A recent case out of the Georgia Court of Appeals Second Division illustrates why the details and facts involved in a personal injury case are so important to the outcome. In any instance in which a person is injured, and even badly, recovery is nearly impossible unless all of the exact and accurate facts are produced in the course of trying to recover. Depending on the case, these essential facts can be locations, dates, people involved, and more.
In this case, Williams v. City of Atlanta, the complaint was straightforward and should have led to a recovery for the victim. The victim in this case was walking down the road in Atlanta when he stepped in a uncovered water meter hole. He was injured as a result, and brought suit against the city after contacting an Atlanta personal injury lawyer. However, personal injury cases operate differently when the city is involved.
Ante-Litem Notice in Personal Injury Cases
There are many cases in which the city, one of its officials, or the general conditions of the areas used by those who reside here cause injury. In those cases, the city should be held responsible for the damages caused, but it is shielded in a way through the law and protected beyond how a private party is protected in personal injury cases. This protection is afforded to the city via several additional requirements that are included in a personal injury suit against the city.
One of those requirements can be found in OCGA § 36-33-5, and if not complied with exactly, could lead to the case being dismissed. That section of the law requires that anyone bringing a personal injury lawsuit against the city first notify the city of the impending action, and provide the following information:
- Time of the injury;
- Place of the injury;
- Extent of the injury.
These requirements must be provided in the notice, known in the law as an ante-litem notice, and be as accurate as practicable. If not complied with, the courts will terminate and throw out the suit. That is why it is so important to have an Atlanta persoal injury lawyer on your side, assisting you throughout this process.
In this case, the man gave the city the required notification, but did not provide the right address. When the city received the notice and began its own investigation into what happened, they realized that the address given did not represent any water meters, covered or uncovered. The city did not dispute that the man actually fell into an uncovered water meter, only that because he did not give the right address when he filed his complaint, they could not defend the case.
Once it was shown that the exact address could not be determined, the city asked the court to dismiss the case. The court had no other choice than to dismiss it because it is difficult for a defendant to defend a premises liability suit when the actual place of injury is not known. It is not clear from the court’s opinion whether this mix up was is the fault of the victim, but it is clear that these kinds of cases require that details be correct when applied in a case. A personal injury attorney serving Atlanta can help you ensure that all the proper details are seen to when filing your personal injury lawsuit.
If you are injury because of negligence by the city, or a private party, you need the right personal injury attorney in Atlanta working on your case. At the Angell Law Firm we will ensure that your case gets the attention it deserves, and provide you with the best representation possible. Contact us today.
Photo by Sirotorn Sumpunkulpak