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Legally Brief With Kevin Patrick Automobile accidents | Daycare injuries | wrongful death
A Case I’ll Never Forget HOW A YOUNG GIRL’S SPIRIT CAN INSPIRE US
Recently, my team closed a case that changed me forever. Severe injuries and the loss of loved ones, which I often witness in my work, remind me of the fragility of life. Yet, this particular case also reminded me of the durability of our spirits. My work on this case was featured in The Verdict, a Georgia Trial Lawyers Association publication. I was honored to be included and thrilled to
life. To make matters even worse, the commercial truck driver accused my client of causing the accident. The driver, who even brought a personal lawsuit against her, claimed that she had failed to yield when turning left. Not only was my client’s family struggling to recover from this accident, but they were also now plagued by an accusatory lawsuit.
I knew this girl and her family deserved better. We discovered an eyewitness who could testify that the truck driver was actually driving at a dangerously high speed when the accident occurred. Once we proved my client was indeed not at fault, the case proceeded smoothly. The medical bills for my client’s daughter totaled almost $1 million. But even if we secured her family that amount, it wouldn’t
share the story of a lovely family, including a woman and her daughters. On a typical winter morning in 2016, my client was dropping off her daughters at school. When she turned left to pull into the school’s entrance, a commercial
AN INJURY LIKE THIS ONE COULD BRING PERMANENT DESPAIR, YET ALICE WAS ABLE TO KEEP HER BRIGHT SPIRIT AND SHINE POSITIVITY ON US ALL. SHE SHOWED THAT OUR HEARTS CAN STILL PERSEVERE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY.”
settlement brought legal closure for my client and reaffirmed the importance of her daughter’s life and well-being. While this is a success for our team, what deeply inspired me was the daughter’s resilience throughout this time. An injury like this could bring permanent despair, yet she was able to keep her bright spirit and shine positivity on us all. She showed that our hearts can still persevere in the face of adversity. I hope sharing this story with you allows you to take a moment and admire the beauty of your life and loved ones.
truck sped down the street and crashed into the side of the family’s car. Struck with adrenaline and fear, my client immediately checked on her children to find that one of her daughters could not move. The young girl was quickly rushed to the hospital. Tragically, the doctor told my client and her spouse that their daughter was now quadriplegic due to the collision. This life-changing news affected the entire family, as their daughter now needed advanced care for the rest of her
even begin to cover the emotional damage they endured or the future costs of their daughter’s care. They needed more. It took years and immense effort not only on my part but also the family’s, but we received a judgment that did this family justice. Finally, the courts concluded my client and her family would receive a judgment for the pain and suffering sustained. This
This publication is for informational purposes only, and no legal advice is intended.
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Fixing a Hole
WHAT UTILITY EASEMENTS MEAN FOR HOMEOWNERS
As a homeowner, you may have woken up one morning to find strangers in construction helmets digging up your yard. Whether they’re with the water, electric, or some other utility company, they probably acted like they owned the place and didn’t ask for your permission. You may wonder why they don’t need to seek your consent before breaking ground — and what your rights are if they damage your property. Utility easements give companies the right to access the pipes and cables buried in your yard. The homeowner retains legal ownership and rights to the property, but utilities can borrow it as needed for repairs, maintenance, and installations. Under a utility easement, the company may notify you before beginning work, but doing so
is a courtesy. They also have the right to arrive unannounced.
much as possible. Further, while laws vary by state, utility companies can also be held liable for any damages to your property. In the event of damage, you should notify the responsible company immediately. Ideally, they will schedule a time to repair your property or send you a check to cover the damage. But many homeowners find it takes a nudge or two before the utility company acts. Be sure to follow up; this is a case where the squeaky wheel gets the grease. In rarer cases, the utility company may deny the damage or refuse to pay for it. If that happens, you should contact the state agency that supervises public utilities and file a complaint. You also have the right to sue the utility company for damages after you’ve exhausted other options. If you must go this route, consult with a lawyer who has handled this type of case before.
While it’s inconvenient for homeowners, utility easements benefit society. Imagine, for example, if a homeowner refused to allow the electric company to fix a downed power line in front of their house. A single neighbor could also prevent projects that would benefit the entire community. Utility easements are a part of living in a modern society with all its conveniences and amenities. But homeowners still have rights. Utility companies may have the right to dig a hole in your lawn, but they also have the responsibility to fill it back in. A utility easement allows the use of your property for specific functions, but it’s usually under the condition that the company restores it as
Will I Have to Go to Court? IT’S NOT AS SCARY AS YOU THINK
Most people who get hurt in car crashes or have children injured in day care accidents never need to stand before a judge. More than 70% of the cases we handle here at Kevin Patrick Law are settled out of court without a trial, which is easier for everyone! There is a difference between going to court and needing a trial. A court hearing involves standing before a judge, which is rare for a personal injury case. Meanwhile, a trial involves both a judge and a jury. As expected, a trial for an injury case is even more infrequent. While we always try to negotiate the best settlement possible without litigation, we sometimes face circumstances where clients may benefit more from a court judgment. These situations include:
When an insurance company doesn’t offer an adequate settlement When an insurance company refuses to provide any form of compensation When an individual’s injury should be publicized so the defendant can be held responsible
If your case does require a trial, our team will work diligently to make this process as easy and stress-free as possible. We always maintain respect with the opposing counsel since a professional relationship will often result in a smoother, more amicable settlement. We understand that going to court may feel intimidating. Legal procedures can be confusing and unnerving, but if you or a loved one has to stand before a judge, our team will be by your side the
whole time, fighting for your rightful compensation and deserved justice. If we think the other side didn’t offer you enough money, we will never shy away from taking your case to court.
If you or a loved one feel uneasy about going to court, contact us at
404.566.5880. With our experience and knowledge, we can determine whether or not the personal injury case would benefit from a court hearing or a trial.
You can always reach Kevin directly at 404.566.8964 or Kevin@PatrickTrialLaw.com. (If you ever need it, his cellphone is 404.409.3160.)
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3 Simple Ways to Get Some Fresh Air How I’m Pushing Myself Out the Door
SWAP GYM TIME FOR PARK TIME. Most of what you do in the gym can also be done in the great outdoors. Instead of running on a treadmill facing a blank wall, I’ve started to take my morning jogs around the neighborhood. Alternatively, you can bring a yoga mat to the park or your backyard to do your activity in nature. HAVE A PEACEFUL PICNIC. Picnics are a particularly beloved activity in my household. My wife Tracy and I are both fairly busy, but having a picnic with our kids, Michael and Catherine, is one of our favorite ways to spend time together. Snacking, chatting, and soaking up the sun is an unbeatable way to spend a weekend afternoon. Whatever you do will feel more healing when done in nature. As I start incorporating the outdoors into my daily life, I’ll try to stay mindful of the present and be grateful for the environment around me. Happy Earth Day to you, and I hope you find more sunshine in your day!
Nothing is more rejuvenating than the fresh air after a long winter. Along with warmer weather, April also brings us Earth Day to remind us of the beautiful planet we get to call home. I’ll be honest — despite my love of nature, I often struggle to make time to relax outdoors. If I’m not at the office or courtroom, I spend time with my family at home. Finding the time to enjoy nature in an already hectic schedule used to seem impossible. However, in honor of Earth Day, I’m trying my best. Just spending at least 20 minutes outside is a win for me! To push myself out the door, I discovered a few tricks you can also try. TAKE A BREAK OUTSIDE. Lunchtime or a quick 10-minute break can be even more rewarding if you spend it outside. Using your regular rest times to enjoy a cool breeze is the easiest way to get that essential vitamin D. Whether you eat lunch on a park bench or take a short stroll, you can easily fit nature into your daily routine.
Take A Break
Tasty Spinach Artichoke Dip
Celebrate Earth Day by eating this tasty and healthy snack! Ingredients • 8 oz spinach leaves • 8 oz cream cheese, softened • 1 cup sour cream • 3/4 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts • 1 tsp minced garlic • 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp black pepper • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided • Sliced bread, crackers, or tortilla chips for serving
Directions 1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray. 2. In a medium pan, steam or sauté spinach until wilted. When spinach cools, ring out excess water, then chop coarsely. 3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream, spinach, artichoke hearts, garlic, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. 4. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese. 5. Bake for 20 minutes or until the dip is bubbly. Turn the oven to broil and cook for
an additional 2–3 minutes so the cheese will begin to brown. 6. Immediately serve with bread, crackers, or tortilla chips.
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Inside This Issue 1 A Family’s Resilience After a Tragic Car Wreck 2 Understanding Utility Easements When Do Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial? 3 Kevin Takes Earth Day to Heart Tasty Spinach Artichoke Dip 4 A Time Before Doctors Washed Their Hands
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The Horrifying History of Hand-Washing
Before Doctors Kept It Clean
We expect our doctors to wash their hands before examining us — it’s a no-brainer. But more than 100 years ago, the idea wasn’t only laughable — it was heresy. The first doctor who implemented mandatory hand- washing in a hospital saw swift improvements in patient mortality rates, but the backlash among other doctors came just as quickly. Before germ theory began to catch on in the late 1800s, doctors believed illnesses were caused by “miasma,” bad smells that originated in swamps, garbage, and decomposing matter. While the concept sounds strange now, convincing a doctor that miasma didn’t exist would be much like telling a modern scientist the Earth is flat. The idea of germs or viruses contradicted everything they thought they knew.
mortality rates between two maternity wards at his hospital. The ward run by midwives had a much lower maternal mortality rate than the one staffed by doctors. After watching a colleague die of infection after cutting himself during an autopsy, Semmelweis determined something similar might be happening to maternity ward patients. Many doctors were examining mothers-to-be after performing autopsies — but midwives weren’t. Semmelweis blamed the problem on miasma from corpses. Nevertheless, he instituted sterilization and hand- washing procedures in the hospital in 1848. The maternal mortality rate dropped substantially in the doctor-run ward, becoming on par with the midwives. Semmelweis had solved the problem. Yet, his colleagues disagreed. Other doctors at the hospital resented the suggestion
that they’d been causing their patients’ deaths. And Semmelweis allegedly didn’t make it any easier, behaving in ways others found condescending and arrogant. Further, Semmelweis had no hard proof that hand-washing and sterilization worked. Eventually, the other doctors stopped washing their hands. Semmelweis lost his job at the hospital and, sadly, died in a mental institution. Fortunately, for the rest of the world, Semmelweis was not the only hand-washing proponent. Though they likely came by the idea independently, Doctor Oliver Wendell Holmes and a nurse, Florence Nightingale, encouraged the practice. Their championing and the emergence of germ theory gave us medical professionals who now have much safer habits — and, hopefully, the humility to acknowledge that they always have more to learn.
Still, a Hungarian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis began to notice startling
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