Can I Recover Damages for Permanent Scars Caused by a Burn Injury?

Permanent Scars Personal Injury Attorneys Williams Elleby

Burn injuries are not only extremely painful, but all deeper burn injuries (second-degree burns or worse) heal by scarring. Although burn injuries are treatable, scarring from deeper burns will almost always be permanent. Burn injury scars can impact a person’s social life, self-esteem, and ability to enjoy activities. It is not uncommon for burn injury victims to suffer from psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Fortunately, under Georgia law, burn injury victims injured by negligence are entitled to compensation for the harm that scarring causes.

Victims of Burn Injuries Can Recover Damages for Permanent Scars

All successful personal injury plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for both past and future medical bills and lost wages. Burn injury plaintiffs can also be awarded damages that are specifically intended to compensate for the harm caused by the pain of a burn injury and the lasting harm caused by scarring. Typically, damages for burn injury scars fall under the umbrella of pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate a victim for the physical and emotional pain that an injury caused them. Pain and suffering damages can vary widely from case to case but are usually very high in burn injury cases. Aside from pain and suffering, plaintiffs may also be able to collect damages for future lost wages if they can prove that scarring has negatively impacted their income potential.

Quantifying Pain and Suffering Damages for Burn Injury Scars

Pain and suffering damages are difficult to quantify, and this is particularly true in burn injury cases. The main factors that Georgia courts will consider in determining pain and suffering damages include:

  • The severity of the burn injury (i.e., what degree the burn was);
  • The level of physical pain that the victim endured;
  • The impact the injury has on daily life tasks;
  • The impact the injury has on quality of life generally;
  • The impact of the injury on a person’s professional and social life;
  • Mental and emotional trauma; and
  • The egregiousness of the defendant’s actions.

The Importance of Documenting Burn Injury Scarring

It is important for burn injury victims to get thorough medical documentation of the harm that they have suffered. Courts will rely on testimony from a plaintiff as well as expert medical testimony to understand how serious an injury is according to the factors listed above. Therefore, burn injury plaintiffs should take their own personal notes documenting the ways in which scarring has impacted their lives. They should also make sure that their medical records note scarring and reflect the ways in which scarring has impacted their life.

For More Information, Contact Williams Elleby

If you have suffered a burn injury due to the wrongful actions of someone else, it is crucial to be aware of your legal rights. Burn injuries can occur in auto accidents, premises liability, products liability, and other types of cases. Regardless of the type of case, the issue of damages in cases involving burn injuries can be especially contentious because it is so difficult to quantify the pain and suffering involved.

Located in Cobb County, Georgia, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Williams Elleby, understand how to maximize compensation in burn injury cases and are dedicated to getting justice, offering free consultations, and fighting vigorously for each of their clients. If you would like to discuss your case, contact Williams Elleby, by calling (833) LEGALGA today.

Keeping Children Safe Around Dogs

Children Safe Around Dogs Personal Injury Attorneys Williams Elleby

Kids can be quite frustrating. The pets in your home can definitely agree. A young child may make the mistake of hitting the dog or pulling its tail. Even the most patient dogs can get a little angry at the kid. In these moments, the dog may even be tempted to bite the child. Kids and dogs can be great together, but you need to put safety over everything. Here are some tips for keeping children safe around dogs.

  1. Supervise

Young kids and dogs should not be left alone together. As the adult, it’s your responsibility to keep an eye on everything. Do not leave them alone, even for a moment. If you notice the child doing something wrong, like agitating the dog by kissing it , you can stop things before something serious happens. If something happens while you are in charge, it is your responsibility.

  1. Teach Children How to Interact With Dogs

Knowledge is power. While you want to keep an eye on the child and dog yourself, it’s even better if the child knows how to handle a dog themselves. First and foremost, children should know not to just go up and pet a strange dog. Every child should learn from a young age that they should ask politely if they want to pet a dog. Explain that some dogs are mean and some are nice. You need to ask the owner to make sure it’s a nice dog. They should also learn to approach the dog calmly and let the dog sniff them. Then, they can continue petting the dog. Make sure they don’t jump on the dog or play too rough. You should also teach your child how to recognize when a dog is not happy. One big tell is if the dog is growling or barking. If the dog is backing away, that’s also a sign it wants to be left alone. Explain that no matter how cute the dog is, you shouldn’t pet it if it doesn’t want to be pet.

  1. Pick the Right Breed

Not all breeds of dog are created equal. If you have children in your life, you should get a breed of dog known for being good with kids. Some of the most popular kid-friendly dog breeds include the Golden Retriever, Collie, Beagle, and Newfoundland. This also shows you don’t have to stick to small dogs. In fact, some of the best breeds of dogs for kids are medium to large dogs. You should also take the children with you when picking up the dog to ensure that they get along. You may even want to include them in the dog buying process. Don’t forget to search your local humane society first. It’s better to adopt than buy a pure breed dog.

  1. Send the Dog to Training School

If you have children in the house and plan to have even more, you need your dog to learn how to interact with children properly. We all know that babies and toddlers are destructive. You need to teach your dog how to handle this. One of your best options is to send you dog to training school. It will help teach your dog patience and obedience. When your baby climb on the dog’s head even after you told him not to, the dog should be trained not to get aggressive or bite.

  1. Use Reward and Punishment

Dogs and children can be trained in a similar fashion using classical conditioning. The premise of this method is to encourage proper behavior with reward and punishment. When the child or the dog does something wrong, you need to punish the guilty party to prevent that behavior from happening again. If they do the right thing, you should reward them with more play time or treats. Before long, the desired behavior will continue and any negative behavior will cease.

  1. Start Slow

Some kids take to dogs immediately. Others take a little more time. Do not feel the need to force it. Let them interact slowly until they both become fully comfortable.

Your dog is a part of your family. You want all members of your family to get along. If you follow these steps, both your child and dog will be safe. Soon, they will likely become the best of friends.

 

About the Author:

Olivia Harper is the co-founder of the blog Daily Dog Stuff. She is a reserved and passionate pet parent who loves to spend time with her Sibe, who keeps her active and social. Read more of her guides and tips by visiting the blog or following their page @dailydogstuff.

Mixed Results for Macon-Bibb’s Pedestrian Safety Review Board

Pedestrian Safety Personal Injury Williams Elleby

Pedestrian accidents are an unfortunate reality in Bibb County and throughout Georgia. While these accidents are somewhat rare compared to collisions between two vehicles, the outcome is often far more devastating. To combat the growing trend, the County developed a Pedestrian Safety Review Board. But has this attempt been successful?

Pedestrian Accidents Nationally

In 2006 alone, nearly 6,000 pedestrians died after being struck by a motor vehicle according to the Center for Disease Control. However, these fatal accidents pale in comparison to the number of severe non-fatal injuries that occurred during the same period. Nearly 129,000 Americans sustained injuries that required a trip to the emergency room.

These numbers do not cut evenly across all demographics. Pedestrian accidents disproportionally impact children and the elderly. Older Americans make up 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths, while one out of every five children that die in a traffic crash are pedestrians.

Intoxication also plays a major role in these accidents. Drunk drivers are less likely to notice a pedestrian or react in time to prevent a crash. The result: nearly half of all fatal pedestrian accidents involve alcohol use by one or more parties.

The Review Board

Born from the idea of one county commissioner, the purpose of the Board is to reduce and eventually eliminate the currently-growing threat of pedestrian accidents. The high number of fatal accidents led the county to move forward with creating the Pedestrian Safety Review Board. The Board pulls members from a variety of departments within the county, including the sheriff’s office, zoning board, and health department.

The Review Board is not without resources. Thanks to federal grants, they have spent approximately $40,000 on their “On The Move” campaign. In addition to awareness events, these funds also paid for lighted armbands free to anyone that walks at night. In addition to those funds, the board also received roughly $10,000 from the county Sheriff and the health department. This money has gone to additional awareness campaigns including signs and billboards. The Board does more than awareness and giveaways, however. They advise the county on how to spend money that could impact pedestrian safety, like sidewalk improvements.

Are their efforts working? The jury is still out. Since the formation of the board, the number of pedestrian accidents each year has fallen slowly but steadily. However, the number of pedestrian deaths in 2018 equaled the number of fatalities in 2016 and 2017 combined. Still, this is an improvement compared to other counties in the state who have not made similar efforts.

Contact a Georgia Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today

While the Review Board’s goal is noble, it is important to note that eliminating serious pedestrian accidents is years away at best. In the meantime, pedestrian accidents will remain a sad reality. If you have suffered an injury after being hit by a vehicle, you could have a claim for monetary damages. To learn more, reach out to the attorneys at Williams Elleby by calling 833-LEGALGA.

Don’t Believe the Lies about Runaway Jury Verdicts

Lies about Runaway Jury Verdicts

When there is a big jury verdict in a personal injury case, you hear about it in the news. But what you don’t hear about are the thousands of other cases where victims receive little to no compensation. A $10,000 jury verdict doesn’t have the shock appeal that the news today often seeks. 

Due to this disparity in reporting, it can feel like juries in Georgia personal injury cases are out of control, regularly awarding multi-million dollar verdicts in personal injury cases. This simply isn’t true. In fact, juries sometimes award those injured in personal injury cases far less than they deserve.  Rockdale Hospital v. Evans, a case that was recently decided by the Supreme Court of Georgia, is an example of such a case.

Victim Suffers Catastrophic Injuries After Hospital Discharge

In 2012, Janice Evans awoke in the middle of the night with the worst headache of her life. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea followed. Shaun Evans, her husband, initially believed she was suffering from a bad bout of food poisoning; when the symptoms didn’t subside in almost two days, he took her to the emergency room at Rockdale Hospital.

Mrs. Evans complained of a headache that she rated as an 8 out of 10 on the pain scale. During her entire stay, her systolic blood pressure was over 200. While high blood pressure and headaches can be signs of brain bleeding, no one focused on the root cause of her pain.

After being discharged, Mrs. Evans continued to suffer from nausea, vomiting, and headaches. On January 22, 2012, Mr. Evans called 911 when Mrs. Evans was unable to get up from the couch. It was eventually determined that she had a blood clot in her brain and had suffered several strokes caused by a ruptured aneurysm. She underwent multiple surgeries in subsequent months. 

Unfortunately, Mrs. Evans never recovered. She is now permanently disabled and requires 24-hour care. She utilizes a feeding tube, cannot speak, and has severe cognitive and physical impairments.

Jury Awards $0 For Pain and Suffering

Mr. Evans brought suit against Rockdale Hospital for medical malpractice and loss of consortium. The Hospital defended itself by pointing the finger at the victim for not seeking care early enough and claiming that pre-existing conditions were to blame.

Following trial, the jury awarded $1.2 million for Mrs. Evans’ past medical expenses. However, the jury found that Mrs. Evans was not entitled to any compensation for future medical expenses, future lost wages, or for past or future pain and suffering. The trial court upheld the verdict.

Appellate Court’s Attempt to Do Justice is Thwarted

The jury’s decision to find the hospital liable for Mrs. Evans’ medical expenses, but award no compensation for pain and suffering, makes no sense, particularly given how catastrophic her injuries were. The Evans’ attorneys agreed and appealed the decision. The appellate court also agreed, holding that the award of $0 for pain and suffering was “clearly inadequate.”

Rockdale Hospital appealed the appellate court’s decision to the Supreme Court of Georgia. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed the Court of Appeals. Relying largely on the text of Georgia Code OCGA § 51-12-12, the Court held that approving the jury verdict was not an abuse of the trial court’s discretion and should be upheld.

The fact that Mrs. Evans will receive no compensation for her pain and suffering is a miscarriage of justice, but her case underscores the importance of bringing a strong medical malpractice case at the trial level. It also serves as a reminder of the people who suffer when juries return unreasonably low verdicts. To learn more about medical malpractice cases in Georgia, you can view this video by attorney Joel Williams, founder of Williams Elleby.

If you have been injured in an accident and think someone else is at fault, the Georgia trial attorneys at Williams Elleby would like to help you understand your situation and options. Call us at 833-LEGALGA to schedule a free consultation.

Tips for an Enjoyable Winter Road Trip in Georgia

GA winter travel tips

If you plan to travel over Georgia roads this year, check out our tips for a safe and enjoyable road trip. Christmas is fast approaching. Outside of gift-giving, if there is one thing that is synonymous with Christmas it is family road trips. Traveling to visit friends and family is a big part of the holidays for many. That said, some road trips turn into disaster when basic safety rules are ignored. Here are some important tips to keep in mind before you set on your holiday travels.

1. Be Prepared

Your best chance of enjoying your trip and arriving safely requires you to plan ahead. It starts with ensuring your vehicle is in good working order. Check your tire pressure, coolant, and oil levels. If you are due for service, take your vehicle in before your trip is set to begin. Finally, give your car a thorough clean. You want your passengers in a pleasant mood, and nobody wants to be surrounded by trash on a long trip.

2. Plan Your Trip in Advance

It is best to know your route well before you load up your vehicle. If you are driving somewhere new, it is worth carefully reviewing your travel plan. That said, even travelers heading to a familiar location should do some cursory research. Many mobile apps will advise you of hazards like construction you might not be aware of.

3. Prepare for Winter Weather

This tip doesn’t may not apply if you are headed to Key West for Christmas, but for everyone else planning for the cold is important. While unlikely, it is possible that you could be stranded by extreme weather or car trouble. When this happens, you will be thankful for packing ample warm clothing, blankets, booster cables, and even flares. Check the weather before you begin your trip at the Weather Channel’s website.

4. Avoid Distraction

This tip is helpful during any time of the year but is especially true when so many other motorists are on the road. Distracted driving is a real problem, and resulted in more than 3,100 fatalities in 2017 alone. Avoid texting or using a mobile device entirely unless it is equipped with a hands-free option. Limit the attention you pay to your infotainment center and even your passengers when possible. After all, as the driver, it is your job to get everyone there safely.

5. Keep Kids Content

One of the easiest ways to keep child-related distractions to a minimum is to ensure they are entertained. For most kids, this starts with snacks. In addition to packing plenty of snacks, having games or movies available will also save you a lot of stress. If you celebrate the holidays with gift giving, having a small present for them to open during the trip is a good way to distract them and to reward good behavior!

Involved in a Georgia Holiday Accident?

Hopefully, these tips help you to safely enjoy the holidays this year. However, if you are injured in a vehicle collision during the holidays, you might have a claim for compensation. To discuss your options with a Georgia trial attorney, contact Williams Elleby as soon as possible at 833-LEGALGA.

Family-Friendly Holiday Activities in Georgia

Georgia Holiday Activities

For many in Georgia, the holidays are a time for family friendly activities. Gifts are exchanged, songs are sung, and a good time is had by all. Eventually, however, you are likely to get stir crazy. In some cases, just getting out of the house could improve the mood for everyone. The good news is Georgia offers plenty of safe, family-friendly adventures during the holidays. Here are some of the best activities across the state that you might consider:

Six Flags Over Georgia: Holiday in the Park

If you are ready for a spectacle, the “Holiday in the Park” event at Six Flags Over Georgia might be exactly what you need. The park is packed with fun attractions, rollercoasters, and food. During the holiday season, they also load up on Christmas lights and other displays. This event runs throughout the season and is great for thrill-seekers or just to view the lights.

Holiday Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Speaking of lights, there are few options better than the display at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Naturally beautiful, the Garden transforms during the holiday season into the amazing light show after the sun goes down. It is a must-see attraction for most families.

Drive-Thru Light Shows at Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights

If Christmas lights are for you but walking around a botanical garden in the cold is not, we have a compromise you might love. Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain offers a sprawling light display known as Fantasy in Lights. The drive takes roughly 45 minutes to complete, and there are shops and snack vendors on location. The Gardens include plenty of other activities like a butterfly conservatory if you are looking to make a day of it.

Stone Mountain Christmas

If it is a variety you are after, Stone Mountain Park has lots of options. The park offers millions of lights to enjoy, and several shows including a 4-D version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. There is a large parade featuring Santa Claus among the activities. One of the highlights is a ride up the lift to the top of the mountain. From there, you have a great view of both the park and the Atlanta skyline in the distance.

Old-Fashioned Christmas at Dahlonega

If you are looking to spend Christmas in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dahlonega is the place to be! Rich with history, the town’s old-fashioned Christmas celebration offers you the chance to step back in time. In addition to almost-daily events through December, there is no shortage of food and shopping mixed in with the beautiful scenery.

Staying Safe During the Holidays

Hopefully, you will have a wonderful holiday season free from injury. However, if you are involved in an accident, it is important to protect your legal rights. Let the team at Williams Elleby review your case and walk you through the claims process. By working with our professional team you can leave your claim to us and focus on the holiday season. Call right away at 833-LEGALGA.

Post Accident PTSD: What to Look For After a Georgia Car Accident

man suffering from PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health disorder that is triggered by a dangerous or shocking event, including Georgia car accidents.  PTSD is commonly associated with military veterans returning from war, but military members are not the only ones who can suffer from PTSD. Anyone can experience PTSD after a traumatic event.

About 8% of Americans suffer from PTSD at least once during their lives. Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of PTSD in the general population but any traumatic accident can cause PTSD. Those directly involved in the accident and those who witnessed the accident can develop PTSD.

If you or a loved one has experienced or witnessed an accident, you should be aware of the signs of PTSD and know what to do if they develop.

Signs of Post-Accident PTSD

It could be days, weeks, or even months after an accident before symptoms of PTSD become apparent. The following are some of the common signs and symptoms of PTSD following an accident:

  • Unexpected or recurring flashbacks of the accident.
  • No memory of certain parts of the accident.
  • Nightmares or other sleeping difficulties.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Avoidance of reminders of the event, for example, avoiding driving after a car accident.
  • Avoidance of feelings related to the accident.
  • Negative mood changes such as decreased interest in hobbies and leisure activities, as well as overly negative thoughts about self and others.
  • Persistent feeling of being on edge.
  • Emotional outbursts.
  • Being easily startled, e.g., jumping when a loud noise is heard.
  • Physical manifestations of stress such as hair loss, fragile nails, headaches, weight loss, and neck and should aches.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Physical of arousal such as higher heart rate, sweating, and shortness of breath when at rest.
  • Substance abuse.

PTSD does not require all of these signs and symptoms to be present and can manifest in other ways as well. PTSD shows up differently in different people.

What to Do for Post-Accident PTSD

If you or a loved one are experiencing any signs of PTSD, you should seek medical treatment immediately. Contact a mental health professional directly or make an appointment with your primary care physician who can refer you to the appropriate mental health care professional. If immediate help is needed, call the 24/7 Georgia Crisis Hotline at (800) 715-4225. Whomever you reach out to, do it as soon as possible. PTSD is a very treatable disorder but can have devastating consequences if left untreated.

You should also tell your Georgia accident attorney if your PTSD symptoms are present or if there has been a PTSD diagnosis. The cost of PTSD care and treatment may be recoverable as part of damages in your personal injury case, but your attorney has to know about it to help you receive the compensation you are entitled too.

At Williams | Elleby, we understand that the mental suffering caused by traumatic accidents can continue long after the accident itself is over.  Georgia law allows PTSD victims to recover for their pain and suffering and Williams Elleby works hart to ensure that those impacted by accidents are fully compensated. If you or a loved one has been in an accident in Georgia, call (833) LEGALGA to schedule a free consultation with our team.

Can You Still Bring a Lawsuit in Georgia if You Have No Memory of Your Car Accident

female patient memory loss after car accident

For the survivors of a traumatic car accident in Georgia, the memories of the event can haunt them for years to come. However, when a crash involves a head injury, it can often render a victim unconscious. Unconscious head injury victims may suffer permanent health consequences. Even with less severe injuries, the victim may have little to no recollection of the accident or the immediate aftermath. But the lack of memory relating to the crash will not prevent you from filing a lawsuit.

The Right to File Suit

If you suffered injuries in a Georgia car accident that was caused by someone else, you have the right to seek financial compensation from the responsible driver. This is the case even if you do not remember the collision. In fact, your attorney could put on a winning case at trial without you remembering anything about the crash.

In a typical negligence case, the testimony of the injury victim plays a central role at trial. However, if you are unable to remember the crash, there is often other evidence available. If the crash was recorded by street cameras or security video, the tape of the crash could be powerful evidence. Independent eyewitnesses are also an important part of any trial. In some cases, a witness could testify if the other driver made incriminating statements or admitted fault for the crash.

The physical evidence at the scene can play a major part in establishing liability. Accident reconstruction experts can review the scene of the crash and determine exactly where the vehicles were before they came to rest. It is hard to pursue claims when you don’t remember the accident but recovery is possible with the right legal counsel by your side.

Time Limit to File Suit

Every lawsuit in Georgia must be filed within statute of limitations. The statue of limitations is the mandatory deadline for the filing of a lawsuit. Compliance with the statute is important because the court has the power to dismiss a lawsuit if it was filed after the deadline expires.

Most personal injury lawsuits resulting from a car accident must be filed within two years of the crash. This deadline is especially critical if you lack any memory of the accident because your attorney will need additional time to investigate your claim.

How a Georgia Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

The more information about an accident you can provide, the better your chance of recovering compensation will be. However, assisting in your own claim can be challenging if you are unable to remember anything. In this situation, having the help of an experienced Georgia car accident attorney can go a long way in building a winning case. If you are ready to proceed with your injury claim, call an attorney at Williams Elleby to schedule a free consultation by dialing (833) LEGALGA.  At your free consultation, you can discuss your concerns about your memory and ask questions about how our firm would approach your case.

How to Keep You and Your Family Safe as Georgia Nights Grow Longer

Georgia Family Safety During Fall Time Change

Keeping your family safe as Georgia nights grow longer is an important goal for every parent.   On November 3, 2019, we will move our clocks back and daylight will be reduced by an hour all at once.  The days will continue to get shorter until December 21st, which will be the shortest day of the year in Georgia.

The short days and long nights can be a drag.  It’s natural to feel more tired and less motivated.  These longer nights also bring some increased dangers.  Follow this advice to stay safe during the longer winter nights.

Night Driving

Shorter days mean more night driving.  Very few people love driving at night, and for good reason.  Visibility is more difficult and darkness cues your body to feel more tired. Only 25% of driving is done at night, but 50% of driving deaths occur at night.  The good news is there are things you can do to decrease your risk of being in a car accident at night. 

The following are some tips for safer night driving:

  • Clean your windshield regularly to avoid blinding or vision-impairing glare.
  • Don’t drive when you are tired or after you have been drinking.
  • Take an Uber or another rideshare if you have any doubt about your capacity to drive.
  • Avoid distractions like talking on the phone, eating, or looking for items while driving.
  • Check that all of your car lights are in good repair.
  • Replace your windshield wipers so you don’t smear your windshield and create vision problems when it rains.
  • Keep an eye out for wildlife which you can sometimes spot by the reflection in their eyes.
  • Don’t stare directly into oncoming lights.
  • Dim your dashboard lights.
  • Wear your glasses if you need them.

Leaving and Returning in the Dark

Short days mean you’ll be leaving and returning home in the dark more often. The darkness makes it easier for a criminal to sneak up on you and get away before you or someone else can identify them.

The following are a few tips to help you stay safe when you are coming and going from an apartment or business in the dark:

  • Be aware of your surroundings; don’t look at your phone or use headphones when walking around your apartment complex.
  • Don’t sit in your car for long periods.
  • Always lock your car and apartment doors.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Walk to and from your car in well-lit areas.
  • Get to know your neighbors and watch out for each other.
  • Report suspicious activity around your apartment to the police.
  • Avoid businesses with dark parking lots.

In addition to following these best practices, you should immediately report any dangerous conditions at your apartment complex to your property owner or manager.  For example, if lightbulbs are out in the parking lot, report it. If the guard gate to your apartment complex is broken, report it.  If you’ve heard about an increase in criminal activity at your apartment complex, report it. 

Premises liability law requires that property managers and owners take reasonable steps to remove dangerous conditions that they know about on their property,  If they fail to adequately respond to a safety issue, they may be liable if a crime that occurs.  For example, after a shooting in the Brookhaven complex in Atlanta, Georgia, a lawsuit was brought against the property management company because they failed to fix a gate that had been broken for a long period of time.

Walking at Night

With shorter days, there’s a greater likelihood that you and your family members will be walking at night. You might go on family walks for exercise, to get the dogs out of the house,  or just to get some fresh air.  The reduced visibility at night can increase the likelihood of tripping and falling, being hit by a car, or becoming the victim of a crime, but don’t let fear deter you. If you are cautious, walking after dark can be both safe and fun.

The following are some tips for walking safely at night:

  • Wear light or reflective clothing so you are more visible.
  • Know your route and avoid areas with a reputation for being dangerous.
  • Stay alert and watch where you are walking.
  • Don’t use headphones or play on your phone.
  • Bring a flashlight or use a headlamp.
  • Tell someone where you are going and check-in with them when you arrive.
  • Stay in well-lit areas.
  • Walk with others or a pet when possible.
  • Walk with confidence.
  • Cross the street or change your path if you see someone suspicious.
  • Do not make aggressive comments towards other people or drivers.
  • Call the local police if you see a crime or suspicious activity.

If you’ve suffered a personal injury in Georgia, whether at night or during the day, the attorneys at Williams Elleby would be happy to meet with you to help you understand your legal rights and options. Call us at 833-LEGALGA to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.

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.