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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Who Is At Fault for an Accident in a Parking Lot?
Like accidents on highways and roads, determining who is at fault for an accident in a parking lot is not always a simple matter. However, in any case, the party or parties that breached their duty of care will be at-fault for a parking lot accident.
Determining Fault and Liability in Atlanta Parking Lot Accidents
Like all personal injury claims, collecting a settlement depends on your ability to prove another party’s fault and liability in your accident. But to determine fault, we must first understand how to prove fault and liability.
Determining fault for an accident in a parking lot requires proving four elements. Those elements are:
· Duty of care
Duty of Care
Every driver has certain responsibilities and expectations when they take the road. The expectation of how another driver or party will act is the duty of care.
Essentially, Georgia defines the duty of care as the expected reasonable actions drivers must take when navigating roads, intersections, and parking lots. The following is among the actions in a parking lot which would constitute reasonable care:
· Drive at a reasonable speed. Many parking lots post speed limits ranging from 10
to 15 miles per hour. However, even if there is not a posted speed limit, you should
not exceed reasonable speeds.
· Do not drive recklessly.
· Do not drive intoxicated or under any influences.
· Follow the parking lot’s posted traffic rules. Many parking lots have one-way streets, stop signs, left or right turn only lanes, and more.
· Watch for any oncoming vehicles as you back out of parking spaces. The driver
pulling out of parking spaces must yield for oncoming vehicles.
Breach of Duty of Care
If the other party failed to fulfill its duties, then you might be able to prove negligence. For example, let us say you were driving in a parking lot with no stop sign in your path. However, a vehicle to your right did have a stop sign but ran it. If you collided with that vehicle, the driver would be at-fault for the collision.
The other driver’s negligent behavior caused the accident and your injuries. Continuing our example from above: the driver ran a stop sign and T-boned your car. The impact caused you to suffer broken ribs.
You must have suffered damages in the accident. If you were involved in a parking lot accident but did not suffer emotional, physical, or financial harm, you do not have a case. Common damages include:
· Medical expenses
· Lost wages
· Pain and suffering
The S. Burke Law team can help you prove negligence as well as establish the damages you suffered.
Instances When Third Parties are At-Fault in Parking Lot Accidents
While this does not happen very often, there are instances when neither party involved is at fault for the accident. This usually happens when there are conditions present at the site of the accident impairing the vision or judgments of the drivers.
For example, if there is excessive debris or damage (e.g., potholes) in a parking lot, this could contribute to your car accident. In this case, the property owner would not be fulfilling their duty of care. They might be negligent if they were aware of the unsafe conditions.
The designer/architect of the parking lot could also be at-fault for a collision if the design contributed to the accident occurring. For example, the designer created an intersection in the parking lot but did not place stop signs at the entrance to the intersection. If the lack of a stop sign is determined to be the cause of the collision, the designer may share fault.
Recovering Compensation If You Contributed to the Accident
Shared fault is common in all types of car accidents. You may still be entitled to compensation, even if you contributed to the collision. However, you must be 49 percent or less for the accident to recover compensation, per Georgia’s comparative negligence law.
Call an Atlanta Parking Accident Attorney
We expect entering and exiting parking lots to be the safest part of our outings. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. If you or someone you love was involved in a parking lot accident, we encourage you to call S. Burke Law. Our team has spent the last 20 years serving Atlanta residents such as yourself in personal injury cases. In that time, we have collected millions on behalf of our clients.
If you are curious how S. Burke Law can help you, reach us at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation. We will guide you through your options at no cost to you.
Can I Sue if I Was Hit By a Car While Walking in a Parking Lot?
Yes, you can sue if a car hits you while walking in a parking lot, but it depends on how your accident occurred and who is responsible for the accident. Walking in parking lots is something people do nearly every day. You probably do not even think about it when walking to and from your car.
However, parking lot accidents are more common than you likely realize. If you or someone you care about was involved in a pedestrian accident recently, we encourage you to call S. Burke Law for a consultation. Our consultations are always free, so there is no commitment. Call us at 404-842-7838.
Damages Parking Lot Victims Can Collect
Pedestrian accidents in parking lots can result in severe, if not catastrophic injuries. These injuries range from bruises and scrapes to paralysis and even death.
These injuries leave victims wondering how they will make ends meet while they recover. If another party was at-fault for your parking lot collision, you can recover damages from that party. While no two pedestrian parking lot accidents are identical, there are a handful of damages you can expect S. Burke Law to seek on your behalf if we work with you. Recoverable damages include the following:
- Medical expenses: Medical expenses typically represent the largest portion of your claim. Medical expenses encompass everything from ambulance trips, overnight stays at the hospital, medication, therapy sessions, and more. In some cases, medical expenses include long-term medical expenses like in-home care and wheelchairs.
- Lost wages: Lost wages typically represent your largest expense after medical expenses. Pedestrian parking lot injuries often result in serious injuries, and many victims miss a lot of time at work. Lost wages encompass time missed at work for various reasons. Whether your injuries left you unable to work, or you missed time because you had specialist or therapy appointments, S. Burke Law seeks these damages on your behalf.
- Lost earning capacity: In more severe cases, your injuries may require you to stop working or change careers. S. Burke Law seeks lost earning potential damages in those cases as well.
- Pain and suffering: You can also recover compensation for any physical or emotional pain and suffering you endured.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Parking Lot Accidents
Most of us consider parking lots relatively safe places. But the accidents occurring in parking lots can be severe. Pedestrian parking lot accidents occur for a variety of reasons, but often result from one or more negligent actions:
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving represents a significant portion of pedestrian parking lot accidents. Drivers often use parking lots as an opportunity to fiddle with the radio, send text messages, take calls, and more.
- Pushing the wrong pedal: Pushing the gas and brake pedals are so intuitive drivers do it without thinking. But, occasionally, drivers hit the gas instead of the brake and cause a serious accident.
- Speeding: Most parking lots do not have posted speed limits. Occasionally, drivers consider this an opportunity to zip around the lot looking for a space.
- Focusing on looking for a parking space: Pedestrian parking lot accidents occur frequently in full or nearly full parking lots. The reason is many drivers often focus more on finding a parking space than their surroundings, which often includes pedestrians.
- Drivers not checking before backing out: Pulling out of spaces frequently causes car accidents. Many drivers do not look closely before pulling out of their spaces.
Recovering Compensation If You Contributed to the Accident
Fault in a pedestrian accident is rarely cut-and-dried. If you contributed to the accident, you may still be eligible to recover compensation. However, it is important to note that you must be less at-fault than the other party, per Georgia’s comparative negligence laws.
For example, say you were walking through a parking lot when a vehicle quickly backed out of a parking space and hit you. An investigation found the driver 75 percent at-fault. You were 25 percent at-fault because you were listening to music with your headphones.
The driver would be responsible for 75 percent of your damages (e.g., if you requested $10,000, he would owe you $7,500).
Call an Atlanta Pedestrian Parking Lot Accident Attorney
Every accident comes with its own set of concerns. Parking lot accidents amplify these concerns. Taking a direct hit from a vehicle while in your own car causes serious enough injuries. Being hit by a car, even at low speeds, while walking is that much more catastrophic and has a potential for even worse injuries.
If injured in an Atlanta pedestrian car accident, we encourage you to call S. Burke Law. Our team prides itself on representing Atlanta residents. Call us now at 404-842-7838. Our consultations are always free.
What is the Definition of Distracted Walking?
Distracted walking occurs when someone travels somewhere on foot without paying attention to their surroundings.
Why Is It Important to Know About Distracted Walking?
Most people commonly think about distracted driving as a leading cause of accidents. But distracted walking comes with many hazards and risks as well.
Dangers of Distracted Walking
Distracted walkers often cross streets more slowly and put themselves in danger. A University of Georgia study from 2013 shows that people who cross streets while distracted spend about one second longer in the crosswalk than those who are not distracted. The study also found that the distracted pedestrians were 2.34 times more likely to engage in “unsafe crossing behaviors,” such as a failure to look left or right, obey a traffic signal, or use a crosswalk.
Distracted walkers often misuse crosswalks. Distracted walkers often assume crosswalks are a safe time to pull out their handheld devices. While a driver should always stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, this is not always the case. If a pedestrian is distracted while crossing an intersection, he will not have time to perform an evasive maneuver to avoid being hit by a distracted, reckless, or otherwise negligent motorist.
While a distracted driver can suffer injuries in a car accident, he has a steel frame to protect him from the force of impact. A distracted pedestrian has absolutely nothing to protect himself from impact with a vehicle.
Types of Distracted Walking That Can Cause a Serious Collision
There are several different types of distracted walking that could cause a serious accident:
- Walking while texting or browsing the web
- Walking while using a tablet
- Walking while talking on the phone
- Walking while having a conversation
- Walking while listening to music
- Walking while drunk
How Distracted Walking Affects an Atlanta Car Accident Claim
When a distracted motorist or pedestrian causes an accident, liability for any injuries falls on them. This means that if you caused an accident while you were walking and engaging in any of the distracting behaviors above, you may be financially responsible for your injuries and any other injuries that occur.
Responsibility in a Shared Fault Collision
Fault is not always cut-and-dried. In many cases, both the driver and pedestrian will share fault. For example, let us say you were texting and did not look for vehicles before stepping into the crosswalk. You had the right-of-way to go. A driver turned right when you stepped into the intersection, hitting you. The investigation found you to be 45 percent at-fault because you were distracted; the investigation found the driver to be 55 percent at-fault for the collision because you had the right of way.
Per Georgia’s comparative negligence laws, you are entitled to recover 55 percent of your damages. If your injury costs totaled $100,000, the driver would pay you $55,000.
Safety Tips for Atlanta Pedestrians
Like we mentioned above, texting while walking, active conversations, and listening to music represent a significant portion of pedestrian accidents. And while Atlanta does not have any distracted walking laws, distracted walking could limit your ability to collect damages if you are involved in a pedestrian accident. There are a few things you can do to lower the chances that distracted walking contributes to an accident:
- Put your phone away while crossing streets.
- Keep your head up when crossing intersections.
- If you are listening to music, either use only one headphone or keep the volume low enough to hear what is in your surroundings.
- Follow the rules of the road and follow street signals.
- Try not to use your handheld devices in parking lots.
However, we know that not all walkers pay attention at every second. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a distracted walking accident, we may be able to help you recover compensation.
Call an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney for Help Today
Most of us are guilty of distracted walking at some point or another. We may climb a set of stairs while responding to a text and trip over a step. Or take a phone call while crossing busy intersections.
If you were involved in an accident recently, do not hesitate to call S. Burke Law. An Atlanta pedestrian accident attorney can discuss your case with you and determine whether you may be entitled to damages. If so, we can investigate your accident and begin creating defenses against accusations of fault on your part.
Call us now at 404-842-7838 for more information. Our consultations are always free, so there is no commitment.
Who is Liable for a Swimming Pool Drain Accident?
In most cases, a property owner is usually liable for a swimming pool drain accident. However, a manufacturer, maintenance company, or even the victim may share liability. Below, we discuss when these parties may be liable for a swimming pool drain accident.
How Premises Liability Laws Affect Fault for a Pool Drain Accident
Georgia’s premises liability laws require property owners to maintain safety and quality standards on their property. Georgia’s premises liability law 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.
This essentially means that property owners are liable for accidents occurring on their property by anyone invited to the property. So, if a friend invited you to her house for a pool party, this would be an express invitation.
And if you visited a public pool during its hours of operation, this is an implied invitation to the premises. In both these cases, the property owner — either the homeowner or the pool owner — is liable for your swimming pool drain accident injuries. However, property owners do have one layer of protection.
Trespassers Are Not Entitled to Injury Compensation
If someone was trespassing and suffered a swimming pool drain injury, the property owner would not be responsible. Property owners are only responsible for people they invited onto their property. So, someone who suffered injuries in a pool drain accident afterhours would not be able to claim damages even if the drain was dangerous or broken.
But there is one exception to this rule for trespassers: if the trespasser was a child, the property owner may be liable under the attractive nuisance doctrine.
An attractive nuisance is a manmade object that a child might find attractive. Examples of attractive nuisances include trampolines, abandoned vehicles, discarded refrigerators, and swimming pools.
Young children do not fully understand how trespassing on someone else’s property could be dangerous. For this reason, Georgia’s attractive nuisance laws compel property owners to make trespassing more difficult. That includes installing self-locking gates that meet certain specifications.
If a property owner fails to take measures to prevent children from trespassing, he or she could be liable for any injuries a child suffers in a pool drain or other type of swimming pool accident.
A Maintenance Company’s Liability for A Pool Drain Accident
If a company tasked with maintaining a pool, whether public or private, determines a pool drain is broken, it has a duty to let the owner know. If the maintenance company knew the drain was broken but did not alert the owner, it could be liable for any injuries that result.
A Manufacturer’s Duty to Produce Safe Products
A manufacturer must only release safe products into the market. If a company manufactures a faulty or dangerous product, it can be liable for any injuries that result from its use. Pool drains that use an older design can cause serious injuries or even death.
When the Victim Might Be Liable for Pool Drain Accident Injuries
We discussed a trespasser’s liability for their own injuries in an above section; however, a victim might also be liable if he ignored signs that warned swimmers of a dangerous drain or did something else that caused his injuries.
Recovering Compensation for a Swimming Pool Drain Accident
If we are able to prove another party was liable for your or your child’s pool drain accident injuries, you may be entitled to any of the following:
- Medical bills: This can include any immediate care costs and any that might be required in the future, e.g., a near drowning accident can cause severe brain damage, this might require round-the-clock care for the rest of the victim’s life
- Lost wages: If you needed to take off work to recover, you are entitled to compensation for those losses.
- Lost earning capacity: If your injuries caused you to work a lesser-paying job or retire completely, or if you had to quit your job to care for your child who suffered injuries, you are entitled to the money you would have made.
- Pain and suffering: Dealing with a near drowning or losing a child in a drowning accident can cause much physical and emotional pain and suffering. You deserve compensation for it.
Call an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney
Our consultations are free. Call us today: 404-842-7838.
What Are The Different Types of Car Insurance?
There are several different types of car insurance, all of which protect drivers in various ways. How they protect you depends on whether they pay for injuries or damage you caused or suffered.
Below, we discuss the different types of car insurance and what they cover.
Like most states, Georgia requires drivers to carry liability insurance. Motorists cannot register their vehicles without it. A liability policy covers any damage you cause in a car accident. There are two types of liability coverage you must carry on your policy to drive your car:
Bodily Injury Liability
Bodily injury liability covers the medical expenses we mentioned earlier. In Georgia, your bodily injury liability coverage must meet these minimums:
- $25,000 per person
- $50,000 per accident
Property Damage Liability
Property damage liability covers damage to vehicles involved in an accident. The minimum property damage liability Georgia drivers must carry is $25,000 per accident.
Unlike liability coverage, collision coverage protects your vehicle in an accident.
Your collision coverage becomes available to use in the following scenarios:
- If you are involved in a collision with another car;
- If you crash into an object such as a pole;
- If your car flips over.
In cases where your car is totaled, collision coverage pays for the total current value of the car.
To use your collision coverage, you typically must pay a deductible. How much you must pay depends on your policy, but most deductibles are typically between $100 and $2,000.
An optional insurance coverage that falls under the collision coverage window is GAP coverage. This insurance will pay the difference between what your car is worth and what you owe on a loan or lease if the insurer deems it a total loss. For example, say the insurance company determined your vehicle was worth $6,000 but you have $9,000 left on your lease. GAP coverage would pay that $3000 difference.
Comprehensive coverage is another optional policy. It comes in handy when facing an unexpected accident or event. Comprehensive does not cover any damage you suffer from a vehicle accident. Instead it covers the following:
- Vandalism and riots
- Fire and explosions
- Glass and windshield damage (the size of the cracks in your windshield may play a factor in how this is covered)
- Fallen trees, limbs, and other objects
- Natural disasters such as storms, earthquakes, hail, floods, and lightning (also known as “acts of God” in many policies)
- Collisions with animals, such as a deer in the road (Allstate notes that comprehensive coverage will not apply if you hit another vehicle or object swerving to avoid an animal. If this is the case, you must use your collision coverage.)
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection
While Georgia requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage, this is not always the case. If a driver was uninsured or did not carry enough to cover your injuries, you can use your uninsured or underinsured motorist protection.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist protection alleviates a lot of the burden involved with these situations. Uninsured/underinsured motorist protection is optional; however, insurance companies must offer it and you must decline it in writing. So, it is possible you have this coverage and do not realize it.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist protection will also cover you if you were struck by a driver who fled the scene. In some cases, your uninsured motorist protection coverage may pay for injuries you suffered as a pedestrian or cyclist.
Both injury and property damage coverage are available.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payments coverage, or MedPay, covers your medical expenses after an accident. MedPay covers medical expenses and funeral expenses regardless of fault. In addition, medical payments coverage typically covers the following as well:
- Passenger’s medical expenses in addition to your own
- Insured victims who were struck while cycling or walking
Rental Reimbursement Coverage
After an accident, you might find that you need to rent a car while yours is in the shop or until you buy a new one. Many insurers offer rental car reimbursement coverage. Many policies cover up to $30 a day for 30 days.
What Insurance Applies If Another Driver Was At-Fault for My Accident?
If another party was at-fault for your accident, you would file a claim with that driver’s liability policy. This applies to both injuries and property damage.
If you cannot wait to get your car repaired, you can file with your own collision coverage and request reimbursement from the other driver in your settlement. This also applies if you needed to rent a car after the accident.
Call an Atlanta Accident Attorney
Being knowledgeable about your policy can help you wade through some of the confusion after a crash. Unfortunately, these policies are often difficult for the average person to understand. But not Sheryl Burke. In fact, Sheryl worked at an insurance company before opening her practice. She knows how to decipher the complex language placed in policies and to determine what your policy truly covers.
Once we have determined what your policy covers, we can begin your insurance claim(s). If another party was at-fault, we will file with that driver’s insurance company and recover the compensation you deserve. And because Sheryl worked as an insurance adjuster, she knows the loopholes the insurance company might use to get out of paying you what you deserve. She will not stand for this and will fight for every dollar to which you are entitled.
Call S. Burke Law today to discuss your case with our team for free: 404-842-7838.
What Insurance Covers Slip and Fall Accidents?
The insurance that covers your slip and fall accident depends on where it occurred. Below, we discuss which insurance policies cover injuries from a slip and fall accident at/on:
- A business
- A private residence
- An apartment complex
- Government-owned property
Business Insurance Policies Cover Slip and Fall Accidents at a Business
Every business carries commercial property insurance of some sort. Let us say you slipped and fell at a store on a wet floor which had no visible wet floor sign. In this case, the supermarket’s business insurance would cover your medical expenses.
The one exception which may change matters a bit is if a third-party or vendor contributed to your injury. Let us say that you slipped and fell because a vendor spilled a carton of milk while stocking shelves at the supermarket. You may be able to draw funds from the vendor’s insurance as well.
Workers’ Compensation Covers Slip and Falls at Work
Your employer must carry insurance coverages to protect its employees. In the case of a slip and fall while on the clock, your employer’s workers’ compensation covers you. Worker’s compensation covers your reasonable medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages.
Note: If your employer carries workers’ compensation, you cannot sue your employer for any injuries you sustain in a slip and fall, regardless of whether he was at-fault.
Homeowner’s Insurance Policies Cover Slip and Fall Injuries at A Friend’s House
Slipping and falling at a private residence is usually straightforward.
If you slip and fall at a friend’s house, you would likely file a claim with the friend’s homeowner’s insurance.
Renter’s Insurance May Cover a Slip and Fall in an Apartment or Rented Home
Things may get a bit more complicated if you slip and fall at a rented home or apartment. Depending on where the slip and fall occurred, you may file a claim with the person’s renter’s insurance.
However, if you fell in a common area, such as the parking lot or a stairwell, you would likely file a claim with the property management company’s commercial property insurance.
Insurance for a Slip and Fall Injury on Government Property
If you suffered an injury on government-owned property, such as a park, you may be able to recover compensation from the state. However, there are various rules you must follow to recover the compensation. If you make a mistake or miss a deadline, you might find yourself out of luck.
What If the Business or Homeowner Did Not Have Insurance?
If the business or individual failed to purchase liability insurance, we may be able to sue it, taking the at-fault party to court and winning the damages you deserve.
What Do I Have to Do to Recover Compensation After a Slip and Fall Accident?
To recover damages from an insurance company, you must prove that another party’s negligence caused your injury. So, your slip and fall must occur due to negligence on the part of the property owner or renter. To prove this, you must establish the following:
- The at-fault party knew or should have known of the hazard (e.g., the property manager knew about a broken handrail.)
- The at-fault party did nothing to remedy the hazard (e.g., the property manager ignored the broken handrail and did not warn those who might use the handrail.)
- The hazard caused your injuries (e.g., you fell down the stairs after the handrail fell off the wall).
Call an Atlanta Slip and Fall Accident Attorney
Determining what insurance covers your slip and fall accident injuries can be difficult. The team at S. Burke Law has handled countless slip and fall accidents in the last two decades. We can help you review your options for compensation and help you build a strong case to recover your damages.
And because we handle all cases on a contingency basis, you do not pay anything upfront. In fact, you only pay us a percentage of your settlement if you win your case.
Our slip and fall accident attorney wants to help you recover the compensation you need after a slip and fall accident. The team at S. Burke Law understands that filing a personal injury claim is not a simple decision and can feel like more trouble than you are prepared to deal with. However, we will handle the entire case from start to finish, determining which party was liable, gathering evidence, building your case, and negotiating with insurers, even taking your case to court if necessary.
Call today to discuss your case with our slip and fall accident team for free: 404-842-7838.
Can I Get Compensation for a Permanent Scar From a Car Accident?
Yes, you can get compensation for a permanent scar from a car accident. Scarring is not something people commonly associate with vehicle accidents, but it occurs more often than we realize, particularly in motorcycle accidents. While all accidents are expensive and traumatic, permanent scars often place even more stress and anxiety on victims.
One of the issues victims with permanent scarring face is that treatment is not as simple as visiting a doctor and undergoing rehabilitation. It involves living with a life-altering feature. You deserve compensation for the financial burden and emotional toll your scarring has placed on you.
Collecting Medical Damages for a Permanent Scar
Medical bills and other related damages are typically the first things people consider after an accident. As with every car accident, you may be entitled to all of the following:
- Hospital bills
- Ambulance costs
- Appointments with specialists
- Rehabilitation and chiropractors
However, the difference between permanent scars and most car accident injuries is that your needs are not simply met with simple doctor’s visits and rehabilitation. Permanent scarring often requires extensive surgeries, skin grafts, and more. These procedures are as important for helping return your life to normalcy as the previously mentioned medical costs are. But these cosmetic procedures are often more expensive than your initial treatments and rehabilitation.
Collecting Lost Wages
A permanent scar can also lead you to miss work. Some of this missed time may be part of your initial recovery. Some of the lost wages may be due to doctor’s and rehab appointments you needed to attend.
You are entitled to compensation for any effect your injuries have had on your ability to make a living.
These damages reimburse you for your immediate lost income. It is essentially a calculation of your hourly wages and time missed at work.
Lost Earning Capacity
This is a bit more complex to calculate. In some cases, your injuries and scarring may require a career change or prevent you from working at all, depending on your profession.
For example, a model with a permanent facial scar will likely need to find a new line of work. A carpenter with contractures (i.e., a rigid scar that limits mobility) on his hands might need to consider a new trade.
Lost long-term income is essentially a calculation of your lost earning potential. If you must change careers, you would be due the cost of training for your new career and the difference in salaries between each job.
Collecting Noneconomic Damages
Unlike many car accident injuries, scarring is life-altering. In some cases, you may be due some noneconomic damages due to the lifestyle changes associated with permanent scarring. Unlike the previously mentioned damages, these damages are not easily quantifiable.
- Pain and suffering: If you suffered permanent scarring, you likely experienced a great deal of pain at the time of injury and throughout the recovery process. Depending on the type of scar, you might feel pain for years to come.
- Loss of confidence, social anxiety, and depression: Permanent scarring causes many people to feel self-conscious or even humiliated when engaging in previously routine social activities.
- Loss of consortium: Your injuries may leave you unable to interact with your spouse and loved ones in the same ways you did previously.
How to Determine the Value of Permanent Scars
Determining the value of permanent scarring is usually not as simple as it is with other injuries. There are a variety of factors to consider when determining how much they are worth.
Insurance adjusters are in the business of controlling costs. This means the way you value your scars often differs greatly from how they value your scars. And the way they value permanent scars varies from person to person.
The insurance company might value a permanent scar on a 22-year-old differently than the same permanent scar on a 75-year-old. In addition, permanent scars on your face tend to have more value than they would on your leg, for example.
Other factors which influence the value of your scars include:
- The size, visibility, and coloring of the scarring
- The location of the scar
- The victim’s marital status
- The victim’s gender
For example, a 25-year-old single woman with a permanent facial scar will likely receive more than a 60-year-old married man with a permanent facial scar. We can help you determine what a claim for permanent scarring might be worth.
Contact an Atlanta Car Accident AttorneyThe impact permanent scarring has on victims is immense. And the process in which you can seek settlements for this physical and emotional scarring is complex and difficult. But the team at S. Burke Law might be able to help you. Call us today for a free consultation: 404-842-7838.
Who Is Liable for an Accident in a Swimming Pool?
In most cases, property owners are liable for an accident in a swimming pool. This is the case whether the accident occurred at a private residence, public pool, or private club. However, this does not suggest that all accidents are the fault of property owners. Whether the property owner was liable depends on the circumstances of your accident, how well the pool was maintained, and why you were on the property.
But your poolside accident could very well allow you to collect damages due to Georgia’s premises liability laws. Premises liability is complex, and something we could help walk you through with a consultation. Our firm has represented Atlanta citizens in personal injury cases for over 20 years and collected thousands of dollars in that time. Call us to discuss your case with an Atlanta premises liability lawyer: 404-842-7838.
Rule Violations That Could Make a Pool Owner Liable for Your Pool Accident
Premises liability laws require property owners to ensure the safety of visitors to their property. Specifically, premises liability requires that property owners exercise “ordinary care” when guests are on their property. And that extends to public and private pools as well.
As it relates to pools, property owners must meet and maintain certain safety standards. If they fail to meet these standards and you or a loved one suffers an injury, they may be liable for those injuries.
For example, owners must ensure their fencing meets certain standards, keep the pool clean and ensure the chemical levels are correct, and ensure that the pool deck is free of hazards.
However, it is important to note that the pool owner simply failing to meet these standards does not entitle you to compensation. Your status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser will affect whether you might be able to recover compensation.
How Your Status at the Time of the Accident Affects Your Ability to Recover Compensation
Pool owners owe a specific duty of care to each person who visits their property. Your status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser determines the duty of care the pool owner owed you.
Invitees: If you were a patron of a public pool (whether you paid entrance or not), you were an invitee. A pool owner owes invitees the highest duty of care. Premises liability laws require the pool owner to maintain safety standards, remedy any hazards he finds, and to also perform regular inspections of the property to find any potential hazards. If the property owner fails to perform maintenance or property inspections and an injury results, he can be liable for any injuries that occur.
Licensees: Licensees are on private property for social reasons. So, if you were a guest at a pool party, you would be a licensee. In this case, the property owner is required to warn you about any potential hazards which are not obvious to those on the property. If the property owner failed to warn you of a hidden hazard that caused you to suffer injuries, you may be entitled to compensation.
Trespassers: The only duty of care property owners owe trespassers is to refrain from purposefully causing the trespasser injury (e.g., owners cannot set traps for trespassers). This means trespassers typically cannot sue for injury. However, in some cases, property owners must warn known trespassers of hidden hazards. For example, if a pool owner knows his neighbors regularly break into his backyard to use his pool, he must warn trespassers about the broken diving board.
Trespassing rules often do not apply to children as pools are well-known attractive nuisances.
What is an Attractive Nuisance?
An attractive nuisance is a manmade condition on an owner’s property which is attractive to children. This includes things like pools, trampolines, abandoned vehicles, and discarded appliances (e.g., washers, refrigerators). Georgia’s Supreme Court established the state’s attractive nuisance laws in Gregory v Johnson.
Attractive nuisance laws hold that young children are unable to comprehend the risks involved in trespassing upon property. Property owners must prevent access to these nuisances to help protect children from injury. To protect children from pool accident injuries, pool owners must install fences that meet the following criteria:
- The fence must be four feet tall or higher.
- The openings in the fence cannot be any larger than four inches.
- The gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
- The latch must be 54 inches off the ground.
If a child is able to enter a pool and suffers injury, the property owner would likely be liable.
Recovering Compensation When You Are Partially At-Fault for a Pool Accident
Liability for swimming pool accidents is not always cut-and-dried. If you were partially at-fault for an accident, you may still be entitled to compensation. However, you must have been 49 percent or less responsible, and any percentage of fault will decrease your compensation.
For example, say an investigation found you 30 percent at-fault for your injuries. You would be able to recover 70 percent of your demand. If you requested $20,000, you would be entitled to $14,000.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You with Your Pool Accident Claim. Call Us Today.
Premises liability is a complicated area of law. It can seem almost impossible to understand if you are recovering from injuries, taking care of an injured child, or mourning a loved one who drowned. S. Burke Law has an intimate understanding of Georgia premises liability laws and can represent your case. We will stand against insurers and fight to win you the compensation you deserve.
Give us a call today to see how we can help you: 404-842-7838.
Can I Sue If I was Injured on an Escalator?
Yes, you can sue if you were injured on an escalator. However, you can only file a claim or lawsuit if another party’s negligence caused your injury.
Parties That Might Be Liable for an Escalator Injury
Anyone who might have contributed to your injury may be liable. This might include:
- The property owner
- The escalator maintenance company
- The escalator manufacturer
What We Must Do to Hold the Negligent Party Liable for Your Injuries
To hold the negligent party liable for your escalator injuries, we must prove it violated its duty of care to you by behaving negligently. Examples of negligence on the part of an escalator maintenance company, manufacturer, or owner might include:
- Failure to maintain and inspect the escalator regularly
- Improper maintenance
- Defective or improper escalator design
- Failure to place signs indicating defective or broken escalator
- Failure to check on a poorly functioning escalator
- Failure to follow building codes or regulations
Duty of Care for Each Potentially Negligent Party
Duty of care differs by individual.
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, that means property owners must maintain a certain standard of safety. And that includes ensuring all equipment on the premises functions appropriately. And that responsibility extends to maintaining functional escalators. So, if your injury occurred on a poorly functioning escalator, or one without warning signs prominently displayed, this would be a case of negligence which would leave the property owner liable for any injuries that result.
Manufacturers have a duty of care to create safe products. If the design or production of the escalator was faulty in any way, you can hold the manufacturer liable for any injuries that result.
Maintenance companies have a duty to perform satisfactory maintenance to ensure the safety of those who use the object. If the maintenance company failed to properly maintain the escalator, you can sue it for any injuries you suffer.
What Is Necessary for a Successful Escalator Injury Suit
The approach we use will depend on the liable party.
For property owners, our Atlanta premises liability attorney must establish the following:
- The property owner knew or should have known about the broken escalator.
- The property owner did not fix the escalator or did not place warning signs around the escalator.
- You suffered injuries.
For manufacturers, we must prove:
- There was a defect in the design or manufacturing process.
- The defect caused you to suffer injuries (e.g., There was a defect in the escalator that caused it to jerk back and forth when there is a certain amount of weight on the escalator. When the escalator jerked, you fell.).
For maintenance companies, we will prove the maintenance company failed to perform adequate maintenance and that this lack of adequate maintenance caused your injury.
Filing Suit When You Contributed to the Accident
Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence law when it comes to determining fault for injuries. This law holds that you can recover compensation for your injuries if you contributed 49 percent or less to your accident (if you contributed more than this amount, you are not entitled to compensation).
While you can recover compensation, your percentage of fault will decrease your available compensation. Let us say you were texting when you stepped onto the escalator. The escalator was broken and caused you to fall and suffer a head injury.
Had you been paying attention, you would have seen the escalator was broken. The investigation determines that you are partially at-fault because you were distracted. It determined you were not fully at-fault because the property owner failed to place an out of order sign on the escalator. The investigation determined you were 35 percent responsible for your injuries. You requested $10,000; you would be eligible for $6,500 (65 percent of $10,000).
Why You Should Discuss Your Case with an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney
Escalator accidents and injuries are as unexpected as accidents come. If you or someone you love was involved in an escalator accident, give S. Burke Law a call. Our firm has represented Atlanta victims in injury cases for over 20 years, and we hope to be able to help you in the same way.
We believe in compassionate representation, and our primary concern is ensuring you get the care you deserve. This is why we offer free consultations to help you gather all the information you need to make the best possible decision.
Call us now at 404-842-7838 to case your case with our team.
Should I Take an Ambulance After a Car Accident?
Whether you should take an ambulance after a car accident depends on several factors. However, we recommend you always take an ambulance if any of the following apply to your situation:
- You or a passenger has open wounds.
- You or a passenger broke a bone.
- You have any large cuts or lacerations.
- You are having chest pains or difficulty breathing.
- You or a passenger was unconscious at any point.
- You feel any type of pain that was not there before the accident.
- The EMTs suggest you take an ambulance to the hospital.
Take an Ambulance Even If You Are Unsure You Suffered Injuries
We recommend you take an ambulance if you feel any type of discomfort or feel disoriented or if your passenger complains of any discomfort or confusion.
Any type of discomfort could be a sign of a serious injury. If you do not remember how the accident occurred or are experiencing any confusion, you may have a concussion or another type of traumatic brain injury.
Factors That Determine Whether You Have to Pay Your Ambulance Costs
One of the primary worries car accident victims face is paying medical expenses — including the ambulance trip. And this is a very real concern. According to CostHelper.com, ambulance rides can cost, on average, between $400 and $1,200 plus mileage costs.
Whether you will have to pay your ambulance costs yourself depends on a few factors:
- Where you live: In some areas, taxes pay ambulance fees. However, this is not the case in DeKalb County where you could pay more than $750 for ambulance transport, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Whether you have insurance: If you do not have insurance, you will likely need to pay the entire ambulance fee out-of-pocket. If you have health insurance, you might only need to pay a copay or deductible.
- Whether you were at-fault (and your percentage of fault): If you were at-fault for the accident, you will be responsible for your ambulance fees. If another party was at least partially at-fault (more than 49 percent), we can add ambulance fees to your settlement demand. If your insurance covered the ambulance fees, we will need to pay back your insurance, but we can also include your copay or deductible in your demand.
How Taking an Ambulance Can Help You and Your Personal Injury Claim
While no single element can swing a personal injury claim in your favor, taking an ambulance can be helpful in a variety of ways. The following are ways taking emergency transport can help you and your claim:
- An ambulance will get you to the right hospital: Depending on your injuries, it may be better to get you to one hospital rather than another (e.g., a trauma center instead of a regular hospital).
- An ambulance will help get you there more quickly: Cities like Atlanta are known for their heavy traffic. If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a crash, an ambulance will help get you to the hospital faster and more safely than you would if you were driving yourself or your loved one.
- A doctor will be able to identify your injuries quickly: Symptoms associated with many injuries (particularly soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains) often do not manifest themselves for a few hours or days. Sometimes it can take close to a week.
- Insurance companies may dispute your claim if you wait: Insurance adjusters construct timelines of events and treatments when evaluating your claim. If you wait a day or two before seeking medical attention, insurance companies could use this as proof that your injuries are not as severe as you claim. If you take an ambulance right to the hospital, the insurance company will have a hard time dismissing the severity of your injury.
Note: The team at S. Burke Law recommends that you always receive medical treatment after an accident, regardless of whether you take an ambulance or not. This will prevent insurers from claiming your injury is unrelated to the accident.
Discuss Your Case with an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Today
If another party’s negligent behavior caused you to suffer injuries in a car crash, you deserve compensation for all of your accident-related expenses, including your ambulance ride if you chose to take emergency transport to the hospital. Dealing with an insurance company after an accident is often difficult. A car accident lawyer at S. Burke Law will negotiate with the insurance company and ensure you receive compensation for all your accident-related losses.
Call S. Burke Law today for a free consultation: 404-842-7838.