Don’t Let Social Media Ruin Your Chances of a Legal Settlement

Social Media Impact Personal Injury Settlement

Too much social media can have a negative impact on your mental health. It can also negatively affect your Georgia personal injury case if you are not careful. Attorneys and insurance adjusters routinely check the social media accounts of opposing parties to search for any information that could help their case.

How Social Media Impacts Your Personal Injury Case

It’s not just comments you make about your accident that can impact your Georgia personal injury case. Seemingly innocent and unrelated posts can jeopardize the success of your case. 

Let’s say for example, that after a car accident, you post a photograph of yourself enjoying a family reunion at a park. No big deal right?  Unfortunately, wrong. An opposing attorney could spin that photograph to try to show that you have not suffered damages or that you aren’t hurt as bad as you claim. They may use it as evidence that you have returned to fully enjoying your life and are no longer experiencing pain from the injuries, even if you were smiling through pain at the picnic.

Prevent Your Social Media from Ruining Your Personal Injury Case

The best practice is to refrain from posting anything on social media while your case is pending. You should also check your account settings and make sure than nobody else can tag you in a post.

However, we understand that may be difficult to do if you use social media to run a small business or keep in touch with family members.  If you decide that you will maintain your social media accounts, take these steps to minimize the likelihood that your social media accounts can be used against you:

  • Tighten Up Privacy Settings. Check to make sure your social media accounts are all set to private so only people that you accept as your friends or followers can see your account.
  • Remove Outdated or Unknown Connections. Go through the lists of who is your friend or follower on each of your social media accounts.  If you do not know someone or know them well enough to trust, remove them.  This can help prevent the opposing attorney from gaining access to your account through a third-party.
  • Do Not Talk About Your Lawsuit. Do not talk about or allude to your lawsuit or the underlying incident on social media.  For example, if you were in a car accident and are suing, you should not talk about the lawsuit or the car accident. 
  • Tell Your Friends and Family to Stay Silent.  If you have talked to close friends and family about your Georgia personal injury lawsuit, make sure they do not post anything about it on social media or talk to anyone about it in real life. Discourage them from posting photographs of you or tagging you in photographs.
  • Have Your Attorney Audit Your Accounts. If you keep your social media accounts, you should tell your attorney and ask the attorney to review your accounts and ensure they follow best practices.
  • Never Delete Content that is Already Posted. If you post something that could be considered evidence and later delete it, a court could sanction you for destroying evidence.

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Williams Elleby are committed to helping you obtain full compensation for your injuries. Ensuring that your social media accounts aren’t a hindrance is just one part of that. Check out this short video of other things you should not do after a car accident:

Even if your injuries are from something other than a car accident, the attorneys at Williams Elleby can help you understand what you should and should not do in order to preserve your injury claim.

To discuss your injuries from any type of accident and whether you may have a legal case, contact Williams Elleby today and schedule a free consultation by calling 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542).

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident in Georgia?

Personal Injury Lawsuit in Georgia

After a car accident in Georgia, adults have 2 years to file a lawsuit for physical injuries. O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33. A lawsuit for property damage must be filed within 4 years of the date of the accident. O.C.G.A. § 9-3-32. These time limitations are called the statute of limitations. If a lawsuit is filed after these deadlines, it will be dismissed by the trial court.

There are some exceptions to these deadlines such situations where the injured person is a minor. The time limit for personal injuries to minors is extended until two years after the minor becomes an adult. O.C.G.A. 9-3-90(b). However, the child’s parent(s) must bring a claim for medical expenses within 2 years. Mujkic v. Lam, 342 Ga. App. 693, 695 (2017).

Do Not Wait Until the Statute of Limitations Is Close

Two and four years may feel like a long time but don’t be lulled into waiting to decide whether to file suit. The statute of limitations is the absolute last day on which a lawsuit can be filed, but a lot of work must be done before the lawsuit is filed.  You should seriously consider hiring a well-respected car crash attorney as soon as possible after any car crash.

Your attorney needs to understand and investigate the facts of your case then prepare the lawsuit for filing. If you hire an attorney shortly after a car crash, he or she may even have enough time to get your case settled without filing a lawsuit. Additionally, if you are not represented by an experienced legal team who can guide and advise you, you could inadvertently harm your chances in a future lawsuit.

For example, saying the wrong thing to an insurance adjuster may devalue your claim. Also, evidence must be collected before it is destroyed. Markings on the roadway may need to be documented before they disappear. Property damage needs to be photographed and measured before vehicles are repaired or salvaged. Medical records and bills must be gathered and lost wages need to be properly documented. In some instances, evasive defendants must be located so they can be served with the lawsuit and summons.

For these reasons, you should be vigilant and consult with an attorney that can guide you through the claims process as soon as you are physically able. A consultation does not commit you to filing a lawsuit; rather, it will provide you with more information so you can make an informed decision on how you would like to proceed. Even if you are currently unable to leave your home due to injuries, a personal injury law firm that cares about its clients will have other options available such as phone calls or in home visits.

Experienced Georgia Law Firm for Serious Injuries

If you have been in a car accident and want to learn about whether you have a legal claim, the automobile accident attorneys at Williams Elleby are here to help. Simply call 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542) to schedule a free consultation with one of our Georgia trial attorneys.

Understanding Elder Abuse and Keeping Your Loved Ones Safe

Personal Injury and Elder Abuse in Georgia

Georgia’s senior citizens deserve to live out their golden years without worrying about their safety. Unfortunately, many of these vulnerable citizens suffer from severe abuse and neglect. In many cases, this abuse occurs at the hands of those closest to them. It is estimated that 10 percent of all seniors have suffered abuse in their lifetime.

If your loved one has suffered abuse at the hands of a caretaker, acquaintance, or even a family member, they could have a claim for monetary damages. To maximize this claim, it can help to understand the nature of elder abuse as well as how to prevent it.

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is any negligent or intentional act that causes harm or the risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. Abuse can occur at the hands of caregivers or nursing home staff. In some cases, neighbors or family members could be responsible. There are five general categories of elder abuse. While not every act of abuse will slot neatly into one of these categories, for the most part, one of these categories will apply. The categories include:

  • Physical abuse. Physical abuse includes any act that causes pain or suffering. This form of abuse commonly involves striking, slapping of choking.
  • Sexual abuse. Any non-consensual sexual act is considered sexual abuse. This form of abuse is unfortunately common and underreported among seniors, as many have difficulty with communicating.
  • Emotional abuse. Abuse can occur even without physical injuries. Any words or gestures, including threats of violence, that inflict pain or distress on a senior are forms of emotional abuse.
  • Financial abuse. Financial abuse is the unlawful use of an elderly person’s assets. It can be as simple as stealing cash out of a purse, or as complex as fraudulently convincing a senior to rewrite their will.
  • Neglect. One of the most devastating types of abuse is neglect. Neglect involves withholding necessary care from a senior.

Steps to Prevent Elder Abuse

While elder abuse can be devastating, it is also preventable in many cases. By taking the appropriate steps, you could reduce the risk that one of your elderly family members will be abused. The three most important steps for preventing elder abuse include:

  1. Avoid Isolation. The more contact your loved one has with friends and family, the less likely abuse is to occur. What’s more, your loved one is more likely to report abuse.
  2. Keep Elderly Citizens Active. Remaining active will help an elderly family members stay mentally sharp. This mental acuity will go a long way in helping a senior protect themselves or report wrongdoing.
  3. Help with Finances. While seniors have the right to manage their own finances, do not hesitate to offer assistance if they need it.

How an Elder Abuse Attorney Can Help

By taking steps to protect your loved one, you could greatly reduce the chances of abuse. However, when abuse occurs an attorney could help your loved one hold their abuser accountable through an injury lawsuit. To discuss your options, contact the attorneys at WILLIAMS | ELLEBY by calling 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542).

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Georgia Open Carry Laws Addressed by Supreme Court of Georgia

Openly Carry a Firearm in Georgia

For the second time, the Supreme Court of Georgia took up a case involving the right to openly carry a firearm at the Atlanta Botanical Garden (“The Garden”). Again, the case has been returned to the lower court.

This recent decision in Georgiacarry.org., Inc., et al. v. Atlanta Botanical Garden, Inc. results from a lawsuit first filed in 2014. The lawsuit, brought by gun rights advocates GeorgiaCarry.Org, alleges that The Garden’s ban on firearms is unconstitutional. While The Garden cites O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127, a law that gun bans are lawful on private property, the suit argues that the Botanical Garden is public property leased to a private entity.

The case went to the Supreme Court of Georgia the first time after the trial court initially dismissed the case. The plaintiff appealed, and the Supreme Court agreed that the case was improperly dismissed. Therefore, the Supreme Court of Georgia remanded the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.

After the first remand, the trial court ruled against the plaintiff by deciding that The Garden has the right to prohibit firearms on its own premises. However, on appeal, Georgia’s highest court again sided with the gun group. According to a decision issued in October of 2019, the Court agreed the trial court should have heard the case instead of disposing of it through a summary judgment motion. The ruling was based in part on the fact that the lease between the City of Atlanta and The Garden was not in evidence. According to the opinion, the terms of the lease should be considered in determining whether The Garden may ban firearms. The Court specifically held,

“In this case, because the City is a public entity, if it is the holder of the present estate, then the leased premises is not private property within the meaning of the statute because property owned by a municipality is not “private property.” If the City thus owns the property, then the Garden has no right to exclude the carrying of firearms on the leased premises because it is not ‘in legal control of private property through a lease.’ If, on the other hand, by the terms of the 50-year lease with the City, the Garden holds the present estate in the property, then the property is ‘private property,’ the Garden is a ‘private owner,’ and it had the right to exclude Evans from carrying a firearm on the premises.”

The trial court will have a chance to determine the outcome of this case in the future. It is safe to assume the Georgia Supreme Court could have another say, as well.

Open Carry and Shooting Injuries

While the right to openly carry a firearm is a hot-button political topic, there is no debating the devastation that can occur from a gunshot wound. Firearms have the potential to lead to a large number of fatal injuries in a small amount of time. However, they also commonly result in serious but non-fatal injuries. While the amount of research around open carry and its impact on gun violence has only just begun, many anti-gun groups suggest loosening gun laws correlate to more shooting injuries. Other groups such as The Heritage Foundation dispute that higher rates of gun ownership are associated with higher rates of violent crime.

Shooting Injuries and Civil Lawsuits

If you have suffered injuries following a shooting, you could have a viable injury claim against several parties. First, the person responsible for shooting could face civil liability in addition to criminal charges. Whether the shooting was intentional or an act of negligence, you could have legal recourse against that person.

In addition to the shooter, Georgia law allows civil claims against property owners and occupiers when the shooting is the result of inadequate security measures. If you suffered shooting injuries on the property of another person, there is a chance you could have a negligent security claim against the property owner or manager. If the owner or occupier was aware of the increased risk of violent crime on the property and did not take steps to stop it, you could have a claim against them for failing to adequately protect you.

How a Gun Injury Lawyer Could Help a Shooting Victim

Williams Elleby attorneys have developed a reputation for defending the legal rights of shooting victims throughout Georgia. Regardless of whether the shooter or a careless property owner was at fault, our team can help you determine whether you have a viable case. To learn more, give us a call at 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542) to schedule your free consultation.

Allstate and Bad Faith Insurance Claims in Georgia

Personal Injury and Bad Faith Insurance Claims in Georgia
Many insurance companies have a well-earned reputation for being difficult to deal with. In our experience, Allstate is among the worst because it often drags out even the simplest of claims for months or even years longer than necessary. Serious negotiations are part of the claims process; however, there is an important line between negotiating in good faith versus bad faith. While many insurance companies walk a fine line between good and bad faith, Allstate has developed a reputation among Georgia lawyers for pushing those boundaries. This is especially true when Allstate’s insured causes a crash.

Duties of Automobile Insurers under Georgia Law

Georgia law imposes important duties on car insurance companies. If a claim is brought against you, most injured claimants will give your insurance company an opportunity to settle the claim within your policy limits. If the injured party has a lawyer, the claim will usually be sent to your insurance company in compliance with the terms of O.C.G.A. § 9-11-67.1. This statute lays out the basic requirements of a pre-suit settlement demand where the injured person’s attorney will give your insurer an opportunity to settle the claim and protect your personal assets. When your insurance company receives an offer of settlement, it must put your interests ahead of its own. “[W]here a person injured by the insured offers to settle for a sum within the policy limits, and the insurer refuses the offer of settlement, the insurer may be liable to the insured to pay the verdict rendered against the insured even though the verdict exceeds the policy limits. The reason for this rule is that the insurer may not gamble with the funds of its insured by refusing to settle within the policy limits.” McCall v. Allstate Ins. Co., 251 Ga. 869, 870 (1984). If an insurance company receives a legitimate settlement offer pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 9-11-67.1 and refuses to pay, you will likely get sued. When the lawsuit results in a verdict and judgment that exceeds your policy limits, you are legally responsible for paying the amount that exceeds your policy limits. Your insurance company will be responsible for paying any amount within the liability limits of your policy. In situations like this, all may not be lost. After a judgment in excess of your policy limits is entered against you, you may be able to bring a claim against your insurance company for the excess amount if your insurer refused to settle for an amount within your policy limits.

Bad Faith Automobile Insurance Claims in Georgia

Georgia allows for bad faith claims with multiple types of insurance policies. The most common type of “bad faith” claim is one that is brought after an insurer rejects a time limited offer of settlement that an attorney sends in compliance with O.C.G.A. § 9-11-67.1. O.C.G.A § 9-11-67.1 settlement offers are sent to the insurer of a driver that caused a wreck. When an insurance company fails to use good faith in negotiating car accident claims, it can leave its insured open to substantial financial exposure and mental anguish.  The insurer also exposes its insured to protracted litigation, the time and expense of attending depositions, participating in discovery and attending trial, the emotional anguish of reliving the collision and harm caused, and other financial loss such diminished credit ratings. Therefore, Georgia allows an insured to sue his or her own insurance company when it acts in bad faith during settlement negotiations. In order to succeed in a bad faith lawsuit against a liability insurance carrier, the insured will need to prove:
  1. The insurer failed to give equal consideration to the interests of its insured,
  2. The insurer failed to accord its insured the same faithful consideration it accords its own interest,
  3. The insurer refused to settle because of an arbitrary belief that the insured was not liable, or
  4. The insurer refused to entertain a settlement offer with no regard given the position of its insured.
See Southern General Ins. Co. v. Holt, 262 Ga. 267 (1992) and O.C.G.A. § 9-11-67.1. If an insured is successful in his or her bad faith claim, special damages, general damages, punitive damages, and legal fees may be available. There are also laws discouraging bad faith negotiations with uninsured motorist claims. Uninsured motorist policies protect you when the person that causes an accident lacks enough liability insurance to cover your damages. Under current Georgia law, bad faith penalties for claims against an uninsured motorist insurance carrier are not as severe as those available for liability claims. Yet, if the insurance company makes a frivolous or unfounded denial, they could open themselves up to penalties. If litigation is required to recover on a bad faith claim, the plaintiff could also recover the cost of their attorney fees. You should always seek the advice of a reputable Georgia lawyer if you are considering bringing any type of bad faith claim.

Allstate and Their Approach to Settlement

Allstate’s aggressive approach to avoiding responsibility on liability claims has come back to haunt them more than once. Few of these instances are as memorable as a 2017 decision in Madrigal v. Allstate. In that case, there was substantial evidence that Allstate’s insured was responsible for an accident. When the third party sought the full policy limits of $100,000, Allstate rejected it outright. In the days that followed, Allstate developed additional information that pointed to their insured as responsible for the claim. This included an independent witness that contradicted their insured’s account of what happened. Ultimately, a jury found Allstate’s actions to be in bad faith and returned a verdict for more than $14 million.

Duty of an Insured Cooperate with the Insurance Company

Although automobile insurers must work to protect their insureds, their insureds also have a duty to cooperate with their insurer. Most automobile insurance policies contain what is commonly referred to as a “cooperation clause.” The “cooperation clause” requires an insured to cooperate with his or her insurance company anytime the insurer investigates or defends any claim brought against its insured. Quite simply, you have a contractual duty to cooperate with your automobile insurance company after you cause a wreck. In this context, cooperation means that you must timely report any accident, give your insurer a recorded statement, and attend any necessary legal proceedings like a deposition or a trial. If you willfully and intentionally refuse to cooperate with your insurer, the insurer may deny coverage for any civil claim brought against you.

How an Attorney Could Help

One important thing to consider in these cases is that insurance companies like Allstate treat their policyholders differently if they have competent legal representation. While an insurer might be willing to string you along, they are more likely to deal fairly if they know your attorney is ready to take action against a bad faith settlement offer. If you find yourself in this situation, contact the Georgia trial lawyers at Williams Elleby by calling 833-LEGALGA or (833-534-2542).

Protecting Yourself After A Car Accident During The COVID-19 Outbreak

COVID 19 Personal Injuries Car Accident Georgia

During the current COVID-19 outbreak, we want everyone to know that there are additional steps that you can take to protect yourself after a car accident. Obviously, the safest thing to do for yourself and your community is to stay at home until the CDC, state, and local authorities give everyone the go ahead to resume normal day to day operations. We understand, however, that this is not always possible especially for essential workers and individuals that must travel to gather household essentials. The Williams Elleby team encourages everyone who must travel to protect themselves by adhering to the following suggestions during the COVID-19 outbreak.

STEPS TO TAKE BEFORE DRIVING TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM COVID-19

Most people take reasonable steps to maintain their vehicles under normal circumstances but now is the time to go the extra mile. The last thing anyone needs during this time is to find themselves broken down on the side of the road without proper safety equipment.

Before leaving your house, make sure to have these items in your vehicle:

  1. Plastic disposable gloves
  2. Face mask
  3. Hand Sanitizer
  4. Fix-a-flat or similar product
  5. Cell phone
  6. Plastic bags

Also, we strongly recommend taking the time do give your vehicle some extra attention. A few steps to minimize the risk of a break down are:

  1. Check the air pressure in your tires
  2. Change your oil and filter
  3. Change your air filter
  4. Check your spark plugs and battery
  5. Make sure your tire iron, jack, and spare tire are readily accessible
  6. Top off your windshield wiper fluid
  7. Check your vehicle’s power steering, brake fluid, and coolant

CRITICAL STEPS AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK

Even if we take all the proper precautions, we cannot control the actions of other drivers. If you are involved in a car accident during the COVID-19 outbreak, there are some precautions you can take to protect your legal rights and keep your family safe. After an accident, immediately put on your gloves and face mask if you are physically able. If you get out of your car, remember to stay at least 6 feet away from the other driver(s).

Some post-accident rules are the same as those you should follow under normal circumstances like:

  1. Do not leave the scene of the accident
  2. Call 911
  3. Take pictures of the property damage with your cell phone
  4. Notify your automobile insurance company
  5. Do not admit fault

Other post-accident rules must be amended due to COVID-19 concerns. For example, you still need to exchange information with the other driver(s), but you should do so from a safe distance. For example, you can exchange cell phone numbers and text each other your contact information and insurance information. When the police arrive, politely explain that you would like to maintain a safe social distance while cooperating with the officer’s investigation. If you need to go to the hospital, consider calling an in-home family member to take you to the emergency room instead of riding in an ambulance (of course this only applies to injuries that are not life-threatening).

After you exchange information with the other driver and cooperate with law enforcement, remove your plastic gloves and place them in a plastic bag. Immediately sanitize your hands with hand sanitizer and do not touch your face. If anyone else is in your vehicle, resist the urge to touch them until after you are home, and have thoroughly cleaned yourself.

One of the most difficult challenges facing car accident victims in the COVID-19 era is finding medical care. Obviously, the emergency room is not ideal except in the direst of circumstances. Also, many doctor offices are closed or not accepting new patients. However, some medical facilities are offering telehealth options. If you are in the Cobb County area, medical facilities like Benchmark Physical Therapy and Resurgens Orthopaedics offer virtual visits that can be completed using a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. If your injuries are back or neck related, chiropractic offices may be a good option. Cobb County providers that you may consider are Lake Pointe Wellness Center and Lake City Chiropractic.

Most importantly, listen to your body and take the necessary steps to get the care you need so that your injuries do not get worse.

CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER

In order to properly protect your legal rights, it is very important to contact a reputable personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident. Williams Elleby partners, Joel Williams and Chase Elleby, are available for free phone consultations during the COVID-19 outbreak. Simply call 833-LEGALGA  (833-534-2542) to speak with us today.

If you prefer a more personal touch, we can arrange for a ZOOM meeting at a time that is convenient for you. We are here for you in your time of need.

Georgia’s Hospital Lien Statute: How Hospitals Rip off Insured Patients

Personal Injury Patient Struggles with Hospital Liens

Georgia’s hospital lien statute, codified as O.C.G.A. § 44-14-470, gives hospitals the opportunity to rip off injured victims. When a hospital provides medical care to an injured person, such as someone injured in a car accident, they have the right under Georgia law, O.C.G.A. 44-14-470, to file a lien against any cause of action related to the injury. The lien is a legal claim that the hospital is entitled to a portion of the funds recovered by the injured person in any lawsuit or settlement.

Georgia law sets forth requirements that hospitals must follow to assert a valid lien, such as providing notice to the patient and filing the lien with the local court within a set period of time. Hospitals are experienced in filing medical liens so with few exceptions, they typically comply.

There are hospitals in Georgia that use Georgia’s hospital lien statute to rip-off injured patients. It’s unfair, unethical, and inconsistent with Georgia’s caring and hospitable nature. We want you to know about this abusive practice so that if you or a family member ever require hospital care after an accident, you can fight back.

How Hospitals Rip off Injured Patients

You may be wondering what’s unfair about hospitals using Georgia’s hospital lien statute. After all, shouldn’t hospitals be paid for the care they provide? Hospitals and other medical care providers should always be paid reasonable amounts for the services they provide. The problem lies in how some hospitals use the lien law.

Hospitals typically have a “chargemaster,” which is a list of the prices for every single service or supply that a hospital provides. Chargemaster rates are typically very high, an average of four times the cost of the service or supply provided. Hospitals do not usually receive these high rates, instead, they offer health insurance companies far lower rates.

When a lawsuit is involved, some hospitals see it as a money-making opportunity. They file a lien for the heavily inflated chargemaster rates — sometimes instead of billing insurance. That’s right. Hospitals routinely refuse to bill the patient’s health insurance because they know they won’t get paid as much. In many cases, the chargemaster rates are unreasonable, which is impermissible under Georgia’s hospital lien statute. The statute only permits hospitals to recover “reasonable charges,” O.C.G.A. 44-14-470.

Reasonable charges are exactly what anyone is entitled to when they provide a service for someone else but many hospitals don’t see it that way. Hospitals often get away with filing liens for these exorbitant fees because injured patients are not aware they can challenge them. The hospital ends up with a windfall at the expense of the injured person who little, or virtually nothing, from the lawsuit that was supposed to compensate them for the injuries they suffered.

Unreasonable Hospital Liens Hurt Patients and Drive up Litigation Costs

During the trial of a personal injury lawsuit in Georgia, Plaintiffs must prove the medical expenses incurred due to the accident were reasonable and necessary. Allen v. Spiker, 301 Ga. App. 893 (2009). If the Plaintiff can’t show that the bills were reasonable and necessary, her or she cannot recover the amount of those bills. So, why should a hospital be allowed to place a lien on the Plaintiff’s case and recover for services that aren’t necessary or for charges that are unreasonable? It makes no sense and only benefits hospitals that try to rip off their patients.

Hospital liens also drive up the costs of litigation. How? Suppose a hospital places a lien on a patient’s injury claim for $100,000.00 for the “chargemaster rates.” Assume further that the patient has health insurance and the health insurer would have paid the hospital $50,000.00 for the reasonable value of the services. What if there is only $100,000.00 of automobile insurance available to compensate the patient? In this situation, the patient is not likely settle his or her claim for the insurance limits because the hospital will have its hand out waiting to be paid its grossly excessive fees.

This forces the patient to file a lawsuit in a case that could otherwise be settled. It also subjects the at-fault party to personal financial exposure from a verdict that exceeds the insurance limits. In our hypothetical situation, litigation could have been avoided if the hospital simply accepted reasonable payment from the injured patient’s health insurance company.

Fighting Back Against Hospitals Unfair Lien Practices

At Williams Elleby, we believe that when someone is injured in an accident, they should be able to obtain the medical care they need without worrying about hospital bills in the future. We believe that hospitals should charge fair prices to all patients and not try to drive prices up when they know a patient may receive money from a lawsuit or insurance company. These are pretty basic ethical standards, but unfortunately, not all hospitals seem to agree.

The good news is that people are becoming aware of some hospitals’ abusive billing practices. Personal injury attorneys across the country are fighting against hospitals that try to rip off patients. As injured patients learn more, they have started hiring attorneys to advocate on their behalf. News organizations are publishing articles that highlight the hospitals’ attempts to rip off personal injury patients and calling out — by name — the most abusive hospitals. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but the progress is positive.

If you or someone you know has suffered personal injuries in Georgia, make sure you hire a law firm that is knowledgeable in the state’s hospital lien laws and not afraid to fight back. If you have questions about lien laws or whether you have a case, call the attorneys at Williams Elleby at 833-LEGALGA to schedule a free consultation with one of our Georgia trial attorneys.

Daylight Savings In Kennesaw Begins Sunday, March 8, 2020

Daylight Saving 2020 Clock

Prepare to “Spring Forward” because daylight savings time begins in Kennesaw at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 8, 2020. After a long, cold, and wet winter, most Georgia residents will gladly sacrifice an hour of sleep for the longer warm days of spring. But you may be asking, “Why in the world does a personal injury law firm care about daylight savings time?”

At Williams Elleby, we are client centered and family orientated. This means we are always looking for helpful hints that may benefit our clients as well as our Kennesaw and Acworth friends and family. Lets start with a few ideas for fun outdoor activities in and around Kennesaw during the longer daylight hours and we will end with a few tips to keep you out of legal trouble.

5 Fun Daylight Activities in Kennesaw and Acworth

  1. Swift-Cantrell Park: Swift-Cantrell Park is a world class recreation park located in the heart of Kennesaw. It is spread over 42 acres and offers several outdoor activities for Cobb County residents and visitors including a dog park, two running trails, picnic pavilions, age appropriate playgrounds, a skate park, fitness station, and a splash pad for summer months.
  2. Acworth Beach: A beach in north Georgia? Yes!!! Acworth Beach is located on the north shore of Lake Acworth. It is the perfect place for a family to soak up some sunshine and for children to burn off energy on the playground. Other features include a walking trail, fishing, and a picnic area. After leaving the beach, visitors can grab a great evening meal at some local Acworth hotspots like Henry’s Louisiana Grill or Center Street Tavern.
  3. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park: Kennesaw Mountain is a national park in Kennesaw that spreads over 2,965 acres. In addition to the educational opportunities available at the park’s visitor center, there are several miles of hiking trails that will accommodate all fitness levels. A map of the parks hiking trails can be found here.
  4. Noonday Creek Trail: Noonday Creek Trail is 8.5 miles long beginning at Market & Elm Streets in Woodstock and ending at Kennesaw Mountain. Due to its asphalt surface and flat terrain, the trail is perfect for long distance running, interval running, biking, roller skating, and walking.
  5. Cobblestone Golf Course: Cobblestone is public golf course nestled along the banks of beautiful Lake Acworth. Golf enthusiasts will love its Bermuda greens, white sand bunkers, and views of Lake Acworth.

Dangers Associated with Daylight Savings Time

            Daylight savings time and longer days are great but losing an extra hour of sleep can cause problems associated with drowsiness. One of those dangerous problems is fatigued driving which can lead to serious injuries and death.

Have you ever been driving down the road when you began to yawn and your vision got cloudy only to be jolted into reality by the sound of rumble strips passing beneath your tires? If so, you are not alone. According to a National Sleep Foundation poll, 60% of adult drivers, or 168 million people, reported driving a vehicle while feeling drowsy. According to the study, 103 million of those people actually fell asleep at the wheel!

Most Georgia citizens lead stressful lives filled with work, community events, and family obligations. These factors combined with losing an extra hour of sleep can be a recipe for disaster. Prepare for daylight savings time by going to bed an hour early on March 7, 2020. It could save your or someone else’s life.

Fatigued Driving is Deadly

Kennesaw and Acworth are cities filled with outdoor enthusiasts ranging from runners, bikers, and casual walkers. Although these cities have gone to great lengths to provide crosswalks and sidewalks for their citizens, fatigued drivers still pose a hazard. It is time for all of us to consider whether we may be one of the fatigued drivers that are endangering our friends and neighbors.

The National Sleep Foundation has identified groups of people who may be at an increased risk for sleep related automobile crashes. These groups include shift workers, commercial drivers, males under the age of 26, and business travelers who spend many hours driving. Additionally, individuals who get less than 6 hours of sleep, suffer from insomnia, or work more than 60 hours per week may face an increased risk of causing a fatigued driving crash.

If we are honest, many of us are at an increased risk of causing a fatigued driving crash. When we combine other risk factors with the loss of an additional hour of sleep during the daylight savings time transition, we endanger ourselves as well as others.

Lawyers for Victims of Fatigued Driving Car Accidents 

Our lawyers encourage everyone to do everything possible to avoid sleepy or fatigued driving. As the Georgia Department of Transportation likes to say “Drive Alert Arrive Alive.”

Crashes caused by fatigued drivers often lead to serious personal injuries as well as civil lawsuits for monetary damages. The Williams Elleby team has handled numerous personal injury cases involving car accidents caused by fatigued drivers. Some of these cases caused serious and catastrophic injuries to our clients and resulted in significant monetary settlements.

If you have been injured due to the negligence of a sleepy or fatigued driver, we may be able to help you obtain financial compensation from the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company. We offer free initial consultations. Simply call 833-LEGALGA or 833-534-2542 to speak with one of our Kennesaw based car accident lawyers.

How to Prove Foreseeability in Negligent Security and Third-Party Criminal Act Cases

Negligent Security Crime Personal Injury Attorneys Williams Elleby

If you live in an apartment complex or hotel with a history of violent crime, the owner has a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent future criminal activity on the property. These steps can take a variety of forms, including hiring security, maintaining video surveillance, adding fences, adding lighting, or controlling who can access the property. Failing to take the appropriate security steps can have tragic consequences.

If you are a victim of a crime at an apartment complex or hotel, you may have a claim for damages against the property owner if they failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the crime. A property owner isn’t liable for every injury that occurs after a crime is committed. The crime must be foreseeable.

Foreseeable Harm in Georgia Negligent Security Cases

What makes a specific harm foreseeable can vary depending on the circumstances. Ultimately, in a negligence case, it will be up to the jury to decide if the criminal act was foreseeable. Some examples in which Georgia courts have found criminal acts to be foreseeable include:

  • Substantial Similar Crimes– If you sustained an injury during the commission of a crime that was substantially similar to crimes that have previously occurred on the property, the landlord might have a duty to guard against that specific criminal activity.
  • High Crime Areas– In general, if the establishment is in an area known for its high levels of crime, the landlord may be expected to increase security regardless of the type of crime that may ultimately occur on the property.
  • Volatile Situations– A volatile situation is any circumstance that presents an obvious risk of escalating to a crime. For example, if the property owner is aware of someone loudly berating or threatening a resident on their property, it may be foreseeable that an assault takes place.

Unforeseeable Events

It is essential to understand the role unforeseeable events play in negligent security cases, as they can prevent you from recovering anything from your landlord.  In some cases, no amount of reasonable security measures would have prevented a specific type of crime. If you are relaxing in your living room and a stolen car smashes through your wall and injures you, it would be hard to argue the crime was foreseeable.

Negligent Security Attorneys in Georgia

Despite empirical data that shows security measures reduce crime, many Georgia landlords fail to deter criminals from their property. If you feel a lapse in security at a hotel or apartment complex caused you to be a victim of a violent crime, contact a Georgia negligent security attorney right away. To discuss your case with an attorney that has years of experience with Georgia negligent security cases contact Williams Elleby today for your free consultation by calling (833) LEGALGA.

Atlanta Lawyer Accused of Using Client Names to Apply for Advances

Atlanta Lawyer Accused

For several months between 2014 and 2016, Atlanta personal injury lawyer Chalmer Detling, II, allegedly accepted loan checks in his law office that were intended to pay for his clients living expenses, medical expenses, and litigation costs. But his clients never knew about these checks, which were often for tens of thousands of dollars. Detling allegedly  used his clients’ names and personal information to apply for the loans, having the checks sent to his law office, and then pocketing the money. According to the United States Justice Department:

Detling allegedly obtained 50 fraudulent litigation advances totaling more than $383,000 in the names of 36 clients. Detling applied for the fraudulent litigation advances using personal identifying information of his clients, including their names and Social Security numbers. He allegedly submitted applications that were purportedly signed and executed by his respective clients, but Detling knew when he submitted the agreement paperwork that the clients had not actually executed the agreements.

Detling’s scheme was eventually uncovered, and in October of 2016, the Supreme Court of Georgia accepted Detling’s petition to voluntarily surrender his law license in lieu of an extensive investigation. But the consequences didn’t end there for Detling. The ex-lawyer is now facing criminal charges as a result of his conduct. In August of 2018, the United States Justice Department announced that Detling has been arraigned on seven counts of wire fraud and eight counts of aggravated identity theft. The Georgia Bar Association is assisting with the Justice Department’s investigation.

If these allegations are true, we do not know why Detling behaved the way that he did. Perhaps there are mitigating circumstances and perhaps his (ex)-clients can and will forgive him. Regardless, Detling’s conduct, if true, was illegal and constituted a serious breach of the attorney-client relationship. It was proper for both the Georgia Bar Association and the Justice Department to take action.

The Importance of Trust in the Attorney-Client Relationship

Any fraudulent behavior by an attorney is made worse by the fact that it violates the mandate of trust that attorneys have with regards to clients. When people need legal help, they place an enormous amount of trust in their attorney. It is incumbent upon attorneys to always act in their clients’ best interests and to communicate honestly with their clients. These principles form the basis for many of the specific ethics rules found in the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct which all Georgia attorneys are bound by. Needless to say, Detling’s conduct, if true, violated many of these rules through his conduct.

Williams Elleby

Williams Elleby, knows that personal injury victims are often emotionally and financially vulnerable and come to their personal injury attorney to help them get much-needed compensation. The attorneys and staff at Williams Elleby, strive to maintain the trust of each client, to provide the best possible service, and to maximize compensation in every case. If you have been injured in an accident, contact Williams Elleby, to schedule a free case evaluation today by calling (833) LEGALGA.