CAR ACCIDENT | HOW IS FAULT DETERMINED AFTERWARDS?

An accident, by definition, is unexpected and unintentional. No one can truly prepare for an automobile accident. No one wants to get in a car accident, but no one knows just when they will occur.

In all likelihood, everyone will find themselves in a situation involving a car accident at least once in their life. It is essential to educate yourself as to the proper procedures following a car accident. That way, no matter how much adrenaline may be coursing through your body, you can remain calm knowing what step you should take next.

Seeking legal representation is a crucial step if you are involved in a car accident.

HOW DO INSURANCE COMPANIES INVESTIGATE A CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM?

The most important factor insurance companies use in determining what actually happened is the police report. Individual claims from each party involved may conflict with other information or contain personal bias.

Insurers use the official police report as a cornerstone for figuring out fault. Additionally, insurers also use any evidence gathered by you to support any claims of fault or deniability further.

Taking photos of the scene and all cars involved, gathering information from other drivers and witnesses, and any other pertinent info can help insurers properly assess the situation.

One thing you do not want to do when cooperating with the police and insurance companies is to admit you are at fault. Even if you think you may be the at-fault driver, you may be unaware of other factors that could be the real cause of your accident.

Give only facts and relevant information and let the insurers come to their own objective conclusions.

HOW DO INSURANCE COMPANIES DETERMINE FAULT?

The majority of U.S. states follow a fault-based system. In this system, the at-fault driver is usually responsible for repairs, expenses, and losses through their insurer’s liability coverage.

However, insurers usually determine fault via the state’s legal definition of negligence. There are three main types of negligence used to help assess fault in at-fault states.

  1. Strict Comparative Negligence: With comparative negligence, both parties can be found partially at fault for a given accident. With strict comparative negligence, your percentage at-fault directly determines how much compensation you can seek from the other insurance company. For example, if you are found 70% at fault for an accident, you could still seek up to 30% of your losses to be recouped.

  2. Modified Comparative Negligence: Some states use a modified form of comparative negligence, which limits your ability you recoup loses. For example, Illinois drivers can only seek retribution for their losses if they are found to be less than 50% at fault.

  3. Pure Contributory Negligence: This form of negligence requires a driver to be 100% faultless to recoup any damages. For states with a pure contributory definition of negligence, determining fault is all or nothing. Even if you are only determined to be 5% at fault for an accident, pure contributory negligence states you cannot recoup damages.

I-285 | Listed As One Of America's Most Dangerous Interstates

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Anyone living in Atlanta knows, I-285 is made dangerous by a combination of factors. Heavy commuter traffic, a number of sharp turns, and a large number of tractor-trailers add to the constant uneasy navigating that one has to deal with while on I-285. Truck traffic is particularly heavy at the intersection of I-285 and I-85, commonly known as Spaghetti Junction. However, truck traffic at the interchanges of I-75 and I-20 are not much better and those driving through these areas, particularly during rush hour, know first-hand how dangerous it can be to navigate them.

PROTECTING YOURSELF

If you use I-285, it is essential that you take extra precautions. These include:

  • Turning your cellphone off. At the least, your cellphone should be muted to remove the distraction it provides. Please keep in mind that all handheld cellphone use is illegal while driving in Atlanta.

  • Avoiding common distractions. In addition to your phone, avoid manipulating GPS, a car radio, or on-board entertainment systems. Shave and apply makeup at home or at work, not in your car.

  • Driving sober. Intoxicated drivers pose large safety risks to everyone on the road. This is even more true in heavy traffic.

  • Driving calm. Aggressive driving is a factor in more than 50% of all fatal car accidents. Aggressive driving includes speeding, tailgating, erratic lane changes, running red lights, and similarly discourteous and threatening behaviors.

When you drive sober, calm, and attentive, you greatly increase reaction time, lowering your risks of causing or being involved in an accident.

IF YOU ARE INJURED

No matter how safe, intentional, and courteous your own driving, I-285 can still pose a serious risk. If you are involved in any type of motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation beyond the settlement offer from an insurance company. We encourage you to contact our office right away to schedule a free consultation where we can review your case and help you determine the best way to move forward!

ACCIDENT OR NEGLIGENCE | Recognizing The Differences

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Knowing the Crucial Steps to Take If You Are Injured on the Job.

Most of us go to work every day, do our jobs, and come home at the end of our shift in exchange for a paycheck. We have an underlying assumption that while we are there our safety is looked after through adequate measures by our employer. But sometimes that isn’t the case.

Whether it is a regular lack of care in the maintenance and upkeep of the premises and equipment or simply an oversight, sometimes accidents happen in the workplace because of someone’s neglect. When this happens to you, it can result in injuries, difficulty in performing your job, loss of wages, and more.

If you know that your injuries were a result of negligence and not simply an accident, you may be able to file a worker’s compensation claim in court.

So What Does Negligence in the Workplace Look Like?

Negligence in the workplace can take many forms.

The entire package of your job is a cohesive unit where each individual part must do its job in order for the whole outcome to be successful. When one part fails due to negligence, there can be consequences to the entire unit.

This applies from the beginning of the job process when a person is hired. If someone is not screened properly and is not qualified for the job that they are placed in, this can be detrimental to the company’s bottom line. This may be something as simple as losing clients or customers or costing the business money through their incompetence.

However, it could be worse – if an employee is not screened carefully, they could pose a threat to their coworkers. Negligence in hiring happens every day when due diligence is not performed before an applicant is hired.

Staff placed in positions that require careful attention to detail, for instance, should be screened and hired accordingly. If someone has a record of being an alcoholic and comes to work drunk and neglects an important aspect of their job that results in someone’s injury, this is negligence in hiring.

Employer responsibility does not end there, though. Sometimes an employee’s background screening comes back clear, but their performance on the job causes red flags. Personnel who exhibit behavior that is deemed unsafe should have corrective action taken by the employer.

When this behavior is ignored, this is called negligent retention. If, in the course of that negligent retention, the staff member performs an action that results in injury, the employer can be held liable for the employee’s negligence.

The employer also has the responsibility to train any new hires to ensure they have the skills to complete the requirements of their position. Lack of training of equipment can result in injury to others, and the employer would be liable for those damages.

Finally, an employer is also responsible for supervision of all employees. This is a combination of training the employees correctly and monitoring them once they are working on their own. Employers that fail to monitor employees’ actions or ignore complaints from other employees can be held responsible for any damages that occur as a result.

When Does a Workplace Injury Go Beyond Accidental?

In some cases, an employer can claim that a workplace injury was simply an accident, and we all know that accidents happen. However, many times that accident could have been avoided through due diligence, and that’s when it becomes negligence.

There are many common forms of negligence that result in worker’s compensation lawsuits. These can include:

  • The employer’s lack of workers’ compensation insurance, causing an injured employee to receive a delay in medical care and further medical conditions from their injuries.

  • Intentional misconduct by the employer, such as requiring an employee to perform duties they are not qualified for.

  • Employer’s retaliation against an employee, such as disciplining the employee or docking wages or hours, for filing a worker’s compensation claim.

  • Third-party damages in which an employee or someone affiliated with the company was responsible for someone else’s injury.

  • Discrimination of the employee by the employer or discrimination in the workplace by another employee. If the employer knew the actions were occurring and did not take steps to stop it, they can be held responsible.

  • Dangerous chemicals used in the line of duty, where the employer knowingly placed the employee in harm’s way by requiring them to work with toxic substances without proper equipment.

  • Employer’s negligence in allowing the use of defective work products and tools. If an employer knows that equipment is in need of repair and still allows it to be used, resulting in injury, they have not completed their duty in providing safe working conditions.

BIG GAME WEEKEND | City Road Closures

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It’s going to be a very busy weekend in Atlanta! Listed below is the comprehensive list of road closings as well as the times they are in effect. Please be cautious navigating the city when closures are in effect. Road closures are subject to change by the city if needed.


BIG GAME CAMPUS

Starting Monday, January 21 through Friday, February 8

  • Baker St. NW will be closed between Centennial Olympic Park Dr. NW and Luckie St. NW.

Starting Monday, January 21 through Thursday, February 7

  • Mitchell St. SW will be closed between MLK Jr. Dr. SW (South) to Elliot St SW.

  • Mangum St. will be closed between Markham St to Foundry St.

  • MLK Jr. Dr. SW (South) will be closed between Northside Dr. NW to Centennial Olympic Park Dr NW

Starting Wednesday, January 23 through Thursday, February 7

  • Andrew Young International Blvd. NW will be closed between Marietta St. NW and Centennial Olympic Park Dr. NW.

HONORS CEREMONY

Starting at 1 AM on Friday, February 1 through 5 PM on Sunday, February 3

  • Peachtree St. between Ponce De Leon Avenue and 3rd Street

  • There will be a full closure of Ponce De Leon Avenue and 3rd Street between West Peachtree and Peachtree

GAME DAY

Starting the Evening of Saturday, February 2 through morning of Monday, February 4

  • Northside Dr. NW will be closed between Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd NW and MLK Jr. Dr. SW (South)

NEW YEARS EVE | A FEW TIPS TO STAY SAFE!

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There can be a lot of pressure and hype around what to do on New Year’s Eve. Everyone wants to have a memorable night and alcohol often plays a big part in the activities, as it does throughout the entire holiday season.

The reality is that drunk driving is an issue all year round. But because of all of the parties and socializing during the holidays, many people are indulging in drinking and the chances of being in a drunk-driving accident are higher. Although the worst injuries are typically associated with drunken driving, emergency departments also see injuries from falling while intoxicated, resulting in broken bones or head injuries. Alcohol overdoses are also common, particularly among those under the legal drinking age.

Here are some tips for celebrating New Year’s Eve while staying safe!

  • Always have a designated driver. Make sure this person knows his or her role in advance so they won’t drink alcohol.

  • If you’re drinking, leave your keys with someone so you won’t be tempted to drive.

  • Have a clear plan to get children home safely if they’re likely to be present where alcohol is served.

  • If you’re hosting a party, keep an eye on your friends. Don’t let them leave your residence intoxicated.

  • Know how much is too much. Typically, too much alcohol for men equals more than three drinks within the first hour, then more than one subsequent drink per hour. For women, too much is typically equal to two or three drinks within the first hour, followed by more than one drink per hour thereafter. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled liquor. Of course, for many people, far less than these quantities might be “too much.”

  • Seek medical treatment for individuals who are unconscious, or exhibit slowed or irregular breathing, seizures, pale or blue-tinged skin or cold skin temperature.

  • Always seek medical attention after a car accident. Many people suffer from injuries that may not be immediately apparent. If an individual cannot be awakened, turn him on his side to keep the airway open, request help and stay with him.

Medical Malpractice | Quick Overview

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So what exactly is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a form of personal injury that occurs when a medical professional does not provide a patient with the standard of care that others would have provided under similar circumstances.

Common types of medical malpractice include:

  • A Failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, or delayed diagnosis

  • Improper patient treatment, such as surgical or medication errors

  • Failure to warn patient of known risks, surgical or medication based

The patient must be able to prove that their doctor was negligent and that they incurred damages in order to receive compensation. Damages can include a number of things including past or future medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, physical pain, and mental anguish.

While the medical malpractice process will vary depending on your state, there a several common requirements. We can help you evaluate your case according to these standards and help you understand the laws in your area.

Core Examples of Negligence in the Workplace

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Negligence in the workplace occurs for a variety of reasons and can lead to property damage, loss or theft, and injury, illness or death. Negligence happens casually as well as formally, with the latter leading to legal violations that can result in fines and lawsuits. Understanding common examples of negligence at work will help you avoid them and determine if you’ve been a victim.


Lack of Security

It’s up to a business to keep its employees’ customers’, vendors’, suppliers’ and contractors’ personal and business information secure. For example, if employers conduct credit and criminal background checks on employees, it should destroy the paperwork when it’s longer needed, or take steps to ensure the information does not become public. If a business stores customer credit card and social security numbers, it must take steps to keep those safe from hackers. Businesses should also take basic steps to keep customers and employees safe on site, such as providing lit emergency exit signs, fire extinguishers and adequate lighting in parking lots.

Negligent Hiring and Retention

If a business does not properly check out an employee before hiring and the employee harms others, the business can be held liable for their actions. For example, a restaurant that hires an executive chef should verify all previous employment, certification credentials and current professional memberships. If the chef makes repeated cooking mistakes that cause health problems for customers, the restaurant would probably be liable because it did not conduct a basic employee background check. This is one reason why criminal background checks are common -- if an employee attacks co-workers and customers and they can prove a criminal background check would have shown prior violent behavior, this could be construed as negligence on the part of the employer. If an employer is aware of an employee’s dangerous, erratic or unprofessional behavior and doesn’t terminate the employee, the employer might be found liable for being negligent in protecting others’ safety.

Product and Premises Liability

Premises liability cases involve businesses that are negligent in keeping customers and workers safe, such as not maintaining walking areas, stair hand railings, electrical infrastructure and storage areas. The most common form of premises liability is the slip-and-fall case, often resulting from negligence such as placing electrical cords along floors or not leaving caution signs on wet floors. Product liability cases involve accusations that a business is negligent in the research, design, production, advertising or packaging of a product.

Personal Injury | Common Questions Answered

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A personal injury occurs when someone causes harm to another person's body, mind, or emotions. It does not include damage to property, finances, or other assets.

What are common causes for a personal injury case?

  • Accidents at home, on the road, or at work

  • Tripping accidents

  • Accidents due to product defects

  • Medical negligence claims: includes medical and dental accidents

  • Industrial disease claims: includes occupational injuries like mesothelioma, occupational stress, and repetitive strain injuries

What are damages in personal injury cases?

There are two types of damages: special damages and general damages.

Special damages are financial in nature, such as hospital bills or lost wages.

General damages are non-financial losses, which include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, defamation, and emotional distress:

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is the kind of physical and/or mental loss caused by a personal injury. Pain and suffering also refers to the possible future effects of a personal injury. Keep in mind that mental pain and suffering includes negative emotions like emotional distress, anxiety, and shock. Afflictions such as sexual dysfunction, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder also fall under mental pain and suffering.

Loss of Consortium

Loss of consortium is the loss of the ability to have a relationship with an injured person. Usually it applies to a spouse in a marriage, but can apply to children too.

Defamation

Defamation occurs when another person's character or reputation is hurt. Words like libel or slander are commonly used in reference to a defamation case. Libel means that a falsehood was said with written or printed words or pictures. Slander means the same thing except that spoken words, sounds, sign language or gestures were used. Defamation can result in lost wages and pain and suffering.

Emotional Distress

Emotional distress describes the mental health issues your personal injury caused. Historically, courts awarded emotional distress only in cases where physical harm was evident. However, recent cases recognize that emotional distress can come from personal injuries in which there is little to no physical evidence such as sexual harassment or defamation. These sorts of cases usually require a mental health professional to verify the emotional distress.

What is a statute of limitations?

A statute of limitations is the period of time you have to file a claim. Personal injury cases have a statute of limitations that vary by state and cause. The time limit usually starts on the day the accident or injury occurred and can last anywhere from 2 to 5 years. If you do not follow the guidelines for your state's statute of limitations, you may lose your right to file a claim.