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

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

Are There Limits on the Amount of Interest a Litigation Funding Company Can Charge 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, today at 833 – LEGALGA.

Georgia’s Dram Shop Law & Drunk Driving

Drunk Driving and Dram Shop Statute in Georgia

If you have been injured in a vehicle collision with a drunk driver in Georgia, you may be able to pursue a claim against the restaurant or bar that over served the drunk. In Georgia dram shop lawsuits, the drunk driver isn’t the only party you can hold responsible. If an establishment knowingly over served the driver with alcohol prior to the accident, you may also have a claim against that establishment   . This claim may be brought thanks to what’s known as Georgia’s dram shop liability laws.

What Is a Dram Shop Law?

Georgia is one of 30 states nationwide to adopt some form of dram shop liability. While dram shop lawsuits are somewhat uncommon, Georgia juries have previously rendered significant verdicts against establishments that overserved drivers.

If a proprietor of a bar or one of their employees knowingly serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, they may face liability if the intoxicated person goes on to injure someone in an alcohol-related accident.

In addition to visibly intoxicated patrons, dram shop laws also apply to anyone who serves a person less than 21 years of age. It makes no difference if the minor used a convincing fake ID to obtain alcohol; it is up to the establishment to determine when an ID is valid.

However, there are some exceptions to the rule. If the drunk driver consumes their own alcohol at the establishment, there is no liability on behalf of the owner or any employees. This is especially true in cases where an establishment does not sell alcohol at all. Additionally, there is an exception if the proprietor or employee has reason to believe the driver would not be driving later. Examples include if the driver had walked to the bar or had a cab waiting. Dram shop laws don’t apply in these situations.

Enforcement

It is up to business owners and employees to act with care when serving alcoholic beverages. The Georgia Department of Revenue is empowered to regulate alcohol license infractions, one of which has restrictions on overserving alcohol to patrons. But an investigative report has shown that they make little effort in actively policing bars and restaurants in an effort to curb overserving. While other states actively investigate bars to determine if they avoid overserving, the Georgia Department of Revenue has a reputation for not being as vigilant.

Discuss Georgia Dram Shop Laws With Our Georgia Dram Shop Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been injured in a Georgia traffic collision by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to seek monetary compensation from the responsible party. That compensation may include your medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage bills, lost wages, and punitive damages. And if the drunk driver that struck you was over-served by a Georgia bar or night club, you may be able to seek recovery from the establishment as well as the driver.

Attorney Joel Williams has a proven track record of recovering significant damages on behalf of his clients. Our experienced Georgia personal injury attorney, Joel carefully investigates every case to identify any legal issues and to provide his clients with an understanding of what to expect with an injury lawsuit. Contact Williams Elleby today at 833-LEGALGA today for a free consultation.

Is an Apartment Building Liable for a Broken Security Gate?

Who Is Liable for Broken Security Gate and Personal Injury?

Georgia landlords have a duty to fix broken security gates in order to keep residents safe. This is especially true when they have notice of criminal activity nearby. If there is a history of break-ins or robberies in the area, your landlord may be required to provide heightened security. When a complex falls into disrepair, your landlord may be on the hook for injuries suffered as a result of negligent security. One of the most common cases of negligent security is the failure to repair a faulty security gate. And, unfortunately, the consequences of a defective security gate can be deadly.

Liability for Negligent Security in Georgia

The owners and managers of Georgia apartment complexes owe a duty to both tenants and visitors to take steps to prevent crime on their premises. O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1. Any apartment complex that fails to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their tenants could be held liable for the damages that result from crime on the property. Walker v. Aderhold Properties, Inc., 303 Ga. App. 710 (2010).

Landlords and property managers are not liable for every crime that occurs at a Georgia apartment complex. There are two primary requirements that must be met for liability to apply to a landlord:

  • The criminal actions must have been foreseeable
  • The landlord must have failed to take reasonable measures to prevent crime

Foreseeable Threat

To be liable to a crime victim, a landlord or property manager must have been able to foresee the possibility of the crime in question. Drayton v. Kroger Co., 297 Ga. App. 484 (2009). The best way to prove a crime was foreseeable is to determine if similar criminal activity has occurred on or around the complex. If the apartment has had a string of break-ins, or if the surrounding neighborhood has a history of muggings, the threat may have been foreseeable to the point that your landlord should have taken steps to prevent it. In assessing the foreseeability of similar crimes, Georgia courts will “inquire into the location, nature and extent of the prior criminal activities and their likeness, proximity or other relationship to the crime in question.” Sturbridge Partners, Ltd. v. Walker, 267 Ga. 785 (1997).

Reasonable Measures

The second requirement is that the landlord failed to take “reasonable” steps to address the threat. Whether or not a step is reasonable is entirely subjective and determined on a case by case basis. Matt v. Days Inns, 212 Ga. App. 792, 794 (1994). If a negligent security lawsuit ends up going to trial, it will be up to the jury to determine if the steps taken were reasonable. But when it comes to the failure to repair a broken security gate, a strong case can be made that it is unreasonable allow a gate to remain in disrepair. After all, the gate is there for a reason.

While landlords and management companies might point to the cost of maintaining security gates, those costs are less than other security measures that may be necessary in areas where violent crime is rampant. Additionally, any savings from failing to maintain a security gate can quickly be wiped away by one incident of vandalism or property damage. Plus, it is a small price to pay for a landlord to protect their tenants.

Discuss Your Case With A Georgia Negligent Security Attorney

If you were a victim of crime at your Georgia apartment complex, you may have a claim based on your landlord’s failure to provide adequate security. A Georgia premises liability lawyer can review your case and determine if your landlord failed to take reasonable steps to protect you. To learn more, contact our firm at 833-LEGALGA for a free consultation. If you aren’t ready to speak to an attorney, you can learn more about negligent security cases on our YouTube Channel.

Punitive Damages in a Georgia Personal Injury Case

Drunk Driving in Personal Injury Case Involving Punitive Damages in Georgia

A Georgia personal injury lawsuit is a civil case, not criminal, so there is no jail or prison time at stake; however punishment may be available in the form of punitive damages. Sometimes a defendant’s behavior is so shocking and appalling that the law wants to do all that it can to prevent it from happening again. One way the law can do this is by making a defendant pay punitive damages. Punitive damages are also known as exemplary damages — damages meant to make an example out of the defendant so that behavior doesn’t continue.

Punitive Damages vs. Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages in a personal injury case serve to compensate the victim for what they lost or spent, or any expenses accrued due to the accident. Compensatory damages are available to compensate a victim for a loss.

Punitive damages serve an entirely different purpose. Their purpose is not to compensate the plaintiff, although the plaintiff does receive the damage award. Courts and juries award punitive damages when the behavior of the defendant demonstrates an intentional disregard for the rights of another. Miller v. City Views at Rosa Burney Park GP, LLC, 323 Ga. App. 590 (2013). The purpose is to punish and deter the defendant from repeating the same action. As such, courts don’t award punitive damages in every personal injury case. Another important difference is that punitive damages have to be requested when the complaint is filed; otherwise, they cannot be pursued at trial — they are not automatically awarded.

Burden of Proof for Being Awarded Punitive Damages

The victim plaintiff must prove by “clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences.” Caldwell v. Church, 341 Ga. App. 852 (2017) quoting O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1. A good example of clear and convincing evidence under Georgia law is evidence that an adverse driver was drunk or under the infuence of drugs when he or she caused a car crash. This meets the “clear and convincing evidence” standard required for punitive damages.

Limits to Punitive Damages in Georgia

In most cases where punitive damages are awarded, Georgia has set a maximum limit of $250,000.

This maximum limit does not apply to product liability cases. There is also no maximum limit when a court finds that a defendant “acted or failed to act with the specific intent to cause harm, or that the defendant acted or failed to act while under the influence of alcohol [or] drugs.”

This means that if the defendant intended harm either by deliberately acting or doing nothing at all and allowing harm to come to the victim, the defendant could face punitive damages. If the defendant harmed the victim due to being intoxicated on either drugs or alcohol, punitive damages are likely to be awarded.

Contact Our Georgia Personal Injury Attorneys Today

If you or a loved one is a victim of a personal injury, punitive damages can and should be explored. You will need an experienced attorney in Georgia who can help you navigate the complex system. If you have questions about the law and your rights, contact our firm to schedule a free consultation by calling 833-LEGALGA.

What Is an Attractive Nuisance?

Pool Safety and Attractive Nuisance Personal Injury Laws in Georgia

Children are naturally curious about their surroundings and can be harmed by what the law considers to be an “Attractive Nuisance.” Under Georgia law, any feature that could (a) draw the interest of a child and (b) potentially harm them is known as an attractive nuisance. The perfect example is a swimming pool. If a landowner fails to take appropriate steps to protect the public from this hazard, they could be liable for any injuries suffered by a child.

The combination of a child’s natural curiosity and the inability to identify potential hazards can be a recipe for disaster when a child is looking for a place to play and comes across a dangerous feature on another person’s property. If your child is injured due to an attractive nuisance in Georgia, you may be entitled to recover for your child’s medical bills. If your child dies after encountering an attractive nuisance, we can help you understand the challenges that are involved with bringing a wrongful death claim for the loss of a child.

Attractive Nuisance Liability in Georgia

For a landowner to be liable under the Attractive Nuisance theory, a few things must be proven. After all, not every nuisance is attractive and not every injury was feasibly preventable. A landowner is liable under the Attractive Nuisance theory if:

  • There is a dangerous condition on their property;
  • The hazardous condition was likely to attract young children;
  • A child, incapable of understanding the danger due to their age, was injured by the condition;
  • The landowner failed to take steps to guard against the injury; and
  • That preventing access to the condition or rendering it harmless was feasible without obstructing its intended purpose.

See Gregory v. Johnson, 249 Ga. 151, 154-155 (1982). In other words, a landowner owes a duty to any child that might be injured by a condition on their property that is attractive to the child. This is the case as long as it was feasible for the landowner to prevent access to the condition or render it harmless without obstructing the condition’s purpose. For example, an oil pump that might appear to a child as a teeter-totter may not be rendered entirely safe without affecting its ability to pump oil.

If all of the conditions described above are met, the landowner may be found liable for the injuries of the child. It is important to note that the duty owed to a child in these circumstances is much higher than that owed to an adult trespasser. In many cases, a landowner may be liable to a trespassing child for a dangerous condition but liability would not lie for injuries to a trespassing adult in the same situation. These nuisances can be either privately owned or public property.

Examples of Attractive Nuisances

Every premises liability case is different. However, there are a variety of examples that come up frequently in Attractive Nuisance lawsuits. Here are some of the most common examples of an attractive nuisance:

  • Railroad turntables
  • Empty swimming pools
  • Construction sites
  • Wells
  • Power lines
  • Man-made fountains
  • Abandoned cars
  • Farm equipment

These are only a few of the possible Attractive Nuisances that are common in Georgia. In many of these examples, the circumstances in each case could affect whether Attractive Nuisance liability applies. For example, farm equipment that was storable inside secure fencing might be an attractive nuisance, while equipment at a location where fencing is impossible may not qualify.

Premises Liability Attorney in Georgia

Every Attractive Nuisance case is different and will require extensive research and investigation. If your child or loved one suffered an injury on the property of another, it is possible that the property owner is liable for their damages. To discuss your options with an experienced premises liability attorney, contact us today at 833-LEGALGA.

Rapper TI’s Sister Killed in Georgia Traffic Accident

Shattered Windshield and Deployed Airbag Personal Injuries in Vehicle Collision

Precious Harris, the sister of rapper T.I. that regularly appeared on the reality show T.I.’s Family Hustle, died as a result of a vehicle accident in Atlanta on February 12, 2019. Her granddaughter, a passenger in the vehicle, was treated for chest pain but was ultimately released from the hospital.

The Accident

Harris, 66, was operating a 2013 Dodge Avenger owned by her brother on February 12 when she collided with a telephone pole in Atlanta. Emergency personnel rushed Harris to the hospital where she remained unresponsive in the intensive care unit. On February 22, Harris died from her injuries.

According to later reports, Harris suffered an asthma attack before the collision. According to her granddaughter, the attack was so severe that Harris passed out behind the wheel. After losing consciousness, the car crashed into a nearby pole. No other vehicles were involved in the collision. Although Harris was still breathing when emergency personnel arrived on the scene, she was quickly rushed to the hospital after she began foaming at the mouth.

Medical Emergencies and Traffic Accidents

The accident that cost Harris her life thankfully didn’t involve other drivers. However, if Harris had struck and injured another driver after her sudden asthma attack, Georgia law may have prevented the injured party from recovering damages from Harris.

A genuine medical emergency can render a driver incapable of controlling their vehicle. Because this loss of control is involuntary, a bona fide medical emergency is a complete defense to a negligence case under Georgia law. In other words, if a driver causes an accident that would otherwise constitute negligence, they are not at fault for the damages of anyone they injure if a medical emergency caused the crash. An emergency can be the result of an unknown medical condition or an unexpected reaction to prescribed medication. This is bad news for any injured party hoping to recover their damages from the driver or their insurance company.

While this defense may sound insurmountable, there is an important caveat. If the driver that suffered the medical emergency had notice that the medical condition could cause them to lose control of their vehicle, they are not entitled to use their medical emergency as a defense to avoid liability. That’s because any driver that was aware of the risk of driving with that condition and ignored it is not operating with the necessary ordinary care.

In cases like this, having a strong personal injury attorney can make the difference between recovering the damages you deserve and walking away with nothing. Whether a defendant had notice of their condition is a matter for the court, and it is up to your attorney to prove that the medical emergency defense should not apply in your case.

If You Have Been in a Georgia Traffic Accident, Contact Williams Elleby Today

Every driver has the duty to remain focused behind the wheel and drive in a safe manner; those who don’t will face liability for any people they injure or property they damage. And while it is a complete defense if an accident occurs due to an unexpected medical emergency, the truth is that some drivers use this excuse to avoid liability. If you suffered an injury in a car accident, you need a zealous advocate who will hold the other party responsible for their actions. If your accident occurred in the Georgia, the attorneys you need are at Williams Elleby. To discuss your case with an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney, contact Williams Elleby today at 833-LEGALGA.

What Does It Mean to Mitigate Damages?

Mitigation of Damages in State of Georgia For Personal Injury Cases

When a person is injured through the negligence of someone else, the injured person has a duty to mitigate their damages in order to minimize the effects and loss related to any injuries. A personal injury plaintiff will be denied the right to recover any part of damages that the court or a jury finds could reasonably have been avoided.

What Is Mitigating Damages?

Even a person who suffers personal injury through no fault of his or her own has an obligation to take reasonable steps to avoid further loss and minimize the consequences of the injury.

In Georgia, under the mitigation of damages doctrine — where to mitigate means to reduce or lessen — a person who has suffered an injury or loss should take reasonable action to avoid additional injury or loss.

What Steps Should I Take to Mitigate My Damages?

You do not have to act above and beyond what would be reasonable. Georgia law only requires you to reduce your damages by using ordinary care and diligence. If you take the steps that a reasonable person would take under the circumstances, you have exercised ordinary care and diligence. In personal injury cases, the duty to mitigate damages arises most often in relation to medical treatment. Any delay in seeking medical treatment, unreasonably refusing medical treatment, disregarding the medical advice of healthcare providers, and refusing recommended surgery may all be deemed a failure to mitigate damages.

What Are Reasonable Examples of Mitigating Damages?

  • An injured person who chooses not to have surgery when a doctor recommends surgery will not recover damages for injuries that could have been reduced or avoided had they had the recommended surgery.
  • An injured person who chooses to use alternative treatments such as holistic and homeopathic treatments instead of seeking traditional medical treatment may lead to a reduction of damages that can be recovered.
  • An accident victim has a duty to mitigate damages by seeking medical treatment for any injuries. If medical treatment would help a victim recover or reduce the severity of symptoms, a jury will understandably expect the victim to seek treatment as part of their efforts to get better.

What Happens if I Don’t Mitigate My Damages?

The failure of a plaintiff to take reasonable steps after suffering an injury or loss can result in a reduced damages award. The purpose of the duty to mitigate is to deny the recovery of damages that could have been reasonably avoided had the plaintiff taken reasonable action. The person at fault in your accident or injury should only be responsible for the damages they caused.  Georgia law does not require a negligent party to pay for damages they didn’t cause.  If your case goes to trial, most trial court judges will utilize Georgia’s Pattern Jury Instructions and instruct the jury as follows:

“When a person is injured by the negligence of another, he or she must mitigate his or her damages as much as is practicable by the use of ordinary care and diligence.  If you believe that a party has suffered damages as alleged, under the law, that party is bound to reduce those damages, as much as practicable, by the use of ordinary care.  If you believe that by the use of such care, that party could have reduced the damages, you would determine to what extent and reduce damages to that extent.”

This is why it is so important to never miss medical appointments and to do everything medical professionals recommend after a personal injury.

For More Information, Contact Williams Elleby

The duty to mitigate will almost always come up either during settlement negotiations or court deliberations. If you have questions about the law and your case, contact  Williams Elleby to schedule a free consultation by calling 833-LEGALGA.

Animal Bite Injuries

Personal Injuries and Georgia’s Dog Bite Statute

Nearly one in five people bitten by a dog requires medical attention. It can be traumatic, painful, and disfiguring. When you or someone close to you has been bitten by a dog or other animal in Georgia, you may be able to recover compensation under certain conditions.

Georgia’s Dog Bite Statute

Georgia’s dog bite statute also covers injuries caused by other animals and almost any kind of animal behavior that causes injury. In order to prove that an animal’s owner is liable under the statute, the injured person must show that:

  • The animal is vicious or dangerous;
  • The owner was careless with the animal or let it “go at liberty,” which caused the injury; and
  • The injured person did not provoke the animal.

Georgia’s Negligence Law for Animal Injuries

Georgia is a “negligence” state when it comes to animal bites. In order to prove liability, the injured person must prove that the animal’s owner knew that the animal was “vicious” or “dangerous” and acted without reasonable care to restrain the animal or protect other people from injury. If an owner has no prior warning, it may not be possible to show liability.

Georgia does not have a statewide leash law; instead, individual counties have laws that stipulate how and when a dog must be restrained. In counties with leash laws, failing to have an animal on a leash is enough to show negligence of the owner.

Deadline for Filing an Animal Bite Lawsuit in Georgia

As with all personal injury claims, there is a statute of limitations specific to your state and the type of case that you are filing. This means that there is a time limit on your right to file a lawsuit after your injury or accident. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for an animal bite claim is two years.

Animal Bite Injury Defenses as an Animal Owner in Georgia

An animal owner who faces a dog or animal bite injury claim has several possible defenses under Georgia law, including lack of knowledge, reasonable care, and provocation. Since Georgia is a “negligence” state, an owner without the knowledge that their pet is vicious cannot be held liable. Likewise, if the owner did not allow the animal to “go at liberty” and was not “careless,” then the owner cannot be held liable. Lastly, if the reason why the bite victim was bitten was that they provoked the animal, the owner will not be held liable.

Damages for Animal Bite Claims

The type of damages that an animal bite victim might be awarded include:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of actual earnings
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Veterinary medical treatment for the victim’s dog if it also was injured in the same incident
  • Property damages
  • Future disability

For More Information, Contact One of our Georgia Dog Bite Attorneys

Are you considering filing a lawsuit due to a dog or other animal bite? It is important to seek legal advice so that you understand your rights and obligations. Contact  Williams Elleby to schedule a free consultation by calling 833-LEGALGA.

Georgia Auto Insurance Laws

Minimum Requirements of Georgia Auto Insurance Coverage for Personal Injury Cases

In Georgia, car insurance is required. It is there to protect both drivers and passengers in the event of an accident.

Minimum Requirements

If you drive a car in Georgia, you must have automobile liability insurance for the minimum limits required by law to drive on public roads and highways. Liability coverage pays for any damages you may cause to another driver or their property while on the road.

The minimum limits of liability required under Georgia law are:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person in an accident;
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death of multiple people in an accident; and
  • $25,000 for property destruction of others in an accident.

Acceptable proof of Georgia liability insurance coverage:

  • Proof of insurance, filed by your insurance company, in the Department of Revenue’s database.
  • Rental agreement for a vehicle that is being rented.
  • Bill of Sale dated within 30 days of the date the vehicle was purchased and a valid insurance binder page.
  • A valid Self-Insured Insurance Card and a Certificate of Self-Insurance.
  • Valid Insurance policy information card for Georgia International Registration Plan.

Optional Coverage

If you can afford it, it is recommended that you also purchase additional coverage beyond the liability insurance. While additional coverage is not required by state law, it may be  required by the bank or finance company if there is a loan on the vehicle or if the vehicle is being leased. Additional coverage provides you with extra protection in the event of not only a collision but other non-accident related damages to your car.

Here are the most common types of optional kinds of insurance:

  • Collision Insurance: This covers you in the case of collision with other vehicles.
  • Comprehensive Insurance: This covers your car for non-accident related damages such as theft, vandalism, and fire damage.
  • Uninsured Driver InsuranceThis covers you if you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Showing Proof of Auto Insurance

You should keep a copy of your insurance policy card and registration in your vehicle. You must also be registered in the Georgia Electronic Insurance Compliance System (GEICS). This is used by law enforcement during traffic stops. Your insurance provider is responsible for registering you with GEICS.

Here are some common instances where you might need to show proof of auto insurance:

  • At the DMV when renewing, reinstating, and changing license plates.
  • At the request of a police officer during a traffic stop.
  • After an accident.

The Penalty for Driving Without Insurance

Driving a vehicle while the registration is suspended, revoked, or canceled is a criminal offense.

By law, the Georgia Department of Revenue must:

  • Suspend or revoke the registration of any vehicle that does not have continuous Georgia Liability insurance coverage.
  • Fine the vehicle owner/lessee $25 for any lapse of coverage while the vehicle is actively registered.
  • Fine the vehicle owner/lessee up to $160 in addition to the $25 fine if the lapse of coverage fine is not paid within 30 days and
  • Refuse to renew or reinstate vehicle registration for any of the following:
    • Fines have not been paid
    • An unresolved lapse of coverage
    • The vehicle is not insured

For More Information, Contact Our Georgia Car Accident Attorneys

If you have been in a car accident and you feel like you are owed compensation from an insurance company, contact  Williams Elleby to schedule a free consultation by calling 833-LEGALGA.