception existed for the provision of emergency medical care in a hospital emergency department or obstetrical department, where it is necessary to prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the physician or healthcare provider’s actions showed “gross negligence.”  See O.C.G.A. § 51-1-29.5(c).

This threshold for proving liability in Georgia medical malpractice cases changed with Governor Kemp’s Executive Order entered April 14, 2020 concerning the Covid-19 crisis.  Executive Order, limits liability for any harm done by the employees, staff, and contractors of healthcare institutions and medical facilities  during the “Public Health State of Emergency” as to negligence, but not gross negligence, regardless of whether such service is related to the Public Health State of Emergency.  “Gross negligence” is the absence of even slight diligence, and slight diligence is defined as “that degree of care which every man of common sense, however inattentive he may be, exercises under the same or similar circumstances.”  Gliemmo v. Cousineau, 287 Ga. 7 (2010).  The Executive Order applies to all clinics, hospitals, nursing & assisted living facilities, as well as ambulatory surgical centers.

The Executive Order further provides that “The employees, staff, and contractors of healthcare institutions and medical facilities shall be considered auxiliary emergency management workers pursuant to Code Section 38-3-35.”  O.C.G.A. § 38-3-35(b) provides that auxiliary emergency management workers are immune from liability for harm, including death, sustained by persons as a result of “emergency management activity”, unless such emergency activity causing the harm was due to willful misconduct, gross negligence, or bad faith.  O.C.G.A. § 38-3-3(2) defines “emergency management” broadly, as “the preparation for the carrying out of all emergency functions … to prevent, minimize, and repair injury and damage resulting from emergencies … These functions include, without limitation … emergency medical services … together with all other activities necessary or incidental to the preparation for and carrying out of the foregoing functions.”  This means that “auxiliary emergency management workers” are immune from liability even if they acted negligently in providing medical care to a patient in Georgia.  Instead, in order to recover a plaintiff must prove that the medical care provided constituted gross negligence.

In Georgia when an innocent person is killed due to the negligence of a third person, the survivors have a claim for wrongful death damages. The full value of the life of the decedent includes both economic and non-economic components. The economic components are more readily deduced. If you take the earning capacity of the decedent, you multiply it over their projected work life expectancy and come up with a calculation as to what future lost wages would be due to the wrongful death. This is easier with a proven track record of earnings but more difficult for a child with no such record. Even in such cases, wrongful death damages can be estimated by an economist based on the educational background of the decedent’s parents.

In addition to the economic lost wages caused by a wrongful death, the survivors who have the cause of action are entitled to recover the “non-economic” damages due to the death. Such damages are measured from the standpoint of the decedent, however, and not the survivors. This means that a jury is required to look at what the decedent lost when he/she died. What did they lose by the way of companionship and life experiences? In short, what were all the intangible (non-economic) losses due to the wrongful death, which, of course, includes life itself and how many years of the enjoyment and richness of life itself were lost, which is based on the projected life expectancy of the decedent.

All wrongful death cases are quite tragic for surviving family members. When a young person dies or even a middle aged person, its very, very tragic for the survivors. Even those in the latter years of their life have their lives cut short because of the negligence of third parties which entitles their survivors to compensation for s life that was wrongfully taken and wrongfully cut short. While all cases are factually specific, under Georgia law, the age of the decedent, of course, factors into exactly how much was lost from both an economic and non-economic perspective.

Our firm regrettably has encountered several tragic cases involving serious burn injuries. These cases arise in a variety of contexts. Some of our clients have had chemical burns, others have had burns suffered in fires caused by defective products. We have handled wrongful death cases involving the death of young children due to defective air purifiers and serious disfigurement caused in automobile collisions and/or tractor-trailer accidents. Regardless of the factual context, for the victim who is innocent in the premises and suffers serious burn injuries due to chemicals, fire or otherwise, the effects of such injuries can be not only traumatic and extremely painful but also permanent, as oftentimes such injuries are disfiguring.
After the initial trauma, the question in these cases is the degree of disfigurement and how long it will impact the innocent victim. Burn injury victims oftentimes have difficulty being in the sun at all and must cover themselves. They have trouble with hot water when showering, bathing and otherwise. The disfigurement and scarring associating with burns, obviously, can be a part of the traumatic injury itself with the greater the disfigurement, the greater the future damages. In addition, plastic surgery is oftentimes necessary to revise scars which can result in increased medical expenses over and above those immediately following the traumatic injury.
If someone is involved in an accident, such as a tractor-trailer, collision where a vehicle catches fire, not only do victims oftentimes suffer orthopedic injuries, as an example, but also burn injuries. Such an injury can make the situation even more traumatic because the pain associated with multiple injures, obviously, compounds the trauma sustained by the victim. In all serious burn injury cases, it is extremely important that counsel gather all pertinent information, not only concerning the original injury but also the impact upon the client as they go forward in life. The greater the disfigurement and scar tissue, the longer it is that the victim will suffer and/or incur medical expenses and possibly lost wages all of which has to be taken into consideration in achieving a just result for the innocent victim of such injuries.

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