Who is Liable if a Defective Car Part Caused an Accident?

Car accidents happen for many reasons, though most accidents involve some form of human error, but defective car parts can cause accidents. Cars are made of thousands of moving parts that need to work together to ensure your safe travel. When a part is defective, it can cause an accident, although the cause may not be immediately clear.

Accidents Caused by Defective Car Parts are Rare

Car manufacturers are heavily regulated. The government requires strict compliance with many manufacturing standards, ensuring that nearly every car that leaves a factory and ends up on the road is safe for travel. But this system is not perfect.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about two percent of all vehicle accidents are caused by defective parts. While that is a small percentage, that still equates to about 22,000 accidents per year. In reality, the true number of accidents caused by defective parts is probably much higher because of the difficulty of making a clear determination of a defective car part’s impact on a crash. Many accidents cause catastrophic damage to vehicles, making it challenging for accident investigators to figure out the exact reason for the crash.

The good news is that many automobile recalls happen because of these types of crashes. When a lawyer is retained by someone injured in the crash, they will work with accident reconstruction experts who will turn over every rock to figure out exactly what caused the accident. Not only can this help avoid future accidents, but it also helps you figure out exactly what caused your accident and what company is to blame.

Defective Products

When a defective car part is found to be the cause of your accident, you will need to prove that it was defective in one of three ways:

  • Design: A design defect occurs when a vehicle part was made incorrectly by its very design. Design defects usually occur with every product manufactured, since the defect is in the design of the product itself.
  • Manufacturing: A manufacturing defect occurs when a part was manufactured incorrectly, causing a defect. Manufacturing defects usually happen to just one or a limited number of parts.
  • Warning: Manufacturers have a duty and responsibility to warn users and consumers of any known dangers with their products. If there was no warning and the danger was not obvious, a manufacturer could be liable for injuries.

It is important to determine what type of defect caused your car accident because your lawyer will need to prove, with evidence, that the manufacturer was to blame. Understanding the cause of the crash is part of the evidence your lawyer will need to show the manufacturer is liable.

Common Defective Car Parts

Any part of your vehicle could be defective. From small screws to belts and hoses to the engine, any part of a car is subject to potential defect. But some parts of a car are more likely to be defectively dangerous than others. These include:

  • Airbag
  • Cruise control
  • Glass
  • Leaking
  • Parking brake
  • Pedal failure
  • Seat belts
  • Steering
  • Software failure
  • Suspension
  • Tires

The resulting injuries can be dangerous. People can suffer any type of injury in a car accident caused by a defective part. Those injuries could keep you from enjoying your life and require you to receive ongoing medical care.

How to Get Compensation?

After a car accident, you may not be thinking about a lawsuit. But you need to, at least enough to call a lawyer. After a car accident, you have limited time to file a claim. Your lawyer will need time to collect evidence, interview witnesses, and work with accident reconstruction experts to figure out what part caused your accident so they can file a claim against the right company.

They do all of this in an effort to get you compensation for:

  • Emotional distress
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning potential
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs

Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may not be able to return to work temporarily, or at all. This can severely limit your ability to earn a living and support yourself.

But to ensure you and your legal team work to hold the right company liable, you may need an accident reconstruction expert to investigate your accident. Your lawyer may have resources available to help with this and will be able to work with the insurance company representing the at-fault company.

Soon after a determination is made about what company is liable for your car accident, the insurance company representing that company may call you. They will offer you a quick settlement, hoping that you take it without further consideration. They may even say that the offer is “only good today” and it is the absolute highest amount they can offer, which may be a stretch of the truth or untrue. That means, months or years later, when the settlement funds have run dry but you still have medical bills to pay, there is nothing you can do. You cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more money.

Most car accident victims underestimate the amount of money they will need to recover to avoid paying even a single penny out of their own pocket. That is why it is absolutely crucial that you speak with a lawyer right away. Your lawyer can help create an accurate estimate of your future medical and financial needs. Considering the amount of time you will be out of work, and factoring in any ongoing medical care you may require, your legal team can help figure out what you need to avoid financial hardship.

Not all legal teams are equipped to handle this complex calculation. It requires collaboration with medical experts to understand your injuries and the impact they have on your life. It will require consultation with specialists to figure out the likelihood of your body returning to your pre-accident condition. All of this information is used to determine whether and when you will be able to financially support yourself again. If you cannot or if it will be some time before you can, your lawyer will aggressively negotiate with the negligent company’s insurance company to help get you maximum compensation.

The Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Hold Negligent Parties Liable for Your Injuries

If you have been injured in a car accident, you need to know your legal options. Speak with our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation by calling 912-754-6003 or fill out our online form. We proudly serve our Georgia neighbors in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.

What Charges Can Be Expunged in Georgia?

A criminal charge can interfere with a person’s employment, housing, and education prospects. Even if you are arrested but not convicted of a charge, you technically still have a criminal history. Anyone can do a background check and see that you were arrested. However, some charges for minor crimes or those that are not prosecuted can often be expunged, or restricted, from public view.

Expungement is a process where criminal history records are sealed from the public. In Georgia, expungement is also referred to as record restriction. In August 2020, SB 288 was signed into law. Bill SB 288 enables more residents to seal and restrict certain convictions from their criminal history.

Convictions which are successfully expunged are hidden from public and private background checks, so a landlord or employer will not know you have been convicted of that criminal offense. However, it is important to note that expunged offenses do not disappear entirely. They are still accessible to law enforcement agencies for criminal justice purposes.

Limited crimes can potentially be restricted and sealed under Georgia law. They include:

  • Nearly any misdemeanor or felony that has been pardoned.
  • Up to two misdemeanor convictions.

Most criminal acts that are not considered a felony in Georgia are misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are typically punishable by fines up to $1,000, jail time up to 12 months, or both. Individuals convicted of a misdemeanor serve time in a county or city jail. Public intoxications, theft, or property valued at less than $500, and possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce are common misdemeanors.

Felonies are more serious crimes and typically result in at least one year in prison. They are classified by degree of severity. Burglary, armed robbery, and murder are felonies in Georgia. Because they are violent in nature, these crimes are not eligible for expungement unless they are pardoned.

There are three specific situations where expungement is possible in Georgia.

Non-Convictions

It is important to note that even if your criminal charge is dismissed or you are adjudicated not-guilty by the court, you still have a criminal record. A record of that charge will be picked up in a background check. To have that charge removed from public view, it must be expunged.

Cases that are closed without a conviction generally qualify for expungement. These include charges which are closed by the charging agency, dismissed entirely, as well as non-guilty, vacated, and reversed verdicts.

Youthful Offenders

If you were under 21 years old at the time of your conviction, your charge may be expunged. You must have completed your sentence and avoided an addition charge in the five years prior to your request for restriction with the exception of minor traffic offenses.

Felony Charge Closed Without Conviction, but a Final Conviction of an Unrelated Misdemeanor  

If your felony charge was closed without conviction and you only convicted of a minor misdemeanor offense for that case, the court may consider how the conviction is impacting your life. If it is a roadblock to housing or employment, the conviction may be restricted.

As you may have determined, expungement guidelines vary from case to case. Your lawyer will speak to your chances of restriction based on the circumstances surrounding your conviction.

Crimes That Are Excluded From Expungement

Many crimes will never qualify for expungement in Georgia, even under SB 288. Misdemeanors that cannot be expunged include: 

  • Certain DUI charges.
  • Certain theft offenses.
  • Crimes against minors.
  • Public indecency.
  • Sexual battery.

Felonies that cannot be expunged include: 

  • Armed robbery.
  • Child molestation.
  • False imprisonment.
  • Kidnapping.
  • Murder.
  • Rape.

Keep in mind, this list does not include all of the crimes that cannot be expunged under Georgia law. The best way to find out about your specific situation is to speak with a trusted lawyer who knows the ins and outs of criminal law.

The Expungement Process

Before you begin the process, you or your lawyer should request a copy of your criminal history which includes the date of your arrest and the arresting agency involved. From there, the process depends on the date of your arrest. If you were arrested before July 1, 2013, the arresting agency oversees your request for record restriction. If the arrest occurred on or after July 1, 2013, your lawyer should contact the prosecuting attorney’s office directly. That may be an attorney general, district attorney, or solicitor-general.

Arrests Before July 1, 2013

First, you need to complete Section 1 on the Request to Restrict Arrest Record form and submit it to the arresting agency. They fill out Section 2 and pass it on to the prosecuting attorney’s office.

The prosecuting attorney’s office fills out Section 3 and makes a decision to approve or deny your request within 90 days. The prosecuting attorney’s office then notifies you and the arresting agency of the decision.

Arrests On or After July 1, 2013

You do not have to contact the arresting agency for arrests on or after July 1, 2013. Instead, contact the prosecuting attorney’s office in the county where the arrest occurred. From there, the process is the same.

What Happens if My Request Is Approved?

If your request to restrict your arrest record is approved, the prosecuting attorney submits the completed application to the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) database. In some cases, the prosecuting attorney may not have access to the database. You would need to send the approved application along with a processing fee to the GCIC on your own.

It usually takes two to three weeks for the GCIC to complete record restriction. Once the arrest is restricted in the law enforcement database, you should receive a letter of confirmation in the mail. Always save all documents related to your arrest, request for restriction, and response from the prosecuting attorney and GCIC for your records.

What Happens if My Request Is Denied?

When an applicant’s request for record restriction is denied, they have 30 days to appeal the decision to Superior Court in that country.

Is Restriction Ever Automatic in Georgia?

In Georgia, if you are arrested but your crime is not referred for prosecution, it is automatically restricted from the GCIC after a period of two years for misdemeanors and four years for most felonies. More serious crimes which are not referred for prosecution, including violent and sex-related felonies, are expunged automatically after seven years.

According to Georgia law, some less serious crimes may qualify for expungement. Because there is so much at stake, it makes sense to hire a lawyer to review your situation and handle your request for record restriction in Georgia.

Springfield Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Help Clients Determine if Their Charges Are Eligible for Expungement

Georgia law provides an avenue for some people with minor convictions to have their arrest records sealed from public view. Record restriction is invaluable for anyone who finds a past arrest is making it challenging to land a job or rent a home. Our Springfield criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law have successfully obtained expungement for clients who have been arrested across the state. Call us at 912-754-6003 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

How Can Elderly Drivers Stay Safe While Driving?

The natural aging process affects the body in a number of ways, from physical changes, like diminished hearing and eyesight, to mental and cognitive changes, like reduced reaction times and memory issues. All of these age-related changes can impact an elderly motorist’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. In fact, older drivers are more than twice as likely to have a medical issue that can impact their ability to drive compared to younger drivers. However, that does not mean that all motorists of a certain age have to hand over their car keys and give up driving altogether. There are a range of safety tips that can help older drivers stay safe behind the wheel and avoid a serious car accident.

When a new driver gets their license, it is a major milestone, and one of the first significant steps towards independence and adulthood. For older drivers, the prospect of no longer being able to drive due to age-related physical or mental health issues is a significant loss of independence. Fortunately, there are a number of proactive steps older drivers can take to stay physically and mentally fit and avoid a serious accident.

Stay Active

Getting regular physical activity helps older drivers improve their strength, flexibility, and stamina. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine is a great way to get into shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Taking daily walks, doing sit-to-stand exercises, and stretching and strength training using light weights are all great ways to stay active and avoid an unhealthy lifestyle.

These simple exercises can help improve your driving skills by making it easier to look over your shoulder before changing lanes or making other movements when driving or parking.

Have Your Vision and Hearing Checked Regularly

Your hearing and vision declines with age, so it is extremely important to have them checked. Because the decline tends to happen slowly over time, you may not notice a change right away.

Cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration are all common age-related vision problems. Hearing problems are also common. Today’s hearing aids are barely visible and can significantly improve your hearing.

Manage Your Medications

Many older adults take multiple medications to manage certain health issues. In addition to the prescribed drugs that they take every day, they may also be taking something for pain or for an infection. Many drugs cause drowsiness, dizziness, or other side effects that can be extremely dangerous if you are behind the wheel.

Always read the label, and consult with your doctor or pharmacist about whether it is unsafe to drive while taking a certain medication.

Avoid Distractions

Since older drivers tend to have slower reaction times, it is extremely important to avoid distractions and focus their attention on the road ahead while driving. Eating, talking, texting on the phone, and programming the GPS are all distractions that should be avoided.

Avoid Driving at Night

Many older drivers already have vision issues, and driving at night can be particularly difficult for the elderly. Therefore, it is highly recommended that elderly motorists avoid getting behind the wheel after the sun has gone down.

Take a Defensive Driving Course

Drivers of all ages can benefit from taking a defensive driving course, and even though senior drivers may have a lot of experience behind the wheel, it is a good idea to take a refresher course on driving techniques. Seniors can learn specific tips about how to reduce the risk of a serious accident.

Avoid Driving in Inclement Weather

All motorists should avoid driving if roadways are covered in ice or freezing rain or if visibility is an issue. However, this is particularly true for older drivers who should wait to drive until the inclement weather has passed and the road conditions are safe.

Avoid Driving in Heavy Traffic

During peak traffic times, motorists can become impatient and stressed, causing them to drive too fast, tailgate, cut off other drivers, and engage in other dangerous actions that can cause an accident. When possible, older drivers should avoid driving during the morning and evening rush hour or when traffic is particularly heavy.

Consider Consulting With a Driving Rehabilitation Specialist

These trained professionals evaluate older drivers for a range of issues, including the following:

  • Muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
  • Coordination and reaction time.
  • Judgment and decision-making skills.
  • Ability to drive with specialized, adaptive devices.

Understand Your Limitations

While it is not always easy to recognize the fact that you may have developed age-related physical or cognitive limitations, it is important to be realistic and make the necessary adjustments. For example, if gripping the steering wheel causes your hands to hurt, consider purchasing a steering wheel cover that makes it more comfortable to grip the wheel.

A doctor or physical therapist can make other recommendations for exercises or devices that can address your needs and keep you safe while driving.

Always Wear a Seat Belt

Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest and most effective ways you can prevent a serious injury. It is just as important for backseat passengers to buckle up as it is for the driver and passenger in the front seat.

What Advanced Safety Features Help Protect Older Drivers?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019, over 8,000 adults aged 65 years old and older were fatally injured in car accidents. It is difficult to face the reality that age-related factors make driving potentially unsafe, but the following are some of the risks that older drivers may face:

  • Seniors are more likely to suffer from a range of health issues that can affect their driving, including arthritis, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and dementia.
  • Elderly drivers have slower reaction times, which means they may be less able to react quickly enough to avoid an accident.
  • Older drivers are also more likely to be on a range of medications that may cause drowsiness or other side effects that can impact their ability to operate a motor vehicle.
  • Older drivers often have vision issues that can make it difficult to see objects or read road signs. This is particularly true when driving at night.
  • Older drivers may be more likely to become distracted by another passenger, a phone call, or listening to music or an audio book.
  • Elderly drivers may also become drowsy, particularly when driving at night.

Fortunately, today’s motor vehicles are equipped with a wide range of advanced safety features, making them safer than ever:

  • Forward collision warning: This warns drivers if a crash is imminent. The system will apply the brakes if it detects a potential crash.
  • Automatic crash notification: This will signal emergency services that there has been a car accident without the driver having to call 911.
  • Parking assist with rear-view display: The backup cameras equipped in the vehicle allow the driver to see what is behind them when they are reversing. Some vehicles will notify you if you are about to hit something.
  • Automatic self-parking systems: Some vehicles are equipped with technology that takes over the steering so that the vehicle can parallel park itself.
  • Navigation assistance: Turn-by-turn GPS systems help older drivers feel more confident and more relaxed. However, some of these systems can be distracting and difficult to use, particularly if the older driver is not comfortable with using certain types of technology. Motorists should always program their navigation system before they start driving.

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Can Help You After an Elderly Driver Collision

Our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law can help you if you have been injured in an elderly driver collision. Call us at 912-754-6003 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

What Happens if You Violate Probation?

In the criminal justice system, being put on probation means that you are being sentenced for disobeying the law but are able to avoid prison time. Essentially, a judge is giving you the opportunity to stay out of trouble and obey the terms of your probation in exchange for avoiding incarceration.

You could be placed on probation for a number of reasons, from shoplifting to a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI). However, if you violate the terms of your probation, you could serve the remainder of your sentence behind bars. In order to ensure that your rights are protected and that you do not face jail time, including an extended sentence, you are urged to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at your earliest convenience.

What Are the Basic Conditions of Probation?

If you have been placed on probation, there are a wide range of conditions that you will be expected to follow, including the following:

  • Obey the laws of all governmental units.
  • Avoid bad habits, like alcohol intoxication, illegal narcotics, or other dangerous drugs unless they are prescribed lawfully by a health care provider.
  • Avoid people or places that could cause you to get into trouble.
  • Get suitable employment and avoid taking time off other behavior that could jeopardize your job.
  • Do not move or relocate to an address that is outside the jurisdiction of the court. Do not leave the state without getting permission from your probation officer.
  • If you have legal dependents, make sure that you provide the financial support that is expected of you to the best of your ability.

There may be additional conditions that you will need to follow, depending on the circumstances of your probation, including the following:

  • Attend a DUI program or other risk reduction course.
  • Attend a defensive driving school.
  • Follow a substance abuse treatment program and submit to regular testing.
  • Participate in counseling or treatment programs for anger management, violence, sexual deviancy, and other behaviors that would warrant treatment.
  • Pay all fines directed by the court or your probation officer.
  • If required, complete a certain number of community service hours.
  • Submit to random drug and alcohol testing.

What Is Considered a Probation Violation?

There are three categories of a probation violation in Georgia, including technical condition violations, which occur when you violated the technical conditions of your probation, special condition violations, which occur when you violate the special conditions of your probation, and substantive violations, which occur when you commit a new crime while you are on probation.

The following are examples of probation violations:

  • Failure to attend court appearance: One of the requirements of probation is to appear in court on the assigned dates. If you miss a scheduled court date, this is a probation violation.
  • Failure to meet with your probation officer: This is another requirement of your probation. Unless the terms of your probation specifically allow you to be on unsupervised probation, you must report to your probation officer for scheduled meetings. If you fail to report to your probation officer because you violated other terms of the probation, this will only cause problems with your probation officer.
  • Failure to pay fines: As part of the terms of your probation, you may be required to pay fines. If you forget or decide not to pay them, this is a violation of your probation. If you are unable to pay the fine due to a financial hardship, a medical issue, or another valid reason, you are urged to request a modification of probation from the sentencing court. Do not avoid reporting to court because you are unable to pay the fine, as this is a much more serious probation violation than an inability to pay fines.
  • Not having a job: You are required to remain employed while you are on probation. If you fail to get a job or lose your job, it is a violation of your probation.
  • Visiting people or places that are prohibited: There may be certain people or places that you are not allowed to visit during your probation. If you ignore these rules, it is a violation of your probation.
  • New arrests: The consequences for being arrested for a new offense will depend on the nature of the new crime that you committed. For example,  if you were arrested for a misdemeanor, the consequences will be less serious than if you are arrested for a felony. However, this probation violation has the most serious consequences and almost always results in an arrest for probation violation. While you may be hesitant to report the new arrest to your probation officer, it is highly recommended that you do so because they will find out about it either way.

What Are the Penalties for a Probation Violation?

It is of the utmost importance that you comply with the terms and conditions of your probation. A failure to do so can result in a more serious punishment, including prison time. If you violate the terms of your probation, your probation officer may request that you appear in court for a probation violation hearing. The judge will consider the details of the probation violation, including the type, seriousness and nature of the violation, as well as the penalty proposed by the probation officer, which may include a prison sentence. If you are found guilty of violating your probation, your original probation period may be extended, additional probation terms may be imposed, or the probation may be revoked and you will be ordered to serve time in jail.

In some cases, circumstances that are beyond your control can result in an accidental probation violation. For example, if you are unexpectedly laid off from your job and are unable to make the required restitution payments, your parole could be revoked. Even if your failure to meet the requirement of your parole was accidental, your parole officer has the power to revoke part of your probation. A skilled lawyer can protect your rights and help negotiate the terms of your probation.

The following are possible types of sentences for probation violations:

  • County jail: You may be required to serve up to 12 months in a county jail.
  • Probation detention center: The court may sentence you to up to six months in a probation detention center. If there is a waiting period for bed space, you may be given credit from the date of the order.
  • Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT): This is a probation center that focuses on drug rehabilitation. You will likely be held at the county jail until bed space becomes available.
  • Prison: The court may revoke your probation and send you to prison. You will likely be eligible for parole.
  • Special conditions: You may be required to comply with other conditions, including a drug treatment program, counseling, and anger management.

What Happens at a Probation Revocation Hearing?

According to due process, you must be given the opportunity to be heard. At the hearing, you have the option of either representing yourself or hiring a lawyer. It is highly recommended that you hire a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer.

The revocation hearing will be presided over by a judge and a court reporter. The district attorney will present the case, with the help of the probation officer and other witnesses, and argue that there has been a violation of probation. Your defense lawyer will cross examine and may also present witnesses. After both sides have argued their case and closing arguments are made, the judge will determine whether there is enough evidence to prove that there has been a violation of probation.

If the judge rules that there has been a violation of probation, you will be sentenced. Prior to the sentencing, you may ask to speak, or members of your family or friends may ask to speak on your behalf. Depending on the circumstances, you may waive your right to a hearing and admit that you violated your probation. In probation revocation hearings, you do not have a right to a jury trial, although the state still has the burden of proving that you violated your probation.

Springfield Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Assist Clients With Probation Violation Issues

If you have been accused of violating your probation, do not hesitate to contact our Springfield criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law. Our skilled legal team will fight to get you the best possible outcome. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

Why Do I Need a Construction Attorney in Georgia?

Successful construction projects require collaboration between multiple parties including owners, architects, contractors, and investors. Because of the large number of moving parts in construction projects, the potential for disagreements is high, making it important to have an experienced team of construction attorneys protecting your interests.

Need a Construction Litigation Team? Call Kicklighter Law at 912-754-6003!

Here are three reasons you need to hire an experienced construction attorney:

1. Creating and Reviewing Effective Contracts

Construction projects can involve tight schedules and large amounts of money. Before getting financially involved with a project, you need to make sure your interests are protected in writing. This can be done by creating an effective contract. The construction litigation team at Kicklighter Law can help you draft or review construction contracts to protect you in case of disputes or non-payment.

2. Dispute Resolution

If a dispute occurs between any of the parties involved in a construction project, it’s crucial to have an experienced construction attorney to represent you as soon as possible. Typical disputes during projects include breach of contract, professional negligence, construction defects, and payment issues. Kicklighter Law has the expertise to successfully represent your case and will work to find fair solutions through mediation or in a trial.

3. Permitting and Regulation Guidance

Regulations, licenses, and permits can stall a construction project no matter the size. This includes zoning, land use, environmental, and workplace safety laws. A Georgia construction attorney can help you navigate the legal requirements for a project and ensure you are up to code before and during construction. The Kicklighter Law team is experienced with the codes and laws surrounding construction projects in Georgia and maintains relationships with leading experts to ensure we have a complete understanding of each situation.

Call Kicklighter Law’s Expert Construction Litigation Team Today at 912-754-6003!

Legitimation FAQS

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In light of Father’s Day approaching on June 20, we wanted to share helpful answers to frequently asked questions about legitimation. There are roughly 1.5 million births occurring each year in America to unmarried women, resulting in the same number of fathers not having legal rights to their children. Allow us to shed light on this important topic by answering four FAQs:

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PATERNITY AND LEGITIMATION?

If you have a child out of wedlock in Georgia, you have two routes to choose from regarding claiming the child as your own – paternity and legitimation. Paternity establishes the biological, father/child relationship but it gives you no legal right to the child. Legitimation validates the relationship in the eyes of the law, giving you the right to request custody, visitation, etc.

DOES A FATHER HAVE RIGHTS IF HE IS LISTED ON THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE?

No, a father does not have legal rights even if he is listed on the birth certificate. However, your name on the birth certificate does allow the mother to seek child support from you. Your name on the birth certificate – given voluntarily, not covertly by the mother – is a recognition of paternity even if you have not performed a paternity test.

CAN ANYONE FILE FOR LEGITIMATION?

No, only the presumed-to-be biological father can file for legitimation in Georgia. Typically, the biological father will file for legitimation in the county in which the child lives.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE MOTHER CONTESTS THE FATHER’S PURSUIT FOR LEGITIMATION?

If a mother contests the father’s pursuit for legitimation stating that he isn’t the father, a paternity test will need to be done, and it would be wise to partner with a family law attorney. A skilled attorney can guide you through this stressful event to fight for the best possible result.

Contact the Kicklighter Law team at 912-754-6003 
to schedule a free consultation!

Partner with Kicklighter Law for Your Family Law Needs

Whether you’re pursuing a divorce, adoption, legitimation, or any other family law need, Kicklighter Law is ready to guide you toward the best possible outcome! Talk to us today about your case: 912-754-6003

Understanding the Different Types of Medical Malpractice Cases in Georgia

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When a healthcare worker commits a negligent act, makes errors in treatment, or omits information that leads to injury, you are dealing with medical malpractice. Unfortunately, even with the years of training and education healthcare workers must complete, there are thousands of medical malpractice cases each year in America. Consider the following types of malpractice and how we can help you:

Errors in Prescription of Medication

One of the many advancements of the medical world we live in is the effectiveness of prescription medicine. It can cure conditions and diseases that were deemed fatal to our ancestors. However, these medications are only effective if they are accurately prescribed. If your doctor has prescribed the wrong medicine or failed to prescribe medicine for your condition, you may have a medical malpractice case.

Improper Treatment or Failure to Treat

When you receive a diagnosis, you want to hear how to get better. You trust the doctor that diagnosed you to create a treatment plan that will efficiently eliminate your condition. But, if the doctor fails to treat your condition or orders the incorrect treatment, you are not being given the highest standard of care.

Injuries to Mother or Baby During Birth

Having a child is an exciting time! Many couples tour hospitals, interview midwives or doctors, and choose the best option available. When the time comes to have your baby, the last thing you want to happen is something to go wrong. Frustratingly, doctors or midwives can accidentally injure the mother or baby during birth. If this occurs, a medical malpractice case may ensue.

Surgical Errors or Mistakes

One of the biggest misconceptions about errors during surgery is that if the patient signed a consent form, he or she cannot sue. This is not always the case. Just because a patient signs a consent form does not mean that the surgeon shouldn’t be held accountable. Surgical mistakes can alter a person’s life, and we are here to help you navigate this legal journey.

These are only four of many different types of medical malpractice. If you endured medical malpractice, don’t hesitate to contact the attorneys at Kicklighter Law. We want to help you on your recovery journey and hold those responsible for their actions.

Major Factors that Cause Car Accident Fatalities

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According to the National Safety Council, “[Over Memorial Day Weekend,] car travel has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile.” Per their research, alcohol consumption and failure to wear a seatbelt were two major factors of car accident fatalities over Memorial Day Weekend. Discover the details:

Alcohol Consumption Increases Holiday Travel Fatalities

Millions of people plan a fun beach weekend getaway or a trip to see their in-laws in a neighboring state. While alcohol may be a common staple to holiday weekends, it’s best to celebrate these weekends wisely. More people are on the road traveling increases the chance of collisions, injuries, and fatalities. It is vital that you do not drive while intoxicated, as that can severely affect your reaction times and decision-making skills. Here are a few suggestions to keep yourself and others safe while traveling over Memorial Day Weekend:

  • Designate a driver if you choose to drink.
  • Don’t drive after dark, if possible.
  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • Leave plenty of space between you and other vehicles.

When you are traveling over Memorial Day Weekend, make sure you are keeping an eye out for a drunk driver. Read one of our most recent blogs detailing how to spot a drunk driver and avoid a car accident.

Wearing a Seatbelt Decreases Your Chance of Fatality in a Car Accident

Using a seatbelt can drastically decrease your chance of injury or death, as it prohibits your body from being thrown from the vehicle or hitting the dashboard in the event of a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), using a seatbelt reduces the risk of:

  • Front seat passenger car occupant deaths by 45%
  • Front seat passenger car occupant moderate to critical injuries by 50%
  • Front seat light truck occupant deaths by 60%
  • Front seat light truck occupant moderate to critical injuries by 65%

A quick click of your seatbelt can save your life and reduce the likelihood of injuries in the event of a car accident! Always wear your seatbelt, and make sure that children are in appropriate car seats or booster seats to maximize their safety.

Have you been injured in a car accident? Call our team today: 912-754-6003

How to Spot a Drunk Driver & Avoid a Car Accident

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Even if you aren’t drinking and driving, it’s important to be extra cautious for drunk drivers on the road to maximize your safety. Knowing how to spot a drunk driver can save your life and others! Here are a few tell-tale signs of a drunk driver:

Sporadic Movements

If you notice a vehicle is moving sporadically, it could be a sign of an intoxicated driver. This is especially dangerous because other drivers will not be able to anticipate the vehicle’s movement, making it impossible for them to pass safely. Sporadic movement can take many forms, for example:

  • Drifting onto the shoulder
  • Swerving into the adjacent lane
  • Turning suddenly
  • Zigzagging across the lanes
  • Accelerating too quickly or speeding

Timid or Slow Driving

Sometimes an intoxicated driver gives timid signs instead of aggressive ones like the examples listed above. Timid signs could be even more dangerous for other drivers because it may be harder to spot a drunk driver. If you notice any of the following signs of passive driving, there may be an intoxicated driver at the wheel:

  • Stopping inappropriately
  • Braking hard or intermittently
  • Slow reaction to traffic signals
  • Failure to use turning signals
  • Driving under the speed limit

The examples listed in this blog are only 10 of many examples that could be signs of drunk driving. If you notice any of these signs, we encourage you to call the police and avoid getting too close to the vehicle.

Hit by a drunk driver? The Kicklighter Law attorneys can help.

Getting hit by a drunk driver can total your car and cause serious injuries, both mentally and physically. Our compassionate attorneys are both fierce and zealous while pursuing compensation for your injuries. If you’ve been in a car accident with a drunk driver, don’t hesitate to call our team: 912-754-6003

How to Avoid a Car Accident on St. Patrick’s Day

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St. Patrick’s Day is quickly approaching, and we want you to stay safe! This festive holiday is known for its green beer and festivities, but it can turn deadly if someone takes the wheel after drinking. Here are four ways you can stay safe and avoid an accident on St. Patrick’s Day.

  1. Serve as the Designated Driver

    A designated driver is a person who chooses not to drink so he or she can drive friends or family members home who may not be fit to drive. Buzzed or drunk driving often causes delayed reaction times, poor decision-making skills, and failure to obey road laws. Being a designated driver can save lives, as you are not allowing others to drive while intoxicated. Ask everyone in the vehicle to wear a seat belt, as well.

  2. Opt for Highways Versus Back Roads

    Back roads are notorious for twists, turns, and two-lane roads. Even if you are the designated driver on St. Patrick’s Day and are focusing on the road, another drunk driver could be driving on a rural road and hit your vehicle. If possible, drive on four-lane highways, as these are normally brightly lit and straight roads. Always drive the speed limit.

  3. Avoid Traveling After Midnight

    If possible, wrap up the evening well before midnight to avoid driving with those who are heading home late from restaurants or bars. The darker and later it gets adds unnecessary risk to your travels. Ditch the dark completely by enjoying St. Patrick’s Day festivities for lunch!

  4. Don’t Drive if You Feel Fatigued

    Did you know that fatigue is one of the major culprits of car accidents any day of the year? Fatigue can cause you to lose focus on the road and drift into a semi-awake state. When you’re half asleep, you cannot make sharp decisions that result in timely reactions. Leave your St. Patrick’s Day get together before you feel fatigue setting in.

If you get involved in a car accident in Savannah, Georgia on St. Patrick’s Day, contact the lawyers at Kicklighter Law to see how they can help.

Whether you’re in a car accident on St. Patrick’s Day or any other day of the year, the Kicklighter Law team can help you seek compensation for your injuries. From the moment we take your case, we start gathering information and putting together a plan to pursue the best possible result for you. Don’t hesitate to call us if you’ve been in a car accident: 912-754-6003

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