Negligence in the Eyes of the Law

If you have been injured and are wondering if you have a personal injury lawsuit that can be made, you will need to understand what negligence is in the eyes of Georgia law. While the concept may seem obvious at first, it is actually quite nuanced legally speaking. To be successful in a personal injury case, you must be able to show how the other party was negligent, which means that they acted (or failed to act) in such a way that not only caused the personal injury, but that they knew or should have known their actions could cause an injury.

What Isn’t Negligence?

When people think of negligence, they often assume it simply means that something is the fault of another. This is not entirely accurate. Even when something is someone else’s fault, it does not necessarily mean that they acted negligently.

For example, if a shelf in a store breaks causing something to fall on a customer, it may or may not be caused by negligence. If, upon investigation, it is found that the store owner kept their shelving clean and in good order, the shelving was not overloaded, and there was no way that they could have predicted the accident, it would not be an example of negligence. If it was found that the store owner knowingly put 1000 lbs of product on a shelf only approved for 750lbs, on the other hand, it certainly would be negligent.

This is a clear example, but there are many situations that aren’t quite so simple. This is why it is important to have an attorney review your situation whenever you’ve been injured. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to let you know whether or not there was negligence in your case, and whether or not you should pursue a lawsuit.

Types of Negligence

There are a variety of types of negligence that Georgia courts may consider. Understanding which one applies in your case can be quite helpful:

  • Gross Negligence – This is a very severe form of negligence, and is present when it can be shown that the negligence involved showed a complete lack of concern for the safety or wellbeing of others.
  • Comparative Negligence – This is a very common form, and applies when there may be fault on both sides of an issue. If you were 25% responsible for a car accident, and the other party was 75% responsible, for example.
  • Contributory Negligence – If you were entirely responsible for the situation that caused your injuries, it would be contributory negligence.
  • Vicarious Liability Negligence – If a defendant is being held responsible for the actions of another (such as a child or a pet).

If You’ve been Injured, We can Help

If you’ve been injured in any type of accident, we can help you evaluate the facts of the case and determine whether or not you can go forward with a lawsuit. We provide honest and direct feedback to our clients, and if a lawsuit is appropriate, we’ll represent your interests aggressively. Please contact Greathouse Trial Law to schedule a consultation to go over the facts surrounding your injury.

Digging a Deeper Hole: 5 Actions That Can Lead to Even Harsher DUI Penalties

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) in Georgia, it is important to understand that this is a very serious offense. Georgia courts issue harsh penalties to all who are convicted of this crime, which is why it is so important to have an experienced attorney fighting on your behalf.

Those convicted of a DUI for the first time can face stiff penalties, including jail time ranging from 24 hours to a full year. This is in addition to fines that can range anywhere from $300 to $1000 and having your license suspended for up to a year. In Georgia, the specifics of the penalties issued will depend on a number of factors related to your arrest. Each of the following things can cause your penalties to become very harsh, very quickly.

Repeat DUI Offender

If you have been convicted of a DUI anytime in the last ten years, you will be subjected to much more severe penalties. Those with just one previous offense will face a minimum of three days of jail time, $600 in fines, and a suspended license for up to three years. With four or more DUIs on your record, you will be facing 1-5 years behind bars, $1000-$5000 in fines, and an indefinite suspension of your license.

Extraordinarily High BAC

No matter how many DUIs you have had in the past, the judge is also going to look at your blood alcohol content, or BAC. This is the measurement used to determine how much alcohol was in your system at the time of the test. For the average driver, anything over .08% is illegal. When a judge sees someone whose BAC is just slightly over .08%, they are likely to issue penalties near the lower end of the spectrum. For extremely high BACs, on the other hand, the judge will be more likely to issue the harshest of penalties permitted by law.

Children in the Vehicle

If you had children in the vehicle with you at the time of your arrest, the judge will have a variety of very serious penalties at their disposal. In addition to issuing the most severe penalties for the DUI, prosecutors may also introduce charges of child endangerment.

Serious Property Damage

Those who were arrested for a DUI after causing serious property damage will be more likely to get stronger penalties. In addition to the DUI itself, you could be charged with a variety of offenses related to the property damage.

Injuring or Killing Someone

A worst case scenario with driving while intoxicated is that you cause an accident that results in serious injuries or even the death of another party. Should this occur, you could be charged with something as serious as manslaughter. Of course, the judge will also be far more likely to issue the strongest of penalties for the DUI itself in situations like this.

Seek Effective Representation

No matter the circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest, it is important to make sure you have the best possible legal representation fighting for your interests. If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a DUI, contact Greathouse Trial Law right away. We’ll quickly schedule a consultation with you and work on your behalf to get you the best possible results.

What You Need to Know About DUI Charges in Georgia

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI, or you’re worried that it may happen at some point in the future, it is important to understand how the process and law works in such cases. The state of Georgia takes DUIs very seriously, which means you need to take these charges very seriously as well. This time of year, police are cracking down on drunk driving as evidenced by the increased rates of DUI-related traffic stops, and we hope you stay safe this holiday season.

To start with, read through the following common questions to get a basic understanding of the situation you are in:

What Constitutes a DUI?

A DUI, or ‘Driving Under the Influence’ is a charge that can be brought against drivers who are under the influence of just about any substance, including legal drugs, illegal drugs, and alcohol. The vast majority of DUIs are given because people are over the ‘legal limit’ of alcohol. This legal limit is measured by their blood alcohol content, or BAC. In the state of Georgia, there are three different DUI categories depending on factors that apply to the driver. Each category has a different BAC limit:

  • Under 21 Years Old – Those who are under the age of can be charged with a DUI if their BAC is .02% or higher.
  • 21 Years Old and Above – Those who are 21 years old or older will be charged with a DUI if their BAC is .08% or above.
  • Commercial Drivers – Commercial drivers of any age can be charged with a DUI if their BAC is .04% or above.

What are the Potential Penalties for a DUI?

If you have been convicted of a DUI, the judge can sentence you to a range of different penalties. Judges have a lot of flexibility in their sentencing, but the guidelines they follow are based on how many DUI convictions are on your record. The potential penalties are as follows:

  • 1st Offense – Jail time of 24 hours to 1 year, fines of $300 to $1000, and your driver’s license being suspended for up to one year.
  • 2nd Offense – Jail time of 3 days to 1 year, fines of $600 to $1000, and your driver’s license being suspended for three years. The court can allow a restricted license with an ignition interlock device if they choose.
  • 3rd Offense – Jail time of 15 days to 1 year, fines of $1000 to $5000, and your driver’s license being suspended for five years (with an ignition interlock device being required if you are given a restricted license).
  • 4th Offense – Jail time of 1 to 5 years, fines of $1000 to $5000, and an indefinite suspension of your driver’s license and mandatory ignition interlock device if your license is restored.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

Once you’ve been convicted of a DUI, it will technically stay on your record forever. When it comes to influencing your potential penalties (as listed above), however, a DUI ‘falls off’ after a period of 10 years. Prior to 2008, DUIs would fall off after just 5 years, but it was extended to 10 in recent legislation intended to crack down on drunk drivers.

What is the Best Way to Fight a DUI?

After being arrested and charged with a DUI, the absolute best thing you can do to attempt to avoid conviction and all the penalties is to hire an experienced DUI attorney. An attorney will be able to look closely at your case and come up with an effective defense strategy to present to the courts. To speak with a DUI attorney in Georgia, contact Greathouse Trial Law, LLC to schedule a consultation to go over all your options.

Preserving the Claim: 5 Things NOT To Do Following an Auto Accident

If you have been in an auto accident, you will have many things running through your head. No matter the circumstances of the accident, it is always important to do all you can to protect your rights going forward. Unfortunately, many people make some common mistakes in the minutes, hours, and days following an auto accident, which makes it difficult to sue or take other legal action that could otherwise result in your reimbursement for things like medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Before you get in the car again, make sure you know which mistakes you should avoid if you are ever faced with this challenging situation so you have every possible option available to you going forward.

Do Not Take Medical Risks

Whenever there is any sort of accident, the first priority is always going to be the health of everyone involved. While it is best to get things sorted out as soon as possible—collecting details from the accident and things of that nature—you should always address any potential medical concerns first. If you or anyone else has been seriously injured, make sure to get to the hospital right away. Do not take chances with your health and be aware that even severe injuries may not be obvious following an accident. You may not notice pain due to adrenaline spikes and some injuries like internal bleeding may not be visually noticeable.

Do Not Admit Fault

No matter what the situation, you absolutely never want to admit fault to the other party, to the police, or to anyone else on the scene. While this may seem difficult at the time, it can be extremely important if you end up having to go to court. In addition, just because you think it was your fault, doesn’t mean it actually was. There is no way for you to know every relevant detail of the situation, so it would be irresponsible to admit any sort of fault at this time. Keep in mind that this does not mean you should ever lie, but you should only share the facts from your perspective about the accident rather than your opinions or speculation about what happened.

Do Not Forget to Gather Witness Contact Info

In most cases there are going to be at least a few witnesses that see the accident. Many people make the mistake of thinking that the police will get a full report from each one, but that often doesn’t happen. If possible, get all the contact information of everyone who is at the scene. While it may not be necessary, your attorney may need to contact them to get their testimony to help strengthen your case.

Do Not Fail to File a Police Report

In minor accidents, people often want to avoid having the police involved because they don’t want to get a ticket. If there is even the slightest chance that someone was injured or that your vehicle has any damage, however, you are going to be grateful that a police report was filed. Without this report it can be extremely difficult to successfully file any type of lawsuit, should it be necessary.

Do Not Leave the Scene without Pictures

Just about everyone today has a phone that has a camera built right in. As soon as it is safe, take pictures of the entire scene with your phone. Getting pictures of any damage to your vehicle, the other party’s vehicle, and anything else that appears important can be very helpful not only with a lawsuit, but even with filing an insurance claim.

Don’t Try to Deal With it On Your Own

If there is any injury or damage to your vehicle, don’t try to deal with the situation on your own. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you sort out the details and create a smart plan of action. Contact Greathouse Trial Law, LLC to talk to an attorney and see what options you have available.

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