David Thomas Dorer - Anytime Attorney

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Georgia Law – Personal Injury

car crashPersonal injury claims in Georgia Law are predicated on the principles of negligence, usually, and are a staple of the public policy of libertarianism. A person has a right to be left alone in his business and his life; and, when a party interferes with that right to be left alone and causes an injury, that party is liable for the damages he or she caused.
 
There are four parts to any claim for negligence under Georgia Law: 1) a duty; 2) a breach of that duty; 3) a causal link between the breach of duty and damages that were sustained, and 4) actual damages. 
 
A duty, generally, is the duty to act reasonably and prudently under the same or similar circumstances. Some fact patterns permit a person to claim that the Defendant was “negligent per se” by showing the court that the Defendant violated some regulatory law that was designed to protect a class of persons in the same position as the Plaintiff from injuries of the type that the Plaintiff sustained. This changes the duty that the jury will apply in any particular case to one which is narrower than that of a reasonable and prudent person. A good example would be if the Defendant ran a red light and crashed into the Plaintiff’s car, causing an injury to the Plaintiff. The Judge can say that the Defendant had a duty to not run the red light, instead of a duty to operate a car reasonably and prudently.
 
The breach of a duty is a factual inquiry. Precisely what happened is interposed onto the law to determine whether or not the Defendant breached a particular duty. This is especially difficult in slip and fall cases where Georgia Law has created very technical duties that owners of businesses owe to their customers. 
 
Finally, causation and damages, although separate issues, can be handled at the same time for purposes of this discussion. The Plaintiff has to show that the Defendant’s actions proximately and actually caused the Plaintiff’s injuries. Since, that statement is predicated on actual injuries, there is no reason to really describe what that is. If the Defendant can show that the Plaintiff was injured before the incident and that those injuries were unaffected by the incident, the Defendant will be not liable for those injuries. This is where a good lawyer is a necessity when making a personal injury claim. While the Defendant is not responsible for paying for preexisting injuries, the aggravation of those preexisting injuries is the Defendant’s financial responsibility, and only a very skilled lawyer can dissect that nuance before a jury.
 
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