According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number one leading cause of fatal automobile accidents is driving while impaired. Impaired driving can be the result of driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both.
Victims who are injured or killed by a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol are entitled to receive compensation for medical bills, loss of income if the injury sustained prevents them from working, and pain and suffering.
The decision to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol constitutes gross negligence, which subjects the driver to punitive damages to be awarded by a civil jury to punish the defendant and to deter other defendants from engaging in the same behavior. Punitive damages are in addition to any other penalties imposed by the State. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. §51-12-5.1, a punitive damages award is usually limited to a maximum of $250,000. However, if it is found that the defendant acted or failed to act while under the influence of alcohol, drugs other than lawfully prescribed drugs administered in accordance with prescription, or any intentionally consumed glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the degree that his or her judgment is substantially impaired, there shall be no limitation regarding the amount which may be awarded as punitive damages against a defendant.
There are several theories that may apply to an impaired driver accident, such as:
- Vicarious Liability of Employers: If the impaired driver was acting on behalf of any person or his employer at the time of the collision, that person or employer may be held liable for the driver’s conduct.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM) is a policy of insurance purchased by the victim, or someone in his household, to protect against uninsured/underinsured drivers. Generally, we attempt to collect damages from the impaired driver’s auto insurance policy. However, if the impaired driver was uninsured or underinsured, we may also to seek full or partial compensation under the victim’s auto policy for UM coverage.
- Dram Shop Liability: If a bar, restaurant, or other establishment serves an alcoholic beverage to an individual in a noticeable state of intoxication knowing that the person may drive, that business may be held liable under “dram shop” laws for any resulting injury or death caused by the drunk driver.
- Georgia’s Social Host Law: If the impaired person was furnished alcohol or drugs at a private party, the homeowner may be at fault under Georgia’s social host law.
- Providing Drugs or Alcohol to a Minor: If an adult provides drugs or alcohol to a minor and that minor injuries or kills someone, then the adult can often be held responsible for the consequences.
At the Bajalia Law Firm, P.C., we handle all types of alcohol-impaired or drug-impaired accident cases, including those involving:
- Other automobiles
- Semi tractor trailer trucks
- Big rigs, trucks or other commercial vehicles
Unfortunately, automobile collisions are an everyday occurrence. Automobile collisions range from a minor fender bender to a major accident that leads to serious injuries or even death. Despite the fact that newer automobile models have advanced safety features, automobile accidents are still the leading cause of death among young adults.
If you have been involved in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to bring a property damage claim, as well as a bodily injury claim. Your property damage claim may allow you to recover for the property damages to your vehicle, as well as for the damage or loss of your personal property located within your vehicle at the time of the accident. Your bodily injury claim may allow you to recover for any physical injuries and disabilities that were caused by the accident, as well as for your pain and suffering.
If you are the victim of an automobile accident, you may be entitled to recover for property damage, physical injuries, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, medical expenses, lost wages, diminished earning capacity due to your physical or mental injuries, funeral costs, etc.
Burn injuries range in severity from minor (first degree) to most serious (fourth degree). Burn injuries can be the result of serious accidents, or the result of negligent behavior.
Burn injuries occur when the skin is damaged by heat, electricity, chemicals, friction or radiation. In severe cases, a burn can lead to a loss of fluid, which can lead to the depletion of blood volume, shock, and/or dangerously low blood pressure, which can result in death if it is not immediately treated.
If someone else’s negligence has led to a burn injury, the person or entity that acted negligently may be liable for the injuries sustained, and the burn victims may be entitled to receive compensation for the cost of medical treatment, loss of income, and physical, emotional and psychological damage.
Some serious car accidents can lead to burn injuries. If a car accident was the result of a negligent, drunk, or a distracted driver, the victim may be entitled to recover damages from the driver.
Toxic chemicals can quickly burn down to the bone, causing serious injury. In workplaces, such as manufacturing plants, where large amounts of chemicals are normally used, it is common for burn injuries to occur. In these cases, if safety precautions were not taken by the employer or business owner, that employer or business owner may be liable for the injuries sustained by the victim.
Every day, many people are injured by products that are poorly made. Defective product liability cases can arise from poorly made toys, automobiles, automotive parts, boats, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, machines, and more.
In product liability cases, there are several parties that may be responsible for your injuries. It is common for a products liability lawsuit to be brought against the manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, and vender. These lawsuits are designed to protect consumers from dangerous products, and to try to make sure that companies only put out safe products for consumers.
Defective Medical Devices
Medical devices, such as pacemakers, implants, syringes, etc., are used by many people, every day. Even the smallest defect in a medical device can lead to devastating injuries or even death.
All new medical devices are supposed to be properly tested before being put out on the market but, unfortunately, many devices receive inadequate testing, and end up causing serious injuries to consumers.
Types of Product Liability Cases
There are a few different legal theories behind product liability lawsuits, and they are: design defect; manufacturing defect; and marketing defect.
The design defect theory provides that the product was created defectively and, because of the defect in the product, even proper use of the product is dangerous.
The manufacturing defect theory provides that there were errors in the manufacturing process, and these errors caused the product to be defective.
The marketing defect theory provides that the warnings on the product, or the labeling on the product, prevented the consumer from realizing the dangers of using the product, ultimately making the product defective.
If you have been injured by a defective product, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.
Many families across the United States have dogs as family pets. Although dogs are generally thought to be man’s best friend, many people are attacked by dogs, and suffer injuries from dog bites each year. Being attacked by a dog can be a scary encounter, especially for young children.
Medical expenses from dog bite injuries can be very expensive. Victims may need to stay at the hospital to recover from the attack, undergo surgery, undergo physical rehabilitation, or consult a doctor to address the psychological impacts of the attack.
If you have been attacked by a dog, or any animal, while you were on someone else’s property, you may be able to receive compensation for your damages from the property owner.
Roadways are traveled by hundreds of thousands of drivers every day. When roadways are unsafe due to improper road designs or highway defects, serious injuries, or even death, may occur. Drivers encounter dangerous road conditions on a daily basis, such as:
- Construction hazards
- Poor lighting
- Poor roadway design, such as inadequate water drainage and high shoulder drop-offs
- And more
When drivers are injured because of improper road design or highway defects, lawsuits may be brought against the city, county, or state department. Bringing a lawsuit against a government entity is drastically different than bringing a lawsuit against a private individual, and it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side.
Medical malpractice claims arise from healthcare provider negligence. When a healthcare provider does not use the minimum level of care and skill required for your particular medical circumstance, they may be liable for injuries you suffer while under their care.
Medical malpractice claims may be based on medical errors, birth injuries, delayed diagnosis, doctor or nurse negligence, medication mistakes, wrongful death, and more.
It is important for you to understand that not all medical mistakes are considered malpractice. If your injury could have been prevented but for the carelessness of the doctor or the doctor’s staff, then it is likely that you have a valid medical malpractice claim. If, however, your injury was sustained as a result of a known medical complication or some unforeseen event during surgery, then the case may not be won as easily.
In any event, you should seek legal assistance immediately. Georgia’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is generally two (2) years, and the two (2) year period begins to run as soon as the injury or death occurs. The statute of limitations means that after that two (2) year period has expired, you are forever barred from filing a lawsuit with regard to that injury. Therefore, it is imperative that you seek legal assistance as soon as possible.
With the high numbers of elderly citizens living in our communities, the nursing home and assisted living industry is rapidly growing. Due to negligent hiring practices and inattentive staff members, nursing home abuse and neglect has become a common, and equally serious, issue.
Some common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are:
- Unexplained bruising
- Fecal or urine odors
- Sudden weight loss
- Refusal to allow visitors to be alone with the patient
- Bed sores
- Broken bones and fractures
- Patient Falls
- Wrongful death
Patients of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are generally in a vulnerable state, and it is common for victims of abuse and neglect to keep it a secret. It is the family’s responsibility to monitor the actions or inactions of the nursing home employees, and to ensure that the patient is being treated properly.
Across the United States, there are countless victims of pedestrian accidents. These accidents are commonly caused by:
- Drivers failing to stop at crosswalks
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Texting while driving
- Distracted driving
- Failure to stop at red lights or stop signs
If you are the victim of a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You may be able to recover for medical expenses, lost wages, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
It is common for an individual to get hurt and suffer injuries on someone else’s property. Children can get hurt at the neighbor’s house or people can slip and fall in restaurants and stores. In these cases, if the property owner was negligent, the property owner may be at fault for the injury, and you may be entitled to receive compensation from them.
The property owner owes a duty to visitors on the property, depending on the legal status of the visitor. In Georgia, there are three categories of visitors: invitees, licensees and trespassers.
An invitee is a person that was invited onto the property by the owner for the benefit of the property owner. A customer shopping in a store is considered an invitee of the business owner. In this case, the property owner has a legal duty to reasonably inspect the property and either fix or warn the invitee of dangers on the property.
A licensee is a person that was not invited onto the property for the benefit of the property owner, but is tolerated by the property owner. An example of a licensee is a social guest. The property owner may be liable to the licensee for willful injuries, or for a failure to warn the licensee of known dangers on the property.
A trespasser is a person who was not invited onto the property, and is not tolerated by the property owner. Due to their status as a trespasser, the property owner owes the least legal duty to them. However, the property owner must still take reasonable steps to prevent trespassers from being injured by attractive nuisances. An example of an attractive nuisance is a swimming pool on the property.
Common Types of Premises Liability
Slips and falls are a common premises liability lawsuit. Slips and falls can happen because of poorly maintained property, steep stairs, spills, etc.
Inadequate security may be a basis for premises liability. Owners of shopping centers, restaurants, hotels, parking lots, and other properties of this nature may be liable for customers who are sexually assaulted, robbed, or otherwise victimized as a result of inadequate security.
Landlord negligence may also be a basis for premises liability. Landlords owe a special duty to their tenants, and if a landlord violates a building code or fire safety code, he or she may be liable for the injuries that result from his or her negligence.
Swimming pool accidents are another common type of premises liability. Pool accident injuries and drowning cases may be the result of inadequate signage and fencing around the pool, lack of flotation devices, poor water clarity, or improper safety precautions. You may be entitled to recover from the pool owner if you suffered injuries as a result of the pool owner’s negligence.
Construction sites and other dangerous work sites have the potential to cause serious injuries. There are several individuals that can be sued when an injury or death occurs on the worksite, such as:
- the property owner
- insurance company
- and more
These individuals may be responsible for: negligent management; unsafe procedures; explosions or fires; removing or failing to provide safety equipment; inadequate training; and more.
Workers’ compensation claims are often filed after a workplace accident to assist the injured party with his or her initial medical bills and lost income. When an employee sustains serious injuries, it is common for the workers’ compensation benefits to fall short of the total amount of financial assistance that the employee needs to recover from the injury. In these cases, a lawsuit may need to be filed against one or more third parties to adequately compensate the injured party.
If you have been injured on the worksite, you may be entitled to recover for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Unexpectedly losing a loved one is a difficult situation to handle. If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual or company liable for the wrongful death.
A wrongful death action is a civil lawsuit filed against the negligent party, completely separate from any criminal liability. In Georgia, there is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death action. This means, the lawsuit must be filed within two (2) years from the date of the death, or the Plaintiff will be forever barred from filing the lawsuit.
There are several people entitled to file a wrongful death suit, such as:
- The spouse
- If there is no spouse, then the children
- If there is no spouse or children, then the parents
- If there is no spouse, children, or parents, then the executor of the estate
In a wrongful death action, you may be entitled to recover the full economic value of the deceased person’s life, plus medical expenses, funeral expenses, and other necessary expenses resulting from the injury and death of the deceased person.
Boating is a popular recreational activity on the beaches, rivers and lakes in the Georgia and Florida area. A “boating accident” refers to any accident involving any type of watercraft in which a serious injury results from someone else’s negligence. For example, serious injuries can occur in crashes involving yachts, jet skis or other watercraft crashes, or they can occur on commercial boating and cruise ship accidents, in which no boating collision occurred.
Recreational Boating Accidents
Unfortunately, many people are seriously injured each year in boating-related accidents that result from the negligent use of boats and other personal watercrafts. Most boating accidents are the result of operator negligence, including drunk boating, excessive speed, inattentive boating and other boating operator negligence. Recreational boaters who are not experienced with speed boats, jet skis, and other watercrafts often cause accidents resulting in significant injuries to themselves and others.
If the operator of any watercraft is negligent and causes you, or any member of your family, serious injury or death and/or serious property damages, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages, and more.
Commercial Boating Accidents
Working on a sea vessel is one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. Employers are required by the Jones Act, a federal law, to provide employees with a reasonably safe workplace. However, these regulations are not strongly enforced. Many employers neglect necessary maintenance in order to maximize their profits, which forces employees to work in an unsafe environment. Liability under the Jones Act requires the plaintiff to prove that the employer was negligent or that the vessel was unseaworthy.
The Jones Act allows surviving members of a seaman’s family to file for wrongful death benefits if the seaman dies because of the negligence of his employer, or the unseaworthiness of the vessel. To qualify, the death must occur more than three (3) miles off the store of any state. The seaman’s descendants may be entitled to receive compensation for pecuniary loss.
Georgia is one of the largest producers of paper and paperboard in the country. Because of this, it is common to see heavily loaded logging trucks and dump trucks on a daily basis.
If a logging truck or dump truck is improperly loaded, or if the truck is improperly maintained, it is more likely that an accident will occur.
Just like any other truck driving accident, log and dump truck accidents can occur because of:
- Tired drivers
- Speeding/reckless driving
- Failure to stop
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Illegal maneuvers
- Inadequate training
- Distracted drivers
As a result of the content of the trucks, their large size, and the build of the trucks, accidents involving logging trucks and dump trucks have a better chance of causing serious injuries.
If you have been injured in an accident involved a logging or dump truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, property damage, loss of wages, and more.
Buses are used by thousands of people every day. Due to the large size of buses, and because buses generally do not have seatbelts or airbags for all passengers, when a bus is involved in an accident, serious injury is likely to occur for passengers of the bus, as well as people in the other vehicles involved. As a victim of a bus accident, you may be entitled to recover an award for your medical bills, lost wages or loss of profits, permanent disability, and emotional pain and suffering.
There are several reasons that bus accidents occur. Some of the causes of bus accidents are:
- Driver negligence:
- Tired drivers
- Drivers driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted drivers
- Unsafe driving for the weather conditions
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to follow state and federal regulations
- General negligence
- Bus Company or Government Entity Negligence
- Defective products
- Improper vehicle maintenance
- Inadequate inspections
- Unsafe roadways
- Unsafe equipment
- Inadequate driver training
- Failure to follow state and federal regulations
Many people are injured in automobile accidents each day. However, when motorcycles are involved, the injuries tend to be more serious due to the lack of protection available when riding a motorcycle.
Due to the size of motorcycles, it is easy for an attentive driver to miss a motorcycle that is coming up on the side of the car. Therefore, it is even easier for an inattentive driver to not see the motorcyclist, cut him off, and to cause a serious accident.
Motorcycle accidents can lead to a loss of limb, broken bones, internal bleeding, paralysis, disfigurement, concussions, and sometimes death. As a victim of a motorcycle accident, or a family member of a deceased motorcyclist, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Due to their large size and heavy weight, tractor-trailers do significantly more damage when they are involved in automobile accidents.
Truck drivers spend countless hours on the road and, because of this, trucking companies are legally responsible for: (1) properly investigating their drivers to see if their backgrounds indicate that they are a danger on the road; (2) properly training their drivers; and (3) properly inspecting and maintaining their tractor-trailers.
You may also have a cause of action for a tractor-trailer accident if:
- The driver was tired or fell asleep
- The driver was reckless
- The driver was distracted
- The driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The tractor-trailer’s cargo was inadequately secured
The tractor-trailer was not properly maintained
If you have been injured in a trucking accident, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, permanent disabilities, and more.