Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress 

Negligent infliction emotional distress

Personal injuries can cause immense physical pain, financial stress, and can interfere with daily life. They can also be devastating emotionally. The law recognizes all of these different types of harms and permits victims to recover damages based on each of them. When a victim has suffered mental and emotional harm as a result of a negligent act, they are able to bring a claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress against the party responsible to recover pain and suffering damages. 

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED) Claims and the “Impact Rule” 

When a plaintiff can sue for NIED varies from state to state, but all states limit the situations in which a plaintiff can recover for emotional harm. Some states follow the “foreseeability rule,” which holds that a defendant must have reasonably foreseen that their conduct would cause emotional distress to the plaintiff. Other states utilize a “zone of danger rule,” which limits NIED claims to those plaintiffs that were within immediate risk of physical harm. 

Georgia does not follow the foreseeability or zone of danger rules but instead follows the classic common law called “impact rule.” According to this rule, it doesn’t matter if the emotional distress was foreseeable or if the victim was within a zone of physical danger. Under the impact rule, the emotional distress must stem from a physical injury caused by the defendant. The upshot of the impact rule is that plaintiffs cannot bring a claim for NIED that stands apart from a physical injury, and NIED claims are therefore merged into the general compensatory damages sought by a plaintiff in a case. However, if a defendant’s conduct was “outrageous,” an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim can be brought as an independent claim. 

Common Types of Emotional Distress in Personal Injury Cases 

If a plaintiff can prove that the emotional harm they suffered is tied to a physical injury, they can recover damages for that harm. Common types of emotional distress suffered in personal injury cases include: 

  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Humiliation 

If you have been the victim of a personal injury caused by someone else’s wrongful conduct and suffered any of these harms as a result, you are entitled to compensation for your emotional distress. In Georgia, there is no cap on the amount of damages that can be awarded for emotional distress. 

For More Information, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC 

When victims are harmed by the wrongful conduct of others, they deserve compensation for what they have suffered. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, are dedicated to getting justice for accident victims in the state of Georgia. If you have been injured in an accident, they can help you understand your case, take the correct legal steps, and ultimately work to maximize your compensation. 

If you would like more information or if you would like to discuss your case, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, today by calling (404) 389-1035 to schedule a free case evaluation.

Claims Against the Government — Don’t Make These Fatal Mistakes

claims against government

Even the seemingly most straight-forward personal injury claims can be highly complicated. This is especially true when plaintiffs make claims against government entities. If you have been injured due to the negligent conduct of a government agency or government worker, you should know that it may be possible to bring a claim against the government for personal injury damages. However, these claims are difficult to make and should only be made with the assistance of an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney. Two big pitfalls that plaintiffs making claims against the government must be wary of are the doctrine of sovereign immunity and statutory ante litem notice requirements. 

The Sovereign Immunity Doctrine 

The first thing plaintiffs making claims against the government should understand is the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Hundreds of years ago when our system of law was first developing in England, the English kings decided that it would be a good idea if nobody could ever sue them because “the king can do no wrong.” And so the doctrine of sovereign immunity was born, which held that the monarchy was immune from lawsuits. Although the United States is far removed from the days of monarchy, our legal system has retained the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which now holds that the federal and state governments are immune from lawsuits. Despite the outdated rationale for the doctrine, it nonetheless remains firmly entrenched in Georgia law. 

Therefore, to bring a claim against state or local governments, sovereign immunity must be overcome. For personal injury lawsuits, this can be accomplished by making claims through the Georgia Tort Claims Act (O.C.G.A. § 50-21-23). Under this law, the state of Georgia waived immunity for personal injury lawsuits. The law states: 

The state waives its sovereign immunity for the torts of state officers and employees while acting within the scope of their official duties or employment and shall be liable for such torts in the same manner as a private individual or entity would be liable under like circumstances. 

It is important for plaintiffs to understand that municipalities and counties in Georgia are also protected by sovereign immunity. Other laws have waived sovereign immunity for many claims against municipalities and counties. Generally, it is easier to make claims against municipalities than it is to make claims against counties. If you have been injured by a local government or government worker, it is important to consult with a Georgia attorney to understand whether or not sovereign immunity bars your claim. 

Procedural Rules of the Georgia Tort Claims Act 

Plaintiffs making claims against the government must also comply with special procedural rules that govern these types of claims. The biggest procedural misstep that Georgia plaintiffs make when making claims against the government is failing to comply with the ante litem notice requirement of O.C.G.A. § 50-21-26. Under this provision of the Georgia Tort Claims Act, a written notice of claim must be mailed by certified mail to Georgia’s Risk Management Division of the Department of Administrative Services and a copy of this notice must be mailed to the state agency that is being threatened with a lawsuit within 12 months of the date that the cause of action accrued. This notice must contain the following information: 

(A) The name of the state government entity, the acts or omissions of which are asserted as the basis of the claim; 

(B) The time of the transaction or occurrence out of which the loss arose; 

(C) The place of the transaction or occurrence; 

(D) The nature of the loss suffered; 

(E) The amount of the loss claimed; and 

(F) The acts or omissions which caused the loss. 

This notice requirement has been strictly construed by Georgia courts, and a personal injury lawsuit cannot be made under the Georgia Tort Claims Act until this notice has been provided. Additionally, after this notice has been delivered, a lawsuit cannot be filed until the claim has either been denied or 90 days has passed. It is also important to note that claims against municipalities and counties have their own ante litem notice requirement laws that must be complied with. 

If You’ve Been Injured in an Accident, Call Joel Williams Law, LLC, to Discuss Your Case Today 

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, are dedicated to maximizing compensation in every case they take. They understand Georgia substantive and procedural law and know how to effectively make claims against government entities when those entities cause harm. If you would like to discuss your case, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, to schedule a free case evaluation today by calling (404) 389-1035. 

What an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Do for You

experienced personal injury attorney

If you have suffered a personal injury due to the conduct of someone else, hiring the right personal injury attorney to help you with your case is crucial. When personal injury victims try to get compensation without an attorney, they often don’t know the procedure for making a claim, don’t understand what rights to compensation they really have, and misjudge the value of their claim. Defense attorneys know all of these things and take advantage of unrepresented claimants. An experienced personal injury attorney that is familiar with your local laws can help you get the compensation you deserve. 

Help You Understand Your Legal Rights and Options 

Personal injury victims are often overwhelmed following an accident. It can be difficult to know what to do and what to expect going forward, not to mention how stressful it is coping with an injury. One of the most valuable benefits of hiring an experienced personal injury attorney after an accident is the peace of mind that a case evaluation can bring. 

Investigate Your Case 

Your attorney can help you gather all of the important information you will need to successfully make a personal injury claim. This will usually include investigating the cause of an injury and gaining access to your medical records. By investigating the underlying facts of your case, your attorney can determine all of your possible legal arguments, what evidence will be needed, and who all the possible defendants are. 

File the Right Paperwork 

One of the defining features of the practice of law is paperwork. An experienced personal injury attorney will know exactly what paperwork you need to file to succeed in making your claim. Having an attorney handle your case saves you the time and energy that this paperwork requires, and more importantly, ensures that your case is not derailed by technical mistakes. 

Negotiate on Your Behalf 

Most attorneys negotiate regularly as a part of their job. A personal injury attorney can use their knowledge of the law to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf and make sure that you don’t accept a low-ball offer. 

Vigorously Represent Your Interests in Court 

Although the vast majority of personal injury cases settle before going to court, this isn’t always possible. Sometimes defendants have a genuine disagreement about the law. Other times they are simply stubborn or otherwise unresponsive to negotiation attempts. When this is the case, it is imperative that personal injury victims have a qualified and experienced attorney advocating for their rights at every stage of litigation. 

To Discuss Your Case, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, Today 

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you don’t need to navigate the legal process alone. Joel Williams Law, LLC, offers free case evaluations and accepts cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients don’t pay a dime in attorney’s fees unless and until we win their case for them. Located in Kennesaw, Georgia, Joel Williams Law, LLC, serves clients throughout the state of Georgia in all types of personal injury cases. Contact us today to discuss your case by calling (404) 389-1035.