Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Collisions

When someone is injured in a car accident by a reckless, careless, or negligent driver, Georgia state law allows them to file a personal injury suit to recover for their injuries. These suits can be crucial for injured victims in helping them get their lives back on track. Often, car accident injuries result in significant medical expenses, lost wages, and even sometimes funeral and burial expenses. Filing a personal injury suit against the at-fault driver is often the only way that a family can avoid severe financial hardship in the aftermath of accidents.

However, to file a personal injury suit, the plaintiff must notify the defendant of the suit. It would be unfair to allow plaintiffs to move forward with a lawsuit without the other party knowing and able to defend themselves, and so our court system requires notice to be served on the defendant. However, in some cases, defendants may avoid getting served because they do not want to be sued. They may conceal their location, or leave the state and go somewhere unknown, to avoid being served notice. Many times, they may think that if they cannot be served, they cannot be sued, and the suit will eventually go away. However, Georgia law accounts for this tendency, and allows those who exercised due diligence in determining that the defendant was either out of state or avoiding service to serve notice in another way—through publication in a newspaper.

This was the option attempted by the plaintiff in a recent Georgia appellate case. According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff was injured by the defendant in a car accident and attempted to file suit. However, she was unable to find or track down the defendant to serve him with notice, and so after trying for a while, she requested permission to serve notice through publication.

Experiencing the loss of a loved one may be one of the most difficult things anyone has to navigate in their lives. Occasionally, when someone passes, it is the result of negligence, carelessness, or recklessness of another party. When this is the case, the deceased’s family and loved ones may potentially have the ability to file a Georgia wrongful death claim. Although wrongful death cases are common across the United States, state rules often differ based on unique statutes, and Georgia is no exception.

In a recent news report, a major car accident left at least four dead in its wake. Just after midnight, the driver of a pickup truck slid into an oncoming lane of traffic and was hit by another vehicle. The driver of that vehicle and his passenger were killed, while his other passenger was in serious condition. The pickup truck’s two passengers were declared dead on the scene, while the driver was airlifted to a local hospital.

Georgia wrongful death lawsuits can be complex. State law only allows specific parties to bring wrongful death claims. Additionally, regardless of how many children are present in the family, the spouse is automatically entitled to receive nothing less than one-third of the total amount of damages in Georgia. If the deceased person is unmarried, wrongful death claims can be brought by surviving parents or the designated representative of the deceased’s estate.

With everyone glued to their devices more than ever, it’s no surprise that distracted driving accidents are on the rise. Even though many cars have hands-free answering mechanisms or navigation systems, accidents can still happen when drivers get distracted at a red light to check a text message or make a call. When these accidents happen, they can often be devastating. Those responsible for a distracted driving accident can be held accountable for their actions through a Georgia personal injury lawsuit.

In a recent Georgia news report, a serious crash occurred involving distracted driving. Evidently, the driver of a tractor-trailer crashed into the victim’s car inside a roundabout, causing both vehicles to slide into a nearby ditch. In the ditch, the tractor-trailer rolled on top of the victim’s car, and a rescue team had to remove the driver from her car. After being pulled out from roughly 20 feet down a hill, the victim was transported to a local hospital. Following the accident, the tractor-trailer driver admitted to investigators that he was using his cell phone and didn’t realize he was entering a roundabout intersection.

In Georgia, a new distracted driving law called the “Hands-Free Georgia Act” was passed in 2018 to curb rates of distracted driving accidents. Although it was illegal to text and drive in Georgia before the passing of this law, the Act now makes it illegal to use a mobile device while driving, unless you have a hands-free or Bluetooth system installed in your vehicle.

When driving in, you should always exercise the utmost caution when operating your vehicle. When driving someone else’s car after they lend it to you, however, you should be extra careful—especially because if the vehicle gets damaged or you hurt someone in a Georgia car accident, you and the vehicle’s owner could be held responsible. The same principle applies to employers. If an employer lends a vehicle or gives control of a vehicle it owns to an employee with a demonstrated history of incompetence or other issues involving safely operating cars, the employer and the driver operating the car could be liable.

In a recent Supreme Court of Georgia decision, the court considered a negligent entrustment issue. According to the facts of the case, while attempting to cross the street, the decedent was struck and killed by a truck. The executor of the decedent’s estate subsequently brought a wrongful death and personal injury action against the defendants, the driver of the truck and his employer. Following the trial, the jury found the defendants 50 percent at fault, and the deceased 50 percent at fault, which meant the executor on the deceased’s estate was barred from collecting damages on behalf of the deceased’s estate. The executor appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment to the defendant on its claims on negligent entrustment. The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s opinion, and the Georgia Supreme Court assessed the claim. The court ultimately reversed the lower court’s decision because the law that the lower court relied on to affirm the trial court’s decision was abrogated.

In Georgia, when considering negligent entrustment of a vehicle by an employer to an employee, liability is determined based on the negligent act of the owner lending his vehicle to another to drive with actual knowledge that the driver is incompetent or habitually reckless. An individual can be deemed unfit to safely operate a vehicle because of physical or mental impairment, a lack of experience, or age. If a driver does not have a valid driver’s license for the particular vehicle they are operating, the driver is also considered automatically incompetent under Georgia law.

When an individual passes away after an accident, it can be extremely difficult for their family. It can be even more difficult when that person was pregnant. In these cases, people will often file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party, seeking damages to emotionally and financially recover. One type of damages compensates families for their pain and suffering. In a recent Georgia appellate court case, the court was tasked with determining whether the deceased’s pregnancy was a relevant factor when determining pain and suffering damages. Ultimately, the court concluded that the deceased’s characteristics – including her pregnancy – were relevant to the determination of damages.

In the recent case, a woman filed a lawsuit after her daughter, husband, and grandchild were killed in a car accident caused by the defendant. The plaintiff’s daughter had been pregnant and was on her way home from the doctor when she was killed in the accident. Additionally, the daughter had been on the phone with her mother during the accident. Because of this, the plaintiff heard her daughter scream moments before the accident that took her daughter’s life. At trial, evidence regarding the daughter’s state of mind during the accident – including the fact that she was pregnant – was evaluated when the jury awarded the plaintiff damages for the pain and suffering her daughter endured before being killed in the accident. The defendant appealed, arguing this evidence should not have been considered by the jury.

In Georgia, damages can be awarded for a person’s pain and suffering as the accident occurs, including being aware of their imminent death. The fright, shock, and mental suffering experienced by individuals during these accidents can be considered when the jury determines damages.

When you buy a home, one of the most important things to do is to also buy ample insurance for your residence. This way, in the event of fires, floods, or other disasters, you are able to recover from the damage incurred. Choosing an insurance company or plan, however, can often be tricky. Depending on the policy, there may be different methods to pay your premiums and maintain your status as a policyholder. This is why potential home insurance buyers are advised to read all of the fine print on their policies and subsequent notices carefully, to avoid issues with their coverage in the future. The same goes for any type of insurance policy, including Georgia car insurance policies.

In a recent Court of Appeals of Georgia decision, the court considered a case involving the proper payment of insurance premiums. The plaintiffs initially set up an insurance policy for their residence with an agent, and the plaintiffs paid their premiums directly to the agent rather than to the insurance company. To renew their coverage, the insurance company alleged that they sent the plaintiffs a notice that they needed to send their premium to the insurance company directly, which the plaintiffs claimed they never received. The plaintiffs continued paying the agent directly instead. Eventually, the insurance company canceled the policy. Following a fire that caused the plaintiffs to lose their home, the plaintiffs sued the insurance company after it denied their claim.

On appeal, the court had to decide whether the insurance agent that the plaintiffs used was an “agent” of the insurance company. If so, then the defendant could be bound by the agent’s acceptance of the plaintiff’s payment of premiums directly to her. Because the renewal notice and cancellation notice sent from the insurance company to the plaintiffs indicated that premiums were to be paid directly to the insurance company and had no provisions for payment to the agent, the court ruled that the agent was not bound to the insurance company.

Following a major Georgia car accident, navigating the claims in court can often be a daunting task. Because of the complexity of the legal system, it is crucial that when bringing your claims that you also have the proper evidence to support them. Depending on the state, however, courts may have different requirements when it comes to types of evidence that are appropriate and admissible for consideration.

In a recent Court of Appeals of Georgia opinion, the court considered a case involving whether evidence showing the deceased’s state of mind before an accident could be used to determine pre-impact pain and suffering damages. Specifically, whether the fact that she was pregnant should be allowed into evidence. According to the court’s opinion, the defendant was driving a pickup truck on the interstate when he crossed the median and hit an oncoming vehicle occupied by a couple and their three-year-old daughter. Following the collision, the couple passed away, but their daughter survived the accident. The deceased wife’s mother filed a lawsuit as the administrator of the couple’s estate against the defendants, the driver of the pickup truck. A jury sided with the plaintiff. The pickup driver appealed the decision, arguing that evidence that the deceased was pregnant at the time of the accident should not have been presented at trial.

On appeal, the court sided with the plaintiff and ruled that the evidence of the deceased’s pregnancy and state of mind at the time of the accident was presented properly. On the date of the collision, the couple and their child were returning from a visit from their doctor, where the wife’s pregnancy had been confirmed. She was on the phone with her mother right before the crash, who heard the crash take place on the line. This evidence, the court reasoned, showed the deceased’s state of mind at the time of the collision, and had relevance to her “fright, shock, and mental suffering” before the crash since she knew she was pregnant, her entire family was in the car, and that the accident was imminent. Since this evidence suggested that the deceased potentially knew her death would be imminent as a result of the crash, it had relevance to her damages for pain and suffering.

In Georgia personal injury cases, vicarious liability laws establish that an employer could be liable for the acts of its employees if the employee causes injury to another while working within the scope of the business. The employer is liable when the employee was serving the employer’s interests in furtherance of the employer’s business and within the scope of his employment.

In a recent Court of Appeals of Georgia case, the court considered a vicarious liability claim. According to the court’s opinion, the defendant worked at the grill for a local deli and assisted with catering deliveries. If the defendant were scheduled to make one or more deliveries, he would get to work early to prepare the grill before making the delivery with his own car. Because the defendant was an hourly employee, he was only paid when he was clocked in, and often had to seek permission to come in early to make a delivery. When the defendant made a delivery, the employer would cover the cost of gas, in addition to paying the defendant his regular hourly wage.

On the day of the accident, the defendant was called in to make a catering delivery despite a local state of emergency due to a winter storm. On his way to prepare the grill before taking the delivery, the defendant lost control of his car and crashed into a vehicle that was parked on the road’s shoulder, killing his brother-in-law as well as another man.

Included among the damages available through a Georgia car accident case are expenses related to future medical care. Sometimes, however, you may not know immediately if you require a specific procedure or further treatment because your injury is still progressing. In those instances, it is important to get a firm answer from your physician about their recommendations concerning your treatment and to solidify your plans to pursue those treatments. Otherwise, you may face barriers in being compensated for future medical expenses that have not been incurred yet.

In a recent Georgia Court of Appeals decision, the court had to consider a case involving future medical expenses following a car accident. The plaintiff was driving his large SUV while helping a friend move some boxes. As the plaintiff approached the neighborhood where he was going to deliver his friend’s boxes, he pulled into a left-hand turn lane and paused while waiting for traffic to pass. Moments later, a vehicle driven by the defendant rear-ended the plaintiff’s vehicle at high speed, sending the SUV nearly 40 yards down the road.

Following the accident, the plaintiff suffered severe back pain. He met with an orthopedic surgeon several times to consider future treatments or surgery, but did not pursue the latter. The plaintiff subsequently sued the defendant, arguing that his negligent operation of her car caused the accident and injured his back. After trial, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff and awarded him $25,000 in damages and $100,000 in future medical expenses. The defendant filed a motion striking the plaintiff’s award of future medical expenses, which the trial court granted. The plaintiff appealed.

Recently, the Supreme Court of Georgia issued a decision discussing whether a trial court could exclude an expert witness because they were identified after the discovery deadline. The issue on appeal arose after the plaintiff, a world-renowned high jumper, suffered serious injuries in a car accident. After the defendant admitted fault, the plaintiff filed a Georgia personal injury lawsuit requesting damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other relief the trial court found appropriate. During pretrial proceedings, the trial court set May 12th as the scheduling, discovery, and case management deadline.

In response to the complaint, the defendant asked the plaintiff to identify any expert witnesses that could attest to the plaintiff’s loss of future earnings. On the last day for identifying witnesses, the plaintiff supplemented his discovery response and presented an additional expert witness. About one month after the scheduling deadline, the defendant notified the plaintiff that he planned to call a rebuttal witness. The trial court excluded the defendant’s witness because he was not named by the May 12th deadline. On appeal, the defendant argued that he did not learn of the witness until the last day of the discovery deadline, and therefore his rebuttal witness should not be excluded.

In Georgia civil cases, the court generally cannot exclude an expert witness solely because they were identified after the court’s deadlines. Trial courts should consider various factors to determine whether expert witness exclusion is appropriate. The main factors include, the reason for the failure to timely disclose the witness, the importance of the expert’s testimony, the prejudice to the opposing party if the witness is allowed to testify, and whether there is an alternative remedy than the exclusion of the witness.

Contact Information