Confidential Settlement for Premises Liability Accident
Confidential Settlement for Motorcycle Wreck
$705,000 Verdict in Commission Dispute Case
Confidential Settlement in Golf Cart Injury
$1.9 Million Recovered in Pay Dispute
Confidential Settlement For Atlanta Chiropractic Malpractice
Confidential Settlement in Commission Pay Dispute
Confidential Settlement In Dental Malpractice Case
$3.25 Million For Alleged Fraud in Sale of Business
$5.5 Million Medical Malpractice Verdict
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I have been practicing law since 1994. Over the years I have had, what I consider, some great trial victories in areas such as medical malpractice, civil litigation and personal injury. But, there is one area of law that I have gravitated to over the years and which has become somewhat of a specialty for me: dental malpractice. While I could not fully explain in this article all of the reasons why I have gravitated to specializing in dental malpractice, I can say that I am drawn to this area of law because it allows me to help clients who have been seriously hurt seemingly out of the blue. In other words, many of my clients went to the dentist of have a simple dental procedure performed (such as getting a dental implant or root canal) and within days they have suffered a lief-changing injury. This is very unsettling and I understand what these clients are going through. Consequently, I get a deep sense of satisfaction in being able to walk them through the legal and dental process, and ultimately I do everything I can to help them recover from the dental injury and move on with their life.

I consider myself to by very good at identifying dental negligence and being able to quickly and accurately identify which dental injuries are caused by malpractice and which cases have merit. This seemingly simple step goes a long way in helping those injured in the dental chair have a clearer understanding of how and why they were hurt and what their prospects of being adequately compensated for their dental injuries are.

While my dental malpractice clients vary in every respect (i.e, age, gender, income level, political affiliation, etc.), they all have one thing in common: they were seriously injured by no fault of their own, and many times this happens when they are under general anesthesia and not even cognizant of what is taking place. I understand how troubling this is and I do all I can to address this with my clients. Many of these injuries are debilitating and permanent such as trigeminal nerve injuries, mental nerve injuries, inferior alveolar nerve injuries, and lingual nerve injuries. Due to the nature of facial nerve injuries, there is a great deal of pain, numbness, and quite frankly disbelief. All of these reactions are real and normal and I do my best to address them with each client that I represent in this area of law.

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This is the question many potential clients call to ask. And it’s a reasonable inquiry, to say the least. Whether one can sue for dental malpractice related to the placement of a dental implant depends on a number of factors including but not limited to: Whether the pre-implant planning process was properly followed; whether an implant surgical guide was used; whether the pre-implant planning measurements were followed in placing the implants; and whether the skills and technical proficiency of the dentist placing the implants meet the standard of care.

Of course, whether one can sue for dental malpractice related to the placement of dental implants will depend on the answers to the above questions. But, the result of the negligence must be a substantial injury from the dental implant placement. In other words, it is not enough that the dental implant procedure did not go well (or you are not happy with the procedure for one reason or another), in order for there to be the basis for a lawsuit, you must have suffered an injury from the dental procedure.

We have seen a proliferation of injuries to the facial nerves after the negligent placement of dental implants. Most of these are from implants placed in the lower jaw (or mandible) which are placed too deep into the jaw and affect the inferior alveolar nerve or the mental nerve, if the implant is placed closer to the front of the mouth. However, there are instances of nerve injuries after the negligent placement of dental implants in the maxillary (upper jaw) although these are much rarer and do not have a classical presentation. From the cases that I have evaluated, the trigeminal nerve most often injured by improperly placed maxillary dental implants is the infra-orbital nerve. This nerve runs out of the foramen (small opening in the skull) just below the eye and runs a course which stays well above the upper teeth. Of course, the improper placement of the dental implant must result in damages in order to support a dental malpractice lawsuit, which in many cases of dental negligence, are substantial. Whether the injury is to the nerves in the lower jaw (much more common) or upper jaw, timely action is needed in order to properly evaluate the cause of the injury and whether a malpractice lawsuit is justified.

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As an Atlanta lawyer who specializes in the handling of dental malpractice cases, I have noticed a rise in the number of dental malpractice claims caused by negligent dental treatment during certain dental procedures. Many of the injuries that we have been seeing are catastrophic and permanent. The cases on the rise that I have seen involve dental nerve injuries sustained after the patient has undergone dental implant placement, root canal therapy and extraction of wisdom teeth and other molars.

Dental malpractice in this area often leads to serious injury due to the proximity of the nerves in the jaw and face to the tooth and mouth structures that are being worked on. For instance, dental implants can cause injury to the nerves in the mouth due to placement of the implant in the wrong position. This often leads to the implant crushing the nerve and the patient is often left with insurmountable pain and numbness. Similarly, if a root canal is not performed according to the applicable standard of care, this too, can lead to a serious dental nerve injury that, in many cases, is permanent and debilitating.

As a dentist licensed in the State of Georgia, a dentist and the acts performed in the dental  practice are governed by and subject to the Georgia Dental Practice Act, O.C.G.A. §§ 43-11-1, et seq. (the “Dental Act”) Under the Dental Act, “dentistry” means the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment, or any combination thereof, whether using surgical or nonsurgical procedures, of diseases, disorders, or conditions, or any combination thereof, of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area, or the adjacent and associated structures, or any combination thereof, and their impact on the human body provided by a dentist, within the scope of his or her education, training, and experience, in accordance with the ethics of the profession and applicable law, including, but not limited to, the acts specified in Code Section 43-11-17. When a dentist performs any of the procedures mentioned in the Dental Act, the procedures must be performed within the standard of care or liability attaches to the malpractice.

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Many arguments between dog owners and others start with the picking up of the dog feces. Where do they end? Well sometimes they end with a dog attack and serious injuries. In the City of Atlanta, dog owner have many duties when it comes to their dogs. One such duty is to clean up after them. The City code is as follows:
Sec. 18-9. – Removal of canine fecal matter.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person owning, possessing, harboring or having care, charge, control or custody of any dog not to remove any feces left by that dog on any sidewalk, gutter, street, lot or other public area. Dog waste shall be immediately removed by placing said matter in a closed or sealed container and thereafter disposing of it in a trash receptacle, sanitary disposal unit or other closed or sealed refuse container.

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Recent studies confirm that almost 1/4 of Americans have been negatively impacted by medical errors. While this appears alarming on its face, the scary part, is that the actual number of Americans who have been victimized by medical negligence could be much higher due to unreported medical errors or situations in which medical errors have occurred and are the subject of a coverup by the doctor or hospital.

The recent survey which was conducted by the NORC at the University of Chicago, found that almost 25% of Americans reported having personally experienced a medical error and was careful to note that, when medical errors do occur, they “have a lasting impact on the patient’s physical health, emotional health, financial well-being, or family errors.

In addition to the 25% of Americans that the study uncovered as having personally experienced the results of medical malpractice, 31%, almost 1/3 of Americans, reported that someone who they knew well and whose medical care they were personally involved with experienced the ill-effects of medical malpractice.

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Many more slip and fall cases are being litigated in Georgia state courts and a great deal of them end up in the appellate courts after appeals of summary judgment motions are either granted (i.e., the case is disposed of by the trial court on motion by the defendants and the plaintiff appeals the award of summary judgment) or denied (i.e., the defendant files a motion for summary judgment which is denied by the trial court and the defendant appeals the denial of its summary judgment motion).

As the Georgia Court of Appeals has stated in past opinions, “premises liability lies at the intersection of tort law and property law. To recover on a theory of premises liability, a plaintiff [the injured person] must show injury caused by a hazard that on an owner or occupier of land’s premises or approaches that the owner or occupier should have removed in the exercise of ordinary care for the safety of the invited public.”

We refer to these types of cases as Georgia Public Premises Liability Injuries. The law governing injuries that occur in public locations is governed by, among other statutes, O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1 (“Where an owner or occupier of land, by express or implied invitation, induces or leads others to come upon [the] premises for any lawful purpose, he [or she] is liable in damages to such persons for injuries caused by his [or her] failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.”).

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In most personal injury lawsuits, medical bills make up a large portion of the damages that the Plaintiff is seeking in the suit. Still, in others, the pain and suffering portion of the damages being sought are based heavily on the amount of medical bills. In other words, if the injured Plaintiff has a lot of medical bills, it follows hand-in-hand that she has suffered a great deal and should be awarded for this inconvenience, suffering and pain. In order to place the correct emphasis on medical bills, the proper jury charge is critical. One such charge addresses the concern that the jury may  assume there is health insurance which covers (and has paid for) the medical bills being sought by the Plaintiff and addresses the Georgia legal concept of collateral estoppel. It is as follows:

If you find the Plaintiff is entitled to damages,  you should give no consideration to other potential sources of payment or benefit to either party as you consider the issue of damages.  You are not permitted to consider or speculate whether the Plaintiff has  been or will be compensated, in whole or in part, by any other source or  whether some third-party has made or will make any payment for expenses  or damages that you find the Plaintiff has suffered as a result of the  matters alleged in this case.

In other words, it should be on no concern to the jury as to whether the Plaintiff has medical insurance that may cover some or all of the medical bills being sought in the case nor should the jury guess or speculate about this.  In addition, with the advent of document production and editing software, it is much easier to make redactions in  bills so that references to insurance are removed from the jury’s purview and this, at a minimum should be done in every case in which the medical bills will be going back to the jury as an exhibit to consider and take into account in order to arrive at an amount of damages that will fairly and adequately compensate the Plaintiff in the lawsuit.  In order to protect against the jury penalizing the Plaintiff for making the correct legal redactions, the Plaintiff attorney in the case should strongly consider a jury charge such as the following:

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There are many different jurisdictions in the metropolitan Atlanta area and many of these have different codes or statutes which impute liability to dog owners when there is a dog attack that results in personal injuries. One thing is for sure though, there is no longer the “one bite rule” in Georgia, or to be more specific, a dog does not have to have bitten someone before for the owner of that dog to be liable for damages caused by the attack. For instance, the rule of law in Cobb County, holds dog owners to an even higher standard.  Pursuant to Cobb County Code of Ordinance, § 10-11, “It shall be unlawful for the owner of any animal to permit such animal to be out of his immediate control and restraint… .” 10-11 (2) (b) defines restraint when off the owner’s premises as “…all animals shall at a minimum be maintained on an appropriate chain, leash, or tie not exceeding six feet in length, and in the hands of a person who possesses the ability to restrain the animal.”

It follows that liability to the owner attaches where the dogs are leashed in Cobb County (and other municipalities in and around Atlanta that have similar leash laws) if the victim of the dog bite can prove:  (1) that the dog was vicious; or (2) that the dog is a dangerous animal; or (3) a violation of heel or leash laws. Cobb county defines vicious and dangerous differently but, for purposes of this analysis, either can be proven in order to prevail against the defendant dog owner.

In Steagald v. Eason, (300 Ga. 717, 2017) the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that liability could attach to the dog owner under O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7, even if the attack took place in the dog owner’s home or fenced in yard. Under O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7 A person who owns or keeps a vicious or dangerous animal of any kind and who, by careless management or by allowing the animal to go at liberty, causes injury to another person who does not provoke the injury by his own conduct my be liable for damages to the injured person. In coming to its conclusion in the Steagald case, the Supreme Court of Georgia first noted that the rule [for liability] “does not literally require a first bite.” It then went on to discuss how, to show the requisite knowledge of the dog’s propensity to bite, could be satisfied by a number of different incidences, not just from a previous bite. “If there is an incident or incidents which would put a prudent man on notice to anticipate the even which occurred” then the owner’s knowledge may be inferred. In doing so, the Supreme Court of Georgia made clear that, to the extent that the appellate court has ruled otherwise, they are overruled.

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You were involved in a car wreck or other incident that has left you injured. You are wondering whether you should hire a Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer or handle the negotiations with the insurance company yourself. Short answer: Hire an attorney, you will be better off in the long run and you will realize a larger recovery in your pocket than trying to negotiate a settlement on your own. Doubt this advice? Then you do so at your own peril. Studies show that insurance companies and insurance adjusters treat claims that are being handled by lawyers more fairly and do not try some of the tricks that they might be willing to pull on those who are not represented. This, in almost all cases, puts more money in your pocket.

If you have ever dealt with insurance adjusters directly, you know some of the “questionable” tactics that they employ. They frequently will drag out claims for as long as they can, and then eventually deny the claim shortly before the statute of limitations for the claim runs. To be sure, if you are not represented by a lawyer, you are more likely to be taken advantage of by an insurance company (or at least they will try to do this). They will often ask you to sign a bunch of documents, medical releases, employment releases, sign recorded statements, etc. with no real intent of settling your claims. The real goal is to stonewall you for as long as possible before denying the claim.

In addition, dishonest insurance adjusters will frequently ask injured potential clients many questions that are not relevant to the claims such as whether you have health insurance that will cover the medical bills (this is in violation of the collateral source rule in Georgia), whether you have spoken with an attorney about the case, or whether you have been injured before. This is especially true of third-party adjusters who are hired by insurance companies to adjust claims on an ad-hoc basis. These adjusters are especially aggressive as their goal is to settle your case for pennies on the dollar so that they can get more business in the future from that particular insurance company. Instead of trying to fairly resolve the claim, their goal is to delay your case for as long as possible, and then offer you as little as possible in order to make them look good to the home office insurance company. A good lawyer will not stand for this.

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Most times, if a plaintiff has suffered a serious personal injury, there will be a claim for lost wages. As can be expected, defendants may claim that plaintiff is not entitled to lost earnings because of a few reasons, such as:

  1. Plaintiff was unemployed at time of injury.
  2. Plaintiff’s can not show amount of earnings that will be lost with certainty.