March 9, 2023
Michael L. Thurmond
CEO, DeKalb County
March 9, 2023
Michael L. Thurmond
CEO, DeKalb County
An accident can impact someone’s life in ways that they never expected. In our last blog post in the series, we discussed damage calculation as it pertains to permanent or temporary injuries. In Part II of the series, we will discuss how medical bills and lost wages contribute to the damages calculation in personal injury cases.
After an accident, the only thing you should be concerned about is getting better and returning life to normalcy as quickly as possible. An unfortunate reality for many individuals is that the fear of medical bills and loss of income quickly take precedence over recovery efforts. This is why personal injury lawyers work so diligently to educate and provide assistance to those affected by negligence. Economic damages are thankfully a tangible number that can be provided when filing a personal injury claim so those who are injured can obtain the medical care they need. Examples of economic damages include lost wages and medical bills.
Last month I had the distinct and unusual honor of being a guest of my client, Carelle Karimimanesh, at the Georgia State University Law School Scholarship Donor Luncheon, to recognize Carelle for creating a law school scholarship in memory of her daughter, Naiyareh “Nai” Karimimanesh, with proceeds she received as a result of a settlement of a case for the wrongful death of Nai, in which I represented her. The scholarship is named the Naiyareh Karimimanesh Memorial Scholarship. Carelle also endowed a moot courtroom at Georgia State University in honor and memory of Nai, who graduated from Georgia State Law School.
Naiyareh Karimimanesh was born on May 17, 1979 in San Francisco, California. Nai graduated from Emory University in Atlanta where she graduated with a BA in History and minors in Religion and Persian (Farsi) in 2001. Her life and education were enhanced by summer study in Israel and Jordan. Nai was also an active member of the Emory Baha’i Club. While at Emory, Nai was a Jimmy Carter Presidential Center Intern, a University Senator, and a Senior Resident Advisor. She was a leader in the Residence Life Community and was respected and admired by all of her residents and the administration at Emory University. Nai earned her Juris Doctorate from Georgia State University in
After an injury, your mind is full of complicated emotions. While in recovery, the last thing you want to be concerned about is “How will I pay my bills after this?” Feelings can be especially bitter when your injury is caused by the negligence of another individual. Once everything is said and done, you’re likely entitled to a payout. One of the most common questions personal injury lawyers receive is: “How do you evaluate a case, and what are my injuries worth?” In this blog series, we’ll cover the specifics of several scenarios to give you a better picture.
An important marker of damage evaluation is the extent of the injuries. One of the worst outcomes of any injury is to be saddled with a permanent injury. Permanent injuries can range from a minor annoyance to completely life-altering. Regardless of how physically obvious an injury seems, if it brings pain and suffering, then it can be used as a qualifying factor.
Often, when there has been a string of trial victories for the plaintiff, the defense bar overreacts and calls for a wholesale change in our Civil Justice System. This often includes a feigned outrage over plaintiff’s attorneys’ contingency fees, as if how a plaintiff’s attorney is paid for their success is the root of all evil in the Civil Justice System (or even any business of the defense attorney or the Court). Some defense attorneys even go as far as calling for an end to all contingency fees for plaintiff’s attorneys, or at least that some very small percentage be used as a cap, as if the Legislature has some authority to intervene in a lawyer’s ability to contract with her client. We know that some of this mock outrage by defense attorneys is all for show for their clients. But it sure gets old. Just see the look on their faces when you suggest that defense lawyers only get paid if they are successful at trial. They will end that discussion pretty quickly.
The constant attack of plaintiff’s lawyers and the contingency fees by which plaintiff’s attorneys are paid makes me think of the critical role contingency fees play in our civil justice system. It is not a stretch to say that without contingency fees, most injured plaintiffs would never be able to bring a case to seek Justice for their injuries. What person who has been seriously injured in a car wreck, for example, who cannot return to work due to those injuries and has no income coming in even to pay for groceries, could possibly afford to hire an attorney and pay him/her an hourly fee to bring a civil case for his injuries? Add to that the fact that the average length of a civil lawsuit now is easily 3-5 years. No individual could possibly continue to pay an attorney an hourly fee for 3-5 years of work to bring a personal injury case for Justice, plus the necessary expenses to bring a case to trial. Enter the contingency fee. A contingency fee allows such an injured individual to hire a good trial lawyer who is willing to bear the risk and expenses of bringing such a personal injury case to trial for the individual. The client owes the attorney a fee only if and when the attorney is successful for the client. It works perfectly.
Yesterday, a Virginia Court pointed out this critical value of a contingency fee in a personal injury case. In determining that a plaintiff’s attorney’s contingency fee of 1/3 of the recovery was reasonable, the Virginia Court noted: “A contingent fee may permissibly be greater than what an hourly fee lawyer of similar qualifications would receive for the same representation.” Restatement (Third) of the Law Governing Lawyers, supra, § 35 cmt. c. That is so because “contingency fee agreements transfer a significant portion of the risk of loss to the attorneys taking a case.” Portsmouth 2175, 298 Va. at 334, 837 S.E.2d 504 (quoting In re Abrams, 605 F.3d 238, 246 (4th Cir. 2010)). “A lawyer might expend considerable effort” only to recover nothing. Id. Or “a lawyer may expend minimal time on a case and obtain a full recovery.” Id. Moncrieffe v. Deno, 0342-22-2, 2023 WL 362445, at 4 (Va. Ct. App. Jan. 24, 2023). The Moncrieffe Court took the opportunity to sing the virtue of contingency fees and their necessity in a fair and smoothly working civil justice system. See generally Restatement (Third) of the Law Governing Lawyers, supra, § 35: “Contingent-fee arrangements perform three valuable functions. First, they enable persons who could not otherwise afford counsel to assert their rights, paying their lawyers only if the assertion succeeds. Second, contingent fees give lawyers an additional incentive to seek their clients’ success and to encourage only those clients with claims having a substantial likelihood of succeeding. Third, such fees enable a client to share the risk of losing with a lawyer, who is usually better able to assess the risk and to bear it by undertaking similar arrangements in other cases (cf. Restatement Second, Agency § 445.” Moncrieffe v. Deno, 0342-22-2, 2023 WL 362445, at 4 (Va. Ct. App. Jan. 24, 2023).
Serving as a juror is an essential part of American citizenship. The sixth amendment of the United States Constitution grants every individual accused of a crime the right to an impartial jury, but did you know that you may also be called to serve as a juror in a civil trial as well? If you have never been selected for jury duty in the state of Georgia, there are several things to expect during the process.
You may have received a letter in the mail calling you to perform your civic duty to sit as a juror, however not everyone is eligible. Here are some of the criteria you must fit in order to serve on a jury in Georgia:
In what can only be described as a jaw-dropping, scorching opinion, issued on December 20, 2023, the Georgia Supreme Court soundly rebuked the Georgia Attorney General’s Office for lack of integrity in negotiations with the Federal Defender Program regarding when the AG’s office would resume executions of death-sentenced inmates.
Workplace injuries are unfortunately common, especially in industries where employees have to handle dangerous equipment, perform repetitive motions, or work under potentially hazardous conditions. If an accident occurs, workers’ compensation is the clear recourse in most cases, but not all. There are some situations where your best interests may be served by waiving workers’ comp and speaking to a Georgia personal injury lawyer instead.
Negligence of a Third Party
If your injuries were caused by a third party such as a contractor, subcontractor, or property owner, you may want to consider waiving workers’ comp and filing a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible. Examples include a contracted forklift driver who fails to operate their equipment safely or a property owner who does not make the premises safe for you to do your job.
It happens all the time. It’s likely even happened to you.
Every year, thousands of Georgia residents are injured because property and business owners fail to keep their premises safe for the public. Bunched carpeting, unmopped spills, poor lighting, and cracked sidewalks can all result in sprains, broken bones, and even brain or spinal cord injuries. These incidents are all premises liability cases, and property owners and managers may be liable for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Who is Responsible?
Thomas Roe Frazer lived a life of servanthood his entire life. Born on May 20, 1936, in Marion, Kentucky, Tom died peacefully in his sleep on October 14, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee. Tom Frazer lived most of his life in Sturgis, Kentucky, as the owner of and registered pharmacist at the Sturgis Pharmacy starting in 1963. He was a pillar of Sturgis and the greater Union County community for 60 years. He is survived by his children Thomas Roe Frazer II (Sandy) of Nashville, Joseph Atchison Frazer (Katherine) of Miami, Florida, and Robin Frazer Clark (Bill) of Atlanta, Georgia, as well as seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his dear wife of 63 years, Patricia Teasley Frazer.
Tom Frazer lived a wonderful life. He loved his Church, Sturgis UMC, his wife, his children, his work, and his recreation. He served in the Church his entire life, and always put others ahead of himself, practicing the Golden Rule in his daily life. He was a friend to many, some who knew him as their trusted pharmacist, many who knew his golden heart, and all who knew his love for life and the lives of others. For the few who knew him as Daddy or Papa, he was the best earthly father and grandfather ever. While Tom’s lifetime accomplishments were many, he cherished his family the most.
Tom grew up in a drugstore, City Drug Co. in Marion, Kentucky, the son of pharmacist Ted Frazer, Sr. and Melba “Babe” Frazer. His home was a five-minute walk away from his father’s drugstore. His Church, Marion United Methodist, was in his backyard, and his schoolhouse just across the street. He was an athlete, starring in football and baseball, even playing semi-pro baseball as a teenage catcher for the Fredonia Red Hots. He loved basketball enough to become the youngest (while still a teen) certified basketball official in the state of Kentucky. He was also a top referee for 30-plus years for Kentucky high school football, officiating in the state championship games in Louisville. As a boy, he loved to hunt quail and duck in the beautiful woods of Crittenden County, and fish at Kentucky Lake. His paternal grandfather, Thomas Atchison Frazer, was the doctor in town, and his maternal grandfather, William Roe Williams, taught him about life as a farmer.