Atlanta Injury Attorney Greg Stokes Talks About the Difficult Cases
The most difficult kind of accident case is one where it is clear that someone else had responsibility for the accident, the injuries were very serious, there is enough insurance to pay the claim, BUT there is a legal problem that prevents payment of the claim.
“Georgia governmental immunity” is one of these legal problems. A Georgia law says if someone is injured because a government employee did not do something they were supposed to do, the government can’t be sued. There are a few exceptions, including situations where someone is injured because a city or county is doing something that profits or benefits the government, not just the citizens.
One of our law firm’s hardest cases involved a situation where the City of Atlanta ran a summer-camp type of day care to take care of children our of school for the summer when their parents had to go to work. The parents who hired us had dropped off their eleven-year-old son at the camp and gone to their jobs, believing he would be staying there all day. Instead, the camp employees let the eleven-year old son and his friends leave the camp to go to a friend’s house. While at the house, the children found and began playing with a loaded shotgun. The gun went off and the son was shot in the head. He suffered massive, long-term brain injuries that hurt his ability to move, to speak, and even to think clearly.
The parents wanted to sue the City of Atlanta on behalf of their young son for letting him walk away from day care, unsupervised, which led to his terrible brain injuries. But every law firm they went to turned them down, saying the City of Atlanta could not be sued, because it had governmental immunity.
Our injury law firm, Stokes & Kopitsky, agreed to take the case. We partnered with a major law firm and asked them to work with us to challenge the City of Atlanta’s governmental immunity. We took a team approach, but the judge still threw out the case because of Atlanta’s immunity.
We appealed. While the case was on appeal, we found out something important that Atlanta had not told us: the day camp was not being run as a nonprofit. Instead, money was being taken from the camp program and used for other city projects.
We went back to the trial court judge and argued that Atlanta should not have governmental immunity from being sued, because there was a question for a jury as to whether the camp was being run for the profit and benefit of the government, or just for citizens. The judge agreed and said the case could go to trial. Just before trial, Atlanta agreed to settle the case for an amount that was enough to take care of the injured boy.
The injured boy went on to graduate from high school. I went to his graduation, and he gave me a photo on which he had written”Dear Mr. Stokes – You are my lawyer for life.” I was very glad that we had been able to get him the settlement that gave him the medical treatment and help he needed to get to this point.
I know there are cases that can’t be won, but my point is this: NEVER give up hope. The more serious the injury and the tougher the battle to be fought, the more you need an attorney who is willing to take that case as far as it can go. If you have a case where responsibility is clear, the injuries are terrible, and there is money to pay the claim, but a legal problem is stopping you from bringing a lawsuit, please call us at Stokes & Kopitsky. We have years of experience handling very difficult serious injury and death cases, and we are here to help you.
Our phones are answered 24/7, and your first consultation is free. Our fees and costs are paid from any settlement or court award we obtain for you; if there is none, there are no fees. Please call Stokes & Kopitsky toll-free at 404-892-0011 for experienced, concerned legal help if you or someone in your family has been seriously injured in an accident.