Published on:

Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a medical malpractice case that was brought against several doctors who performed a surgery on the plaintiff that resulted in the plaintiff permanently losing the use of his right arm. The issue that the court had to decide was whether the expert testimony presented by the plaintiff was sufficient to establish the causation element of a Georgia medical malpractice lawsuit. Ultimately, the court determined that the experts’ testimony did not establish the necessary causation because it failed to provide more than a “medical possibility” that the defendant’s actions caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

SurgeryThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff had a surgery performed by the defendant doctors. Prior to the surgery, the doctors positioned the plaintiff in a manner they believed necessary, with both his hands placed behind his back. During the surgery, which lasted approximately 9.5 hours, the plaintiff was not repositioned. The surgery was successful, and the plaintiff was taken to a recovery room. However, upon waking up from the anesthesia, the plaintiff began to complain about pain in his shoulders and arms.

The plaintiff was later diagnosed with compartment syndrome in his right arm, and a subsequent surgery was necessary to relieve the pressure. Unfortunately, the plaintiff never fully regained the use of his arm. He filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctors who performed the surgery, claiming that the initial placement of his body during the surgery and the doctor’s failure to reposition him during the surgery caused his injuries.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a slip-and-fall case that occurred when a customer at a car dealership tripped on a wooden game board that dealership staff had placed there as a promotion. Ultimately, the court determined that because the hazard was open and obvious, and because the plaintiff had already successfully negotiated her way around it several times earlier that day, the case should be dismissed.

Watch Out!Case Facts

The plaintiff decided she was in the market for a new truck, and went to the defendant’s dealership to check out their stock. When she got to the showroom she noticed a sales associate was sitting in an office across the room, and she approached. In so doing, the plaintiff had to make her way around the four-foot-long wooden board that was placed there as part of a promotional game.

Once in the associate’s office, she had a brief conversation and then left to go see the inventory, again passing the wooden board. A few moments later the plaintiff returned to the showroom, passing the wooden board, and initiated another conversation with the associate. Once finished, she started to leave, but was stopped when the associate asked her a final question. After she answered, she turned around and left his office, tripping on the wooden board.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Anyone who has had the misfortune of being involved in a serious Georgia car or truck accident may understand how difficult it is to work with insurance companies. In too many situations, an insurance company will deny coverage for medical treatment that has already been received, and was often provided in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Due to these concerns, Georgia lawmakers allow for bad-faith claims to be filed against insurance companies who delay, withhold, or deny a policy holder’s legitimate claims. A recent case illustrates how one car accident victim’s year-long fight for coverage turned into a viable bad-faith claim against an insurance company.

HospitalThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the passenger in her mother’s car when it was struck by another driver who ran a stop sign. After the accident, the plaintiff was taken to the hospital, where she was admitted to the emergency room. After being seen in the emergency room, she was then transferred to the level two trauma center. Four hours after she arrived at the hospital, she was discharged with a cervical collar. She did not receive a prescription for pain medication. After leaving the hospital, she continued to receive outpatient care for her injuries.

The driver who caused the accident did not have automobile insurance, so any claims for reimbursement of medical expenses were submitted through the underinsured/uninsured motorist provision of the mother’s insurance policy. Specifically, the plaintiff filed a claim for approximately $67,000, including approximately $24,000 from the treatment received in the trauma center.

Continue reading →

Published on:

In January of this year, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a premises liability case filed by a woman who was injured as she attempted to enter a fast-food restaurant. The court ultimately affirmed the dismissal of the woman’s case, based on the fact that her testimony failed to establish that her fall was caused by any action or omission of the defendant restaurant manager.

Fast FoodThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was entering a fast-food restaurant through a set of two double-doors. The plaintiff successfully made it through the first set of doors and into the foyer. However, she encountered a problem opening the second set of doors. According to the woman’s testimony, she was “rattling” the door handle, and it seemed jammed. She kept pushing the door and then fell to the ground, requiring that she be taken to the hospital.

The woman filed a premises liability lawsuit against the restaurant’s manager. Before trial, the woman was deposed by the defendant’s attorney. She was asked how she fell and responded “I just was pushing on the door, and the next thing I remember right now is just falling.” When pressed about the cause of her fall, she responded “it happened so fast. Just like, I just remember pushing on the door, and the next thing I remember is just sitting there.” The woman explained that after she fell, she noticed that the ground was damp because it had been raining outside. She recalled that there was a mat in the foyer, although she was unable to remember if the mat was wet.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Earlier this year, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued an interesting opinion in a car accident case brought by a man who was struck by a drunk driver who was operating a moving truck that was owned by his employer. The case required the court to determine if the employer could be held liable for the employee’s actions, given what the employer knew at the time it allowed the employee to use the truck. Ultimately, the court determined that the plaintiff did present sufficient evidence to survive summary judgement.

Key RingThe Facts of the Case

The defendant was an employer who allowed one of its employees to use a moving truck for personal use. While the employee was borrowing the truck, he was allegedly involved in a drunk driving accident, seriously injuring the plaintiff. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against both the allegedly drunk driver as well as his employer.

The plaintiff presented the testimony of the employee, who explained that he told the employer during his pre-employment interview that he had been convicted of multiple drunk driving offenses. The employee candidly admitted that he was not exactly sure of what he told the employer during the interview, but he remembered that he was honest about his past and that he disclosed that he had “multiple” DUIs.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Earlier last month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a negligence case brought by a resident who was injured in an explosion that occurred when he turned on the gas to his apartment. In upholding the lower court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of the gas company, the appellate court concluded that even if the gas company was negligent, the subsequent actions of the tenant were an intervening cause of his own injuries. Thus, summary judgment in favor of the gas company was appropriate.

Pressure GaugeThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was moving into a new apartment that was attached to a co-worker’s garage. At the time, the utilities in the apartment were off because the apartment had been vacant. Prior to having the plaintiff move in, the owner of the apartment arranged for the gas to be turned on.

A representative from the gas company came to the apartment to turn on the gas. However, when he arrived, the gas meter suggested there was a leak somewhere in the gas line. The representative explained this to the plaintiff’s son’s girlfriend and left a card with the woman, explaining that the gas could not be turned on because there was a “leak in the piping.” The card also explained that the representative “left [the] meter off but unlocked for plumber,” and the resident should “have the qualified agency/person connect and/or activate the appliance.” This was in violation of the gas company’s policy, which normally required the representative to lock the gas meter so that it could not be turned on until the leak was fixed.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Back in April 2015, a truck driver rear-ended a car full of nursing students on their way to the last day of their clinical rotation. According to news reports at the time, the truck driver was traveling in excess of 70 miles per hour at the time of the collision, and he failed to apply his brakes before slamming into the back of the students’ vehicle that was last in a long line of stopped traffic. In all, five students were killed in the crash, leaving just one survivor.

Semi-TruckAfter the accident, the truck driver pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree vehicular homicide, receiving a sentence of five years in jail. Additionally, the families of the deceased students filed wrongful death cases against the driver and his employer, which have since all been settled out of court. However, the trucking company could not reach a settlement with the only surviving victim of the terrible accident.

According to a recent news report, a Georgia jury just awarded the lone survivor $15 million as compensation for her physical injuries as well as the emotional pain and suffering that she was put through as a result of the accident. The jury heard evidence that the woman not only incurred significant medical expenses as a result of the accident but also lives with the persistent anxiety, manifesting itself as frequent nightmares and an ever-present fear of dying.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a premises liability case that arose after a fuel delivery driver was run over while checking the fuel levels on the defendant’s fuel reserve tank. In the case, the court reversed a lower court ruling that had dismissed the plaintiff’s claims. The Georgia Court of Appeals based its decision on the “untenable choice” that the plaintiff was forced to make when it came to staying safe while working or keeping his job.

Gas StationGeorgia Premises Liability Law

In Georgia, in order for a premises liability plaintiff to succeed, they must prove the defendant’s “failure to exercise ordinary care” in keeping the premises safe. In addition, the plaintiff must show that the defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard that caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Finally, the plaintiff must also show he lacked knowledge of the dangerous condition. This last requirement has come to be known as the “superior/equal knowledge doctrine.” Essentially, a plaintiff must show that the defendant’s knowledge of the hazard was greater than his own.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a wrongful death case brought by the parents of a young boy who died after he fell while the teacher was out of the classroom. In the case, Barnett v. Atlanta Independent School System, the court determined that a teacher’s decision related to the control and supervision of students is a discretionary one that is entitled to immunity.

ClassroomThe Facts of the Case

In October 2008, Antoine Williams, a seventh-grade student, fell on the floor while horse-playing with another student. Williams’ teacher was not in the classroom at the time and did not return until approximately 30 minutes after Williams’ fall. Upon her return, the teacher called 911, and Williams was taken to the hospital, but sadly Williams died due to a loss of blood.

After the accident, the school’s principal conducted an investigation into the accident. When asked, the teacher initially told the principal she was in the room when Williams fell after complaining of a bloody nose. However, that was later shown to be a false statement, and the teacher admitted to not being in the room.

Continue reading →

Published on:

In December of last year, a Georgia appellate court heard a case brought by the parents of a four-year-old boy who was killed after the gas tank in the Jeep Grand Cherokee in which he was a passenger caught fire. In the case, Chrysler Group v. Walden, the court dismissed each of the manufacturer’s claims of error and agreed that Chrysler acted with a “reckless or wanton disregard for human life,” affirming the jury’s verdict in favor of the plaintiff.

Fueling UpThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff’s four-year-old son, Remington, was a back-seat passenger in his aunt’s Jeep Grand Cherokee when another motorist rear-ended them. As a result of the collision, the Jeep’s gas tank ruptured, and the vehicle caught fire. Remington’s aunt was able to escape the fire herself but was tragically unable to rescue her nephew. He died in the fire.

Remington’s parents filed a product liability case against Chrysler, the manufacturer of the Jeep, arguing that it acted with a “reckless or wanton disregard for human life” in designing, manufacturing, and continuing to sell the vehicle despite its knowledge of the dangers associated with the gas tank’s placement. After a trial, the jury determined that Chrysler was 99% at fault for the accident and returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for a total of $150 million. That figure was later reduced to $40 million. Chrysler appealed on several grounds.

Continue reading →

Badges