The start of a new year is an opportunity for many people to set new resolutions – to resolve to get in better shape, win new business, or to make a change in their lives for the better. At Cash Krugler Fredericks, 2016 is a chance for us to commit to resolutions as well. However, our resolutions continue to focus on sticking with our firm’s tried and true goals – ones that have served our clients, our partners, and our employees well.
- We resolve to continue focusing on complex cases that require a high degree of specialization. These cases are complicated – they challenge us and stretch us to fight for changes well beyond an individual case and find answers for our clients.
- We resolve to maintain being very selective in the number of cases we take on. We are committed to giving our full, comprehensive attention to every client family – families that have been terribly impacted by catastrophic injuries and deserve significant care.
- We resolve to partner effectively with other law firms who seek our expertise and to refer our client families to firms with expertise in legal areas they most need at the time.
- We resolve to inform the community and public about our efforts, through our newsletter, website, blogs, tweets and our youtube channel. Please consider watching one or more of these partner videos for some great insights into CKF philosophies: Andy Cash explains the CKF model of providing you with a team of experts for life; Dave Krugler explains the benefits of working with CKF; and I outline why people hire our firm over other personal injury law firms.
-Andy Cash, Dave Krugler and Alwyn Fredericks
Alwyn Fredericks spoke to the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association on the recent development on apportionment laws here in Georgia.
The holidays are a festive, yet somewhat hectic time. There are gifts to buy, parties to attend and traveling to do. Cash Krugler Fredericks encourages you to slow down and enjoy the season. Try not to rush. Atlanta traffic will be extra heavy, so allow yourself enough time to get to events and don’t drive while you’re distracted. Wait until your car is parked before you attempt to answer a text or an email. As we mentioned in our “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” blog, don’t drink and drive. Call a friend, a cab or Uber for a ride home from a festive event.
Take time to enjoy the holiday sights, lights and festivities. Atlanta has wonderful light displays at the Botanical Gardens and Stone Mountain. The sounds of the season can be heard at many musical venues, churches and schools. Catch a live holiday show at the Fox or Alliance theaters. Enjoy an event with family, friends and loved ones, to make this season a memorable one. Start a new holiday tradition. There are a variety of ways to share the true meaning of the season. Toys-for-Tots has multiple drop boxes, where you can donate a new toy for a needy child. Local churches have “Giving Trees” where you can fulfill a family’s wishes. Or give to one of our favorite charities: the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse or the Shepherd Center. Spread some holiday cheer and bring a smile to someone’s face. As Charles Dickens wrote in the classic A Christmas Carol, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
We wish all our associates, paralegals and staff a happy holiday season. Echoing the sentiments of our “So Many Reasons to Feel Thankful This Year” blog, we’re thankful to those who refer cases to us, and other law firms, physicians and previous clients who recognize our efforts, and we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season.
What are some of your holiday traditions?
-Andy Cash, Dave Krugler and Alwyn Fredericks
Andrew Cash spoke to a group of attorneys, health care providers and families of brain injured loved ones regarding the “Ethical Challenges of Protecting a Client with a Traumatic Brain Injury who has Diminished Capacity.”
Cash Krugler Fredericks believes it’s important to participate in opportunities that benefit people who have suffered severe brain injuries. We see firsthand the struggles that families endure after catastrophic accidents. As attorneys, we fight to win settlements and verdicts for these families. But our fight goes beyond the courtroom to make sure they get the best possible care during rehabilitation and beyond. That’s why we support the Side By Side Brain Injury Clubhouse’s annual charity basketball game, Jawbones vs. Sawbones.
This March will mark CKF’s third year as lead sponsor of the Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse’s charity basketball game. Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse is a bridge of support for people with brain injuries to transition from medical patients to contributing community members. Every spring, physicians and attorneys go head-to-head on the court to raise money as well as to bring awareness about brain injuries and organizations that help people who have sustained these injuries to reintegrate into fulfilling lives.
Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse was founded in 1999 with support from Shepherd Center and Emory Healthcare. Side by Side is Georgia’s only nonprofit organization that supports people who have suffered a brain injury and supports them along their rehabilitative journey after medical treatment has ended. The program, which is based in Stone Mountain, operates daily to serve patients as they relearn skills, rebuild relationships and restore meaning and purpose to their lives. The Jawbones vs. Sawbones fundraiser provides much needed financial support for the program.
Make sure to mark your calendar for The 5th Annual Jawbones vs. Sawbones Basketball Benefit, which will be held on March 12th, 2016 starting at 5pm at the Decatur High School gym. We’ll have more information on ticket purchases and the fun family events for that day shortly on our website.
Who do you think will win this year’s game: physicians or attorneys?
– Andy Cash
This year, hoverboards are the “hot” holiday toy – so hot, they are actually catching on fire after exploding.
In the U.S., the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is investigating incidents of the self-balancing skateboards bursting into flames, and in Great Britain the National Trading Standards seized more than 15,000 hoverboards declaring them a major safety risk.
Product safety and defective product cases can be tough to litigate. Manufacturers fight liability claims, even when the defect is nearly indisputable. If the product is not made in the U.S., the case becomes even more difficult. The “strict liability” doctrine protects consumers from defective products manufactured in the United States. However, the problem with defective imported goods is that foreign manufacturers generally can’t be sued here. Many states have laws that allow injured consumers to sue the U.S. company that imported the product. However in Georgia, the law says that unless the consumer can prove that the importer was negligent and should have known that the product was defective, only the product’s manufacturer or designer can be held liable. Proving that is virtually impossible since the U.S. importers receive the product already boxed up and don’t test them.
What this means is that U.S. companies can go to China or other countries for an inexpensive, low quality product, ship it to the U.S., put their name on it and brand it as their own. Then if it is defective and harms someone, they get to keep the profits and have no responsibility for injuries.
We’re fighting to change the laws so that importers of a defective product can be held responsible for injuries as well as the manufacturer, and so that any company that puts its name on the product or brands it as their own can be held responsible as well.
What new products are you planning to buy this holiday season?
– Dave Krugler
If you’re going to drink alcohol at a party, be sure to pace yourself. Everyone metabolizes alcohol differently and for some, even one drink in an hour can be too much. Since alcohol impairs judgment, you may not be able to accurately tell when you’ve had too much to drive, so be sure you make a plan to get home safely before your party. Appoint a designated driver, download a ride-sharing app like Uber or Lyft, or tuck a taxi company’s number into your wallet. Make sure you balance your cocktails with plenty to eat. And remember that buzzed driving is drunk driving, too – don’t take a chance.
Far too often in our work, we see the tragic results of drunk driving. That’s why at our holiday party this year, we’ll be providing our guests a safe ride home by offering Uber guest passes to our friends and colleagues who may have had a little too much yuletide cheer.
Have yourself a merry holiday, but don’t drink and drive, don’t let someone you know has been drinking get behind the wheel, and report suspected drunk drivers to the police.
In November, the renowned news website Vox cited the National Highway Traffic Association’s declaration that I-285 in Atlanta is America’s deadliest interstate. One week after that, the American Transportation Research Institute revealed the nation’s worst truck bottleneck is also in Atlanta at “Spaghetti Junction” where I- 285 and I-85 intersect. These two top rankings make Atlanta a prime location for a truck accident.
The damages and injuries that motorists suffer in trucking accidents are typically severe and often deadly. The size and weight of tractor-trailers are significant contributing factors to the high fatality rate as well as large blind spots, driver fatigue and, in some cases, the use of alcohol or drugs. An estimated one in every eight traffic deaths involves a tractor-trailer or truck.
Trucking cases need immediate action when it comes to insurance claims. While the injured are seeking medical assistance, insurance adjusters, trucking companies and their investigators are working to protect the trucking company and damage your case. Reaching out for legal assistance promptly is critical. Cash Krugler Fredericks can help you by immediately dispatching experts to document accident scenes and by issuing preservation letters and taking other actions to ensure that insurance companies don’t change or destroy evidence.
We have an extensive history representing victims of trucking accidents as well as previous experience defending trucking companies. We understand how to get the greatest settlement or judgment for you and your family.
In one wrongful death case, our firm secured $4.5 million for a family whose mother was killed after being rear-ended by a tractor-trailer. The tractor-trailer driver failed to stop and hit the mother’s car forcing her into oncoming traffic.
How many times a week do you drive on Spaghetti Junction? And what near misses have you witnessed?
Our firm has extensive experience representing clients injured in automobile and trucking accidents, and we know from experience that it’s really important for you to carry insurance, and make sure it’s the right kind of insurance. In a recent case, our client’s car was rear-ended by a speeding driver, causing a child to suffer serious injuries, including skull fractures. The driver who hit them had the minimum liability limits of $25,000. Unfortunately, the family did not purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) for their vehicle, so they were left with an amount that didn’t even cover the medical bills. You can protect yourself from this situation
Evaluating auto insurance is not the most riveting activity. When it’s time to get a new policy or renew, many people just breeze through the paperwork and try to make sure their premiums are as low as possible. But unless you really understand and protect yourself with the policy, particularly regarding UM/UIM, you could find yourself in a world of trouble.
If you carry UM/UIM and you’re hit by someone with no insurance, or not enough insurance, your insurance policy will step in and act as if they were the at-fault person’s insurance carrier. This provides you with additional coverage for your own injuries/damages. Without UM/UIM, you are relying solely on others to have enough insurance to cover the damage and injuries they cause. Unfortunately, most people often have the minimum limits of $25,000.
There are two kinds of UM/UIM – “add-on” and “set-off” – and it’s important to understand the difference. With “add-on” UM/UIM, whatever coverage you select would be stacked on top of the liability insurance that the at-fault person has under their own policy. For example, if the person who hits you has $100k in insurance, and you have $100k in add-on UM, you now have a total of $200k of insurance coverage for your injuries.
With “set-off” UM/UIM, the insurance company deducts the amount of liability insurance from the amount of UM/UIM you have. Thus, in the example above, you would effectively have no additional insurance ($100k in UM/UIM – $100k in Liability). Set-off UM/UIM is only a benefit if your UM limits are greater than the available liability limits to the at-fault party. But how can you know that before an accident? To make sure you’re protected, always select add-on, even if it costs a bit more.
In addition, many insurance companies will offer additional UM/UIM coverage under an umbrella policy for a minimal increase in premiums. (If you don’t have an umbrella policy, or don’t understand why you should have one, stay tuned for a future blog on that topic).
If you ever have to use UM/UIM, your insurance company should not raise your rates since the use of that insurance was not caused by your negligence, but the negligence of another party. Watch for this and make sure you’re not penalized.