Georgia is home sweet home for many people — but as in all states throughout the U.S., it has its fair share of personal injury accidents caused by negligence. Understanding local and state laws, statutes, and codes is an important step before filing a personal injury lawsuit. Enjuris is here to help by providing real answers to common questions about injury law in the Peach State. Browse through the resources below to learn more about what to do after an accident, how to find a lawyer, and much more.
Georgia Personal Injury Cases - Must-Know Info
Quick Reference Guide: Georgia Personal Injury Law
In Georgia, you have two years to bring a personal injury claim, but four years to bring a property damage claim. That doesn't mean the whole lawsuit must be completed in that time frame; all that means is the paperwork has to be filed with the court before that time is up.
The initial meeting with a personal injury attorney is normally free of charge. (Keep in mind that other legal specialties, such as patent law or estate planning law, are different.)
After that, lawyers work on a contingency fee, which means that they will receive a third of the eventual reward, plus office expenses. If your case ends up going to trial, the percentage could rise to 40% of the eventual reward or judgment. These numbers aren't set by law, so don't be shocked if your lawyer suggests something different.
These are some of the most important Supreme Court cases that came out of Georgia:
Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972): This case led to a moratorium on the death penalty until it complied with the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution (meaning the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause). Furman, a burglar, accidentally shot his victim during the commission of a felony, which is first-degree murder and grounds for the death penalty in the state of Georgia. However, in a 5-4 decision, Justice Potter wrote, "These death sentences are cruel and unusual in the same way that being struck by lightning is cruel and unusual... I simply conclude that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments cannot tolerate the infliction of a sentence of death under legal systems that permit this unique penalty to be so wantonly and so freakishly imposed." It was described as a "legal bombshell" by scholars and changed the landscape for decades.
Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1976): This case reinstated the death penalty after Furman. It consolidated a number of cases, with different states working to reshape their death penalty statutes so that they complied with the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Each of the defendants in the consolidated cases had asked the Justices to once and for all declare the death penalty to be "cruel and unusual punishment," and legal scholars thought that this case would spell the end for the practice. On the contrary, this case ended the moratorium.
Heart of Atlanta Motel Inc. v. United States, 379 U.S. 241 (1964), was a case in which the Supreme Court held that the United States Congress could use the power within the Constitution's Commerce Clause to force private businesses to abide by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The owner did not want to rent rooms to black customers and felt it was within his rights to refuse to do so under the Constitution. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, said that the government had power under the Commerce Clause because the renting of rooms was related to "interstate travel." They granted a permanent injunction that required the hotel to refrain from racial discrimination.
Georgia Law Libraries
There are certain issues you can solve without the help of an attorney. If you don't know where to begin, a law librarian can help you. They are usually legally trained, and they can help you both with texts or online research engines like Westlaw or LexisNexis. Georgia has many, many law libraries to help you: