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Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a Georgia premises liability case involving the tragic drowning death of a young child at a condominium swimming pool. The case required the court to determine the condo association was liable for the child’s death. Finding that the association was not negligent in any way, the court dismissed the case against the association.

Pool WaterThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in this case was the father of a young boy who drowned in a swimming pool that was located at the condominium complex where his aunt lived. At the time of the accident, the aunt was not present, but the boy was with several other family members. According to the evidence presented at trial, the pool was very crowded on the day of the accident, and the young boy was under water for approximately five minutes before he was discovered. There was also some evidence suggesting that the person who called 911 was unable to promptly give the address of the condo complex, potentially delaying the arrival of emergency responders.

After his son’s death, the boy’s father filed a personal injury lawsuit against the condo association, claiming that the association was negligent for failing to have a lifeguard present, failing to have a safety rope distinguishing the shallow part of the pool from the deep part of the pool, and failing to post a sign with the pool’s address.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued an interesting opinion in a Georgia car accident case involving one named defendant and an unnamed hit-and-run driver. The case required the court to interpret several statutes and determine if the plaintiff’s choice of venue was proper when neither the plaintiff nor the sole named defendant resided in the county where the case was filed. Ultimately, the court concluded that venue was proper because under Georgia law, a hit-and-run driver is assumed to reside in the county where the accident occurred.

Rear-EndedThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were two passengers in a car that was being operated by a friend on a Georgia highway. At some point, an unnamed driver crossed into the plaintiffs’ lane, requiring the driver of the vehicle carrying the plaintiffs to slow down quickly. As the vehicle slowed, the defendant, who was traveling directly behind them, slammed into the rear of the vehicle.

The plaintiffs filed a personal injury lawsuit against both the unnamed hit-and-run driver as well as the driver who rear-ended them. The plaintiffs filed the case in the county where the accident occurred, which was not where the named defendant lived.

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Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a wrongful death case brought by the parents of a college student who drowned while on a study-abroad trip to Costa Rica. The case required the court to decide if the defendant university could be held liable for the student’s death. Ultimately, the court concluded that the university could not be held legally responsible for the student’s death because he assumed the risk of danger by entering the water.

Crashing WavesThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were the parents of a 20-year-old student at a local Atlanta-area university. The student signed up for a study-abroad trip to Costa Rica. Prior to embarking on the trip, university staff went over a few of the dangers of swimming in the ocean, and they asked if all of the students were comfortable swimmers. All of the students indicated that they could swim.

During the trip, a professor accompanied several students to a beach recommended by hotel staff. The students went into the water and stuck together in a group. However, at some point, a rip current began pulling the students out to sea. The plaintiff’s son was trying to stay afloat when he was overcome by a wave. The others lost sight of him, and his body was discovered three days later.

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Each day, 28 people across the country die in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2015, 10,265 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. In addition, almost 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in that same year. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), almost 40 percent of all fatalities in Georgia car accidents are alcohol-related crashes.

Passed OutUnder Georgia law, a person cannot drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle if they are under the influence of alcohol or any drug to the extent that it is unsafe for the person to drive. A person also cannot have a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within three hours of driving or being in control of the vehicle.

Victims of Georgia drunk driving accidents can recover damages caused by an intoxicated driver through a personal injury lawsuit. If successful, a plaintiff’s damages may include amounts for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, personal property damage, and potentially punitive damages.

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Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued an interesting opinion in a car accident case that was brought by a woman who was struck by a hit-and-run driver. While the identity of the driver remained unknown, the plaintiff was able to obtain the license plate of the car as the driver left the scene. In a case against the vehicle’s owner, the court allowed the plaintiff to proceed toward a trial or settlement, finding that she has a legally cognizable claim.

Rear-View MirrorThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was struck by an unidentified male motorist. However, as the hit-and-run driver fled the scene, the plaintiff was able to obtain the license plate of the vehicle and provided it to the responding police officer. The officer looked up the vehicle’s information, finding the owner’s name, and determined that the vehicle was owned by a woman who the plaintiff acknowledged was not driving at the time of the accident.

Once the plaintiff had the owner’s name, she then sought insurance information for the vehicle. The insurance request came back with another woman’s name. The plaintiff initially filed a personal injury lawsuit against the woman who insured the car. Later, she asked the court to add the vehicle’s owner to the case as well. The court denied the plaintiff’s request to add the vehicle’s owner, finding that the issue was moot because the owner was not an “indispensable party” because she was not driving the car.

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Last month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a case that was brought by a woman who was struck by the defendant’s vehicle at night. The court ultimately determined that the plaintiff did not present sufficient evidence to give rise to a material issue of fact, and thus the trial court was proper to dismiss the plaintiff’s case rather than allow it to be heard by a jury.

CrosswalkThe Facts of the Case

After returning home from work on a November evening, the plaintiff decided to talk a walk along the road near where she lived. The plaintiff was wearing all black, and it was about 7:30 at night. The plaintiff was walking alongside the road on a worn footpath, since there was no sidewalk in the area where she was walking. She passed a crosswalk, determining that it was not a good place to cross due to the fact that it was located at the top of a small hill, and visibility was reduced. Instead, the plaintiff walked for a few more minutes along the road before attempting to cross.

The plaintiff looked both ways before starting to cross the four-lane road. She noticed the defendant’s vehicle approaching but decided to cross anyhow. Once she reached the median, she again looked and saw that the defendant’s vehicle was still approaching. The plaintiff testified that she could not tell how fast the defendant’s vehicle was moving, but she would not have begun to cross if she thought the vehicle was speeding. However, as the plaintiff started to cross, she was struck by the defendant’s vehicle. The responding police officer cited the plaintiff for “darting” out into traffic and for walking on the roadway while intoxicated. The defendant was not cited.

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Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a premises liability case that was brought by a college student who slipped and fell while walking from one class to another on a rainy day. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff presented enough evidence to survive the defendant’s summary judgment challenge, allowing her case to be submitted to a jury.

Rainy DayThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a student at Georgia Perimeter College. At the time she arrived at school, it was a nice day with clear weather. The plaintiff attended her first class, which was in a windowless classroom. After her first class ended, she went to her second class, which was in the same building and was also in a windowless classroom. Her second class ended at 11:15. During this time, the weather changed, and a rainstorm rolled in.

While the plaintiff was on the way to her third class, she slipped and fell in a puddle of water. The size of the puddle was contested, with the plaintiff claiming it consisted of “standing water,” and a professor who came to her aid estimating that there was less water present, about as much as if a wet paper towel had been wiped across the floor. The area where the plaintiff slipped was not near a door, and the water had been tracked in by fellow students.

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Earlier this month, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a written opinion in a medical malpractice case that was brought by a man who was paralyzed from the waist down after undergoing surgery that was performed by the defendant doctor. The court was tasked with determining whether the trial court was proper to exclude the testimony of one of the plaintiff’s witnesses because the plaintiff had failed to disclose the name of the witness during pre-trial discovery.

Pile of PapersUltimately, the court concluded that the trial court was within its discretion to prevent the witness from testifying, and it affirmed the jury’s defense verdict.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff began seeing the defendant doctor in 2004 for neck and back pain. In 2009, the defendant diagnosed the plaintiff with degenerative disc disease and recommended surgery. After the surgery, the plaintiff experienced complications, eventually requiring a subsequent surgery, which was also performed by the defendant. After the second surgery, the plaintiff was paralyzed from the waist down.

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Last month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a medical malpractice case that was brought by a man who developed a stage IV sacral ulcer (bed sore) while under the care of the defendant health care provider. Ultimately, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint because the expert affidavit that is required to be filed with medical malpractice actions was lacking in specificity.

Hospital BedThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was admitted to the defendant health care provider while he was unconscious. During his stay, he developed a stage IV sacral ulcer, which he claimed was caused by the negligence of the provider’s staff. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the health care provider, alleging that the hospital “had failed to properly assess and treat the ulcer and had failed to appropriately advocate for his care while he was unconscious.”

In support of his claim, the plaintiff submitted the affidavit of a nurse. The affidavit – which is required in all medical malpractice cases – stated that, in the nurse’s opinion, the hospital was negligent because it failed to “properly assess and treat [the plaintiff’s] wounds; and appropriately advocate for an unconscious patient to ensure that said patient received the monitoring and treatment required.”

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Earlier this month, a Georgia appellate court issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit brought by a woman who slipped and fell after using the restroom in a fast-food restaurant. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff failed to establish that the fast-food restaurant had superior knowledge of the dangerous condition that allegedly caused the plaintiff’s fall. As a result, the plaintiff’s case was dismissed.

Slick FloorThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff dined at the defendant restaurant and then went to use the restroom. In a pre-trial deposition, the plaintiff explained that she entered the restroom and proceeded directly to the handicap stall. She did not see any water on the floor as she entered the stall. After about five or ten minutes, the plaintiff exited the stall, took about two steps, and then fell backwards. She had slipped after stepping in a puddle of water. The plaintiff sustained serious injuries as a result of her fall and filed a premises liability lawsuit against the restaurant.

In a pre-trial motion for summary judgment, the restaurant argued that the plaintiff’s case was insufficient as a matter of law because she failed to prove a required element of a Georgia premises liability lawsuit. Specifically, the restaurant argued that the plaintiff failed to show that the restaurant had superior knowledge of the hazard.

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