Personal Injury Lawyer
Robbins & Associates, P.C.
July 14th, 2015
Laurie Robbins, President of Robbins & Associates was elected to serve on the Editorial Board for the Verdict, the quarterly magazine of the Georgia Trial Lawyers(GTLA). Since 1956 the GTLA has been the only plaintiff personal injury Bar in Georgia and works to provide access to justice and the preserve the Right to Trial through legislative liaisons at the Georgia Capitol. Their services include document banks for lawyers, seminars, workshop, and a speaker bureau. The Verdict selects the best articles of interest to Georgia personal injury lawyers on various subjects including: evidence in auto accident cases, making a record for appeal in a medical malpractice case, and prosecution of a product liability case in Georgia. It is an honor to be nominated to a position of trust, respect and leadership, and help to serve the people of Georgia.
Robbins & Associates practices plaintiff personal injury law in Atlanta, and the metropolitan area since 1978 including automobile wrecks, malpractice, workers compensation, and defective products. Mrs. Robbins is on the Board of Directors and Vice Chair of the Atlanta LRS, Board of directors of The Sandy Springs Bar, and active on neighbor committees at Ridgemere Community. The office is in Sandy Springs off 285/Roswell Rd.
Information on the GTLA, click GTLA
Tags: automobile wrecks, bicycle accident, case evaluation, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, lawyer volunteer, personal injury trial, workers' comp, wrongful death
Posted in attorney community volunteer, Auto Accident, Defective Products, Legal Malpractice, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, Product Liability, trial law, Trial Lawyers, Uncategorized, Workers' Compensation | Comments Off on Robbins on Editorial Board of Verdict
June 23rd, 2015
Herniated Disc, Causation, and Damages, June 2015
In any lawsuit for damages the plaintiff must prove liability for the accident, damages and causation of injuries whether the occurrence was an automobile wreck, slip and fall accident, or other types of accidents. In auto wrecks there are many back injuries and herniated disc injures are caused in rear end accidents, and head on collisions, and workers comp injuries, and falls due to the forces exerted on the back and spinal cord in the collision.
It is difficult to recover damages for a preexisting condition even when the condition has been aggravated or made worse by the wreck. If a medical professional views an MRI, or CAT scan and determines that the patient had prior degenerative disc damage this is a normal condition that ever one gets with aging. Typically bone spurs occur with aging, and are considered degenerative, and we want the doctor to state that the wreck aggravated the condition. A herniated disc is different from a bulging disc. A bulging disc can be caused by pressure, or a loss of fluid in the disc, and many times this condition will recover with rest. A bulging disc is not generally caused by trauma. A true herniated disc is when the disc ruptures from pressure which can be caused by trauma. If the patient didn’t have the signs and symptoms of the rupture before the accident, and the doctor states that the trauma caused the rupture, the case is solid as to causation.
Many patients are treated for back pains by chiropractors, and other specialists. When a herniated disc is involved it is necessary to be seen by an orthopedic surgeon to diagnosis the condition. An orthopedic surgeon is able to perform a laminectomy, or other procedure on a herniated disc. Patients may want to get a second opinion before having back surgery. In litigation or workers compensation the defendant may be entitled to have an independent medical examination, IME of a patient.
Your attorney should know whether your doctor has given prior depositions, and whether he is considered fair to plaintiffs or a company doctor who is generally hired by insurance companies in workers comp, and leans towards the company view. Like politics there are some company doctors considered fair, and some that will only root for the company.
A back surgery requires months of recovery, possible rehab, prescriptions, and time off work. A patient should get a medical permanency rating which is a medical opinion that the condition is permanent , and this will be used by your lawyer in evaluation and settlement your case. A trial attorney is an attorney who will gather all of the information needed to get your best settlement or go to court. A settlement lawyer never goes to court, is known by the insurance companies for only settling cases, and will get a low ball offer. At Robbins & Associates I have been evaluating, settling and trying law suits for over 30 years. Feel free to call me to answer your questions about your medical condition, and law suit.
web MD herniated disc link
Tags: case evaluation, causation of injury, company doctor, head on collision, herniated disc, independent medical evaluation, orthopedic surgeon, permanency rating, personal injury trial, preexisting conditions, rear ender accident, second opinion, settlement and evaluation, Slip Fall accident, trial attorney, web md, workers' comp
Posted in Auto Accident, Car Accident, Personal Injury, Uncategorized, Workers' Compensation | Comments Off on Herniated Discs caused by accidents
June 22nd, 2015
Automobile Wreck Claims-What the Insurance Company Won’t tell you about hiring a lawyer
Before you attempt to handle your own case there are several things that you need to know about insurance companies and automobile wreck claims. Do you need an attorney?
- Property damage, and diminished value; the Law in Georgia allow recovery for the diminished value of a vehicle which was wrecked. Generally, an attorney will assist you in collecting this, and there is no additional charge. If your car is new the diminished value from a $3,000. fender bender could be $2,000 or more depending on structural damage. If you sign a general release you cannot collect for any injury.
- Medical bills and lost wages: if you are a passenger in a car that has med pay, you may be able to have your bills paid through the med pay insurance. The same applies to persons who are injured on premises that have a med pay policy. If you handle your claim on your own, the carrier may tell you that they don’t have med pay, or that they pay the bills at the settlement, but this statement is not factual. An insurance company does not represent you, they do not owe you a duty to tell you what they owe, or to tell you the truth about what you are entitled to receive.
- Instant settlement offers at the scene of the wreck; some carrier attempt to settle the case at the scene. You have not been to the doctor, and the case has not been evaluated, and sometimes $2,000 at the scene looks like a lot of money. If you take the settlement, and then go to the doctor there will not be a settlement for you injury case regardless of your bills or injury.
The evaluation of an injury case is not based on a formula. You may hear that the case is worth 3-4 times the bills. When there is a broken bone, scar, or other serious injury the attorney must evaluate similar verdicts to make a good evaluation and demand for your case. Recently, I litigated a false arrest case with $200. in medical bills . After proving the client was falsely and maliciously arrested we recovered $325,000.00.
- Choosing an attorney: who is going to handle your case? Don’t assume that the attorney you meet is the person that handles your case. In a settlement mill there may be one attorney, and ten “investigator-paralegals” who actually handle the case. I get many calls from clients of settlement mills who could not get the attorney on the phone, and the client didn’t know that the big firm that they had chosen was a settlement mill. The mill only settles cases, and is known for never going to court. Would you go to a surgeon who never performed an operation? How about a fighter who never fought? Don’t you think the insurance companies know who runs a settlement mill? And who takes low ball offers because no one ever goes to trial?
- In wrongful death claims in Georgia alone the costs to the state are over 1.5 billion dollars. Don’t under estimate the value of your case.
- CDC statistics ; over 30,000 are killed in auto wrecks every year. There are many more catastrophic injuries that require a trial lawyer to help you. Call a personal injury lawyer who is affiliated with the Georgia Trial Lawyers ( injury lawyer association) who is knowledgeable in handling these cases. An attorney who is experienced will volunteer, and hold positions of leadership in the trial associations. Read more about my firm at www.robbinslaw.com, and see my video collection.
Tags: automobile wrecks, bicycle accident, case evaluation, dimished value of car, insurance claims, medical bills, personal injury, property damage, settlement mills, wrongful death
Posted in Auto Accident, Car Accident, false arrest, premises liability | Comments Off on What the Insurance Company Won’t tell you
June 17th, 2015
Distracted Driving, a Hazard to Everyone
Everyone has heard of the explosion of distracted driving accidents from use of cell phones, texting while driving, and other distractions. In 2012 over three thousand people were killed in the US, up 10%. In 2011 there were over 17 billion texts sent/ received. In the time it takes to read two sentences when driving 40 mph you cover over 100 yards, enough time to cause a serious wreck.
We say ‘it’s not going to happen to me’ because I have children, and am safety conscious. How many safety conscious women put on makeup or eat a sandwich while driving? The statistics do no lie. You can’t concentrate on driving when 70% of drivers admit to talking on the cell phone regularly, and texting. You can’t do two things well at the same time. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety after reviewing 33 studies there was reported a significant delay in driver’s reaction time from distractions including cell phone use. This delay effects following distance, speed, and overall safety.
As a personal injury lawyer I am concerned about the safety of children, and older people who are innocent victims of these wrecks. Recently I represented two bicyclists who were both hit by a driver on his cell phone, and they were riding ten feet apart. One of the bicyclist suffered a significant brain injury .Can we take a day or a week and pledge to put down the cell phone and stop distracted driving?
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Tags: Atlanta pedestrian injury, automobile wrecks, bicycle accident, distracted driving, dui wrecks, pedestrian accident, traumatic brain injury
Posted in Auto Accident, Car Accident, distracted driving, distracted driving, Personal Injury, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Distracted Driving, Summer 2015
May 14th, 2015
The Atlanta Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) program has served the public since 1955. Last year alone, the LRIS staff referred over 14,000 citizens to qualified attorneys who reflect legal professionalism, integrity and a commitment to public service. Laurie Robbins has been a trustee of the Board since 2013, and regularly attends meetings. She was recently appointed Vice Chair for 2015-2016.
Since the inception of the percentage fee program in September 2004, LRIS attorneys’ have generate over $13,000,000 in fees, closed over 6,000 cases, and have consulted with thousands of Atlanta citizens.
The Atlanta Bar has many community activities including
Minority and Diversity Clerkship Program which we support.
Since 1985, the Atlanta Bar Association has sponsored the Minority Clerkship Program (recently expanded as the Minority and Diversity Clerkship Program) with the assistance and cooperation of Atlanta law firms and the law schools at Emory University, University of Georgia, Georgia State University, John Marshall, and Mercer University.
If we can answer your questions about the Atlanta Bar, or other questions, give us a call at 404-252-8117.
Tags: Atlanta Bar Lawyer referral, lawyer volunteer
Posted in Atlanta Bar Lawyer Referral, attorney community volunteer, trial law, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Laurie Robbins appointed Vice Chair of Atlanta Lawyer’s Referral Service
April 7th, 2015
Healthcare Worker Fall Injuries
According to the CDC Healthcare workers are 90% more likely to have a fall than other workers. This is because of the hazards in the workplace are not cleaned, fixed and repaired. See, http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2011-123/.
There are numerous ways that a fall occurs: drains are clogged, and not repaired; the water spouts on the outside walkway allow water to flow into the walking area; tiles are dented, and not repaired; there are uneven surfaces in the grounds including holes; there are stones, and debris on the walk path; when it rains signs are not posted in lobbies, and water is tracked in; the lighting is inadequate, and not maintained; and clutter on the walking surfaces including boxes, and items that cause falls.
In Georgia if you are a visitor to a hospital or other facility the management has a duty to keep the premises safe for patients, and visitors. This means cleaning the walk ways, installing adequate lighting, and inspecting for potential hazards. In order to win a case a party must show that the management knew or should have known of the defect, and that the defect did cause the accident. The in juried party cannot have more knowledge of the defect; this means that if you got out of your car, and stepped over a small hole in the pavement, you know of it, and should avoid it on the return trip. Employees of a hospital are subject to workers compensation for their injuries. Slip and fall injuries are common, but can be avoided by good inspections, and maintenance.
If you are injured on the job you are required to report the accident to your supervisor.
If you have any questions about your rights, give us a call at 404-252-8117.
Tags: Georgia, Healthcare worker falls, Slip Fall accident, workers' comp
Posted in Personal Injury, Uncategorized, Workers' Compensation | Comments Off on Healthcare Worker Fall Injuries
April 3rd, 2015
Teen Drivers and Accidents
Young people aged 16-19 suffered more accidents, and 2,600 deaths in 2011. This population is 14% of the US, but they accounts for 30% of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries (and 19 Billion in expenses). Young drivers are more at risk than any other population, and males are two times more likely to be in a serious wreck due to risk taking, and inexperienced driving skills. The statistics show that teens who drive with other teens are more at risk than driving with an adult driver.
The factors that put teens at risk are speed, shorter distance given between cars, and risky drivers. Males were speeding 37% of the time involved in a crash, and 25% were drinking. Teens are less likely to use seat belts. Some states require a graduated licensing system that requires goals to be met before the young driver is allowed to drive alone, or at night.
As a personal injury lawyer I am concerned about the safety of teen drivers. Parents should drive with teens, and may consider postponing of the driver’s license when the child is subject to risk taking. Many times the problem driver is not discovered until it is too late.
For more information see,
Tags: Atlanta, automobile wrecks, distracted driving wreck, Georgia, personal injury, teen drivers, wrongful death
Posted in Auto Accident, Car Accident, Personal Injury, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Teen Drivers
March 31st, 2015
Traumatic Brain Injury in the US: the Facts
Nearly 30% of all injury deaths are from TBI: 40% are from falls, 14% are motor vehicle wrecks, 11% are assaults, and the rest are unknown causes. TBI survivors can have problems for a few days, or a lifetime of disabilities, memory problems, movement, loss of vision, or emotional functioning including personality changes.
A TBI may be caused by a blow, bump or a penetrating injury to the head. A severe injury may involve unconsciousness or memory loss, but most TBI are mild. In 2010 over 2.5 Million emergency visits were associated with TBI. TBI contributed to over 50,000 deaths. The rate of TBI from 2001 to 2009 in sports and recreation injuries increased 57% among children 19 or younger. Men are three times as likely to die from TBI as women, and the rates are highest for persons over 65 years.
At Robbins & Associates we view a TBI as a potential catastrophic injury. We have clients who were injured in automobile wrecks, falls, and workers comp injuries. We have a psychologist and Neurologist who can treat, and counsel patient. If you are unable to continue working we can advise you about your potential social security disability claims. If you have any questions about this call for a free consultation. For more information see, http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/pubs/congress_epi_rehab.html.
Tags: automobile wrecks, traumatic brain injury, workers' comp, wrongful death
Posted in Auto Accident, Brain Injury, Social Security Disability, Workers' Compensation | Comments Off on Traumatic Brain Injury
March 24th, 2015
With the proliferation of cell phones texting, sending and reading messages is involved in almost one in five automobile accidents in the US per the CDC. In Dec. 2012 more than 170 billion text messages were sent or received in the US, which would come to 700 per year ( 2 a day) for every adult driver on the road.
The main distractions are taking your eyes off the road, taking your hands off the wheel, and taking your mind off driving. Over 30% of US drivers reported that they read or send text messages or emails while driving within 30 days of the survey. It is estimated that in the 3 seconds that an email is read a car going 40 mph goes sixty yards, more than half the length of a football field. Inexperienced drivers are more at risk. Students who text and drive are twice as likely to ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking. Apparently they are accustomed to taking risks. The problem is large as over 3,300 people were killed in 2012 in crashes involving distracted driving, up 9% over the previous year.
What is being done?
Laws are being enacted banning, and penalizing distracted driving. Students are being trained on the dangers of distracted driving, but as cell phones, and other distractions increase the problem gets worse. In 2009 the President issued an Executive Order prohibiting federal employees from texting while driving on government business. The Federal Railroad Administration banned cell phone and electronic device use of employees on the job.
As personal injury attorneys we urge you to put the phone down. Read about the issue online, and you will realize how dangerous it is to drive while distracted. In my practice I routinely investigate these cases, and obtain cell phone, and electronic device billing of Defendant drivers which shows the time of usage. A jury may find punitive damages if the Defendant driver was consciously indifferent to the dangers involved.
www.robbinslaw.com Laurie Robbins Atlanta , Georgia
CDC. Mobile Device Use, 2011, p. 177-182http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/index.html
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Facts on Distraction, Oct. 9 , 2014
Tags: automobile wrecks, distract, personal injury
Posted in Auto Accident, Personal Injury | Comments Off on Distracted Driving and Automobile wrecks
March 13th, 2015
Recantation in Georgia Civil Litigation
When we speak of recantation it is generally in the context of a criminal case when a witness recants, or a victim of a crime recants, but rarely do we hear of recantation in civil litigation. In a recently litigated case involving false arrest of a former employee by a small local business I had an important Defense witness recant her first deposition ; the general manager of the company resigned from the companies employment months after the deposition, and reported that she had lied under pressure , and wanted to recant her prior testimony(1). Recantation is seen primarily in criminal cases by either an unwilling victim, or a witness who changes their testimony (2) (3), but it is difficult to find a case of recantation in Georgia in a civil matter.
In the underlying case the Plaintiff was employed at the Defendant’s business in the Call Center for five years, and was terminated in 2012 for erratic, and unprofessional behavior. Coincidental to the termination and within two weeks the business call center began to get “Harassing phone calls” from an unknown party. The employees and the assistant manager in the center was unsupervised, and untrained in contacting the police. The assistant manager was not told that one year before this incidence, another disgruntled employee had left the business, and made harassing phone calls and that the offender was arrested, and plead guilty.
In 2012 the new assistant manager got permission from the manager to contact the police; several employees believed the Plaintiff was making the calls because she had been recently fired. But, neither the manager nor the assistant manager checked the phone # of the caller. The Plaintiff was arrested, handcuffed, booked, spent the night in jail, and was prosecuted for over a year on misdemeanor charges until her defense attorney had the phone call traced to the prior employee who had plead guilty to making harassing phone calls. A civil suit for false arrest, false imprisonment, and punitive damages was filed. The Defense was that the arrest was not with the consent and approval of the management. Another key fact was that the manager hated the Plaintiff, and this established “willful” misconduct behalf of the Defendant which is an element of False Arrest.
Depositions of several Defense employees were taken including the owner, manager, and assistant manager who was no longer employed by D. The assistant manager testified that she was acting under the direction of the owner, and manager when she went to police to report the incident in accord with a previous affidavit that I had prepared. The assistant was shocked to find out that the company had a similar incident of harassing calls one year earlier, and that the phone # of the caller in 2012 was proven to be connected to the earlier caller. She recalled that the manager said she would “check the Plaintiff’s phone number “ in her employment records. The manager testified she did not recalling checking the phone #, but that the actions of the assistant were known to her, and the employees, but in her opinion the assistant manager was acting on her own behalf, and had a “grudge with the plaintiff.” The owner testified that he didn’t know about either incident of harassing phone calls, and that this matter was “a cat fight between the P and his assistant manager. “ The company denied that the arrest was done with their knowledge, and consent, yet emails produced after the deposition established that the manager and owner knew, and approved of the arrest.
Several months after resigning the Manager left a message on the office phone stating that, “ I no longer work at the company, I lied under oath, and I want to be re-deposed (4).” The deposition was rescheduled, and with the newly discovered emails to refresh the witnesses memory the manager recalled that the Plaintiff’s arrest was with the knowledge, and consent of the company, and owner; she swore that she was pressured to lie in her first deposition by the owner, and that she was scared of him.
Establishing the Truth
The object of all legal investigation is the discovery of the truth, OCGA 24-1-1. In cross examination a party is allowed a “thorough and sifting cross examination” to find the truth, 24-6-611. As practicing attorneys know many incidences do not have witnesses, and in civil cases arising out of an automobile wreck when a party is rear ended, there are factual disputes over many matters; Counsel must question the witness on every potential scenario; whether the plaintiff was at a full stop when the wreck occurred; whether the plaintiff caused the accident by slamming on break; along with the speed, and distance between the cars being disputed. When there are not skid marks, and other physical evidence available at the scene for an expert to make a determination of the causation, the attorney is left with discovery, and cross examination to find the truth. Counsel must be prepared to examine the witnesses and question the witness on every possible scenario as to what could have happened, and what did happen, their knowledge, and use of all the evidence, and documents that have been produced. In the false arrest matter I obtained an affidavit of the former assistant manager stating that she was working under the direction of the manager, and owner, which was denied in discovery responses, and requests to admit. The depositions were taken with the premise that the assistant manager was acting within the scope of her employment.
Use of the Evidence, and Repetition in Cross Examination
An effective cross examination of an uncooperative witnesses requires repetition, and rephrasing of questions.
- Repetition may be successful in getting the witness to change the prior answer. Stage your evidence using different pieces of evidence, and rephrase the question based on different pieces of evidence. In the False Arrest case I discovered the Manager’s personal Face Book post that showed her making derogatory comments about the company. She elaborated that the owner pressured her to lie, and the Face Book post was her way of her getting back. It was a series of things that caused the witness to recant: false answers that were repeated many times, her shock at discovering the harassing caller’s phone number was the prior employee’s, and the newly discovered emails.
- The Defendant’s denied that the assistant managers actions in the arrest were within the scope of her employment, and a series of questions revealed the truth:
- Did you authorize the assistant manager to go to the police? A: yes. Was she on the clock when she went? A: yes. You were aware that she went? And a copy of the police report was given to you, and you filed it in the Plaintiff’s personnel file? A: yes.
- The personnel file documents the company matters of the employee? A: YES.And you decided to file the police report in the Plaintiff’s file? A: Yes. You believe that the police report was a “company matter”? A: yes.
- No one admonished the assistant manager for going to the police? A: no. No one called the police and said that the manager was not making the report on behalf of the police? A: no. Were you aware that Ex. J, the owner’s letter that was ready to the employees on the hiring of the assistant states that “she is in charge of handling all matters in the call center”? A: yes. The harassing phone calls were made to the call center? A: yes. Isn’t it true that the actions of the assistant manager were not restricted? A: yes. After the manager agreed that the assistant was not restricted, and was authorized to go to the police it was not credible that the assistant was having a personal dispute with the Plaintiff.
- Get the witness to admit to a mistake that they made; In the first deposition the manager admitted that since the employees did not check the phone number of the harassing caller, and that since the Plaintiff had her criminal case dismissed because the phone number was traced to the former employee who had been arrested, it did appear that the company had the wrong person arrested. This coupled with the company’s pressure on manager to lie made her think about her testimony over and over, until one month later she decided to recant.
After the manager’s second deposition, and other discovery the case was successfully settled under a Confidentiality Agreement. Lawyer should obtain affidavits of key witnesses, and be prepared to thoroughly cross examine a witness with the assumption that they may not be inclined to tell the truth. If you are successful in exposing the witness’s inconsistencies you will prevail.
- The underlying case was settled under in a Confidentiality Agreement, and the names of the parties will not be used.
- Legal and Scientific Issues Surrounding Victim Recantation in Child Sexual Abuse Cases, Georgia State University Law Review: Vol 24: Iss. 3, Article 3 (2008).
- In Search of Truth: A Case for Expanding Perjury’s Recantation Defense, 100 W. Va. L Rev. 353 (1997).
- excerpt from managers recantation deposition with names redacted
Tags: evidence, Georgia recantation law, personal injury trial, trial law
Posted in Auto Accident, false arrest, Motorcycle Accident, Personal Injury, trial law | Comments Off on Getting to the Truth in Litigation and winning
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