$875,000 for Local Law Enforcement Officer Hit by Georgia State Patrol Car

$875,000 for Local Law Enforcement Officer Hit by Georgia State Patrol Car


In 2018, our client was working as a Sheriff’s Deputy in a rural Georgia county outside Columbus, Georgia. In the early morning hours of his shift, he responded to a call of an overturned tractor-trailer on State Route 90. Because it was a state road, Georgia State Patrol was dispatched as well.

As our client directing traffic through the accident site, the Georgia State Trooper who was working the crash got in his patrol vehicle. The State Trooper started to back up. Unfortunately, he was not paying attention. He was distracted and did not notice our client was standing behind his car. The patrol vehicle violently crashed into our client.

The collision caused significant injuries to our client’s left shoulder, lower back and left arm. He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, where it was determined he had a dislocated shoulder and fractured arm. The hospital did not have the ability to care for his serious injuries so he was transferred to a major trauma hospital in Macon, Georgia. There, an orthopedic surgeon performed surgery on his arm and our client remained in the hospital recovering for five days.

Our client had a long road of recovery ahead of him after he was discharged. He endured over a year of intense physical therapy and numerous doctor’s visits. Three years after the collision he had to undergo another shoulder surgery. Despite all the treatment he received, his shoulder was never the same. He was assigned a 17% whole person impairment rating based on his permanent shoulder injury.

When our client was done with his treatment, his medical bills were over $180,000, with additional bills looming in the future if heeded another surgery or other treatment. The shoulder surgeon stated it was likely he would need a shoulder replacement at some point in the future. Because our client was so severely injured, he was unable to return to work and had ongoing lost wages.


Because the negligent person who injured our client worked for the State of Georgia, the State Tort Claims Act applied. The State of Georgia generally has sovereign immunity from lawsuits—meaning that it cannot be sued if it does something wrong and injures someone. The State Tort Claims Act is a limited waiver of sovereign immunity that waives the immunity in certain cases for damages up to $1,000,000. The law also contains detailed procedural requirements that must be complied with and specifies which defendant must be sued.

One of the main components of the Act is an ante litem notice requirement. This means that the State of Georgia must be given notice of the claim within one year of the accident. There are specific requirements on what information the notice must include, where it must be sent, and the method of mailing or hand-delivery that should be utilized. The failure to comply with even the smallest detail of the Act’s notice requirement can result in a lawsuit being dismissed and the client getting nothing.

As our client was approaching the one year anniversary of his injury, we sent the required ante litem to the State of Georgia’s Department of Administrative Services and the Department of Public Safety (the state agency that employed the State Trooper). We included all of the legal requirements under the law and listed out all of our client’s injuries and damages. We demanded the full $1,000,000.

Because our client was still treating for his injuries, the State refused to engage in settlement negotiations because it wanted to see what his total damages would end up being, including what additional treatment he may need and whether he would return to work.

In 2020, we filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Public Safety. As required by the State Tort Claims Act, the lawsuit was filed in the County where the injury occurred. After filing the lawsuit, we engaged in discovery regarding the facts of the accident and our client’s injuries and damages. Our client eventually underwent his second surgery in 2021 as the lawsuit was pending. We continued to demand the full $1,000,000 under the State Tort Claims Act.

While the State of Georgia acknowledged it was at fault for our client’s injuries, it disputed the amount of damages it had to pay. It focused on the fact that the case was pending in a rural venue that was more conservative; therefore, it argued a jury would not aware as much money for our client’s injuries. It also argued that its liability under the Act was $1,000,000, so it had little incentive to pay the full $1,000,000.


In early 2022, we attended mediation with the attorneys from the State of Georgia and the adjusters with the State’s Department of Administrative Services. After lengthy negotiations, the State agreed to pay our client $875,000 for his claim.


Started in 2014, The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. is a top-rated, full-service Metro Atlanta personal injury firm specializing in motor vehicle accidents, premises liability, wrongful death, and medical malpractice. Led by Attorney Darl H. Champion Jr., The Champion Firm team has successfully litigated and settled over $100 million for clients all across Georgia. If you or someone you know was injured in Georgia as a result of someone else’s negligence, call or chat us today. Consultations are always free.