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Kenneth L. Shigley
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Kenneth Shigley’s Answers

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  • I have a workers comp case going on now for 2 and a half years .

    My attorney informed me that he dose not do injury law suits and that he only does workers comp and that I would need to find a attorney just for that chase . So I don't know where to start . What should I ask about and what should I ask for bein...

    Kenneth’s Answer

    Your workers compensation lawyer is probably better situated to identify a reputable personal injury lawyer than you are. In my personal injury law practice in Atlanta, I have had many referrals from workers comp lawyers for third party liability claims. Ask your workers compensation lawyer for recommendations. If he/she will not make a recommendation, that is puzzling. In that event, call my friend Ken Levinson in Chicago. If he won't take the case, he can suggest someone else.

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  • What is the difference between a deed or a lady bird deed when dealing with a mother in a nursing home going on Medicaid.

    she owns a small home (no mortgage) and only furniture in the house (925 sq.ft) no cash or car. No other assets.

    Kenneth’s Answer

    In thinking through how to deal with your mom's property while preserving her eligibility for Medicaid for nursing home care, you should immediately consult an elder law specialist in your area. This is more complicated than you can deal with adequately through any internet legal forum. See http://www.michbar.org/generalinfo/libraries/elderlaw.cfm

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  • I was beaten badly by club bouncers do I have a case

    I was first overly intoxicated, the bar did not cut me off, I got into a verbal argument with the bouncers, they got upset and they followed me to my car and choked me out, I was beaten, stomped, and my friend was attacked to, and a witness said I...

    Kenneth’s Answer

    Based on my experience suing bars and night clubs, I can point out some questions that any seasoned attorney would need to consider:
    1. Did the bar have insurance coverage for this type of incident. Too often, bars operated in rented space with leased fixtures, do not have liability insurance for alcohol and security liability, and when things get hot the owner just close that location, fold up the corporation, and go away to start up somewhere else. That is too often what I have found when I've gotten into those cases in Atlanta.
    2. Voluntary intoxication is no excuse. The defense witnesses would presumably testify to all manner of inappropriate conduct and language from you when you were intoxicated. They would almost certainly try to contradict everything you say. Do you have favorable witnesses who were not drunk and would back you up?
    3. I like the idea of trying to get surveillance photos and video. Any attorney you hire should immediately send a preservation of evidence letter and perhaps consider seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent destruction of photographic evidence. But consider the possibility that the surveillance cameras may show things differently than you remember from your drunken night out. The last time I spent an hour watching video at the office of a corporate general counsel, the pictures told a tale a lot different from the one my client told.

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  • Is there room for emotional distress suit if county issued no contact harms a witness to the point of hospitalization

    My roommate and I were forcibly separated by police who were under false impression that I had attacked him 10 times in 11 months when he had told dispatcher I had spoken to him 10 times in the 11 months I had known him He asked for a psyche e...

    Kenneth’s Answer

    I cannot imagine an experienced lawyer who has other cases to work on taking this on a contingent fee basis. The odds are long and the obstacles are huge.

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  • Do I have grounds for malpractice case?

    My 87 year old mother was in a personal care assisted living facility. Last Saturday night they sent her via ambulance to the ER. She had difficulty swallowing, sore throat, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. The ER doctor saw her, did labs, and ...

    Kenneth’s Answer

    I am very sorry for your loss. My parents died in recent years at ages 85 and 86, with no malpractice involved. If she was in assisted living and had dementia, you have a challenge to prove that death was due to malpractice rather than natural causes.

    If you are considering a malpractice claim against the ER facility and doctors, you should understand that in Georgia the standard for malpractice liability in an emergency medicine setting is defined by OCGA Section 51-1-29.5, which provides in part: "In an action involving a health care liability claim arising out of the provision of emergency medical care in a hospital emergency department or obstetrical unit or in a surgical suite immediately following the evaluation or treatment of a patient in a hospital emergency department, no physician or health care provider shall be held liable unless it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the physician or health care provider's actions showed gross negligence." While it is often a jury question whether the treatment was a true emergency, you should understand that it is seldom possible to prove "by clear and convincing evidence that the physician or health care provider's actions showed gross negligence."

    Another question is whether she was overmedicated, dehydrated, or whatever, due to inadequate care and the assisted living facility. You may want to get someone knowledgeable to review the records from there.

    Finally, understand that the defense wins about 80% of the time in medical malpractice cases in Georgia, the out of pocket expense for experts, depositions, etc., is seldom less than $50,000 (and often much more), and therefore there is a very small pool of seasoned trial lawyers who want to handle these cases.

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  • Do I have a defamation of character lawsuit?

    I play golf at a course that my aunt works at as an unpayed ambassador, therefore not an employee. She does not work in the clubhouse, and therefore does not know any details about customer actions or habits. A payed clubhouse employee that works...

    Kenneth’s Answer

    Look at this not as a theoretical exercise but as a matter of practical economics. Most golf course employees other than the general manager and the head pro generally make little more than minimum wage. There is a question whether this employee's gossip would be within the course and scope of employment, and also whether it would be excluded from any insurance coverage. Just as important, there is a big question of what damages would be provable. If I were a big golfer and a bartender told my aunt and my father (when he was living) that I had a drink every time I played golf, they would probably say "attaboy." If questioned, your relatives would almost certainly admit that they didn't think less of you or love you any less because of this gossip. There are relatively few seasoned lawyers who would relish taking this case on a contingent fee basis and investing the time and money necessary to properly develop it and prepare for trial. On the other hand, if you want to shell out a retainer of $10,000 or $20,000, and pay the lawyer's hourly rate and expenses, you can litigate to "clear your name."

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  • My attorney ( I sued a reckless driver for smashing into me) excused the defendants from court ordered med. Is this proper?

    My daughter and I were rear ended and pushed into another car and the car we were pushed into was pushed into another car. We were court ordered to mediation. MY attorney excused the defendants from court ordered mediation. Now I feel that my atto...

    Kenneth’s Answer

    I have been involved in hundreds of mediations, both as an attorney and as a mediator. In all those, I could count on the fingers of one hand the cases, other than medical malpractice, in which an insured defendant personally attended. The insurance adjuster has the checkbook. Your attorney understands that. He also may understand the futility of a lot of court ordered mediations with insurance companies that have a corporate policy to stonewall cases as long as possible. When i was on a mediation panel of neutrals, I groaned every time I found that I had been assigned a court ordered mediation involving certain insurers because I knew I had blocked out a full day for what would be a two hour exercise in futility.

    You fear that your "attorney is working with the insurance attorney to defend the man that hit us" is almost certainly nothing more than irrational paranoia. Work with your lawyer.

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  • I was in a car accident and insurance company is offering 6000 for settlement. However I sustained a herniated disk in my back.

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    Kenneth’s Answer

    Insurance companies are in the business of buying serious injuries cheaply if they can. You don't say when the accident was , what medical treatment you have had, what current symptoms you have, or whether a doctor has indicated whether you might require surgery in the future. In recent years in metro Atlanta, I have seen cases with similar injuries settle anywhere from $150,000 to $850,000 if there was surgery. However, every case is different. The specific facts of the accident, preexisting conditions if any, and the amount of liability insurance coverage are all very substantial factors.

    You must consult an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area. Remember that good lawyers do not run TV ads or billboards. Find personal injury lawyer who has been president of the bar association and you can be reasonably assured of both competence and respectability.

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  • Our oldest son was involved in a DUI accident and the bar where he got drunk is being sued by the parties injured in the

    accident. My husband, my youngest son and I are being subpoenaed to appear at a local hotel (?). None of us were involved in the accident...did not even know where our son was..he was 25 YO at the time. Can we fight being subpoenaed?

    Kenneth’s Answer

    Most states have some version of a "dram shop" law under which a person injured by a customer of a bar or restaurant who was served alcohol when visibly intoxicated (or some language generally along those lines) can sue the bar for its negligence in suing a drunk. Sometimes the bar is the last target in line after the drunk driver's insurance and uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage is exhausted or at least determined to be inadequate. Often the identity of the bar is unknown until the drunk driver's deposition has been taken. The last time I did one of these, we took the drunk driver's deposition in jail while he was awaiting transfer to the state prison for vehicular homicide.

    It is not unusual for lawyers from a city to book a conference room at a hotel for depositions in a small town. Personally, I prefer to reserve the grand jury room at the courthouse if it is available just to impress people with the solemnity of the proceeding, but I will rent a hotel conference room or borrow a conference room at a local law office when appropriate.

    Can you fight being subpoenaed? Yes. Would you win that fight? Almost certainly not. If you want to contact the lawyer who subpoenaed you and try to work out more convenient scheduling, that might work. However, by the time you get to this point, if there are several lawyers involved often the law firms have juggled all their schedules for weeks and are reluctant to start over comparing everyone's calendars.

    However, if you can afford to do so, you should consult an attorney in your town and, if possible, hire one to accompany you and your son to the depositions. Over the years, I have seen a lot of unrepresented non-party deponents set up for future lawsuits that they did not see coming. I have even done that a few times myself.

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  • I was hit by a car while crossing the street. I was in the crosswalk and had the light. The driver blew the red light.

    Police and ems showed up and I was rushed to the hospital. Ended up with 7 head staples, multiple confusions and a lot of pain. Wondering what to do next? Thanks in advance

    Kenneth’s Answer

    TI am answering this question during a break from working on a brief in a case in Atlanta in which a pedestrian was struck by a car. In the absence of impartial witnesses, one of the issues is whether the pedestrian was in the crosswalk when he was hit.

    As soon as possible:
    1. Get to an experienced personal injury lawyer in Atlanta. Remember the best lawyers do NOT advertise on TV or billboards. Take with you the declarations pages of the insurance policies on each and every motor vehicle in your household owned by you or any resident relative. Also take to your attorney information about your medical insurance in order to evaluate possible lien claims.
    2. Your attorney should promptly try to determine whether there were any security cameras in the vicinity that could have captured the incident. Surveillance video can make your case if it is favorable.
    3. Your attorney can promptly seek to obtain insurance coverage information for the driver who hit you.
    4. If any witnesses are identified, it would be good to contact and interview them soon.
    5. If you have continuing problems with confusion, memory issues, dizziness, impaired directionality, seizure activity, etc., you must have follow up care for your head injury. Treatment by a neurologist, neuropscycholical assessment, etc., may be in order

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