Animal Bite Injuries

Personal Injuries and Georgia’s Dog Bite Statute

WHAT IS GEORGIA’S DOG BITE LAW?

In Georgia, there is a statute regarding injuries caused by animals, including dogs. This is found in O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7. According to the 2024 version of this statute, a negligent owner of a violent dog that causes unprovoked harm can be held liable for damages. Specifically, the statute states:

A person who owns or keeps a vicious or dangers animal of any kind and who, by careless management or by allowing the animal to go at liberty, causes injury to another person who does not provoke the injury by his own act may be liable in damages to the person so injured. In proving vicious propensity, it shall be sufficient to show that the animal was required to be at heel or on a leach by an ordinance of a city, county or consolidated government, and the said animal was at the time of the occurrence not at heel or on a leash.

Dogs can be loyal and loving members of the family. But with ownership comes responsibility, and the potential for liability from a dog bite or attack if you are not careful. According to an article written by Peter Tuckel and William Milczarski that was published in 2020, dog bites are a common cause of emergency room visits in the United States each year.

Dog bites, as you could imagine, can cause serious injuries and even death. When dangerous or vicious dogs cause harm, or when dog owners negligently permit dogs to attack others, dog bite victims may be entitled to compensation for the damages and injuries they suffer.

Whether a dog bite claim will be successful depends on a number of factors and are what we like to call “fact specific.” If you have suffered an injury as a result of a dog bite or dog attack, it is important to understand the law and to be aware of your rights. Of course, it is always best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Four elements dog bite victims must prove to win their claim in Georgia:

  1. Vicious propensity. A dog that has a history of aggressive behavior towards people, or has been involved in past incidences of biting, may be considered “vicious or dangerous” under the statute. This element is automatically met if a dog was required by law to be at heel or leashed and was instead running free. S&S Towing & Recovery, Ltd. v. Charnota, 309 Ga. 117 (2020). Most cities and counties have ordinances requiring dogs to be on a leash. For example, in Cobb County, Georgia, dogs must be on a leash not exceeding six feet in length when away from their home. In addition, you can prove vicious propensity if you can gather evidence of prior bites or attacks. This can be done by sending an open records request to your local animal control agency for any and all complaints or incident reports regarding animals at a specific address.

  2. Careless management. Letting a dog off-leash in public or otherwise allowing it to roam free around others could meet this element. If a dog is on its owner’s property, careless management could occur if an owner knows the dog is aggressive to guests yet fails to contain or control it. Careless management could also occur if the owner does not have control of the dog while on leash and knew, or should have known, the dog could lunge or attack. If you undertake to restrain a dog, and do so in a negligent manner, you can be liable for that dog attacking or biting someone else. Myers v. Ogden, 343 Ga. App. 771 (2017).

  3. Unprovoked attack. To meet this element, a dog bite victim must not have provoked the dog into attacking. Unlike other types of torts, the doctrine of comparative negligence will not apply in this circumstance. If a person provokes a dog into attacking by antagonizing it, a dog bite claim will be completely defeated. Teasing, kicking, yelling, throwing objects, and other antagonizing behavior toward a dog that results in an attack or bite will not be recoverable.

  4. Attack causes injuries. As with any personal injury claim, a dog bit victim must prove that any injuries sustained were caused by the dog bite or the attack. This can include an actual bite from the animal, or an attack where the bog chases someone off leash causing that person to fall and become injured. In the second scenario there would be no “bite” but the attack and behavior of letting a dog run off a leash led to the injuries.

The Statute of Limitations for Bringing Dog Bite Claims

Under Georgia law, you have two years from the date of the incident to bring a claim for a dog bite or attack. The two-year period begins the moment that the victim knows that they have been injured by a dog bite. In certain circumstances this two-year period can be “tolled” or delayed, for instance when a victim is unable to bring a lawsuit because of their injury or because the defendant prevented them from doing so. When bringing a claim, the injured party is almost always bringing the claim against the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. If the dog owner does not own a home, or live in a home where coverage applies, we would look to renters’ insurance to cover any potential claim.

Contact Williams Elleby Howard & Easter Today for More Information

The personal injury attorneys at Williams Elleby Howard & Easter, are dedicated to vigorously representing personal injury victims throughout Georgia. If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, the injury attorneys at Williams Elleby Howard & Easter can help you understand your rights and get you the compensation you deserve. Call Williams Elleby Howard & Easter, to schedule a consultation today at (833) 534-2542.

Beyond Jail Time: The Civil Impact of Drunk Driving in Georgia

A clear glass of liquor on ice beside a set of car keys and handcuffs on a wooden table.

Drinking and driving is deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every day 37 people die in drunk-driving crashes, that’s one person every 39 minutes. Because the effects of drinking and driving are often catastrophic, the laws in Georgia to keep its citizens safe and keep people from drinking and driving carry some serious consequences, both criminally and civilly. Simply put, criminal cases involve jail time and fines and are prosecuted by the government, whereas civil cases involve money and involve disputes between people or organizations.

What is considered drunk driving?

Under Georgia law, it is illegal for people to drive a motor vehicle is their blood alcohol concentration percentages are as follows:

  • 08% or higher, if they are twenty-one years old or older operating a passenger vehicle (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391)
  • 04% or higher, if they are operating a commercial vehicle (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391)
  • 02% or higher, if they are younger than twenty-one years old.

What are the criminal consequences?

The consequences for drinking and driving vary depending on the circumstances. But generally speaking, if you are caught drinking and driving, according to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety:

First Offense

  • Possible jail time up to one year
  • Fine of $300 minimum, up to $1,000
  • License suspension of up to one year
  • 40 hours of community service, which is a mandatory minimum
  • $210 license reinstatement fee

Second Offense:

  • Minimum mandatory 48 hours in jail, possible 90 days to one year
  • Fine of $600 minimum, up to $1,000
  • License suspense of three years
  • Minimum 30 days of community service
  • $210 set license reinstatement fee
  • A mandatory clinical evaluation, and if indicated, completion of a substance abuse treatment program at the offender’s expense

Third Offense:

  • Minimum Mandatory 15 days jail time
  • Fine of $1,000 minimum, up to $5,000
  • License revocation for five years
  • Minimum mandatory 30 days community service
  • Violators name, photo and address published in local newspaper at violators expense
  • Declared as habitual violator
  • Mandatory clinical evaluation and, if indicated, completion of a substance abuse treatment program at offender’s expense.

What are the civil consequences of drunk driving?

In addition to the criminal consequences of driving under the influence, there can also be civil consequences if you cause a wreck and injure someone while driving under the influence of alcohol. The injured party has to prove that the at-fault driver was negligent in causing the wreck.

In order to prove negligence in a civil case, you have to prove “1) a legal duty to conform to a standard of conduct; 2) a breach of this duty; 3) a causal connection between the conduct and the resulting injury; and 4) damages to the plaintiff.” Johnson v. American National Red Cross, 253 Ga. App. 587, 591 (2002). If the Plaintiff can prove these elements by what’s known as the “preponderance of the evidence”, then the at-fault party will be financially responsible to the Plaintiff for the damages awarded by a jury.

Negligence per se is a legal theory wherein an at-fault party’s unexcused violation of a law creates a presumption that the defendant is negligent. It doesn’t prove the negligence – it only creates a presumption that the defendant is liable for negligence.

In a car wreck scenario where a person suffers injuries and the at-fault driver committed a DUI, there is a presumption that because the at-fault driver was driving drunk, they are then negligent for causing the wreck. In order to get this presumption it must be established that the at-fault driver was driving over the legal limit (this can happen when they plead guilty to the offense). Once that is established, the injured party can claim that because they violated the law, they are presumably negligence. At this point, the burden then shifts to the defendant, who must prove that they were not negligent in causing the wreck even though they were driving under the influence. Negligence per se is a powerful tool in proving the negligence of another because it creates a burden-shifting presumption.

Punitive damages for drunk driving!

With a DUI case, in addition to compensatory damages, the injured party can seek punitive damages from the at-fault driver. Punitive damages are damages awarded as a punishment or to penalize and deter the at-fault driver from engaging in the behavior that caused the injuries. Normally, punitive damages are limited to $250,000.00 in Georgia, but that is not the case if the at-fault driver is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1. Being able to pursue punitive damages greatly increases the value of your civil case against the at-fault driver and their insurance company.

If you have been injured in a wreck due to the negligence of another, especially by someone who was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you must find a lawyer who will aggressively fight on your behalf to ensure justice is sought from the wrongdoer and their insurance company. Contact the personal injury law firm of Williams Elleby Howard & Easter at 833-534-2542.  Not quite ready to call? Check out our YouTube channel for additional resources and information in our video covering alcohol and its effect on personal injury cases.

Back to School in the Age of COVID-19

Back to School Safety Covid-19

August usually brings the excitement of a new school year.  Aisles at local department stores overflow with reams of lined paper, packets of highlighters and pens, and brightly colored spiral notebooks.  Children fill their last days of summer with sleepovers, ice cream, and hours by the pool before they are back in the classroom for eight hours a day. 

This year, however, August brings much uncertainty as the spread of COVID-19 has led to a life-altering pandemic.  Many Georgia public school districts, including Cobb, Fulton, Clarke, and Dekalb, have decided to begin the semester all virtually in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.  Other districts, like Paulding, are going forth with in-person learning, with enhanced safety measures reflecting CDC guidelines.  Private schools are also struggling with how to proceed during these uncertain times. In addition, childcare services for children five and under have drastically reduced their capacity with many centers closing due to concerns over the spread of the virus.  Most that remained open also diligently follow enhanced safety measures provided by the Georgia early education department, Bright from the Start. 

Considerations When Choosing a School/Daycare Facility

Prior to COVID-19, parents already had much to consider when determining which childcare or school program was best for their children.  For younger children, Bright from the Start, the Georgia pre-kindergarten program, provides parents with a checklist of considerations, but these considerations are also applicable to parents of K-12 students.  Considerations include the following:

  1. Will my child be safe, healthy, and thrive?
  2. What will my child do during the day?
  3. How are parents included?
  4. What will my child eat and when?
  5. How are staff supported?
  6. Do I agree with the discipline policy?
  7. What is the cost of care?

While these considerations are still important for parents, a few more have been added to the due to COVID-19.  Adherence to CDC guidelines is at the forefront of the checklist.  Parents must now make the choice between virtual learning and in-person learning.  Parents are looking at class sizes, mask requirements, and social distancing measures both public and private schools are taking to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

When determining where to send their child to school, it is important for parents to remember that sovereign immunity applies to the Georgia public education system.  Under Article I, section II, paragraph IX of Georgia’s state constitution, it states “sovereign immunity extends to the state and all of its departments and agencies.”  This constitutional provision provides immunity to the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) from negligence claims against faculty and staff members of the department.  This means that if a child were to contract COVID-19 at school, whether or not the school was negligent in following CDC guidelines, parents cannot file suit against the school system. 

Even though there is sovereign immunity, public elementary and secondary education schools are provided the right to purchase liability insurance pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-991.  It is not explicitly required; therefore, it is important to consider whether or not one’s school board has purchased liability insurance.  Some school districts are self-insured while others have purchased liability insurance. Regardless, contracting COVID-19 will not be covered by liability insurance as there is no direct way to prove that one’s child became sick while at school.  Still, it is important to research liability insurance as a general consideration for school selection because the presence or absence of liability insurance is a big deal for auto-accident claims involving a school bus.

Similarly, daycare facilities are strongly encouraged but not required to purchase liability insurance.  Under O.C.G.A. § 20-1a-4, facilities that have not purchased liability insurance to cover events of negligence are required to post this fact in a prominent location and notify all parents.  Parents are also required to sign a form acknowledging their understanding that the facility has not purchased liability insurance.  Once again, it is unlikely contracting COVID-19 would fall under the coverage of liability insurance, but it is still important to consider as accidents at school are bound to happen, no matter how diligent the providers.  

Additionally, many local private schools are opening to in-person learning while taking extra precautions to do so. One example is Casa Montessori in Cobb County. Private schools have more flexibility than public schools and some cases are better suited to implement CDC guidelines to ensure a safe environment for returning school children.

How Governor Brian Kemp’s Executive Order Impacts Schools/Daycare Facilities 

On June 29, 2020, Governor Kemp renewed the public health state of emergency, extending the emergency until August 11.  Additionally, Governor Kemp updated Executive Order 06.29.20.02 titled “Empowering a Healthy Georgia.”  This order provides guidance for how citizens and government alike should combat the public health crisis of COVID-19.  Section VII focuses on how to protect children while still providing educational opportunities throughout the pandemic.  

The order allows school boards to depart from the traditional definitions of school year, month, and day detailed under O.C.G.A. §20-2-160(c)(2), providing flexibility for schools to determine for themselves how best to handle preventing the spread of COVID-19.  As of now, some counties have opted for virtual learning, where “independent study” will take place in the morning hours and classroom study over Zoom will take place in the afternoon.  Shortened school days are permissible under this order.

Governor Kemp’s order also provides a list of suggestions for how schools proceeding with in-person learning can protect their students from the spread of COVID-19.  These suggestions include screening for COVID-19 among individuals exhibiting symptoms, disinfecting surfaces often, encouraging outside lunch, discouraging students from using other students’ items, and requiring individuals who exhibit symptoms to not report to school.  It is strongly recommended for schools to follow this protocol; however, the order does not specifically require schools to follow this guidance.

In addition to providing recommendations for elementary and secondary education facilities, the order also details the running of daycare facilities.  Daycare facilities must adhere to the worker-child rations set forth by Bright from the Start.  Under Bright from the Start’s COVID-19 regulations, only 50 children, faculty, and staff can be in a single room at one time.  Not only must ratios be followed, extraneous transportation to and from the facility must cease.  The only transportation permitted under the order is transportation to and from the child’s place of residence.  Additional requirements, not suggestions as for elementary and secondary education, include screening children prior to them entering the classroom, restricting parental access to the classroom, having meals in the classrooms, not using toys that cannot be sanitized, and sanitizing bedding.  Parents can also look to the Bright from the Start’s COVID-19 page for more information on specific regulations. 

Considering the continued increase in COVID-19 cases, it is likely the public health emergency will be extended after August 11 and require another update to the executive order on “Empowering a Healthy Georgia.”  Parents should continue to stay up to date on orders published as they have a direct impact on their child’s education. 

How to Protect Your Child from COVID-19

There is no perfect solution to protect children from possible exposure to COVID-19 once they return in in-person learning. The risks can be minimized, but not eliminated. This is especially true for younger children who have difficulty understanding the importance of wearing masks and social distancing.

With that in mind, it is important for parents to teach their children how to protect themselves against contracting the virus.  First, parents should encourage their child to wear a mask while at school.  Many schools are requiring masks, but even if they are not, masks are important in helping to slow the spread of the virus.  Parents might worry about if their child can comply with wearing a mask for long periods of time; however, there are ways for children to become comfortable with wearing one.  Parents, prior to school beginning, should practice wearing a mask with their children.  Increase the amount of time per day the child wears the mask until they are fully comfortable wearing it for eight hours at a time, as they would during school.  Additionally, you can teach children how to properly take on and off the mask without touching their faces.

A second way for parents to protect their children is to teach their children how to properly social distance.  Children will likely look forward to seeing their friends for the first time since in-person learning ended in mid-March, so it is important for parents to emphasize to their children to avoid, they best they can, any unnecessary contact or close interaction with other children and teachers. Anyone with children will understand the difficulty in this approach, but simply reminding the children of the importance of social distancing will have an impact. Parents can also teach their children different, non-contact, ways to greet classmates and practice playing games without touching one another.

Third, parents can pack their child’s lunch rather than relying on school-prepared lunches.  This will limit the amount of people involved in handling the child’s food and the amount of surfaces the child must touch prior to getting the food.  The surfaces include opening the fridge to get milk, grabbing the tray, and punching in their lunch number on the pad.  Parents should also practice opening lunch items with their child prior to the start of school and pack easy to open food packaging.  Once again, this will reduce the amount of hands that touch the child’s food.

Lastly, parents should pack portable hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial wipes for their child.  In addition to encouraging frequent hand washing and sanitizing, parents should teach their child to wipe down surfaces.  Students should sanitize their desk each morning, the lunch table they are eating at, computer keyboards they are using, and any other surfaces that other individuals will be touching as well.  It is important, in an attempt to prevent further spread of COVID-19, for students take proactive measures to protect their own health.

These are just some suggestions for protecting children while attending in-person classes.  This is by no means an exhaustive list and parents should take into consideration risk factors, including asthma and autoimmune disorders, when deciding how to approach this school year.

School Buses

The return of in-person instruction brings more concerns than just those of the classroom and school building.  In-person instruction brings with it the use of school buses.  The Georgia statutory code (O.C.G.A.) details provisions concerning school buses and the liability associated with them.  O.C.G.A. § 20-2-1090 authorizes school districts to create insurance policies to insure students in the event of an accident. Additionally, O.C.G.A.  § 40-6-163 requires vehicles to stop when children are getting on or getting off school buses, and in turn penalizing drivers who do not.  The pieces of legislation do not waive the sovereign immunity detailed by the Georgia’s constitution, but, rather, find ways to provide compensation for potential injuries without the school board accepting liability for negligent actions.

As school buses are under the control of the school district, school bus drivers also enjoy the same sovereign immunity as other county employees.  With this said, it is up to the individual students to protect themselves from exposure to COVID-19, as there is no redress for negligent infection on the part of the bus driver.  Even under the best of circumstances, it is hard to control the spread of a simple cold or the flu when children are confined to such a small space.  Parents should encourage their children to space out as much as possible, wear a mask, and wipe down their seat before sitting down in order to ensure the least amount of contact with germs.

Parents’ Choice

The start of school will be a new experience for parents, students, and teachers alike.  Whether school is virtual or in-person, the risks of contracting COVID-19 impact the education-related decisions that parents make for their children.  In addition to the typical considerations of private versus public, liability insurance, and academic curriculum, parents must now consider how facilities are addressing CDC guidelines and how to best protect their child from contracting the virus.  Parents must look to executive orders, policies and regulations posted by school boards and Bright from the Start, as well as individual classroom functioning.  All of these considerations are understandably overwhelming for parents, but hopefully this post provides ample resources for making an informed decision.  The following resources are excellent sources of information on COVID-19 and requirements for in-person schooling:

Resources

Executive Order 06.26.20.02

https://gov.georgia.gov/executive-action/executive-orders/2020-executive-orders

Bright from the Start, COVID-19 Protocols

http://www.decal.ga.gov/BFTS/Covid19.aspx

Georgia Department of Education, COVID-19 Protocols

https://www.georgiainsights.com/coronavirus.html

Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers Offering Free Consultations

As Georgia citizens navigate through these uncertain times, the Williams Elleby Howard & Easter legal team wants everyone to know that we are working hard to keep our offices clean and sanitary for our clients and visitors. If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, we offer free consultations with our lawyers. The consultations can be in person, by phone, or virtually by Zoom. If you prefer in person meetings, please be aware that a face mask is required for the safety of our staff and guests. Simply call 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542) to set up your consultation today.

Responsibilities of “In Possession” and Absentee Landlords

Responsibilities of Landlord Premises Liability Personal Injury Attorney Georgia

In Georgia, landlords are required by law to meet certain safety and maintenance requirements. When a landlord negligently fails to keep his premises reasonably safe for use and someone is injured or killed while they were on or near property, they may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the landlord. In Georgia, landlord premises liability lawsuits and the recovery of damages depends on whether a landlord is an “absentee” or “in possession” landlord.

What Is an “In Possession” Landlord?

An “in possession” landlord is either a person or entity that occupies the property or otherwise maintains substantial ownership and control over the property, even after it is rented out to a tenant. Reserving the right to periodically inspect the property does not usually constitute being “in possession” of the property.

Responsibilities of an “In Possession” Landlord

A landlord that is “in possession” of a property is usually governed by the stricter standards that apply to property owners. Georgia law states that a property owner must exercise ordinary care to keep a property safe for any “invitee” who approaches, exits, or is present on the property.

An invitee is one who is induced by express or implied invitation to come onto an owner’s property. During the term of their lease, a tenant would be an invitee of the apartment, condominium, or office building where they live or work. Under this standard, the landlord owes a duty of care to keep his premises safe. He is liable for damages when injuries are caused by his failure to exercise ordinary care.

The duty to keep premises safe is not limited to just the construction and maintenance of buildings or other physical structures located on the property. The owner/landlord is obligated to keep outside ramps and stairs, driveways, sidewalks, curbs, and parking lots in good repair. For any lawns, landscaping must also be kept in a safe condition. Additionally, Georgia courts have held that the duty to keep premises safe may also include the obligation to provide adequate security and required fire protection.

What Is an Absentee Landlord?

An absentee landlord is either a person or entity that owns and then rents out property. If the landlord does not occupy the property and does not exercise much day-to-day control over the property, they are considered to be “not in possession” and therefore absent. Simply put, if the landlord does not live, reside somewhere on the property, or access the property most days, they are an absentee landlord.

Responsibilities of an Absentee Landlord

Georgia statute states that when a landlord is not in possession of rental property, his or her liability is limited to those damages from “defective construction” or from failure to “keep the premises in repair.” This is a lower standard of care than would be required if they were in possession of the property.

Defective Construction

An absentee landlord may be liable for defective construction if they:

  • Did the construction work themselves;
  • Directly supervised the construction work; or
  • Had knowledge of the defective construction.

Keeping the Premises in Repair

In addition to construction defects, injuries can also occur when a landlord fails to repair a hazardous condition on the property. In order to be liable for failure to repair, Georgia courts have generally found that the landlord must have had knowledge of the hazardous condition needing repair. If the landlord knew about a potentially hazardous condition and did not take steps to repair it within a reasonable amount of time, the landlord may be found liable for resulting injuries. In some cases, landlords have also been found liable for hazards they should have known about based on performing regular inspections.

For More Information, Contact Williams Elleby Howard & Easter

If you, a friend, or a family member have been injured while on someone else’s property, contact  Williams Elleby Howard & Easter, to schedule a free consultation by calling 833-LEGALGA.

Are There Limits on Litigation Funding Interest Rates in Georgia?

Personal Injury Cases Litigation Funding Georgia Attorney

There are a lot of questions surrounding how litigation funding works and what interest rates they are allowed to charge. This has been a point of contention over the course of the last few years, with a number of lawsuits and even a class action challenging the litigation funding industry’s interest rates. In October of 2018, the Supreme Court of Georgia decided the issue once and for all.

What Is Litigation Funding?

To understand the question, it is helpful to first understand what litigation funding is. Litigation funding, also known as legal financing, is the process of paying for some or all of the expenses of a lawsuit up front. If the lawsuit is successful, the funder is repaid in full plus interest. If the plaintiff is unsuccessful and does not recover anything, the litigation funder will also receive nothing. Because of the risk involved, the interest rate applied by litigation funding companies can be quite high.

Litigation funding is typically used in cases that are going to require serious resources to prosecute but have a high potential for success. Litigation funding is growing in popularity, but it isn’t a new idea. This type of funding has been legal in the United Kingdom since 1967, and it has been fairly common in most major countries since the early 2000s.

Georgia Law Related to Litigation Funding

In the case of Ruth vs. Cherokee Funding, LLC, a number of Georgia residents that received litigation funding from Cherokee filed suit against the company. The lawsuit alleged that Cherokee had charged exorbitant interest rates that were illegal under state law. Specifically, the suits charged that Cherokee violated:

  • The Georgia Industrial Loan Act (GILA)
  • The Payday Lending Act (PLA)

According to the plaintiffs, the money paid by Cherokee amounted to loans under both PLA and GILA. Both statutes cap the interest rates for loans under a certain dollar amount, which meant that if the courts agreed with the plaintiffs that litigation funding were loans, Cherokee would have been in violation of both statutes. Cherokee’s attorneys, however, argued that the payments were not loans but investments in the outcome of the lawsuit. Georgia law does not contain a limit on interest for investments, so this distinction is critical.

Loan vs. Investment

When the issue came before the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Court weighed whether or not the funds paid out by a litigation funding company were loans or not. In the end, the Court ruled on behalf of Cherokee on both the GILA claim as well as the PLA claim. The Court reasoned that the funds provided by litigation funding companies were not loans under Georgia law because, unlike loans, there was no guarantee that these funds would ever be paid. Because the plaintiffs would not have owed Cherokee anything had the lawsuit been unsuccessful, the Court found that the PLA and GILA did not apply and Cherokee was not bound by their interest rate limits.

While litigation funding is necessary in some cases, in most others it may make more sense to work closely with a Georgia personal injury attorney to ensure that a lawsuit has the resources it needs. To discuss your personal injury claim, contact Williams Elleby Howard & Easter, today at 833 – LEGALGA.

What You Should Know About Daycare Liability Insurance in Georgia

Georgia Daycare Liability Insurance Personal Injury Attorney

All too often, accidents result in injuries for kids within Georgia daycares. It’s not hard to understand why, as kids get in accidents frequently. But in some cases, those injuries were directly caused by the negligence of the daycare or its employees. The emotional toll of having an injured child is bad enough, but the financial cost of caring for a severely injured child can be enormous.

With the potential for injury that a daycare carries each day, you might assume that every daycare would be required to maintain liability insurance. Unfortunately, that assumption would be wrong. Here are a few things you need to know to keep your family safe.

Georgia Daycares Are Not Required to Carry Insurance

It may surprise you, but Georgia law does not require a daycare to have an active liability insurance policy in order to operate. The state of Georgia has its own department for early childhood education known as the Department of Early Care and Learning. However, this agency lacks the power to require insurance in Georgia daycare facilities.

The requirements for daycares set out in Georgia law are much more lenient. According to O.C.G.A. § 20-1A-4(9), the authority of the Department of Early Care and Learning is limited to recommending formally in writing to the daycare that it is encouraged to carry a liability insurance policy. There are no consequences if a daycare facility chooses not to obtain a liability insurance policy sufficient to cover all of its clients.

Daycares Without Insurance Must Notify Parents

While they are of little comfort to the parents of a child that is hurt, the Georgia code does have some limited requirements for daycare facilities that decline to carry insurance. According to Georgia law, all daycare facilities that refuse to obtain insurance after receiving the recommendation to do so from the Department of Early Care and Learning must notify the parents whose children attend the daycare of that decision.

The daycare must give notice in two different ways. First, the daycare facility must post a written notice at the daycare in a conspicuous place. The sign must be readily visible for visitors and have letters at least ½ inches tall.

Second, the daycare facility must provide written notice to all parents by mail making them aware that there is no liability insurance policy in effect. The daycare is required to have each parent or guardian sign an acknowledgment of the lack of insurance coverage. The daycare facility must keep this written acknowledgment for as long as the child is at the daycare and for at least 12 months after the child leaves the facility. If the facility doesn’t comply with these notice requirements, they risk a fine of $1,000 per infraction.

A Georgia Injury Lawyer Can Help Obtain Compensation for Your Injured Child

If your child was injured at a Georgia daycare, it is vital that you discuss the situation with an experienced personal injury attorney. If the daycare was insured, an attorney might be able to negotiate with the carrier in an effort to settle the claim. If the daycare wasn’t insured, an attorney might be able to obtain the compensation your child deserves directly from the business. To discuss your case with an experienced Georgia injury lawyer, contact Williams Elleby Howard & Easter, at 833 – LEGALGA today.

AAA: Dashboard Gadgets Increase the Likelihood of Accidents

Personal Injury Car Wreck Dashboard Gadgets Increase Accidents Attorney Georgia

How distracting are new dashboard gadgets?

When it comes to car manufacturers, the newest arms race for marketing a make or model is the inclusion of so-called infotainment systems. These combinations of hardware and software installed in vehicles can give the driver options to send text messages, navigate, or turn on a new podcast. But according to a new study from AAA, these technological advances can be a dangerous distraction.

The study, which was performed by the University of Utah on behalf of AAA, sought to rate 30 different 2017-model vehicles by how much attention their infotainment systems demanded. The participants in the study were between the ages of 21 and 36 years old. During the course of the study, the participants would use voice commands and touch screens to place phone calls, send text messages, navigate, or listen to music.

The study separated the vehicles into four groups based on the overall demand for attention each vehicle required of its driver. These four demand groups were Low, Moderate, High, and Very High. In the end, none of the 30 vehicles were considered to have an infotainment system that had low demand. Out of the remaining three groups, seven required a moderate demand of their drivers, 11 required high demand, and 12 required a very high demand.

The study tracked four activities that diverted driver attention leading to more accidents:

  • Listening to the Radio
  • Tuning the Radio or Talking on the Phone
  • Texting
  • Using GPS Navigation

According to the study, merely listening to the radio was the least demanding, but it still involved a low level of demand for the driver’s attention. Changing the radio station or speaking on the phone was the second least-demanding, followed by texting. The study found that attempting to use GPS navigation was by far the most distracting aspect of infotainment systems in the models surveyed.

Researchers found that drivers took their eyes off the road for up to 40 seconds at a time while attempting to operate the GPS navigation system in some of these vehicles. To put that amount of time into perspective, a distraction of only one or two seconds is enough to lead to a collision.

It is easy to blame the addition of screens or even visual technology within windshields, but researchers are quick to point out that even voice-activated controls can be dangerous. The research shows that anything that diverts a driver’s attention from the core function of operating a motor vehicle can lead to an accident.

Contact a Georgia Attorney

Distracted driving has long been a major threat on Georgia roadways. If you suffered an injury in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. Attorney Chase Elleby is an experienced trial lawyer who has obtained substantial settlements and verdicts on behalf of his injured clients. Williams Elleby Howard & Easter, will evaluate your case for free and accepts cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you won’t pay us anything unless we successfully obtain the compensation you deserve in your case. Williams Elleby Howard & Easter, is located in Kennesaw, Georgia, but represents injured clients throughout the state. To set up your free consultation, contact Williams Elleby Howard & Easter, at 833-LEGALGA.