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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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.
How Do You Get a Fair Motorcycle Accident Settlement?
To get a fair motorcycle accident settlement, you must:
- Prove who is liable
- Have the evidence to show your damages
- Negotiate for the settlement you deserve
At S. Burke Law, we will investigate your motorcycle accident, establish who was at fault, gather the evidence to prove your losses, and negotiate directly with the insurance company to get you a fair settlement. Call us today at 404-842-7838 to find out how we help our motorcycle accident clients.
How We Can Hold Someone Responsible for Your Losses
Duty of Care
We must prove that the person who caused your motorcycle accident had a legal duty toward you. All drivers have a duty to follow the rules of the road and operate their vehicles in a careful manner. If the person who caused the accident was another driver, that person automatically has a legal duty toward you.
Sometimes a person who is not driving causes an accident. Let’s say that a passenger in the car in front of you opened their door into the path of your bike.
Breach of Duty of Care
We will track both scenarios through the four elements. Let’s say that the driver of the car that hit your motorcycle was driving while under the influence of prescription drugs. That driver violated the legal duty of care in two ways: driving while impaired by drugs is illegal and is a failure to operate the vehicle with caution. Breach of the duty of care is negligence.
In the second situation, the passenger opened their door without looking and doored you. This action is negligent.
The at-fault person’s negligence must be the direct cause of your injuries. Both situations meet this test. The carelessness of the at-fault parties caused the wrecks, which in turn, caused the injuries.
In the first situation, the drug-impaired driver changed lanes without looking because the drugs affected his ability to make sound judgments. Since operating a vehicle while in an impaired state is negligence, his negligence caused the wreck.
In the second example, the passenger opened their door into your path causing you to collide with it. This fact satisfies the causation requirement.
You must have suffered economic, physical, or emotional damages. These include things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Types of Compensation Available in a Fair Motorcycle Accident Settlement
Once we establish who is responsible for your damages, we will build a case for the compensation that is appropriate in your case. There are two different types of damages that might be available after a motorcycle accident.
Some of the typical economic damages in a motorcycle accident case include:
- Medical expenses: You can recover damages for all of the reasonable medical care you needed as a result of the crash. Some examples are ambulance transportation, emergency room, surgery, doctors, prescription medication, diagnostic testing, hospital, and physical therapy.
- Lost wages: You can collect compensation for the income you lost because of the wreck, including wages, salary, and self-employment.
- Reduced earning capacity: Motorcycle accidents can result in catastrophic injuries that can diminish your ability to make a living. For example, a severe head injury might cause you to have permanent cognitive challenges that could take away your ability to perform your previous job. If you cannot earn as much money as you did before because of your injuries, the difference in your income is compensable.
- Disability: Because a motorcycle rider has very little protection in the event of a collision, sometimes the severe injuries make it impossible for a person to work at all. If you are permanently disabled because of a motorcycle accident, we can seek damages for your loss.
- Long-term care: We can include the cost of long-term care in your damages claim if your injuries leave you in need of daily medical attention and personal care assistance.
Although they are not out-of-pocket losses, these damages represent legitimate harm you experienced. Some of the noneconomic losses from a motorcycle accident can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological distress, depression, and anxiety
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Our Team Can Help You Get a Fair Motorcycle Accident Settlement
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident, contact S. Burke Law for help getting a fair settlement. Just call us at 404-842-7838 to set up your free consultation.
I Was Struck by Falling Merchandise at a Store. Can I Sue?
If you were struck by falling merchandise at a store, you may be able to sue the store. Other parties can also be responsible.
How Merchandise Can Fall on a Customer in a Store
There are endless possibilities for how goods can fall on a person in a store. Here are some common scenarios:
- A store employee improperly stacked the items on the shelf. In this situation, the merchandise shifts and falls because an employee did not place the items on the rack correctly. Crooked or leaning stacks of boxes or cans can fall over on a shopper and cause injury.
- Someone installed the shelves improperly. If display shelving units were not put together correctly, the shelves can collapse or fall over on customers. Any merchandise on the shelves can also land on shoppers when the shelves fall.
- The shelves were inadequate for the weight of the merchandise. All shelves have weight limitations. Let’s say that a store had shelving units designed for lightweight items, like facial tissue and napkins. An employee loaded up the shelves with car batteries which were much heavier than the shelves could hold for the long-term. A shopper strolling through the store’s aisles sustained severe injuries when the shelves gave way and dumped dozens of car batteries on her.
- Someone moved previously stacked items on the store’s shelving. Another shopper pushed other items aside to reach what he wanted. In doing so, he left a stack of goods teetering precariously. These items could fall on another shopper.
What We Have to Prove to Hold the Store Liable for Your Injuries
Georgia law says that the landowner is responsible for injuries to people if all three of these things are true:
A Dangerous Condition Existed on the Property
An employee noticed a shelving unit was broken but did not have time to remove all the merchandise from the shelf.
The Owner Knew or Should Have Known About the Hazard
The employee notified the store manager immediately about the broken shelf. To prove this criterion, we can talk to the employee and get their testimony. We can also look through any notes the store manager or owner made about needing to fix the shelf.
The Owner Did Not Take Reasonable Steps to Correct the Situation
The store manager told the employee that they would remove the merchandise and fix the shelf, but they never did. The merchandise on the shelf fell as you walked by, causing you to suffer serious injuries.
What to Do if Merchandise Falls on You in a Store
If you suffered injuries after being struck by falling merchandise, your first priority should be getting medical care. You will increase your odds of a positive medical outcome with prompt professional treatments and evaluation, but the benefits do not end there. We will use the medical records as proof that you sustained your injuries from the accident in the store and to establish the severity of the harm you suffered.
If you are able, report the accident to the store manager. Do not let your embarrassment keep you from filing a report. This could be the crux of your injury claim. Ensure they write up a report and issue you a copy. Write down their name and contact information. You may also want to discuss your case with any eyewitnesses. If you had a friend with you at the time of the incident, have them write down anything they saw.
Once you have received medical care, talk with a personal injury lawyer who handles premises liability injury claims. At S. Burke Law, we help people who sustain injuries on the property of other people. Call us today at 404-842-7838 to learn more about how a premises liability lawyer can help with your case.
What to Do if You Witness a Car Accident?
There are a few things to do if you witness a car accident in Georgia. While the law does not require you to take any immediate action, it can help save a life or protect an accident claim. If you feel compelled to help, it is important to do it in a way that protects both your own safety and the safety of those involved in the crash.
Below is a list of guidelines for what to do after witnessing a motor vehicle crash. If you feel the need to speak with a car accident attorney, Sheryl Burke and the S. Burke Law team are happy to help. We offer a free consultation. Call us today at 404-842-7838.
Note: If You Decide to Assist the Accident Victims, Georgia’s Good Samaritan Law Protects You from Liability
Some people hesitate to lend a hand because they worry about liability. We have all heard horror stories about people who saved someone’s life by performing CPR, only to turn around and face legal action for breaking a rib.
In Georgia, the Good Samaritan Law protects you from such a nightmare scenario. It states that any citizen who, in good faith, intervenes in an emergency situation is protected from liability for any injuries that occur.
Do Not Put Yourself in Danger
If you stop to help, do not make a bad situation worse by putting yourself in danger. It is natural when adrenaline gets flowing to go full steam ahead and try to save the day. But keep a cool head about you and avoid taking any action that could put you in harm's way. If the situation is dangerous, do not attempt to intervene.
Pull Over and Park Your Car Out of the Way
If the crash is severe, you can expect emergency vehicles to materialize on the scene in short order. Make sure you are not impeding their ability to get to the crash and its victims. Pull your vehicle to a safe location and activate your hazard lights.
If you cannot safely pull over to help, consider calling 911 when you are able to pull over or have a passenger call.
As soon as you can do so safely, pull out your phone and call 911. If you are in heavy traffic, or if cars are swerving every which way to avoid the accident scene, keep your eyes on the road and avoid reaching for your phone until you can pull over to a safe location. When you get a dispatcher on the line, calmly explain your location and describe the accident as best you can.
Take as Many Photos and Videos as You Can
Once you have stopped your vehicle in a safe location, try to take photos and videos of the accident scene — but only if it is safe to do so. These can help the police piece together what happened, which makes it easier for them to hold the responsible party accountable.
If You Can Do It Safely, Help Those Involved
The driver and passengers involved in the accident may need help getting out of the car. If you can do it safely, try to assist in extracting them. Deployed airbags can make this task difficult, and if the car is a hybrid or electric vehicle, there is an added danger of fire or shock that you should consider. If you have any doubt about the safety of approaching the vehicle, wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
If someone appears injured, DO NOT move them. You could worsen their injuries. The only time you should move an injured person is if they are in immediate danger (e.g., you smell gas, the vehicle is smoking, etc.)
When the Police Arrive, Give Them a Report
If you witnessed the accident happen, the police will probably want to talk to you and take a statement about what you saw. Even if you came upon the scene shortly after the crash, the police may still have questions. The information you give them offers a lot of value as they write up their report and deal with the aftermath of the crash. Eyewitness testimony can also be very important to an accident case.
Have Questions About a Car Accident in Georgia? S. Burke Law Can Help. Call 404-842-7838 for a Free Case Evaluation.
The S. Burke Law team can help if you were involved in a car accident in Georgia. Our team fights to help accident victims recover the damages they deserve. For a free case evaluation, call our office at 404-842-7838.
Do I Have a Case if There Was No Damage in a Car Accident?
You may have a case even if there was no damage in a car accident. There could be damage under the hood, especially if your car starts making noises. It is important to take your vehicle to a mechanic to get it checked out right away. This will help you establish any potential damage.
You may also develop physical injuries days or weeks after the seemingly “no-damage” car crash. However, you may have difficulty proving your case if there was no visible damage to your car. Should this happen, you may want to talk to a car accident lawyer.
At S. Burke Law, we can investigate your car accident and help you build a claim to pursue compensation for your injuries or damages, regardless of the damage to your vehicle. Call us at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation with a member of our team.
Types of Hidden Damage Your Vehicle Might Have After a Crash
Not all vehicle damages are visible right away. Your vehicle may have damage to its frame, or your battery may fail because of the impact of the crash.
Your car’s mechanical components may have been damaged or you may have an oil or another type of fluid leak.
You Still Want to Report an Accident Even If There Was No Damage
Be sure to call the police to report the crash to get an official record of the accident, even if you do not believe there is damage to your vehicle. An officer may not respond to a non-injury car accident, so you may have to go to the police station to report the accident.
You should also exchange personal and auto insurance information with the other driver in case you need to file an injury claim in the future.
Report the Accident Even If the Other Driver Asked You Not To
If you do not report the crash, you may leave yourself unprotected if the other driver files a claim against you or your insurance company. For instance, what if the other driver claims they suffered injuries from the crash? The driver may even blame you for causing the accident and demand that you pay all the damages.
On the other hand, what if the other driver caused the crash and you later develop physical injuries? By failing to report the crash, you may be unable to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
What to Do if The Other Driver’s Insurer Claims You Did Not Sustain Injuries in the Crash
It is not uncommon for an auto insurance company to question whether you can sustain injuries from a crash with no visible vehicle damage. In other cases, they may claim you sustained no injuries. Insurers use a variety of strategies to save money and one strategy is to minimize claims.
To prove your claim, you could provide your medical records to prove your injuries. Even in a crash with minor damage, you could suffer a:
- Back injury
- Neck injury
- Brain injury
- Head trauma
- Internal injury
We can help you collect evidence to prove that your injuries were a result of your car accident.
Types of Evidence You Should Collect for a Car Accident with No Visible Damage
Evidence that supports a claim for injuries and damages may include:
- Your medical records
- A police report of the accident
- Eyewitness statements
- Car repair or replacement costs
- Your lost wages
- Video footage of the accident
If you were in a vehicle accident, we can help you recover damages. Call a car accident attorney at 404-842-7838 for a free evaluation of your case.
Recoverable Damages in a Car Accident Case
The damages you can recover primarily depend on the severity of your physical injuries and financial losses. The most common damages accident victims sustain include:
Medical expenses include costs for your visits to your doctor and medical specialists, surgeries, prescription medications, and more.
Lost wages include the amount of income you lost because you could not work after the accident.
This includes the damage to your car, laptop computer, camera, smartphone, and other personal property you lost in the accident.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering involves the physical, mental, and emotional damages resulting from an accident.
Let Us Help You with Your Car Accident Case
You may still have a case if there was no damage in a car accident, as long as the other driver’s negligence contributed to the crash. S. Burke Law can help you pursue the compensation you deserve from an accident.
Call us today at 404-842-7838 for a free case evaluation.
Can I Sue an Amusement Park for Slip and Fall?
Yes, you can sue an amusement park in Georgia if you got hurt from a slip and fall injury, but the park is not liable automatically for every incident that happens on its premises. The facility must have been negligent, and that carelessness must be the thing that caused your injury.
What We Have to Prove to Show That the Amusement Park Was Negligent
There are three elements to negligence, and we have to prove all three to hold the park responsible for your injuries. These factors are:
- The amusement park had a legal duty of care toward you. The reason that you were on the property will determine how careful the facility had to be. For example, the park has to take more steps to protect an invitee or licensee than a trespasser.
- The park breached its duty of care to you. Failing to meet one’s standard of care is negligence.
- The facility’s negligence caused you to suffer measurable harm. The carelessness of the park must be what caused your accident. Also, the park is not liable for a “near miss” or “close call,” even if the park was negligent. You must sustain a physical injury to hold the facility responsible.
What Is Carelessness of the Part of the Amusement Park
Amusement parks are not legally on the hook every time someone gets hurt. If a park visitor gets hurt solely because of his own carelessness, the facility is seldom responsible. For example, if a park guest went into an unauthorized area to take a selfie, lost her footing and fell, the park might not have to pay her any damages.
Negligence by the park, in the context of a slip and fall injury, usually consists of a scenario like this:
- There was a dangerous condition in the amusement park or its approaches (like sidewalks or parking lots). Let’s say that an employee in one of the popcorn booths spilled a container of cooking oil. The oil flowed onto the walking path where patrons walk up to buy popcorn. It was difficult to see the oil while walking on the path, and the oil made the walkway slippery.
- The park knew or should have known about the hazard. The employee who spilled the oil knew about the dangerous condition but did not clean up the mess or call for maintenance to correct the situation. When asked later, the worker said that it was not her job to clean up the grounds and that she was too busy making and selling popcorn to call maintenance.
- The park did not take actions to fix the hazard or post sufficient warnings before someone got hurt. A guest at the amusement park slipped and fell on the oil, breaking her arm. The park could have prevented this injury by cleaning up the oil spill or blocking off the slick area and warning of the danger.
How the Duty of Care Varies for Invitees, Licensees, and Trespassers
Your legal status, for purposes of the landowner’s duty of care toward you, depends on why you came onto the property. By way of further explanation:
Invitee. You are an invitee if the landowner or tenant (the amusement park) invited you onto the property, either expressly or by implication. To be an invitee, your reason for being on the premises must be lawful. For example, if you were a paying visitor at the park, you were an invitee.
Under Georgia law, the facility must use ordinary care to keep the premises and approaches reasonably safe for invitees.
Licensee. A licensee is on the property strictly for his own benefit and not for the owner. For example, you are a licensee if you walked up to the entrance of the park and asked to use the restroom, even though you were not going to buy a ticket to visit the park.
Georgia law forbids owners from intentionally injuring licensees, but the law does not require the park to keep the premises safe for people in this category.
Trespasser. Someone who is on the property illegally is a trespasser. People in this category enter the property without the invitation or consent of the owner. By way of example, if someone cuts through a chain link fence and sneaks into the park to avoid paying an entrance fee, that person is a trespasser.
Georgia law does not allow the park to “booby trap” the premises to harm trespassers or to cause intentional injury by other means. The law does not, however, impose any additional duty of care on landowners concerning trespassers.
Getting Legal Help for a Slip and Fall at an Amusement Park
The rules can seem complicated when you get hurt on someone else’s property. Do not worry. At S. Burke Law, we will explain the law and answer your questions. Just call us at 404-842-7838, and schedule your free consultation. We do not charge legal fees until you win.
What Are Some Tactics Insurers Use to Lower My Recovery?
According to its own reports, the insurance industry in America rakes in over $1 trillion a year in net premiums. They are supposed to pay valid claims out of those premiums.
The business reality is that the less that insurers pay on claims, the more money they get to keep as profit. As a result, insurance companies have a significant financial incentive to try to lower the amount of compensation you receive when you get hurt. Every company is different, but overall, the industry uses a variety of tactics to achieve this goal.
The Danger of Written or Recorded Statements
If you have been in a car accident, you will probably get a phone call from the other driver’s insurance company. The claims adjuster will ask you to give a recorded or written statement to them.
Although they describe the statement as an opportunity to tell your side of the story, the claims adjusters use these writings or recordings to reduce to amount of money they have to pay you for your injuries. The insurers can take your words out of context or twist them into something you did not intend. Giving a written or recorded statement is not for your benefit – it is to the advantage of the insurance company.
You should not talk with the insurance company for the other driver without your personal injury lawyer being involved in the process. When the claims adjuster contacts you about giving a statement, tell him to talk to your lawyer.
When “Quick Money” Is Really a Rip-off
Sometimes the insurance company will make you feel as if you have won the lottery. They wave a check under your nose soon after an accident. Thousands of dollars of free money would come in handy right now, since you are not able to go back to work yet.
What they do not tell you is:
- You have to pay all of your medical bills out of that check.
- That is all the money you will ever get from them for this wreck, no matter what.
The insurer might try to reach a quick settlement with you even if you have not yet recuperated from your injuries. You do not know what the future will hold. You might end up missing more work and having massive medical bills with no way to pay them.
You could have long-term problems from the injury. In this situation, the settlement check is not fair compensation for your loss.
When you accept a settlement check from an insurance company, you have to sign papers. These documents release the insurance company and the person they insure from any future liability for your injuries. You can never go back to them and ask for more money. You should not settle with an insurance company until you have completed all of the medical treatment and achieved 100 percent recuperation from your injuries.
Missing the Deadline
After an injury, you try to work things out with the insurance company. The adjuster strings you along for months by negotiating back and forth and asking for more documents.
Just when you think that you are about to reach an agreement with the adjuster, she stops returning your phone calls. When you finally reach her, she says that the time for filing a lawsuit has passed, so they have no obligation to pay you anything for your injuries.
Defense Medical Experts
The insurance company wants to send you for an examination and evaluation by a physician of their choosing. This “expert” will contradict what your treating doctor says and claim that you are exaggerating your injuries for profit. The defense doctor will minimize your injuries and state that you should achieve full recuperation, despite your ongoing medical issues.
There are entire directories of people who do nothing but testify in lawsuits, and some of them only work for the insurance companies. If the insurance company tries to send you to someone for an evaluation or exam, tell them to contact your personal injury lawyer.
Try to Pin the Blame on You
The insurance company can try to slash the amount of money they have to pay by sticking you with some of the blame for the accident. The adjuster might even say that you owe money to the other driver. The insurer might tell you that both you and the other driver were at fault, so your damages offset each other and no one has to pay any money to anyone.
These tactics might be entirely false statements of the law and the facts of your case.
Once you get a lawyer on board, the insurance company will have to deal directly with your attorney. At S. Burke Law, we will protect your right to recover compensation.
Refusing to Negotiate in Good Faith
One of the tactics some insurance companies use is to deny your claims for damages and refuse to make a reasonable settlement offer. They do this to pressure you to accept a low-ball offer.
You are in a vulnerable position after an injury. You are dealing with the pain and inconvenience of being hurt. You might not be able to work for a while as you are recuperating. Your bills are piling up, and you do not have any way to pay them. The electric company is sending you past due notices, and your rent is late.
You are worried about getting evicted and wonder how you will pay for groceries. The late payments will lower your credit score, which will hurt your financial status for years. Even when you can work again, you will not get back-pay for the time that you missed, so the bills that those paychecks would have covered will sit unpaid.
Having a personal injury lawyer serving Georgia on your side will protect you if the insurance company uses tactics to try to reduce the amount that you collect for your damages. The team at S. Burke Law is here to help injured people get their lives back. Call us at 404-842-7838, to set up your free consultation.
Can I Sue for Child Care Costs After a Car Accident?
You can usually sue the person who caused your injuries in a car accident for the reasonable and necessary expenses you incurred because of the wreck. If you incur extra child care costs as a result of your injuries, you might be able to collect that expense, but you need to be aware that child care costs are not standard damages after a car accident.
Your situation must be out of the ordinary for you to recover child care costs. If you already pay for child care, you will not be able to recover those expenses after a car accident.
Here are some situations in which you might be able to get compensation for child care costs after a wreck. Each scenario assumes that you have very young children, no spouse or significant other whose work schedule allows him or her to take care of the children, and no nearby family members or friends who could take care of your children for you.
- You already pay for part-time child care, but you had to pay for full-time child care after the crash because your injuries made you unable to take care of your children.
- You had to pay for round-the-clock child care because you had to stay in the hospital after the wreck.
- You are a stay-at-home parent who provided all the child care for your children before the collision, and you had to pay for child care while you recuperated from your injuries and medical procedures.
What We Have to Prove to Make Someone Pay Your Damages
Georgia law requires that we establish four factors before we can hold someone responsible for your losses from a car accident. These elements are:
Duty of care. All drivers must operate their vehicles with caution, keep a proper lookout, and obey the rules of the road.
Breach of the duty of care. If another driver failed to meet the standard of the duty of care, he is negligent. Let’s say that the other driver ran a red light because he was texting while driving. Both acts, texting while at the wheel and running a red light, are negligence.
Causation. The other driver’s negligence must be the thing that caused the wreck. If the driver t-boned your car because of his negligence, the facts satisfy the requirement of causation.
Damages. The negligence must cause both the wreck and your injuries. If you got physically hurt when the inattentive driver crashed into your car, you have damages, and he will have to pay for them.
In this example, the negligent driver might have to pay for your child care costs if:
- His carelessness caused the wreck, and
- His negligence caused your physical injuries, and
- Your physical injuries render you unable to take care of your young children, and
- You do not have an appropriate adult nearby who could help with the children, and
- Your resulting child care costs are reasonable and necessary.
Typical Damages from a Car Accident
Regardless of whether you can recover child care costs, once you establish liability, depending on the facts of your case, you can seek compensation for these more common damages after a car accident:
Medical expenses. Any reasonable bills you have for the treatment you needed because of the wreck can be compensable. Some examples are the ambulance, emergency room, hospitalization, diagnostic laboratory work and imaging (like x-rays and CAT scans), prescription drugs, surgery, physical therapy, and equipment like crutches or a wheelchair.
Lost wages. This category includes income you missed out on because of the collision, including wages, salary, and self-employment.
Diminished earning capacity. These damages address the situation in which you cannot earn as much money after the accident as you did before. If you have permanent impairment from the wreck that causes you to work fewer hours or take a lower-paying job, the at-fault driver can be liable for your loss. For example, if you worked a high-paying skilled construction worker job but you can no longer lift heavy objects, you might have to work a job that pays less.
Long-term care. In the case of catastrophic injuries, a person might need daily medical and personal care assistance. This expense is compensable.
Pain and suffering. Merely paying your medical bills and other out-of-pocket losses from the accident does not honor the physical pain you suffered, your inconvenience, and your emotional distress. Pain and suffering damages compensate accident victims for these intangible losses.
Loss of enjoyment of life. For some people, depending on their injuries and recuperation, life after a wreck is never the same again. If you have a residual impairment that robs you of abilities that you used to have, like walking or being independent, you might not enjoy life as much as before.
Call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838, to set up your free consultation. We will not charge legal fees until you win.