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sew-for-christ-photography-eBknbEBuYY0-unsplash-300x225Serving 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. 

The Summons

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:

Health-5-300x203Workplace 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.

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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?

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Demonstrating physical and emotional harm is critical to winning a personal injury lawsuit. In addition, Georgia law allows injured parties to receive compensation for all physical and emotional effects of their injuries. The term ‘pain and suffering’ is often used to describe these damages.

“Pain” refers to any discomfort and injuries caused by the accident, such as broken bones or spinal cord injury. “Suffering” encompasses conditions such as depression, anxiety, and despair at no longer being able to care for your family. These conditions can be both immediate (after the accident) and long term. 

Calculating Pain and Suffering

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Lately, I am seeing more and more advertisements, on T.V., on Youtube, on Court TV, on Instagram, on Tik Tok, essentially on every Internet Platform you can think of, of lawyers who tout their legal acumen and ability to get an injured person a lot of money with very little effort. Some of these advertisements have fake clients in them who look perfectly normal, healthy and uninjured, claiming their attorney got them a check for $350,000.00 or some high dollar amount “just like that” with “one call.” Some of these advertisements brag about their lawyers being “trial lawyers” when they actually haven’t even tried very many cases, if any.  Some of these advertising lawyers claim to be “elite” (they actually use that word) and yet haven’t even tried 10 cases. Some of these advertisements actually mislead the injured consumer with false statements about what the law and ethical rules allow.  Some of these advertisements brag that their lawyers have secured more money in verdicts than any other firm in the “universe” or the “metaverse,” and yet aren’t even licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia.   Some of these advertising lawyers brag about obtaining a verdict but upon closer inspection, it was a bench trial, decided by a judge, with no opposition. Things that make you go hmmm…. As a Georgia trial lawyer with over 34 years of experience, I am really just plain sick of it.

I want to help the person who has been injured as a result of someone else’s or some entity’s negligence who is looking for a bona fide Georgia Trial Lawyer to represent them with their case, all the way through trial and appeal if necessary.  These are things you should know when hiring a trial lawyer.

  1.  Is the attorney actually licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia? Any member of the public can find this out very easily, thanks to the State Bar of Georgia. Simply go to the State Bar’s website, gabar.org, and on the right side you will see a “Member Directory” where you can search for the person’s name. It will tell you if that person is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, where the person went to law school, and when the person first started practicing law in Georgia. This member search on gabar.org will also tell you whether the lawyer has been subject to any public discipline.  This tells the consumer how much experience the lawyer has with the law of Georgia.  Do you really want to entrust your case to someone who has been a lawyer for only two years? If you are looking at a  law firm’s website, you should search every member of the firm here. If only one out of the entire firm is actually licensed to practice law in Georgia, that should tell you how little experience that one Georgia lawyer, in all likelihood, actually has in Georgia law and especially Georgia trial law.  Stay away.

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When you’re injured, your first concern is usually getting back to your life as normal. As such, you’re likely concerned about the settlement you may get from your personal injury case and whether or not it will be enough to cover all of the bills and expenses that have piled up while you’ve been injured. While there is no sure-fire way to guarantee that you will get the settlement amount you want, there are several factors that could play a role in the final payout you receive.

To start, the type of accident you were involved in plays a large role in the value of your case. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident or a car accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you will likely receive significantly more compensation than if you were involved in a car crash that was partially your fault.. However, if you sustained an injury as the result of a defective product (such as a malfunctioning airbag or defective bicycle helmet), the amount you can recover may be significantly more, depending on whether or not the manufacturer was negligent in their creation of the product.

Another factor that could affect your final settlement is the nature and severity of your injuries. The more severe your injuries are, the harder it will be for you to return to work and the more you’ll need to recover in order to pay your medical bills and other expenses. As a result, you may receive a larger settlement if your injuries are severe or permanent rather than if they are only temporary. On the other hand, if the injury you received is relatively minor and did not cause any serious complications or lasting effects, you might not receive any compensation at all. Although you can receive compensation for pain and suffering in a personal injury case, arguing for damages due to mental and emotional distress can be significantly more difficult than physical injuries. As a result, your claim could be worth much less if the emotional impact of your injury is your main point of contention.

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Premises liability holds individuals or businesses responsible for injuries that occur on their property, even if they did not personally cause the injury. It is based on the premise that businesses have a duty to maintain their property in a safe condition, and that this duty extends to protecting their customers from harm, to a reasonable degree.

A premises liability case can be difficult to pursue because it often requires evidence that the business was aware of an unsafe condition and did not take appropriate steps to remedy it. A successful premises liability case relies on establishing that the party was negligent in their duties to maintain the property.

What Is Negligence in Premises Liability?

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We trust healthcare professionals to serve us in our time of need, and as such, it can be devastating when yourself or a loved one is injured instead of cared for. The issue of medical malpractice, however, isn’t so cut and dry. These cases can quickly become complicated, and establishing a solid case depends on several factors which you should be aware of before pursuing damages.

Standard of Care

Cases of medical malpractice in Georgia are reliant on the “standard of care”, or the level of care and standard practices which should be expected of a healthcare professional. To establish a basis for a medical malpractice case, it must be shown that the healthcare provider violated this standard of care in some way. Like most personal injury cases, demonstrating that they were negligent in fulfilling their standard of care is essential to a successful case.

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You may be familiar with the phrase “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”, which is frequently cited in reference to criminal trials. Less frequently referenced is the “preponderance of evidence”, or the standard that proof in civil injury trials is held to. This difference could make a substantial impact on your case, as it severely shifts the burden of proof in the plaintiff’s favor.

What Is the “Preponderance of Evidence”?

The preponderance of evidence is simply a different type of evidentiary standard by which civil trials operate. Thankfully, this standard makes the burden of proof much simpler than in criminal trials. In a civil trial, both sides have equal burdens of proof, so they both hold the same amount of responsibility to provide evidentiary support for their claims. Put simply, whichever side demonstrates that their claims are more likely to be true than the other ought to win the case. Unlike criminal trials, it is a perfect 50/50 split – the plaintiff does not need to provide enough evidence to convince the jury “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

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Most personal injury cases result in compensatory damages being paid to the injured party, but these damages aren’t the only type assigned to those who cause injury through negligence. In some cases, further punishment may be deemed necessary. In these cases, punitive damages may also be applied. 

What’s the Difference Between Punitive and Compensatory Damages?

Compensatory damages are what you’re likely already familiar with, damages that are paid to the injured party as compensation for their injury, which is intended to both penalize the offender and provide the victim with funds often needed to cover medical bills and lost wages. Punitive damages take this a step further and are used in cases where the offending party acted with serious negligence, putting the victim into serious danger with little or no care for their safety. 

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