Savannah Personal Injury Lawyers

Personal injury is a general term that covers a wide range of categories, from car accidents and truck accidents to medical malpractice and accidents caused by defective products. Any one of these accidents can cause the victim to suffer serious injuries that result in costly medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the accident was caused by the negligence of another person, the injured victim may seek financial compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. There are a number of important steps that the injured party must take in order to reach a successful settlement. Knowing where to start can feel overwhelming and confusing. A seasoned personal injury lawyer can assist the injured party with every phase of the claims process, ensure that the negligent party is held liable for his or her injuries, and secure the financial compensation he or she deserves.  

Car Accidents

Despite the advanced safety technology that is equipped in most of today’s new vehicles, car accidents continue to happen in Georgia and across the country. In fact, car accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States. Many of these tragic accidents are preventable if motorists follow the rules of the road; avoid unsafe driving behaviors such as distracted driving, speeding, and reckless driving; and make safety a priority.

According to recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and other organizations, the following are the most common causes of car accidents:

  • Distracted driving: Anytime a driver’s attention is away from the road, there is an increased risk of a serious car accident. Talking and texting on the phone are the biggest culprits of distracted driving, particularly among younger drivers. Other examples include eating, reaching for something in the back seat, and interacting with other passengers.
  • Drowsy driving: Although this does not get the same attention as distracted driving or drunk driving, it is a very serious problem. In fact, studies have found that being awake for over 18 consecutive hours can have the same impact on the body as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent. This can impact a driver’s coordination and his or her ability to react quickly to another motorist or an unexpected situation. Motorists typically do not take drowsy driving as seriously as distracted driving or drunk driving, which means they are more likely to get behind the wheel, even if they are experiencing symptoms of drowsiness.
  • Impaired driving: Getting behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol can have deadly consequences, both to the driver and to other motorists in the vicinity. Even a small amount of alcohol can cause impairments such as reduced coordination, slower reaction times, and an inability to maintain control of the vehicle in certain situations. Although these accidents can cause serious injuries and fatalities, they are completely preventable if motorists avoid driving, even if they have had a small amount of alcohol. Motorists must also be aware of the hazards of driving while under the influence of drugs; even prescription and over-the-counter medications can affect a person’s ability to drive safely.
  • Speeding: The faster a car is traveling, the greater the force of impact if the vehicle is involved in an accident. In addition, when a motorist is driving too fast, he or she has less time to react to a road hazard or another motorist. Speeding is particularly dangerous when road conditions are hazardous because of inclement weather.

Catastrophic Injuries

A catastrophic injury is a life-changing event that causes permanent damage to the body, including paralysis, the loss of a limb, or a traumatic brain injury. Oftentimes, it can be very difficult for the injured victim to cope with their injuries, particularly if they are no longer able to drive, work, or do any of the things that they enjoyed doing prior to the accident. In addition, the costs associated with these injuries can be financially devastating, especially if the victim is no longer able to work and requires long-term care in a medical facility. A personal injury lawyer will work tirelessly to determine who is responsible for the accident and secure the financial compensation the victim deserves.

Although a devastating accident can happen anywhere from inside the home, at work, or on the road, the following are examples of the most common types of catastrophic injury accidents:

  • Workplace accidents
  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Business premises accidents
  • Train accidents
  • Boating accidents
  • Theme park accidents

In addition to being physically and emotionally devastating, the costs associated with a catastrophic injury are overwhelming. Depending on the type of injury, the victim may require numerous surgeries, prescription medications, physical therapy, modifications to the home to accommodate for a wheelchair, long-term care, and other expenses. Owing to the severity of the injury, the victim may be unable to return to work for an extended period, if at all. Although a personal injury lawyer cannot make the injury disappear, a lawyer can work closely with the victim to determine who is responsible for the accident and ensure that the victim receives the maximum financial compensation he or she deserves, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Truck Accidents

Truck accidents cause some of the most serious injuries and fatalities, owing to the massive size and weight of the typical commercial truck. When a passenger vehicle is involved in a truck accident, the occupants of the passenger vehicle are the ones who suffer the brunt of the injuries. Although other motorists can cause a truck accident by driving in a truck’s large blind spots, cutting off a truck driver, or hitting the brakes too suddenly, truck accidents are often caused by truck driver error. The following are examples of scenarios in which the truck driver is likely at fault:

  • Texting, talking on the phone, or any other distracted driving behavior
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Speeding or driving recklessly
  • Failure to follow the federal hours of service (HOS) regulations
  • Driving while drowsy
  • Unbalanced or improperly loaded cargo
  • Overloading the truck with too much cargo
  • Failure to properly maintain the truck
  • Tailgating
  • Failure to use extra caution during inclement weather, or when road conditions are hazardous

The most important step to do immediately following a truck accident is to check for injuries. If the motorist is physically able to move, they should call 911 so that police and emergency medical professionals can be sent to the accident scene. Even if the motorist does not appear to be injured, it is imperative that they be thoroughly examined in order to rule out any underlying injuries such as internal bleeding or head injuries. If the victim’s injuries are not life-threatening, they should take the following steps:

  • Exchange information. The driver should get the truck driver’s name, contact information, insurance information, name of the trucking company, license plate, driver’s license number, and the make and model of the truck. The driver should not apologize or say anything that could be seen as admitting fault.
  • Collect evidence. Someone should take pictures of the accident scene, including damage to the vehicles, injuries, skid marks on the road, the weather, and debris in the road.
  • Get witness testimonials. If there were witnesses in the vicinity who saw the accident, they should be asked if they would be willing to provide a statement and their contact information should be obtained.
  • Go to the nearest hospital. Even if they were checked out by the first responders who came to the accident scene, it is highly recommended that truck accident victims get a thorough examination to ensure that there are no injuries that may not have been initially obvious.
  • Contact the insurance company. Truck accident victims must notify their insurance company about the accident to initiate the claims process.

Drunk Driver Accidents

Motorists who make the irresponsible decision to get behind the wheel of a car after consuming too much alcohol often cause devastating car accidents that result in severe injuries and tragic fatalities. When it comes to DUI charges, Georgia ranked as the number two most punitive state for DUI charges, second only to Arizona. Despite the seriousness of the charges and the potentially life-threatening injuries a drunk driving accident can cause, motorists continue to drive while impaired. From a legal standpoint, a drunk driving accident is different from other types of car accidents in that a drunk driving crash is not considered an accident. It is considered a crime that is punishable by the penal laws of Georgia. When pursuing a personal injury claim in a drunk driving case, the victim may seek punitive damages in addition to medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Drunk Driving Accidents

There are additional civil claims that a drunk driving victim may pursue as well, including the following:

  • Dram shop liability: If a bar, restaurant, or other establishment sold alcohol to an underage driver, or to a customer who was visibly intoxicated, a civil claim may be filed against the establishment if the customer who was served causes a drunk driving accident that involved injuries or fatalities.
  • Social host liability: This is a civil claim brought by the victim of a drunk driving accident against an individual, employer, or club who serves alcohol to an underage driver or an adult who is noticeably intoxicated, and who proceeds to get behind the wheel and cause an accident.

Medical Malpractice

When a patient suffers an injury or health complication while under the care of a health care professional, the patient may be able to seek financial compensation by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, this can be a complex process, and there are some key factors of which the patient must be aware before taking legal action, including the following:

  • Georgia’s statute of limitations: A medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within two years after the date of the injury. However, according to the state’s statute of repose, the injured patient has a maximum of five years to file a lawsuit after the incident that caused the injury. This is important in cases in which a medical error occurred, but the harm is not obvious right away. An exception to the five-year deadline is if a foreign object is left inside the patient’s body. In this case, the lawsuit must be filed within one year after discovering the medical negligence.
  • Affidavit of expert: Plaintiffs who have filed a medical malpractice lawsuit are required to file an affidavit of expert, which is a statement prepared by a qualified medical expert who can offer his or her opinion about whether the health care provider’s behavior or mistake was negligent. If the plaintiff fails to file an affidavit of expert, the claim will likely be dismissed.

Premises Liability

Premises liability is an area of law that handles personal injury cases when the injury was caused by unreasonably dangerous conditions on an individual’s property. In most cases, a premises liability issue occurs when an individual is injured on the premises of a property, including a parking lot, sidewalk, or in a store. However, there are other issues that can make these cases more complicated. For example, the standards for proving negligence are much higher in a premises liability case.

Listed below are the two main issues to consider in a premises liability lawsuit.

Relationships Between the Parties

The person who owns or has exclusive control of a property is generally liable for failing to keep the property safe. The type of visitor will also have an impact on a premises liability case. Some types of visitors include:

  • Invitees: Invitees are individuals who have been invited onto the premises and whom the property owner owes a duty of care. Most premises liability injuries involve invitees.
  • Licensees: Licensees are neither a customer, a servant, nor a trespasser. Since they have not been invited to the property, the property owner is liable only for a willful or wanton injury.

Cause of the Injury

Determining the cause of the injury is an important step. Examples include:

  • Open and obvious hazards: A landowner is not responsible for a person’s injuries if the defect or safety hazard is obvious. In addition, if the property owner provided ample warning of the hazard, he or she will not be held liable for injuries caused by the hazard.
  • Discovery of the danger: If the property owner has not yet discovered the hazard, he or she may not be held liable for injuries suffered by an invitee. It is very common for this issue to be highly contested between the two parties.
  • Ongoing risk to invitees: Injuries caused by hazards that are not static defects also fall under premises liability law.

Wrongful Death

The only thing that can make the loss of a loved one more devastating is knowing that it could have been prevented. A wrongful death occurs when an individual dies as a result of another party’s negligence. Surviving members of the deceased’s family may seek financial compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The following individuals may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Deceased’s spouse.
  • Deceased’s surviving children if there is no surviving spouse.
  • Deceased’s parents if there is no spouse or children.
  • If there are no surviving family members, the executor of the estate may file.

Surviving family members are eligible for the following damages:

  • Economic damages: These are meant to compensate the family for the financial losses related to the estate, including medical expenses, funeral costs, and other expenses related to the deceased’s injury or death.
  • Non-economic damages: These are meant to compensate the family for intangible factors such as pain and suffering, lost wages benefits, and loss of companionship.

Products Liability

If an individual suffers a serious injury from a defective product, he or she may recover compensation by pursuing a products liability lawsuit. A products liability claim is based on either strict liability or negligence. In strict liability cases, the individual does not have to prove fault, but he or she must show that the defendant manufactured the product, the product was defective when it left the manufacturer, and the defect caused the injury.

There are three types of product defects, including:

  • Design defect: This is the most serious defect because the potentially dangerous defect affects an entire product line, rather than a single item.
  • Manufacturing defect: This occurs when something goes wrong during the manufacturing process, which produces an unsafe product. This may affect only one product, rather than the entire product line.
  • Failure to warn: This occurs when the manufacturer does not provide the necessary warnings about possible dangers associated with the normal use of the product.

There is no cap on compensatory damages in Georgia. However, if the injured person’s negligence contributed to his or her injuries in any way, it will impact the amount of damages he or she is eligible to receive.

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

Savannah Personal Injury Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Advocate for Clients With All Types of Personal Injury Cases

If you suffered an injury because of another person’s negligence, do not hesitate to contact the Savannah personal injury attorneys at Kicklighter Law. We have a proven track record of reaching favorable settlements in a wide range of personal injury cases. Our dedicated legal team will assist you with every step of the claims process, ensure that the negligent party is held liable, and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. We are located in Springfield, Georgia, and we proudly serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.