Acts of negligence and the civil remedies available to an injured party to seek damages for them fall under an area of law known as “tort” law. Tort law predates the founding of the United States and has its roots in English common law. Many tort law violations fall under the umbrella of personal injury law in Atlanta, and acts of negligence, which are tort law violations, can take many forms and carry serious consequences. For example, slip and fall accidents are usually caused by a negligent act, and one out of every five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
In fact, falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and the medical costs for falls in 2015 was estimated at $50 billion in the United States, according to the CDC. Another example is medical malpractice suits. In 2005, the Bureau of Justice Statistics studied 2,449 medical malpractice cases that had reached a disposition in trial courts in 75 of our nation’s most populous counties. The plaintiffs in these cases prevailed less than a quarter of the time, but of those who prevailed, two-fifths of these cases involved assertions of wrongful death. Moreover, the median jury award for medical malpractice cases that year was $400,000, which is 17 times higher than the median award for other tort jury awards. All of these cases generally involve acts of negligence and require the assistance of an experience personal injury lawyer in order to reach a successful conclusion.
Negligence Laws in Atlanta, GA
Like many concepts in law, there are levels of negligence. As stated, a negligent act is a tort which is defined under O.C.G.A. § 51-1-1 as a violation of a private legal right or a violation of public duty. Negligence is referred to as an unintentional or accidental tort, which simply means that the individual did not intend to injure someone but acted in a reckless manner that resulted in an injury. We, as members of society, are obligated to act in a manner that prevents harm to another person or the general public, which is referred to as a “duty to act.”
What are the Different Types of Negligence in Georgia?
When a person fails to meet their obligations under their duty to act, they can be held liable for negligence. The levels of negligence under O.C.G.A. § 51-1-2, O.C.G.A. § 51-1-3, and O.C.G.A. § 51-1-4 are as follows:
- Ordinary Negligence: The failure to exercise a degree of care that an ordinary prudent person would in a similar situation.
- Gross Negligence: The failure to exercise a degree of care that even an inattentive person with common sense would in a similar situation.
- Slight Negligence: The failure to exercise a degree of extreme care and caution that a prudent and thoughtful person would exercise in a similar circumstance.
The key to obtaining a general understanding of the different types of negligence under Georgia law is to focus on the description of the person within the definition. For example, ordinary negligence, which is the most common form of negligence, is a failure to exercise a degree of care that any normal person would in a similar circumstance such as stopping in order to avoid hitting another vehicle or as an employee, cleaning up spilled water on the floor at a grocery store so someone doesn’t slip and fall on the floor. Failing to carry out each these actions is not a calculated effort to intentionally hurt someone, but any normal person would realize that failing to stop a car or leaving water on a floor could lead to a person getting injured.
Negligence Settlements in Atlanta, GA
The list above is not all-inclusive but rather, the foundation of Georgia’s negligence statute. The level of negligence exhibited by a party generally has an effect on the amount of damages you can seek. For example, if you were suing someone for gross negligence, you can generally seek a higher recovery than regular negligence, and with a gross negligence case, you may be able to seek punitive damages as part of your recovery which can normally not be done in a regular negligence claim. However, the amount you recovery for negligence and gross negligence claims is affected by the amount of damages you have actually incurred as a result the other party’s actions.
Personal Injury Lawyer in Atlanta, GA
At Cambre and Associates, our team of dedicated highly skilled personal injury lawyers have dedicated their careers to helping victims of a negligent act seek the compensation they deserve for their injuries, and we stand ready to help you. Don’t let one event change your life forever. Call our office today for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer who is ready to fight for you.