Firm News

KSLG Investigates Cause of Silver Creek Contamination on Behalf of Affected Homeowners

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Drugged Driving: 4 Steps to Take After Being Injured in a Drug-Related Car Accident

Drunk driving gets a lot of attention, as it should. An equally important problem that isn’t discussed as frequently, though, is drugged driving. Driving while under the influence of illegal or legal drugs is just as dangerous as driving while drunk, and it is something that claims the lives of many people every year. 

Marijuana and Driving- Dont Drive High

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What Makes a Personal Injury Claim Catastrophic?

When you have been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, it almost always feels catastrophic. Under the law, however, whether a personal injury is classified as “catastrophic” is determined based on numerous factors. There is no legal definition of a catastrophic injury that is accepted universally, but there are a few working definitions which are accepted in most legal situations. This makes it easier for attorneys and their clients to assess serious and extreme injuries.

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Tips for Tackling a Defective Product Lawsuit

Tackling a Defective Product Lawsuit

When we buy something, we expect it to work and we also expect it to be safe to use in the way it was intended to be used. Most of the time consumer products and work-related products are indeed safe when used appropriately, but that doesn’t mean that unexpected problems never arise when products are put to the use intended.

Defective products have caused damage to property and personal injuries, even death. When such damages and injuries occur, you do have recourse. The law allows you to seek recovery for those damages and injuries through what have been termed products liability lawsuits. Very few products are exempt from our laws, from gas cans that explode to over-the-counter weight loss products.


Who’s At Fault Here?

Just because a person is injured as the result of using a particular product doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a claim against the manufacturer. When such injuries occur, it is always best to start by consulting with the right kind of legal team. Their investigation will look into, one, whether a defect in the product exists and, two, how did the defect happen.

The product defect could have occurred during the design process, during manufacturing, during shipping, or during handling by the retailer selling the product to the public. The laws pertaining to each phase of the product’s journey into the hands of the ultimate uses vary and determining where in the process the defect arose requires not only a working knowledge of those laws, but a great deal of investigative work.


What Defect Are You Dealing With?

The most common form of product defect is that which occurs during manufacturing. In this situation, the company or person that makes the product – which may be different than the company or person that markets or sells the product – would be liable for the defect that may have occurred due to faulty design, faulty equipment, employee or employer negligence or a failure to follow safe manufacturing practices.

Another common form of product defect arises during the design phase. Obviously in the case, liability would rest with the company or person that designed the product, but if the manufacturer knew, or should have known of the existence of the defect and did nothing to correct it, they may be liable as well.

Defects can arise in the way a product is marketed. Products are sometimes mislabeled leading consumers to believe that certain uses of a product are safe when the complete opposite is true. Other marketing defects could include a failure to place the appropriate safety warnings on the product or placing labels or tags on products that are willfully misleading. Using labels to mislead consumers is fraud.

Strict Liability

In some select situations, a consumer does not even need to prove that an injury is the result of a defendant’s negligent or willful misconduct. The consumer must only show that the product was defective and that defect lead to the injury. This is known as “strict liability.” Removing the burden of proving negligence thus removes some very considerable obstacles, allowing the legal team to focus primarily on the defective nature of the product.


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KSLG Lawyers Notch BIG Win for Georgia Homeowners


March 25, 2016

Atlanta, Georgia

Attorneys Win Class Certification on Behalf of Tens of Thousands of Georgia Homeowners

A team of lawyers, including Richard Kopelman and Clint Sitton, of Kopelman Sitton Law Group, LLC (KSLG), were successful in convincing a Federal Judge that State Farm Fire & Casualty Company – the largest homeowners insurance company in the country – must pay its customers for an appraisal of their property to determine whether their homes lost market value after sustaining damage (e.g., water damage, fire damage, foundation damage, mold, etc.).  Asked if he was surprised by the Court’s ruling, Mr. Sitton responded, “not at all, because an insurance company’s obligation to assess for diminished value has long been recognized in Georgia in the context of auto insurance, and it only makes sense to extend that requirement to homeowners insurance.  Auto and home policies contain virtually identical language, and for most folks the purchase of a home is the single greatest investment they will ever make.”

The judge’s ruling could affect an estimated 70,000 State Farm policyholders, and may have even greater and more far-reaching implications according to KSLG’s Richard Kopelman.  “Undoubtedly, this is a big win for State Farm policyholders, but the judge’s decision could impact tens, if not hundreds of thousands of additional Georgians who have their homeowners coverage with other companies like Allstate or Nationwide.  By requiring insurers to assess for diminished value, Georgia homeowners now have the opportunity to receive the full benefit of the insurance policies they’ve paid for, even if their claims already have been paid and closed.”

KSLG has filed similar lawsuits against a number of other insurance companies, and continues to accept cases on behalf of Georgia homeowners who have suffered damage to their homes.  Mr. Kopelman and Mr. Sitton can be reached at (404) 351-5900, or through the firm’s Web site:

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Are You Protected? Workplace Injuries on the Rise


Imagine slipping and falling at work, causing massive back pain and injury to your arm from breaking your fall. You can’t sit at your desk, you can’t type because of your arm, and you’re in constant pain. This can mean a significant hit in income if you aren’t aware of what medical services are covered and how to maintain your income while in recovery.

Workplace injuries have been steadily rising for the last 4 years. In 2014, overall injuries requiring time away from work were up almost a full percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In addition, there were 1,157,410 days of work missed due to workplace injuries. That number is often a strong indicator of the severity of the injury, but more frightening are the millions of dollars in lost income and medical expenses accrued.

If you have been in the workforce for ten or more years, chances are you have had to miss work for an injury of some sort. It can be a painful and scary experience, mostly because of the unknown factors, like how long will it take to heal and how will you protect your income if you can’t work. Then add on the stress of dealing with your human resource department, insurance company, and many other phone calls you will have to make to ensure you get what you need to heal.

We want you to take it easy and not have to deal with the added stress and worry of who to call and who is going to pay the bills while you are suffering. At Kopelman and Sitton Law Group, we have a team of experts who can see that not only are your rights protected, but you can rest easy knowing there is someone here to help you through this challenging time. Having a lawyer on your side can mean the difference between getting better quickly and without worry, and financial ruin.

Many people who are injured in the workplace feel uncomfortable about hiring a lawyer, whether because they fear a negative reaction from their employer, or because they just don’t feel it is necessary. What many people fail to realize is that every company has a team of lawyers, ready to go at a moment’s notice to protect the assets of the business. Why wouldn’t you want the same thing?

There are many good reasons to seek out a lawyer, though often injured workers do it much later than they should. What usually prompts people to finally hire a litigator is one or a combination of things that include but are not limited to:

  1. Claim denial. It is often the policy of an insurance company to deny the first application of the claim. Having a lawyer handle it is often the best way to ensure a smooth claim processing.
  2. Delay in payment. Your bills are piling up, prescriptions are expensive and you have to shell out a co-pay for every doctor visit. If the insurance company is late with a check, you are the one suffering.
  3. No contact, or threats from employer. It can go either way with your human resource department. From the time of injury, weeks could go by before you hear anything from your employer. Conversely, they might tell you that you need to bring in a doctor’s note every week that you are out, or worse, if you aren’t back to work in a week, you may lose your job.
  4. Harassment/unfair treatment upon returning to work. This can happen when you have limited duty requirements, and your supervisor or boss becomes frustrated with your restrictions.
  5. Family and friends suggest it. Often when you are in pain, it is hard to focus and think clearly. Family and trusted friends may suggest that you contact a lawyer so none of the above will happen to you.

The statistics on workplace injuries are staggering. If you are injured at work, be smart and hire a lawyer. In your weakened state, you can easily fall victim to the tactics of a corporate lawyer who only has the company’s best interest at heart.  Contact us for more information on how a lawyer can benefit you and your family when dealing with workplace injury litigation.

Start your journey down the road to good health today.

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An Overview of Flooding and Insurance Claims

While some parts of the world are known for high amounts of rainfall, in recent years, climates have become increasingly unpredictable.  Thus, even in areas where rainfall traditionally is low, there is a potential for flood damage to occur in your neighborhood, in your street, and in your own home.

In the U.S, flood zones differ, though floods are still more likely near the edges of the sea, flood risk areas are scattered across the U.S, even some in the center caused by groundwater flooding.  Recent flooding in Houston serves as an example of catastrophic flooding in a city which typically gets only a moderate amount of rain, measuring approximately 50 inches of rain annually, and 5 inches of rain in the month of May.  In less than 24 hours, some areas of Houston had received as much as 11 inches of rain, resulting in massive flooding which destroyed homes and stranded motorists, leaving seven people dead and several more missing.

As risks of flooding increases each year, it is important to understand the different kinds of flooding, and how vulnerable your area is to each type.


The different kinds of floods:

There are three common types of flooding experienced in the United States, all of which occur in Georgia.

First, there are what commonly are referred to as fluvial floods which occur when rivers or streams  overflow their banks.

This type of flood occurs when the waters in a river fill beyond a river’s or stream’s capacity, typically due to heavy rainfall – or in some areas – melting snow – and overflow, spreading across the surface area around the river or stream.  While fluvial flooding can cause substantial damage, particularly to property near river or stream banks, such flooding is not typically associated with injuries or deaths because generally there is notice that fluvial flooding will occur.

Next, there are flash floods.

These floods, which are particularly dangerous, normally occur when a flood amasses very quickly in a short amount of time. This can happen when sewage draining systems are overwhelmed by sudden rainfall and allow the rain to build up swiftly. While this can be what some refer to as “an act of God,” in many instances, flash floods – which can cause substantial damage to property, to say nothing of loss of life – often is the result of local governments (cities and counties) failing to properly maintain their sewage systems.  From the standpoint of human safety, the most dangerous characteristic of flash floods is their rapidly moving water.  Carrying debris such as rocks and mud, a flash flood moving at about ten miles an hour is able to apply the equal pressure applied by 270 mph wind gusts.  As demonstrated by the recent flooding in Houston, flash floods can wash away cars and even entire houses, leaving in their path a trail of death and destruction.

Other common – depending upon where one lives – types of flooding include tidal flooding, and groundwater flooding.

A third type of flooding, tidal flooding occurs when the tide and sea spread on the land with the pressure of the winds and the rising tide.    Obviously, only those persons who live in or near coastal areas are susceptible to tidal flooding.

The fourth type of flooding commonly seen is groundwater flooding.  Such flooding  occurs when the earth becomes saturated and no longer has the capacity to contain additional more water.  Groundwater floods, like flash floods, can be the result of excessive amounts of rain, but also can occur where counties or municipalities fail to properly design and/or maintain their sewage systems.  In such instances, persons who suffer damage as a result of flooding may have recourse against the city or county, and be entitled to recover compensation for damage to their property.  Such damages include costs of repairs, loss of use and enjoyment, and diminution in value (diminished value) of their homes or other property.

Although not typically thought of as “flooding,” there is another source of water damage which affects tens of thousands of home and business owners annually.  Specifically, flooding inside a home or commercial building – whether an office building, a hotel, a restaurant, etc. – can be the result of broken pipes, sewage back-ups, exploding water heaters, broken icemaker lines, overflowing dishwashers or washing machines, or a slew of other sources, including neighbors changing the topography of their land causing run-off onto one’s property.


So, why should I be worried about flood damage?

Floods damage everything and everyone they come into contact with. From loss of life to structural damage, floods have the capacity to destroy homes, property, and lives.

When it comes to homeowner’s or business owner’s insurance and flood damage, the difference between a good insurance policy and one which might be deemed sub-standard, could cost you more than just your home.  As will be discussed below, many policies don’t provide coverage for losses resulting from flooding.  Other policies, which may provide such coverage, may have exclusions or limitations which deem the coverage practically worthless.


Well, I have homeowner’s insurance; I’m covered, right?

One should never assume that his/her home and its contents are covered for flooding damage.  Depending upon the cause of your flooding damage, your home or business may not be covered by your homeowner’s or business insurance policy.  Often times, flooding damage is covered only if one has a separate “flood insurance” policy.  Flood insurance, though written by many private companies, actually is provided by FEMA.  Without actual flood insurance, you may not have coverage for your losses, and you should read your policy closely to know whether or not you are covered.  Even where policies appear to offer coverage for water loss events, deductibles and exclusions – including limitations of coverage for post-flooding damage such as mold – present pitfalls for unsuspecting policyholders who mistakenly thought they had adequate coverage.  Making the presumption you are adequately covered while living in a high-risk flood area can leave you stripped of your wealth, home, and personal belongings.


How can floods affect my premiums?

For those living in high-risk flood areas, it is likely, or at least more than a mere possibility, that your home will eventually experience a flood and flood damages. With the correct flood protections and appropriate homeowner’s insurance in place, one should be able to absorb the physical damage of a flood without incurring financial hardship.  But an often hidden, or overlooked cost of the flood is an increase in insurance premiums.  People need to keep in mind that insurance companies are in business to make money, not pay claims.  Thus, if your insurer has to pay a claim, especially a substantial claim, you should not be surprised to see your premiums increased.  Fortunately, there generally are many insurers from which to choose, so if your policy is cancelled, or just priced out of your range, you should have options.  Even so, fear of skyrocketing premiums often causes policyholders to carefully consider whether or not to file a claim.  Naturally, if the value of your claim is modest – perhaps not much more than your deductible – you might want to think twice before filing a claim with your insurance company.  Also, if a third party is responsible for your loss, you may want to consider asserting a claim against the responsible party – whether an individual, business, municipality or county – instead of filing a claim with your insurance company.  Or, perhaps a combination of claims would suit you best.


So what is the difference between normal flood insurance and specialist flood insurance?

Quite simply, specialist home insurance policies tick more insurance check boxes than ‘standard’ housing insurance policies do.

With many houses not fitting the criteria for ‘standard’ housing insurance, such as homes in high risk flood districts, , properties with thatch roofs, listed buildings, and buildings with other non-standard features, specialist home insurance may provide a more viable option for more comprehensive coverage.

Another difference between standard and specialist home insurance is the financial costs. Because specialist home insurance policies provide further reaching coverage, thereby providing more extensive coverage, such coverage is more expensive than its standard home insurance counterpart.

Even so, many types of losses which people commonly think are covered, may not be covered, even by specialist home insurance policies. Such losses often include the following:

  • Any damages caused by storms to property such as gates, fences, and hedges.
  • The damages caused by wear, tear, and erosion.
  • Damages caused by persons lawfully in the home.
  • Loss/damage occurring while the property is leased or sublet, unless such damage is caused by violent or involuntary forcible entry/exit of the home.


What happens if my insurance does not cover the flood damage?

If your home or business owners insurance policy, like many, does not cover many types of flooding/water damage, there may still a light at the end of the tunnel for you.

For example, the typical homeowners insurance policy does not cover flooding damage where water entered the house from outside, i.e., heavy rainfall.  For those living near streams, creeks, or rivers, heavy rainfalls can be nail-biting experiences.   There are, however, ways to protect yourself. If, for example, you live in one of the many communities that participate in the Federal Floor Insurance Program, you are able to purchase a federally subsidized flood insurance. This flood insurance was created in 1968 by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to provide protection from flood damage while also issuing flood insurance to property owners.

A Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) typically covers the following:

  • The removal of debris.
  • Detached garages.
  • Some portable appliances.
  • Some valuable items.
  • Some major appliances.
  • The property’s foundation, plumbing, heating, electrical, and air conditioning systems.
  • Personal belonging such as furniture, clothing, and electronics.

If my insurance company refuses to pay for my damage, what can Kopelman Sitton do for me?


There is a common misconception that insurance companies are in business to pay claims. In reality, insurance companies – like other corporations – are in business to make money, and insurance companies make money by denying claims whenever they can, and where they cannot deny claims outright, delaying as long as possible, having to pay out on claims. Not surprisingly, people who lack the expertise necessary to take on powerful insurance companies, often give up and walk away from their claims, even claims which were improperly denied. Others accept below market value settlement offers just to end the headache of dealing with an insurance adjuster. The lawyers at Kopelman Sitton have decades of experience representing consumers – individuals and owners of small businesses – whose homes or businesses have been damaged, and know how to present claims and, if necessary, litigate them for their clients.

As discussed above, while some flooding is truly “an act of God,” many instances of flooding occur as a result of the poorly designed, out-dated, or malfunctioning drainage structures and systems operated by local governments or private businesses. Other times, flooding may be the result of mismanagement of storm or sewage systems operated by local governments or their divisions of watershed management. Such flooding events – caused by overflowing sewage often associated with heavy rainfall – can lead to massive damage to homes and businesses, resulting in the loss of use and enjoyment of your home or business, costly repairs, and diminished value attributable to the stigma associated with water damage.

Should you suffer water damage to your home or business, Kopelman Sitton Law Group can help you recover the damages to which you are entitled.


What can be done?

Depending upon the nature of your loss, State and/or Federal laws may offer a variety of protections which can be utilized to seek compensation for your loss. State laws, including laws involving nuisance and trespass, provide for recovery of damages, including attorney’s fees, and Federal laws, including the Resource Recovery and Reclamation Act and the Clean Water Act, provide additional avenues for recovery of damages you may have suffered.

Groundwater flooding, a common form of flooding, brings with it significant environmental pollution of rivers and streams which detrimentally affects wildlife and natural resources, and also results in severe economic damage attributable to a reduction in property values stemming from the stigma associated with such pollution. It is not uncommon for flood water, before reaching its final destination, to have flowed through:

  • Landfill sites containing hazardous wastes ranging from common garbage bags containing relatively innocuous objects to biohazardous materials, and radioactive waste.
  • Any diseases active prior to purging in slaughter houses, pig and chicken farms, and other animal stock containment areas.
  • Any leaking storage tanks found underground containing petroleum products or by-products, or other environmental contaminants.
  • Bleach plants, battery plants, and all other manufacturing-derived potential water contaminating products/items.

Even if flood water has not flowed through such places, flood water flowing through residential neighborhoods is neither clean nor harmless if it winds up in your home or business. Inevitably, flood water flowing through what might be deemed clean areas collects debris and chemicals from automobiles (oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, etc.), and animal waste from house pets and animals indigenous to the area. While these contaminants are not thought to be as dangerous as toxic contaminants found in landfills, farms, and subterranean storage tanks, they nevertheless can cause substantial damage when deposited in a home or business.

If your home or business has suffered water damage, from flooding or otherwise, Kopelman Sitton Law Group can provide the legal representation you need to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation (404) 351-5900.


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Ways You Are Covered in a Non-Emergency Medical Transport Incident

Non-Emergency Medical Transport (NEMT) is not a new industry, but as our population ages, NEMT is becoming an increasingly popular method of transporting the elderly, ill or physically challenged persons, or persons in need of rehabilitative therapy or dialysis. NEMT typically is used to get people to and from doctors, clinics, and other appointments, particularly in areas which lack adequate mass transit service. There are millions of such NEMT trips made every year, with many passengers/patients being Medicaid recipients who are entitled to NEMT services when they do not have other means of transportation available to them.

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How Water Damage Can Affect Your Living Situation

You’ve achieved the American dream of home ownership. You’ve gained some financial security through smart investments in real estate. You’ve finally bought that second home in the mountains, by the lake or at the seashore. Those realized dreams can quickly become a nightmare when water, or worse, raw sewage, damage your property.

Water or sewage damage can arise from a number of different causes. Your local government may not be adequately maintaining the storm water and sewer drainage structures serving your property and neighborhood, resulting in repeated flooding of your property, or worse yet, the development of sinkholes threatening to swallow your home. A contractor developing a nearby piece of property may cause increased surface water run-off onto your property. A broken pipe or appliance in your home may result in interior flooding.

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Stryker Hip Implant Cases

On November 3, 2014, Stryker Corporation announced that it has agreed to pay at least $1.43 billion to settle lawsuits filed on behalf of patients who suffered injuries as a result of defective Stryker artificial hip implants.

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