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Georgia’s product liability law allows a consumer injured by a dangerous or defective product to sue the manufacturer for damages. George employs a “strict liability” standard, which means the manufacturer is responsible even if there was no evidence that it was negligent. This strict liability rule only applies to actual manufacturers, however, and not companies that merely sell or distribute a product created by a third party.

Williams v. Pacific Cycle, Inc.

A company may be considered a “seller” even if it played some role in a defective product’s design or packaging, as a recent decision by a federal appeals court in Atlanta illustrates. The plaintiff in this case suffered a severe brain injury following a bicycle accident. He accused the defendant of manufacturing the defective bicycle helmet he was wearing at the time of the accident.

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There are stricter rules in Georgia for bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit versus other types of personal injury claims. Not surprisingly, hospitals often try to classify ordinary negligence cases as malpractice in order to make it more difficult for the plaintiff to pursue his or her claim.

Byrom v. Douglas Hospital, Inc.

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently rejected just such an attempt. The plaintiff in this case had gone to a local hospital to undergo tests for a surgical procedure. A nurse transported the plaintiff, who normally walks with a cane, by wheelchair from the exam room to the waiting room.

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Most car accident lawsuits in Georgia are handled by the negligent driver’s insurance company. If an insurer refuses to settle a personal injury claim “in bad faith,” said insurer may be liable for any judgment against the insured in excess of the policy’s normal limits. In other words, the insurance company may not place its own interests ahead of those of its policyholders by dragging its feet to avoid settling an apparently valid personal injury claim.

Linthicum v. Mendakota Insurance Company

But an insurance company’s obligation is only to act reasonably when attempting to negotiate a settlement. It is not necessarily liable just because no settlement is reached. A recent decision by a federal judge in Savannah illustrates this point.

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Many elderly Georgia residents are victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. In order to avoid potential personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits from injured patients, many nursing homes insist their residents sign “alternative dispute resolution” (ADR) agreements that require any negligence or malpractice claims be submitted to binding arbitration. While arbitration can be beneficial in certain cases, it still requires a potentially vulnerable nursing home resident to forfeit access to the courts and other important legal rights.

Kindred Nursing Centers LP v. Chrzanowski

Georgia courts tend to enforce ADR agreements even where there is evidence that a nursing home resident was not necessarily in their right mind when they purportedly agreed to arbitration. A recent decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals illustrates the uphill climb victims of nursing home abuse—or in the case, their families—face in seeking their day in court.

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Many medical malpractice cases involve a physician who prescribed the wrong type or dosage of medication, causing physical harm to the patient. Such negligence is obviously horrific and inexcusable. But the Georgia Court of Appeals recently considered a different sort of negligence case involving a physician and an incorrect prescription.

Carter v. Cornwell

The plaintiff in this case is a Georgia woman who suffers from chronic pain. She had been under the care of the defendant, her physician, for 16 years. During an office visit in 2014, the defendant issued the plaintiff a prescription for 120 pills of hydrocodone. But the defendant subsequently altered the prescription to 180 pills before the plaintiff left his office.

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A homeowner’s insurance policy offers important protections for both property owners and individuals who may suffer a personal injury on the subject property. But the precise scope of coverage depends on the language of the policy. For example, many homeowner’s policies exclude coverage for injuries suffered by tenants who rent the home from its owner.

State Farm Fire & Casualty Company v. Moss

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently considered the nature of a tenant exclusion in a homeowner’s policy that is the subject of a personal injury lawsuit. The homeowner in this case owned two properties, her primary residence and a lake home. She purchased a homeowner’s policy to cover both properties, listing the lake home as her “secondary residence.”

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While many premises liability claims are based on the existence of a physical hazard—i.e., a customer slips and falls on a puddle of water—there are also cases in which a property owner may be liable for the criminal acts of third parties that cause personal injury to a patron. Recently, the Georgia Court of Appeals addressed the issue of how long a crime victim has to file such a claim.

Harrison v. McAfee

In June 2011, a group of masked men robbed a restaurant in Macon, Georgia. During the robbery, one of the assailants shot a restaurant patron. To date, none of the alleged criminals have been identified or arrested.

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One of the most common types of personal injury claims against the owner of a business or other premises is the “slip and fall.” Essentially, there is a hazardous condition on a given property that causes a visitor to slip, fall, and suffer some form of serious injury. Under Georgia law, the premises owner may be liable if he or she knew—or should have known—about such an “unreasonably dangerous” condition and failed to take appropriate steps to remedy it.

Alsip v. Wal-Mart Stores East LP

Proving whether an “unreasonably dangerous” condition exists often requires a careful examination of the facts surrounding a particular accident. A Georgia judge will not simply take a plaintiff at his or her word that there was a hazardous condition. To the contrary, it is often necessary for a plaintiff to employ one or more technical experts who can explain to the court why the premises owner failed to act in an appropriate manner.

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Many Georgia residents choose to vacation in the Caribbean each year. But what happens if you are injured due to a third party’s negligence while on vacation? Can you file a civil lawsuit against the responsible parties in Georgia, even if the incident occurred outside of the United States?

Cleveland v. Kerzner International Resorts, Inc.

One thing to take note of whenever you check into a foreign hotel or resort is whether you are asked to sign a release. Such releases often contain language requiring you to bring any personal injury or other civil lawsuit in the courts of that country. Courts in the United States will generally enforce these clauses.

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In any type of Georgia civil case, such as a personal injury lawsuit, the parties are entitled to have their dispute heard by an “impartial” jury. Among other things, this means that none of the jurors are related to any of the parties to the case. In car accident lawsuits, this also includes any insurance companies that may be liable for a judgment.

Mordecai v. Cain

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently granted a plaintiff in a car accident case a new trial after determining the trial judge failed to properly screen the jury for potential bias. The underlying lawsuit arose from a car accident. The plaintiff alleged the defendant was “driving on the wrong side of the road” and collided with her vehicle, seriously injuring her. Because the defendant lacked sufficient insurance, the plaintiff served her uninsured motorist carrier, which “elected to try this case in the name of the individual defendant,” according to court records.