The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Georgia

statute limitations Georgia personal injury

If you have suffered a personal injury and think you may be able to make a claim against the person or entity responsible, it is imperative that you be aware of the statute of limitations for your claim. The statute of limitations is the time limit that a person has to make a claim. If a claim is not made within this time limit, it will be barred. There is a statute of limitations for virtually every type of claim under both federal and state law in the United States. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years under the Official Code of Georgia Title 9 Section 3 Article 33

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is one reason that victims should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible following personal injury. It takes time to properly investigate a case and prepare a claim. It is always a tragedy when a personal injury victim fails to get compensation they deserve because they filed a claim too late. If you have suffered a personal injury and would like to find out more about your legal rights and options, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, right away so that we can investigate your case by calling (404) 389-1035. 

The Rationale Behind the Statute of Limitations 

It may seem unfair to prevent an injury victim from getting the compensation they deserve just because they waited too long before bringing their claim. But there are a couple of very good reasons that statutes of limitations exists. The first is that it is unfair to expect people to defend against claims arising out of conduct that occurred in the distant past. Statutes of limitations are intended to prevent lawsuits against people that may not even remember the incident they are being sued for.  Another important rationale for statutes of limitations is that they encourages victims to file lawsuits when evidence is still fresh, which makes the work of sorting out liability much easier on the court system. Statutes of limitations have been around almost as long as the western legal tradition, and were incorporated into the laws in America before the United States was formed. 

Official Code of Georgia Title 9 Section 3 Article 33 

O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33 states, “actions for injuries to the person shall be brought within two years after the right of action accrues.” Generally, an action “accrues” at the moment that a victim knows that they have been injured by the defendant’s conduct. In most personal injury cases, this means that the two-year limitations period begins as soon as the defendant’s negligent conduct causes an accident to occur. 

However, in some cases an action may not accrue until months or even years later. This can happen either because a person does not realize they have been injured right away, or because they do not know that their injury was caused by the defendant. An example to illustrate both of these situations is when a person is harmed by a toxic substance or a defective pharmaceutical drug.  In such a case, the victim may not feel symptoms from the harm they suffered until many days, weeks, or even months later. And, after they feel the symptoms, it would require additional investigation for them to discover the cause of their negative reaction or illness. Their claim will therefore not accrue, and the two-year time limit to file their claim will not begin to run, until they are aware or should be aware of the cause of their harm. 

Statutes of Limitations for Specific Claims 

There are a few types of personal injury claims that are governed by special statutes of limitations. These include: 

  • Wrongful death claims, medical malpractice claims, and product liability claims, which all have a two-year statute of limitations under Georgia law. 
  • Workers’ compensation claims, which have only a one-year statute of limitations. 
  • Claims for property damage, which have a four-year statute of limitations. 

Tolling of the Statute of Limitations 

Under Georgia law, the statute of limitations does not run, or is tolled, in certain cases. The Official Code of Georgia Title 9 Chapter 3 Article 5 establishes several instances in which the time limit to file a claim under a statute of limitations is put on pause.  For instance, if a person is legally incompetent prior to or following an accident, the statute of limitations will be tolled until they regain legal competence, and a claim held by a child is also tolled until the child reaches the age of 18. However, in these cases, a parent or guardian may be able to make the claim on behalf of a child or incompetent person. 

Statute of Repose 

Georgia also has enacted several statutes of repose for certain types of claims. A statute of repose completely bars a claim from being made after a certain number of years. Statutes of repose and statutes of limitations may seem like the same thing, but they actually function very differently. A statute of limitations holds that a person may no longer make a claim because they have waited too long. An otherwise valid claim can be barred by the statute of limitations. A statute of repose does not simply bar a claim from being made. Rather, a statute of repose declares that any existing claim is extinguished, as though it never existed, after the statutory time limit has been reached. 

This difference is significant, because when a statute of limitations has passed, a plaintiff will still have the ability to argue that they should be able to bring their claim, for instance, because the time has been tolled. When a statute of repose has run its course, a plaintiff does not have the right to make any argument that they should still be able to make their claim, because their claim simply does not exist anymore. 

Another key difference is that a statute of limitations begins, as discussed, when a claim accrues. A statute of repose, on the other hand, begins to run as soon as the tortious conduct occurred, regardless of whether the victim was aware of what happened at the time. 

Product liability claims are extinguished by a statute of repose 10 years after a product was sold, and medical malpractice claims are extinguished by a statute of repose 5 years after the incident of malpractice occurred. 

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

If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of someone else, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, right away. Based out of in Kennesaw, Georgia, the experienced personal injury legal team at Joel Williams Law, LLC, works hard to get justice for injury victims throughout the State of Georgia in both state and federal courts. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (404) 389-1035.

Georgia Court of Appeals Recently Discusses the “Family Purpose Doctrine” in Car Accident Case

family purpose doctrine accident

A recent case decided by the Georgia Court of Appeals, Anderson v. Lewis, has helped to further define the application of Georgia’s family purpose doctrine. This case involved a Georgia auto accident. The driver that caused the accident was driving his grandfather’s vehicle at the time. The plaintiff, Teena Anderson, named both the grandson and the vehicle owner, the grandfather, as defendants. Anderson claimed that the latter should be liable according to the family purpose doctrine. 

The Family Purpose Doctrine 

Typically, a person is not liable for the negligence of someone else. But sometimes, as a matter of fairness, it is necessary to look beyond the person directly responsible to see if other parties should be obligated to compensate the victim. This is called vicarious liability. The most common application of vicarious liability occurs when employers are sued for the negligence of their employees. However, vicarious liability can also apply to family members. 

Under Georgia’s family purpose doctrine, “when an owner of a vehicle maintains the vehicle for the use and convenience of his family, that owner may be held liable for the negligence of a family member who was using the vehicle for a family purpose.”  Therefore, when a family member causes an auto accident while driving the family car in service of the family, for instance by getting groceries or giving a family member a ride, the car owner may be liable. The legal basis for the family purpose doctrine comes from Georgia case law, as well as from Georgia’s vicarious liability statute, which states that “every person shall be liable for torts committed by his wife, his child, or his servant by his command or in the prosecution and within the scope of his business, whether the same are committed by negligence or voluntarily.” 

Application of the Doctrine in Anderson 

It was clear that the family purpose doctrine applied in Anderson. The grandson was found to be using the vehicle for a family purpose when the accident occurred. However, the plaintiff was unable to serve the grandson with notice of the lawsuit, and without service of process a party cannot be sued. The claim against the grandson was therefore dismissed. 

After that, the grandfather argued that since the driver was no longer a defendant, the claim against him should also be dismissed. He argued that vicarious liability can only apply when the party that directly caused the accident is found to have been negligent. If the party accused of causing the accident is found not to have been negligent, then there can be no vicarious liability. Georgia law is clear that if there is “a judgment on the merits in favor of the servant” then there cannot be vicarious liability against the master. The trial court agreed with the grandfather’s argument and dismissed Anderson’s claim. Anderson appealed. 

The Appeal Court’s Opinion 

The Court of Appeals of Georgia overturned the trial court decision. Although the claim against the grandson was dismissed, it did not constitute a “judgment on the merits.” There was never any judicial determination that the grandson wasn’t negligent. Therefore, even though the grandson was no longer a party to the lawsuit, the Court of Appeals held that Anderson could still continue on with her lawsuit against the grandfather. This case shows that the family purpose doctrine can apply against a defendant even if the family member directly responsible is not a defendant in the lawsuit. 

Find the Best Georgia Car Accident Attorney for Your Case 

The State of Georgia has many attorneys that handle car accident claims.  Some are very good and others are not.  If you are considering hiring an attorney for your case, you should consider interviewing more than one firm before making your decision. 

If you schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Georgia personal injury attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, we can help you understand whether the family purpose doctrine may apply in your case. Victims of accidents caused by the negligence of someone else deserve to be compensated for their harm. 

Joel Williams Law, LLC, is a law firm dedicated to providing knowledgeable, accessible, and effective service to each of its personal injury clients. Our attorneys handle all types of personal injury claims throughout the State of Georgia, including auto accidents, workplace injuries, defective products, premises liability, and malpractice cases. We offer free consultations and accept cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning our clients don’t pay a dime in attorney fees unless and until we win their case. To schedule a case evaluation, call Joel Williams Law, LLC, today at (404) 389-1035.

Fatal Accidents on the Rise in Georgia 

fatal accident rise Georgia

Driving a vehicle is an everyday activity for most of us. It can often feel like a mundane task. However, it is important to always remember that driving is an inherently dangerous activity that causes millions of injuries and thousands of deaths each year in the United States. This is especially true for those of us in Georgia, where there has unfortunately been an increase in fatal accidents in recent years. 

After trending downward for a decade, the number of fatalities on Georgia highways spiked in 2015, from 1,170 to 1,432. The number increased again in 2016, all the way up to 1,561. In 2017 the number remained about the same as the year previous, with the official number of roadway fatalities being reported as 1550. As WMAZ News recently reported, this amounts to about four motor vehicle accident deaths per day in the State of Georgia. 

Common Causes of Fatal Accidents in Georgia 

There are three major causes of fatal accidents: distracted driving, impaired driving, and speeding. These days, the prime cause of distracted driving is the cellular phone. Texting while driving, or otherwise using a handheld device, is extremely dangerous because it creates both a visual and a cognitive distraction for the driver. It has been reported that text-messaging drivers are eight times more likely to be in an accident, and that drivers distracted in any type of way are four times more likely to be in an accident. Georgia drivers should also remember that it is illegal to text and drive at the same time. 

When most of us think of impaired driving, we think of DUI. And indeed, DUI creates an unacceptable risk that should not be tolerated. However, another form of impairment that causes a substantial number of accidents each year is sleepy or drowsy driving. There are obviously few things more dangerous than falling asleep at the wheel, but even when drowsy drivers manage to stay awake, an accident is more likely to occur because fatigue significantly hinders reaction time. 

Speeding also presents a major risk. Many accidents are caused because drivers are traveling too fast to take a turn or to change lanes when necessary. In other cases, drivers have been traveling at the speed limit, but were going too fast for the weather or traffic conditions. Less frequent, but still sometimes a problem, are drivers that go too slow on highways. Under Georgia’s “slow poke” law, “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.” 

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 74% of roadway fatalities can be attributed to distracted driving, impaired driving or driving too fast for conditions. Other causes of fatal accidents include violating rules of the road, pedestrian or cyclist negligence, unsafe road conditions, and vehicle malfunctions. 

In more than half of fatal accidents in Georgia in 2017, the victims were not wearing their seatbelts. This is a striking statistic when considering that seat belt usage hovers around 90%. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, seat belts save roughly 14,000 lives every year. 

Drive Alert, Arrive Alive 

In response to the alarming increase in fatalities, the Georgia Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, launched the “DriveAlert ArriveAlive” campaign. The goal of the campaign is to reduce accidents “by educating drivers about simple changes they can make in their driving behavior to prevent crashes, improve safety and save lives.” The campaign has three core messages for drivers: 

  1. Buckle up; 
  2. Stay off the phone and mobile devices; and 
  3. Drive alert. 

Who is the Best Attorney for Fatal Car Accidents in Georgia? 

The decision on which attorney to hire for a fatal Georgia car wreck can be difficult.  First, you want someone who has the experience required to handle such a complicated case.  You also need to make sure the attorney you hire is not overworked and can devote his or herself to your case.  Consider interviewing several firms or lawyers before making your decision so you can feel confident that you are hiring the best lawyer for your case. 

Joel Williams Law, LLC, Helps Victims Get the Compensation They Deserve 

All drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles with reasonable care and follow the rules of the road. This duty is extremely important because serious traffic accidents can place an enormous burden on personal injury victims and family members. The experienced legal team at Joel Williams Law, LLC, is dedicated to ensuring that accident victims get the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been in an accident, it is important to understand your legal rights and options. 

Georgia is a “fault” state when it comes to auto accident liability. This means that if a party is responsible for causing an accident, they have an obligation to compensate any victims of harm. The attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, work hard to provide knowledgeable, accessible, and effective service to each of its personal injury clients, with the goal of maximizing compensation. If you would like to consult with one of the attorneys at Joel Williams Law, call (404) 389-1035 to schedule a free meeting.

Georgia’s “Move Over” Law: What You Need to Know

Georgia move over law

Most of us know that when a police car, fire truck, or ambulance is traveling down the road with sirens blaring, the law requires us to slow down, yield the right of way, and move over to the shoulder of the road if possible. Upon the approach of an authorized emergency vehicle or police vehicle that is making use of its siren, all other drivers must:

Yield the right of way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in such position until the authorized emergency vehicle or law enforcement vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.

However, fewer people understand that they are also required to leave plenty of room when passing by police or emergency vehicles that are parked on the side of the road. This duty is defined by Georgia’s “Move Over” law, which is found in Title 40 Chapter 6 Section 16 of the Official Code of Georgia. A recent report by Atlanta news station CBS 46 found that many drivers were completely unaware that this law even existed. Below is the essential information about Georgia’s Move Over law that every Georgia driver should know.

WHAT THE MOVE OVER LAW SAYS

Georgia’s Move Over law states that when a driver approaches a stationary police, emergency, accident recovery, or Department of Transportation vehicle that is displaying flashing lights, the driver shall approach “with due caution” and unless otherwise directed by a peace officer:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change would be impossible, illegal, or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

Therefore, the first course of action should always be to change lanes. If this can be accomplished safely, a driver need not necessarily slow down as long as they are otherwise driving safely. If changing lanes isn’t possible or would be illegal or unsafe, a driver must slow down to below the posted speed limit.

CONSEQUENCES FOR VIOLATING THE MOVE OVER LAW

The Move Over law is intended to keep roadside emergency crew and law enforcement personnel safe from passing motorists. Accidents, especially those that cause fatalities, are the most serious consequences. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS), before the law was passed in 2003, “Georgia road crews, traffic enforcement officers, and other first responders endured needless years of roadside deaths and injuries due to careless errors made by distracted drivers as they sped by police making traffic stops and emergency crews working roadside jobsites.” Although the law has made things much safer, the GOHS has stated that violations are “still far too common.”

The Move Over law authorizes a penalty of up to $500 for violators. However, if an accident occurs, the legal consequences of violating the Move Over law can be much more serious. Additional charges, such as reckless driving, are common in these types of cases, and of course charges could be much more serious if a police officer or emergency crew member is struck. Moreover, in the event that there is a civil lawsuit for damages, a driver violating the law may be presumed negligent. This is referred to as negligence per se, and when this doctrine applies it is much easier for a plaintiff to win a claim against a defendant.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT JOEL WILLIAMS LAW, LLC, TODAY

Staying safe should always be the number one priority when getting behind the wheel. To this end, all Georgia drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles with reasonable care, which includes adhering to Georgia’s rules of the road. Everyone has a duty to operate their vehicles with reasonable care, but many people make unsafe mistakes simply because they don’t know what their duty is in a given situation. This is why knowing the law is essential to driver safety. When accidents do occur, it is also imperative for all parties involved to be aware of their legal rights and options.

The Kennesaw personal injury attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, have deep knowledge of Georgia traffic accident laws. They provide thorough, accessible, and effective service to each of their clients, with the goal of maximizing compensation in each case. Joel Williams Law, LLC, offers free case evaluations and accepts cases on a contingency-fee basis. If you would like more information, or if you have been in an accident and would like to discuss your case, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, today by calling (404) 389-1035.

Falling Objects Causing Injuries at a Work Site—Who’s at Fault?

falling object job injury fault

According to the Federal Department of Labor (DOL), approximately 3 million workers are injured on the job each year, and more than 4,500 are killed. Many of these accidents are caused by falling objects. In fact, the DOL has labeled falling objects as one of construction’s “fatal four” types of accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured by a falling object at a work site, you should be aware of your legal rights and options. Joel Williams Law, LLC, is dedicated to getting accident victims the compensation they deserve. To schedule a free case evaluation, call (404) 389-1035 today.

Falling Object Injuries on Work Sites

Whenever work is being done on multiple levels, there is always the risk that debris will fall or objects will be dropped, even when workers are using reasonable care. Severe injuries from falling objects at work sites often can be blamed on the failure of workers to wear a hard hat. Workers should always wear a hard hat when there is even a small possibility of falling objects.

Employers have a duty under OSHA regulations to maintain a safe work site and ensure that workers have the proper protective gear. Workers have a right to request an OSHA safety inspection if they feel conditions are unsafe, and employers are forbidden from retaliating against workers that make such a request.

Ultimately, however, for workers covered by Georgia’s Workers Compensation Law, a determination of fault is ultimately irrelevant in most cases. This is because under this law, workers automatically receive benefits when they are injured on the job, regardless of who is at fault. However, compensation is also limited.

Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Law

Workers’ compensation functions by providing workers injured on the job with automatic compensation for harm and with benefits if they become disabled. Workers’ compensation insurance also provides benefits to dependents if a worker dies as a result of a job-related injury. The trade off, however, is that workers are prohibited from bringing lawsuits against employers (or co-workers) if they suffer harm in the course and scope of their employment.

Determining whether workers’ compensation applies is often complicated. In the State of Georgia, any employer with three or more employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. When jobs utilize contractors and subcontractors, it is often unclear at first whether a particular worker will be covered by the law. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, help worksite accident victims navigate the law so that their rights are protected.

Non-Worker Victims of Harm

Non-workers are not, of course, covered by Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Law. For instance, if a pedestrian strolling past a construction site is struck by a falling object, they are free to bring a negligence claim against the party or parties responsible. In cases where debris falls from a building, a premises liability claim could be brought as well. Premises liability claims can be brought when property owners are at fault for failing to ensure that their property is free from unreasonable hazards.

Damages in a Personal Injury Suit

Georgia personal injury law is intended to fully compensate victims for their harm. Compensation from a personal injury lawsuit, also called damages, is intended to pay for things like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In cases where a defendant exhibited intentional or reckless conduct, punitive damages may also be possible. However, it must be remembered that personal injury victims covered by the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law will be strictly limited to the compensation permitted under that law.

For More Information, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC

Worksite accidents can be devastating, particularly when caused by falling objects. Victims need the support of qualified and experienced legal counsel on their side. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, work hard to get accident victims the compensation they deserve.

Located in Kennesaw, Georgia, Joel Williams Law, LLC, serves clients throughout the State of Georgia. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury at a work site due to a falling object, the attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, can help you understand what possible claims you may have and work to get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call (404) 389-1035 today.

Icy Walkways & Trip and Falls

icy walkway trip fall

It has been a cold winter this year. Even in many areas throughout in the South, snow and ice have been very present this historically cold winter. Due to snow and frigid temperatures, Georgia Governor issued a state of emergency on Monday, January 15. “To ensure people’s safety and to allow GDOT to do its job, I urge people to remain home and off the roads,” Governor Deal stated.

Wherever snow and ice are present, not only are roadways more dangerous, but there is also an increased risk of falling. It is important for everyone venturing outside in wintry weather to take steps to stay safe. When falls do occur, it is important for fall victims to be aware of their legal rights and options.

Injury Liability for Falls on Icy Surfaces

Under Georgia’s premises liability law, property owners that invite others onto their property have a duty to “exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.” Walkways in front of or alongside businesses would be considered approaches of those businesses. Therefore, businesses that are inviting people to come inside have a duty to ensure that the walkway leading to their business is safe to use.

When icy conditions are present, this means that business owners need to take reasonable steps to remove the ice and to warn people about the danger. However, a business is not necessarily liable for every trip and fall that occurs on an icy walkway leading into the business. Businesses do not actually need to remove all ice or ensure that walkways are completely safe. They only need to exercise “ordinary care.” Whether ordinary care has been exercised is a question of fact that depends on the circumstances.

Fall victims should understand that they may not be able to win a claim if a court determines that they assumed the risk. In premises liability cases, this principle is expressed by something known as the “superior knowledge” doctrine. This doctrine holds that a landowner must have had superior knowledge of the dangerous condition in order to be liable. Therefore, if icy conditions were obviously apparent, superior knowledge would not exist, and a business owner may not be liable.

Compensation in Icy Walkway Fall Cases

Plaintiffs that win slip and fall cases can expect to receive compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In some cases, additional damages may also be possible.

What to Do if You Fall

If you slip and fall on an icy walkway and suffer an injury, it is important to take steps to protect your potential right to compensation. Document the conditions at the time of the accident. Take photos of the walkway with your cell phone if you can. Most importantly, contact an experienced premises liability attorney as soon as possible to investigate your case.

Safety Tips

If you do need to go outside during wintry weather, there are steps you can take to avoid falling. You should take your time, wear shoes with good traction, and if at all possible avoid walkways that look icy. If you can’t avoid walking on an icy walkway, take shorter steps. And if you do fall, try to relax your body and make contact with the ground with your hip and shoulder together to spread out the impact. When people reach out with their arms to break their fall on an icy surface, they often only exacerbate their injury.

For More Information, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC

Joel Williams Law, LLC, is dedicated to helping injury victim get the compensation they deserve. If you have suffered a fall on an icy walkway and think you might be entitled to compensation, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, can help you understand your case. They work hard to maximize compensation for every client they accept.

Located in Kennesaw, Georgia, Joel Williams Law, LLC, serves clients throughout the state. The attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, offer free case evaluations and accept cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning clients don’t pay a dime in attorney fees unless and until they’ve won their case. If you would like to discuss your case, call Joel Williams Law, LLC, today at (404) 389-1035.

Hotel Premises Liability Cases

hotel liability case

Georgia is a unique state in terms of its geography, history and culture. Key industries such as Arts, Commerce, Film, Music, and Tourism shape the economy and its people. We, as a state, integrate and support them collectively to create and sustain a diversified economy. According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, more than 100 million people visited Georgia in 2015. Millions of these people stayed in Georgia hotels, and hotel stays have only been rising in Georgia over the past two years.

The hotel industry profits enormously from tourism and travel in Georgia, and in return hotels that do business in Georgia have a duty to keep their hotels safe. Despite this duty, thousands of personal injuries occur each year in Georgia hotels. Some of these accidents are unavoidable, and other times hotel patrons irresponsibly cause harm to themselves in ways the hotel can’t control. But in many cases, a hotel is at fault for failing to maintain the safety of the hotel premise.

Joel Williams Law, LLC, aggressively fights to get personal injury victims the compensation they deserve when they are harmed by hotel premises defects or other negligence. If you or a loved one has been harmed while staying in a Georgia hotel, it is important to be aware of your legal rights and options. The experienced premises liability attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, can help. Call (404) 389-1035 today to schedule a free consultation.

Georgia Premises Liability Claims Against Hotels

Premise liability claims in Georgia derive from Title 51 Chapter 3 Section 1 of the Official Code of Georgia. This law holds that when landowners invite others onto their property, for instance when hotels invite people to stay in the hotel, they must “exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.” This duty of ordinary care means that hotel rooms and other hotel spaces must be free from conditions that could cause harm. It also means that hotels must take reasonable precautions to maintain hotel security and to ensure that areas such as workout rooms and swimming pools are safe.

If you’ve been harmed because of an unsafe condition that existed in a hotel, you may be entitled to compensation. The key to determining whether a hotel is liable is whether they failed to “exercise ordinary care.” There are several important factors that go into determining this, including:

1. The condition that caused the harm must be dangerous or unreasonable;
2. The hotel must have failed to remedy the condition and/or failed to warn hotel patrons about the risk, even though it had the opportunity to do so; and
3. The dangerous condition must have caused the harm.

These elements may seem simple, but hotel premises liability cases are often highly complex and hotly contested. Hotels will very often fight tooth and nail to avoid liability in court. Hotels that are a part of a larger chain may put up a particularly tough fight. Proving that a condition was dangerous and that it was the cause of the harm can often require expert witnesses and eyewitness testimony. In some cases, a medical expert may also be necessary to explain to the court exactly how the hotel defect caused the harm.

But it is not enough to simply prove that a dangerous condition existed and caused the harm. A hotel must have negligently failed to fix the problem. This means that it must be proved that a hotel knew or should have known about the condition, and failed to fix it or warn patrons of it.
Georgia courts follow the “superior knowledge” doctrine, which holds that a hotel must have had superior knowledge of the dangerous condition when compared to the plaintiff. Therefore, even if a hotel knew or should have known about a dangerous condition, if a plaintiff was aware of the danger but ignored the risk, the business may not be liable. Proving that a hotel could have or should have remedied the problem can also require large amounts of evidence, such as hotel records or surveillance footage.

If You’ve Been Injured While Staying at a Georgia Hotel, Call Joel Williams Law, LLC, Today to Discuss Your Case

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Georgia hotel, the legal team at Joel Williams Law, LLC, can help you get the compensation you deserve. Joel Williams Law, LLC, offers free consultations and accepts cases on a contingency fee basis. Located in Kennesaw, Georgia, Joel Williams Law, LLC, represents clients in all areas of the State of Georgia. To discuss your case, call (404) 389-1035 today.

The Georgia Recreational Property Act

Georgia recreational property act

Georgia residents love spending time outdoors. Camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, and hunting are staples of many people’s lives. However, few people actually own land that can be used for those purposes. Instead, most people use public land or use private land that has been made available to the public.

Great places to spend time outdoors in the North Georgia area include:

• Kennesaw Mountain https://www.nps.gov/kemo/planyourvisit/things2do.htm
• Lake Acworth http://www.n-georgia.com/acworth-beach-cauble-park.html
• Red Top Mountain State Park http://www.redtopmountainstatepark.org
• Lake Lanier https://www.lanierislands.com/
• Amicalola Falls State Park http://www.amicalolafallslodge.com/

South Georgia residents may look to:

• Kolomoki Mounds http://gastateparks.org/KolomokiMounds
• Providence Canyon http://gastateparks.org/ProvidenceCanyon
• Callaway Gardens http://www.callawaygardens.com/
• Okefenokee Swamp http://okeswamp.com/
• Georgia Veterans State Park and Resort http://www.lakeblackshearresort.com/ga-veterans-park/camping/

When someone in Georgia suffers an injury on land that has been made available for recreational purposes, however, the Georgia Recreational Property Act (GRPA) bars the injured person from suing the landowner in most cases.

The purpose of this law is to encourage landowners to make their land available for recreational activities. Without the GRPA, many land owners would close off their land to the public to eliminate their risk of liability, and in doing so cut millions of people off from the ability to enjoy their favorite outdoor activities.

Activities Covered by the GRPA

Only land made available for “recreational purposes” is covered by the law. Several notable activities, such as cycling, running, and most sports, are not actually covered by the law. The law strictly defines“recreational purposes” as:

• Hunting
• Fishing
• Swimming
• Boating
• Camping
• Picnicking
• Hiking
• Pleasure driving
• Nature study
• Water skiing
• Winter sports
• Viewing or enjoying historical, archeological, scenic, or scientific sites

Exceptions to the GRPA

There are two major exceptions to the GRPA that landowners and outdoor enthusiasts should be aware of. The GRPA does not apply when there has been a “willful or malicious failure” of the land owner to guard people against a dangerous condition. Therefore, landowners that make their land available to the public still have a duty to take action to prevent harm when they are aware of a dangerous condition on their property.

The GRPA also does not apply when a landowner charges a fee for the use of the land. Landowners should remember that they forfeit their immunity under the GRPA if they charge any fee in exchange for permission to use their land; but if the fee is collected for some other purpose, the GRPA will still apply. For instance, if a land owner profits by selling goods on the same property, the GRPA will still provide immunity despite the fact that they are making money as long as the purchases are not required in order to use the land.

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

Nobody wants to be injured when they are doing something they love, but accidents happen every day. If you suffer an injury while doing a recreational activity, or if you are a landowner making your property available to others for recreational purposes, it is important to be aware of the Georgia Recreational Property Act and to protect your legal rights accordingly.

The experienced legal team at Joel Williams Law, LLC, has deep knowledge of all aspects of Georgia tort law. Located in Kennesaw, Georgia, Joel Williams Law, LLC, represents clients in personal injury cases throughout the State of Georgia. If you have suffered a personal injury and would like to discuss your case, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, today at (404) 389-1035 to schedule a free consultation today.

GA DNR Urges Safety During Firearms Deer Hunting Season

Georgia safety hunting season

It is estimated that nearly 630,000 Georgia residents hunt every year. With firearm hunting season now underway, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is busy reminding hunters to prioritize safety every time they go out to hunt. All hunters in Georgia owe a duty to act with reasonable care to avoid accidentally shooting someone. They also have an obligation to take certain precautions to make sure that they stay safe as well. Below are a few deer hunting safety tips that every hunter should follow.

Hunting Safety Tips

• Wear orange. Hunting without wearing classic hunter orange colored clothing is a risk nobody should take. This clothing is easy to notice, hunters are conditioned to look for it before firing, and it is also required by law for all hunters to wear this color.

• Confirm your target. The most tragic hunting accident occurs when a hunter thinks they are firing at a deer and instead shoot a person. Most hunters assume it would never happen to them, but every year Georgia hunters are shot by fellow hunters. Be absolutely sure before pulling the trigger.

• Avoid hunting alone. Many hunting accidents occur when hunters go out alone. Something as simple as a twisted ankle or fall from a tree stand can create a major problem if a hunter is out all alone. If you do go hunting alone, always communicate your whereabouts to others in case something goes wrong.

• Safely use and properly maintain your tree stand. Hunters often take it for granted that a tree stand will be safe, but this isn’t always the case. Remember to maintain your tree stand, especially if your land is open for others to use. And if you are using a tree stand that isn’t yours or that you aren’t too familiar with, exercise caution. Make sure it is sturdy before you climb up.

Georgia Hunting Laws

Most Georgia deer hunters are aware that they need to follow Georgia’s deer hunting regulations. These include attaining a license, only hunting during deer season, adhering to the season kill limits, and completing a harvest record that notifies the DNR of kills made.

However, there are also several safety laws that deer hunters must adhere to. Youth hunters (those under age 16) may only hunt under adult supervision, and all hunters are required to wear at least 500 square inches of hunter orange colored clothing above the waist.

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

Everyone has a duty to act with reasonable care towards others, and this duty is especially important for hunters. When accidents occur because of negligence, victims are entitled to compensation for their harm. The experienced legal team at Joel Williams Law, LLC, works hard to get personal injury victims the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured in a hunting accident, it is important to be aware of your legal rights and options. Call Joel Williams Law, LLC, to schedule a free consultation today at (404) 389-1035.

States Push to Keep Highway Inner Lanes Clear for Passing

Georgia slow poke passing

Few things are more aggravating to drivers than slow-moving vehicles clogging up the left lane on a highway. Multiple states have taken steps to prevent drivers from going slow in the left lane, including Georgia. And they’ve done so for good reason. Many studies have shown that driving too slowly is at least as dangerous as speeding, with one finding that slow left-lane drivers are the cause of about 10 percent of all highway accidents.

Georgia “Slow Poke” Law

Georgia passed its version of a “slow poke” law in 2014. Under the Official Code of Georgia Title 40 Chapter 6 Section 184 (1), “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation.”

Section 184 (2) additionally states that on all four-lane roadways, “no person shall continue to operate a motor vehicle in the most left-hand lane at less than the maximum lawful speed limit once such person knows or should reasonably know that he is being overtaken in such lane from the rear by a motor vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed, except when such motor vehicle is preparing for a left turn.”
This law was passed with two big objectives in mind: to reduce traffic and to reduce accidents. While it is unclear exactly how effective the law has been in accomplishing those goals, many believe the law has helped make the roadways safer. A spokeswoman for the National Motorists Association told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “There’s a natural flow to traffic, which is the safest speed to drive, even if it’s a little faster than the speed limit. Congestion causes road rage and bad driving.”

It is important for drivers to be cognizant of the dangers that driving slower than traffic can have, especially when they are taking up space in the left lane. Drivers ticketed for violating the slow poke law face a fine of up to $1,000 and could gain 3 points on their license. If a driver causes an accident because they are driving too slow in the left-lane, they can also be considered at-fault and be liable for the damage they cause.

If You’ve Been Injured in an Auto Accident, Call Joel Williams Law, LLC

If you or a loved one has been in an accident in Georgia, you need qualified and experienced legal representation. It is crucial for injury victims to understand their legal rights and options. The attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, are dedicated to getting personal injury auto accident victims the compensation they deserve in Georgia.

Joel Williams Law, LLC, is located in Kennesaw, Georgia, and serves clients throughout the State of Georgia. Our attorneys offer free consultations and take cases on a contingency fee basis – that means our clients don’t pay any fees to us unless we obtain a recovery. If you would like to discuss your case, call Joel Williams Law, LLC, today at (404) 389-1035.