Haug Barron Law Group’s Path to a $30 Million Verdict: An In-depth Examination
The $30 million verdict secured by Haug Barron Law Group on October 5, 2023, didn’t just make headlines—it underscored the law firm’s unwavering commitment to justice, the depth of its legal expertise, and the team’s ability to navigate through complex medical malpractice cases with precision and resilience.
Anatomy of the Case
Originating from a 2018 car accident, the lawsuit brought to light severe oversight in medical care. The victim, after being examined for a seatbelt abrasion, was sent home, only for the true extent of her internal injuries, including a perforated bowel and several fractures, to manifest days later, leading to her tragic demise from sepsis.
“[The decedent’s] medical issues absolutely should have required a full-trauma CT scan,” James Haug pointed out. The defense’s refutation of this assertion and their hardened stance against a reasonable settlement was a pivotal aspect of the legal confrontation. “This was a case that should have been settled,” James noted, underscoring the rigidity the plaintiff’s team encountered.
A Legal Journey
With a defense entrenched in their position and an insurance company’s highest offer stagnating at $350,000, the Haug Barron team bolstered their strategy. The enlistment of Jesse Wilson, a seasoned jury consultant, marked a turning point. His deposition preparation and trial framing strategy became a cornerstone in presenting an unassailable case.
“Our voir dire was strong,” James acknowledged. He attributed the team’s ability to weave a compelling narrative to the jury to Wilson’s expertise. Every detail mattered, every piece of evidence and testimony was crucial, each word and action meticulously considered to uphold the truth and the pursuit of justice.
Trial and Verdict
In the courtroom’s charged atmosphere, the defense’s initial presentation threatened to cast doubt. “They almost had me convinced that they had a better case than we did,” James admitted. However, the foundation laid by relentless preparation and unwavering commitment to factual evidence and ethical practice, turned the scales.
In just 90 minutes of deliberation, the jury announced a $30 million verdict, placing this case among Georgia’s ten largest medical malpractice verdicts. It was a profound manifestation of the jury’s acknowledgment of the untold pain, suffering, and loss resulting from the overlooked medical care.
“We put so much work into this case,” James reiterated. A sentiment that not only highlighted the team’s dedication but also underscored a philosophy rooted in meticulous preparation, ethical engagement, and unyielding pursuit of justice.
“I think the jury responded to us just being very truthful,” James reflected. In a world increasingly navigated through perspectives, narratives, and representations, the jury’s affirmation of the verdict underscores a foundational principle; facts and truth remain the bedrock of justice.
This case, a synthesis of legal acumen, ethical standards, and an unwavering commitment to the client, epitomizes the ethos of Haug Barron Law Group. It’s not just about legal representation—it’s about a partnership in the pursuit of justice, a journey through the intricate terrains of legal processes, and a commitment to turning challenges into triumphant victories.
If you are in need of legal counsel characterized by a blend of expertise, dedication, and client-centric service, don’t hesitate to Contact Us today! We are committed to converting legal challenges into triumphant victories.
The Unseen Perils of Bow-Riding: A Pleasure Boater’s Guide to Safety
Pleasure boating is a cherished pastime, especially on the serene lakes of Georgia like Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona. The sun’s out, the water’s gleaming, and life couldn’t be more picturesque. But as idyllic as this scenario is, an unseen danger lurks for those tempted to sit on the bow of a boat while it’s cruising along – and it’s a danger we need to address.
Riding on the bow of a boat while underway may seem thrilling. You might feel a sense of freedom as the wind whips through your hair and the spray from the waves cools your skin. But remember, the seemingly benign setting can quickly turn into a dangerous, even life-threatening, situation.
The first point is the most obvious yet often overlooked: boats aren’t stationary. They bob, weave, and can make unexpected movements. This unpredictability, combined with the lack of safety measures on the bow, creates a perfect storm for accidents. A big wave, a sudden stop, a sharp turn – any of these can catapult an unsuspecting individual overboard. And, unfortunately, the water isn’t always a safe place to land.
Propellers pose a significant threat to those who find themselves suddenly in the water. Even at slow speeds, they can cause serious injury or even death. It’s not just the immediate physical harm we need to worry about; just the shock of sudden immersion can lead to drowning.
On the legal side of things, Georgia law prohibits individuals from riding on the bow, transom, or gunwales of a moving boat unless there are adequate guards or railings. This rule is not arbitrarily decided – it’s designed for the safety of all boat users. Non-compliance isn’t taken lightly and can lead to penalties, fines, or worse.
Legal professionals, like those at the Haug Barron Law Group, have dealt with cases where ignorance or dismissal of these laws led to unfortunate outcomes. These cases often involve personal injury claims and, in extreme instances, wrongful deaths. It’s not a situation anyone wants to find themselves in – the emotional, physical, and financial toll can be devastating.
It’s important to remember that these laws and regulations apply regardless of which body of water you’re on. Whether you’re enjoying a leisurely day on Lake Lanier or exploring the natural beauty of Lake Allatoona, the same rules apply. Compliance isn’t just about avoiding legal trouble; it’s about ensuring that everyone can enjoy the water safely.
While pleasure boating offers an opportunity to unwind and enjoy the great outdoors, it’s crucial to respect the inherent risks associated with it. Understanding the dangers of bow-riding and adhering to safety regulations doesn’t just protect you – it safeguards the well-being of others around you, too.
As we continue to enjoy the beautiful lakes and waterways in our region, let’s prioritize safety. Remember, a responsible boater not only knows the rules but also understands the reasoning behind them. So, next time you’re tempted to sit on the bow, think twice – the thrill isn’t worth the risk.
In conclusion, pleasure boating is a fantastic way to appreciate Georgia’s stunning natural landscapes. But remember, folks, as you’re cruising along the glittering waters of Lake Lanier or Lake Allatoona, it’s not just about the view or the adventure. It’s about having fun while staying safe and respecting the rules that are there to protect us. After all, the real pleasure in boating is in ensuring we can enjoy these experiences for many more years to come.
July 7, 2016 Trial Victory Resulting in 162.5% Increased Verdict from Settlement Offer
Our team at the Haug Law Group regularly receives large verdicts and settlements for our clients, but we are not afraid to try cases of moderate to minor damages. An example of this can be seen through our victory in a Magistrate Court trial on July 7, 2016. A single-mother was involved in an automobile accident where she was struck from behind on Interstate-285 by an F-150 truck that veered into her lane. As a result of the collision, our client underwent 3 months of treatment, and incurred approximately $7,000 in medical expenses. Prior to trial, the opposing counsel was unwilling to consider any pain and suffering damages, and her highest offer was $4,000.00. Maintaining this stance at trial, the opposing counsel attempted to downplay our client’s treatment as unreasonable. Our team objected to this reasoning, asserting that our adversary could have sought the opinion of an expert to determine the reasonableness of the treatment obtained. We asserted, and the Judge agreed, that the opposing counsel was not a medical provider, and consequently was not in a position to determine the reasonableness of our client’s treatment. Also, we argued to the Court our client’s decreased quality of life since the accident. She unfortunately had to deal with loss of sleep and a reduction of activities in her daily life, and deserved $5,000.00 in pain and suffering. The Court ultimately awarded our client $7,000.00 in medical expenses she incurred, plus $4,500.00 for pain and suffering. At the conclusion of the trial, the Judge stated that she wished our case had appeared first that day, so that the other attorneys could see an example of how “it was supposed to be done.” As opposed to settling for the $4,000 originally offered, our team was able to increase our client’s compensation for their injuries by 162.5%. *It is important to understand that no two cases are alike, and no recovery or amount of recovery can be guaranteed. We would be more than happy to discuss your case with you and evaluate it for you. Please call us at 1-844-428-4529. Also, you can visit our website at www.hauglawgroup.com.
Almost everyone is familiar with the idea that if a person dies as a result of the negligence of another, damages could be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit. However, perhaps not as common is the idea that one could also recover for prenatal harms. There are three different kinds of prenatal harms recognized at common law. They are wrongful life, wrongful birth and wrongful conception.
The state of Georgia is one of a few states that does not recognize wrongful birth claims. However, a Georgia sperm bank, Xytex Corp. and a local fertility clinic are now at the center of at least two lawsuits. The plaintiffs thought their sperm donor was a neuroscientist, when in fact he turned out to be a convicted felon with mental health issues. Previous litigation was dismissed because Georgia does not allow wrongful birth claims. At issue is how the sperm doner was described on Xytex’s website.
A wrongful birth claim results when a child is born that would not have been in the absence of medical malpractice. In general, these cases fall into three categories: 1) births caused by failed sterilization procedures, 2) the failure to inform parents of a birth defect or abnormality of their unborn child, and 3) failed abortion attempts.
In a wrongful life claim, the child is the plaintiff and the damages are the cost of the child’s support. In a wrongful birth claim, the plaintiff is the parent and the damages are the cost of the child’s support. Both allow recovery for the birth of unhealthy children. These sound like the same thing, especially since the damages are the cost of the child’s support under both theories of recovery, but it does matter which claim is chosen. If the child recovers, it’s her money and would last a lifetime. If the parent recovers, the parent can only recover for support up until age 18. Recovery is limited, however, to the extraordinary expenses of raising the child, not the normal and foreseeable costs of raising a healthy child. Wrongful Conception, where it is allowed, differs from wrongful birth and wrongful life in that it allows for the recovery of unwanted healthy children.
Dog owners can recover the value of medical costs in a Negligence Action in Georgia.
Dog owners can recover the value of medical costs in a Negligence Action in Georgia.
In Georgia, when a person is injured in an accident due to the negligence of someone else, she can often recover money damages for her personal injuries, including her medical costs. If that same person passes away due to the negligence of someone else, her estate may have a claim for wrongful death. However, what happens when a pet animal is injured or killed due to the negligence of another?
The general rule is that an animal, even if it is a loving member of your family, is considered personal property, and if that animal is killed, the owner would only be able to recover the fair market value of the animal. A court will take the animal’s training, temperament, and use into consideration, when determining fair market value, but will not consider the value of the animal to the owner. Rather, it will only consider the value of the animal in a fair market.
In a recent Georgia case, the Supreme Court of Georgia still refused to allow dog owners to recover for their sentimental value for their dog, a mixed breed dachshund named Lola. The owners brought suit against a boarding facility after Lola died from kidney failure allegedly caused by the boarding facility’s negligence. The court reasoned that “the unique human-animal bond, while cherished, is beyond legal measure.”
The owners also sought to recover the value of the medical services provided to Lola. They spent nearly $67000 on Lola’s medical care at a specialized animal hospital in Florida for a period of nine moths before Lola passed away. The boarding facility argued that recovery should be limited to the fair market value of the dog, but the court held that, in addition to the fair market value, Lola’s owners could also recover for the reasonable value of medical expenses they incurred while trying to save Lola. The court held that the jury could consider the reasonableness of the medical treatment and costs in determining how much the owners could actually recover.
Avoiding Liability for Accidents in Your Home
If someone is injured in another’s home, the homeowner could be liable for any damages caused. Common problems include falling on slippery or insecure surfaces, being injured in pools or trampolines, lawnmower accidents, and accidents involving pets or unsafe conditions on the property. You can protect yourself from liability by knowing the situations that could lead to trouble:
1) Failing to maintain your property .
2) Creating a condition on your property that could lead to injury.
3) Having a known hazard on your property and failing to protect others against it with warnings or barriers.
4) Failing to safely maintain or creating a hazard that could attract children.
5) Engaging in actions that could damage to your neighbor’s property.
Avoiding these situations and protecting yourself from liability starts with keeping your home safe. The American Bar Association has provided a handy checklist of suggestions you can use to ensure a safe home:
Repair steps and railings.
Fix uneven walkways.
Install adequate lighting.
Clear walkways of ice and snow as soon as possible.
Be sure children do not leave toys on steps and sidewalks.
Replace throw rugs that slip or bunch up.
Reroute extension cords that stretch across traffic lanes.
Repair frayed electrical cords.
Keep poisons and other hazards out of the reach of children, even if you don’t have children.
Warn guests about icy conditions and other hazards.
Restrain your pet.
Erect barriers to your swimming pool; an automatic pool cover or a tall fence with a good lock that you lock, and an alarm on any door leading to the pool.
Remove all guns or keep them securely locked and out of sight, where children cannot see them or gain access to them.
Remove nails from stored lumber; secure any lumber piles.
Don’t leave ladders standing against the side of the house or garage.
Don’t let children stand nearby when you mow the lawn.
Don’t let your guests drink and drive or drive under the influence of drugs.
By acting reasonably, paying attention, and correcting problems, you can protect yourself from liability and make sure your home is safe for both your family and others!
Federal Tort Claims Act and Georgia Soverign Immunity
Prior to 1946, the government could not be sued based on the doctrine of Sovereign Immunity. However, today, if a person is injured because of the acts of a government employee acting within the scope of employment, the injured person can sue the government for personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage. Therefore, if a visitor slips and falls on negligently maintained stairs at a federal building, that visitor would have a claim for negligence under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
State governments have their own immunity laws. In Georgia, sovereign immunity is waived in certain situations. If a driver is injured in an accident due to a malfunctioning street light or perhaps an obstructed stop sign, she may be able to recover damages from the government entity responsible for the stop light or sign. Her first step would be to file a notice of claim to let the government know that she has been injured. For cities, this must be filed within six months after the accident and within a year after the accident for counties and state entities.
Filing this notice is very important and can cause a victim to lose her case if she doesn’t follow the rules. For example, in a case wherein a Waynesboro police officer drove his patrol car into the back of the victim’s automobile, the victim she lost her negligence case. The court dismissed the case, finding that the victim did not file appropriate notice within six months of the accident. The court further noted that a state statute prevented the victim for suing the victim from suing the officer personally.
Because of the formalities requires and protective rules, it can therefore be difficult to sue the government, but it is not impossible. Hiring a good lawyer that understands the rules and limitations is a good way to start!
Defenses to Negligence Claims in Georgia
Defenses to Negligence Claims in Georgia
Suppose a driver turns left at a red light in front of a second driver’s car, causing a car accident. The first driver is clearly negligent. However, let’s assume the accident could have been avoided entirely had the second driver not been speeding. Courts have three different ways of apportioning the blame – and thus the liability – in cases where both parties are negligent: Contributory Negligence, Comparative Negligence and Assumption of the Risk.
First, the doctrine of Contributory Negligence may be used to completely bar a plaintiff who contributes to the accident. In the car wreck example above, if the second driver was indeed speeding and contributed to the accident, she would not be able to recover any damages in a jurisdiction that adopts the rule of contributory negligence.
Comparative Negligence is a defense that may be used to reduce the recovery of a Plaintiff that contributes to the accident. Her recovery will be reduced by the percentage of her negligence. Most jurisdictions have adopted this approach, including Georgia.
Specifically, Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence approach: Plaintiff will only recover if she is less than 50 percent at fault. In other words, if she is 40 percent at fault, he damages will be reduced by 40 percent, leaving her with 60 percent of her damages. Let’s say that Plaintiff suffers $100,000 in damages but is found to be 40 percent at fault. She would only be able to recover $60,000 because her recovery would be reduced by 40 percent, or $40,000.
Our neighbors, Alabama and North Carolina, follow a pure comparative negligence system, where damages are apportioned to each party regardless of each party’s percentage of fault. In other words, if Plaintiff is found to be 80 percent at fault, she could still recover 20 percent of her damages from Defendant. In Georgia, because she is more at fault than the defendant, she would be barred from recovery.
Another defense to negligence is assumption of the risk. A Plaintiff that voluntarily undertakes the risk that results in her injury is also barred from recovery. In order to prove assumption of the risk, Plaintiff must voluntarily choose to expose herself to a known risk. In other words, she knows and appreciates the risk, but still chooses to expose herself to the danger.
Let’s say you sign a waiver form before going skydiving. That would be an express assumption of the risk. You know the danger of skydiving, but voluntarily choose to expose yourself to it. Or, let’s say you get a recall notice informing you that the brakes on your car are defective and you notice that they are slipping, but you choose to drive your car anyway without getting the braes repaired. That is an assumption of the risk as well.
Assumption of the risk can be implied by the factual situation or expressly, when the plaintiff explicitly agrees to accept the risk involved. Many jurisdictions absorb implied assumption of the risk into comparative negligence rather than treating it as a completely separate defense. Georgia has both a comparative negligence statute and an assumption of the risk statute.
Negligence Per Se Atlanta Georgia
Negligence Per Se Atlanta Georgia
If an individual is injured because of the actions of another, she may be able to recover her damages if she can prove that the other person was negligent. As mentioned in previous posts, to prove that another person has acted negligently, you generally must demonstrate that the person acted unreasonably under the circumstances, which can sometimes be hard to do.
Under Georgia state law, one way you can prove unreasonable conduct is to show that the Defendant violated a statute. For example, let’s assume that the Defendant was speeding or ran a red light. As a result, the Defendant caused an auto accident, and another driver on the road was injured. We all know that both speeding and running a red light are against the law in every state in the United States. However, that does not automatically mean that the Defendant is liable for the Plaintiff’s injuries under the doctrine of negligence per se. Instead, you have three requirements to prove to invoke the doctrine:
- The injured Plaintiff must be within the class of persons that the law was intended to protect. In the case of the speeding car, the law against speeding was designed to protect drivers. Therefore, if another driver is hit by a speeding car, she is within the class of people the statute is designed to protect.
- Again, in the case of the speeding car, the law was intended to protect against people suffering an injury as a result of an automobile accident. Because the Plaintiff was injured in a car accident, she suffered the type of harm the statute was meant to protect against.
- Finally, you have to show that the Defendant’s violation of the statute was not excused. In other words, if the Defendant has an excuse for breaking the law, the doctrine of negligence per se will not apply. In the case of the speeding car, if the Defendant was speeding because he was rushing to the hospital to save a dying passenger in the vehicle, his conduct may be excused, and negligence per se will not apply. However, if there was no excuse for his speeding, the Plaintiff may be able to prove negligence per se and avail herself of the doctrine to prove that the Defendant owed her a duty of care to drive at the speed limit, and he breached that duty of care by recklessly driving over the speed limit.
Here’s the twist: Just because a Plaintiff can prove negligence per se does not mean that the Plaintiff automatically wins her negligence case. Rather, she must also still prove causation and damages. For example, if the accident was caused because the Plaintiff swerved to avoid a hazard in the road and not because the Defendant was speeding, then the Defendant will not be liable for negligence because the Plaintiff cannot prove both actual and proximate cause.
Swanson v. Tackling: A Georgia Dog Bite Case
Swanson v. Tackling: A Georgia Dog Bite Case
In a recent Georgia case, a seven year old boy was bit on the head by one of Defendant’s Great Dane dogs while he was visiting their home. He suffered serious and disfiguring injuries as a result. His mom filed a personal injury suit against the dog’s owners.
When the boy and his parents arrived at the home, they were introduced to the dogs who were behind a gate in another room. One of the dogs put her head over the gate barked in the young boy’s face. This made the mother nervous and she requested that the dog be kept away from her son, although she did not share this information with the owners. The next day, the young boy asked if he could give one of the dogs a stuffed toy. In an attempt to get the toy, the dog bit the boy’s arm. The boy began to scream and cry and when he bent his head down, the dog bit him. the dog’s owner testified that “prior to this incident, the dog had never bit, chased, jumped on, or even growled at anyone.”
The trial court ruled in favor of the dog owners on the grounds that there was no issue of material fact for a jury to consider because the dog had never displayed any vicious behavior or evinced a propensity to bite anyone prior to biting the boy. The appellate court agreed and ruled in favor of the dog owners.
In a dog bite case, Georgia law allows a plaintiff to recover based on a dangerous animal liability theory or a premises liability theory. However, in order to succeed, the plaintiff must show evidence that the dog had a vicious propensity in order to prove that the owner had superior knowledge of the danger. In order to infer this knowledge, there “must be at least one incident that would cause a prudent person to anticipate the actual incident that caused the injury.” Although the dog owner doesn’t have to be aware of the dog’s propensity to act in exactly the same way that causes the injury at issue, that previous incident must be the same type as the incident at issue. Finally, it is well settled under Georgia law that “a dog’s menacing behavior alone does not demonstrate its vicious propensity or place its owner on notice of such propensity.”
As mentioned, Georgia courts allow recovery under a dangerous animal liability theory or a premises liability theory. Also, if a person voluntarily undertakes to restrain a dog and fails to do so and an injury results, the owner can be held liable. In this case, there was no evidence that the mom asked the Defendants to restrain the dog or that they promised to do so. Therefore, while the Court was sympathetic with regard to the boy’s injuries, it had to rule in favor of the dog owners.
2016 WL 718465