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Winning Damages In Georgia for Injuries When No One Can Figure Out What Happened


March 23, 2018

The legal doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur Survives Helps Victims Obtain Compensation in Tough Cases in Georgia

Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of physics helps us understand the world around us. He developed theories to explain what we see, feel, and experience by putting into words how the physical world works.  One of the maxims Newton espoused is that every “to every action, there is an equal and opposite, or contrary, reaction.” Most people are familiar with the concept even if they did not study advanced physics. In Georgia accident cases, whether in car accidents, slip and fall cases, or severe injuries that occur on a worksite, the injuries the victim suffered would be the “reaction” from Newton’s maxim. Sometimes, however, determining the “action” or the cause of the incident may be next to impossible. The legal doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur can take the place of evidence of wrongdoing that will help explain why the victim suffered his or her injuries, although it can only be used in rare circumstances.

Georgia accident attorneys Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, have the experience and knowledge of Georgia law to use the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur to win substantial compensation for their clients. In difficult cases when people suffer severe injuries, difficulties in proving negligence on behalf of the defendant can be nearly impossible due to the circumstances of the incident. The Atlanta accident lawyers with Montlick & Associates have a track record of over 37 years of vigorously pursuing significant financial compensation for their clients. To date, Georgia accident attorneys Montlick & Associates have recovered over $1 billion in economic compensation* for their clients.

Negligence in Georgia

In every claim a victim makes for compensation, the plaintiff must prove wrongdoing on behalf of the defendant to receive a financial award. There are four points or elements that the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence in court before a jury could find the defendant liable for the victim’s injuries. In other words, the plaintiff has to offer evidence of:

  • The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care,
  • The defendant’s action or inaction breached that duty of care,
  • The breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries, and
  • The plaintiff did, in fact, suffer some cognizable injuries.

An actual example of these elements might be helpful. Every driver in Georgia owes each other a duty of care to drive carefully. The failure to drive carefully breaches the duty of care owed to other drivers. So, when a driver runs a stop sign and strikes another motorist, the driver who ran the stop sign breached the duty of care owed to the person whom he or she hit. The careless driver is responsible for the injuries the other driver suffered in the crash and all consequential damages that naturally flowed from the accident.

Res Ipsa Loquitur supplies the missing element of causation. In Georgia, Res Ipsa Loquitur fills the void when the evidence suggests the plaintiff was injured but no one can say why. The doctrine permits the plaintiff to argue that even though the plaintiff does not how he or she got hurt, it must have been the result of someone else's negligence. Under Georgia jurisprudence, Res ipsa loquitur is a rule of evidence that permits an inference of negligence to arise from the happening of an event causing an injury; however, it is only applicable where it is shown that the defendant owns, operates, and maintains, or controls and is responsible for the management and maintenance of, the thing doing the damage and that the accident is a kind that, in the absence of proof of some external cause, does not ordinarily happen without negligence. 

For example, Georgia case law suggests that when the evidence points to a store employee having full control over a set of shelves and there was no intervening problem with the shelves, the plaintiff could use the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur to argue that the store must have been negligent in assembling the shelves. However, it is important to emphasize that Georgia courts are quite hesitant to make use of this common law doctrine and recent Georgia rulings suggest it should only be used in rare circumstances.  In other words, Georgia plaintiffs must usually prove negligence through the use of evidence.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 37 Years Of Legal Experience To Work For Your Case!

Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 37 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

*Dollars recovered are cumulative and not indicative of individual results

Sources:

Aderhold v. Lowe's Home Centers, Inc., 643 SE 2d 811 - Ga: Court of Appeals 2007

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.