• $10.8 Million resolution of a wrongful death professional negligence case.
  • $3,000,000 to the surviving spouse in a wrongful death / medical malpractice case
  • $1.75 Million for a 26 year old woman who was injured and the injury resulted in complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) in her foot.
  • $1,900,000 to a man run over by a bus who sustained serious crush injuries to his legs
  • $1,120,000 for death of 48 year old man in a three vehicle collision
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In a recent Georgia personal injury action, the plaintiff sued the defendant, who worked for an electrical services company, when she fell on her as they walked down a staircase in her home. The plaintiff had asked the company for electrical services. Its two employees, one of whom was the defendant, met her to inspect her water heater and heater in her basement. There were windows in the basement that provided some lighting, but there was no direct lighting on the stairs.

The plaintiff was wearing clogs with two and a half inch heels. The staircase had a preconstruction step and a split platform. The plaintiff told the electric company employees to take care because there wasn’t a handrail. The defendant wasn’t worried about the lack of handrail and used her left hand to sweep the wall and keep balance. The plaintiff walked down first, the defendant walked behind her, with another electric company employee bringing up the rear. However, as the defendant came to the split platform, she fell and knocked the plaintiff down. She fell on top of the plaintiff on the concrete floor of the basement.

The plaintiff was taken to the hospital. The defendant testified she didn’t know what caused her fall, but later she told the plaintiff she fell simply because she lost her balance. The defendant completed an accident report that stated she fell because of the design of the premises and she hadn’t paid attention to footing. She photographed the scene later and decided she’d lost her balance because her shoe heel had passed through a gap in the staircase. However, the staircase passed the County’s inspection.

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In a recent appellate case, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled on an important issue regarding apportionment of fault in truck accident lawsuits. The case arose when a man crossing the street was hit by a truck driven by the defendant and owned by the defendant’s employer. The administrator of the man’s estate sued the defendants for wrongful death and personal injury. The lower court granted partial summary judgment on the administrator’s claims for negligent entrustment, supervision, and hiring, as well as punitive damages.

At the trial, the jury determined the defendants were 50% at fault and the decedent was 50% at fault. Accordingly, under Georgia’s modified comparative negligence rule, barring recovery if a plaintiff is 50% or more at fault, the administrator could not recover damages for the estate.

The plaintiff administrator appealed. An appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision. It reasoned that because the trucking company admitted that the doctrine of respondeat superior applied, and the lower court granted summary judgment to the employer on the plaintiff’s punitive damages, the employer was entitled to summary adjudication of the estate’s negligent hiring training, supervision and entrustment claims.

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After an Atlanta car accident, an injured person may need to hold an at-fault driver accountable in a personal injury lawsuit. However, many insured drivers in Atlanta only obtain the minimum requirements of liability insurance. The minimum coverage for bodily injuries is only $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident. Most people do not have significant assets that would allow them to cover another person’s losses beyond what their liability insurance provides.  If you were in an accident with an at-fault driver who was uninsured or underinsured, you may need to turn to your own uninsured/underinsured coverage in order to recoup your losses. In a recent Georgia appellate decision, the court considered the denial of a defendant car insurance company’s motion for summary judgment on an underinsured motorist claim.

The insurance company argued that the insured didn’t provide notice as soon as possible after a car accident with an underinsured driver. At the time of the accident, the insured was named on one of the defendant’s policies. It provided for $250,000 in uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

The insurance policy specified that notice should be provided as soon as possible after an accident. The notice, to be valid, needed to name the identity of the insured; the time, place, and details of the collision; and the names and addresses of the person injured, along with any witnesses to the car accident. There were also policy conditions with which the insured needed to comply.

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Sometimes Atlanta car accidents are caused not by negligent drivers but by negligent handling of animals or other hazards. In a recent Georgia car accident case, the court considered the obligation of those who keep livestock to appropriately secure them. The case arose one night when a plaintiff was driving south on State Highway 11 with her child. Her car hit a cow owned by the defendants. The cow was standing in the road. The plaintiffs sued the defendants for negligence under OCGA § 4-3-1 and Section 6-34 of the Jasper County Code of Ordinances.

The defendant family asked for summary judgment on the grounds that they’d used ordinary care in maintaining their livestock and fences and that the local ordinance was preempted by state law. One family member’s affidavit set forth that her obligations on the family farm included checking the fences. It was her opinion that a five-foot-high board fence with a five-strand barb wire was enough to confine the livestock. She had inspected the fence after the accident and attested that the gates were closed, and the fences were working properly. She couldn’t figure out how the cow escaped the fenced area. Prior to the incident, the cow had never escaped. In response to the summary judgment motion, the plaintiffs argued that the fence was plainly not enough because three cows were in the road at the time of the collision. The defendants’ motion was denied.

On appeal, the defendants argued that the evidence demonstrated they used reasonable care in taking care of their fence and their cows. They also argued that the plaintiffs’ case was based on speculation; admissible evidence hadn’t been presented to counter the defendant’s showing of their ordinary care.

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It can be challenging to establish that an owner knew or should have known about a dangerous property condition in an Atlanta premises liability lawsuit. Often a property owner brings a motion for summary judgment, claiming there are no triable issues of fact. If you were injured in a trip and fall, it is very important to retain an experienced attorney who can help you obtain the damages to which you’re entitled. Recently, in a Georgia appellate case, the court considered whether summary judgment was appropriate to resolve a trip and fall case in which the plaintiff was injured when she tripped over a root in a dirt patch by the defendant’s parking lot.

The plaintiff worked five minutes from the defendant’s restaurant. Every few weeks, she walked to the restaurant for lunch. In order to get there, she and other pedestrians traveled across a dirt patch that allowed her to avoid the driveway of the parking lot.

On one of her walks to the restaurant, she tripped on a root that was sticking out of the dirt patch; she fell and injured two leg bones. The root was sticking about two inches from the ground and attached on one end. When she fell, the root was protruding around 2 inches from the ground. The end of the root had broken and was above the ground. A landscaping crew had not seen the root in that condition four days prior when it had been inspecting the dirt patch for hazards.

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Rainy season can result in hazardous accumulations of water on property. In order to recover damages for injuries sustained as a result of slippery conditions on someone else’s property, you’ll need to bring an Atlanta premises liability lawsuit. In a recent Georgia appellate decision, a student slipped on a wet step and broke her ankle while getting off a county school district bus.

There had been rain that day. The bus driver testified there were checklists he had to follow to make sure the bus was working properly, but there weren’t mandatory procedures he was required to follow in case rain entered the bus. The bus driver didn’t see the student fall, but did remember it was wet that day. No other students fell or complained of slippery steps.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs sued the Board of Education alleging it had negligently failed to inspect or discover there was a dangerous condition and negligently failed to remedy the situation or give proper warnings. They also claimed the Board had hired a dangerous driver. They claimed the Board was both directly liable and vicariously liable.

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Georgia landowners may be held accountable for dangerous property conditions that injure a third party, even if the property is being rented to someone else. In a recent Georgia premises liability lawsuit, a plaintiff sued the defendant for damages after she stepped into a concealed hole while visiting a rental home owned by the defendant.

The defendant had leased the rental home to the plaintiff’s friend. The friend held a party at the house, which the plaintiff attended. During the party, the plaintiff went into the backyard and approached a chair circle. She stepped into a concealed hole that was hidden by overgrown grass. She felt a pain and heard a loud noise as her ankle broke. She also suffered a torn ligament.

The plaintiff sued the owner of the rental home. The complaint alleged the defendant hadn’t used ordinary care to keep the rental home premises safe. The defendant made a motion for summary judgment, claiming she didn’t know about any dangerous condition on the property, since it was in her tenant’s possession. The lower court granted the summary judgment motion. The plaintiff appealed. The trial court agreed with the defendant and granted the motion.

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When a Georgia property owner doesn’t take reasonable care with regard to the risk of injury to people he’s invited onto the property, he can be held accountable. However, he can’t be held accountable for injuries caused by dangerous conditions that are open and obvious to visitors. In a recent Georgia appellate decision, a university appealed the denial of summary judgment in a premises liability lawsuit.

The case arose when the plaintiff, a young woman, moved into her dorm room to start her freshman year. Her room included two lofted beds. One of the beds was higher than the other bed. By the time the woman got to her room, her roommate had already chosen the lower bed. The plaintiff wanted to lower her bed to be the same height as her roommate’s and submitted an online request to the university housing department. The request wasn’t answered.

Instead, because there was no ladder, the plaintiff had to step on her desk to climb onto the bed. She and her roommate rearranged the room so that they were both satisfied with it. After that, the plaintiff didn’t follow up on lowering the bed because she liked the new arrangement. After coming home from a Halloween party where she’d been drinking, she felt tipsy and went to bed, where she fell asleep. Her next memory was of falling out of her lofted bed. She blacked out and woke up on her back on the floor. Her roommate was standing over her asking if she was okay. As a result of the fall, she suffered serious injuries that required her to stay in the ICU and undergo surgery.

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Generally, government entities have sovereign immunity against an Atlanta car accident lawsuit, unless they’ve specifically waived that immunity. In a recent Georgia appellate decision, a couple sued the Georgia Department of Transportation for negligence stemming from a crash in which the wife and kids suffered serious injuries. In a motion to dismiss, the Department argued it had sovereign immunity. The lower court denied the motion and the Department appealed.

The case arose when the wife and two kids were driving down State Route 11. As the wife came to the intersection, a vehicle driving north was waiting in a passing lane to turn left onto a road that ran perpendicular. A third vehicle driving north swerved to avoid striking the left-turning vehicle and instead hit the wife’s car causing the three occupants to suffer serious injuries.

The wife and her husband sued the Department under the Georgia Tort Claims Act, claiming that it was negligent in the maintenance, building, and design of State Route 11 at its intersection with the other road. They claimed the Department had failed to give the minimum mandated sight distance for drivers coming to the intersection, failed to post enough proper speed warnings, and failed to slope the shoulder of Route 11 properly. They attached an engineer’s affidavit to their complaint. Among other things, the affidavit claimed the Department knew of the history of accidents, but hadn’t fixed the issue.

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Property owners should take steps to make their property reasonably safe for those they’ve invited onto the property. However, sometimes property owners ask visitors to sign waivers regarding accidents they may have on the property in order to avoid liability. In a recent Georgia appellate decision, the court considered a case in which the plaintiff sustained injuries during an event in which her daughter participated at the defendant’s facility. The defendant provided tumbling instruction, along with cheerleading team programs. It was hosting an exhibition of routines for parents on the day of the accident. The gym floor was covered with purple practice mats. There were two vendors there to promote services and goods.

The plaintiff’s daughter was part of a special needs team, which wasn’t a part of the defendant’s facility or teams, but rather a separate nonprofit that was allowed to practice in the facility. The special needs team was charged nothing for its use of the facility, but it was invited to be a part of the exhibition of routines. On the day of the accident, the special needs team performed later than was scheduled. Spectators whose children had yet to perform had to wait outside. Once they were let in, they were crammed together.

The plaintiff and her daughter couldn’t stay for the whole program after the special needs team performed. The mother went in search of her daughter. While walking towards her daughter’s team through the crowd, she fell from the mats about two feet to the concrete floor. Where she’d fallen hadn’t been demarcated with rope. After she fell, a facility employee called an ambulance. The hospital diagnosed her with four breaks that necessitated surgery and months of recovery.

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