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
Published on:

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:

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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.
Published on:

Auto accidents are some of the most common types of cases that my firm handles. Most time, a full discovery process is necessary prior to being able to resolve the case. Most good Atlanta lawyers have their own set of questions that they ask the treating doctor in these types of cases. The following questions are the 100 most important general questions. Of course each case is different and there are many more case-specific questions that are covered in addition to these generic questions:

MEDICAL DEPOSITION – VEHICLE COLLISION

  1. Please introduce your self to the jury.
Published on:

Pit bull attacks continue to dominate the number of dog attack cases in Georgia, especially when it comes to fatal attacks on young children. Two pit bulls killed a 20-month-old boy at his grandmother’s house in Hart County, Georgia, and she is now faces criminal charges related to the attack, according to recent reports.

While it is rare that dog bite cases result in criminal charges beyond citations from animal control for failing to properly maintain control of the dog and allowing it to attack someone, civil actions are much more common, as this is the usual course of action to hold the dog owner liable for the damages inflicted by the dogs after an attack.

In addition to the leash laws related to the proper control of dogs that a Georgia homeowner owns or has in its custody of control, the Georgia Code of civil procedure provides as follows:

Published on:

In addition to damages that normally flow from a personal injury, the plaintiff in Georgia in automobile accident or trucking accident cases can make a claim for attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation under certain circumstances.  For instance, a claim can be brought pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 13-6-11 for attorneys fees when the Defendant, acting by himself or through his agent, has acted in bad faith, has been stubbornly litigious, or has caused the Plaintiff unnecessary trouble and expense, thereby entitling the Plaintiff to an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation under the Civil Code of Georgia.

By way of example, when the insurance adjuster assigned to an automobile or trucking accident case does not conduct an independent investigation of the claim, and denies the claim in it’s entirety based solely personal opinion, a claim for attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation may be properly plead by the Plaintiff.

Another typical scenario of when it is proper for a Georgia Plaintiff to plead and seek attorneys’ fees in an automobile accident or trucking accident case is when the Defendant pleads guilty to the citation that was issued at the scene and which caused the wreck (such as an improper lane change, following too close, failure to yield the right of way, etc.) and admits his negligence to the police officer. Yet, the Defendant then refuses to admit simple negligence in his or her Answer to the lawsuit. This is certainly evidence of stubborn litigiousness. This is known as the “so sue me attitude” and it makes sense that the Georgia trial court would allow a claim for attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation and the plaintiff should be allowed to recover these if he or she can prove the elements that are required under OCGA § 13-6-11. Not every case is ripe to recover attorneys’ fees (in fact most cases are not), but there are actions by defendants which lead to such a claim.

Published on:

You have surely heard of car accidents, but have you heard of cart accidents. Well, if you regularly travel through Atlanta’s airport, you may. Along with a host of other incidents that result in serious injuries to airport patrons, cart injuries (those passenger shuttle carts operated by the Airlines and the Terminal Authority) in the terminals are on the rise, and many result in serious injuries.

Other injuries at Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport which are on the rise are:

  • trips, slips and falls on the marble floors and carpeting in the terminals;
Published on:

Daubert motions are becoming more prominent in personal injury litigation as more and more judges entertain pre-trial motions to strike the other side’s expert. Historically, the defendants took the lead in this tactic, but lately, Plaintiff litigants have been filing their share of Daubert motions in an attempt to strike a defendant’s expert or to strike portions of that expert’s testimony at trial. Motions being filed ares similar to the following motion used in state court:

PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO EXCLUDE EXPERT TESTIMONY

Plaintiffs, files this motion to strike the testimony of A.B., M.D., and Mr. T.G., P.E., and would respectfully show as follows:

Published on:

During the discovery phase of litigation, it is inevitable that discovery disputes arise between the plaintiff and defendants in Georgia personal injury, premises liability and malpractice litigation. One area of dispute that comes up often is when the plaintiff seeks the file that the insurance adjuster has compiled on the case. While the insurance companies try to avoid turning the file over, it is often discoverable unless the defendants can show a compelling reason to the court that it not be discoverable.

WORK PRODUCT IS NOT A BLANKET PROTECTION

The Defendants often claim that the adjuster’s investigative file is protected from disclosure by the so called “work product” privilege under O.C.G.A. §9-11-26(B)(3). This code section of the Georgia Civil Code deals with trial preparation materials and states in relevant part “a party may obtain discovery of documents … otherwise discoverable … and prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial by or for another party or by or for that other party’s representative … only upon a showing that the party seeking discovery has substantial need of the materials in the preparation of his case and that he is unable without undue hardship to obtain the substantial equivalent of the materials by other means. In ordering discovery of such materials when the required showing has been made, the court shall protect against disclosure of the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories of an attorney or other representative of a party concerning the litigation.”