Articles Tagged with accident

crash5Following an auto accident, you may feel pressured to comply with questions and requests that are made. The aftershock of the collision and the feeling of helplessness that follows can make a person overly compliant. However, it is important to know that your actions and responses after an auto accident can set the tone for the claims process. If you are involved in an accident it is best to first speak with an experienced attorney who will advise you on how to best handle the circumstances of your situation.

 What Should You Do?

 Following an accident, you will be approached by an insurance adjustor who may seem like they are looking out for your best interests, however, be aware that this is not the case. This individual works for the insurance company and their primary objective is to save their company and client as much money as possible. During this process, the insurance adjustor can use any action or statement you make against you. Maintaining your silence will ensure that you do not compromise your case.

Assumption of Risk

“assumption of risk”

A $15 Million Dollar Verdict was deemed uncollectable under “Fireman’s Rule”.   A Fulton County police officer was providing security, part-time, for a local church.  While on his way home, he came upon a single car accident.   The officer recognized the crashed vehicle as the type of vehicle typically driven by undercover officers and detectives.

When the officer stopped to render  aid,  he was shot by the driver of the crashed vehicle.    The driver of the crashed vehicle turned out to be police  officer from a different police department.

wrongful death

In pursuing a “wrongful death” action based on negligence, the Plaintiff has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that (1) there was a duty to protect the victim from the harm suffered, (2) that the negligent party breached that duty, (3) that the negligent act of the defendant was the proximate cause of the harm suffered (i.e., causation), and (4), that the victim died as a result.  (In other injury cases, the Plaintiff must show duty, breach of duty, causation and damages.)

To prevail on the element of “causation“, the defendant must have been found to be liable where it appears that his negligence was the sole cause of the death complained of, or that his negligence put in operation other causal forces which were the direct, natural, and probable consequences of the defendant’s original act, or the intervening agency could reasonably have been forseen by the defendant as original wrongdoer.  Stern v. Wyatt, 140 Ga. App. 704, 231 S.E.2d 519 (1976).

O.C.G.A. § 51-4-1(2) defines “homicide” as including “all cases in which the death of a human being results from a crime, from criminal or other negligence, or from property which has been defectively manufactured, whether or not as the result of negligence.”

Other negligence is the breach of duty owed to the deceased at the time the homicide occurs and may thus be slight, ordinary or gross negligence depending on the facts of the case which determine the duty owed to the deceased.  Caskey v. Underwood, 89 Ga. App. 418 (1) , 79 S.E.2d 558 (1953).

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personal injuryWhen it comes to injury cases, people often ask, “How much is my case worth?”.    To answer this question, it must be understood that each case stands on its own merits.   There is no quick answer to this question.

In automobile accidents, years ago, the settlement amount could expect to be approximately three times the amount of medical expenses.   For example, if the total chiropractic and/or medical bills were $4,000.00, the injured party could expect to receive a settlement in the amount of $12,000.00.   But this is no longer the case.

Years  ago,  the largest insurance companies gambled on the likelihood of lawsuits being filed by many of the largest legal advertisers who worked on sheer volume.  The insurance companies discovered that large legal advertisers working on sheer volume were not likely to file suit if offered small settlement  amounts.  Thus, the largest insurance companies began offering settlements as low as an amount equal to the medical bills or at times,  two-times the medical bills.  And  they found that,  in fact,  many  of  the larger  advertisers  would encourage their clients to accept  the offer.

To justify their low offers, insurance adjusters made arguments of “little vehicle damage”, or “all treatment was chiropractic only” or the injured party only treated for 30 or 60 days, etc.

Thus, to combat these low settlement offers, the firm representing the injured party must be willing and able to litigate the case on behalf of their injured client.  First and foremost, the case must be well documented.    If there is significant vehicle damage, there should be photographs to show the property damage.   Jurors will appreciate knowing that this was not just some very minor  vehicle collision.   Second, if there are visible injuries, photographs should show any visible injuries, scars, etc. Continue reading →