Case law is constantly being updated with new rulings and determinations. We have provided below a summary of major court decisions from 2022 covering personal injury law.
At Fried Goldberg, we aim not only to keep ourselves fully informed of case law updates, but also to share our findings with others practicing in the field of truck accident litigation. In this way, we also ensure the quality of truck accident litigation standards, and help truck crash survivors receive the high level of legal services they are entitled to.
Below is a summary of selected Georgia personal injury case law rulings for 2022:
- SERVICE OF PROCESS
- STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
- COMMERCIAL VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
YEAR-END CASE LAW UPDATE 2022
SERVICE OF PROCESS
Service after Expiration of Statute of Limitations
Plaintiff failed to exercise the greatest diligence to perfect service required by law in failing to make any service attempts during the five months between the day the statute of limitation expired (and counsel filed a special appearance to contest service). Fluellen v. Davis, 362 Ga. App. 512, 869 S.E.2d 169 (2022).
Affidavit of Service
Original affidavit of service can be amended to change clerical mistake but cannot be amended to add additional people served or how service was made. Scott v. Smith-Denton, 364 Ga. App. 393, 875 S.E.2d 363 (2022).
Service by Publication
In order to have service by publication, the trial court must determine that all reasonable efforts have been made to serve the defendant and that the defendant is a resident who is actually present in the state and has knowledge of the suit but is wilfully secreting himself in order to frustrate reasonable efforts to effect personal service. Griffin v. Stewart, 362 Ga. App., 669, 870 S.E.2d 3 (2022); Shuler v. Akpan, 362 Ga. App. 811, 870 S.E.2d 235 (2022).
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Tolling of Statute of Limitations for Covid
The statute of limitations for Covid is tolled 122 days if the end of the statute of limitations would normally be after July 14, 2020. If the end of the statute of limitations is in between March 14, 2020 and July 14, 2020, then the statute of limitations is tolled after July 14, 2020 for the number of days from March 14th until it would have normally expired. Beauparlant v. Aiken, 362 Ga. App. 341, 868 S.E.2d 482 (2022).
Tolling for Pending Criminal Charges
Wrongful death claimants are not victims of a crime and so are not entitled to tolling of the statute of limitations for victims of crimes during the pendency of criminal charges against the defendant. Hicks v. Universal Health Services, Inc., 364 Ga. App. 769, 874 S.E.2d 877 (2022).
Tolling for Minor and Estate Claims
When a lawsuit is filed on behalf of a minor, the tolling of the statute of limitations continues despite the filing of the lawsuit until the minor turns 18. For an intellectually disabled person, the tolling ends once the lawsuit is filed. For an estate claim, the five-year tolling of the statute of limitations ends once a permanent administrator is appointed and a temporary administrator does not end the tolling of the statute even if the temporary administrator files a lawsuit on behalf of the estate. Somani v. Cannon, 363 Ga. App. 610, 872 S.E.2d 9 (2022).
Acceptance of Offer
When an offer identifies the people to sign the release and who will be on the release, adding a person to a release is a material deviation from an offer to settle and is not an acceptance of an offer. Ligon v. Hu, 363 Ga. App. 251, 870 S.E.2d 802 (2022); Bennett v. Novas, 364 Ga. App. 364, 874 S.E.2d 871 (2022).
An attorney can create a binding settlement by orally accepting an offer regardless of whether or not that exceeds his client’s actual authority. Progressive Mountain Insurance Co. v. Butler, 364 Ga. App. 439, 875 S.E.2d 422 (2022).
Exclusion of Expert Testimony
A trial judge cannot exclude an expert from testifying just because the judge feels the conclusions of the expert are not as persuasive as the opposing expert. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. v. Holder Construction, 362 Ga. App. 367, 868 S.E.2d 485 (2022).
Expert opinions not identified until just before trial should be excluded including any evidence related to the testimony because of false and misleading responses to interrogatories about an expert’s testimony and a failure to supplement the responses in a timely manner. Dunwoody Obstetrics and Gynecology, P.C. v. Franklin, 363 Ga. App. 90 (2022).
Police Officer Testimony as Expert
Police officer may testify concerning who had the right of way, and whether a driver was distracted and the sole cause of the accident based on the police officer’s investigation into the accident. Where the investigating officer’s opinion is based on his examination of physical evidence at the scene, and not solely on statements of witnesses, and where he does not opine as to the ultimate issue of a party’s negligence, his opinion on the cause of the accident is admissible as an assessment of fact and not a legal conclusion or a conclusion constituting a mixture of law and fact. Golden Peanut Company, LLC v. Miller, 363 Ga. App. 384, 870 S.E.2d 511 (2022).
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
Statutory Employee of Motor Carrier
The existence of a written or oral lease is required for a motor carrier to be held responsible as the statutory employer of the driver. Golden Peanut Co., LLC v. Miller, 363 Ga. App. 384, 870 S.E.2d 511 (2022).
Securing a Load
Anyone who participates in the loading process is potentially liable for negligently failing to secure a load pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-248.1. McEntyre v. Sam’s East, Inc., 313 Ga. 429, 870 S.E.2d 385 (2022).
Additional Resources for Case Law Updates for Attorneys
Attorneys who would like to obtain regular updates such as these can sign up for our Practice Pointers. Fried Goldberg offers regular Practice Pointers for plaintiffs attorneys practicing in Georgia and South Carolina. Those who sign up will receive a new practice pointer daily through email. Our practice pointers address a distinct legal topic weekly.
A projected list of topics for 2023 is listed below:
Practice Pointer Topics
1. Service of Process
2. Statute of Limitations
3. Multiple Defendants, Claims, and Claimants
7. Dismissal and Renewal of Complaint
8. Default Judgments
9. Responding to Motions
10. Pretrial Matters
11. Admissibility of Evidence at Trial
12. Minor Claims
14. Negligent Failure to Settle and Bad Faith Claims
16. Offer of Settlement Statute
17. Unliquidated Damages Act
21. Negligence Claims
22. Defenses to Negligence Claims
23. Workers Compensation Exclusivity Rule
24. Vicarious Liability
25. Nondelegable Duties
27. Spoliation of Evidence
28. Underinsured Motorist Coverage
29. John Doe Claims
30. Personal Injury Damages
31. Loss of Consortium
32. Wrongful Death
33. Punitive Damages
34. Ante Litem Notice for Governmental Entities
35. Sovereign Immunity for Governmental Entities
36. Dram Shop Liability
37. Boating Accidents and Drownings
38. Common Carriers, Elevators, and Escalators
39. Liability for Injuries on the Premises
40. Dog Bites
41. Bankruptcy, Stays, and Forum Non Conviens
Below are more resources for lawyers:
- Online Webinar: Fried Goldberg hosts a free monthly online webinar for lawyers practicing in the field of personal injury.
- Breakfast Workshop Seminar: We host a complimentary breakfast workshop seminar every 45 days. Our law firm invites plaintiff’s lawyers to discuss their recent noteworthy rulings and verdicts.
- Trucking Claims Book: Our treatise Understanding Motor Carrier Claims, 5th Edition, provides an in-depth review of trucking accident law and practical methods for handling commercial vehicle lawsuits.
- Co-Counsel Agreements: Contact us for more information about generating fees for personal injury cases through co-counsel arrangements with Fried Goldberg.
If you have specific questions or requests, or if there are any other injury law topics or matters you would like us to discuss, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (877) 591-1801. We look forward to discussing more speaking points with you.