Bicycle Safety Tips

bicycle safety tips

For many people in Georgia, cycling is an efficient, healthy, and enjoyable way to get around. For others, it is their exercise of choice or an occasional leisure activity. Whatever the reason cyclists are going for a ride, they should remember that it can be a dangerous activity. Bicycle accidents can be devastating because cyclists are in such a vulnerable position. Drivers have an enormous responsibility to be alert for cyclists and to safely share the road with them. But it is also important for cyclists to do their part by exercising caution when riding and following the rules of the road. 

Things to Remember When Riding Your Bicycle 

  • Follow the Rules. Many people don’t realize that bicycles are considered “vehicles” under Georgia law and that cyclists must generally follow the same rules of the road as those governing motor vehicles. There are also several special laws that apply specifically to cyclists. Cyclists should be aware of these rules and follow them. 
  • Communicate With Drivers. Even drivers that are paying attention sometimes hit cyclists. It happens most often when a driver had no idea what a cyclist was doing. Cyclists should make appropriate hand signals and when possible, attempt to make eye contact with drivers before crossing through an intersection. 
  • Maintain Control of Your Bicycle. Yes, this one is obvious. But it is worth repeating. Accidents are caused every day because a cyclist was going too fast, was distracted and lost focus, or attempted to do something unsafe. Georgia has several laws intended to prevent cyclists from losing control. For instance, it is illegal for more than one person to ride a single-person bicycle at the same time, cyclists cannot legally attach themselves to a motor vehicle as they ride, it is illegal for cyclists to ride if they are carrying something that prevents them from being able to hold both hands on the handlebars at once, and cyclists can get a DWI just like motor vehicle drivers. 
  • Ride as Close to the Right Side of the Road as Possible. Cyclists should stay as far to the right as they safely can, except when turning left or avoiding hazards. This safety rule is also legally required
  • Wear a Helmet. You can reduce the risk of head injury by always wearing a helmet. In Georgia, riders under the age of 16 are legally required to wear a helmet. 
  • Be Visible. It is always a good idea to wear brightly colored clothing when cycling. If you ride at night, you should have a light and reflectors as well. 
  • Ride With Traffic. It is safer to ride with traffic. If you are riding against traffic, drivers will not be expecting you and may not notice you. By riding against traffic, you also reduce reaction time to avoid an accident. 

If You Have Been in a Bicycle Accident, Joel Williams Law, LLC, Can Help 

Unfortunately, even safe cyclists get into accidents. If you have been in a bicycle accident and been injured as a result, it is important to be aware of your legal rights and options. For more information or to schedule a free case evaluation, call Joel Williams Law, LLC, at (404) 389-1035 today.

Georgia Patient Loses Lawsuit Over Broken Medical Implant

lawsuit broken medical implant

Manufacturers and distributors of products have a duty to ensure that what they are putting onto the market is safe for consumers to use. When companies breach this duty, victims of harm have a right to compensation. There are often hundreds or even thousands of victims when defective pharmaceutical products or medical devices are placed onto the market. 

Bellwether Cases 

When there is a large number of similar cases, rather than prepare all of them for trial at once, a select few are sometimes chosen to proceed to trial to serve as an example. These first cases are known as “bellwethers.” The idea is that after attorneys from both sides have seen how a similar claim plays out in court, they will be in a better position to agree to a settlement. 

A recent such bellwether case was decided in favor of a major medical device company, indicating that other plaintiffs bringing similar claims may have an uphill battle. The plaintiff in the case, Doris Jones, was from Savannah, Georgia. Jones was the recipient of a blood clot filter, manufactured by the company Bard Medical. Unfortunately for Jones, the filter fractured and had to be surgically removed. Jones is not alone. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, more than 3,000 other patients have claimed that they were harmed by defective Bard filters. 

On June 4, 2018, a jury in Arizona ruled against Jones. The jury rejected the claim that Bard Medical failed to adequately test the filters before putting them on the market. Although this decision bodes well for Bard Medical, the company lost a similar claim earlier this year and was forced to pay $3.6 million, and there are currently several other bellwether cases going forward against Bard over the same alleged defect. 

Jones’ attorney told reporters that Jones would be appealing the decision on the basis that the judge did not permit the right evidence to be presented to the jury. In particular, Jones sought to introduce evidence showing that the early versions of the Bard IVC Filters were known by Bard to be dangerous and had even caused deaths. However, because Jones was using a newer model with a different design, the judge did not feel the defects of these older versions were relevant. 

Experienced Product Liability Attorneys 

The experienced product liability attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, are dedicated to helping victims of defective products get justice. Sometimes medical devices are simply designed improperly. This seems to be the case with the Bard Medical blood-clot filters. In other cases, a manufacturing error causes a product to deviate from its intended design and become defective. It is also possible for a company to be liable under product liability law if it fails to adequately warn about dangerous side effects or risks that accompany the use of a product. 

Joel Williams Law, LLC, believes that when companies make billions of dollars each year selling products to the public, they should be expected to pay a fair amount to victims when those products cause harm because of product defects. These types of claims are always complicated, and large companies will expend huge sums of money to avoid liability. It is imperative for victims of defective medical devices to have competent and skilled counsel on their side. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective product, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, to schedule a free case evaluation by calling (404) 389-1035 today.

Releasing Your Medical Records in a Personal Injury Case

medical records personal injury

The most important evidence in most personal injury cases are the medical records of the plaintiff. For a plaintiff to prove that their harm was caused by the defendant’s actions, they must provide proof in the form of medical records showing the cause of the injuries complained of. Medical records are also needed to prove almost every aspect of damages. Past and future medical bills can only be verified with documentation from healthcare providers that show the costs of needed treatment. If a personal injury impacts a plaintiff’s ability to work, medical records are crucial to proving why this is by showing the extent of an injury. Medical records can also be used as evidence to show the extent of pain and suffering that a plaintiff endured as a result of an injury. Because medical records are so important to a case, plaintiffs should ensure that their attorneys have access to them as soon as possible. Defendants are also entitled to access the medical records of a plaintiff. 

Privacy Concerns 

Medical records are highly sensitive, so there are strict privacy laws that must be adhered to when healthcare providers can provide these records. The primary law governing the release of medical records is the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Under HIPAA, healthcare providers must keep medical records confidential unless the patient authorizes it or there is an emergency. There are also several Georgia laws regulating medical records that must be adhered to. 

Because of these laws, a lawyer cannot simply request the records from the provider, nor can a plaintiff simply call the provider up on the phone and ask them to send the records over to a third party. The process for releasing medical records involves signing an authorization for release and submitting it to the provider so that they have the request in writing. This is usually sufficient when records are held in Georgia, but in some cases even this is not enough, and a lawyer must have a court issue a subpoena to the healthcare provider, which orders them to provide the records. 

Authorizations for Release of Medical Records 

An authorization for the release of medical records will give your attorney the ability to request medical records from your healthcare providers. In most cases, a similar authorization is provided to the defendant in a case. It is important to note that these records can only be used as part of your personal injury lawsuit. If sensitive medical records are released that a plaintiff would not like to be public information, it is possible to file those records into the court record under seal. This means that the records will be used as evidence in the case but will only be viewable by the parties, the attorneys, and the court. 

For More Information, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC 

If you have been injured in an accident, it is important to fully understand your legal rights and options. Personal injury lawyers should make sure all medical records and bills are gathered and organized for every client’s injuries in order to maximize compensation. This includes carefully documenting medical care and properly authorizing your attorney to access all records. Joel Williams Law, LLC, is dedicated to helping personal injury victims throughout the state of Georgia. To discuss your case, contact Joel Williams law, LLC to schedule a free consultation by calling (404) 389-1035 today.

When Should I File My Personal Injury Claim?

file personal injury claim

Following a personal injury, people often know that they have a legal right to compensation, but it can be difficult to know how to proceed. If you have been injured in an accident, you should consult with an attorney to understand your legal rights and options. Filing a claim for compensation is one such option, and knowing when to file is important. 

So when should a personal injury claim be filed? The short answer is that you should not file your personal injury claim right away. It takes time to figure out the true value of a case and to investigate who all of the possible responsible parties might be. And even if you have a good case, it is important to consider whether it is worth the time and expense to bring a claim given the defendant’s ability to pay. 

If a lawsuit is viable, the most important thing to keep in mind is that statute of limitations for your claim. The statute of limitations establishes a set time period within which a claim must be made or else it will be barred. The statute of limitations for tort claims in Georgia is found in the Official Georgia Code Title 9 Chapter 3 Section 33, which states: “actions for injuries to the person shall be brought within two years after the right of action accrues.” An action “accrues” when a victim knows that they have been injured by the defendant’s conduct. Therefore, in most personal injury cases, the two-year limitations period begins as soon as the accident occurs. 

Insurance Claims 

In some cases, a personal injury victim can be fairly compensated by making a claim directly to the insurer of the responsible party. Often, insurance companies will attempt to offer as little as possible to claimants and will take advantage of claimants that do not fully understand the value of their case. It is a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney before accepting any offer from an insurance company. 

Negotiations 

If an insurance company rejects a claim or refuses to pay an acceptable amount, or if a responsible party didn’t have insurance to begin with, a personal injury victim’s only option may be to file a lawsuit. It is often possible to negotiate a settlement before filing a lawsuit. A demand letter from an experienced personal injury attorney coupled with effective negotiation can sometimes result in a defendant offering a reasonable settlement before a lawsuit is filed to avoid the expense and risk of trial. 

Never Forget About the Statute of Limitations for Georgia Injury Lawsuits 

The most important thing for personal injury victims to remember is that they must file their claim before the statute of limitations period expires. Because it takes time to prepare a lawsuit to be filed, personal injury victims should hire an attorney to begin working on their case well in advance of this date. Once the statute of limitations period has expired, a claim is completely barred. 

For More Information, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, Today 

If you have been injured in an accident, Joel Williams Law, LLC, is here to help. Located in Kennesaw, Georgia, Joel Williams Law, LLC, represents personal injury claimants throughout the state of Georgia in all types of personal injury cases, including auto accidents, products liability, premises liability, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. To schedule a free consultation, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, today by calling (404) 389-1035.

How a Bad Lawyer Can Kill Your Case

bad lawyer kill case

Lawyers have an enormous responsibility to deliver honest and competent service to clients. Even the best lawyers do not win every single case they take, but lawyers have an obligation to provide quality work and to decline representation if they lack the time, competence, or motivation to deliver adequate service. When a lawyer makes inexcusable mistakes that cause a client to lose their case, the (former) client can bring a legal malpractice lawsuit against the offending attorney to recover damages. These claims are difficult to prove because a plaintiff must prove that they would have won their case but-for the attorney’s mistake. Unfortunately, clients who hire bad lawyers are often simply out of luck after they lose their case. Below are some of the ways that a bad attorney can kill your case. 

Missing Deadlines 

According to a study conducted by the American Bar Association, situations where an attorney failed to meet a deadline for a client account for more than 17% of all legal malpractice claims in the United States. This makes missing deadlines far and away the number one cause of legal malpractice. Amazingly, in 6.6% of the legal malpractice cases included in the study, the lawyer allegedly did not even knowabout the deadline. Missing deadlines is particularly egregious because there is usually no way to undo the damage done. When it happens, the client simply misses out on their chance to present to the court whatever it was that was supposed to be filed. 

Negotiating Poorly 

A personal injury lawyer should be able to properly value a case and ensure that a client does not accept an unreasonable offer. You should expect your personal injury attorney to be able to persuasively argue your case to a court. They ought to be able to do the same thing when they discuss your case with the opposing party. A failure to effectively negotiate can result in a pitiful settlement agreement. 

Failing to File the Right Motions or Evidence 

In every case, there are key documents and key evidence that must be filed by a plaintiff at different stages of litigation. While all lawyers make strategic decisions about exactly what to file and when to file it, a bad lawyer will fail to present things to the court that would have helped win the case. That isn’t something any personal injury victim wants to happen. 

Failing to Communicate 

All lawyers in Georgia have an obligation to provide prompt and reasonable communication with clients. This means that lawyers must apprise clients of their legal options and make sure clients know about settlement offers. A failure to communicate with a client can result in mistrust, a deterioration of the attorney-client relationship, and can ultimately be a major detriment. 

Don’t Risk Blowing Your Case, Call Joel Williams Law, LLC 

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, work hard to deliver the best possible service to each of their clients, with the goal of maximizing compensation in every case. If you would like to schedule a free consultation, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, by calling (404) 389-1035 today.