What to Do When the Other Insurance Company Calls

what to do when the other insurance company calls

If you’ve been in an accident recently, the odds are good that a representative of the other person’s insurance company has contacted you. They will often call within a matter of hours of the accident happening, and they’ll often ask for a recorded statement.

The other insurance company isn’t asking for a statement just to make sure they have everything they need to pay for your damages, though. When an insurance company contacts you for a statement, they are hoping you will slip up and say something incriminating or even take responsibility for the accident.

The Other Insurance Company Isn’t On Your Side

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the frequency of bodily injury claims filed under auto liability insurance has steadily increased over the last five years. It’s no surprise, then, that these insurance companies will take steps to avoid paying out on any claim they can avoid. In most cases, these insurance companies will strive to:

  • Deny claims entirely when possible, or
  • Settle claims for pennies on the dollar

The most significant risk in discussing the case with the other insurance company is hurting the strength of your own claim. The insurance adjuster on the other end of the phone call is trained to use your words against you, and they are prepared to use your own words against you even if the accident wasn’t your fault. In some cases, the other insurance will compare your recorded statement to what you said to police in the accident report. If there are even minor discrepancies, the insurance company may use that as an excuse to deny the claim. And if your injury claim goes to trial, the insurance companies’ attorney can use your recorded statement to point out inconsistencies in your sworn testimony.

The truth is, there isn’t a good reason to speak with an adjuster for the other insurance company. Thankfully, you are under no obligation to speak with them at all. There are no real benefits to giving them a statement, but there are plenty of risks involved.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

The best step you can take to protecting your personal injury claim is to discuss your case with an experienced injury attorney right away. An attorney can guide you on how to respond to the other insurance company as well as your own. Don’t forget; while your own insurance company is supposed to be on your side, they could end up siding against you or denying your claim as well. The only way to have an experienced professional looking out for your interests is to hire a personal injury attorney.

Discuss Your Options With a Kennesaw, GA, Injury Attorney

If you have questions about your Georgia personal injury claim, contact a personal injury attorney. It is critical that you understand your legal rights, and the best chance at protecting your claim is by hiring the experienced attorneys. If you would like more information, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, at (404) 389-1035 today for your free case evaluation.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow Entangled in Lawsuit Over Ski Crash Injuries

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow Entangled in Lawsuit Over Ski Crash Injuries

A family ski vacation for actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her family has become the center of a multi-million dollar negligence lawsuit, according to recent Utah court filings. The lawsuit stems from an incident that occurred at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, in 2016. But the specifics regarding what exactly happened are disputed between the two sides.

The lawsuit was filed by a retired Salt Lake City optometrist who was involved in a skiing collision with Paltrow on a beginner ski run at the resort. The parties dispute exactly what happened. According to Terry Sanderson, the plaintiff in the case, Paltrow crashed into him from behind on the slopes. Sanderson claims he was knocked unconscious, suffering a concussion that still affects his life to this day. He is seeking $3.1 million in damages from both Paltrow as well as the Deer Valley Resort as a result of the accident.

Paltrow’s account is essentially the opposite of Sanderson’s. According to Paltrow, she was skiing behind her small children and a ski instructor at a slow rate of speed when Sanderson crashed into her from behind. She claims Sanderson apologized at the time and claimed he was fine. In response to the lawsuit, Paltrow filed a counterclaim against Sanderson. She is seeking “symbolic damages” of $1 as well as her attorney’s fees in the matter. The lawsuit refers to Sanderson’s claims as meritless and alleges he is merely seeking to exploit Paltrow’s fame and wealth.

A ski instructor that was giving lessons to Paltrow’s nine-year-old son at the time of the collision is likely the central figure in the case. Both parties have already made mention in the media about an incident report filed by the ski instructor relating to the event. According to the instructor, Sanderson was uphill from Paltrow, who was making slow turns behind her son as he practiced skiing. While the instructor placed the blame on Sanderson for causing the collision, he also admitted not seeing the accident directly. The instructor’s statement went on to say he turned after hearing the two collide and Paltrow scream.

It is Sanderson’s position that the ski instructor made a false statement in his incident report, and he claims a friend of Sanderson who was skiing with him at the time can corroborate his story.

Personal Injury Attorneys in Kennesaw, GA

For most people, the phrase “personal injury lawsuit” brings to mind a car wreck or a collision with an 18-wheeler. But the truth is, you have a right to compensation for any damages that a negligent person causes you regardless of the circumstances. Whether it is a bicycle accident or some other type of injury, a Georgia personal injury attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Attorney Joel Williams has extensive experience with a wide range of accidents and injuries. To discuss your situation with an injury attorney that you can rely on, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, at (404) 389-1035 for your free consultation today.

Traffic Fatalities Spike Due to Distracted Driving

injury due to car accident

The Valdosta Daily Times reports that traffic fatalities in Georgia have risen sharply in recent years and a major culprit is distracted driving. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, there were 1,514 traffic fatalities in Georgia in 2018. 70% of fatalities in crashes are caused by unsafe driving behaviors and one of the deadliest unsafe behaviors is distracted driving.

For years, experts have been hopeful that advances in technology will lead to a reduction in the fatal accidents on America’s roadways. Innovations like automatic emergency braking systems and lane departure warnings have made an impact in accident rates as well as the severity of collisions. But in many ways, new technology can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to driver safety. Between the prevalence of smartphones and in-dash infotainment systems, distracted driving is having a more significant impact on collision rates. A 2018 study from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests that fatalities attributed to phone-based distracted driving have increased in recent years. The Virginia drivers observed during the “2018 IIHS roadside survey were 57% more likely to be manipulating a cellphone than drivers in a 2014 survey.”

Mobile phones may be the most obvious cause of distracted driving but there are other things such as eating, grooming, smoking, and even disciplining children that can cause our attention to turn away from the roadway.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three main types of distractions that drivers fall prey to:

1. Visual distractions. These are distractions that take your eyes off the road, like looking at a cell phone or turning to talk to someone in the back seat.

2. Manual distractions. Any distractions that cause you to take your hands off of the steering wheel are manual distractions.

3. Cognitive distractions. These are distractions that cause you to take your mind off of driving. For instance, although hands-free technology for talking on a cell phone is a safer option, conversing can still cause you to be cognitively distracted. Avoid talking on the phone while driving unless it is truly necessary.

Stay Focused When You Drive

Because driving is a day-to-day activity, we sometimes take for granted that we will stay safe on the road.  Driving is a life-or-death activity that demands our full attention. We should all do our best to avoid visual, manual, and cognitive distractions.

Remember the risk that comes with things like using your phone, eating, using your navigation system, or interacting with other passengers as you drive – and choose to refrain from those activities until after you are done driving.

Never text, use the Internet, or use apps while on your phone while you are driving. These phone-based activities are visual, manual, and cognitive distractions all rolled into one dangerous behavior. As the CDC website points out, “Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph.” Thinking about a driver not paying attention to the road for that long is a scary thought.

If the risk of physical injury is not enough to dissuade someone from distracted driving, some states have laws prohibiting the use of cell phones. For example, in Georgia, it is illegal to hold your phone while driving.

If You’ve Been in an Accident, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC Today!

We all have a duty to stay focused on the road and drive with care every time we get behind the wheel. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. The experienced auto accident attorneys at Joel Williams Law work tirelessly to get justice for personal injury victims throughout Georgia.

Joel Williams or Chase Elleby can investigate the facts of your case, help you understand your legal rights and options, develop an effective legal argument on your behalf, and vigorously pursue justice for you in pre-suit negotiations or court. If you think you have a claim, contact our Georgia personal injury attorneys to schedule your free consultation today at (404) 389-1035.

Human Trafficking and Negligent Security in Georgia

human trafficking negligent security

While New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft had reason to celebrate after his team’s historic win in Super Bowl LIII, his legacy may be forever stained by criminal charges brought against him for allegedly soliciting prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida. Kraft originally pleaded not guilty to the charges and subsequently rejected a deal offered by the Florida prosecutors. To be clear, Kraft is not facing human trafficking charges but the charges brought against him did stem from a broad investigation into prostitution and human trafficking in Florida.

Florida’s crackdown on human trafficking as well as the 169 sex-trafficking-related arrests made in or around Atlanta on the day leading up to Super Bowl LIII are a stark reminder of the evil that is present in our world. It was no coincidence that the sting coincided with Super Bowl LIII, as law enforcement expected a surge in sex trafficking due to the increase in visitors from out of state. All told, the arrests included 26 sex traffickers as well as 34 individuals caught attempting to engage in a sexual act with a minor. Nine different under-aged victims were recovered during the operation, with the youngest only 14 years of age.

The joint operation involved a wide array of law enforcement groups. It was headed by the Violent Crimes Against Children/Human Trafficking Program Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation (MATCH) Task Force. The task force includes other entities like the FBI, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the GBI, and the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.

How to Help Stop Child Sex Slavery

There are several ways that each and every one of us can help reduce this horrific epidemic of sex slavery in Georgia and across the United States. First, we can donate to CLAWS (Civil Lawyers Against World Sex Slavery). CLAWS is a non-profit organization that uses the civil justice system to bring pro bono lawsuits on behalf of survivors of sex slavery.  We should also contact our elected officials and let them know that stopping child sex trafficking should be a top priority when passing laws and formulating state and federal budgets. A good resource for finding your elected officials can be found here.

Collateral Consequences & Negligent Security Lawsuits

The effects of these arrests reach beyond those directly involved in criminal conduct. For example, property owners and occupiers could also face civil liability in a negligent security premises liability lawsuit brought by the crime victim. That’s because Georgia statutory law, O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1, requires the owners and occupiers of property to use ordinary care in keeping their premises safe for tenants and visitors.

Similar to a slip and fall case, liability of the owner or occupier is contingent upon actual or constructive knowledge of the danger as well as foreseeability. In Georgia, a property owner or occupier may be liable for criminal acts occurring on its property if the occurrence of crime was foreseeable.  See e.g. Walker v. Aderhold Properties, 303 Ga. App. 710, 712-13 (2010).

Foreseeability may be established in many ways, one of which is through evidence of similar criminal activity occurring on a property. Suppose a hotel owner knows that its property has been a hotbed of criminal activity including shootings, sex crimes, and other violent offenses. If the hotel owner does not take reasonable measures to protect its guest from the criminals that frequent the property and a guest is attacked by one of these criminals, the victim may bring a negligent security lawsuit against the hotel owner or manager.

The same civil laws apply if a hotel owner or manager knows or should know that children are being sold for sex on its property. In those circumstances, the owner or manager has a duty to take reasonable security measures to guard against this type of despicable activity. If the owner or manager does not take reasonable action to stop this activity from occurring, the victim could bring a negligent security lawsuit against the hotel owner or occupier.

Negligent Security Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a violent crime at an apartment, hotel, or other commercial establishment, you should always report the incident to the proper authorities. You may also want to consider contacting a negligent security attorney to see if you have a valid claim for civil damages. If the case is strong, a negligent security attorney can bring a lawsuit against the apartment complex or hotel in an effort to obtain compensation for the injuries caused by the lack of proper security.

If you would like to learn more about negligent security lawsuits in Georgia before you contact a law firm, you can watch this YouTube video where I explain negligent security claims in more detail. When you are ready to speak with a negligent security attorney, you can contact our office for a free consultation by calling (404) 389-1035.

Do I Have to Pay Taxes on My Personal Injury Settlement?

Do I Have to Pay Taxes on My Personal Injury Settlement?

When it comes to settlements for personal injury lawsuits, one topic that is rarely discussed is the tax implications of that settlement. Many personal injury settlements involve a large lump sum payment; failure to pay the required taxes on an amount that large could land you with a significant penalty with the IRS. But are personal injury settlements even taxable? According to the IRS, it depends on the circumstances surrounding your settlement. In fact, it is possible that part of your settlement is taxable while other parts are not. Typically, your settlement can be itemized into different sections including medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and even interest. Ultimately, it depends on what the purpose of that part of your settlement is.

Repayment for Medical Bills 

Fortunately, any part of your settlement that is earmarked for claims regarding your personal physical injuries or illnesses is not taxable. If your entire settlement is entirely related to your injuries, you may not have to pay taxes on any of it. However, there is an exception. Any money that is for medical bills that you deducted from your taxes in previous years must be counted as income on your current year’s taxes.

Emotional Distress

For settlement money intended to address emotional distress or mental anguish, it depends entirely on the cause of your distress. If your emotional distress stems from physical injuries or illnesses, you will not be taxed on that settlement. If your emotional distress were related to any other factor, you would likely need to pay taxes on that amount.

Lost Wages

Your tax responsibility on lost wages can be a complicated issue. While lost wages are taxed, the actual taxes due can vary depending on your circumstances. If the lost wages you were awarded were related to your employment for another business, your lost wages recovery would be subject to social security and Medicare taxes just like your paycheck would be.

If your lost wages are related to lost profits for a trade or business, you must report any lost wages as net earnings are subject to self-employment taxes.

Interest

You are required to pay taxes on all interest payments. In fact, IRS Form 1040 provides for a section titled “Interest Income,” which is designed for this exact purpose.

Punitive Damages

Just like interest payments, any punitive damages must be reported as income on your tax return. You must report any punitive damage payments as income on the “Other Income” section of IRS Form 1040. This is the case whether the source of your claim was from personal injuries or otherwise.

For More Information, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC

Regardless of the outcome of your personal injury case, the proceeds of your case will be taxed the same. If you are concerned about the possible tax implications of a personal injury settlement, your best course of action is to discuss your case with a professional. Joel Williams is an experienced personal injury attorney that can guide you through the process from beginning to end. To discuss your case, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, online or at (404) 389-1035 to set up your free consultation today.

100,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Recalled for E. Coli Contamination

Products Liability Kennesaw GA

Swift Beef Company has recently recalled nearly 100,000 pounds of ground beef due to E. coli contamination. The beef was mostly shipped to distributors to be sold in grocery stores and restaurants. The recall went into effect on November 16, 2018. Labels for the recalled beef can be viewed here.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service, government inspectors confirmed that ground beef produced by the company contained E. coli on November 15 and moved quickly to put the recall in place. The inspectors confirmed that Swift Beef Company was the sole source supplier of the beef in question. Thankfully, there have been no confirmed reports of anyone getting sick due to consuming the affected beef.

Symptoms of E. coli Poisoning

The primary symptoms of E. coli poisoning are dehydration, diarrhea, and stomach pains. Most people recover within a few days; however, more serious long-term complications can arise. Especially true for young children, elderly adults, or anyone with a compromised immune system. Anyone concerned that they may have E. coli poisoning should contact a healthcare provider.

Food Recalls

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) enforces safety standards for all foods sold in the United States. Despite this, food recalls happen frequently. There were nearly 40 food recalls in the United States in the month of November 2018 alone, and this number is typical. The good news is that food recalls create bad press for companies and are expensive for them to deal with, so they are usually very quick to act in fixing the problem.

Product Liability Claims Involving Defective Food Products

Companies that produce or sell food in the state of Georgia have a duty to ensure that what they are selling is safe for consumers. Not only do these companies have to follow state and federal regulations for food safety, but they can also be liable under Georgia’s product liability laws if they sell or distribute food products that are unsafe.

Georgia’s product liability law is centered on O.C.G.A. § 51-1-11, which holds that any company that sells any product “as new property directly or through a dealer or any other person” is liable for any harm that occurs as a result of product defects. This law applies to producers and sellers of food.

When companies negligently or intentionally sell unsafe food, hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people may be affected. For this reason, product liability claims are often carried out through class action lawsuits or multi-district litigation. However, individual claims are also sometimes possible. A personal injury lawyer familiar with product liability claims can help you understand your legal rights and options.

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

Product liability claims are complicated, and large companies pay heaps of money to avoid liability. For them, defending against product liability claims are simply a cost of business. For victims of defective products, claims for compensation mean much more. If you have been harmed by any type of defective or dangerous product, the experienced product liability attorneys can help you understand your case and work to get you the compensation you deserve.

Joel Williams Law, LLC, offers free case evaluations and accepts cases on a contingency fee basis. Located in Kennesaw, Georgia, we serve clients throughout the state in both state and federal court. If you would like more information or would like to discuss your case, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, by calling (404) 389-1035.

Tips to Help Parents Recover for Medical Bills Incurred on Behalf of Their Minor Child

Tips to help parents with medical bills when child has been injured in an accident

Tips to Help Parents Recover for Medical Bills Incurred on Behalf of Their Minor Child

There are few things parents fear more than their children suffering serious injuries. But as much as parents try to keep their children safe, accidents are bound to occur from time to time. Under Georgia law, parents have a right to seek compensation for medical expenses if their child is injured due to the negligence of someone else. Parents can also seek compensation on behalf of their child for pain and suffering. To recover compensation for medical bills incurred on behalf of a minor child, parents should ensure that they understand their rights, plead their case properly, and adhere to the statute of limitations for tort claims.

Parents Have a Right to Recover for Medical Bills

As mentioned, parents have a legal right to recover for medical bills if their child is injured due to someone else’s negligence. Other parties may also have a right to recover if they paid the medical bills in question and were acting as a guardian over the child. Parents should know that they have “standing,” or legal authority, to bring claims of their own for medical bills, as well as on behalf of their child for harms the child suffered.

Legal Standards Are Different for Children

Many children are injured because they are doing something unsafe, like wandering onto a neighbor’s property without invitation and getting hurt playing with a dangerous object. If an adult did something like this, they would likely not be entitled to compensation because they would be deemed at-fault in causing their own harm. But the legal standards governing the conduct of children are relaxed and there is a higher standard of care owed to children. For instance, a neighbor may not have any duty to prevent you from falling into their pool, but they do have a duty to keep a fence around their yard to prevent a toddler from doing the same. Similarly, companies have no duty to make products free of risks that are open and obvious to consumers, but they do have a duty to make products free of any obvious risks if they are marketing products to children.

Georgia’s Statute of Limitations

If your child has been injured due to a wrongful act, it is crucial to remember that under the Georgia statute of limitations a tort claim brought to recover for medical bills must generally be brought within two years of the date of the accident. Once the statute of limitations period has run, a parent’s claim for compensation for medical bills will be barred completely. However, a child’s own claim for pain and suffering damages can be made either by the parents or when the child turns 18 years old.

Distinguishing Medical Bills From Other Damages

It is important for parents or guardians bringing a claim on behalf of a minor to recognize that although they are entitled to compensation for medical bills, damages awarded for things like pain and suffering are solely the property of the child. Parents receiving money from a settlement or award on behalf of their child have a duty to only use that money if it is for the benefit of the child. Georgia also has laws in place to ensure that the proceeds from these settlements or awards are safeguarded properly and go toward the benefit of the child. Under the Official Code of Georgia Title 29 Chapter 3 Section 3, settlements of more than $15,000 must be approved by the court. When a child receives an award of more than $15,000 from a personal injury claim, the parents must also be bonded as conservators to safeguard the money until the child turns 18. If an award is less than $15,000, the law simply states that parents “shall thereafter hold and use all or part of the personal property for the benefit of the minor and shall be accountable for the personal property.”

If Your Child Has Suffered an Injury, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, to Schedule a Free Consultation

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, are dedicated to getting justice for injury victims throughout the state of Georgia. If you would like to discuss your case or would like more information, contact Joel Williams today by calling (404) 389-1035.

Is My Personal Injury Settlement Marital Property? 

frustrated couple looking at personal injury settlement

It is common for married personal injury victims that have accepted a settlement or won a judgment to wonder whether that money is their own separate property or is marital property. Even if you aren’t getting or thinking about divorce, it is good information to know. 

Marital property is generally any property that is acquired during a marriage. This means that income and all of the things that married couples pay for with their income are generally considered marital property. Property brought into a marriage, and things like gifts and inheritance, are usually considered separate property. In most cases, a personal injury settlement is considered a mixture of both separate and marital property. To determine what portion of a settlement is marital property, Georgia courts do something known as equitable division. 

Equitable Division 

Equitable is just the legal term for fair. Personal injury settlements are separated by equitable division, which basically means that the judge will divide the settlement in as fair a way as is possible. There are, however, certain principles that judges will follow. 

As a general rule, compensation for medical expenses and lost wages that occurred during a marriage is considered marital property. This is because, in most cases, lost wages during a marriage are considered lost marital property, and a personal injury victim uses marital property to pay for medical expenses that are incurred during the marriage. It is fair for a spouse to share in this compensation. 

However, Georgia law considers compensation for future medical expenses, future lost wages, or pain and suffering to be personal property. A spouse cannot claim any of this compensation as their own. As the Georgia Supreme Court has explained: 

A personal injury claim settlement, to the extent that it represents compensation for pain and suffering and loss of capacity is peculiarly personal to the party who receives it. For the other party to benefit from the misfortune of the injured party would be unfair. 

Considering the above, if you are negotiating a personal injury settlement and are also going through a divorce, it is important to make sure that the divorce settlement specifies exactly what portions of the settlement compensates different types of damages. Like any other assets, it is also possible for spouses to agree in writing that a settlement or specific portion of a settlement is separate property. If you have already accepted a settlement for a personal injury, the amount that is personal versus marital property will depend heavily on the language of the settlement and what the purpose of the compensation was for. 

For More Information, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC 

If you have suffered a personal injury during the divorce process, it is important to understand your legal rights to any settlement or judgment you receive. Joel Williams Law, LLC, helps clients understand these and other related issues. This is also an issue you should discuss with your divorce attorney. If you would like more information or would like to discuss your case, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, to schedule a free case evaluation by calling (404) 389-1035 today.

Negligent Supervision of Children

negligent supervision of children

Parents and caregivers of children have a legal duty to supervise children under their care. Negligent supervision of children can create a legal issue when a child hurts him or herself or when a child causes harm to someone else because no adult was watching them. In these cases, the adult that was supposed to be watching them can be held liable. 

Negligent Caregivers and Harm to Children 

When a parent leaves their child in another person’s care, they are placing a huge amount of trust in that person to keep their child safe. Caregivers — like daycare attendants, babysitters, nannies, teachers, coaches, and camp counselors — have a responsibility to safeguard children under their care. When caregivers fail to take reasonable steps to keep a child under their care safe, they have breached a legal duty and are liable for whatever harm is caused to the child as a result. Whether a caregiver acted unreasonably is a question of fact that must be determined on a case-by-case basis. 

Georgia Parental Liability Laws 

The other category of cases involving negligent supervision of children occurs when a child causes an injury to someone else. If a child was under the care of a daycare provider, teacher, guardian, or any other person with a legal duty to watch over the child at the time of the injury, then that party may be found liable to the person that was harmed. In all other instances, Georgia law holds parents vicariously liable for the wrongful acts of their children. This type of liability is not tied to a parent’s negligent supervision, but rather to the child’s actions. However, negligent supervision and parental vicarious liability are issues that are often closely tied together. 

Under Official Code of Georgia Title 51 Chapter 2 Section 2, parents are liable for negligent and intentional torts committed by their children. Unsupervised children can cause harm in myriad ways because they lack mental and emotional maturity. Georgia courts have determined that liability under that § 51-2-2 extends to auto accidents caused by children under the “family purpose doctrine.” This means that, generally, whenever a minor causes an accident while driving the family vehicle, the parents can be held liable. 

The Official Code of Georgia Title 51 Chapter 2 Section 3 additionally holds that parents are liable for the “willful and malicious” conduct of their children “in an amount not to exceed $10,000.00 plus court costs.” Because damages are capped at $10,000 for willful and malicious conduct, but not for negligent acts, it is important to have cases carefully evaluated to ensure that the proper statute applies. It is also important to note that § 51-2-3 states that it is not intended to provide a restrictive remedy, meaning that parents can be liable for the willful and malicious conduct of their children beyond the $10,000 limit if other theories of liability also apply. 

For More Information, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC 

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

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.