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!

After an accident resulting in serious or fatal injuries you and your family may have questions about what to do next. Do I have to take my claim to personal injury court? Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company? How much money is in a fair settlement? Who can give qualified advice on how to win your personal injury claim? For answers to these questions and more, an Atlanta injury lawyer can help.

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 Do I File for Workers’ Compensation?

    Time is of the essence when filing a claim for workers’ compensation in Georgia. You must follow the required steps within the deadlines and use the proper forms to preserve your eligibility for benefits. Below, we discuss how to file for workers’ compensation benefits.

    Filing the Workers’ Compensation Claim Form

    You have to use the correct document, Form WC-14, to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. You complete the form and send it to:

    • The Georgia State Board of Worker’s Compensation (the original form)
    • Your employer (a copy of the form)
    • Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier (a copy of the form)

    Information for the WC-14 Form

    WC-14 is a Notice of Claim form. It puts the state board, your employer, and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company on notice that you got injured on the job and will be filing a claim for benefits. The form asks for information about:

    • You: including your name, mailing address, email address, and date of birth.
    • The injury: including the date of the injury, the county where it occurred, the part of the body injured, description of the accident, first date of disability, and, if it was a fatal injury, the date of death and names and addresses of all claimants for death benefits.
    • Your employer: including the company’s name, mailing address, and email address.
    • Other parties: including your attorney, your employer’s attorney, and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

    How to Verify Your Employer’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage

    Every business that employs three or more workers is required to have workers’ compensation insurance. It does not matter if the employees are full-time or part-time. You can check online to see if your boss maintains the required coverage. The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation provides a look-up tool you can use to check on your employer’s insurance coverage.

    What Happens After Your Notify Your Employer of an Injury

    The notification that you give to your boss sets the wheels in motion for a process that begins with medical care and can provide benefits like medical care and compensation for lost wages. These are the initial steps:

    1. Your employer gives you information about a panel of doctors or a Workers’ Compensation Managed Care Organization (WC/MCO) where you can go for medical services to treat your injury. You must use the approved health care providers. If you go to your regular doctor or someone who is not on the list of authorized providers, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will likely refuse to pay for your medical care.
    2. You go for medical care to an approved health care provider. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company pays for this treatment, as long as the injury happened on the job.
    3. If you cannot work for more than seven days, you can get weekly income benefits. If you are unable to work for more than 21 days in a row, you will also get compensation for the first missed week. The first income check goes into the mail within 21 days of the first day that you could not work because of the injury.

    Income Benefits for an On-the-Job Accident

    If you qualify, you can receive income benefits while you are unable to work because of the injury. Most people receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage, but the maximum is $575 per week. You can get these benefits for up to 400 weeks.

    You can collect a reduced benefit for up to 350 weeks from the date of the accident if you can go back to work, but your injury causes you to make less money than before the accident. In this situation, your benefits cannot exceed more than $383 a week.

    Catastrophic injuries can entitle you to lifetime benefits. Also, if your injury results in a permanent disability, you might be eligible for weekly benefits.

    In the event of a fatal on-the-job accident, the dependents can receive two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average wage, up to $575 a week. A widowed spouse with no children can receive up to $230,000, but if they remarry or live with a significant other, the benefits can stop.

    Hearings on Claims

    Sometimes people do not receive benefits after they file for workers’ compensation. When this happens, you can request a hearing before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Your employer will likely have an attorney at the hearing. An administrative law judge will listen to both sides of the claim and decide if you should receive benefits and if so, how much.

    How to Get Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

    The team at S. Burke Law has helped many people get the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. Call us today at 404-842-7838 for your free consultation. There is no obligation.

  • Can I Sue a Nursing Home for Negligent Security?

    You might be able to sue a nursing home for negligent security. If your loved one suffered injuries because a nursing home failed to take reasonable measures to prevent foreseeable crimes or to keep them safe while they were on the property, the facility could be liable for your losses. Under Georgia’s premises liability law, landowners are responsible for any injuries that occur because of the owner’s failure to provide sufficient security.

    Why Negligent Security Is an Issue at Nursing Homes

    Nursing home residents are usually quite vulnerable because of physical frailty and other aspects of aging, so they are the natural targets of criminals. As a result, the facilities have a greater duty to keep the resident safe than, for example, an apartment complex.

    Crime is not the only risk to nursing home residents. One foreseeable risk is that a nursing home resident with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia will wander away from the nursing home. Nursing homes must take reasonable measures to prevent this behavior.

    Elements of Negligent Security

    Nursing homes must put into place adequate protocols to protect residents, employees, visitors, and other lawful guests like vendors safe from foreseeable assaults and other crimes. The facility should anticipate that employees, visitors, other residents, and outside intruders could commit crimes against people on the premises.

    We have to prove all four of these factors for the nursing home to be liable for your loved one’s damages:

    The Facility Owed Your Loved One a Duty of Care

    The nursing home has a responsibility to use reasonable measures to keep everyone who is on the premises for a lawful purpose safe while they are on the premises. In a nursing home, these areas can include the buildings, the immediate areas around the buildings, the sidewalks, and the parking lot. A nursing home must have working locks on all exterior doors.

    The Nursing Home Failed to Satisfy Its Legal Duty

    An act of negligence could constitute a breach of duty. If the facility did not, for example, repair or replace a broken lock on an exterior door, the home is guilty of negligent security.

    The Facility’s Negligent Security Caused Your Loved One to Suffer Harm

    Negligence by itself does not mean that the nursing home will have to pay anyone compensation, but if the carelessness causes someone to suffer harm, the facility will be liable. If an intruder entered the nursing home through the door with the broken lock and assaulted someone, the nursing home will be responsible for the victim’s damages.

    4. Adequate Security Would Have Prevented the Incident

    Landowners are not required to prevent every crime that possibly could happen on their premises. Not even law enforcement can stop every crime. Georgia law does, however, require property owners to take reasonable measures to prevent foreseeable crimes.

    If adequate security would have kept a crime from occurring and the facility failed to have sufficient security, the nursing home is liable for the harm that a victim suffers. Working locks on exterior doors are reasonable security measures at a nursing home, and this feature would have kept the intruder from walking right into the building and committing the crime. Since reasonable measures would have prevented the crime, the nursing home is responsible.

    How Foreseeability Affects the Nursing Home’s Liability

    Every situation is different, so what the law requires in each case is different. A judge might decide that certain security measures are an absolute necessity at one nursing home but find them to be expensive overkill for another facility. We will have to talk with you about the facts of your case to determine whether the nursing home provided adequate security.

    Georgia law requires the nursing home to provide the level of protection that is reasonable and sufficient given the circumstances of that particular facility. Even if two nursing homes are part of the same corporate ownership, one home might require more significant measures than one in another location to keep the residents, guests, employees, and other lawful visitors to the premises safe.

    The key is foreseeability. A nursing home with no history of attacks or assaults might need only minimal security measures. A facility in a high-crime neighborhood that has experienced multiple acts of violence might have to invest in security cameras, upgraded exterior door alarms, and other interventions to prevent crime. The bottom line is that if it is foreseeable that a crime is likely to occur, the nursing home must take reasonable measures to prevent the crime. Failure to do so is negligent security.

    Getting Help for an Injury Caused by Negligent Security at a Nursing Home

    The nursing home might have to pay your loved one compensation for the harm they suffered if they were hurt because a nursing home failed to keep them safe. You do not have to figure out the liability issues of your case. We will explain the essential components of your claim when we meet with you.

    We offer a free consultation for nursing home negligent security cases. There is no obligation. We do not charge legal fees until you win compensation when you sue a nursing home for negligent security. Call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 to see how a negligent security attorney can help you.

  • Can I Sue a Parking Garage for Negligent Security?

    Landowners in Georgia must take reasonable steps to keep people safe on their property and to prevent assaults or attacks that are foreseeable. A parking garage can be responsible for a person who gets hurt because the parking garage owner failed to provide adequate security.

    Examples of Inadequate of Negligent Security in a Parking Garage

    Liability will depend on the facts of the individual case, but in general, a parking garage owner can be responsible if it fails to:

    • Provide sufficient lighting. Having to walk through dark areas of parking garages is unsafe.
    • Maintain functional lighting, in other words, repair broken light fixtures and replace burned-out bulbs.
    • Warn parking garage users of foreseeable dangers.
    • Repair doors, gates, fences, alarm systems, and fences.
    • Respond appropriately to alerts, warnings, threats, or other situations that would cause a reasonable person to have concerns about security.
    • After an adverse security event like a mugging or an assault, install security cameras.
    • Upgrade the existing security devices and protocols if multiple criminal acts happen in or around the parking garage.

    The Elements of Negligent Security

    We have to prove all four of these elements to hold the parking garage liable for your losses:

    1. The defendant parking garage owed you a legal duty. If you were in the parking garage for any lawful reason (as opposed to trespassing), the garage has a legal obligation to keep the garage and its approaches (like sidewalks, entries, and stairwells) reasonably safe.

    You are lawfully on the premises if you are a driver or passenger of a vehicle parked in the garage, a garage employee, a vendor (like someone refilling the soda machines), or another guest, like a tow truck driver entering the garage to help someone with a dead battery.

    2. The parking garage breached its duty to keep the property safe. If the garage failed to provide adequate security, the garage violated its duty toward customers and other lawful guests. Breaching a legal duty is negligence.

    Let’s say that, despite numerous recent assaults and car break-ins, the garage had no security cameras, no onsite attendants, and posted no warnings of the danger. These failures to act constitute negligence.

    3. The defendant’s negligence caused the harm to the plaintiff. If a third party attacked the plaintiff because of the lack of reasonable security measures made the plaintiff an easy target, the negligent security is partly to blame for the assault. The attacker is also responsible, but the victim’s best bet for collecting compensation is usually from the property owner, not the street criminal.

    4. Adequate security would have prevented the attack. The parking garage owner is not responsible for every crime that ever takes place on its premises. Preventing 100 percent of crimes is impossible.

    The parking garage owner is responsible for the crimes that happen because of negligent security. Failing to take any measures to keep the parking garage safe after numerous criminal acts is negligent security. Taking reasonable steps in this situation could have prevented the crime, so the garage is liable.

    Foreseeability of the Crime

    Whether a crime is foreseeable will turn on such things as the neighborhood and the history of criminal activity in the area. If the parking garage is in a high-crime, inner-city location where many attacks have taken place, the parking garage owner should have anticipated the likelihood of future attacks. On the other hand, if the parking garage is in a safe neighborhood of a small town that hardly ever sees violent crimes, an assault is less likely, and thereby, less foreseeable.

    The Parking Garage’s Responsibility

    Parking garages, like all other businesses, must provide security that is appropriate for the individual location. Satisfying this legal requirement starts with a risk and threat assessment. The owner must then develop and implement a security strategy to keep the people it attracts to its premises safe.

    Actual Harm

    A successful claim for negligent security requires an actual physical injury. If you have a close call but manage to escape the situation without physical harm, you cannot get damages from the parking garage. However, if the event leaves you with actual injuries, you can sue the owner of the parking garage for your losses due to negligent security.

    Getting Help After an Injury in a Parking Garage

    You do not have to figure out the legal issues – we can take care of that for you. If you sustained an injury in a parking garage and you think the garage owner failed to keep you safe, you might have a valid claim for compensation. Call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 to arrange your free consultation.

    A negligent security lawyer will talk with you about what happened to you and explain your legal options such as whether you can sue a parking garage for negligent security. We do not charge for this service, and we do not get paid legal fees until you win a settlement or award.

  • Can a Pedestrian Hit by a Motorcycle File an Insurance Claim?

    Yes, a pedestrian hit by a motorcycle can usually file an insurance claim against one or more insurance policies. It can be confusing to try to make sense of several different kinds of insurance policies, but we can navigate through that process so that you do not have to. We deal with insurance companies every day.

    The Motorcycle Rider’s Liability Insurance

    If the motorcyclist was negligent and caused the wreck, you should be able to make a claim against their liability insurance policy for your damages. The purpose of liability insurance is to pay for the harm that a person causes when their negligence hurts someone else.

    The Pedestrian’s Uninsured or Underinsured Automobile Policy

    The pedestrian might be able to make a claim on their own automobile insurance policy if they carry uninsured coverage and the motorcycle rider does not have liability insurance. Another possibility is if the walker has underinsured coverage and the motorcycle rider does not have enough coverage to pay the pedestrian’s losses in full.

    The Motorcycle Rider’s Umbrella Liability Policy

    This insurance can cover amounts that the motorcyclist’s bike liability policy does not pay, or if they do not have liability insurance on their motorcycle. Not everyone buys “umbrella” liability policies, but if the motorcyclist who hit you does have this coverage, it can provide a high level of compensation.

    The Pedestrian’s Health Insurance Policy

    If there is no other insurance that can help with your losses, you might be able to get your health insurance to pay for some of your medical bills. Be aware, however, that many health insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for motor vehicle accidents.

    How to Determine Who is Liable for Your Injuries

    You cannot file a claim against someone’s insurance merely because they were in an accident with you. We must prove that the person is responsible for your injuries before we can pursue damages.

    We will have to satisfy all four of these elements of liability to seek compensation for your pedestrian vs. motorcycle accident:

    Duty of care: The motorcycle rider must have owed the pedestrian a duty of care. This factor is easy since every driver of a motor vehicle has a responsibility to obey the law and operate their car, truck, or motorcycle with caution.

    Breach of the duty: If the motorcycle rider does not live up to the legal duty of care, they are negligent. Let’s say that the motorcycle rider’s blood alcohol level was over the legal limit. Breaking the law that prohibits driving while under the influence of alcohol is negligence.

    Causation: Their negligence must have caused the accident that injured the pedestrian. Because of their intoxication, the motorcycle rider lost control of their bike, running off the road and onto the sidewalk, where they struck the walker. This fact pattern satisfies the causation element of liability.

    Actual harm: The pedestrian must have suffered damages to file an insurance claim for the wreck. This can include medical bills, lost wages, etc.

    Damages in a Pedestrian-Motorcycle Accident

    Once we establish liability, we can pursue compensation for your damages. Every case is different, and the actual recovery you get will depend on the facts of your case, but here are some of the common damages in pedestrian accidents:

    • Lost wages: These damages compensate you for wages, salary, self-employment, and other income that you lost because of the wreck and recuperation.
    • Diminished earning capacity: You may entitled to compensation if you cannot make as much money as before because of your injuries.
    • Disability: In the event that your injuries leave you unable to support yourself through gainful employment.
    • Medical expenses: All of the reasonable and necessary medical bills you incurred because of the collision. These costs can include things like the ambulance fees, emergency room, hospital, diagnostic testing, x-rays, surgery, doctors, prescription drugs, and physical therapy.
    • Ongoing or future medical care: For situations in which you will need additional or continuing medical services because of your injuries.
    • Long-term care: In a case involving devastating injuries, you might need daily assistance with medical treatments and personal care.
    • Pain and suffering: This category honors the physical discomfort and emotional distress you endured.
    • Loss of enjoyment of life: If your injuries make you unable to engage in activities that brought you joy before the accident, like walking or hiking, you might experience loss of enjoyment of life.
    • Disfigurement: This type of damage applies when the injuries caused significant scars or other disfigurement.

    Every case is unique, but it can be complicated for a pedestrian hit by a motorcycle to file an insurance claim after a motorcycle hits you. The multiple possibilities of insurance coverage that could apply to your losses can be overwhelming.

    You do not have to sort through all of those issues on your own. Just call S. Burke Law, and we will be happy to talk with you about your claim at no charge to you. Call us today at 404-842-7838 for your free consultation. We do not charge legal fees until you win.

  • How Long Will My Motorcycle Case Take?

    You might be quite motivated to settle your motorcycle accident case, but you cannot control all of the factors that can affect your claim’s timeline. Here are four of those items that can affect how long your motorcycle case will take:

    Your Medical Issues

    There are several medical facets to your injury, and each one can either speed up or slow down the pace of your case.

    Extent of Your Injuries

    The severity and complexity of your injuries can determine how much time it will take until you are back on your feet. You should never settle an injury claim before you finish all of the medical treatments and therapy and achieve the maximum level of healing that your doctor expects you to have.

    Accepting a settlement before that point exposes you to significant financial risk. Let’s say that you break a bone in your back in a motorcycle accident. Your doctor puts you on eight weeks of bed rest. After two months of physical therapy, your doctor decides that you need back surgery.

    If you have already accepted a settlement, you would have to pay for the surgery out-of-pocket. You will not get any more money from the insurance company, even if the operation does not go well and you can no longer perform your job.

    Recuperation Time

    Some medical treatments require a longer recuperation time than others. For example, if you need surgery and then physical therapy for your injury, your case will take longer than if you required only stitches and a few days of rest. Also, your age and general health can affect how long it takes for you to recuperate.

    Follow-up or Ongoing Treatments

    In some situations, your doctor might have to perform an initial medical intervention, and then wait and see what you need to have done at that point. If you sustained significant injuries or experienced complications, you might have to undergo additional procedures. This situation can push your case back by months or longer.

    Settling or Going to Trial

    If you settle your motorcycle case, it will likely be completed more quickly than if you go to trial. If the insurance company gives you the compensation you deserve, you can settle and get your money. If the insurance company refuses to give you a fair settlement, you can file a lawsuit.

    Pre-trial Discovery

    Once your lawyer files the lawsuit, both sides start searching for evidence to prove their cases and to discredit the other side’s arguments. We use interrogatories (written questions) and depositions (questions the lawyers ask in person with a court reporter present) as part of our pretrial discovery. We also gather and exchange documents like medical records and police accident reports.

    The discovery stage of the lawsuit typically takes a few months or longer. If we need to hire an expert witness for your case, doing so will add time and expense to the lawsuit, but since experts testify about critical issues, they can be worth it.

    Appeals from the Trial

    If there is an appeal, your case can go on for another year or two after the trial. Either side (the insurance company or you) can file an appeal if they disagree with the trial court decision.

    The S. Burke Law team will fight to get you a fair motorcycle accident settlement as quickly as possible. Call 404-842-7838 today for a free consultation regarding your motorcycle case.

  • What Constitutes Pain and Suffering?

    Pain and suffering are things that fit into the category of “non-economic damages” in personal injury cases. These losses do not always have a bill, receipt, or other documentation that measure the loss in terms of dollars. These damages are, nonetheless, legitimate losses for which injury victims should receive compensation.

    At S. Burke Law, we work hard to show the court the extent and value of your economic and non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. Usually, you must sustain a physical injury to be eligible for non-economic damages. The term “pain and suffering” encompasses both your physical pain and your psychological suffering.

    Physical Pain

    You can recover compensation for the physical pain and discomfort you endured from the injury itself, as well as the physical pain and discomfort from things like:

    • Surgery that you needed to repair the damage, such as orthopedic surgery to install metal plates and screws to stabilize a shattered bone;
    • Physical therapy to regain your strength, flexibility, range of motion, and complete your recuperation;
    • Other treatments, like wound debriding, skin grafts, and changing dressings;
    • Subsequent surgery to lessen scars and disfigurement;
    • Chronic pain that you continue to experience after your injury heals;
    • Scar tissue pain from significant burns and other injuries.

    Psychological Suffering

    For many people, the psychological trauma can be as excruciating and debilitating as the physical injuries. Some examples of psychological suffering include:

    • Terror at the time of the injury. For example, you were stopped in a traffic jam and saw that the tractor-trailer behind you was not slowing down. You had to sit there and watch the massive truck crash into you.
    • Fright and worry over whether you would live through the accident.
    • Stress in the ambulance and emergency room about how severe your injuries would be, whether you would be able to continue working to support yourself and your family and whether the injuries would be debilitating. Worry about whether, for example, you would be able to walk again, live independently, and engage in the activities that you enjoy.
    • Physical and mental exhaustion during the recuperation process. Recuperating from a significant injury can drain your energy.
    • Financial stress from missing wages while you are in the hospital, rehabilitation center, or at home recovering from your injuries. While you are hurting and trying to heal, you are also stressing over whether you will have the money to buy groceries, pay the electric bill, or your medication. Without a paycheck, you might get evicted from your home.
    • Inconvenience the injury created. For example, having to drive to physical therapy two or three times a week for several months can take away a significant portion of those days, impeding your ability to work and take care of your family.
    • Sadness if, for example, you missed attending your child’s graduation or some other significant event because of the injury. You can experience grief from the loss of experiences and time that you can never get back.
    • Depression about things like your immediate physical condition, ongoing pain, decreased quality of life, and financial losses from the injury.
    • Sleep disturbances like insomnia or nightmares can follow an injury.
    • Disfigurement from your injuries, such as scar tissue from burns and lacerations.
    • Loss of enjoyment of life. If you can no longer do things that you enjoyed before the accident, like walking or hiking, you have sustained a loss of enjoyment of life. People with life-changing injuries like paralysis, head trauma, and loss of vision often experience this condition.
    • Anger over your injuries and how they have impacted your life.
    • Humiliation, particularly if you experience disfigurement that causes others to stare at you.
    • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Panic attacks, uncontrollable outbursts, insomnia, anxiety, depression, fear, and personality changes can linger for years after an injury. For example, some people cannot ride in a vehicle again after a car accident that involved severe or fatal injuries. They might have panic attacks at the very thought of getting back into a car.
    • The economic consequences of PTSD can be significant since many people with this condition have difficulty maintaining employment.
    • Relationships can deteriorate because of PTSD. It can be challenging to live with someone who suffers from this condition. PTSD can lead to divorce and the loss of lifelong friendships.
    • Other emotional distress. Mood swings, irritability, and loss of control of one’s emotions are but a few examples of how a personal injury can cause you emotional distress.

    How We Prove Your Pain and Suffering Damages

    We can use your medical records and the accident report to show the extent of your injuries and all the medical treatment you had to endure because of the injury. Your doctor’s file should indicate whether you complained of pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, or other aspects of pain and suffering.

    Records from your treating health care professional will help to document your emotional distress. Sometimes people close to you, like your family, friends, and co-workers can provide additional evidence of how the injury has affected you.

    How to Get Help for Your Personal Injury Claim

    A phone call to S. Burke Law is all that it takes to get things started on your personal injury claim. Call us today at 404-842-7838, to line up your free consultation. We will explain your legal rights and evaluate your economic and non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. We do not charge legal fees until you win.

  • What is Loss of Society?

    Loss of society is a non-economic loss for which the loved ones of a victim in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit can seek compensation. When your spouse or parent suffers significant injuries or dies, you also experience a loss. That person is not available to be with you in the same way as before.

    “Loss of society and companionship” is not the same as “loss of consortium.” A surviving spouse can seek compensation for both types of loss. Loss of society is available to surviving spouses and other close family members. These damages honor the fact that the wrongful or negligent act of someone took away the love, care, affection, guidance, and protection they used to receive from their catastrophically injured or deceased loved one.

    Loss of Society and Companionship Damages in a Personal Injury Case

    Loss of society damages usually take place in wrongful death cases, but in some personal injury lawsuits, it is possible to get an award of these damages. Here is an example:

    Comatose victim in a personal injury lawsuit. The victim survived the car crash but sustained severe head trauma, leaving him comatose and on long-term life support.

    He can no longer take the kids to school, play with them, attend their school events, nurture or raise them. His wife faces an uncertain number of years without her closest companion. His surviving spouse and children have, in most meanings of the term, lost their dad, even though his body is not yet dead. They have lost his society and companionship.

    Loss of Society and Companionship Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

    In wrongful death cases, it is a straightforward matter to establish the loss of society of your deceased loved one. Georgia law provides for damages for the “full value of the life” of the person who died as a result of someone’s negligent or wrongful act.

    The full value of the life can include such things as the economic support, services, consortium, society, and companionship that the deceased person provided to the family. The “society and companionship” aspect of these damages can cover such things as advice, guidance, protection, care, and assistance.

    What We Have to Prove in a Loss of Society Damages Claim

    We must show that the defendant (at-fault party) caused the harm to your catastrophically injured or deceased loved one through a negligent, intentional, or otherwise wrongful act. The elements of liability in negligence are:

    • The defendant had a legal duty toward your loved one. For example, the defendant was driving the vehicle that crashed into your loved one. Like all drivers, the defendant had an obligation to drive his car in a careful manner and observe the laws and rules of the road.
    • The defendant breached his legal duty. The defendant was driving while under the influence of alcohol. His blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeded the legal limit in Georgia. By breaking the law about driving while impaired, the defendant violated his legal obligations. Failing to meet the standard of care is negligence.
    • The negligence caused the injury. Because of his intoxication, the defendant lost control of his vehicle and struck the victim, causing his severe or fatal injuries. The defendant is responsible for the personal injuries or wrongful death of the victim.

    Getting Help with Your Loss of Society Damages Claim in Georgia

    When you have lost the society and companionship of a loved one, it means that your spouse or a close relative has suffered a devastating injury or death. In times like this, the last thing you need is to have to deal with things like figuring out your legal rights and what you should do.

    At S. Burke Law, we understand. We can take these burdens off of your back so that you can focus on rebuilding your life.

  • Is Eyewitness Testimony Important for a Motorcycle Accident Case?

    You probably want to know what you can do to strengthen your case if you have experienced a motorcycle accident. One possibility is to use eyewitness testimony to bolster your other evidence, like the police report and medical records.

    Using eyewitness testimony can be risky since you cannot always predict what the witness will say during the pressure of trial. With documentary evidence like medical records, you know what the evidence will reveal at trial. Its story will not change. With eyewitnesses, there are no such guarantees.

    Also, sometimes eyewitnesses get it wrong, despite the best of intentions. An eyewitness might have only seen part of the accident and not what led up to it. She could have been standing in a place where something obstructed her vision, or the sun was in her eyes. An eyewitness whose testimony is factually incorrect can hurt your case, but there are times when an accurate eyewitness can help your lawsuit.

    When Eyewitness Testimony Can Help Your Motorcycle Accident Case

    An eyewitness who had a clear view of what happened, paid attention, and remembers the facts accurately can be vital when someone is contradicting what happened. For example:

    • Liar, liar. If the person who caused your motorcycle accident is trying to escape having to pay for the harm he did to you, he might try to lie his way out of it. If he makes up a false story about what happened and then you tell what did happen, the judge might think of it as a “he said, she said” situation. To tip the scales in your favor, it can be useful to have an eyewitness corroborate your testimony.
    • Police report with errors. Law enforcement officers are human, so sometimes they make mistakes. If the investigating officer wrote it down wrong or misinterpreted the accident scene, you might have to gather your own evidence to tell the judge the true story. Eyewitness testimony is one way to correct errors in the accident report.

    Why Eyewitnesses Sometimes Get It Wrong

    Some eyewitnesses make false statements intentionally, and others think they are telling the truth, but they have the facts wrong.

    Why people inadvertently tell an incorrect or inaccurate version of what they saw. Flawed eyewitness testimony sends many innocent people to prison for crimes they did not commit. Sometimes DNA evidence will convince a judge years later to release the person. While sometimes these eyewitnesses have a motive to lie to the judge, often the eyewitness sincerely believes that he is telling the truth. Some explanations include:

    • Reconstructed memories. Our brains will, without our realizing it, fill in gaps in our memory, even by inventing the information if necessary. As time passes after the motorcycle accident, an eyewitness’ recollection will start to fade. He might not realize it though, because his brain will fill in the gaps. This reconstructed “memory” might happen to be what happened, or it might not be.
    • Incomplete observation of the event. We are seldom standing in the perfect spot to witness an unexpected event like a motorcycle accident. As a result, an eyewitness’ angle might have kept her from seeing the entire incident. A person viewing the wreck from a different perspective might see something that looks very different. Also, if the eyewitness turned to look after hearing the crash, she missed what caused the accident.

    How to Get Help for Your Motorcycle Accident Claim

    The team at S. Burke Law will be happy to talk with you and evaluate your motorcycle accident at no charge. A motorcycle accident lawyer will explain your legal rights, what to do if you were injured, and let you know if you might be eligible for compensation like a settlement. Call us today at 404-842-7838, and we will schedule your free consultation. There is no obligation. We do not charge legal fees until you win.

  • Can I Sue a Restaurant for Negligent Security?

    Georgia law holds landowners responsible when people get hurt because of the failure to provide adequate security. A restaurant can be liable if the owner did not take reasonable steps to keep you safe when you were on their property or to prevent assaults or attacks that were foreseeable.

    The Four Parts of Negligent Security in Georgia

    Our state’s laws require us to prove all four elements of negligent to hold a restaurant liable for your injuries:

    One, the restaurant owed you a legal duty of care. As long as you were on the premises for a lawful purpose, such as to eat at the restaurant, make a delivery, or work as an employee of the restaurant, the company must take reasonable steps to keep the restaurant and its approaches safe.

    Approaches include things like sidewalks, entryways, parking lots, and other places people use to access the restaurant. Businesses have no obligation to provide security for trespassers.

    Let’s say that the restaurant is in a part of town that regularly experiences muggings and assaults on the public from strangers. The restaurant will have to provide reasonable security so that guests can be free from attacks or assaults while in the restaurant. The measures must also keep patrons safe when they enter and leave the restaurant and are in the parking lot and garage.

    Two, the restaurant breached its legal obligation toward you. If the restaurant failed to live up to its legal duty toward you, the business is negligent. Let’s say that there have been attacks and robberies in the restaurant’s parking lot every week for the last six months.

    The police recommended that the restaurant install security cameras and hire a guard for the safety of its patrons, but the company did not take any precautions to prevent future crimes. The restaurant is guilty of negligent security.

    Three, you got hurt because of the restaurant’s negligent security. If you ate at the restaurant and later learned about the history of criminal activity there, you cannot sue the restaurant unless their negligent security caused you to suffer harm.

    On the other hand, if someone assaulted you in the parking lot and you sustained physical injury, you have a claim for your losses. The restaurant’s negligence caused the harm to you, and these facts satisfy the causation factor for negligent security.

    Four, appropriate security measures would have prevented the crime. The restaurant does not have to stop every crime, because doing so is impossible. The law does, however, require the business to take reasonable steps to prevent crimes that are foreseeable.

    It is foreseeable that violent crimes will happen in a location where such incidents have occurred on a regular basis for months. Security cameras and a guard are reasonable measures for a business to implement in situations like this, and these steps could have prevented future criminal activity. Since adequate security measures would have prevented the crime, the restaurant is liable.

    How to Determine What Security Measures are Reasonable

    Business owners could not afford to hire personal bodyguards to escort every customer on and off of their premises. It would not be reasonable to require a restaurant to provide such a service.

    Every location is different, so every negligent security lawsuit is unique. Security protocols that might be inadequate for one restaurant might be wasteful overkill at another. We will talk with you about the facts of your case to determine what the restaurant should have done.

    A restaurant in a high-crime area might need security guards, secured parking lots, multiple security cameras, and live monitoring of the video feed during the hours that the business is open. An eatery in a different location might only need a security camera at the cash register.

    Examples of Negligent Security at a Restaurant

    Although every situation is different, some common principles apply to most restaurants. If someone got hurt by a criminal act, a restaurant can be liable if it did not:

    • Keep doors and windows secured. For example, leaving unlocked a door that leads to a back alley behind a restaurant in a high-crime area is a failure to keep doors secured. If someone sneaks in and attacks a patron or employee, the restaurant is responsible.
    • Install security cameras after repeated attacks or assaults.
    • Warn people of foreseeable dangers.
    • Repair broken locks, alarms, and security equipment.
    • Provide bright lighting around the restaurant and approaches.

    Getting Legal Help for an Injury from a Restaurant’s Negligent Security

    If you sustained an injury because a restaurant did not keep you safe, the company might owe you compensation. You do not have to sort out the liability or other legal issues. We can do that for you, and we do not charge to talk with you. A negligent security lawyer can help you get the justice you deserve.

    Call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838, and we will arrange your free consultation. There is no obligation, and we do not charge legal fees until you win.

  • What is Lost Earning Capacity?

    Lost earning capacity is the effect on your ability to earn a living. You can still work, but you are not able to make as much money as before. The person who caused your injury might have to pay you for this loss.

    What Might Constitute Lost Earning Capacity

    Here are some examples of diminished earning capacity:

    • You can no longer perform the same kind of work that you did before the accident. For instance, because of a back injury from a car accident, you can no longer lift heavy objects, which means that you cannot do the tasks your warehouse job requires. You have to look for a different line of work.
    • You can still work at your job, but you cannot work as many hours as you did before the injury. Let’s say that you worked a full-time job prior to your injury. After recuperation, you are able to return to the same job, but because of the pain involved with your injury, you can only work 25 hours a week.
    • You have to switch to a different position because of the injury. For example, you used to work a lucrative sales job that required you to be on your feet all day. Because of the injury, you are unable to be on your feet for long periods of time. Your boss offered you a clerical job where you could sit at a desk to work, but the clerical position paid less than the sales job.

    Long-term or Permanent Impairment

    It is common to need some time to recuperate and get your strength back after an injury. A short-term decrease in your earnings belongs in the category of lost wages, not lost earning capacity. You can still get compensation for the loss, but the impairment is temporary.

    To get compensation for lost earning capacity, the injury must affect your ability to earn income for a long time or permanently. For example:

    Temporary impairment: a salesperson at a car dealership breaks her leg and has to stay off of her feet for a few months until the fracture heals and she completes physical therapy. During that recuperation time, she works at a lower-paying position at the dealership. She has a claim for lost wages.

    Permanent impairment: a salesperson at a car dealership fractures her back in a car accident. After the injury heals as much as it is going to, she experiences chronic pain when she is on her feet for more than a few minutes. The orthopedic surgeon expects the situation to get worse as the patient gets older. The worker has to take a lower-paying job so that she can sit while she works. She has a claim for lost earning capacity.

    Decreased Earning Capacity

    The injury must cause a decrease in your earning potential.

    Let’s say that a construction worker could no longer perform physically demanding labor on job sites after a severe injury. His employer offered him a management position that paid more than the labor job. The worker has not suffered a decrease in his earning potential.

    On the other hand, if the worker had a high-paying job that he could no longer perform because of the injury, he might have to take a job that pays less money. In that situation, he has a claim for lost earning capacity.

    How We Prove Diminished Earning Ability

    Our injury lawyer will prove that the at-fault party’s negligence caused your injury and that the injury adversely affected your ability to earn as much money as you did before or took some career options away from you. We might have to hire experts to show the jury that you deserve compensation for deceased earning potential. Some of the experts we can use in these cases include:

    Medical experts who can testify about the severity and permanence of your injury, such as your regular doctor or a specialist, like an orthopedic surgeon or a neurologist.

    Economic experts to explain to the judge how the impairment will affect your future earnings.

    Vocational experts can connect your injuries to specific job skills and let the judge know how the impairment will affect your current job or restrict your future career choices. Some of these experts can also calculate the dollar amount of the anticipated diminished earning capacity.

    Call S. Burke Law Today for Help with an Injury Claim: 404-842-7838

    We realize that the issues surrounding lost earning capacity can be difficult to comprehend, but you do not have to worry about that. We will be happy to answer your questions. Just call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838, and we will arrange a free consultation with you. There is no obligation.