A statute of Lady JusticeIn some instances, when you bring a claim for personal injuries, the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to offer fair and reasonable compensation to settle. When that happens, you and your lawyer might decide to take the case to trial.

At a personal injury trial, credibility is extremely important. A witness who offers favorable testimony on your behalf could have an equally favorable impact on the trial result, translating into additional compensation for you. Some witnesses who testify at trial are lay witnesses, while others may be experts in a particular field.

If you have suffered injuries in an accident that was not your fault, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer representing you at all civil court proceedings, most especially at a jury trial. At Slappey & Sadd, LLC, the members of our Georgia legal team have been litigating personal injury cases and taking them to trial for many years. Our experienced lawyers try personal injury case all over Georgia, including in Fulton County, DeKalb County, Gwinnett County, Muscogee County, Newton County, Richmond County, Troup County, Walton County, and Whitfield County.

lawyer standing next to a gavel with the scale of justice behind himIf you suffer injuries in a car accident case that is not your fault, you could bring a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. As part of the claim, your lawyer will likely submit a settlement demand package. This package includes copies of all of your medical treatment records, bills, and lost wage documentation. A copy of the police report is also typically included.

Once the insurance company reviews the demand package, the adjuster may make an initial settlement offer on your case. These initial offers are usually very low and are not meant to adequately compensate you for your injuries, suffering, pain, and inconvenience. If the car accident case does not settle, your lawyer will likely file a lawsuit on your behalf in the court system, and the case will be litigated. Upon completion of discovery, the insurance company may make additional offers to settle your case.

If the at-fault driver’s insurance company still refuses to compensate you adequately for your injuries, you and your lawyer might decide to take the case to trial. The knowledgeable Georgia car accident lawyers at Slappey & Sadd, LLC have been taking car accident cases to trial throughout Georgia, including in Fulton County, DeKalb County, Gwinnett County, Muscogee County, Newton County, Richmond County, Troup County, Walton County, and Whitfield County. Call us today for assistance with your case.

An illustration of a person fallingA recent decision from the Georgia Supreme Court has clarified when an insurance company may be held liable for engaging in a bad faith denial of claims. The case arose from a multiple-vehicle accident that injured five people. Two of the victims, Julie An and her minor daughter Jina Hong, suffered very serious injuries and brought a claim against the man who caused the accident and his insurance company.  Ms. An and her daughter attempted to settle the case for amounts within the policy limits but were unsuccessful. They proceeded to trial where they were awarded $5.3 million in compensation for their injuries. Once that judgment was entered, the original insured (who had caused the accident and had since died) sued the insurance company asserting that it had acted in bad faith for not settling the claim.

What is Bad Faith?

We’ve written about bad faith before, but it may be helpful to revisit the topic. An insurance company acts in bad faith whenever it refuses to honor the contractual obligations of the insurance policy. Bad faith occurs whenever the insurance company unreasonably refuses to pay a legitimate claim or there are unreasonable delays in how it handles the claim.

A semi-truck driving in the mountainsWho Do You Sue in a Truck Accident?

Trucks are typically operated by a trucking company, which can be held responsible for the actions of their drivers. As a result, you will typically sue the trucking company in order to obtain compensation for your injuries.

However, some trucking companies intentionally try to shield themselves from liability. Their drivers may be independent contractors, or the drivers are employed by a subsidiary corporation with little to no assets. It can often be difficult to identify who is the proper party to sue.

A marijuana leafIn a report released in October of last year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found an increase in the number of car accidents after states legalized the use of marijuana. While the use of marijuana isn’t legal in the state of Georgia, the report is an important reminder that impaired driving isn’t limited to people who have been drinking. As public sentiment becomes more lenient toward the use of marijuana and leads to further legalization, we need to recognize its effects on people when they get behind the wheel. Marijuana not only impairs the user’s judgment and perception, but it also slows reaction time and reduces coordination. Driving while impaired can lead to serious car accidents that result in severe injury and even death.

Criminal Charges vs. a Civil Claim

If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone who was driving while high, the other driver is most likely facing criminal charges. However, it’s important to understand what those charges mean for you. While it’s satisfying to think that the other driver may go to jail, you should realize that the criminal charges may not result in compensation to you for your injuries. The court can order restitution, but this isn’t guaranteed, and it’s up to the court to determine how much to award.

Red car with dented door and front fenderBecause driving is so commonplace, we tend to overlook the inherent danger that we face every time we get behind the wheel. In addition, most car accidents are caused by surprisingly common behaviors and ordinary events. If you’ve been in a car accident, chances are that one of the issues below is to blame.

  1. Distracted driving. Even though we hear about the dangers of distracted driving every day, it continues to be a leading cause of car accidents in the United States. The most well-known distraction is the ubiquitous smartphone, but remember that distractions can come in many forms – eating while driving, dealing with young children, and talking with your passengers.
  1. Speeding. When you speed, it reduces the amount of time you have to react to road hazards and avoid possible accidents. In addition, it changes how your vehicle handles and increased the distance you need to stop safely.

A scooter with blue wheelsWe first wrote about electric scooters back in December, in light of their growing popularity in urban areas along with media reports concerning serious injury. We then learned about a case involving two Georgia Southern University students who were seriously injured while riding a Lime scooter. More recently, we wrote about the Atlanta City Ordinance that was just adopted in order to clean up our sidewalks and protect the public. We’ve now learned that an Atlanta man sued e-scooter company Bird on March 8th as a result of injuries suffered in January.

Lawsuit Alleges Mechanical Failure

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, Simon Clopton, claims that he was riding the scooter on the Georgia Tech campus when it suddenly braked and went left. The sudden stop threw him to the ground, resulting in a broken arm and leg and $156,000 in medical bills. Mr. Clopton claims to have been on the scooter for only one or two minutes when the accident occurred. He does not know how fast he was going, but the scooters are capable of traveling at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. Mr. Clopton claims in his lawsuit that Bird knowingly rented scooters with faulty brakes.

A silhouette on a man bending over holding his back.In our last post, we focused primarily on the options that are available to you if you are injured on the job. In this post, we’re going to focus on when you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ compensation benefits.  

Third Party Liability

You may be able to pursue a lawsuit in addition to workers’ compensation benefits if your injury was caused by a third-party who is not an employee of your company. In these cases, whatever you are able to recover through your lawsuit will be offset by what you received from workers’ compensation.  However, the principal benefit here is that you would be able to be compensated for those losses that were not covered by workers’ compensation.

Lyft logoAt 9:30 p.m. on March 21, an accident occurred in northwest Atlanta involving a semi-truck and a Lyft driver. The accident occurred at the intersection of Perry Boulevard and Johnson Road when the semi truck smashed into the passenger side of the car. Tragically, the passenger in the Lyft vehicle, an unidentified Atlanta woman, died as a result of her injuries. Police have reported that the Lyft driver was at fault and charges are pending. The accident raises a number of questions surrounding car accidents involving Lyft or Uber ridesharing services.  

Why Uber and Lyft Accidents are Complicated

Uber and Lyft accidents present unique challenges that aren’t present in an accident between privately owned vehicles or even accidents involving taxi cabs. First and foremost, Uber and Lyft, at their core, are software companies – they have developed apps that connect drivers with riders. As a result, their drivers are considered independent contractors, who own their own vehicles, are responsible for maintenance and insurance, and basically handle all of the obligations that would typically be handled by a taxi company. In addition, Uber and Lyft have been slow to provide protection of their drivers and their passengers, and this is an area of the law that is still developing.

A booted foot about to step onto a banana peelAny injury can be a lot to deal with, but injuries sustained at work can be particularly complicated. Legal issues aside, perhaps the biggest challenge is what to do about your lost income. Thankfully, workers’ compensation is available to most employees, but it’s important to understand how workers’ compensation relates to other options you may have. In this post and the next, we’ll cover the options available to you in order to get the compensation you need.

Understand your options

If you’ve been injured on the job, the first thing to do is to make sure you understand all of your options. In some cases, you may be able to pursue more than one claim. In other instances, you choose one option to the exclusion of all others. As a result, you need to know at the outset which options are available to you and the advantages and disadvantages related to each.  

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