If you've suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one, an Atlanta injury lawyer can help answer your questions on how to win your personal injury claim in a Georgia personal injury court!
At S. Burke Law we are here to help give answers to these important questions. Our Frequently Asked Question database covers the common questions you may have regarding what to do after a serious accident, how to file a claim in personal injury court, and tips on how to win your personal injury claim. When researching information on the legal process following a serious accident you want legitimate advice from a source you can trust.
When you’ve suffered serious losses and damages from an accident due to the negligence of another you aren’t alone. An Atlanta injury lawyer from our office is always available to answer additional questions not addressed on our page. Contact us for a FREE consultation and get the answers you need to seek compensation for your losses!
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How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Distributed?
A settlement from a wrongful death action, to recover the value of the decedent's life, goes to the decedent's spouse and his or her children in equal shares. This equal parts distribution of the settlement is only provided if the surviving spouse receives at least one-third of the whole settlement.
Wrongful Death Claims in Georgia
In Georgia, two sets of claims can arise out of the wrongful death of a decedent, caused by the criminal or negligent act of another person or caused by a defectively manufactured product:
- A traditional wrongful death claim to recover for the value of the decedent's life
- A claim filed by the estate to recover financial losses
Settlement of a Traditional Wrongful Death Action in Georgia
Who is responsible for filing a wrongful death claim?
- If the criminal or negligent conduct of another causes a death, the decedent's surviving spouse can bring a traditional wrongful death action.
- If the decedent has no surviving spouse, the decedent's children can file the claim.
- If the decedent has no surviving spouse or children, the decedent's parents can file the action.
Recovery in a Traditional Wrongful Death Action in Georgia
A traditional wrongful death claim seeks to recover the full value of the decedent's life. The recovery includes the following:
- Lost wages: How much would the decedent have earned if he or she had lived? Factors used to determine the amount include the decedent's age and what type of work the decedent performed before his or her death.
- Lost companionship: Family members can recover for the loss of companionship with the decedent.
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Distributed?
As with other types of claims, most wrongful death claims are settled before they go to trial. Who gets the settlement funds? The surviving spouse and the children split the funds equally, but the spouse must receive at least one-third. If a child does not survive the decedent, that child's children receive that child's share.
Special rules apply for minor children:
- If the amount of the settlement going to the child is less than $15,000, the child's natural guardian holds the funds for the child.
- If the amount of the settlement going to the child is $15,000 or more, the guardian of the child's property holds the funds for the child.
The settlement recovery is not subject to the debts of the decedent.
Settlement of the Estate's Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia
Who is the personal representative?
- The personal representative is the executor designated in the decedent's will.
- The personal representative of the decedent's estate can work with an attorney to file a claim for financial losses.
- If the decedent has no will, the personal representative will be the administrator whom the court appoints to handle the decedent's estate.
Recovery in an Estate's Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia
What can the personal representative recover in a wrongful death claim?
- The medical expenses of the decedent related to the accident resulting in the decedent's death
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident
- The decedent's pain and suffering
Funds Recovered by the Personal Representative
Funds from the recovery by the personal representative go into the decedent's estate:
- The personal representative—the executor, if there is a will or the administrator, if no will exists—must administer the estate before the distribution of any funds.
- The personal representative will gather the assets of the decedent, give notice to any creditors, and pay the decedent's debts before any distribution of funds from the estate.
Distribution of Funds from the Estate
After the payment of the decedent's debts, any funds, including any funds recovered in the personal representative's wrongful death claim, are distributed as provided in the decedent's will. If there is no will, the funds pass in the following manner under Georgia's laws of intestacy:
- To the surviving spouse, if there are no children
- To the surviving spouse and the children: The spouse gets at least one-third of the property of the estate. If any child dies before the decedent, the decedent’s grandchildren receive that child's share.
- To the decedent's parents
- To the decedent's siblings
- To the decedent's grandparents
- To the decedent's uncles and aunts
- To more remote relatives
If you would like more information about how wrongful death settlements are paid out, call us at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.
Can I Get Compensation for Disfigurement from an Assault?
Yes, you can collect compensation if an assault left you permanently disfigured. If someone intentionally harms you and leaves lasting scars, that person is responsible for the damage. You can sue for your losses, including disfigurement.
Many people mistakenly think that when someone commits a crime, the victim cannot sue the perpetrator for their losses, but that assumption is incorrect. In your personal injury lawsuit, you can seek compensation for your economic and noneconomic damages from the attack.
Who You Can Sue for Disfigurement from an Assault
The person who assaulted you. In addition to facing criminal charges, the person who assaulted you can be responsible for all of the losses you suffer as a result, including disfigurement. Assault is both a crime and a tort. A tort is a legal term for a situation in which you can sue the person who hurt you through their intentional act (like an assault) or carelessness (like a car accident).
When someone hurts us, on purpose or accidentally, the law gives us a remedy to seek compensation for our losses. We do this through the civil courts in personal injury cases, also call tort cases.
Criminal courts handle the criminal charges of assault, but the criminal court’s purpose is to protect the public at large, not to make the harmed individual whole. To get monetary compensation, you need to file a personal injury case in the civil courts.
Additional liable parties. When we meet with you, we will evaluate whether someone else might also be responsible for the harm you suffered. For example, for an assault that happened at a mall, the shopping mall might be liable if they did not provide adequate security to prevent foreseeable crimes.
Also, if the mall hired a private security company, that firm might have some liability. Let’s say that the security company assigned a guard to patrol the parking lots in a security cart. At the time of your assault in the parking lot, the guard was taking a nap instead of making his rounds.
You might be able to sue the security company for negligence. If the mall knew about this problem before your assault but took no action to correct the situation, the mall can be negligent in this regard as well.
Damages You Can Get for an Assault
You can sue for your economic and noneconomic losses from an assault. Economic damages are things that you can readily measure in terms of dollars, like medical bills and lost wages. Noneconomic damages are things that are hard to directly quantify in dollars, like disfigurement and the amount of pain you experienced.
Economic damages. We will establish the amount of these losses by using your medical bills, employer records, and other documents:
- Medical expenses – which can include things like the ambulance, emergency room, doctors, surgeons, diagnostic testing, lab work, imaging tests like x-rays and CAT scans, hospital, prescription drugs, and physical therapy.
- Lost income – to replace the wages, salary, and other income you lost because of the assault, medical treatments, and recuperation.
- Future medical care – if you will need ongoing medical attention because of the injuries from the assault.
- Long-term care – if the attack leaves you in need of daily assistance and medical care.
- Decreased earning capacity – to account for your future anticipated losses if you are unable to earn as much money after the assault.
- Equipment – to pay for things like wheelchairs, home modifications, and an adapted vehicle.
Noneconomic damages. We will use several factors, including the extent of your physical injuries, to calculate a fair amount for your non-economic losses, which can include such things as:
- Pain and suffering – which encompasses the physical pain, emotional distress, and inconvenience you experienced because of the attack.
- Disfigurement – if you sustained permanent scars from the assault. The amount of these damages will depend on factors like the size, appearance, and visibility of your scars. Lasting disfigurement of the face, throat, and hands fall into the category of highly visible scars.
- PTSD – Many victims of violent crime experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can make daily life difficult. It can be hard to maintain employment and personal relationships when suffering from PTSD.
- Loss of enjoyment of life – Depending on the facts of your case and your physical and emotional injuries, you might lose some of your enjoyment of life because of the attack.
- Loss of consortium – Your spouse might have a claim for loss of consortium damages if the assault also damaged your relationship.
What is an Assault Under Georgia Law
Simple assault in Georgia is when someone tries to injure you violently or does something that would make a reasonable person afraid of immediate violent injury. Aggravated assault is when a person assaults someone with the intent to rob, murder or rape; uses a deadly weapon or a dangerous object; or there are any other aggravating circumstances. The term “assault” refers to the attempted violence. “Assault and battery” means that the person did harm you.
How to Get Help for Disfigurement from an Assault
Assault cases can be difficult to understand because the deed is both a crime and a tort, but you do not have to sort through all of that. Just give S. Burke Law a call at 404-842-7838, and we will set up a free consultation to explain your right to compensation and answer your questions. There is no charge for the meeting and no obligation.
Can I Get Compensation for a Permanent Scar From a Motorcycle Accident?
Yes, it is possible to get compensation for a permanent scar from a motorcycle accident, but each case is different. When we talk with you about your case, we will gather information to evaluate some of the factors that will determine how much compensation you might receive. These factors include:
The Location of Your Permanent Scar
The location of your scar will affect the compensation you can collect. By way of example, a mark left on your face will have a higher settlement value than an identical one on your lower back.
The visibility of your scar is an essential element of your damages. Noticeable skin damage is more disfiguring than hidden scars. Ask yourself whether the scar is in a location that could cause strangers to stare if you go in public under ordinary circumstances.
Internal vs. External Scars
Another component of the scar location factor is whether your scars are internal or external. While an internal scar is not noticeable to the public, internal scars can cause extreme pain and significant health issues. You can develop internal scar tissue from the original injury or from the surgical repair of your injuries.
If you have internal scar tissue, you have tough bands of tissue that grew between the organs and tissues inside your body. These fibrous bands can “cement” your organs to each other, resulting in organ malfunction and excruciating pain.
The Severity of Your Scar Affects the Settlement Value
Scars from motorcycle accidents can come in many different sizes, shapes, and forms. Here are some examples of how the scar’s presentation can impact the amount of compensation a person can collect:
Lower Compensation Higher Compensation
Small scar Massive scar
Heals to skin tone of the area Color changes
Painless after healing Causes lasting discomfort
Smooth and flat Lumpy or raised
Laceration Burns from a motorcycle accident
How the Scar Affects Your Life
In addition to cosmetic issues, scars can cause other long-term consequences that can impact your life on a daily basis. The level of impairment and discomfort you experience will be a factor in the amount of damages you might collect. Two of the more common types of severe scars include:
If your body grows keloid tissue in response to injuries, you can suffer both pain and loss of function. Keloids happen when your body produces more scar tissue than it needs to repair the damage. The excess scar tissue can build up and become lumpy and raised.
Adhesions happen when excess scar tissue “welds” two organs or two other areas of the body to each other.
Both keloid tissue and adhesions can restrict a person’s movement and cause pain when the person tries to move his body in everyday situations. The scar tissue can prevent the organs from performing their intended functions, which can create a medical crisis. Excess scar tissue can be particularly hard to treat, since surgically cutting the scar tissue can cause more scar tissue to grow, making the problem worse than before.
Some Scars Cause Pain
Some scar tissue lacks functioning sensory nerves, causing a loss of sensation in the area. In other situations, the scar tissue hurts.
Your Other Injuries
In a motorcycle accident that caused permanent scars you probably suffered multiple injuries. For example, if you sustained permanent facial scars, you might have also experienced a traumatic brain injury. Your total settlement will consider all of your injuries, not just your permanent scars.
We can evaluate your medical records and the police report to compile a list of all of your injuries. We can gather the evidence to build your claim and prove all of the damages you suffered. If your scar is small but you have significant other injuries, the value of your motorcycle accident settlement can be much higher.
Also, if you lost time from work because of the crash and your recuperation, we can add your lost wages to the damages. Your pain and suffering for the scars and your other injuries will be another component. Your spouse might have a claim for loss of consortium if the injuries harmed your relationship.
Getting Legal Help for Permanent Scars from a Motorcycle Accident
We can review your medical records and the police report to determine if you might be eligible for compensation for your scars and other injuries from a motorcycle accident. You can call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation. There is no obligation, and we do not charge legal fees until you get a settlement or award of damages.
What Constitutes Assault?
Per Georgia criminal statute, GA Code § 16-5-20 (2017), the following constitutes assault:
(1) An attempt to “commit a violent injury to the person of another” or
(2) The commission of “act which places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury.”
If someone tries to hurt you or does something on purpose that makes you afraid that the person will hurt you right then, that person has committed the crime of assault. For example, if a person attempts to punch you, that constitutes assault. If someone threatens to hit you while raising their fist, that also constitutes assault.
When Simple Assault Becomes “High and Aggravated”
Georgia law escalates the crime of simple assault from a plain misdemeanor to a misdemeanor of a “high and aggravated nature” if the assault takes place:
- In a public transit vehicle or station
- Between past or present spouses
- Between parents and children
- Between stepparents and stepchildren
- Between foster parents and foster children
- Between people living or formerly living in the same household (but not among siblings)
- When the victim is 65 years or older
- When the victim is a public school system employee who is on school property (including on school buses and at bus stops) or engaged in official duties
- When the victim is pregnant
Corporal punishment by a parent or guardian does not fall under this statute.
The Definition of Aggravated Assault
Georgia law defines aggravated assault, in GA Code § 16-5-21 (2017), as follows:
“(a) A person commits the offense of aggravated assault when he or she assaults:
(1) With intent to murder, to rape, or to rob;
(2) With a deadly weapon or with any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury;
(3) With any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in strangulation; or
(4) A person or persons without legal justification by discharging a firearm from within a motor vehicle toward a person or persons.”
Possible Justification for Simple Assault in an Injury Case
Depending on the facts, sometimes a defendant in an assault case will claim that the assault victim caused the incident by using “opprobrious or abusive language” toward the defendant. It will be up to the judge or jury to decide whether the words justified the assault.
If the defendant attempts to use this tactic, our team will work to prove that you did not provoke your attacker.
How a Criminal Assault Can Also Be a Tort
Our statutes create the right to sue in civil court for damages if you are the victim of an assault. GA Code § 51-1-14 (2017) says that “Any violent injury or illegal attempt to commit a physical injury upon a person is a tort for which damages may be recovered.”
In other words, if someone hurts you or tries to hurt you through violence, that person has committed a tort, which allows you to sue for assault.
Damages for the Tort of Assault
You are entitled to the same types of damages for an assault as you are for any other type of personal injury tort. People often sue their attackers in civil court because while the criminal courts might punish the defendant, the criminal conviction does not result in financial compensation for the victim.
The damages in a civil lawsuit for assault can include:
Medical expenses to treat the injuries that resulted from the assault, e.g., the ambulance, emergency room, doctors, hospital, surgery, diagnostic testing, procedures, prescription drugs, and physical therapy.
Lost wages to replace income that you missed because of the assault, medical treatments, and recuperation time.
Pain and suffering damages compensate you for the physical discomfort, mental distress, and inconvenience of the assault.
Decreased earning capacity if you cannot earn as much money after the assault because of your injuries.
Emotional harm. The trauma of being an assault victim can cause short-term and long-term emotional injury.
Long-term care damages can help to pay for the cost of long-term care if your injuries render you unable to live independently or you need daily medical assistance.
Getting Legal Help if Someone Assaulted You
It can be confusing to try to understand civil statutes about assault. But you do not have to handle your case alone. An Atlanta assault and battery lawyer is standing by ready to help with your case. Just call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 to discuss your case and right to compensation for your injuries. The consultation is free, and there is no obligation. You also pay nothing until we win your case.
Can a Car Accident Cause PTSD?
You can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a car accident if you experienced or witnessed a terrifying event. Motor vehicle crashes are a common cause of PTSD, particularly if there were gruesome injuries or fatalities.
An Overview of PTSD
According to the Mayo Clinic, a terrifying event can trigger a mental health condition called PTSD. Sometimes the injured person gets the disorder, but other drivers, passengers, or even bystanders can end up with PTSD after a crash, as well.
It is common to experience stress from a car accident, and there is a difference between trauma and PTSD. Your stress may rise to the level of PTSD if your symptoms:
- Interfere with his ability to cope and function in everyday activities
- Get worse, not better
- Continue for months or years
Remember, you do not have to be directly involved in an accident to suffer from PTSD.
Top Causes of PTSD
These are some of the most common traumatic situations that can cause a person to develop PTSD:
- Child abuse
- Sexual assault
- Military action and/or combat
- Assault or threat with a deadly weapon
Although many different people might see or experience the same traumatic event, they usually do not all develop PTSD. Medical experts do not know why some people develop the disorder and others do not, but people with previous traumatic experiences are more likely to get PTSD than others.
How PTSD Can Impact Your Life
PTSD can put a person at high risk of other mental health issues, including:
- Misuse of alcohol and other drugs
- Suicidal ideation and attempts
- Eating disorders
It is important to seek treatment for PTSD as soon as possible to help avoid these and other complications.
PTSD can make it hard to hold a job. If you struggle to function in everyday situations, it can be challenging to show up day after day and maintain your focus. Since PTSD often causes sleep disturbances, an employee might also experience ongoing sleep deprivation, which can interfere with cognitive ability and concentration.
PTSD can lead to divorce or break-ups of other personal relationships. It can be difficult for a significant other to understand what you are going through and to realize that your anger and other behavior is not directed at them, even when it might seem to be.
Without stable employment, a person with PTSD can experience two-fold financial harm: in the short-term, they cannot pay their bills and might lose their home or vehicle. The long-term result of being unemployed is that the person does not contribute to Social Security. They might face dire poverty in their old age if they are not eligible for Social Security retirement benefits or Medicare health insurance.
Compensation for PTSD from a Car Accident
Our courts recognize that PTSD is a legitimate condition. We can include a claim for compensation for PTSD in an injury case when there is supporting medical evidence.
How to Prove a PTSD Claim
At S. Burke Law, we file legitimate claims for PTSD. We can build your case by using:
- Medical records. Your doctor’s notes will show when you have talked with your doctor about the symptoms you experienced. They will also include information about prescriptions, referrals, or other measures the doctor took to treat your condition.
- Expert witnesses. We can use expert witnesses to explain to the judge and jury that you developed the PTSD from the car accident and demonstrate how PTSD affects your life.
Let the team at S. Burke Law answer your questions about PTSD and car accidents. We investigate our clients’ accidents and gather the evidence to prove their personal injury cases. Call us today at 404-842-7838 to schedule your free consultation.
Do Insurance Adjusters Have a Right to Use What I Post on Twitter Against Me?
Yes, an insurance adjuster can probably use the things that you post on Twitter or other social media accounts against you. If the insurance company can authenticate the account, the courts will likely allow the insurer to use your postings if they are relevant to your case.
A savvy insurance adjuster will likely check out your Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter accounts when reviewing the details of your case. The adjuster or insurance defense attorney might even look at social network accounts you forgot that you had.
Expectation of Privacy
When people post things on social media, there is little expectation of privacy. Your post could “go viral” at any time, and millions of people could view it. Even if you are careful about your privacy settings and limit who can see your postings, the people who do see it could share it with others, who could send it on to more people, and so on.
There Is No Such Thing as Deleted
Once you upload or type something online, the item or information is no longer under your control. Let’s say that you posted an embarrassing photo, then deleted it the next day after realizing that posting it was a mistake.
It is extremely difficult to delete that picture from the Internet entirely. Even if you remove it from your social media accounts, it may still exist on the hard drive of anyone who saw it, in the cloud, or on the social media service’s backup server.
Anyone who viewed the photo could have downloaded it or taken a screenshot. That person could then share the photo with others without any input from you. It is important to never post anything you would not be comfortable being broadly seen.
Out of Context
An insurance adjuster can take your social media posts out of context and use them to justify paying you less money for your accident claim. Here are a few examples:
- While stuck at home and bored during recuperation, you post a photo of yourself running a marathon a week before your accident. The upload does not state that the photo was before your injury – it only gives the date on which you uploaded the item. The adjuster will use the photo and upload date to claim that you were running marathons after the accident, so you must be faking your injuries.
- You post a joking or self-deprecating comment about the wreck, like calling yourself clumsy or describing your significant injuries as “a little boo-boo.” The adjuster will claim that you are lying about the severity of the injuries or that you admitted being at fault in the wreck.
- The insurance company’s defense lawyer can paint a negative portrait of you to the jury by using unrelated information harvested from your social media accounts. For example, comments or photos about drug or alcohol use can make the jury less sympathetic toward you. Also, it can cause problems if you “like” or “follow” certain inflammatory organizations or celebrities.
Things that seem innocent or personal could come back to reduce the settlement value of your case. Talk with your lawyer about what you should and should not post on social media.
The Bottom Line
If you have suffered an injury in an accident, the best practice is to stay off social media until after the case. An insurance adjuster has a right to use what you post and may twist it into something you never intended.
For example, because an old friend visited you while you were recuperating from extensive injuries, you might post “Having a wonderful day.” The adjuster might claim that you were feeling fine and deny pain and suffering damages from that point forward.
Georgia law allows parties to a lawsuit to obtain almost anything that is relevant to your lawsuit through the discovery process, even if they could not use the item in court. The insurance company can get a treasure trove of information from social media since many people let their guard down when posting.
How to Navigate Social Media During Your Accident Claim or Lawsuit
The earlier you talk with your lawyer about how social media can affect your case, the better. Your personal injury attorney can advise you about what, if anything, to post. Many people deactivate their social media accounts while they have a pending accident claim, but we can explain the rules that control these cases.
At S. Burke Law, we can answer your questions about social media and your injury case. Just call us at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation. We will discuss your case and let you know if you might be eligible for compensation.
Can I Sue an Amusement Park for Negligent Security?
Under Georgia law, property owners must take reasonable measures to prevent foreseeable attacks or assaults and to keep people safe on their property. This means that an amusement park can be held responsible for the injuries you suffer on its property if the landowner failed to provide sufficient security to prevent them.
Factors for Proving Negligent Security at an Amusement Park
There are four elements to holding the amusement park liable for negligent security:
1. The amusement park had a legal duty toward you. The company has a legal duty to take reasonable measures to keep the park and its approaches safe for its guests. This legal duty also extends to employees, vendors, and other individuals who are on the grounds for a legal purpose, such as to read the electric or water meter.
If an amusement park experienced several incidents of assaults happening in its arcades, for example, it would have an obligation to provide reasonable security in those areas to prevent future assaults.
2. The amusement park violated its legal duty. If the amusement park did not provide sufficient security, it breached its duty to you.
Reasonable measures to prevent assaults in an arcade could include:
- Installing security cameras in the area.
- Posting signs in the arcade that notify patrons of the rules, which might include warnings against horseplay, roughhousing, physical confrontations, and assaults. The signs should also warn people that violating the rules will result in prosecution.
- Assigning security guards to the arcade and surrounding area.
- Immediately removing rule-breakers from the park.
- Banning people who engage in assaults from future entry to the park.
- Exploring whether changes in the location, layout, and configuration of the arcade would help deter future assaults.
If the amusement park fails to take enough reasonable measures, it could be considered negligent.
3. The negligent security at the amusement park caused your injury. Negligence by itself does not subject the park to liability, but when the company’s negligence causes an injury, the landowner is responsible. If someone assaulted you because of the park’s failure to provide adequate security, the park could be liable.
4. Adequate security would have prevented the crime. It is impossible to prevent every crime, but Georgia law requires property owners to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable crimes. If assaults continue to occur in the arcade, for example, the amusement park could be held liable for failing to prevent these foreseeable crimes by improving its security in and around the area.
Damages for Injuries from Negligent Security at an Amusement Park
When you get hurt because of an amusement park’s negligent security, you may be eligible to recover damages that include:
- Medical expenses. This can cover your ambulance, emergency room, doctors, hospital, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and all other reasonable medical care needed as a result of your injuries.
- Lost wages. If you missed work because of your injuries and recuperation, you may be able to recover the income you lost.
- Decreased earning potential. A significant injury may impact your future earnings over the course of your life. If you must take a lower-paying job because of your injury, you may be able to recover the difference between your previous and your current earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering. Simply paying a person’s medical bills does not compensate them for the physical pain, mental distress, and inconvenience suffered as a result of their injury. Calculating pain and suffering damages can help address that deficit.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. Victims of violent crime often face a lifetime of psychological ramifications from the trauma. Many people experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which can harm personal relationships and make employment and social interaction difficult. Physical injuries can also cause you to be unable to do things that you enjoyed before, like walking or hiking.
How to Get Help for an Injury from an Amusement Park’s Negligent Security
If an amusement park failed in its legal duty to protect you from foreseeable harm and this negligent security caused your injury, you might be eligible for compensation. Call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 to schedule your free consultation. We know how to win a negligent security case. We will answer your questions and tell you if you might have a case against the amusement park.
What is Loss of Consortium?
When a person gets injured or killed in an accident, the spouse and family can also suffer losses of their own. The purpose of loss of consortium claims is to compensate people close to the person who got hurt for the damages they experienced because of their loved one’s serious injury or death.
What Loss of Consortium Means
If a person recovers from an injury without long-term impairment, she can go back to the role she had in the family before the accident. With permanent impairment or death, the injured person might not be able to provide the family with the previous level of:
- Love or affection
- Social interaction
- Sexual relations
Loss of these things may constitute loss of consortium, for which the spouse, children, and other family members may recover compensation.
Physical Injury Required
If the injured person did not sustain a physical injury, there is usually no loss of consortium claim for the spouse or family. For example, the innocent driver in a road rage incident experienced extreme terror during the event but managed to escape without physical injury. The spouse of the innocent driver cannot file a claim for loss of consortium.
On the other hand, if the innocent driver sustained catastrophic physical injuries in a car accident that adversely affected her relationship with her spouse, the spouse might have a valid claim for loss of consortium.
What Kinds of Injury Cases May Include Loss of Consortium Claims
Permanent impairment. For example, a newlywed sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. Because of her injury, she experienced permanent locked-in syndrome, unable to move or communicate. She was aware and awake, but unable to interact.
She has lost the kind of life she would have had, and so has her spouse, who lost the love, affection, and companionship of his wife. Her husband has a claim for loss of consortium.
Death. For example, a father of school-aged children died in a car accident. His wife lost her life companion and partner. The children lost the guidance and comfort of their father. The spouse and children may be wrongful death beneficiaries with a claim for loss of consortium.
How Georgia Law Calculates Loss of Consortium
If a case goes to trial, the judge or jury will decide how much the family has lost as a result of the physical harm and impairment or death. The judge or jury has discretion on this issue, but sometimes lawyers use expert witnesses to explain to the judge or jury the justification for awarding a particular dollar amount.
How to Determine if You Have a Loss of Consortium Claim
The good news is that you do not have to figure out whether you have a possible claim for loss of consortium for your spouse’s injury on your own. Just call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for your free consultation. We will answer your questions about loss of consortium claims and help you pursue compensation. There is no charge for the consultation and no obligation.
What Happens If I Was in a Car Accident on the Way to Work?
If you were in a car accident on the way to work, you likely have questions about who must pay for your losses. You might wonder if your boss has any responsibility for the damages or whether you will have to shoulder these expenses all on your own.
Sometimes another driver causes the wreck. You need to know whether that negligence lets your employer off the hook or if you can make a claim for compensation against both the at-fault driver and your boss. In general, Georgia’s “going and coming” rule says that your company does not have to pay your damages if you have a crash during your commute. There are, however, some exceptions to note.
When a Boss Is Liable for Employees’ Car Accidents
These cases are fact-driven, meaning that the circumstances of your accident will determine whether your employer will have to pay you compensation for losses such as medical bills or lost wages. These are some of the situations in which a company can have liability for an employee’s crash on the way to work:
The employee was performing a task for the employer. Let’s say that you work for a home remodeling company, and your boss asked you to pick up something from the hardware store on your way to the job site.
If you experienced a crash on your way to the hardware store or on your subsequent trip to the job site, your employer can be responsible for your injuries. You would not have been there but for the boss directing you to go to the hardware store for job-related items.
Multiple job sites rather than one fixed location. Your employer can be liable for your collision damages if your work requires you to travel to multiple locations during the day and your crash happened on the way to a job location. For example, if you are an electrician and you go to various buildings throughout your shift making repairs and doing installations, the employer can have liability when you are on your way to a job site.
Traveling on business. When you are on the road as part of your job, such as attending a conference or going to a meeting out of town, your boss can be responsible during your entire trip.
Driving a company car. Your employer is usually responsible for your injuries if you had a collision while you were operating a company car.
Driving is an essential component of your job description. Some workers spend much of their shifts operating vehicles. Examples of these workers include cab and bus drivers, delivery personnel, and other people whose jobs involve a significant amount of regular travel. The boss is usually responsible for the employee’s injuries in these situations.
What Happens if You Were Also Negligent?
In some circumstances, your mistakes can reduce the amount of money you can receive as compensation for your injuries. We will explain this legal concept, called comparative negligence, when we meet with you.
Getting Legal Help for Your Car Accident On The Way To Work
There is no need for you to figure out these legal issues because we can handle the legal components for our clients. Just meet with us, and we will evaluate your situation and let you know who might be liable for your injuries. You can set up your free consultation by calling S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.
What Happens If I Was Hit by a Company Vehicle?
If you were hit by a company vehicle, you need to know who is liable to compensate you. Depending on the facts of your case, the company or a third party might be responsible for your losses.
Our personal injury law firm evaluates these scenarios on a case-by-case basis and can walk you through that analysis when we discuss your injury claim.
When a Boss Is Liable for a Company Vehicle Hitting an Employee
These injuries are usually matters for workers compensation benefits. In the state of Georgia, workers compensation is defined as:
“a benefits program created by state law that provides medical,
rehabilitative, income, death and other benefits to employees and
dependents due to injury, illness and death resulting from a
compensable work-related claim covered by the law.”
If a company vehicle struck you while you were performing your job duties during your work hours, under Georgia law your injuries would constitute a compensable claim. You will have to follow the strict regulations about:
- Quickly reporting the incident to your employer
- Getting treatment from an authorized treating physician
- Cooperating with your employer and the approved physician to get medical evaluations, treatment, rehabilitative services, and claim investigation.
You can receive free medical care and cash disability benefits to replace a portion of your regular income through workers compensation.
When Workers Compensation Does Not Cover an Employee Hit by a Company Vehicle
Workers compensation in Georgia only covers you for injuries you sustain while working. If the company car strikes you while you are on your lunch or other breaks, workers compensation will not pay you benefits. In a situation like this, you will have to look to other sources for compensation, such as:
The driver of the company vehicle. Let’s say that the company truck hit you because the driver was texting someone on her cell phone while operating the vehicle. The driver’s negligence from texting while driving caused your injuries, so she can be liable to you for damages.
The company. The employer can have responsibility under a couple of legal theories, including negligence. Examples of negligence include:
- Negligent hiring for failing to perform an adequate background check on the driver, if that research would have discovered information that the driver had been careless with company vehicles in the past
- Negligent supervision if the firm did not create and enforce a policy that prohibited employees from texting while driving company vehicles
- Negligent training if the company did not train drivers on the safe operation of company vehicles.
An employer can also be liable under the legal theory of respondeat superior, which states that an employer can be liable for some of the acts of its employees. For example, but for the boss putting the driver in the position of operating the company vehicle, you would not have sustained the injury.
How We Prove Negligence
There are four factors to negligence, and we have to prove each one to win a lawsuit in which we allege that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. The four facets are:
- The defendant had a legal duty toward you. Like all drivers, the driver of the company vehicle had a duty to operate the truck with caution.
- The defendant breached her duty toward you. Breach of a legal duty of care is negligence. The defendant violated her duty of care by texting while behind the wheel.
- The negligence caused your injury. The defendant’s negligence caused the company truck to hit and injure you.
- You suffered measurable damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Physical injuries are measurable in that we can calculate the damages in dollars. Your medical bills will be proof of your quantifiable damages.
What Happens If You Were Partly to Blame
Let’s say that you were somewhat at fault in the accident. For instance, perhaps you were in an “out-of-bounds” area on the job site when you were hit by a company truck. Although the driver’s negligence in texting while behind the wheel was the primary cause of the wreck, the judge assessed 10 percent of the responsibility for the accident to you for being in the wrong place.
Do not worry – you can still recover compensation for your damages as the rule of comparative negligence is applied in Georgia. This law deducts an amount equal to your proportion of the total negligence, and you get to collect the remaining award. For example, if your losses were $200,000, your 10 percent of the negligence will reduce your compensation by 10 percent, which is $20,000. You can recover $180,000.
Getting Legal Help After a Company Vehicle Strikes You
You might have several different legal options if a company vehicle hit and injured you, but you do not have to figure out this issue by yourself. The team at S. Burke Law will evaluate your case you can focus on getting well. Call us at 404-842-7838 to arrange a time to discuss your case. The consultation is free, and there is no obligation.