Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Collisions

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia workers’ compensation and personal injury case discussing whether the defendant employer could be held liable for failing to provide medical care to the injured employee-plaintiff after he was injured on the job. Ultimately, the court concluded that the “sole remedy” provision of the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act precluded the plaintiff’s claim.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured in a Georgia car accident while he was working for the defendant. The exact details of the crash are not particularly crucial to the case. However, after the accident, the plaintiff claims that his employer denied him access to medical care and insurance, which delayed his treatment. The plaintiff claimed this delay aggravated his injuries, eventually resulting in the plaintiff suffering several strokes. The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against his employer.

The employer argued that the sole-remedy provision to the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act precluded the plaintiff’s ability to bring the claim. The sole-remedy provision states that “the rights and the remedies granted to an employee by this chapter shall exclude . . . all other rights and remedies . . . and all other civil liabilities whatsoever at common law or otherwise, on account of such injury, loss of service, or death.” Essentially, the sole remedy provision prevents an employee from pursuing a personal injury case against an employer if they can also bring a workers’ compensation claim.

Last month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Georgia car accident case requiring the court to determine if the plaintiffs were covered under a policy underwritten by the defendant insurance company. The court ultimately determined that the plaintiffs were not among those named in the policy for whom underinsured/uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage was provided, and the plaintiffs’ argument that the policy was invalid was without merit. Thus, the court dismissed the plaintiffs’ case.The Facts

The defendant insurance company wrote a policy for a car dealership. The policy provided both liability and UIM coverage. However, the UIM coverage was only extended to “directors, officers, partners or owners of the named insured and family members who qualify as an insured.” In fact, the policy specifically stated that “any other person who qualifies as an
Insured” was not afforded UIM coverage.

The plaintiffs decided to test-drive a car from the dealership. While out on the test-drive, the plaintiffs were rear-ended by another motorist. The at-fault motorist had liability insurance coverage, but the policy limits were such that the plaintiffs were not fully compensated for their injuries, even after settling and obtaining the maximum benefit amount under that policy. Thus, the plaintiffs filed a claim with the dealership’s insurance policy, under the UIM coverage.

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Earlier last month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia car accident case brought against the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) by a man who was injured in a single-car accident due to what he claimed was an improperly maintained roadway. The court ultimately rejected the plaintiff’s claim because he failed to follow the procedural requirements stated in the Georgia Tort Claims Act (GTCA) precisely.The case illustrates the importance of having a dedicated and knowledgeable Georgia personal injury attorney that is experienced in pursing compensation from government defendants.

Ante-Litem Notice

Under the GTCA, any plaintiff who plans on bringing a lawsuit against a government entity must follow certain procedural guidelines in order to establish the court’s jurisdiction. Essentially, the government is presumed to be immune from all tort liability. However, the GTCA waives this immunity in certain circumstances if, and only if, the plaintiff complies with the GTCA requirements. If the plaintiff fails to comply with the requirements of the GTCA, then the court will not have power to hear the plaintiff’s case because the government will be immune from liability.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued an opinion in a Georgia car accident case requiring the court to determine if the plaintiff’s case against the defendant contained sufficient evidence to survive a summary judgment challenge by the defense. Ultimately, since the court found that the plaintiff presented insufficient evidence to give rise to a material issue of fact, it granted summary judgment in the defendant’s favor.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a truck driver who was heading east on a stretch of highway when the defendant’s vehicle, which was traveling in the opposite direction, crossed over the center median and crashed into the plaintiff’s truck. At the time, the plaintiff had no idea what caused the defendant to lose control of the vehicle, but it became evident after the collision that the defendant had collided with a bull that had escaped captivity and walked onto the highway.

The defendant filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, claiming that she was negligent in failing to keep a proper lookout. The evidence also showed that the plaintiff was traveling below the posted speed limit and that it was dark outside at the time of the collision. It was also established that there was a line of cars on the side of the road belonging to the people who were searching for the bull.

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Earlier this month, the Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a Georgia car accident case involving a dispute between a motorist who was injured in an accident and that motorist’s insurance company. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s failure to provide the insurance company with prompt notice of the accident and subsequent lawsuit was a violation of the clear language contained in the insurance policy. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s four-and-a-half-year delay in notifying the company did violate the policy language and that, as a result, the plaintiff’s lawsuit against the insurance company was dismissed.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a car accident while she was a passenger in a friend’s car. Several others were also injured. Two years after the accident, the plaintiff filed a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. The plaintiff eventually settled that claim for $36,000, which was all that was available under the at-fault driver’s insurance policy after compensating the other accident victims.

The plaintiff claimed that she sustained injuries above and beyond those covered by the $36,000 settlement with the at-fault driver, and she joined her own insurance company as a defendant in the lawsuit. By this time, about four and a half years had passed since the accident. The plaintiff claimed that since the at-fault driver was underinsured, her own insurance company should cover her injuries under the underinsured motorist provision of her policy.

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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.

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