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Sample Georgia State Court Jury Charges

 

PLAINTIFF’S REQUESTS TO CHARGE

Plaintiff respectfully requests the Court to give the charges attached hereto. Plaintiff requests the Judge to charge the following separate charges, each of which have been numbered separately and are to be considered a separate and distinct request, as if each numbered request to charge were submitted to the Judge separate from all other numbered requests to charge. This is expressly not a request to charge the following attached requests to charge collectively or en bloc. Plaintiffs reserve the right to submit additional charges as appropriate.

Respectfully submitted this the __________day of __________________, 20____.

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

I charge you that the testimony of a party who offers himself as a witness in his own behalf is to be construed most strongly against him when it is self-contradictory, vague, or equivocal. He is not entitled to a finding in his favor if that version of his testimony which is most unfavorable to him shows that the verdict should be against him.

Davis v. Akridge, 199 Ga. 867, 36 S.E.2d 102 (1945).

Southern Bank of the State of Ga. v. Goettee, et. al., 108 Ga. 796, 33 S.E. 974 (1899).

The Western & Atlantic R.R. Co. v. Evans, 96 Ga. 481, 23 S.E. 494 (1895).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

I charge you that where a witness shall be contradicted as to a material matter, the witness’ credit as to other matters shall be for the jury, but if a witness shall swear willfully and knowingly falsely, the witness’ testimony shall be disregarded entirely, unless corroborated by circumstances or other unimpeached evidence. The credit to be given the witness’ testimony where impeached for contradictory statements out of court shall be for the jury to determine.


The Central Railroad, et. al. v. Phinazee, 93 Ga. 488, 21 S.E. 66 (1894).
O.C.G.A. § 24-9-85

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

A person professing to practice chiropractic care or the administering of medicine for compensation must bring to the exercise of her profession a reasonable degree of care and skill. Any injury resulting from a want of such care and skill shall be an act for which recovery may be had.

This standard, when applied to the facts and circumstances of any particular case, means such degree of care and skill as, under similar conditions and like surrounding circumstances, is ordinarily employed by the profession generally.

If a chiropractor in the treatment and care of a patient, should use that degree of care and diligence ordinarily employed by the profession generally under similar conditions and like surrounding circumstances, then the chiropractor would not be negligent; therefore there could be no finding of malpractice. If, on the other hand, the chiropractor should fail to use such degree of care and skill, she would be negligent, and if injury resulted because of such failure, the chiropractor would be liable for such injury as a result of malpractice.

Suggested Pattern Jury Instructions, Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia, Volume I, Pages 251-252 (3rd Ed. Rev. 1998).

Hinkle v. Smith, 12 Ga. App. 497 (1913).

Mills v. Emory, 114 Ga. App. 63 (1966).

Simpson v. Dickson, 167 Ga. App. 344, 306 S.E.2d 404 (1983).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

I charge you, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, that in performing her services, a chiropractor must exercise a reasonable degree of care and skill; if she fails to exercise a reasonable degree of care or skill she may be liable for any damages which may ensue, without reference to whether she did or did not possess the requisite amount of skill or whether she negligently failed to exercise the skill which she did possess. Even though a chiropractor may be skilled in her profession, She is nevertheless under a duty to exercise reasonable care and skill in performance of her services.

Yeates v. Boyd, 50 Ga. App. 331, 177 S.E. 921 (1934).

Hayes v. Brown, 108 Ga. App. 360, 133 S.E.2d 102 (1963).


PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

I charge you that negligence may not be inferred from the mere happening of an event, but rather it consists of the failure to exercise the appropriate level of care, skill, and diligence. I further charge you, however, that the happening of an event itself may be considered by you, along with all the other evidence in this case.

Word v. Henderson, 220 Ga. 846, 142 S.E.2d 244 (1965).

Western & Atlantic Railroad v. Fowler, 77 Ga. App. 206, 47 S.E.2d 874 (1948).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

Members of the jury, I charge you that the Defendant took the Plaintiff as she found her; that is, the fact that Plaintiff may have had certain pre-existing conditions which combined with the negligent act or acts, if any, of the Defendant and caused or contributed to Plaintiff’s injuries would not absolve the Defendant of liability if you should find that the Defendant was negligent and such negligence was a contributing factor in Plaintiff’s injuries.

Pullman Company v. Strang, 35 Ga. App. 59, 132 S.E. 399 (1926).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

In all cases, necessary expenses resulting from the injury are a legitimate item of damages. As to medical expenses, such as hospital bills, doctor bills, rehabilitation bills, medicine bills, and bills for prosthetic appliances, the amount of damage would be the reasonable value of such expense as was reasonably necessary.

In addition to an award of past medical expenses, you may also make an award for future medical expenses if you find that Plaintiff will continue to require medical attention in the future due to the acts of the defendant. There must be some evidence before you as to the amount of these future medical expenses. You should also take into account that you are making a present cash award for expenses to be incurred in the future.

O.C.G.A. § 51-12-7.

Massie v. Ross, 211 Ga. App. 354, 439 S.E.2d 3 (1993).

Bennett v. Haley, 132 Ga. App. 512, 208 S.E.2d 302 (1974).

MacDonald v. United States, 900 F.Supp 483 (M.D.Ga. 1995).

Wells v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp., 615 F. Supp. 262 (N.D.Ga. 1985), aff’d in part, 788 F.2d 741 (11th Cir. 1986).

Suggested Pattern Jury Instructions, Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia, Volume I, Page 81 (3rd Ed. Rev. 1998).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

I charge you that if you find in favor of Plaintiff, you may consider the pain and suffering which Plaintiff has endured as a result of the negligence of the Defendant, if any. If you find that she suffered pain, either mental or physical, or both mental and physical, up to the present time, you may make an allowance therefore up to the present time. If you find that her injuries are such as will probably cause future pain and suffering, either mental and physical, or both mental and physical, you would also be authorized to allow compensation for such future mental and physical pain and suffering.

Now in connection with the subject of pain and suffering, I charge you that the impairment of bodily or physical faculties, if any, and the loss of one’s ability to work and labor may cause physical or mental suffering whether there is a direct pecuniary loss or not. I charge you that every person is entitled to retain and enjoy each and every power of body and mind with which he has been endowed, and no one, without being answerable in damages, can wrongfully deprive another by a physical injury of such power or faculty or materially impair the same.

Deprivation or impairment of such can be classed with pain and suffering and the diminished capacity of one to work and labor is an element of pain and suffering. Such pain and suffering may follow from a consciousness of the existence of a permanently impaired capacity to work and labor. If one be handicapped by physical injuries from performing the tasks incident to her station in life, or if the character of the injuries be such as to cause one mental anxiety, or dread of physical suffering, reasonably certain to continue in the future, you may consider such elements in assessing damages for pain and suffering. Such loss or impairment of any power or faculty is a matter for compensation and may be considered by you in determining damages for pain and suffering, if any.

In arriving at the damages to be awarded for pain and suffering, you should act impartially and in accordance with your conscience. The amount should be reasonable and just as to all parties and should compensate Plaintiff for the injuries sustained. The only guide for you in determining compensation for mental and physical pain and suffering is the enlightened conscience of impartial jurors acting under the sanctity of your oath to compensate the Plaintiff with fairness to the Defendant.

As can be seen, there is no mathematical formula for determining damages for pain and suffering. The legal guide is the enlightened conscience of the jury. However, counsel are permitted, in arguing the case, to present any reasonable theory to you for your consideration in determining such amount.

The Atlanta Street Railroad Company v. Jacobs, 88 Ga. 647, 651-653, 15 S.E. 825 (1891).

City Council of Augusta v. Drawdy, 75 Ga. App. 543, 547, 43 S.E.2d 569 (1947).

Florida Central and Peninsular Railroad Company v. Burney, 98 Ga. 1, 6-8, 26 S.E. 730 (1895).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

I charge you that with respect to the permanency of Plaintiff’s injuries, permanent injuries may be proved either by the opinions of physicians or by proof of facts from which you would be authorized to infer that the injuries were permanent. Expert opinion is not necessarily required to establish permanency.

Southern Railway Co. v. Clariday, 124 Ga. 958, 959, 53 S.E. 461 (1905).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

Loss of earnings from the time of the alleged injury to the time of trial is a legal item of damages, and its measure is the value of the earnings which the evidence shows with reasonable certainty the plaintiff has lost as a result of her injury. You may consider what the plaintiff was making at the time of the injury, what was made since the injury, the amount customarily paid in the locality for the kind of work the plaintiff does, and such matter. There must be some evidence before you as to the plaintiff’s loss.

Suggested Pattern Jury Instructions, Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia, Volume I, Page 81 (3rd Ed. Rev. 1998).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

I charge you that if you find that Plaintiff’s earnings will be permanently reduced or destroyed, lost future earnings, just like lost past earnings, are to be determined on the basis of the earnings the plaintiffs will lose in the future, and there must be some evidence before you as to the amount of such earnings. In so doing, you should take into consideration their life expectancy and that old age generally reduces the capacity to labor and earn money. You may also take into consideration the proposition that their ability to earn money could have increased during some later periods of their lives, if the evidence authorizes it.

By taking the above factors as to earning capacity and life expectancy into consideration and applying them to the Plaintiff’s life, you should determine what the average annual loss of future earnings probably would be. After you have done this, you may reduce the gross loss of future earnings to their present cash value at a rate of interest of 5 percent reduction factor.

Suggested Pattern Jury Instructions, Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia, Volume I, Page 84-85 (3rd Ed. Rev. 1998).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

A married person has a right to recover for the loss of consortium, sometimes called loss of services, of the spouse. You should be careful to remember that services the law refers to in this are not only household labor, but also society, companionship, affection, and all matters of value arising from marriage. There does not have to be any direct evidence of their value, but the measure of damages is their reasonable value, as determined by the enlightened conscience of impartial jurors, taking into consideration the nature of the services and all the circumstances of the case.

Where permanent loss of consortium occurs, you would determine the damages on the basis of the joint life expectancy of the husband and wife, that is, by how long they would both have lived together if the injury of the spouse had not occurred.

Suggested Pattern Jury Instructions, Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia, Volume I, Pages 89-90 (3rd Ed. Rev. 1998).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

Members of the jury, I charge you that you may determine the life expectancy of a person when their age is shown without any other direct evidence on the subject. You are also entitled to consider the evidence pertaining to her health, habits, surroundings, and method of living, in deciding this matter.

There is another way in which you may determine the life expectancy of the plaintiff. There has been introduced into evidence a copy of the Annuity Mortality Table for 1949 Ultimate. If you desire to determine from this Table the life expectancy of a person, look up their age in one column and across from the age column you will find the life expectancy of a person of that age. This life expectancy shown on any such table is just a guide that you may follow or not as you see fit while considering the evidence as a whole.

Suggested Pattern Jury Instructions, Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia, Volume I, Page 86 (3rd Ed. Rev. 1998).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

If you find from the evidence that Defendant did not exercise the appropriate degree of skill and care, as to which you have been instructed, in performing the chiropractic adjustments which are the subject of this action, and that such erroneous treatment resulted in injury to the patient, you may find that defendant’s actions constitute malpractice.

Littleton v. OB-GYN Associates of Albany, P.C., 199 Ga.App. 44, 403 S.E.2d 137 (1991)

Hogan v. Almand, 131 Ga.App. 225, 205 S.E.2d. 440 (1974)

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

The law imposes upon a chiropractor the same degree of responsibility in making a diagnosis of a condition or case as in prescribing or administering treatment to an accepted patient. If you find from the evidence that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care in diagnosing the plaintiff’s condition, and that as a result thereof the plaintiff suffered injury and damage, then you may consider same in determining whether the defendant was negligent, as I have defined that term.

Beatty v. Morgan, 170 Ga.App.661, 317 S.E2d 662 (1984).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

Ordinary negligence means the absence of or the failure to use that degree of care which is used by ordinarily careful persons under the same or similar circumstances. Unlike professional negligence, ordinary negligence does not require expert testimony in order to prove its existence.

Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia, Suggested Pattern Jury Instructions, Vol. I, 3rd Ed., p. 232.

O.C.G.A. § 5-1-2

Dent v. Memorial Hospital of Adel, No. S97G1960, 98 FCDR 4106, 1998 WL 834335 (Decided Dec. 3, 1998).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

The relationship between a patient and her medical provider is one of trust and confidence. Thus, a patient has the right to rely upon the statements and actions of her medical provider.

Professional persons such as chiropractors have a unique duty owed to their patients. The primary distinction between a professional service and a purely commercial enterprise is that a profession is a calling which demands adherence to the public interest as the foremost obligation of the practitioner. A professional person is liable for an abuse of the trust reposed in her by the public.

Stephen W. Brown Radiology Associates v. Gowers, 157 Ga. App. 770, 773, 278 S.E.2d 653, 660 (1981).

Lorentzon v. Rowell, 171 Ga. App. 821, 826, 321 S.E.2d 341, 345 (1984).

Downey v. Bexley, 253 Ga. 125, 125-126, 317 S.E.2d 523, 524 (1984).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER ________

The law making the relationship of doctor or chiropractor and patient confidential is a salutary one, and it is the duty of the courts to strictly enforce it. That relationship makes it imperative that patients rely implicitly upon the acts and words of their physician or chiropractor, and they are entitled to the protection of law in reposing this confidence.

Lowe v. Presley, 86 Ga. App. 328, 332, 71 S.E.2d 730, 733 (1952).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NUMBER _____

Members of the jury, I charge you that a chiropractor is under a duty to exercise reasonable care in looking after and protecting patients as the patient’s condition may require.

Deese, et al. v. Carroll City County Hospital, et al, 203 Ga. App. 148, 149, 416 S.E.2d 127, 128 (1992).

Johnson, et al. v. Parnes, et al, 163 Ga. App. 404, 405, 294 S.E.2d 624, 625 (1982).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NO. _____

An expert witness is one who through education, training, or experience has peculiar knowledge concerning some matter of science or skill to which his testimony relates. Expert opinion may be based upon one or more following: education, training, experience, or scientific studies.

All that is required for one to give expert testimony is that she has been educated in the particular trade or profession; and special knowledge involving a particular subject may be derived from experience as well as study and mental application.

Lee v. Satilla Health Services, 220 Ga. App. 885, 889, 470 S.E.2d 461, 464 (1996).

Dimambro Northend Associates v. Williams, 169 Ga. App. 219, 220, 312 S.E.2d 386, 388 (1983).

Dennis v. State, 158 Ga. App. 142, 143, 279 S.E.2d 275, 277 (1981).

PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO CHARGE NO. _____

A plaintiff has a right of action for the aggravation of a pre-existing physical condition, illness or injury by the defendant, just as she would have for the infliction of a new physical injury.

Even though the Plaintiff may allege that the injuries in this case are all new and independent of any pre-existing condition, she may still recover for the aggravation of a pre-existing condition if you, the jury, find that the injuries complained of by Plaintiff in this lawsuit are due, in whole or in part, to the aggravation of a prior condition.

Bray v. Latham, 8 SE2d 64 (Ga. 1888)

City of Atlanta v. Hampton, 77 SE2d 393 (Ga. 1912)

Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, automobile accident cases, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. He has successfully tried many cases to verdict. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.