Articles Posted in INSURANCE DEFENSE

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Posted by Susan J. Levy

The simple, but perhaps unsatisfying, answer is “maybe.” We often get calls from individuals who have been cited for causing an accident or have some other reason to fear being sued after an accident. They have insurance, but wonder if they need their “own, personal” attorney to defend them.
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Posted by Jonathan A. Barash

Traffic fatalities reached a record low in the first half of 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced last month. An estimated 16,626 people died in motor vehicle accidents on U.S. roads between January – June of 2009 compared with 17,871 during the first half of 2008. This represents a 7% decline. According to the NHTSA report, traffic fatalities have been declining steadily since reaching their peak in 2005.
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Posted by H. Lee Pruett

In Beneke v. Parker, Case No. S08G2078 (Ga. Sup. Ct., Sept. 28, 2009), the plaintiff’s Complaint was deemed timely even though it was filed two years and two weeks after the date of accident giving rise to the lawsuit. On April 27, 2005, the plaintiff was a passenger in a car which was rear-ended by the defendant. The defendant was cited for following too closely. The plaintiff filed her complaint for personal injuries on May 11, 2007. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the two-year statute of limitations had run, but the trial court denied the motion. The trial court held that O.C.G.A. § 9-3-99 tolled the statute of limitations until the defendant paid the fine in connection with his traffic citation. O.C.G.A. § 9-3-99 provides that the limitation period is “tolled from the date of commission of the alleged crime or the act giving rise to such action in tort until the prosecution of such crime or act has become final or otherwise terminated.”
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Posted by Jonathan A. Barash

Insurers, lawyers, and industry groups have reported a rise in claims since the U.S. economy took a downturn.

Last month, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported an increase in the number of medical malpractice cases filed in Georgia. The report was based, at least in part, on an increase in claims seen by MAG Mutual Insurance Co., Georgia’s largest medical malpractice insurer. However, MAG Mutual’s president and COO, Daryl Grimes, was not ready to conclusively link the increase to current economic conditions until they had seen several years worth of numbers. Nonetheless, the Chronicle’s article also quoted Dr. Richard E. Anderson, chairman and CEO of The Doctor’s Co. (the country’s largest medical malpractice insurer), who said that as a general rule, malpractice claims increase in bad economic times and that there has been a recent uptick in the number of claims against healthcare providers. (As others interviewed for the Chronicle’s article predicted, the number of medical malpractice claims in the future will also depend on whether the Georgia Supreme Court upholds a recent trial court ruling striking down the 2005 tort reform law that capped non-economic damages at $350,000. See February 23, 2009 Georgia Insurance Defense Lawyer Blog post, “Georgia Judge Strikes Down Damage Caps in Medical Malpractice Actions”.)
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Posted by Susan J. Levy

For insurance defense lawyers, the issue of driving while talking on a cell phone is ubiquitous. While many of us are probably guilty of talking on the cell phone, emailing, or even texting while driving, more and more cases involve drivers who have injured someone or been injured by someone using a cell phone.
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