July 3, 2014

Drag Racing Verdict Reveals Complexity of Georgia Law

A Gwinnett County jury returned a $2.5 million dollar verdict for the death of a young man who was ejected when a vehicle involved in a drag race crashed into a tree. Cases like this involving two alleged wrongdoers and the argument that the victim accepted the risk of their own death are always complex. Let's break this one down.

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June 21, 2014

Explaining Georgia DUI Laws

DUI/DWI in GEORGIA
SERIOUS OFFENSE, SERIOUS PENALTIES

Over the last decade Georgia has understandably gotten tough on DUIs. The results have been higher arrest rates and lower alcohol impaired driving fatalities. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, alcohol related fatalities in Georgia dropped from a high of 454 in 2007 to 277 in 2011. With local police and highway patrol putting such an emphasis on seeking out impaired drivers, it’s important to understand DUI/DWI laws in Georgia.

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June 18, 2014

The Tracy Morgan Crash and Tired Truckers

The tired tractor trailer driver who plowed into Tracy Morgan’s vehicle on the Jersey Turnpike in June has turned the spotlight again onto the hours that truckers drive and the power the trucking industry holds in Washington. The June 7, 2014 collision had a simple cause; the Atlanta based driver admitted he had not slept in 24 hours before he failed to recognize that traffic had come to a stop in front of him and he slammed into the limo van, killing one passenger and critically injuring actor/comedian Tracy Morgan and several others.

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May 29, 2014

I Tripped Over a Curb, Do I Have a Case?

I will start out by saying the truth; I don't generally like curb trip cases. Curbs are a necessary part of roadway and sidewalk design and we have all been negotiating them since we were children. The sloped alternative would be worse from a drainage and car safety perspective. Trips over permanent feature cases are referred to as "static defect" cases in Georgia. Static because they stay put and defect is clear enough.

When it comes to the law, they are very tough cases to recover on unless the landlord maintains a "stupid condition." Solid and legitimate static defect trip and fall cases must satisfy the "WWTT" test. That stands for What Were they Thinking. Basic curbs, even when they are not painted yellow just do not satisfy that test.

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May 5, 2014

Hit while Crossing the Street; The New York Times Profiles an Unlucky Brotherhood

Thumbing through the New York Times this past weekend I came across another article on pedestrian injuries and this one stuck out. The writer suffered terrible injuries when hit by a delivery truck in the City and they realized that there were multiple other employees at the Times who had similar life threatening incidents.

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April 16, 2014

Hospital Bills after a Car Accident Arguments

Our Firm sponsored a legal writing contest on the topic of the disparity in medical bills for the uninsured vs. the insured. Here is the winning entry following the question.

Question:
Your client is a 25 year old female waitress without health insurance. She falls off of her motorcycle while riding and breaks her femur and has a steel rod and screws inserted to stabilize the fracture. She spends 2 weeks in the hospital and is presented with a $100,000 bill by the hospital. She cannot afford to pay the bill and is being sued by the hospital.

The key issue is reasonableness of the medical bill in light of the fact that the hospital is under a fee services contract with three major health insurers and the fee contract specifies that the hospital agrees to only charge $35,000 to heath insured consumers for the same procedure your client had. What legal arguments can you make on your clients behalf to reduce the amount of the debt your client owes? Bankruptcy is not an option.

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March 18, 2014

Uber Car Accident Insurance

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on the legal exposure that companies like Uber and Lyft might face for car accidents. One of the grey areas was when is an Uber X driver "under dispatch" and therefore when does the commercial policy apply and when does the driver's personal coverage apply.

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March 15, 2014

Causation and the Butterfly Effect; How Far Will the Law Stretch?

I had a friend ask the other day about a tragic case involving a person who was badly hurt in a car accident. The plaintiff some months later overdosed on their medication that had been prescribed for the injury. The lawyer wanted to know if they could sue for the death of the Plaintiff as related to the car accident.

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March 7, 2014

How Long Do Car Accident Cases Take to Settle?

The best way to answer that is probably to show you the letter we give to our customers after they sign up. These time estimates are pretty solid for an average car accident case:

I want to personally thank you for choosing the Simon Law Firm to represent you in this case. We are a family business and look forward to taking care of you as our own.

I know that the idea of hiring a lawyer and pursuing a claim is daunting. The process can be frustratingly slow and at times it will feel like nothing is happening. I assure you it is.
In addition to keeping our number of cases low to better serve you, we also employ state of the art customer service tracking software. You are always welcome to check in with us if you are curious about your case status, but do not be concerned if several weeks go by without hearing anything. This is very normal.

The attached page gives you a general timeline of the life cycle of your case and what to expect. Please look it over and refer to it as your case proceeds.

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February 25, 2014

Injury Attorney's Fees and What is Fair

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It is common knowledge that in Georgia, the average injury lawyer charges 1/3 of the gross of an injury settlement if the case is resolved before a lawsuit has to be filed and 40% if it has to be filed. It is important to know that the 40% typically kicks in upon the filing of the suit, not when trial actually starts.

These numbers can be shocking to some people. Why is my lawyer getting almost half of my case value and if medical bills or health insurance needs to be repaid, why is the client getting less than the lawyer sometimes? These are fair questions and a recent argument before the Georgia Supreme Court has some answers for the consumer.

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February 17, 2014

A Parent Can Lose the Right to Child's Wrongful Death Claim

    Under OCGA §§ 19-7-1(c) and 51-4-4, when a child dies unmarried and without children, then the parents normally have the right to bring the wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. If the parents are divorced they both have an equal right to bring the claim and must share in the proceeds. Note that if one of the parents was the cause of the death, that parent would logically be barred from bringing the claim. See Belluso v. Tant, 258 Ga.App. 453.

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January 24, 2014

Jury Selection in Georgia

After trying a Federal jury trial last week and a Fulton County State Court case this week, I thought I would touch on the subject of jury composition and voir dire.

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