I am 38 years old and I was injured in a wreck three years ago; my back still hurts, but I have returned to work. A lawsuit was filed and the case is still ongoing. My lawyer told me I can recover for medicals, lost wages and for pain and suffering. Can I make the insurance company pay me more money because it has taken so long to get the case resolved?

The insurance company does not owe you more money because it has taken so long, but, if you have a good lawyer, then he or she is fighting to get you fair and just compensation which takes time. Insurance companies want to settle quickly, but they try to get you to take less than what the case is worth. If a client tells me he suffered a broken arm and his medicals are $2,500.00, then I explain that the insurance company would be happy to pay him $2,500.00 today, but that is not what his case is worth. If the case is worth more, then it will take time to educate the adjuster why he or she needs to pay more or it will take time to present the case to a jury if the adjuster won’t listen.

Assuming you have a life-altering injury, then you are entitled to pain and suffering for the duration of your life. In your case, statistically, you will live with pain for more than 40 years which is 14,600 days. 40 years is also over 350,000 hours.

The measure of damages for pain and …

Continue reading I am 38 years old and I was injured in a wreck three years ago; my back still hurts, but I have returned to work. A lawsuit was filed and the case is still ongoing. My lawyer told me I can recover for medicals, lost wages and for pain and suffering. Can I make the insurance company pay me more money because it has taken so long to get the case resolved? »

I have heard in the news lately about people being attacked and injured in the Edgewood Retail District, Phipps Plaza and on the Silver Comet Trail. Can the victims file civil lawsuits to recover money?

These are such tragic events, and my heart goes out to the victims and their families. With regard to Edgewood and Phipps attacks, the answer is yes, if the owners and managers acted negligently. The owners and managers of the properties owe patrons a duty to provide a safe environment for people to walk from their vehicles to the stores. The lawyers for the victims will assert a claim for premises liability which means that the premises owners and managers acted negligently. Some examples are failing to have enough security, failing to train security appropriately or failing to have adequate lighting. Defense lawyers will claim the attacks were committed by criminals and they do not owe a duty to insure the safety of the victims. These cases often hinge on experts to show that the owner or management company allowed a dangerous condition to exist that caused the injuries to the victims.

The Silver Comet Trail attack, while equally appalling, may not be actionable. If …

Continue reading I have heard in the news lately about people being attacked and injured in the Edgewood Retail District, Phipps Plaza and on the Silver Comet Trail. Can the victims file civil lawsuits to recover money? »

Over past 30 days my uncle died in a nursing home and a friend of a friend was killed in an automobile collision. Do both families have ”wrongful death” claims? What can they expect to recover for the loss of a loved one?

If someone legally caused the deaths, then there would be “wrongful death” claims. Who can bring the claim is complicated so, you are encouraged to discuss the particular situation further with a lawyer. As far as what can be recovered, wrongful death in a nursing home or as a result of a collision is treated the same under Georgia law.

Pursuant to Georgia law, there are two distinct claims that may be brought in conjunction with wrongful death. The first claim is the claim created by statute for the wrongful death of the person. This claim establishes the “full value of the life of the deceased” from the perspective of the deceased, which includes both the economic value of the deceased’s life and also the intangible element incapable of exact proof. The economic value is basically the amount of money the deceased would likely have earned had he or she lived until natural death. The intangible element is related to the non-economic factors such as relationships, …

Continue reading Over past 30 days my uncle died in a nursing home and a friend of a friend was killed in an automobile collision. Do both families have ”wrongful death” claims? What can they expect to recover for the loss of a loved one? »

My dad fell while in a nursing home and now he has to use a wheelchair to get around. I thought they were supposed to be watching him so he didn’t fall. Is that right?

The issue is whether he was a fall risk before he fell and what plan was in place before it happened. If the facility is aware that your dad is at risk of falling, they are suppose to put into place precautions to prevent falls such as lowering the patient’s bed, raising the side rails of the bed, moving the patient closer to the nursing station, or providing a strap on a wheelchair to keep the patient from trying to stand up. A nursing home should be aware that a patient is at risk of falling if the patient has fallen before; is on certain medications that make him or her dizzy or weak; if the patient has physical ailments that make him or her more prone to falling; or if a patient tries to stand, walk or go to the restroom when he or she are no longer able to do those activities without assistance. If a nursing home knows the patient may fall, and the staff fails to put precautions in place, your loved one is at risk for repeated falls which may result in further injury. …

Continue reading My dad fell while in a nursing home and now he has to use a wheelchair to get around. I thought they were supposed to be watching him so he didn’t fall. Is that right? »

My mother is in a nursing home and the staff is rude to her, they don’t change her clothes regularly and her nails and hair are not kept up. Can I sue the nursing home to make them treat my mother better?

I would not recommend filing a lawsuit based on the facts presented. Most claims against nursing homes are considered a professional malpractice action. This means that a professional person, e.g., a nurse, a doctor, or other medical professional, has done something that falls below the standard of care for that profession. These cases are very expensive because they require expert witnesses, depositions (many of them out of state) and other expenses that are not generally part of a standard negligence action. Therefore, an attorney must weigh the potential amount a jury might award for the damages suffered by the nursing home patient against the amount it would cost to bring the professional malpractice claim. Generally, when a nursing home patient has not suffered some catastrophic injury, such as the loss of a limb, loss of life, or significant loss of quality of life, it would not be cost-efficient to bring a professional malpractice claim because the client will spend …

Continue reading My mother is in a nursing home and the staff is rude to her, they don’t change her clothes regularly and her nails and hair are not kept up. Can I sue the nursing home to make them treat my mother better? »

My 68 year-old mother is in a nursing home and developed horrible ulcers due to a lack of proper care. I just learned that there is no insurance and the business was subsequently sold to a company that tells me they do not have to pay compensation. Can this be?

In an earlier column, http://blogs.ajc.com/ask-the-expert-legal/2014/02/18/my-68-year-old-mother-is-in-a-nursing-home-and-developed-horrible-ulcers-due-to-a-lack-of-proper-care-I-just-learned-that-there-is-no-insurance-and-the-business-was-subsequently-sold-to-a-company-th/ I explained that facilities are not required to have insurance for claims. In this column, I am afraid to tell you that a facility can be sold without the liability attaching to the new owner. With the help of corporate lawyers, the assets of the facility can be transferred, but not the liabilities, to enable a facility to continue to operate under a new name without having to be held accountable for prior negligent acts.

Unfortunately, I have seen this in my practice with some of my clients. There are some sophisticated ways to possibly uncover assets to compensate your mother so, I strongly advise you to contact a lawyer. I also strongly encourage you to share your story with your Georgia or federal …

Continue reading My 68 year-old mother is in a nursing home and developed horrible ulcers due to a lack of proper care. I just learned that there is no insurance and the business was subsequently sold to a company that tells me they do not have to pay compensation. Can this be? »

I was recently in a collision and my car was totaled. I owe the finance company $10,000.00 for the car, but the insurance company tells me that it is only worth $7,000.00 and that is all they will pay. Can I make them pay off my car?

I hear this question all the time and the answer is generally not what the client wants to hear. The minute you purchase a vehicle and drive it off the lot it diminishes in value. For instance, if you purchase a vehicle and drove it home and immediately decided to resell it, the resale value would likely be thousands of dollars less than you paid for the vehicle because the vehicle is now used. Insurance companies are only bound to pay the fair market value of the vehicle. Accordingly, the amount they pay is a set figure amount that the car is currently worth. It is normally much lower than what you paid and may times it is much lower than what you still owe. The way you can protect yourself from this unfortunate outcome is to purchase gap insurance. This is a policy with your insurance company that covers the difference between what you owe on the vehicle and the fair market value. Keep this is mind when you are purchasing vehicle insurance.

The foregoing answer is not legal …

Continue reading I was recently in a collision and my car was totaled. I owe the finance company $10,000.00 for the car, but the insurance company tells me that it is only worth $7,000.00 and that is all they will pay. Can I make them pay off my car? »

My 68 year-old mother is in a nursing home and developed horrible ulcers due to a lack of proper care. I just learned that there is no insurance and the business was subsequently sold to a company that tells me they do not have to pay compensation. Can this be?

In my last column I explained that facilities were not required to have insurance for claims. In this column, I am afraid to tell you that the facility can be sold without the liability attaching to the new owner. With the help of corporate lawyers, the assets of the facility can be transferred, but not the liabilities to enable a facility to continue to operate under a new name without having to be held accountable for negligent acts.

Unfortunately, I have seen this in my practice with some of my clients. There are some sophisticated ways to possibly uncover assets to compensate your mother so I strongly advise you to contact a lawyer. I also strongly encourage you to share your story with your Georgia or federal representative or Senator; they need to know. Maybe some day we will have laws to protect all of our loved ones who are at nursing homes or assisted living in Georgia.

The foregoing answer is not legal advise and is merely a general overview. You are advised to …

Continue reading My 68 year-old mother is in a nursing home and developed horrible ulcers due to a lack of proper care. I just learned that there is no insurance and the business was subsequently sold to a company that tells me they do not have to pay compensation. Can this be? »

My 68 year-old mother is in a nursing home and developed horrible ulcers due to a lack of proper care. I just learned that the facility is not insured. Can this be?

Believe it or not, yes. The facility does not have to be insured. You have to have car insurance in Georgia in case you cause a wreck and hurt someone, and with Obamacare you have to have health insurance in case you get sick or need to be seen by a doctor or need to get treatment at a hospital, but in Georgia, a nursing home or assisted living facility does not have to have insurance to compensate individuals who are harmed by negligent behavior.

Unfortunately, I have seen this in my practice with some of my clients. There are some sophisticated ways to possibly uncover assets to compensate your mother so I strongly advise you to contact a lawyer. I also strongly encourage you to share your story with your Georgia or federal representatives or Senator; they need to know. Maybe some day we will have laws to protect all of our loved ones who are at nursing homes or assisted living facilities in Georgia.

The foregoing answer is not legal advice and is merely a general overview. …

Continue reading My 68 year-old mother is in a nursing home and developed horrible ulcers due to a lack of proper care. I just learned that the facility is not insured. Can this be? »

I was recently involved in a car collision and broke my wrist. Am I entitled to compensation?

In my 26 years of practice, I have represented hundreds of people injured as a result of a collision, and the answer is, “maybe.” First, you have to establish that the other driver did something wrong that caused the collision. I tell my clients that “cause” means it was the other driver’s fault. For example, if you are at a stop sign and someone hits you, it is their fault. The other driver did something wrong that caused the collision. On the other hand, if you run into someone who is stopped, then it is not the other driver’s fault.
Assuming it was the fault of the other driver, the second item you must establish is that you incurred some type of damage. Damages fall into three general categories: medical bills for the injuries you received from the collision; lost wages due to your inability to work due to the collision; and pain and suffering you endured as a result of the collision. If the doctor says your broken wrist is due to the collision and the other …

Continue reading I was recently involved in a car collision and broke my wrist. Am I entitled to compensation? »