• $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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If your car accident occurred while you were on the job, you may not be able to recover damages, because your exclusive remedy may be workers’ compensation benefits. In a recent Georgia car accident case, a plaintiff was injured and sued his employers and two individuals. He claimed the employers, for whom he worked as an airport shuttle driver and maintenance worker, were negligent in not letting him get medical care or insurance coverage. He argued that this delay exacerbated his injuries. The employer filed for a dismissal or, in the alternative, summary judgment. It argued that workers’ compensation was the plaintiff’s exclusive remedy. The lower court didn’t address the argument about exclusive remedy, but denied the motion to dismiss.

The case arose when the plaintiff’s car, owned by his employer, was reportedly struck by a car owned and driven by the individual defendants. The plaintiff was driving a car owned by his employer. When he sued, he claimed the employer was negligent in failing to give him access to medical insurance coverage, and this failure exacerbated his injuries and caused him to experience multiple strokes.

The employer answered and admitted the plaintiff was an employee, but then moved to dismiss the claims on the grounds that workers’ compensation was his exclusive remedy. The prior lawsuit he’d filed in 2015 against the employer had alleged an injury in the course of his employment. In interrogatories, he’d claimed he got into an accident when he was going back to work after picking up parts.

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There are different theories under which parents can be held vicariously (indirectly) liable for their child’s negligence while driving including the family purpose doctrine and respondeat superior. In a recent Georgia appellate decision, the court considered a Georgia car accident in which one driver sued a second driver for negligence and her parents for vicarious liability. The drivers crashed into each other when the defendant was 28 and living with her parents. The defendant co-owned the car she’d been operating with her mother. Her mother had co-signed for a loan so that the defendant could get the car.

The car insurance policy was in the names of the parents, but the defendant provided the father with the money for the loan payments and reimbursed her father for the insurance premiums. She paid for gas and maintenance and had sole possession of the vehicle’s keys. Her parents didn’t have any say in whether she operated the vehicle. She worked for her father’s company, but at the time of the accident she was driving to go volunteer and wasn’t acting as her father’s agent.

The mother and father filed a motion for summary judgment on the vicarious liability issue. The father argued he didn’t have any ownership of the car, and the mother argued she didn’t have authority or control. The plaintiff argued that there were issues of material fact on whether the parents could be held responsible under respondeat superior or the family purpose doctrine. The parents’ motions were denied.

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It can be difficult to trace and prove liability if you are injured while using someone else’s tools on another’s property in Atlanta. Sometimes a defendant brings a motion for summary judgment and it is crucial to retain an experienced attorney soon after being injured so that all appropriate evidence can be gathered to build your case. In a recent Georgia appellate case, a plaintiff sued a contractor after falling from a ladder that was allegedly defective. The lower court denied the contractor’s motion for summary judgment, in which it claimed the plaintiff hadn’t come forward with proof to generate a jury question about whether it had actual or constructive knowledge of the ladder’s supposedly defective condition or that it owed the contractor a duty to give a safe working environment. The contractor also argued that undisputed proof showed the plaintiff hadn’t used ordinary care for his own safety.

The contractor reportedly had a single owner and no other employees. The owner would subcontract most jobs his company had been hired to perform. The case arose when a company hired the contractor to repair a damaged wall at a cell phone store. This job was contracted to another, and that subcontractor hired the plaintiff and another man to help him. At their depositions, the plaintiff and other man testified that before they went to the job at the cell phone store, they stopped at the subcontractor’s workshop to pick up materials to do the job. The subcontractor put items into the trailer. These items included the ladder; there were no other ladders inside the trailer. They all drove with the trailer for 3 hours to get to the job site.

The men started work at the Verizon store at night once the store closed. The men took the ladder into the store from the trailer. Two of the men used the ladder without a problem, but neither went higher than the second run. One of the men checked to make sure the braces on the ladder were locked. He thought the ladder looked old but not dangerous.

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A plaintiff’s own knowledge of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property in Atlanta can affect the outcome of a premises liability case. In a recent Georgia appellate case, the plaintiff appealed from a lower court’s granting of summary judgment to a store and the store’s manager. She had sued the store and the manager after tripping and falling over a raised metal part of a cart corral in the parking lot.

The case arose when the plaintiff was leaving the store and putting her groceries in the car. She pushed her cart to the corral and, while leaving it, caught her foot in the crossbar of the corral, resulting in her falling and breaking her arm. The crossbar usually lies flat on the asphalt, but it was raised on one side at about 1 1/8 inches because a delivery truck had once hit the corral.

After the fall, she was certain she’d tripped on the raised portion of the crossbar because she felt her foot catch, and when she looked back, she saw the raised portion of the crossbar.  The plaintiff sued the store and the store manager, claiming they knew about the state of the corral and negligently failed to maintain it or warn her about the hazardous condition. The defendants moved for summary judgment, claiming that the state of the corral was an open and obvious condition. They also argued that she’d successfully gone through the air before she later tripped and that she hadn’t used reasonable care.

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Whether you can hold a property owner accountable for premises liability can depend partly on your reason for being on the property, whether you’re an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. In a recent Georgia premises liability lawsuit, a plaintiff was hurt when she tripped and fell down the stairs in a man’s backyard. The defendant had allowed his friend to have a birthday party at his house. The friend wanted to sit on the back porch by the pool to listen to music at the birthday party. There were brick stairs in the backyard, which had tiers. He’d purchased the property 20 years before, and the stairs had been there when he bought it.

The plaintiff was a friend of the woman having her birthday at the defendant’s house. When the plaintiff got to the house, she walked on a path to the back of the defendant’s house and arrived at some brick stairs leading to the area by the pool. She claimed that the lights were dim in that area.

As the plaintiff walked down the stairs, she looked forward, but not down. Her foot hit something and this caused her to trip. Later when she was being carried into the house after the fall, she noticed that there was an orange extension cord lying over three or four stairs where she’d tripped. However, she hadn’t seen the extension cord before falling and didn’t know who placed the cord there or how long it had been there.

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Special rules apply if you are injured in a car accident caused by improper maintenance of a public road. You’ll need to provide notice to the government in a very specific way, and failure to do so can result in dismissal of your claim. In a recent Georgia appellate decision, a driver was hurt in a single-car accident on State Route 42. He sued the Georgia Department of Transportation arguing that its improper maintenance of the roadway resulted in too much water accumulating and the accumulation caused his truck to hydroplane into a tree, causing catastrophic injuries.

The Georgia Department of Transportation filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and based on sovereign immunity. It claimed the plaintiff hadn’t complied with the ante litem notice requirements of the Georgia Tort Claims Act. The motion was denied, and the appellate court granted an application for interlocutory appeal.

The appellate court explained that the Georgia Tort Claims Act, found at OCGA section 50-21-20 was enacted to balance strict sovereign immunity against the need for limited exposure of the State treasury to tort liability. The Georgia Tort Claims Act offers a restricted waiver of sovereign immunity in specific cases where a claimant follows the requirements of the Georgia Tort Claims Act. Among other things, these requirements mandate a strict compliance with the ante litem notice provisions of section 50-21-26.

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When an Atlanta car accident is the result of a collision with a rental truck, certain issues may arise in connection with the rental company’s potential liability. In a recent Georgia appellate decision, the court considered the wrongful death of a man in a truck accident. The truck was owned by U-Haul of Arizona, but rented from U-Haul of Georgia. The drivers didn’t return the truck at the end of the rental period. One driver crossed the center line and struck a car head-on, killing a man while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He was indicted for homicide. The decedent’s widow sued the U-Haul defendants for negligent entrustment, wrongful death, and punitive damages. The decedent’s surviving spouse sued both U-Hauls as well as the driver of the truck, the renter of the truck, and the driver named on the rental agreement.

The U-Haul defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint. Meanwhile the driver of the U-Haul was incarcerated and asserted his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. He and U-Haul moved for a protective order.

The plaintiff asked for a declaratory judgment that the U-Haul entities didn’t qualify as self-insurers under OCGA §§ 33-34-2 (4) and 33-34-5.1 and could therefore be held accountable for damages that exceeded the minimum insurance coverage provisions. The U-Haul defendants asked the court to dismiss, claiming they weren’t required to register as self-insurers. The lower court denied the motion to dismiss, granted the motion for judgment on the pleadings and granted a defendant’s motion to stay the proceedings and for a protective order. It granted in part the motion to take judicial notice of the U-Haul’s filing with the insurance commissioner.

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If you’re injured in a Georgia car accident, it is imperative to work with an experienced plaintiff’s attorney, even if you believe a settlement can be reached with an insurer. It is important to retain an attorney before discussing the matter with the other driver’s insurer at all, and certainly before entering into settlement negotiations. In a recent Georgia case, the defendant’s vehicle hit the plaintiff’s vehicle. On appeal, the defendant argued that the lower court had erred in denying his motion to enforce a settlement agreement by prohibiting evidence and questioning about a treating doctor’s financial interest in the case, and by excluding evidence and questioning related to the treating doctor’s credibility and potential bias.

After the plaintiff claimed she’d been injured by the defendant’s car, she hired an attorney. Her attorney sent a settlement demand for the policy limits of $25,000 to the defendant’s insurer. On top of asking for payment, the settlement demand said it was contingent on receipt of certain sworn affidavits about how much insurance coverage was to be had and a limited release. If these conditions weren’t met and payment wasn’t made, the settlement demand would be withdrawn in 30 days.

The defendant’s insurer called to say it would pay policy limits. However, the insurer couldn’t’ issue the check right away and had to wait until defense counsel told her to do so. The plaintiff’s attorney said he would wait to hear back.

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Generally, a business owner owes a nondelegable duty of care to an invitee for the purposes of a Georgia premises liability case. However, this nondelegable duty  is inapplicable to an independent contractor. In a recent Georgia appellate decision, the plaintiff claimed that a company was responsible for reporting dangers in a common area where he fell in an open water meter and thereby spilled hot oil on himself. The plaintiff was told to drain hot oil from a fryer at the restaurant where he worked. There was a problem with the filtration system inside the restaurant, and so the plaintiff drained the oil into a vessel and took it out of the restaurant and into the shopping mall where the restaurant was located.

In the back lot, he stepped into an uncovered water meter opening. He spilled the oil onto himself and suffered third degree burns on his body and face. He sued the restaurant, its owners, and the property owners on a theory that the defendants had failed to appropriately inspect and maintain the premises. One of the property owners filed a third party complaint against another company claiming it was responsible for maintaining the common area of the shopping center based on a service agreement. The plaintiff amended his complaint to add a claim against the company.

The lower court granted summary judgment to the plaintiff’s employers since workers’ compensation barred his lawsuit. His claims against the property owner stayed pending. The property owner had entered into a contract with a company to sweep the grounds of the shopping mall and report problems. The agreement specified that even if the company adhered to special instructions, they wouldn’t relieve him of the sole responsibility to keep safe and efficient conditions at the property. The company agreed it was familiar with performing all the work necessary to fully adhere to the agreement and would assume responsibility and liability for all services.

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Can a repairman hired as an independent contractor hold a property owner liable for injuries sustained on the property being repaired? Can his family recover wrongful death damages when those injuries are fatal? In a recent Georgia wrongful death decision, the court considered a situation in which the decedent had been changing a light bulb on 30-foot light pole at an apartment complex when the pole broke at the base, which resulted in him falling and experiencing fatal injuries. The minor children and the administratrix of the decedent’s estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit based on his fall and premises liability against the owner and manager of the apartment complex. Summary judgment was granted for the property owners. The plaintiffs appealed.

The case arose when the defendant owner bought the apartment complex and contracted with a property manager to manage it. The complex included both apartments and a recreational sports court that was lit by four light poles. The pole in question was around 30 feet tall and at the top of the four poles were crossbars that had light fixtures on the ends of them. Steel plates attached to the concrete pads were the site at which poles were bolted. On the other end of the poles they were touching soil that may have eroded away from the time the poles were installed.

The decedent had been helping out another man make repairs at the apartment complex for two years. The man the decedent was working with put together a proposal to replace four light bulbs and also included the cost of a rented forklift. The local businesses didn’t have a forklift available to rent, so when replacing the light bulbs, the man decided to connect part of one ladder to an extension ladder. Later on, the man was asked to put in a bid again, but reduced his price because the property management company didn’t want to pay for the forklift.

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