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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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Georgia is somewhat unique in its negligence laws, which could have a big impact on your personal injury case. If you’re not aware of what negligence is, or how it functions in Georgia law, don’t worry – we’re here to clear up the confusion so you can understand the premise of your personal injury case.

What is Negligence?

In Georgia, negligence is when one party owes a duty to another party but doesn’t take the proper precautions or actions to prevent an injury to the other party, and therefore causes some sort of harm. A common example is that when driving, you have a duty to exercise care in ensuring that you don’t get into an accident. Driving through a red light would be a breach of that duty, as you would violating your duty to avoid an accident. Establishing negligence in a personal injury case is critical to proving liability.

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Whether you’re a skydiver or a snowboarder, your favorite physical activities likely involve some sort of risk. We try to be careful and knowledgeable of these risks to avoid any harm to ourselves or others, but in a case of personal injury, knowledge of those risks could prevent you from recovering damages.

How Does the Assumption of Risk work?

The assumption of risk is a legal defense used by defendants in personal injury cases. It argues that you are knowledgeable and accepting of the risks involved in whatever activity you are participating in. You’ve likely already experienced an agreement to an assumption of risk – if you’ve ever gone skiing, skydiving, or any other number of physical activities, one of the waivers you signed beforehand may have been a contract specifying that you have accepted the assumption of risk for that activity. This means that should you be injured, it is assumed that you accepted the risk involved, and thus are liable for your injuries. 

Estate-Planning-8-1-1-300x200The Open Records Act, otherwise known as the Georgia Sunshine Law, provides access to public records of government bodies. This includes basically any record that is held by a public agency, including documents, computer data, photographs, and video. The Open Records Act and other similar state laws are derived from the Freedom of Information Act, which was designed to increase transparency and confidence in public agencies by allowing citizens to identify issues in public offices. Laws like this have now been considered a crucial component in how our government works, allowing for informed participation in the democratic process.

Unless specifically made exempt, all public records should be accessible to you, or any other citizen. You also do not need to provide any reason for accessing the information. If your request is denied, the organization must provide a citation of the law that prohibits them from giving you the documents.

Some organizations may require you to pay fees to accommodate your request, which has been a cause of concern. In the past, fees as high as 660 million dollars have been requested to access documents through the Freedom of Information Act, effectively preventing access to what is supposed to be public information. 

Depositphotos_21861685_m-2015-300x200Jury service in Georgia is both a legal obligation and civic responsibility, but the process itself is not well understood by those outside the court system. How do you know if you’ve been selected? Who is eligible? And if you are selected, what happens next?

Attorney Robin Frazer Clark, P.C. is an experienced trial lawyer who has presented civil (non-criminal) cases to several juries. In this blog, we go over what you can expect once you’ve been chosen to serve on a jury in a civil matter such as a personal injury, medical malpractice, or wrongful death case.

Who Can Be a Juror in Georgia?

christopher-burns-8KfCR12oeUM-unsplash-300x200If a person who is working on a Georgia construction site is injured by some other person’s negligence during the course and scope of their job, the injured person has several options. First, the injured worker would look to the company he works for workers’ compensation. If that employer has more than 3 employees, which is usually the case in construction, that employer is required to have workers’ compensation insurance.

Then, the injured worker may have other causes of action against other companies who were also present at the construction site and whose negligence may have caused the injury. This is why an injured worker should hire a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer quickly after the injury. A good lawyer will be able to identify these other causes of action, including simple negligence actions against at-fault employees who are employed by a different company than the injured worker’s company, and even possibly products liability or premises liability actions against third parties. 

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