Get Help If You Have Suffered Injuries in a Workplace Accident

In Georgia, workers who have been injured on the job have the right to pursue a Georgia workers’ compensation claim. They do not have the right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit or claim against their employer. However, in some instances, an injured worker might be able to seek additional compensation for their work-related injuries through a third-party injury claim.

What is the difference between workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims?

A workers’ compensation claim does not require the claimant show that the employer owes him or her a duty. Nor does the claimant have to show that the duty was breached by failing to act reasonably. So essentially, it is irrelevant who is to blame for the injury it is only important that the injury occured while in the course of employment and that it was related to the employment. Also, the claimant can obtain the cost of medical bills and lost wages but will not get any money for pain and suffering.

A personal injury claim requires duty, breach, causation, and damages be shown. In other words, the claimant must prove that the he or she was owed a duty, that the duty owed was not met under reasonable circumstances, and that because of this, he or she sustained damages. Additionally, the claimant can recover financial losses for lost income, medical bills, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and other such losses. However, only one settlement is given and there can never be any additional future benefits.

What is a Third-Party Claim?

A third party claim exists in addition to workers’ compensation and are claims not brought against your employer, but rather another third party who was fully or partially at fault for the accident. An example would be a worker operating faulty heavy equipment at a construction job. A third party claim could be brought against the company who manufactures the equipment. The claim can be against either a business or or an individual and would be rewarded in addition to your workers’ compensation.

Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney.

Having an workplace accident and knowing what to do next is very confusing. If you talk to a lawyer right away it can save you headaches down the line. It can be difficult to navigate these waters, while at the same time trying to meet deadlines, submit the right forms, etc. and often leaves a person feeling overwhelmed. This is exactly when a personal injury lawyer can step in, identify where your compensation should be coming from and then protect your legals rights while getting the maximum settlement on your claim.

Personal Injury Law: Dog Bite Injuries

        Dogs bite over 4 million Americans each year and leave victims who often suffer traumatic injuries. Most require a trip to the emergency room and immediate medical treatment. It is important to contact a personal injury attorney in the event you are bitten by a dog to find out what type of compensation is available to help you recover.

Common Physical Injuries from a Dog Bite

Dogs have extremely sharp teeth that can penetrate the human skill easily. This causes punctures, lacerations, and nerve damage. If the dog penetrates the skin deep enough, you can sustain ligament damage. In any instance, surgical repair is often necessary.  Dogs are also strong and can anchor down with its teeth while twisting causing further injury to your body. For example, a dog may bite down on your arm while yanking its head back, spraining your arm or even twisting it out of socket. Dogs are strong enough they can even crush your bones. Dog bites also become infected easily and victims often require a heavy dose of antibiotics to stave off the infection.

Emotional Injuries from a Dog Bite

        People don’t always realize the traumatic emotional scars that a dog bite victim may suffer. Many can’t sleep or suffer frequent flashbacks about the incident. This leads the victim into depression or a severely anxious state. It is not uncommon for the victim of a dog bite to enter into therapy or require the use of psychotropic drugs to help them manage. This goes triple fold for children who are victims and the emotional scars are often far worse for them.

What to do…

Initially you can provide first aid for a dog bite at home if it is superficial. But it is very important that you visit a doctor—especially if it is an unfamiliar dog to you or the bleeding won’t stop.  Throughout the experience, you want to continually look for signs of infection and follow all doctor orders. Make sure to provide the doctor with information about where the attack occurred, whether the dog required provocation for the attack, the current location of the dog, and if the dog looked healthy or not. 

Compensation

It is possible you are entitled to compensation from the dog owner. For instance, if the owner didn’t properly restrain the dog or failed to warn people. This money would go towards medical bills and lost wages. Pain and suffering could also be compensated since the circumstances are so significant for the victim. It is imperative that you meet with a qualified personal injury lawyer and allow your legal options to be laid out for you. A lawyer will help make sure you get the proper compensation required to heal and recover. 

Drugged Drivers and Personal Injury Lawsuits

Driving under the influence of drugs continues to cause an increase in the number of crashes and fatalities. And while there is a nationally recognized level of alcohol impairment (.08 g/ml), there is no similar national standard for those driving drugged. Georgians’ are well aware of the dangers associated with drunk driving but seem less aware that being under the influence of a drug is equally dangerous. In any state, it is becoming increasingly common for officers to administer field sobriety tests for drugs other than alcohol. This would include drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, and opiates—all of which affect your motor skills, reaction time, and awareness. This makes drugged driving a public safety hazard. So what happens if you are involved in an accident with a drugged driver?

Georgia and Drugged Driving

Georgia is a “per se” law state that is aimed at preventing all forms of impaired driving. This type of law makes it illegal to drive with amounts of specified drugs in the body that exceed set limits. Specifically, Georgia has a zero tolerance per se drugged driving law enacted for cannabis, cannabis metabolites, and other controlled substances. Additionally, according to Georgia law, it is illegal for a person to be under the influence of any prohibited drug (including prescription or over-the-counter) while driving. A person is guilty of a DUI if he or she is a.) driving while under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive; or b.) operating a motor vehicle with any amount of marijuana or controlled substance present in his or her body. Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-391

Legal Implications of Drugged Driving

There is no legal difference between being injured by a driver intoxicated with alcohol, or a driver intoxicated by drugs. It comes down to the fact that a driver who chooses to get behind the wheel after consuming a mind altering substance is putting everyone else’s life at risk. Drugged driving accidents can lead to serious injuries and even death. A drugged driver that causes an accident will be held legally responsible for the harm they caused. Following an accident that was caused by a drugged driver, the victim may be entitled to compensatory damages by way of a personal injury lawsuit. With the help of an experienced lawyer, the victim would try to show that the drugged driver was negligent and failed to meet their duty of reasonable care. In Georgia, the driver may be found legally at fault through the theory of negligence per se, if they are found to be in violation of the statue. Civil damages are a way to help the victim recover compensation. If the accident caused a death then family members may choose to pursue a wrongful death claim, which would provide compensation for medical costs and funeral expenses.

If you have been in a car accident you want to collect information to establish fault. The very fact that the other driver was under the influence of a substance is critical to your case. It also makes it much more likely that you can receive the financial compensation you deserve as you attempt to pay medical bills, property damage, and time lost from work. It is critical that you find an attorney with experience with drugged driving cases and a strong record of successful monetary recoveries.

This Is Why No Two Accidents Are The Same Part II

Welcome to Part II of our series discussing five factors that are significant in determining the value of your automobile accident claim. Today we will discuss how insurance and available insurance coverages play a a large role in the success or failure of your claim, and how they also play off of each other, sometimes resulting in far different outcomes for a very similar type of claim.

4. Insurance

The truth is that there are certain insurance companies who just don’t care. They have no problem putting up a fight about any given situation and couldn’t care less about how unfair they appear to everyone involved. In essence, they force the injured party to file suit just so they can get the bare minimum paid on their medical bills.

And it’s only getting worse.

We are seeing more and more of it every day when in reality, a reasonable settlement would benefits both parties much better. Especially as they have just been through a traumatic auto accident. Anyone involved in a personal injury claim can count on insurance being a significant part of it. The amount and type of coverage are an important consideration in the overall formula. The more painful and severe your injuries usually leads to more money than what they would have otherwise paid. They also look at potential long term effects and whether or not you will be permanently disfigure or scared.

5. Insurance Coverage Available

Some of the most severe injuries come from those who are underinsured or not insured at all. If you have adequate insurance your outcomes are better and you will likely resume restorative health much more quickly.

Liability insurance

By law, you must have liability insurance as it is what covers you in the event you are at fault for an accident. This is not to be disputed, however it is frequently disobeyed which is why the next type of insurance policy was created.

The Uninsured Motorist

Uninsured motorist is to protect yourself if you are in a incident with a driver who is underinsured or fails to have insurance at all. Purchasing this policy is an excellent safeguard to protect yourself against other drivers that you can’t control, which is all of them.

You have no control over whether or not a driver stays out half the night drinking and then gets behind the wheel of the car. This is the best method to protect yourself against other motorists and is something most insurance companies will allow you to purchase.

Medical payments insurance coverage

This is the insurance that pays for medical care and prescriptions, in addition to lost wages and other payments. It is based upon the amount of medical coverage you would need and is considered a critical policy to have. The payout amounts usually range from $500 to $50,000.00. This insurance would serve as your primary insurance before any other health insurance you might have. It is very inexpensive and is fantastic in safeguarding against the unforeseen car crash and subsequent medical care.

To summarize, there are many more than the six factors we discussed that have an impact on the outcome of your claim. It is essential you obtain a lawyer to help you through this process. You attorney will be of great help in helping you get the best possible settlement at the end of the case.

This Is Why No Two Accidents Are The Same

Why do you think people use the phrase “no two accidents are the same”? Well, it is likely because there are so many variables that need to be considered when determining an accident claim. This blog is Part One of a Two Part series discussing five factors that contribute to the outcome of a claim following an auto accident.

1. Type of Accident

There are multiple types of accidents that may occur and knowing what type of crash you were in is the first step in determining your next course of action. This is the time to bring a lawyer on board so that you have help from start to finish. The type of crash will be determined by how seriously you were injured. The following are types of common collisions:

  • Rear-end impacts
  • Head on collision
  • Side-swipe collision
  • Rollover accident
  • Side-Impact Collisions, aka a T bone
  • Multi-Vehicle Accidents

2. Location

The location of where an accident took place plays a significant role in how things might play out with a jury trial. As with most regions, some places are more conservative or have a more conservative jury pool and others are more liberal. The jurisdiction has an impact upon any settlement or verdict but is not the only factor considered.

3. Punitive

While punitive damages are rarely awarded in automobile crash cases, it is possible for someone hurt in an automobile accident by another driver’s negligence to obtain punitive damages. There are, however, limits on the amount. With a punitive circumstance, you have a higher chance at a successful claim so long as your injuries are related and treatment is reasonable. The punitive facts of a case can be the difference between a settlement and also a trial.

4. Injuries caused by the automobile accident.

Insurance companies won’t cover what might have happened unless there is evidence that you will need surgery. Even then, they will likely attempt to block you from any future expensive treatment. They will likely attempt to refuse coverage of your surgery so it is key you keep your options open with your provider.

This is also significant if you are pursuing an accident claim following an incident. Most states states enable you to add a claim for pain and suffering as part of your own damages, but it can be uncomfortable attaching a financial value to your own pain. Not to mention being one of the most difficult parts of the claim. Establishing a pain and suffering claim is far from easy as you can’t necessarily visualize pain. You can visualize signs of pain such as tenderness, but those are only reactions to what pain might feel like.

As you can see, there are many things that contribute claims determinations from an accident. Next week, we will discuss the role of insurance carriers in how determinations are made.

Legal Implications of Tractor-Trailer Accidents in Georgia

If you live anywhere near Atlanta, the chances are you have seen your fair share of tractor trailers on the road. You may have even witnessed an accident or two, because since the year 2016, Georgia’s trucking accident statistics have been on the rise. With roughly 3.3 million trucks on the road, truckers are constantly trying to meet deadlines by logging more miles.

The job is stressful—very stressful, as the entire country relies on truckers to deliver groceries, alcohol, and basically any other consumer good you can think of. Some truckers become so fatigued they turn to prescription pills to keep them awake. The pills then often cause them to feel sick or have the opposite intended effect, and they become more drowsy. It becomes a vicious cycle full of very unhealthy practices.

Common Causes of Tractor Trailer Accidents

The top causes of extensive crashes with large trucks are as follows:

  • Driver Error.

This is the leading cause of accidents and include such factors as:

  • Substance use or abuse
  • Speeding
  • Fatigue
  • Didn’t check blind spot
  • Illegal driving
  • Not maintaining enough distance
  • Road Rage
  • Distractibility
  • Weather Related.

The weather has a direct effect on tractor-trailer accidents because of road conditions. Since large rigs are so tall and heavy, wet or icy road conditions can lead to dangerous driving conditions. The normal distance needed is often decreased, requiring truckers to have a much quicker reaction time. Unfortunately, truck drivers fail to recognize this and thus end up in an accident.

  • Cargo Issues.

When the truck’s cargo is not loaded properly or it exceeds its maximum weight limitations, it could shift suddenly and either fly off the truck or cause the driver to crash. Plus, a truck with oversized load takes much longer to stop which causes accidents as well.

  • Equipment Failure

This is another common cause of accident and has to do with common violations such as defective tires, faulty brakes, having inoperable headlights, not maintaining the truck or having improper repair, and a lack of any recent inspection.

Legal Implications

Incidents involving other large trucks or semi trucks contribute to significant legal issues that you don’t see with regular sized automobiles. There are state and federal motor carrier regulations placed on big trucks of a certain size. There are also laws that apply to the interstate trucking industry. And unlike automobile owners, motor carriers have been legally required to keep and run their trucks and gear in accordance with numerous federal rules— such as the manner and hours in which they can operate the truck. Liability coverage and other insurance requirements covering trucks are challenging because of the equipment and heavy machinery involved.

Negligence

Most lawsuits involving truck accidents are for claims of negligence. To prove negligence, you must demonstrate that the responsible party had a duty, they breached that duty, the accident was caused by this breach of duty, and the accident caused destruction. This often means that the truck driver’s company is liable for the damages through vicarious liability. Put simply, it means that employers take responsibility for their employees actions during their “work day”.

Because truck accidents often result in severe injuries or death, you want to hire a solid, experienced personal injury attorney. You don’t want to deal with this kind of claim on your own. You must hire an attorney who will have the ability take this on so that you can focus on recovering and getting back to health. Plus, a lawyer will ensure that you aren’t taken advantage of by the insurance company and see to it you get the best possible settlement.

Here’s What You Should Know About Liability Insurance for Your Automobile in Georgia

If you have ever been involved in a car accident in Georgia, then you know how complicated trying to navigate through your rights to recovery can be. In any state, if you want to drive a vehicle, you must provide proof that you can pay for damages in the event of an accident. You have to provide proof of this whether you were in the right—or in the wrong. If you fail to provide proof you could potentially have your license revoked and even your car registration taken.

Georgia State Law

Every state has its own set minimum for liability policy. Liability policy is expressed in three numbers. The first two numbers represent coverage limits for bodily injury. The first number is the total amount of coverage available if you are at fault to pay for expenses of another person from the accident. The second number is the amount of coverage that is available to cover expenses for others involved in an accident if you are responsible. The third number is the sum available to pay for property damages of others involved.

Take Georgia’s policy for example. Liability car insurance coverage is typically written out in the following format: 25/50/25

That means the minimum liability limits for Georgians are:

  • $25,000 for injuries to one person in an accident
  • $50,000 for all injuries in an accident
  • $25,000 for property damage in one accident

What does this mean? It means that Georgia is an at-fault state so you would seek damage benefits from the insurance company of the person who caused the accident.

Georgia’s Diminished Value Situation

Unfortunately, not very many Georgians know about the diminished value law. Some may not understand it and others assume it is a negative thing. But it is actually a privilege, as Georgia is one of the few states that offer you the right to recover your vehicle’s diminished value after an accident. Georgia holds a minority position whereas other states outright reject diminution in value coverage. Diminished value is a loss in the value of your vehicle. Put simply, the law assumes that even if your car is returned to its pre-accident condition, it has lost value. It will never be worth what it was before even if it looks newer and drives stronger.

With that said, not every vehicle qualifies for a diminished status—such as those cars that were junk before the accident. Or if the accident didn’t do a lot of damage.

Tips on What to do After Repair Work is Done

  • Make sure you have a copy of repair cost as well as the police report.
  • Consent to absolutely nothing before talking to a lawyer.
  • Don’t take the first settlement offered.

If you are ever involved a car accident where your automobile sustained property damage, then you may be entitled to the diminished value of your car. Whether the accident was your fault or not. The laws can be complicated around liability so consider hiring a local attorney who is experience in this area.

Understanding Georgia’s Bad Faith Insurance Law

Imagine if your auto insurance company denied a valid claim for repairs to your car after an accident without bothering to give you a reason why. Or what if your homeowners insurance company refused to pay a valid claim after your home was damaged by a tornado—an event that is covered by your policy? Both examples are insurance companies acting in bad faith. When an insurance company fails to fulfill its obligations to you as the policy holder, they acted in bad faith and can be held liable for bad faith breach of contract. Bad faith claims can also be brought against an insurance company if they acted recklessly or illegally and disregarded your rights.

Reasons to Sue for Bad Faith Claim

Each case is unique and no one case will have an identical outcome, but her are some common reasons a lawsuit is brought against an insurance company for bad faith.

  • The insurance company failed to disclose policy limits.
  • The insurance company pressured you or gave you bad advice.
  • The insurance company delayed payment on a valid claim.
  • The insurance company failed to communicate essential information.
  • The insurance company failed to offer a fair and reasonable settlement.
  • The insurance company refused to pay the claim without investigating
  • The insurance company failed to provide an explanation for the denial of claims.
  • Insurance companies failed to respond to time-sensitive demands.
  • The insurance company denied coverage for no valid reason.

I Think My Insurance Company is Acting in Bad Faith. What should I do?

It can be difficult to know for sure whether or not your insurance company acted in bad faith. So when you start to get a gut feeling or suspect they are not living up to your policy terms, then it is time to contact an attorney for help. It is not unusual for an insurance company to refuse to pay a valid claim without providing an explanation or justification. They also employ many tactics that will make you question or doubt yourself. Which is why an attorney can give you expert advice on whether the actions of the insurance company are or are not technically “bad faith.”

What would be my Rights if my Insurance Company Acted in Bad Faith?

If your insurance company refuses to honor its contract by paying a valid claim, you have every right to sue them for damages. A bad faith law exists to balance the right of the insurer by rejecting an invalid claim with the rights of the policyholder to receive fair payment. Bad-faith insurance claims cases often require insurance companies to pay damages that go beyond what the original policy amounts listed. In addition to paying out the terms of the policy, they might have to pay statutory penalties or interest, liability judgments, attorney fees, punitive damages and emotional distress.

Going after a bad faith insurance claim is no picnic. These types of lawsuits are time consuming and complex. It is essential that you seek out an attorney with a bad faith insurance experience so they can tell you what damage to demand at the very beginning of the lawsuit. The insurance claim process is exhausting to begin with, not to mention dealing with an insurance company who refuses to cooperate. Let a qualified lawyer help protect your interests and act as an advocate for you.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit For a Child in Georgia

Imagine if you had a baby who suffered birth injuries due to a doctor’s improper use of forceps. Or if your child was injured on the steps of a local retail store that wasn’t following the proper code. And if they had been in compliance, the injuries would have been less serious and thus requiring fewer medical bills. Children are fragile and most won’t know what types of resources are available to financially protect themselves. And while they may not be old enough to seek justice for themselves, a parent or guardian can step in and act as an advocate on their child’s behalf.

Filing Child Injury Lawsuits in Georgia

If you are a minor in Georgia you are not allowed to file a lawsuit. But Georgia law does allow a parent or legal guardian to file a personal injury lawsuit on the child’s behalf. One advantage is that as a parent, you can file a separate lawsuit to get reimbursed for the medical expenses you paid for your child. So in essence you file two claims. One claim will compensate for your child’s recovery and future expenses (potential future lost wages, etc.). The other claim would reimburse the parent or guardian for the medical bills incurred, lost wages and other financial issues that transpired from the injury.

Georgia Law and Settlements

Child lawsuits are complicated in Georgia because minors cannot file lawsuits on their own behalf. They also can’t be in charge of the proceeds of their settlement or judgment. Georgia law does not require any court involvement in settlements of $15,000 or less. Parents are able to access part of it for the benefit of the child. But if the amount goes above $15,000 then it must be approved by the courts and parents are then bonded as conservators to hold the money until the minor turns 18. Georgia courts could also take the proceeds from the child’s settlement and place it into a guardianship account. It would remain there until the child turns 18 and then paid out in an annuity.

Children and adults have the same rights. They both have the right to receive compensation for injuries caused by the negligence of others. The difference is that the child’s young age makes the process complicated by having a parent file suit on his or her behalf. t If your child has been injured and you are interested in pursuing an injury claim then it is essential you contact a qualified personal injury attorney. Your attorney will help you assert your child’s rights and make sure the best possible settlement is obtained.

Unsafe Premises: Restaurant Accidents in Georgia

The restaurant industry is huge in Georgia and one of the main drivers of the economy. Restaurants also provide countless jobs for residents and play a significant role in local communities statewide. And for every restaurant there is a owner who is responsible for maintaining the property and keeping it safe for patrons and employees. They are also responsible for providing a warning of some kind if they cannot keep an area safe. Restaurants have many safety hazards but the most common injuries sustained are slip and fall accidents. Anyone who was injured due to this type of accident could be helped by a premises liability settlement to recover the money necessary for medical, lost income or other expenses.

Premises Liability in Georgia

In Georgia, if you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident and wish to bring suit you must meet the following criteria to make it a valid claim:

1. The owner had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition or should have reasonably known through the use of due care that the dangerous condition existed.

2. The injured victim was unaware of the dangerous condition.

Here is an example of what would need to be established. Let’s say a patron of the restaurant slips and falls on a spilled drink. The patron would have to show that it was the restaurant that created an unsafe condition and that the restaurant knew about (or should have known about) this unsafe condition. The patron might show that the spilled drink stayed on the floor for an extended period of time without being cleaned—and the more time the spill was left on the floor, the more likely the restaurant will be found negligent.

Other Types of Restaurant Accidents

Georgia Code § 51-3-1 establishes that the landowner is liable for injuries sustained because of a “failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises safe”. Here are some of the most common accidents or issues that result in unsafe premises claims.

  • Poor maintenance
  • Handrails broken on staircase
  • A falling object
  • Fire
  • Pool injures
  • Foodborne illness
  • Animal bites

The fact that you were injured due to unsafe premises does not always mean that someone else is liable. You must consult with a skilled lawyer in Georgia immediately so that you can determine who was at fault and whether or not you have a case-

Safety Tips for Restaurants

While you can never fully prevent accidents, there are some things that can be done to decrease the hazards and promote a safer environment.

  • Provide slip resistant mats in areas that tend to be wet.
  • Have mirrors installed for blind corners
  • Always keep walkways free of clutter
  • Use signs that announce the danger such as “Wet Surface” to alert people.
  • Do safety checks frequently to make sure areas are clean and dry.
  • Install treading on staircases

If you or someone you know sustained an injury due to a restaurant’s negligence, then you must contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately. Remember, in any personal injury situation you do not ever want to sign anything with an insurance company before contacting a lawyer. You must make sure your rights are protected and that you get a fair compensation for your injury.

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