Articles Tagged with auto accidents

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If a reckless driver injures someone in a car accident, the driver may not be the only person liable for damages. If the driver was operating a vehicle owned by his or her employer, the employer may be vicariously liable for the victim’s injuries. If the employer had the vehicle insured, the insurance company may bear the ultimate financial responsibility.

Great American Alliance Insurance Co. v. Anderson

Of course, insurance companies often will not pay out without a fight. With respect to automobile insurance, policies often exclude coverage for employer-owned vehicles that are not used with the employer’s permission. What precisely constitutes “permission” can be difficult to determine.

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Many Georgia car accidents are the result of a defect in the vehicle itself. Georgia product liability law recognizes three types of defects: manufacturing defects, design defects, and warning defects. The second group, design defects, includes any product that is not “reasonably suited to the use intended.” This means, for instance, that a product manufacturer may be held liable for damages if it selected an inappropriate or unsafe design.

Andrews v. Autoliv Japan, Ltd.

A design defect claim will only succeed if the plaintiff can prove the defendant actively participated in the design. Not every party who may have contributed some part of a vehicle is considered responsible for its design. A recent decision by a federal judge in Atlanta offers a helpful illustration.

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Every day, millions of parents entrust the safety of their children to the cars they drive. If there is a defect in a vehicle’s manufacture or design, a parent may not learn about until it is too late and their child has paid the price. When that happens, parents understandably want to hold the vehicle manufacturer responsible.

Chrysler Group, LLC v. Walden

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently addressed such a terrible and tragic case. In 2012, a woman was driving her 4-year-old nephew to an activity when her Jeep Grand Cherokee was rear-ended by another driver. Upon impact, the Jeep’s fuel tank exploded, setting the vehicle on fire. According to court records, the 4-year-old “was alive and conscious while the Grand Cherokee was on fire and may have lived up to a minute with flames in contact with his body” before he died.

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A personal injury lawsuit, such as one seeking damages from a car accident, often involves complex questions of law. The complexity only increases exponentially when the the negligent party is a state agency. The Georgia Tort Claims Act (GTCA) governs all personal injury claims against the state and its employees. Unlike lawsuits against private parties, the GTCA requires a victim provide written notice to the state about any potential claim. A party that fails to strictly comply with every aspect of this pre-suit notice requirement will have their case dismissed without exception.

Silva v. Georgia Department of Transportation

As if to hammer home this point, a panel of the Georgia Court of Appeals recently issued two decisions on the same day dismissing GTCA claims for technical non-compliance with the pre-suit notice requirements. In the first case, the victim was rear-ended by a vehicle owned and operated by the Georgia Department of Transportation. In an attempt to comply with the GTCA, the victim’s attorney notified state officials of her claim. When the state did not object to the contents of the notice, the victim sued the state, seeking damages for medical expenses and other losses.

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If you are seriously hurt in an accident, there are many types of legal injuries that may entitle you to compensation. In addition to paying your immediate medical bills following an accident, you may face future expenses for ongoing care. You may also face lost wages—again, present and future—as well as pain and suffering.

In car accident cases, if a negligent driver lacks sufficient insurance to compensate you for all of your injuries, your own insurance carrier may be responsible pursuant to uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. The exact amount of coverage you receive depends on the specific language of your policy. Unfortunately, litigation often arises between accident victims and their insurance carriers over the interpretation of such language.

Mabry v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company