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Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > Family Awarded $35M After 21-Year-Old Swerves Off Road And Strikes A Planter

Family Awarded $35M After 21-Year-Old Swerves Off Road And Strikes A Planter


The parents of a 21-year-old man were awarded $35 million after a jury found the City of Milton liable for a 2016 accident that took the life of their son. According to the lawsuit, the decedent swerved off the road, likely to avoid an animal, and struck a concrete planter that the plaintiffs contend should never have been there.

State Court of Fulton County records indicate that the decedent was driving within the speed limit at the time of the crash. Drugs, alcohol, or cell phone use were not factors in the crash. Other potential factors, such as falling asleep at the wheel, were also ruled out in the crash.

The planter was a large industrial tire surrounded by concrete. It was located at the entrance to the Little River Farms wedding/event venue on Batesville Road. According to the plaintiffs, the city violated its own ordinances by allowing the planter to remain there. The lawsuit said that the case was about a “violation on the part of the City of Milton to safely maintain its roadways. This breach in duty was the direct cause of [the decedent’s] death.”

The verdict 

A Georgia jury found that the City of Milton was liable for the decedent’s death. According to the verdict, the City of Milton “maintained a defect in the public roads of its municipal street system” and “maintained a nuisance dangerous to life or health.” Due to these failures, the jury saw fit to award the family with a large sum of money for the death of their son.

It’s clear that the city should have stepped in and ordered the property owners to remove the planter before it caused significant injury to anyone. In this case, they failed, and someone died as a result of that failure.

Sovereign immunity in Georgia 

In Georgia, the capacity to bring a lawsuit against a government agency or one of its employees is limited. In some cases, it is prohibited entirely. Georgia’s Sovereign Immunity Law protects government agencies from lawsuits filed by private citizens alleging negligence.

Traditionally, sovereign immunity applied to the right of kings to not be sued by their subjects. Since kings were considered the law itself, nothing they did could give rise to an injury claim against them. Today, sovereign immunity means that you can only sue the government if they give consent. Consent is granted under some conditions. In the case mentioned above, a public policy was violated by the government causing the death of a citizen. In many cases, a plaintiff will need to show that some particular policy has been violated to bring a suit against a government agency.

Talk to a Brunswick, GA Wrongful Death Attorney Today 

Gillette Law represents the interests of grieving families in wrongful death lawsuits filed against negligent defendants. Call our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation, and we can begin preparing your suit right away.



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