If you've suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one, an Atlanta injury lawyer can help answer your questions on how to win your personal injury claim in a Georgia personal injury court!
At S. Burke Law we are here to help give answers to these important questions. Our Frequently Asked Question database covers the common questions you may have regarding what to do after a serious accident, how to file a claim in personal injury court, and tips on how to win your personal injury claim. When researching information on the legal process following a serious accident you want legitimate advice from a source you can trust.
When you’ve suffered serious losses and damages from an accident due to the negligence of another you aren’t alone. An Atlanta injury lawyer from our office is always available to answer additional questions not addressed on our page. Contact us for a FREE consultation and get the answers you need to seek compensation for your losses!
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How to Treat Road Rash From a Motorcycle Accident?
How you treat road rash from a motorcycle accident depends on the type and severity of your abrasions.
How Can I Determine the Severity of My Road Rash Injury?
Like burns from a motorcycle accident, doctors classify road rash by degree. First-degree road rash is the least severe; third-degree is most severe.
First Degree: Small cuts and scrapes on your skin. You may also notice that your skin is a bit reddened.
Second Degree: The top layer of your skin breaks. The underlying layers of skin will still be intact, but your cuts will be visible. While scarring is possible, simple treatments should adequately treat your wounds.
Third Degree: Your skin peels away completely. These injuries often involve breaking five layers of skin, down to the fat. The most severe abrasions will expose muscle, tendons, bones, and nerves. (Note: There may be no pain with a third-degree road rash injury as the nerves may have suffered damage. If you feel no pain at the wound site, go straight to the emergency room.)
CAUTION: To treat a third-degree road rash injury, you must receive immediate medical attention. Head to the emergency room straightaway. Without immediate treatment, the victim might suffer various road rash complications such as infection or tissue death.
How Can I Treat My Wounds Myself if I Do Not Require Medical Attention?
You likely do not require medical attention for a first-degree road rash injury. You may want to head to the doctor to receive a proper cleaning of your second-degree road rash injury.
Cleanliness is your primary objective when you have suffered road rash injuries. Clean first- and second-degree road rash abrasions immediately. This helps you prevent minor injuries from becoming major infections.
If you decide against professional medical treatment or cannot visit a doctor right away, perform the following steps:
- Wash your hands and remove any remaining debris from your wounds. Sterilize any tools you use to remove the debris.
- Avoid scrubbing the injured areas directly because this could lead to scarring.
- Apply a clean cloth to your wound if there is any bleeding.
- Rinse your wound with soap and water. Use antibacterial soap and saline if you have it.
- Apply antiseptic ointments and creams to your wounds. Products like Neosporin should be enough to treat your wounds. Apply once a day or as needed.
- Apply bandages at any sites of open, injured skin. Wrap your wound with non-stick gauze. Do not wrap too tightly.
- Clean your wounds at least once per day.
- You will likely be in some degree of pain following your accident. Take some over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin to ease the pain.
- Keep the initial wound areas covered at all times until your wounds begin to heal.
- Visit a physician if your wounds are large, or if you notice signs of infection.
First- and second-degree road rash abrasions should heal within two to four weeks. If your injuries linger longer than that, your wound might be more severe than you originally thought.
What Signs of Infection Should I Look For?
Because of the tiny pieces of debris that can become caught in a road rash wound, infection is common without proper cleaning. The following are signs of infection:
- Increased redness and swelling
- Drainage or puss emanating from the wound.
- Flu-like symptoms, including fever, shivers, and vomiting
- Heat at the wound site
If you have any of the symptoms above, head to an urgent care clinic or emergency room as soon as possible.
Am I Entitled to Compensation for My Road Rash Treatment Costs?
Road rash abrasions are treatable, but often require lots of maintenance. Depending on the severity of the injury, you might end up paying hundreds or even thousands out of pocket for treatment.
If another party was at-fault for your motorcycle accident, you can recover treatment costs from that party. Call the team at S. Burke Law today to discuss your case for free: 404-842-7838.
How Much Is a Slip and Fall Lawsuit Worth?
Your slip and fall lawsuit could be worth a lot of money, but it is difficult to pinpoint an exact amount without knowing the details of your claim. For instance:
- How did your injury occur?
- Who was the responsible party?
- Is there an insurance company involved?
- How serious are your injuries?
At S. Burke Law, we have seen slip and fall accident settlements that are often lucrative. Your settlement could include several forms of damages—some which you might not have considered. For that reason, the first piece of advice we give is never to accept an insurance company settlement offer without speaking with an attorney first.
You can sit down with a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation by calling S. Burke Law. Before starting her law practice, Sheryl L. Burke worked for an insurance company as an adjuster, making her uniquely familiar with how the process works on both ends. Burke uses this knowledge to give clients an advantage in the negotiation process, as she can anticipate and counter any insurance company tactic. To find out how much a slip and fall lawsuit is worth, call 404-842-7838 today.
How Much Can I Win in Damages in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
Many factors determine the type and the amount of damages you can win in a slip and fall case. We can discuss these details with you at your free consultation. Your damages could include any combination of the following.
Chances are, the responsible party is liable for both your current and your future medical costs. These might include your hospital bills, doctor copays, prescription drug costs, rehabilitation and therapy, medical devices, and more.
This is also a good example of why you should never accept the insurance company’s initial settlement offer. Even if it offers to cover your medical bills, an insurer will almost always refer to your current costs only. Our attorneys calculate all of your expected future costs and fight for a fair settlement for your injuries.
If your injuries prevent you from working on a short-term or long-term basis—or if you have to miss substantial work while attending doctor appointments or physical therapy—our attorneys pursue the responsible party to compensate you for all of the wages you have lost because of your fall.
Reduced Earning Capacity
With a serious injury, you might never be able to return to your job in the same capacity as before. If you have to take on lesser responsibilities, it often results in lesser pay. We make sure whoever caused your injuries compensates you for the difference.
Pain and Suffering
You can receive compensation for the physical pain and discomfort you have suffered in the wake of your accident. This is an example of non-economic damages, since the value of pain and suffering does not have a strict dollar value. Rest assured, we fight aggressively for as much compensation as possible.
Depending on the circumstances, we might also pursue compensation for emotional anguish, loss of consortium, and other assorted costs.
What If I Was Partially at Fault for My Slip and Fall Accident?
Imagine that you slipped and fell in a mall parking lot and injured your back, resulting in damages of $100,000. The case goes to trial, where the respondent and their attorneys present indisputable evidence that you were looking at a smartphone just prior to your fall. Nonetheless, the judge determines that, due to uneven pavement in the parking lot, the property owner is primarily responsible for your injuries. Citing your negligence in staring at your phone, however, the judge assigns 20 percent of the blame to you.
In this situation, you would receive $80,000—a 20-percent reduction that corresponds with your share of the responsibility.
Call 404-842-7838 to Speak to a Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer at S. Burke Law.
At S. Burke Law, we have one goal: to fight for the rights of accident victims. We want to help you get the money you deserve after a slip and fall accident. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 404-842-7838 today.
Does Car Insurance Cover Rental Cars
While everyone does their best to avoid an accident in a rental car, things happen. Generally, your personal car insurance covers rental cars. So, in most cases, your insurance company will cover damages from an accident in a rental car.
When Does My Insurance Cover Rental Car Accidents?
Your car insurance is likely the “primary” policy (i.e., the first one you turn to after an accident) if you have the following coverages:
- Collision coverage
- Comprehensive coverage
- Liability coverage
Just as it would with your own vehicle, collision coverage pays for damage to the vehicle after an accident in a rental car. Comprehensive coverage takes care of the vehicle in the event of theft and vandalism. And your liability insurance pays up to your policy limits for injuries to other drivers in an accident you cause.
Will My Credit Card Cover Any Accident Costs?
Most credit cards in the United States offer collision damages waivers (CDW). CDWs are secondary auto rental insurance. This means that it will likely not go into effect until after your primary coverage has been exhausted.
What Does Secondary Car Rental Insurance Cover?
As its name suggests, secondary coverage is a supplemental coverage. So, it does not cover damages your primary insurance does such as personal injury and bodily injury liability coverages.
That said, CDW does fill in some of the gaps your primary car insurance does not cover. For example, it might cover your deductible and any towing fees incurred following an accident.
But despite accepting the waiver, your car rental company does not consider CDW to be insurance. Rather, the company has simply waived its right to charge you for damage any damage you cause to your rented vehicle.
What Does the Car Rental Company’s Insurance Cover?
Like personal car insurance, car rental insurance provides as much coverage as you want and are willing to pay for. Rental car companies typically offer varying tiers of coverage depending on what coverages may roll over from your personal insurer, or what you want.
Common coverages provided by car rental companies include:
- CDW: As we mentioned earlier, this is a waiver which gets you off the hook for any damage to the vehicle.
- Supplemental liability protection: This covers any injury you cause another driver involved in your car accident.
- Personal accident coverage: This covers medical costs for yourself and any passengers in the car at the time of the accident.
- Personal effects coverage: This level of coverage compensates you for any personal items stolen while driving a rental car.
What if the Other Driver is at Fault?
If the other driver is at-fault, you and the car rental company will file claims with that driver’s insurer. The car rental company will claim the property damages while you can claim any injuries you sustained.
If you are partially at-fault, the car rental company might require you pay for a portion of the damages.
Get Help from S. Burke Law Today
Car accidents are always complicated, stressful incidents. Driving a rental car adds another layer of complication and complexity because you often deal with multiple insurers to resolve the issue. And in many cases, you might not have a clue who is supposed to cover what. But you do not need to handle this alone.
Reach out to a Georgia car accident lawyer if you have been involved in a rental car accident. The S. Burke Law team can help you determine who pays for what and get you the compensation you deserve.
Call us today: 404-842-7838.
Can a Tenant Sue a Landlord for Personal Injury?
Whether a tenant can sue a landlord for personal injury depends on the circumstances of the case.
When Might a Landlord Be Liable for a Tenant’s Personal Injury?
A landlord has a responsibility to keep the property reasonably safe from danger. The law states property owners must take reasonable care to prevent dangerous conditions. If they find out about a dangerous condition, they must fix it or warn visitors about it.
If the landlord fails to keep the property safe and you suffer injuries, you might be entitled to compensation.
Suing for an Injury
You can if your physical injuries happened because the landlord did not maintain the property or make repairs.
Example: You fall on the stairs because of a broken handrail. The landlord knew about the broken handrail and had time to fix it, but did not.
Suing for an Assault or Break-In
A landlord can be liable if the criminal acts were something he knew could happen, but did not prevent.
Example: A criminal gets in your apartment because your door did not have a deadbolt, or your windows do not lock. Even though there were break-ins in the past, your landlord did not install deadbolts or window locks. Your landlord could be liable for any injuries you suffered because of the intruder.
Example: The parking lot or other common areas are dark with no lighting. Someone sneaks up and attacks you in the parking lot where it is dark. The landlord could be liable for inadequate lighting.
What Can I Expect When Suing My Landlord?
To Be Successful, Your Lawyer Must Prove Four Things
You cannot just claim your landlord is responsible for your injury. A valid claim requires proving:
- There was a hazard or dangerous condition on the property.
- The property owner or manager knew, or should have known, about the danger.
- The property owner failed to remove, protect you from, or warn you of the danger.
- The hazard resulted in injury or death.
Your lawyer must gather evidence and build a strong case to prove the property owner was at fault.
The Insurance Company May Offer You an Immediate Settlement
The property owner’s insurance company may offer to settle right away. Its goal is to save money, so it will not offer all you deserve. The settlement usually only covers your early medical care and a few days of lost wages. But what if your recovery takes longer or you are unable to return to work? If you settle too early, you will have to cover those costs on your own.
Talk to a lawyer first before you accept any settlement or even give a statement to the insurance company. If you settle for too little now, you cannot get more later for ongoing care or other expenses.
The Landlord or Insurance Company Will Try to Blame You for the Accident
The landlord will try to prove that you did something wrong. Did something you were doing contribute to or cause the accident? Was it because of something you did to the property? If you fell, was it because of the shoes you had on? The landlord wants to show that you share at least part of the blame for the accident.
Sheryl Burke and her team will determine what evidence, if any, the landlord has against you and create defenses against any accusations.
And because Sheryl Burke spent time as an adjuster before opening her personal injury firm, she knows how insurers operate and how they approach these cases. She will ensure that you do not make any statements that jeopardize your case or allow the insurance company to reduce your settlement.
When Might My Landlord Not Be At-fault?
The landlord is responsible for keeping the property safe, but that does not mean every injury you suffer is the landlord’s fault. You might be at-fault if you caused a hazard or if you knew about one but did not alert the landlord.
For example, if the floorboard in your apartment broke, the landlord is responsible for fixing it. However, if it broke, you never let him know, and you tripped over it, you might be at-fault.
You will likely also be at-fault if the bookshelf you installed falls on you, that injury will be your responsibility because the landlord had nothing to do with it.
Let S. Burke Law Protect Your Rights and Fight for You
In Georgia, with some exceptions, you only have two years to file a lawsuit for personal injury. You should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after an injury.
If you live in Georgia, call 404-842-7838 today for a free consultation with the S. Burke Law team.
Can I sue a security guard?
Yes, if a security guard assaulted you, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the security guard or security company. Security guards are not law enforcement officers. They cannot make physical contact with citizens beyond what is minimally necessary to stop a dangerous situation or a crime in progress. The only exception – which is also made for private citizens who are not security guards – is self-defense.
Thus, if a security guard assaulted you and you suffered damages because of it, you may be able to sue the security guard or the security company that employs him or her. Call us at 404-842-7838 to talk about your case.
Security Company May Be Vicariously Liable
In the vast majority of cases involving assaults by security guards, the victim has a better chance of recovering substantial compensation through a premises liability lawsuit against the security guard's employer. That is because the employer – whether it is a small, medium, or large business – probably has greater financial resources than the security guard.
Security companies, like all empoyers, are vicariously liable for an employee's actions while the employee is engaged in work-related duties. Thus, we must prove the security guard was on the clock and performing job duties when the assault occurred. The security company may also be directly liable for your injuries if it was in some way negligent in hiring or training the security guard.
We will help you negotiate a fair settlement for your damages. There are two likely scenarios in these cases:
- The security company agrees to a monetary settlement outside of court.
- The security company fails to agree to a fair settlement and we file a lawsuit and can represent you at trial.
We will examine your case to help you pursue compensation under any applicable theory of liability and pursue fair compensation. Call 404-842-7838 to discuss your case and how we can help you sue the security company so you get the money you need to pay your bills, make up for lost wages, and account for your pain and suffering.
Note: The security guard may also face criminal charges for the assault, which is separate from a civil case against the security guard or security company. Learn more about civil vs. criminal assault cases.
Call 404-842-7838 for a Free Consultation With the Legal Team at S. Burke Law
The decision to sue another party is not one to be taken lightly. The legal team at S. Burke Law can advise you of all your options, answer your questions, and help you pursue compensation via negotiations with an insurance company or by filing a lawsuit.
The initial consultation is always free, so call today to set up your appointment: 404-842-7838.
Also see our post on suing a bouncer for assault.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?
Knowing what to do after a slip and fall accident can help protect you financially and physically. Below, we detail the six steps you should take after a slip and fall.
- Step 1: Seek medical attention
- Step 2: Report the accident
- Step 3: Retrieve copies of the accident report
- Step 4: Keep a journal
- Step 5: Document losses
- Step 6: Contact a lawyer
Step 1: Seek Medical Treatment
Seeking medical attention immediately following your accident helps diagnose any injuries you may have sustained. In addition to protecting you physically, it helps tie your injuries to the accident, which is the basis for your injury claim. Without any injuries, you cannot file a claim.
Continuing medical care also helps demonstrate the severity of your injuries and that you are doing all you can to get better.
Step 2: Report the Incident
Reporting your slip and fall accident is important whether you decide to file a personal injury claim or not. Depending on the site of the accident, you should report the accident to the landlord, property manager, store manager, or whomever else is responsible for maintaining the area.
This is important for two reasons. First, it establishes that the incident took place and requires the parties responsible for maintaining the area to document it. Second, it establishes the foundation of what could be an injury claim.
Step 3: Retrieve Copies of Accident Reports
In addition to reporting the accident yourself, you should also retrieve the report the property owner, manager, or landlord filed. This report should include:
- Statements you made to the property owner
- Descriptions of the area in which the fall took place
- Any statements collected from witnesses
- The time, date, and location the fall occurred
Also, be sure the report lists the cause of your slip and fall. That might include any of the following:
- Improper/poor pavement conditions, e.g., icy or cracked pathways
- Improper/poor floor conditions, e.g., wet floors with no signs, dips or holes in the floor, damaged or ripped carpets
- Poor lighting, e.g., insufficient lighting can make navigating an area difficult
- Hazardous stairways, e.g., conditions indicating a lack of maintenance such as missing handrails, debris, uneven surfaces, etc.
- Exposed wires or cables
If the report does not specify what caused the accident, be sure to note it.
Step 4: Keep a Journal
Documenting your injuries and medical treatments following your slip and fall are as important as documenting the fall itself. Your injury journal should thoroughly document your experiences post-injury.
Include the following in your journal entries:
- Areas where you experience soreness and pain
- Dates of doctor’s visits
- Specialists you visit
- Prescribed medication and/or painkillers
- The progress of your recovery
- Work hours missed due to injuries
- Hobbies and family time missed due to injuries
In addition to documenting your own injuries, having friends and family members document changes in your own behavior could be helpful as well. For example, if your slip and fall injuries prevent you from golfing like you once could, a friend or family member could submit a written statement discussing how often you golfed prior to the injury, as well as how often you play after (if at all).
Step 5: Document Losses
There are a few financial losses you will likely face following a slip and fall accident. Keep a running tab of these expenses. These expenses will likely include:
- Medical expenses (both current and future)
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity (if you need to work less hours, take a lesser-paying job, or retire completely)
- Miscellaneous costs (e.g., gas to get to your doctor’s appointments, hiring help around the household, the costs of renovating your house or vehicle to accommodate a disability, etc.)
- Pain and suffering and mental anguish
Collect the following documents to corroborate your losses:
- Documents from your employer stating your position, hourly wage, hours worked per week
- Pay stubs
- Medical bills and medical records
- Therapist bills
- Your daily journal (can help establish pain and suffering)
Keep all receipts related to your accident. This can include something as large as the bill for widening your doorway to make room for a wheelchair, or as small as the costs of parking at your physical therapist’s office.
Step 6: Contact a Lawyer
Deciding to hire a lawyer is not an easy decision. However, if you believe your slip and fall occurred due to another party’s negligence, a personal injury claim may enable you to recover the compensation you need. S. Burke Law has handled countless personal injury cases over the years, and collected sizable claims on behalf of our clients.Call us at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.
How Long Do Slip and Fall Settlements Take?
It is hard to say how long slip and fall settlements take as it is case specific, but there are a few factors that often influence the timeframe:
- The severity of your injuries
- Whether the other party is disputing liability
- How long the investigation takes
- The insurer’s initial settlement offer
- Your own decision to settle or file a lawsuit
The Severity of Your Injuries
A claim for a simple, mild slip and fall injury might settle in a few weeks or months. If your injuries are more severe and require long-term medical care, it might take longer to get your settlement as you need to obtain a prognosis to determine just how much your injuries will cost you.
And because more severe injuries often cost more, you can expect the other party’s insurer to offer you a settlement that is much less than you need or do everything it can to pin the blame on you.
If the other party disputes liability, this will lengthen the process. For example, say the store manager from the example above claims that you should have seen the torn carpet, but you were texting while walking. Our team and the store’s insurer might have to go back and forth for weeks or months arguing liability.
How Long It Takes to Investigate the Accident
In some cases, the investigation of an accident scene takes no time at all. For example, say you slipped and fell in a puddle at the grocery store. We might be able to watch the surveillance video and determine that an employee saw the puddle, ignored it, and failed to place any warning signs near the hazard.
In other cases, we might need to investigate the scene, determine the store’s policies for remedying hazards, interview eyewitnesses, or even discuss your case with an accident reconstruction team.
The Insurer’s First Offer
In most cases, the other party’s insurer will offer a settlement that is far too low. To get the settlement you deserve, we will need to enter a counter demand. We might end up going through rounds of settlement negotiations to get the money you need. If this occurs, this can lengthen the time it takes to get your settlement.
Whether You Decide to Settle or Take Your Case to Court
While most cases settle before court, insurers sometimes refuse to give injured parties the compensation they deserve.
In this case, we might suggest you take your case to court. If this is the route you choose, this can lengthen the process. We will need to gather evidence and might need to discuss your case with specialists and experts. And if the court docket is full, we might end up waiting weeks or months to get your date in court.
Should I Accept an Early Settlement to Get My Money Quicker?
In most cases, no. You will not want to accept an early settlement just to get your money quicker. These early settlements are often much lower than what you might require for your injuries. While it can be tempting to accept any settlement offer you receive, especially while those bills are piling up, you will want to run these offers by an attorney first.
If you are worried about how you will be able to pay for bills while you wait, we may be able to discuss your situation with bill collectors to avoid collection calls and liens.
How Long Do I Have to File a Slip and Fall Claim?
Per Georgia law, you have two years to settle your claim or file a lawsuit. If you do not settle or file within that time, you may be unable to recover any compensation.
And it pays to start early. You might end up having to wait a year or more to determine how your injuries will continue to affect you, leaving little time to investigate your accident and prove negligence.
Call S. Burke Law Today for Help Getting the Settlement You DeserveWhile no attorney can promise you a specific amount or expedite your settlement, crafting a strong case may be able to help you recover compensation quicker. S. Burke Law can craft this strong case for you. Reach out to us at 404-842-7838 for more information.
Who Pays for a Rental Car After an Accident?
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, either yours or the other driver’s insurance pays for a rental after an accident. However, the quickest way to get back on the road is usually relying on your own car insurance to foot the bill.
What Type of Insurance Covers Renting a Car?
Rental insurance reimbursement helps cover car rental costs. It is an optional coverage with most insurers. But it is useful following an accident that totals your car, or if you need repairs.
It is typically only applicable for covered losses. If you were involved in an accident, then this qualifies as a covered loss.
Unlike other insurance coverages, there is typically no deductible for rental insurance reimbursement. But the coverage usually does come with certain caps or time limits. It is fairly common for rental insurance coverage to pay out for approximately 30 days.
Why Might Using My Own Insurance Be Faster?
Your own insurance will likely pay for your rental car regardless of who was at-fault. If you attempt to get the other insurer to pay for the rental costs, you might be waiting weeks or even months while your insurers argue about who is liable for the accident.
So, if you have rental insurance reimbursement, getting a rental car is as simple as filing a claim with your own insurer.
Can I Get Compensation if the Other Driver Is At-fault for the Collision?
If we can prove the other driver is at-fault, you can recover the costs you or your insurance paid for you to rent a car for a reasonable amount of time.
You can expect the other driver’s insurer to put up a fight if you ended up needing the rental car for an extended period of time.
It is also important to note that insurance companies usually only pay up to a certain amount for rental cars. For example, many insurers will pay for a rental car for up to 30 days at $25-$30 a day. If you rent a Mercedes for 60 days, the other driver’s insurer will likely only cover a small portion of that cost. This could leave you paying hundreds out of pocket.
Call S. Burke Law Today for Help
The team at S. Burke Law knows how frustrating it can be to attempt to deal with an insurer after an accident. If either insurance company — yours or the other driver’s — is refusing to cover the costs for your rental car, we can help.Give us a call today: 404-842-7838. We can go over your policy and determine your options or help you hold the other driver liable for all your accident-related costs, including renting a car while your vehicle is repaired.
Can I Sue a Hotel for Assault and Battery?
Yes, you can sue a hotel for assault and battery . However, you must prove the hotel's negligence caused your injuries.
Georgia's premises liability laws require public and private establishments to provide sufficient safety and security while you are on the premises. So, if you were a victim of assault, battery, or both, while staying at a hotel, it is possible you have a case.
What is Georgia’s Premises Liability Law?
Georgia’s premises liability law dictates the duties of owners or occupiers of land to invitees.
O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1 states: “Where an owner or occupier of land, by express or implied invitation, induces or leads others to come upon his premises for any lawful purpose, he is liable in damages to such persons for injuries caused by his failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.”
In short, both public and private property owners must maintain safe environments for anyone legally on their property to fulfill their obligation of ordinary care.
Tort law refers to ordinary care as a legal obligation requiring adherence to a standard of care while performing acts that could harm others. Deficient fulfillment of ordinary care is the first element you must prove to establish negligence and liability.
A property owner can fail to provide ordinary care in the following ways:
- Failing to maintain adequate security
- Slip and fall accidents
- Inadequate fire safety
- Security overreach
In the case of an assault and battery lawsuit, negligent security would be the applicable failure of duty. Providing sufficient security throughout the property is the primary way a hotel provides ordinary care.
What is Negligent Security?
Negligent security is a crucial component of premises liability. Inadequate safety which leads to physical harm places liability upon the owner of the premises. Negligent security laws apply to both public and private properties.
Any business that allows the public onto its property must provide ordinary care to avoid premises liability claims. This can include anything from a public transportation station to a hotel.
What Qualifies as Negligent Security at a Hotel?
Negligent security encompasses many things. But it is more specific in relation to hotels compared to other locations. A hotel must provide security equal to, if not greater than, the safety you would feel in your own home. If your hotel fails to achieve this standard, and you suffer an assault and/or battery, you may be entitled to recover damages.
The following describe ways in which your hotel’s security was negligent:
- Inattentive front desk clerks: If the hotel staff was not diligent in screening visitors, the hotel will be liable for any crime or injuries that occur.
- A lack of security guards: Hotels must have sufficient guards on patrol to ensure guest safety.
- Insufficient lighting: A lack of lighting potentially increases the chances of attack. For example, if you are robbed when walking to your car, the hotel could be liable if adequate lighting would have prevented it.
- Lack of security cameras: Security cameras help identify trespassers and anyone acting irregularly. If the hotel lacked security cameras or those on the property did not work, you can hold it liable.
- Transient population in the parking lot: If the hotel experiences heavy foot or vehicle traffic from people who are not guests and do not intervene, it could be liable for an assault or battery perpetrated by one of these people.
- Quality of locks on your door: Being unable to safely secure yourself in your room (e.g., broken or faulty locks) could establish negligence on the part of the hotel. However, failing to lock your own door may also hurt your case.
- Being unable to call for help: Did the front desk respond to your call for help? Who did you speak to? Was the response time delayed?
- Was your attacker a stranger?: If the front desk allowed a stranger onto the property or gave him your room number, the hotel could be to blame for the attack.
What Is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?
It is important that you know the difference between assault and battery before you file a claim alleging you are a victim of either of these crimes:
Assault: Refers to when someone attempts or threatens to injure you.
Battery: Refers to when someone causes you substantial physical harm or physical bodily harm.
Get Help from the Team at S. Burke Law Today
Navigating assault and battery and negligence cases are not only stressful, they are extremely complicated. But S. Burke Law can help you present your case. Attorney Sheryl Burke spent time as an insurance adjuster, which means she knows what defenses the hotel and its insurance company might try to use to deny your claim. It also means she knows how to fight against those defenses and win.
Call us at 404-842-7838 for information and a free consultation.
What Damages Can I Collect in a Civil Lawsuit for Sexual Assault?
The damages you can collect in a civil lawsuit for sexual assault depend on how the assault affected you.
What Kind of Damages Can I Seek in a Sexual Assault Claim?
The sort of damages you can seek vary a bit depending on how the assault affected you and the type of claim you are filing.
For assault and battery suits, your damages are likely to include:
- Economic Damages: These damages reimburse you for costs and expenses resulting from your injuries. Economic damages commonly entail hospital bills, property repair, therapy, and any costs associated with long-term care. Losses incurred due to being unable to work following your injuries (or distress) fall under this designation, too.
- Punitive Damages: You can seek punitive damages as punishment for your assailant. There is no quantifiable number associated with punitive damages, so the payout is dependent on the degree of your injuries, the heinous nature of the crime, and your assailant’s finances.
- Noneconomic Damages: You can collect noneconomic damages for pain and suffering. While these are also not easy to quantify, these damages are distinct from punitive damages. Noneconomic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress.
In cases of intentional affliction of emotional distress, the damages collected will largely relate to your pain and suffering. However, it does require a fairly high burden of proof relative to most civil suits. In short, it requires proving that your assailant’s behavior was beyond the pale of tolerable behavior in civilized society.
Sexual assault usually fits this category as it is a violent, inexcusable crime.
How Do I Recover Damages for Sexual Assault?
To recover damages, you must file a claim against your attacker or another party that contributed to your attack. While it might appear so, there is no cause of action for “sexual assault.”
Instead, to collect damages for sexual assault, you will need to file an assault and battery or intentional affliction of emotional distress suit.
If another party’s negligent behavior led to your assault, you may be able to hold that party liable for negligent security.
What Are the Differences Between These Types of Civil Suits?
The difference between these suits is mainly the type of injury you suffer. In most cases, you will suffer only emotional damages from assault and affliction of emotional anguish, while you may have serious injuries related to a battery incident.
Assault: Apprehension of contact separates assault from battery. For example, if someone threatens or attempts to rape you, you can file assault charges.
Battery: Successful battery cases necessitate that the defendant intentionally caused physical harm or made physical contact that another party was likely to find “offensive or provoking.” In most cases, you will file a claim for sexual battery. Groping and rape fall under sexual battery.
Assault requires fear of or attempt to make harmful contact; battery requires actual harmful contact.
Intentional Affliction of Emotional Distress: These cases require proving that extreme and outrageous conduct led to your emotional distress.
Negligent Security: You might have other potentially responsible parties. If another party’s negligence caused your injuries, you might be able to hold that party liable for your assault.
For example, Georgia requires public and private property owners to take reasonable steps to maintain safe environments for anyone legally on their property (e.g., install gates if crime is common in the area, replace burnt out lights, hire security personnel, etc.).
Any of the following can lead to a negligent security claim:
- Sexual assault at a bar due to a lack of security guards
- Sexual assault at an apartment complex due to inadequate lighting, broken windows, faulty security measures, etc.
- Sexual assault at work due to negligent hiring (If your assaulter had authority over you and tried to wield that authority to abuse you, we may be able to file a claim based on abuse of power.)
You Are Not Alone. Call S. Burke Law for Help with Your Sexual Assault Claim.
S. Burke Law has worked on countless cases of this nature, so we understand how difficult a time this must be. Our team can help you navigate the nuances of sexual assault and help present your case. Call us at 404-842-7838 for more information and a free consultation with our team.