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Wrongful Death Series: What is Wrongful Death?

WHAT IS A WRONGFUL DEATH CASE

The untimely death of a loved one, friend or family, can be devastating to those left behind.  The financial turmoil resulting from the loss of an income producing family member compounds the emotional devastation by the wrongful death.  Generally, lawyers refer to a death caused by the negligence (carelessness) of another person as a wrongful death case.  These wrongful death claims can be the result of just about any traumatic event, including but not limited to, a dog bite or animal attack, a car accident, a fall while on unkempt or unsafe premises, neglect or abuse of care in a nursing home or medical negligence by a nurse or doctor.

wrongful death

However, a wrongful death case is not your routine personal injury case.  Wrongful Death cases are governed by Georgia law codified in; O.C.G.A. §51-4-1 through 51-4-5.  Even with these codes as directives, a wrongful death case in Georgia can be complicated and confusing.  They pose unique challenges and difficulties even for experienced lawyers.

Much of the confusion and difficulty to understand these claims comes from the fact that there are two distinct and unique claims arising out of the death of a loved one.  Additionally, only specific set of identified people, or claimants, that has the standing or authority to bring forth a wrongful death case.  The two types of wrongful claims are: 1) the traditional wrongful death claim; and 2) the estate of the deceased claim.

The Traditional Wrongful Death Claim –   In Georgia, this claim is for the value of t
he life of the deceased taken by the negligence of another. O.C.G.A. 51-4-1 (1) (2010) defines this term as: “Full value of the life of the decedent, as shown by the evidence” means the full value of the life of the decedent without deducting for any of the necessary or personal expenses of the decedent had he lived.

The Estate Claim – This claim can only be filed by the executrix of the estate on the behalf of the estate.  The Estate claim is not for the value of the life of the deceased but instead it is for any expenses the Estate has incurred resulting from the injury and death, as well as pain and suffering of the deceased from the negligence and prior to death.

Do you feel like you have an appropriate wrongful death case? Give us a call, today (706) 940-4030!

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Personal Injury Compensation

There are so many different elements that go into a law suit you can read about some of them in our previous blog. However, the most important to the customer is normally compensation. There are three main types of personal injury compensation involved in a personal injury case that one may obtain.

  1. Special Compensation-This type of compensation covers the quantifiable financial harms suffered by an accident victim. It often includes expenses such as medical bills, lost earnings, expected medical treatments and household expenditures.
  2. General Compensation-General compensation takes care of the non-monetary injuries which include mental anguish, distress, anxiety, grief, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship. The last element, loss of companionship, is the emotional pain associated with the loss of a loved one. The use of a testimony or statement is one great supporter for establishing that these injuries do in fact exist.
  3. Punitive Damages-Lastly, there are punitive damages. This type of compensation is intended to punish the wrong-doer. It is usually reserved for cases in which defendants were engaging in extremely dangerous behavior such as drinking and driving. These damages are subject to limitations in all cases except legal malpractice. Punitive damages may only be awarded is actual damages are also ordered. If you are planning to seek punitive damages, you must prove that the defendant’s actions were reckless. The most common time we use punitive damages at The Casto Law Firm are with drunk driving cases. It is normally quite easy to prove recklessness with the defendant is cited with a DUI following an accident.

In most personal injury cases, the plaintiff (or injured) can claim more than one of these damages. Because each claim is complex, we require proof for each element specifically. For example, upon your first consultation with Mr. Casto, he wants to hear how this injury has affected your life specifically. Normally this is asked to fulfill the general compensation element. That way he can pin point the exact areas you have been affected. As far as special compensation, we collect all medical bills. We also have specific forms for your employer to complete for lost wages. Punitive damages is a unique compensation and normally comes easily with a police report or personal testimony.

If you have been injured in an accident, Casto can take you from victim to victory! Give us a call today 706-940-4030

 

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Personal Injury Process

Each case is just as unique as the people involved in them. However, they generally have the same process. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, product liability accident, or a dog bite incident, your case will start in the “Pre-Litigation” stage.

Step One: Initial Investigation

This meeting will be between you, the injured, and Mr. Casto. It will allow the attorney to get a fill for you as a person, your case, and your medical treatment history. We want you to be open and honest about every detail regarding your case. During this meeting Mr. Casto will discuss with you the process and potential value of your case, gather all photos and reports, as well as any medical records you have regarding the accident.

Step Two: File Management Process

During this stage your file will be created with all of your initial information. We will also notify the liability insurance carrier of our representation in your case. If you have already completed your medical treatment, we will notify your medical providers of our representation and request all bill and records that relate to this incident. If you have not completed treatment, we will wait to order records until you notify us. This ensures that we receive all necessary records.

Step Three: Demand Department

Once we receive all of your treatment records, we will prepare a demand letter and settlement package to be sent to the insurance company of the opposing party. This letter will include an outline of the incident, summary of your treatment and medical bills, lost wages verification (if applicable), as well as how this incident has affected you personally. After the demand is sent, your file will be placed in Attorney Casto’s office while it awaits reply from the insurance adjuster.

Step Four: Settlement Negotiations and Disbursements

When the demand is sent, the insurance company has approximately 30 days to review your records and prepare an offer on your case. The initial offer is always a low-blow so the negotiation period may exceed 30 days. Once Attorney Casto feels an offer is acceptable, he will personally contact you with the offer and how much you will receive before accepting anything. You have full authority when it comes to your case. If you accept the offer in the pre-litigation stage, we will work with the insurance company to obtain your settlement check. If you do not accept an offer, your case may be filed with the courts and we will discuss this with you before suit is filed.

If you have been injured, please give Mark a call at 706-940-4030! We cannot wait to help you.

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A Message from Mark Casto on Law Suit Abuse

PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE POST AS IT CONTAINS INFORMATION REGARDING THE DESTRUCTION OF JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF THE UNITED STATES AND WAYS WE CAN PRESERVE THE CIVIL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

Friends, Family and All Citizens of the United States of America, many of you are likely unaware that over the next two weeks, your constitutional rights are under assault through a series of bills that will be brought to the U.S. House floor.  All these bills are being rushed through the House Judiciary Committee without a single hearing.  This means that there is no discussion of the impact this will have on us as citizens.  We are not being considered in this rush to act.  No testimony was heard from anyone impacted by any of these bills.  That’s where we need to step forward to make a difference, we must  stand up and say “NO” to bills that limit the constitutional rights of “we the people”, as consumers, as workers, as patients, as potential patients and as small business owners.  Our constitutional rights are being quashed for the profits of major corporate America.  I emphasize what my father always told me about Corporate America, “Corporations have no Soul and should never be trusted.”

If you fight for Free Speech or your Freedom to Own Firearms or your Freedom from Government Invasion of your Privacy, whatever constitutional right that hold dearly; you had better pay attention to this attack on the Judicial System because once your right to the Civil Justice System is lost, you will have no means to fight for these others constitutional rights that you treasure close to your heart.

Next Week:

  • H.R. 985, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act and H.R. 905, the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency Act rolled together into H.R. 985.  This bill would also significantly and negatively affect dangerous drug and product device litigation.

Week after that (week of March 13):

  • H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act (caps non-economic damages, eliminates joint liability for economic loss, caps fees, prohibits lawsuits against providers in product liability cases plus more; sweeping reform against healthcare lawsuits) This lawsuit limits the recovery you could demand in the event a corporation caused the death of your family member.  Imagine a mother with 3 small children who has lost her husband because he was died when a drunk driver of an 18 wheeler truck that hit his car and killed him.  This bill would say that she is only allowed to recover $250,000 for her husband’s death.  Is that fair?  Are you only worth $250,000?  Then what happens to this mother and her family.  They go from being productive middle class family to a fatherless family on Medicare and other government programs that we pay for with our taxes.  Should we pay for this drunk driver?

Legal Organizations across the country are working hard with Republican and Democratic representatives that are aware of the dangers and friends of civil justice to ultimately defeat these bills.  The effort is to keep the margin of passage as small as possible when the bills reach the Senate.  Please make sure that you are helping by calling and e-mailing your member of Congress.  And remember, if you are asked about any of these bills, we OPPOSE all of them.  The point of having “Lawsuit Abuse Week” is to make members of Congress fatigued and pressure them to support tort reform.  This is an attack on our constitutional rights.  All of these bills are bad.  Tell your representative to vote “no” on each bill.

You may think that this does not directly affect you so you won’t be bothered by this.  But, at any time on any day, you, your spouse, your mother/father, your child or grandchild could be a victim of corporate neglect.  Just in the past couple of years, numerous people were hurt or killed because of a design defect in the Chevrolet Cruise automobile wherein the car would spontaneously turn off while driving over 50mph causing car wreck s and severe injuries and death.  Chevrolet engineers and corporate officers Knew about this defect and danger and determined that the repair was 49 cents per car to insert a small divider in the ignition switch; however, they chose not to re-call the vehicles because it would costs the company millions of dollars to do a nationwide recall.  They simply put profits over the lives of people.  This truth and evidence was discovered in a law suit brought by Cobb County parents of a young female student at Kennesaw State University who died when her car shut down causing her to lose control and crash into a tree.  Chevrolet could have prevented her death by inserting a 49 cent piece into her ignition switch.  She died for 49 cent profit to Corporate America!!!  Ultimately when Chevrolet was exposed they finally did initiate a re-call and corrected the problem.

These bills would have prevented her parents from filing the lawsuit from ever being filed in the first place.  We all drive and operate on our roads and highways.  We all would still be exposed to this danger and at any time, on any day, someone would die 49 cent profit to Corporate America.  The threat of these lawsuits is the only thing that keeps all of Corporate America restrained from endangering all of our lives in order to increase profits.

I’m all for stopping Law suit abuse and Fraudulent claims, but these bills attack real legitimate claims, NOT fraudulent claims.  So, this does affect you.  It affects all of us.  Maybe not today, but it will definitely effect you the very next day after these bills become law if we fail to act now.

 

Send a Message to Congress:

The links below send a message to Congress to oppose all bills.

For Attorneys:

http://www.takejusticeback.com/AttorneyAction2017

For Clients:

http://www.takejusticeback.com/ProtectMyRightToFight

 

Thank you for reading this lengthy post.  I’m always available for questions, comments or ideas.

 

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Do You Have a Slip and Fall Case?

Many times, we are presented with happenings that people may think are cases but they really are not. Accidents happen of course but when the accident is out of your control, you may question what your options are when it comes to taking legal action.

Let’s talk about slip and fall accidents.0b3fc653-10ad-4d50-82f4-de3be13f2485_1.9bff4a7da2460bd2547c73691f1121ba

With a slip and fall case, you need to know two things.

  1. Who are the liable parties?
  2. Were they actually negligent?

Let’s say you slip and fall on a tack in your local store. If you have a case, we need to know a) what store you were in and b) where the tack even came from. We need to investigate the actual negligence in each case before pursuing it.

What are some of the things we investigate before taking your case?

We investigate the weather that day, whether you took the proper precautionary measures, whether or not precautionary measures were taken on behalf of the business (wet floor signs), and lastly, evidence. Many times the evidence can be misplaced or discarded. We want to take full advantage when it comes to preserving the evidence that is available to us. This includes the tack you may have fallen on, any video evidence, and even your shoes that you were wearing.

Here are some main things that will strongly help your case:

  1. Take photos of the shoes and clothes that you were wearing the day of the accident. Specifically focus on the tread of the shoes.
  2. Make sure you file an accident report with the business so they are aware of what happened.
  3. If you are in pain, seek help immediately. Any delay in medical attention may seem like your injuries are not that serious or painful.

If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident, The Casto Law Firm wants to help you! Mark Casto can take you from victim to victory. Give him a call 706-940-4030

 

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Personal Injury Case Focus | Brain Injuries

Brain Injury

 

All too often, The Casto Law Firm receives a call from a parent, describing the terrible circumstances of a child who has suffered from a Traumatic

Brain Injury.  A Traumatic Brain Injury is injury causing damage to the brain from an external mechanical force, possibly leading to permanent or temporary impairment of cognitive, physical, and psycho-social functions, with an associated diminished or altered state of consciousness.  When this occurs due to the negligence of another person, usually, from a car wreck or motor vehicle accident of some kind, the legal matter can become quite complicated.  The legal issues for the injured person and their families can be overwhelming; the medical bills can become extremely high, health insurance companies can demand reimbursement from the injured person or their family, automobile insurance companies become adversarial, collection companies start calling and this compounds the devastating results of the injury itself.  If this traumatic situation occurs to your family, please call us here at The Casto Law Firm so that we can take your legal burdens from you and so that you and your family can focus on the long recovery of a Traumatic Brain Injury.

Our true hope is that you don’t have to call us and tell us about your child’s Traumatic Brain Injury, so we’ve put together some ideas and tips on reducing the risk of a brain injury

Tips to reduce the risk of brain injury:

  • Seat belts and airbags. Always wear a seat belt in a motor vehicle. A small child should always sit in the back seat of a car and be secured in child safety seats or booster seats that are appropriate for his or her size and weight.  If you are having trouble with installing a car safety seat, please contact our office and we will make arrangement for safety personnel to assist you in the proper installation of the child safety or booster seat.
  • Alcohol and drug use. Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications that can impair the ability to drive.  Don’t over estimate your ability to drive under these conditions.  If you have consumed anything that may impair you’re driving, call a cab or call Uber for a ride.  Also, don’t let a friend drink and drive either.
  • Helmets. Children (and adults) should always wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, skateboard, playing contact sports like football, motorcycle, 4-wheeler or all-terrain vehicle. Also wear appropriate head protection when playing baseball, football and other contact sports or riding a horse.

Unfortunately, these symptoms can last a lifetime. Brain injuries in children can later affect their progress in school, making friends, memory, and even physical impairments like vision and hearing. All of these hardships are possible even if they look “normal” on the outside. If you or a family member has been affected by these hardships due to negligence of another person, please give us a call. Your family matters here at The Casto Law Firm.

 

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Keys to Prevent Personal Injury

It is always important to ensure that your automobile is in safe and proper working order on a regular basis for the safety of you, your family, and other people on the road.  The drivers of Tractor Trailer trucks (18 wheeler trucks), are required by law to complete an extensive safety inspection prior to driving on the roadway.  Yet, there are no such laws requiring drivers of automobiles to do the same.  However, the need to do a safety inspection is every bit as important to all those who drive.  Just a few simple safety improvements through simple inspections can dramatically improve the safeness of your vehicle to reduce the risk for automobile failure induced car accidents and to reduce the risks for severe personal injury in the event an automobile accident does occur.  Here are several tips that we recommend you do to make your car or truck safer and to make your drive safer for everyone.

belt

#1) Check your Seat Belts:  First, you should check the Belt.  Seat belts are actually very durable, however, they can become damaged which could cause the failure in an emergency.  The seat belt fabric can wear down due to prolonged sun exposure, severe cold weather, battles with a car door or simple general usage for older models.  So, you should look for tears, frays, cuts, holes and insecure stitching in the seat fabric.  These imperfections can cause the seat belt to lock up unexpectedly or can cause complete failure to lock in an emergency.

Second, you should check the Seat Belt Buckle regularly.  It is necessary to make sure that the buckle can fasten smoothly and securely.  Make sure that the buckle will release quickly as well. It’s also a good idea to make sure no small objects, coins or even food has made its way into the buckles, causing blockage of the locking mechanism.  This could occur without being obvious to the user of the seat belt, as the buckle may seem secure but when pressure is placed against the belt in an emergency situation, the belt would lock in place and not restrain the occupant of the vehicle.

Third, you should check the Seat Belt Retractor.  This is the locking sensor of the buckle and seat belt.  This should securely lock in place at all sudden stops at 5mph or greater.  Test this be securing the seat belt in place over yourself or another person then pulling the belt itself away from the body as quickly and forcibly as possible.  If the seat belt does not restrict then you retractor has failed and needs replaced.  You should also test this mechanism on the road, in a safe area without other traffic around by driving the vehicle between 5mph and 10mph and suddenly applying the brakes in order to stop.  The seat belts should restrain the occupant.

#2) Replace your windshield wipers, so your car can handle foul weather.  In Georgia and Alabama, we can have sudden and major thunderstorms with excessive rain.  Your windshield wipers must work and work effectively so that you can see the roadway.  If your wipers are working properly, you should immediately get to the side of the road, stop, turn on your hazard blinkers and wait out the storm.

#3) Check your tire pressure every week or two weeks, and keep them at the proper pressure. This will keep you safe … and save a little gas.

Anything from a leak to the outside air temperature can lower the pressure in your tires over time.  In fact, for every 10-degree drop in temperature, the air in your tires decreases by one PSI (pound per square inch).  So, especially here in Georgia and Alabama where the temperature can drop 20-30 degrees or more over night, it is important that every car owner frequently check the tire pressure on their vehicles at least once a month and more frequently during the colder months – because low tire pressure has some interesting effects on your vehicle that can be both dangerous and costly.

First it can be costly by reducing your gas mileage.

Properly inflated tires not only increase your gas mileage overall, but they provide for better vehicle performance and handling when an emergency presents itself.

Second, low tire pressure can reduce your vehicles stopping time.  Tires that are underinflated take longer to stop, especially on wet pavement when it is needed most.  Also, studies have shown that the major contributing cause of SUV rollovers is underinflated tires.

Finally, low tire pressure can cause tire failure or blowout.  Low tire pressure can reduce the life of your tire and can reduce your tire tread life by up to 25 percent.  In the worst case scenario, low tire pressure can lead to complete failure of your tires. Too much contact with the surface of the road increases friction, and this heat can cause tread separation, blown tires, and likely, a bad accident as a result.  Overinflated tires are just as problematic as underinflated ones.  When refilling your tires, consult the recommended PSI for their specific size on the outside of your tires. Stay as close to this limit as possible without going too high.

#4) Check the tread by applying the penny test to your tires. Point a penny so Abe Lincoln’s head is pointing down, and stick it in the lowest part of the tread. If it covers Abe’s head, your tires are good. If it doesn’t…time for new ones. tires

Insufficient tread on your tires is considered such a danger to all persons on the roadway, that this simple maintenance, over all others, has been made a law in the most states including Georgia and Alabama.

#5) Check your tires every night for possible puncture hazards: nail heads, sharp rocks, and so on.  These dangers can cause slow leaks which could potentially place you in a dangerous situation unexpectedly.  Also, these dangers will weaken the tire and increase the risk of tire failure and blow-out at moderate or high speeds.

#6) Keep a car safety kit in the trunk: Your safety kit should include: flares, warning signs, a tire jack, a spare tire, tire re-inflation canister, battery charging cables, a tire patch kit, a first-aid kit, a window shield ice scraper, kitty litter (melts ice on the road), and an air horn. Most of it will fit in the spare compartment in the trunk.

#7) Test your brakes on a regular basis:  Automobile brakes are designed to wear out.  Different types of brakes that are assembled on various car and truck models will wear out at differently as some will wear out quicker than others.  If you feel any slippage or grinding or hear squealing when the brakes are applied, you should immediately have the brakes on your vehicle inspected by a trusted brake shop.  If you delay or take too long between brake inspections, you will likely run into additional costs.

If the brake pads wear too far, the metal backing on the brake pad comes in contact with the brake rotor. Once you make metal to metal contact, you’ve not only damaged the rotor, but put yourself and others in a very dangerous situation.

#8) Check your lights every few months: a blown-out taillight can be the difference between safe driving and getting rear-ended or broadsided.

Visibility is the most obvious purpose of a proper vehicle lighting system.  Increasing your ability to see, particularly while driving at night or in adverse weather conditions, is the greatest deterrent to driver error in these conditions causing a wreck.  Some drivers suffer from nyctalopia, or what is more commonly known as night blindness.  Dim or in operating headlights magnify the dangers of operating a motor vehicle for individuals with this condition.  Even drivers with good night vision can have trouble seeing with low-quality lighting.   Instead of driving around with the high beams on at all times, drivers who wish to increase their visibility should consider upgrading their headlamps.

While increasing visibility goes a long way toward improving vehicular safety, the other very important reason for properly functioning vehicle lighting is to help make sure that other drivers can see you.  Properly working brake lights are extremely important because they let drivers know when the vehicle in front of them is slowing or stopping. When brake lights are too dim or not working at all, the warning to other drivers that you are slowing or stopping may not register with the driver, causing him or her to stop too late and collide with your vehicle instead.

Blinkers and corner lamps are other important lights on a vehicle, as they make it easier for drivers to know your intent to make a turn or change lanes.  This notice will prevent collisions due to their failure to yield the right of way or for an improper lane change.

While increasing visibility goes a long way toward improving vehicular safety, the other very important reason for properly functioning vehicle lighting is to help make sure that other drivers can see you.  Properly working brake lights are extremely important because they let drivers know when the vehicle in front of them is slowing or stopping. When brake lights are too dim or not working at all, the warning to other drivers that you are slowing or stopping may not register with the driver, causing him or her to stop too late and collide with your vehicle instead.

When a driver has a flat tire or other mechanical issue and needs to pull over to the side of the road, the driver is putting himself or herself and others at great risk. Even worse is when a vehicle actually breaks down in the middle of a lane. To make sure other drivers do not collide with your vehicle should always make sure that the emergency flashers are in proper working order.  These lights should flash fast and bright, making them nearly impossible to ignore and alerting other drivers of your stalled vehicle.

gas#9) Check your fluids on a regular basis, and top them off as necessary.  Start with the car parked on level ground and the engine cold to check these fluids.

Engine motor oil. Remove and wipe clean the dipstick, then insert it for a clean read.  In most cars, you just need to pop up your hood, find the oil dipstick, pull it out, and wipe it down. Repeat that again and you’ll have your oil level.  If it’s in the safe level zone, continue on your merry way. If it’s not, you need to add more. Most mechanics recommend that you check your oil every time you fill up with gas if you have seen signs of oil loss; otherwise, checking the oil approximately once a month is sufficient.

 

Engine/motor coolant should also be checked every time you check the motor oil levels.  To check the coolant levels look for the clear overflow plastic container near the radiator.  The fluid level should be at and within the recommended amount indicated on the container.  Water can be a temporary emergency fix for low coolant levels, but do not rely on water as your fulltime engine coolant.  In the winter, water can freeze causing engine damage and, in the summer, water will eventually overheat and not perform as a coolant.

 

The danger of not having a sufficient amount of oil or coolant is that your car’s engine could suffer immediate engine failure while you are driving on the roadway leaving you in a precarious and dangerous situation and vulnerable to a collision from another vehicle not expecting you to be stranded in the middle of the road.

 

Power steering fluid keeps the vehicle in proper operating condition by giving the driver easy control and maneuverability.  When driving, you will want the vehicle to be as efficient as possible.  If you notice it becoming more difficult to turn your steering wheel or if the steering becomes less responsive, you should immediately get your vehicle to a certified mechan9c for inspection and maintenance.  The power steering is a mechanism that enables you to steer and turn the vehicle easily. Low power steering fluid can cause difficulty in your ability to avoid sudden dangers that develop while driving.  This endangers you, your passengers and all those that are on the road.

#10) Stick to a regular maintenance schedule. Tune-ups and basic maintenance done by a qualified mechanic will prevent mechanical problems that could cause a crash.

In older cars, a tune-up was needed every 30,000-45,000 miles.  However, most new cars can drive without a tune-up much longer. A major tune-up is usually recommended if a car starts running poorly but it is best to stick to a regular inspection and maintenance schedule.

Due to the electronics and newer technologies the recommended mileage between “tune-ups” or spark plug replacement has gone up to 30,000, or 60,000 and even 100,000 miles!  This is because the computers in newer cars have done away with older engines need for a distributor, and spark plug wiring.   Recommended parts to get replaced for newer cars and trucks during a “tune-up” are: the spark plugs, fuel filter, air filters, PCV valve and include testing to verify the electronic engine management system (if equipped) is doing its job.

 

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Family Matters

Many people, who have never suffered or had a family member suffer a serious personal injury due to the negligence of another person or a business, have never consider the extreme loss, disruption and even sometimes devastation that a serious personal injury can have on a husband or wife and the family as a whole.  But once a severe injury occurs to a family member, it becomes quite apparent to all of those that are close to the family the significant impact is made upon the loved ones.

As a personal injury law firm we see this impact on the family members quite often.  We’re obliged to discuss the husband or wife that the injury to their spouse has also given rise to a claim of their own despite not actually being involved in the car, truck, or motorcycle accident. In many cases, a spouse who was not directly involved in the accident may still have a claim known as “loss of consortium.” This claim is for the non-physically injured husband or wife a claim for the injuries to their spouse because he or she has lost the society, companionship, fellowship, conjugal relationship and services of the injured spouse.

Historically, the Georgia Appellate and Trial Courts have struggled with whether a loss of consortium claim is a separate injury, or a single indivisible injury. Several years ago, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed prior case law holding that a consortium claim is, for purposes of uninsured motorist benefits, a single injury. See, Mullinax v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, Company.  This is very important to married persons of a spouse who has been severely injured because, in Georgia, before an injury victim may receive benefits under his or her uninsured motorist policy, the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits must be completely exhausted. If, for example, the at-fault driver’s policy is $25,000, the entire $25,000 must be paid out before the injured victim can recover money from their uninsured motorist carrier.

crash

So, consider a situation where the full amount of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy is paid to the injured wife, if the loss of consortium claim was a separate injury, the husband would have no claim to assert.  However, now based on the Mullinax case, the husband can assert his loss of consortium claim against the Uninsured/underinsured insurance policy.

If your husband or wife has been severely injured in an automobile accident and the at-fault driver’s insurance policy is not sufficient to fully compensate your injured spouse’s and/or your losses, you may be entitled to use your own uninsured or underinsured automobile insurance coverage. For more information about uninsured motorist benefits, please contact The Casto Law Firm at 706-940-4030.

 

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Tire Talk

A few weeks ago, The Casto Law Firm published a blog on tired tires. Let’s recap 25,000-45,000 miles is approximately how long tires can travel before they reach their halfway point.

You would like that tire life simply depends on how many miles that they have traveled— if you think that, this new information might take you by surprise. The longer the tire travels the less durable it becomes. The chemical change it undergoes is called oxidation. Basically what that means is the tire components are exposed to oxygen and the oxygen causes the flexible components of a tire to harden and become brittle. Over time the tire will fall apart with normal stress.

This is a natural process. For that reason alone, even if a tire is not being used, just stored as a spare or at a store, it will still weather away and become weak. For those of you that weren’t science majors (me included!), heat accelerates the oxidation process.

In hotter climates, like ours in Georgia, oxidation is a far more serious factor than the tread when it comes to tire life. This hazard is not very known so let me show you how to tell. There is an 11 digit code on your tire that will tell you everything you need to know.

 

How-to-Read-TIRE-DOT-Number

According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, a large body of evidence supports that most tires should be replaced six years from the date they were manufactured. This date begins from the day the tire was manufactured at the plant, not the date you bought the tire. We have included a graphic of the manufacturers that support this claim below.

Failure to maintain health tires can lead to injury and even death. So next time you get into your car, be sure to check the date AND tread life! The Casto Law Firm wants you to be as safe as possible while on the road this holiday season.

Vehicle-Manufacturers-on-Tire-Aging

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Be Proactive with Christmas Crimes

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Unfortunately, it’s the peak time for criminal activity as well. While you’re out buying Christmas gifts, criminals are planning their next big “hit.” They take advantage of the seasonal chaos and people’s giving nature.holiday1

Here are the top five most common holiday crimes:

  1. Identity theft- Make sure anytime you’re online shopping, you are on a secure network. Also make sure you keep a close eye on your statements, balance your check book, and review your credit reports to make sure there isn’t any unexpected charges.
  2. Shoplifting- Large crowds, major sales and distracted workers- this is the type of surroundings criminals love. If you’re a business owner, train your employees on the “signs” of shoplifting during this chaotic season.
  3. Burglary and Robbery- Christmas bonuses and tons of presents under the tree? All the more reason to obtain a concealed carry permit. Learn more about getting your license here.
  4. Vehicle Theft- The obvious is sometimes forgotten when you’re rushing from store-to-store to get every gift on your list, but don’t forget to lock your cars. When you leave that nice, new Keriug in the car but remember you forgot the K-Cups to go with it, criminals are waiting for you to “slip up.” They would love to have a shiny new coffee maker or the cash when they sell it!
  5. Drunk Driving- Holiday parties are the best. My personal favorite is the Ugly Christmas Sweater party. According to Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, “during the 2014 holiday travel period in Georgia, there were 14 traffic deaths in only 102 hours from 6 p.m. on December 24 to midnight on December 28. During all of 2014, there were 8,931 alcohol-involved traffic crashes in Georgia that resulted in 5,250 injuries and 165 injuries.” Be alert while travelling to grandma’s house after work. And if you’re leaving your office Christmas party, think twice about driving if you’ve had even just one drink.

If you run into any trouble this holiday season, The Casto Law Firm is here to help. Give us a call 706-940-4030.

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