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Brain Injuries

Do You Handle Brain Injury Cases?

One of the most difficult things about a brain injury case is that a lot of times our clients look normal on the outside and one of the most difficult things is explaining how this injury has affected them and explaining how the brain works and showing the defense, the insurance company and the jury that even though they might look normal on the outside, they are different on the inside. Their brain is different, their brain has changed. There is a number of ways to do that, and to really do that well you have to understand who that person is, you have to understand who they were before, and who they are now. You can find that out by talking to family members, friends, coworkers, to really get a full picture on how the injury has affected them. Another problem very similar to the first one I just mentioned is a lot of times people with a brain injury don’t have something you can see on a CT scan or an MRI. If somebody goes out and breaks their bone, you can show an x-ray and see the broken bone. If we have clients that have a brain injury, sometimes we don’t have that. We can’t put up an imaging film to show where the neurons were damaged or demonstrate where the impaired function is in the brain. A lot of these cases come down to telling the story and the credibility of the person who was injured.

Truck Accidents

Who Is Liable In A Truck Accident?

One of the primary differences in a case involving a big commercial truck and one involving a personal vehicle is the amount of damage that can be done by an 18 wheeler. Eighteen wheelers are big vehicles, they are heavier, it’s a larger mass, so when they hit something they inflict more damage. They inflict more damage to the property, and they inflict more damage to the occupants who are inside. What I have frequently found is that anyone who is hit by a big truck, the injuries are more serious. Another big difference between cases involving commercial trucks and personal vehicles is commercial trucks are subject to a variety of regulations that somebody who is in a personal vehicle may not be subject to, and so it’s important to know what Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations may apply, which regulations at the state level may apply, determine if any were violated, and determine if those violations played any role in causing the wreck. If they did, this can add additional sources of recovery to the clients, maybe punitive damages, a claim for attorneys fees, or litigation expenses. So it’s important that anyone who was involved in a commercial truck wreck case hire somebody who has had experience handling those types of cases, because they are different than your every day run of the mill car accident with a personal vehicle.

Anytime someone has been involved in a wreck with a commercial truck, we begin working on identifying who are the potential defendants. So the truck driver who caused the wreck is one defendant, the company that employs the driver can be a defendant. Maybe there’s some claim that the wreck happened because the truck wasn’t loaded properly and maybe the company that loaded it has some responsibility. In Georgia, we have what is called a Direct Action Statute, so in a regular personal vehicle accident claim we can’t name the insurance company as a defendant. But in cases involving motor carriers, we can name the insurance company as a defendant. And so we always name the insurance company as a defendant, and that is a strategic benefit going forward in the case because you have the presence of an insurance company on the pleadings when you go to court and present your case at trial.

Motorcycle Accidents

Georgia Motorcycle Accidents

We’ve represented a lot of clients who have been involved in motorcycle accidents and some people in the public do have a bias against motorcycle riders because they see them out on the interstates especially out here in Atlanta zipping through traffic not obeying the rules, so it’s important that any kind of bias not be applied to them just because they are riding a motorcycle. You always want to look at the individual facts of the case, talk to witnesses, and figure out who is at fault.

Unfortunately with motorcycle accident cases, when somebody is involved in one, they get hurt more because they don’t have the standard protections that somebody has in a car. They don’t have the frame there to protect them, they don’t have seatbelts or airbags. They don’t have anything to protect them so unfortunately we see clients who are very seriously injured whenever they’ve had a motorcycle accident.

Contact a Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today!

Contact the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at The Champion Firm, P.C., immediately after your accident. Immediate steps need to be taken to protect your rights, and any delay can result in you losing out on the potential for valuable compensation. We can locate all available sources of insurance and make sure that all of the insurance companies are properly notified.

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, call the experienced Atlanta personal injury attorneys at The Champion Firm, P.C., for a free consultation.

Trampoline Park Accidents

We have seen a huge increase in the number of calls we get from people who have been injured at trampoline parks or whose children have been injured at trampoline parks. We’ve handled a number of those cases and have some going on right now. Unfortunately, trampoline parks aren’t very safe and the trampoline park industry tries to use statistics and inappropriate comparisons to other activities to say how safe they are. But people don’t realize just how dangerous they are. Some people think when they go to a trampoline park that as long as they aren’t doing anything crazy they will be fine, but we see clients who are just jumping on a trampoline normally who snap their legs in half or who snap their ankle. We had a client who almost lost her foot, and she was just jumping from trampoline to trampoline. People don’t understand just how dangerous these places are. A lot of attorneys won’t take trampoline park cases, because they’re not the easiest. Some law firms only want to take the low hanging fruits, cases that are going to be easy (they send a demand letter out and the case immediately settles). But that’s not how we operate. We like to take our cases and try to do all the investigating we can and all the research we can to prove our case. And that’s why we do take trampoline park cases. Obviously it depends on the facts. There are trampoline park cases we have turned down for one reason or another. If you were injured at a trampoline park it is important that you talk to an attorney because you need to know what your rights are. Just because you’ve signed a waiver, for example, doesn’t mean you are necessarily barred from bringing a claim. Talk to your attorney about it and let them review it. Let you attorney determine whether or not it is enforceable. Maybe there is an exception to the waiver for your particular scenario. If you were injured at a trampoline park, make sure you talk to an attorney.

How We Help Victims Injured By Drunk Drivers

Holding Drunk Drivers Accountable

We have routinely helped people who have been injured by a drunk driver and it’s really unfortunate whenever we see that happen because there is no excuse for somebody getting behind the wheel after they’ve had too much to drink. But it does happen, and people can get seriously injured or even killed. We have handled those cases and sometimes maybe there’s not enough insurance there, maybe the drunk driver doesn’t have enough insurance, maybe we need to look at our client’s uninsured motorist insurance. Perhaps we need to look at the restaurant or bar that served the driver, which is called a “dram shop” case. In Georgia, if a restaurant or bar overserves somebody, and sees somebody drunk and they continue to serve them alcohol when they know or should know they are going to have to drive soon, maybe they can be held responsible. So it’s important that if you’ve been injured by a drunk driver that you hire an attorney that’s going to pursue every possible avenue of recovery because sometimes the drunk driver doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for all the injuries and damages that they’ve caused.

Understanding Dog Bite Cases

Georgia Dog Bite Cases

We have represented clients who have been involved in a variety of animal attacks and dog bite cases unfortunately are fairly common. There’s a couple things to keep in mind with a dog bite case. The first is what is the standard for determining liability. There’s a common perception among the public about what is called the “first bite rule”. So if the dog hasn’t bitten somebody yet, it basically gets a freebie. There are exceptions to that and if you can show that the dog had some sort of aggressive nature that the owner knew about before and didn’t take steps to adequately secure the dog or adequately warn the other person about the aggressive nature of the dog or if you can show that the owner violated a leash law (a lot of local ordinances have leash laws, counties have them too) and so if you can determine that a leash law was violated, you may be able to pursue a claim as well.

Once you get past that hurdle of showing who was at fault, you’ve got to find insurance. A lot of dog owner’s will have exclusions in their home owners insurance policy that says anything related to the owners dog is not covered. So if the dog bites somebody, there’s not coverage. It’s important to make sure that the person representing a dog bite victim takes a look at all of the available sources of insurance that might be available.

If you or a family member was injured by someone else’s dog, call The Champion Firm, P.C., for a free consultation with an experienced Atlanta dog bite injury attorney.

Social Media and Lawsuits: Should You Keep Posting?

Posting on Social Media During a Lawsuit

When we have somebody that comes to us and hires us, we don’t tell them to shut down their social media. We do tell them to be cautious because we don’t want to make it look like they are changing their normal daily activities and doing something different because that may look suspicious. If you go from posting on Facebook six times a day to just complete silence for two years before your case goes to trial, it can look strange. We just tell our clients to be aware that what they are posting is going to be read by somebody else and could be used against them. A very important thing to remember is to never ever delete something from social media once they have a case. If it turns out they’ve posted something about the accident or posted something about their injuries, or maybe they posted about something before the incident that might have some relevancy to their claims or their injuries and that gets deleted, the court could dismiss the case and sanction the plaintiff. Even if there isn’t a dismissal, the court can impose a variety of different sanctions and it will never be good if it turns out that a client has destroyed or deleted something. So we always tell our clients, don’t destroy or delete anything on social media, be aware that what you are posting will be read be somebody else and could be used against you and if you want to set your page to private that there is nothing wrong with that, as long as you don’t delete anything.

Darl Champion discusses the different methods insurance companies use in order to make money.

How Insurance Companies Makes Money

Sometimes we will have a client contact us who has been dealing with their insurance company and they will commonly tell us that they aren’t sure if they need an attorney yet because the insurance company says they are going to take care of everything. What I always tell clients is insurance companies are not charities. They are for-profit companies and the way that they make the most money is by paying as little as possible on the claims. So if you are hurt and you are dealing with an insurance adjuster, you should understand that the insurance adjuster is not looking out for your best interest. The insurance adjuster is looking out for the company’s best interest. You need someone on your side who is going to fight for you and advocate for you, and that is what we do as personal injury attorneys. Insurance companies have a variety of factors they use to evaluate a case. One of them is the type of attorney they are up against. They don’t necessarily look at win/loss records, but I think they recognize the lawyers that are willing to fight for their clients, and that’s where I think the difference comes. The lawyers that they know are going to roll over and take whatever settlement is given to them, they are going to offer those lawyers less money. The ones who are going to fight tooth and nail for their clients, they know who they are, and they develop a reputation over time, and the insurance companies know they are not going to get off easy. A lot of times, we skip the pre-settlement process if we think our client isn’t going to get a fair result. We don’t even waste time trying to negotiate with the insurance company. We will file suit right away sometimes. I’ve had cases where someone was seriously injured on someone’s property and I know they are not going to get a fair result, I will often file suit the very next day after getting hired. The reason for that is you don’t want to sit around and wait for the insurance company to give you a low ball offer if you think that’s coming. You are just delaying the inevitable. So when we think that is going to happen, we just go ahead and file a lawsuit. Now that’s not every time, there are times when it makes sense to try to go through the settlement process and see if they will resolve a case, but if they don’t offer our client a fair value, the insurance company is going to know that we are ready and willing to fight for our client.

Meet Darl Champion

My name is Darl Champion, and I am a personal injury attorney. I grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. My mother worked as a civil servant at Fort Bragg Army Base for about 37 years, and my dad was a professor at the local college there. I graduated from public high school and went to Methodist College,. which is located in Fayetteville, and where my dad also taught and still teaches to this day. I went to law school in Macon Georgia. After law school I spent two years clerking for a Federal judge which was one of the best experiences of my life. I got to spend two years watching trials, watching hearings, reviewing briefs and motions that attorneys filed, and drafting opinions for the judge. That was very enjoyable and I learned a lot from that perspective of how the courts view things, and also how juries view things, from watching a lot of trials.

After that clerkship, I moved to Atlanta, and I’ve been here ever since. I spent some time on the defense side. I always knew I wanted to be a personal injury attorney and represent people that were hurt, but I wanted to try the defense side to get some experience. After about the first 2 days I recognized that was not for me. I didn’t even think I was going to make it a year. About 6 months into that job I had a great opportunity to come up to work with an experienced personal injury law firm. I worked there for 4 years where I learned about the personal injury process.

There was never a time in my life when a light bulb went off and I said “I want to be an attorney” but it was sort of a natural progression based on my interests, in terms of what I liked to read and what I liked to learn, and where my personality was. I’ve always liked rooting for the underdog. I’ve always liked fighting for people and I’ve always like helping people, and so the law seemed like a natural fit where I could combine my interests with my personality. One of the best parts about my job is that I get to come to work every day and help people. So when people call me, they’ve got a problem, and the problem needs to be solved. What type of case they are experiencing whether is medical malpractice or a product liability case, or maybe they got injury on someone else’s property, we are able to take their case to make sure that they get better not only physically, but also to help them get a good result on their case.

A successful scenario for me is taking a case where it’s difficult and the insurance company has denied that they are responsible for the wrong doing, or maybe they’ve denied that our client is hurt. Being able to take that case, dig into it and find witnesses, and show the other side that they need to pay and that they are responsible. Holding them accountable is a successful result. It isn’t always about the money. It’s hard to measure a success by the money, because you could have a case that’s worth $3 million dollars, and although getting a $1 million settlement sounds great, it is really undervaluing the case, so you can never look at just the dollar figure to measure the success of a case. You have to really dig in and look at all the facts of the case. We don’t want to have a single case here where the result is less than full value by even a penny. We want to get not only the most that is available, we want to get more than what would be considered a good result. So we really strive to do that. We often fight longer, and harder than other law firms. That does require patience from clients to understand that process. Certainly if our clients want to take a quick settlement and take whatever the other side is offering, we’ll do that if that is what the client wants. We really like it when the client gives us the opportunity to go the distance and fight for them to get a great result.

Meet Tamsie Pugh

Meet Tamsie Pugh

My name is Tamsie Pugh and I am the executive assistant here at The Champion Firm. I was born in Sacramento, California. but grew up in Auburn, Alabama, where I also went to school. I’ll aways consider that home even though I’ve been in Atlanta for around 20 years.

Everyday is different. Some days we are doing depositions so people are constantly coming in and out of the office. Some days we meet with new clients, and some days are routine office days when we catch up on paper work. The more you get involved and understand the circumstance of a client, the more it makes me want to do even more for them to get the best result.

For fun I bake, play games, and play with my dogs.