Personal Injury and Workers Comp

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How long do I have to file a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia?

When it comes to Personal Injury claims, there’s generally two types of injuries:

 

  1. Intentional Injuries: Where someone harms you and means to harm you.  This is usually done with malicious and/or criminal intent and will likely result in charges being brought against the person who injured you or your loved one.
  2. Accidental Injuries: Injuries caused by freak accidents and non-criminal negligence. People aren’t likely to face charges in this situation unless you have a situation like a drunk or distracted driver.

 

Some people who are prosecuted for intentional injuries can also face civil liability in the form of personal injury suits.  You can sue someone for an injury or death caused by their criminal activities. A good example of this would be a drunk driving accident that left an innocent person partially paralyzed. Not only would the drunk driver face criminal charges (drunk driving is against the law, after all), the injured driver can sue the drunk driver to recover damages from the accident.

 

Other times, the at-fault party won’t be looking at criminal charges; however, that doesn’t mean they can’t be held liable. In many accidental injury or death cases, the person who is injured or loses a loved one can file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party to collect damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost income, etc. Let’s say that a child is swimming at a summer camp and drowns. In this case, the camp supervisors were supposed to be watching the child swim in the pool but the lifeguard was off flirting with someone and not paying attention. The lifeguard turns around after 5 minutes and the child is floating lifeless in the pool.

Though the camp is responsible for the child’s accidental death, the lifeguard didn’t necessarily commit a crime. In this case, the child’s parents can sue the camp for their child’s wrongful death. Usually, a claim of this nature would be filed against the camp’s liability or property insurance policy.

The Statute of Limitations in GEORGIA

If you were injured in a car accident, a pedestrian accident, or because of a dangerous product, a dangerous dog, or hazardous property condition, you must file a claim within Georgia’s statute of limitations, which is the deadline for filing a claim. If you delay and you file after this time period expires, the court will deny your claim and you will have no legal recourse.

In Georgia, you must file a personal injury claim within TWO YEARS of the date of the injury. If the injury claim is against a municipality or county, you ONLY HAVE  SIX MONTHS to file a claim; however, you do have TWO YEARS for claims filed against the state.

The State of Georgia does not have a cap on damages for personal injury or medical malpractice cases.  This is good because it allows jurors to award what they think is fair, no matter the amount. This is because in 2010, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that imposing such caps would violate people’s rights to a trial by jury under the state’s constitution.  For more information about personal injury cases in Georgia, check out Title 51 of the Georgia Code.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, contact the attorneys at Harmon and Gorove today to find out how we can assist you in recovering the maximum amount of damages for you injury.  We have decades of experience and work with one of the best personal injury teams in the state. We will fight for you!

Using Headphones While Driving

Often, automobile and truck accidents happen because someone was distracted while driving.  Driving while distracted is one of the most significant causes of accidents across the entire world.  This is mostly because there are tons of actions that fall into the distracted driving category. The actions most commonly associated with distracted driving is texting and using electronic devices to transmit data or make phone calls.  However, those are certainly not the only things that can cause distracted driving. Eating behind the wheel, changing the radio station, even reaching down to scratch an itch can distract someone. One of the things that most people don’t think about when it comes to distracted driving is the use of headphones.  People use them for a myriad of reasons but in the State of Georgia, you are not allowed to use any device that impairs your hearing or vision while operating a vehicle. This is spelled out in Ga. Code § 40-6-250. The statute does allow earbuds or headsets that are used for purposes of communicating hands free. Basically, the statute is meant to protect our roads from drivers who can’t hear what is going on around them. For example, drivers should be able to hear other vehicles’ horns in the event of an emergency. Drivers should also be able to hear sirens of approaching emergency vehicles in time to clear the way. There are a variety of instances in which it is imperative that a driver be able to hear their surroundings. Even people on bikes and pedestrians should think twice before traveling with earbuds or headphones that prevent hearing the environment around them. The ability to hear approaching motor vehicles may be the only way to prevent a serious, life-threatening bicycle or pedestrian accident.

Because we deal with victims of serious auto accidents every day, we understand the importance of safety on our streets and highways. It only takes one second of distraction to cause a serious accident that could change lives forever. If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of another person’s negligence in a automobile accident, contact the injury lawyers at Harmon and Gorove today for a free consultation.

 

The pluses and minuses of settling out of court

Settling a personal injury or product liability case can happen a number of ways.  Some of those ways involve a trial, a jury and a courtroom while others do not. An out of court settlement basically states that the involved parties wish to avoid a long and costly trial where the outcome is unknown.  Often times, this happens when both parties and their lawyers (occasionally with the help of a mediator) negotiate a settlement that both parties feel is fair. The specific circumstances of each case is different and the preferences of the parties to the case certainly matter.  However, listening to an experienced personal injury attorney can help you make the decision as to whether you want to take a case to trial or you wish to accept an offer of settlement. Many cases are settled out of court in a fair manner because both parties ultimately accept the facts of the case.  However, we’ve come up with a good list of pros and cons for you to consider when you think about whether you should settle your case or take it to court.

Advantages:

  1. Fewer Costs. The cost of a jury trial can multiply quickly.  Between hiring experts, travel costs and display materials the fees add up fast.  This doesn’t include the higher attorney costs incurred as well. You could also miss a great deal of time away from work and be tied up for months or even years before seeing any real payoff in your case.  You could even end up in a worse financial position than you were in before the trial.
  2. Less Stress. The pressure of taking a case to trial isn’t just on the attorney, it’s also experienced by the client.  This stress can take a serious toll on people. An out of court settlement reduces that stress significantly.
  3. Privacy. Taking a case to court involves a great deal of disclosure and if privacy is a concern of yours, know that trial documents in a case that actually goes to trial are a matter of public record.  If there are potentially embarrassing things that you don’t want made public, you can keep a great deal of that out of the public eye by settling the case out of court.
  4. Finality. A lot of people do not realize that the outcome of a trial can be appealed by the losing party. However, when settling out of court, the final outcome usually can’t be appealed. Additionally, if a case does go to appeal, it will certainly drag the case out over a substantially longer time, which will only lead to more time between you getting the money you deserve and significantly higher legal expenses.

Disadvantages:

  1. Fear of Settling. Occasionally, you just can’t get the satisfaction you want out of settling a case.  This can lead to people being unfulfilled with the settlement for reasons that don’t even involve money.
  2. The Unknown. Perhaps one of the biggest negatives of taking a case all the way to a jury trial is the fact that a group of complete strangers will decide the outcome of your case.  You can NEVER predict a jury and anyone who tells you they can is lying and you shouldn’t hire them. With an experienced attorney they can however more easily predict a settlement.  A good PI attorney has experience in settling and trying cases. As the song, “The Gambler” goes, you gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. A good PI attorney knows.
  3. Purpose. Each case has its own unique merits and many lawsuits are filed for very personal reasons. Some cases involve circumstances that deserve to be made public for the good of the country as a whole or the challenging of a unjust law. If a case is settled out of court, the awareness of the issue can often go unnoticed.

At Harmon and Gorove, our attorneys have each client’s best interests in mind and will be transparent with advice given. Our lawyers have many years of experience in both trial cases and out of court settlements and will work with you to not only giving you peace of mind during the process, but will also work valiantly in making sure you achieve the justice that you deserve.