Simon Law Firm August 2017

Let Us Guide You To Justice The Georgia Legal Report

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August 2017

Williams sued for wrongful death

Venus Williams, the famous tennis star who will play in Wimbledon again this year, has been sued for causing the wrongful death of an elderly motorist in Florida. According to the police report, Mr. Jerome Barson was a passenger in the car driven by his wife, Linda, when they collided at an intersection. This tragic crash serves as a good way to illustrate how different states handle wrongful death laws. yellow to red and was proceeding forward to clear the intersection. The Barson vehicle went into the intersection because it had a green light. Mrs. Barson says that Williams failed to yield to her. Venus will say that Barson should have allowed her to finish clearing the intersection. The violent impact killed Mr. Barson. In Georgia, a collision like this triggers a number of legal issues. Williams will defend herself arguing that Mrs. Barson is the actual cause of the crash. Under the Georgia apportionment laws, the jury can allocate anywhere from 0 to 100 percent of the blame to Mrs. Gershon. The dangerous thing about bringing suit in the name of Mrs. Gershon is that it is subject also to the comparative negligence rule. In Georgia, a modified comparative negligence state, it works like this: If you get hurt and you are somewhat to blame for what happened, you cannot win the case if you are 50 percent or more at fault. That is an absolute cutoff. If you contributed to the crash, but in an amount less than 50 percent, then whatever percent is your fault is taken away from the verdict. Say you are awarded $100,000 by the jury, and they find you 30 percent to blame. You then receive $70,000. According to the report, Venus Williams was in the intersection when her light changed from

The problem with this case in Georgia would be that because she was the driver and she is suing Williams, all Williams has to do is convince the jury that blame is 50/50 and the plaintiff loses completely. Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. That means that Mrs. Bershon’s verdict will be reduced by whatever percent of blame is placed on her, and there is no 50 percent sudden- death provision. Another interesting difference between Florida and Georgia wrongful death laws have to do with how juries measure the value of death. In Georgia, it is the value of the lost life, both economic and noneconomic, from the perspective of the person who died. The trial has evidence from family and friends about how the decedent lived their life and whether they were a valuable member of the community. In contrast, Florida considers the mental pain and suffering that the grieving spouse is going through for the loss of the loved one. The lens is completely different. Both states consider what the person would have earned economically, but in this case, he was 78 and retired, so it would not be an issue. It just goes to show you that each state in our union functions in its own distinct way, and yet we remain a united country.

The problem with this case in Georgia would be that because she was the driver and she is suing Williams, all Williams has to do is convince the jury that blame is 50/50 and the plaintiff loses completely.

- Christopher Simon

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