• $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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Special issues may arise if you try to recover damages in an Atlanta premises liability lawsuit after being injured on government property because the government is ordinarily shielded from liability under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. This holds true unless the government has specifically waived its immunity for certain circumstances. In a recent case, a Georgia appellate court considered whether sovereign immunity barred the plaintiff’s premises liability suit against the county.

The case arose when the plaintiff was fishing in a county park. When he stepped backwards, he fell through the dock. He was hurt. The parties disagreed about whether the plaintiff had paid to go into the park and fish. He claimed he did, and the County claimed he didn’t. He brought a premises liability lawsuit against the county asserting under OCGA § 15-3-1 that he was an invitee at the park and the county had failed to use ordinary care in keeping the property safe.

The County answered the complaint by alleging it was entitled to sovereign immunity, along with the protection of the Recreational Properties Act. Under OCGA § 51-3-22, a landowner doesn’t owe a duty to keep the property safe for recreational purposes, or to warn about dangerous conditions to those entering for recreational purposes, except as specifically set forth in OCGA §15-3-25. Under OCGA § 51-3-23, a landowner who directly or indirectly invites or lets someone use the property for recreational reasons doesn’t give assurances the property is safe for any purpose. Permitting a visitor’s use also doesn’t confer the legal status of a licensee or invitee to whom a duty of care is owed.

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When you stay at a hotel in Atlanta, you assume the hotel owner takes care to make sure the property is reasonably safe for visitors. Unfortunately, this is not always true. Additionally, you’re expected to stay aware of your surroundings and respond appropriately to them. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident at a hotel in Atlanta, you may be able to recover damages in an Atlanta premises liability claim, but only if the hotel had superior knowledge of the condition that caused your fall. In a recent Georgia appellate case, a plaintiff sued a hotel to obtain damages she’d suffered when she slipped and fell on a sidewalk at the defendant’s hotel.

The case arose when a grandmother and her grandchildren stayed at the defendant’s hotel. One evening they went to the hotel pool. There was nothing slippery on the sidewalk as they went from the hotel room to the pool, which was nearby. The grandmother stayed in the pool area for about an hour. There were about six other guests there. After an hour, the grandmother took the youngest child to the bathroom. It was evening, and the child was dripping water. There were lights over the sidewalk, which revealed it was slick and wet. Some enamel on the sidewalk was peeling. The grandmother told the child to slow down, realizing the area was wet. However, she slipped and fell on the sidewalk, and sustained injuries.

She sued the hotel for damages. In response to the hotel’s summary judgment motion, she filed an expert affidavit from an OSHA trainer who provided the opinion that the hotel hadn’t kept the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition and that the deteriorated paint on the sidewalk increased the risk of pedestrian slip and fall. The expert also opined that the grandmother’s fall was caused by the uneven surface of the sidewalk. The summary judgment motion was denied.

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Sometimes expert witnesses become necessary in personal injury cases, including lawsuits arising out of Atlanta car accidents. An accident reconstruction expert may provide important testimony about how the accident happened. A medical expert may provide useful testimony about the kinds of medical treatment and care that might be needed in the future. It may be important to locate credible experts as needed early on to prove your case. In a recent Georgia Supreme Court case, the lower court excluded an expert defense witness’s testimony. It reasoned the expert hadn’t been adequately identified in the scheduling order. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear and determine two issues. First, the Court sought to answer whether the lower court could exclude an expert from testifying only because he was identified after the court’s deadline. Second, the Court looked at what factors the lower court would need to consider if using its discretion on whether to exclude an expert’s testimony where the expert has been identified after the deadline.

The plaintiff had been a high jumper. He was in a car crash that caused him a fractured hip. The defendant acknowledged he was to blame for the crash. The plaintiff sued the defendant for a wide range of damages, but didn’t include lost wages. In interrogatories, the defendant asked the plaintiff to identify expert witnesses who would testify at trial and asking for an itemization of special damages being claimed due to the accident including future lost earnings. The plaintiff’s responses to interrogatories indicated he hadn’t decided on expert witnesses who would testify, and stated he would supplement later according to the requirements of the Georgia Civil Practice Act.

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When a property owner in Atlanta has reason to foresee there will be an injury-producing crime against certain visitors on his or her property, that property owner may be held accountable for the damages arising out of that crime in an Atlanta premises liability claim. In a recent Georgia appellate case, the court considered the sexual assault of a 12-year-old in an apartment building. Her conservator sued the apartment’s management company for its negligence, as well as negligent security. The court denied the company’s motion for summary judgment. The company appealed.

The case arose at a 9-story apartment building that provided Section 8 housing. The defendant company had taken some steps towards security. Visitors needed to sign in and there was a list of visitors banned from the building. The residents needed key fobs to come into the building, and there were security cameras as well as a security guard. The police were called, and the perpetrator pled guilty to child molestation and rape. Additionally, the plaintiff filed a premises liability action based on the theory that the defendants had negligently failed to keep the apartment safe and to adequately protect invitees, as well as negligent security under OCGA section 51-3-1.

The defendants asked for summary judgment on the grounds that the perpetrator’s intervening criminal act wasn’t foreseeable because there wasn’t proof of prior substantially similar criminal acts on or near the apartment complex. The lower court heard oral arguments on motions. It denied the motion for summary judgment on the premises liability claim. It found there was a jury question on whether the defendants should’ve foreseen the particular risk presented by the perpetrator.

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You can bring an Atlanta premises liability lawsuit against a homeowner or property owner or property manager that negligently fails to keep the property reasonably safe for a patron, customer, tenant or another invitee. In a recent slip and fall case, a defendant property management company appealed the denial of its summary judgment motion. The case arose when a woman and her daughter took a car to an area of their apartment complex. They were going to vacuum the car. The woman stepped out and went onto a landscaped area that had embedded rocks around the vacuum. When she tried to grab the vacuum, she fell and was hurt.

She sued the property management company on the grounds that she’d slipped on a foreign substance. The defense attorney asked her about what had caused her to fall and what caused her foot to slip. She testified she didn’t know. However, when her attorney asked her why she thought she fell, she answered that the rocks were very slippery. There wasn’t any water on the rocks, and she didn’t see any liquid on the ground.

The management company asked for summary judgment on the grounds that there wasn’t any evidence of a dangerous condition. The lower court denied the motion on the basis that there was proof from which the jury would be able to determine the rocks were slippery because of the water from car wash facility. The lower court asked for immediate review. The court granted interlocutory review.

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In a recent Georgia appellate decision, a woman was involved in a car accident with a couple, and the couple sued for medical expenses that arose from the accident. During the trial, the defendant admitted that she was liable for the collision, but she disagreed that she’d caused the plaintiffs’ injuries and disagreed with how much was awarded in damages. The husband was awarded $734,563.78.

The defendant appealed the denial of her motion for a new trial to argue that:  (1) the lower court made a mistake in applying the wrong legal standard by restricting her biomechanical expert’s testimony and stopping him from testifying that the force created in the collision was enough to cause the husband’s herniated discs and back, and (2) the lower court made a mistake in not granting her motion for a directed verdict on a claim for future medical expenses.

Before trial, one of the plaintiffs moved to stop the defendant’s biomechanical expert from testifying about his opinion that the force created by the collision couldn’t have caused the plaintiff’s spinal injuries. The defendant’s attorney said that at first he thought that the expert could testify about the forces particular to the accident and whether these forces were strong enough to cause the particular claimed injuries in the case.

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There are a number of affirmative defenses that may be raised by a Georgia defendant when faced with a lawsuit arising out of a car accident. One of these is the Act of God defense. In a recent Georgia appellate decision, the appeals court considered a lawsuit that involved a woman hitting a man and his dog while they crossed the entrance to a parking lot. The man sued the woman for negligence, requesting compensatory and punitive damages. The defendant argued an Act of God defense.

Discovery was conducted. The plaintiff brought a motion for summary judgment. The lower court denied the motion as to punitive damages, and also granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the act of God defense raised by the plaintiff.

The plaintiff appealed. The appellate court reversed on the denial of the plaintiff’s request for summary judgment as to punitive damages. However, the appellate court also affirmed the lower court’s granting of the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the Act of God defense.

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One type of Atlanta premises liability case is the negligent security lawsuit. This is a case in which you can hold a property owner responsible for a third party’s attack on you when you are an invitee, and the property owner knew about prior criminal attacks yet didn’t take safety measures to protect you from attack. In a recent Georgia case, the plaintiff sued a company after he was injured through a third-party attack on the premises of the company’s parking lot, which leased tractor trailer spaces to his employer.

The plaintiff was a truck driver who parked in one of the leased spaces after dropping off a trailer and in order to meet a different driver, a coworker, who was carrying another trailer for him to fault. The premises had a parts shop and a fenced lot with lighting, security cameras, and controlled gate access. He fell asleep in the cab of the truck but was startled to wake up to someone at the window with a tool. He mistakenly believed the person at the window was his coworker and exited the truck. Another cab was parked too close, and so when he got out of his truck, he had to step onto the step of the other cab.

The man drove away with the plaintiff hanging to the side mirror of the cab. He fell off and was run over by the cab several times, and he suffered many injuries as a result. He sued the company that owned the lot. He argued that the reason his employer used the log was that it had better security than the prior lot they used.

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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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