A Troup Superior Court jury recently made an award in a personal injury case of $2 million on behalf of a former Olympic higher jumper. Plaintiff David Adley Smith, a participant in the 2016 Olympics for Puerto Rico, was involved in a serious car accident on I-85. A Georgia State Patrol report stated that Donggue Lee, the defendant, had changed lanes on I-85 and struck Smith’s vehicle in the passenger rear door, sending him off of the shoulder of the highway.
Lee claimed that he did not see Smith’s vehicle. As a result of the accident, Smith endured a left hip fracture that required significant rehabilitation and has left him with persistent pain. Smith ended up seeing physicians at Emory Southern Orthopedics in LaGrange, where it was determined that a bone chip had not healed and would require additional surgery.
Despite the injuries, Smith was able to compete in the high jump again in the Southeastern Conference. Although Smith appeared to make a comeback from significant challenges, his potential achievements are unknown if he had not been slowed by the injuries. The injuries presented a detriment to his long-term career, which likely influenced the size of the jury award.
Georgia Insurance Liability
In order to register a vehicle, owners must submit proof of liability insurance coverage. Insurance providers must submit electronic confirmation of insurance coverage to the state’s Department of Revenue. The electronic requirements are exempt in these scenarios:
- Commercial vehicle policies may still use an insurance card for documentation
- Those with policies that were initiated within 30 days may present written agreements as documentation
- When renting a car, a copy of the agreement is sufficient
- Written declarations are acceptable when a car was purchased in the last 30 days
All policies in the state must have a minimum of $25,000 in coverage for bodily injury or death of one-person and $50,000 for two or more persons. In addition, a minimum of $25,000 in property damage coverage is required.
Statute of Limitations & Comparative Negligence
Personal injury actions must be brought within a two-year period. Injuries to reputation must be brought within one-year. Actions involved with loss of consortium must be brought within four years. Medical malpractice actions have a separate set of provisions for limitations.
Georgia’s law of comparative negligence applies when the plaintiff’s percentage of negligence is less than the defendant’s. When a jury renders an award for damages, the plaintiff’s award will be reduced by the percentage of negligence attributed to him. If the plaintiff could have avoided the accident, they are unable to seek recovery because they were the lone proximate cause for the injury.
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