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Although you might think negligence is a matter of “common sense,” the law is often not so simple. There are many situations in which a defendant who you might assume is negligent can still avoid liability due to a particular state law. Such exceptions unfortunately may leave victims with little or no recourse to seek damages.

Patton v. Cumberland Corporation

A recent decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals illustrates how one of these special legal exceptions work in practice. This case involves a single-vehicle truck accident. The plaintiff was riding in a truck with another man when it hit a fallen power cable. Although the driver tried to avoid the cable, the wire “caught the rear of the truck, lifting it 18 inches or more off the ground,” according to court records.

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We trust doctors and other healthcare providers with our lives. Unfortunately, that trust is not always rewarded. Medical errors and negligence frequently lead to catastrophic outcomes, including paralysis and death. When this happens, victims and their families have a legal right to seek compensation from the negligent providers.

Southwestern Emergency Physicians, P.C. v. Quinney

On September 28, 2018, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed a jury verdict in a particularly egregious medical malpractice case. The plaintiff required spinal-cord surgery to relive his chronic back pain, a symptom of his diabetic neuropathy. Although the surgery initially appeared successful, five days later the plaintiff “awoke with severe pain” and he “was having difficulty standing,” according to court records. He was then taken to a local hospital in Albany (not the one that performed the initial surgery).

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Hit-and-run accidents are a common occurrence in Georgia. Many people are seriously injured by drivers who either do not know they caused an accident, or do know and flee to avoid taking responsibility. In either case, the victim is often left scrambling to identify the driver and take appropriate legal action to obtain compensation for their injuries.

Callaway v. Quinn

A recent decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals helps to illustrate the challenges hit-and-run accidents face in pursuing a personal injury claim. This case involves a 2015 hit-and-run accident. The plaintiff was driving her car and “stopped in traffic” when she was rear-ended by a “man driving a pickup truck” who “fled the scene.” Police investigators later found the truck abandoned in a nearby parking lot.

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Under Georgia law, a property owner who invites members of the public onto their premises can be held liable for “damages to such persons” caused by the owner’s “failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.” Normally, this duty cannot be delegated to third parties. If the owner leases the property to another–that is to say, a landlord gives “full possession and complete control” to a tenant–then the tenant assumes the responsibility for keeping the premises safe for invited guests.

Sherwood v. Williams

Recently, the Georgia Court of Appeals addressed a case involving the relative liability of landlord and tenant for an injury caused to a third-party invited guest. The landlord here owned an auto body shop. He leased part of the shop to a tenant. More precisely, the lease covered the “front repair and maintenance area” of the shop, which included three repair bays, together with associated office space and parking. The lease also included an indemnification clause, holding the landlord “harmless for any liability or damages” caused by the tenant’s operations “or otherwise” to any third party.

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Medical malpractice requires proof that a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider deviated from the accepted “standard of care,” and that as a direct result of that deviation, the patient suffered some injury. Unfortunately for victims, proving causation is often more difficult than it might first appear. When it comes to malpractice, judges will not apply “common sense,” but rather look for expert testimony to support or refute the existence of causation.

Edokpolor v. Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation

Consider this recent decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals. This case involves a woman who died while under the care of the defendants, a hospital and one of its nurses. The victim had a long history of cardiac disease and spent the last month of her life in the defendant hospital.

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Are you planning to take a cruise in the near future? If so, make sure to carefully read the back of your ticket and any other documentation the cruise operator sends you. Much of this “fine print” can substantially affect your legal rights in the event something goes wrong and you are injured during your cruise.

Davis v. Valsamis, Inc.

Consider this recent decision by the Atlanta-based U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which oversees federal courts in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. This case involves what the Court described as an “ill-fated sailing of the cruise ship Carnival Triumph” in February 2013. According to a Washington Post at the time, “Midway through a four-day Mexican cruise, the Triumph’s engine room caught fire, the ship lost power, and then suddenly it was just drifting, somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico.” Due to the power outage, passengers were stranded for days without working toilets, refrigerators, or air conditioners.

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Georgia law creates a mechanism to settle personal injury claims arising from a motor vehicle accident prior to the filing of a lawsuit. Under this law, a settlement offer made by one party to the other must contain the following terms:

  • a time period to accept the offer, which may not be less than 30 days after it is received by the other party;
  • the amount of money to be paid;
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When you file a personal injury lawsuit following a car accident, you need to be aware of the importance of deadlines. For example, there is a statute of limitations, which is the deadline imposed by Georgia law to file a lawsuit. Even after the lawsuit is filed, the trial court will impose numerous deadlines that must be followed.

Lyons v. O’Quinn

Among the important deadlines are those involving discovery–that is, the pretrial period in which the plaintiff and the defendant exchange documents and conduct depositions of witnesses. If either party fails to meet the stated discovery deadlines, the judge may impose sanctions, which in the case of the plaintiff’s non-compliance may include dismissal of the lawsuit outright.

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Summer is a popular time in Georgia for outdoor events such as weddings, barbecues, and fairs. When attending such events, you need to be aware of food safety. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food-based illnesses are more common in the summertime, and this is largely due to the fact more people are “cooking and eating outside” where “the usual safety controls that a kitchen provides, like monitoring of food temperatures, refrigeration, workers trained in food safety and washing facilities, may not be available.”

Patterson v. Kevon, LLC

The Georgia Supreme Court recently examined a personal injury lawsuit involving an alleged incident of food poisoning that took place at a catered wedding. The plaintiffs alleged they got sick after eating food provided by the defendant, a barbecue company, at a wedding rehearsal dinner. More precisely, the plaintiffs said the defendants’ food “was defective, pathogen-contaminated, undercooked, and negligently prepared.”

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Not all personal injury claims are the result of accidents. There are many situations in which a victim is injured by the deliberate–even criminal–conduct of one or more parties. Victims often face additional legal challenges when seeking compensation for such injuries, in part because many insurance companies will not indemnify the responsible parties against criminal acts.

Capitol Specialty Insurance Corporation v. PTAV, Inc.

A recent decision by a federal judge in Atlanta helps to illustrate this problem. This case involves a Marietta woman–identified in court records only as “P.M.”–who was abducted, robbed, and sexually assaulted multiple times by a group of men. The abduction itself occurred in the parking lot at a commercial center.