In 2010, a 6 year old girl sittin near home plate at Braves Stadium suffered skull fractures when she was struck by a foul ball off of Melky Cabrera's bat. The seats she was in have no safety netting and her parents filed a lawsuit claiming the stadium owners were negligent for that omission.
On the news this morning was the story of a second story metal deck collapsing and injuring five tenants at Northeast Plaza Apartments off Buford Highway. Having worked on 5 deck collapse cases at apartments and private homes over the years, I can say it is rarely an overloading issue and usually the result of years of negligently deferred maintenance.
We often get calls from upset Georgians asking whether they can sue for purely emotional damages without a physical injury and the answer is usually, "no." The State of Georgia for over 100 years has decided to draw a bright line distinction between a claim flowing from a physical injury to claims flowing purely from shock, horror, fear or harassment. The public policy behind this thinking is that in the face of a gruesome accident on a street corner, one might have 20 passersby, each filing a lawsuit claiming emotional damages. To ward off this scenario, Georgia Courts fashioned the "impact rule." With the recent Court of Appeals decision in Oliver v. McDade rendered in July 2014, that may all be changing.
We talk to a lot of Georgians after they have a car accident and a common question is; "if I report the accident to my car insurance company, won't my rates go up?" The answer is a little complicated.
Over the last few months, an exceptional number of callers have told me that they received calls soon after their car accident and the insurance company was offering to pay their medical bills up to a certain dollar amount and then $500 on top of that. We have seen GEICO, Progressive and Nationwide doing this.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.