Atlanta Injury Attorneys Blog
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iStock_000017099921XSmallMemorial Day is coming up soon. Many families and friends will get together over the weekend for picnics and cook outs. Many Americans will also visit cemeteries to honor those fallen fighting for our country — the original and still the poignancy of this holiday. Its a good thing to remember the origins of the holiday which used to be known as Decoration Day. It began after the Civil War, but was extended to WWI and those wars that followed. Although it is a time for fun, it is also a time to visit the graves of those who have served our country and honor their places of rest by leaving flowers or a flag. If that is not possible or preferred, telling our kids about those who fought for our freedom is another way to honor their memories and their service.

The holiday has become the unofficial start of summer. It has also become the official start of the travel season. Nearly 40 million Americans will get on the roads or otherwise travel over the Memorial Day weekend. In Georgia alone, over 1 million Americans will be traveling. We thought it would be a good idea to share the information we learned about regarding the most congested times to travel and the best times to travel around the Atlanta area. According to the information collected by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Thursday, Friday and Tuesday and the worst travel days. Most the the travel times are from mid-morning to afternoon. Tuesday afternoon is statistically the most congested time of travel. The best travel days include Saturday and Sunday.

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A horrific bus crash that took place in Texas this past week has investigators looking for answers. The crash was national news due to its severity. The bus was traveling between cities headed to a casino. The driver lost control of the bus and it rolled over. Eight fatalities and over 40 injuries were sustained as a result of this tragic accident. Those sustaining fatal injuries were ejected from the bus. Only five seats in the front of the bus were equipped with safety belts. Buses are not required to have seat belts, and ejection is not an uncommon occurrence in a major bus crash. The cause of the crash is under investigation and is not yet known. Although it may not have been raining at the time of the accident, the road was wet.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has noted that the bus was equipped with anti-lock brakes, but they may not have engaged in the crash. Anti-lock brakes help vehicles avoid skidding and help the driver maintain better control. This type of brake has been required on motor coaches and other large vehicles since 1998. This particular bus had anti-lock brakes installed, but it also may have had safety violations in the past.

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1175023_magnoliaThe tragic two-car crash near Athens, Georgia that took the lives of four University of Georgia students is still under investigation. Local authorities have been seeking answers to this unthinkable tragedy that has the campus and many Georgians reeling with sadness for these young lives. Authorities found no drugs or alcohol at the scene. The driver of the vehicle in which the UGA students travelled remains in critical condition. The driver of the other vehicle is not seriously harmed and made the call to 911 saying that a car had swerved in front of her vehicle. It is now thought that the driver of the vehicle that carried the now-deceased young women, might have over-corrected and lost control of her vehicle, striking the oncoming car.

Over correction is a well-known cause of accident. Often over correction involves vehicles veering off the road and can involve speeding. When a driver senses that a wheel is off the pavement or outside its lane that driver might try to steer the vehicle in the other direction, while losing control in the process. This loss of control of a vehicle sometimes causes it to slide sideways or roll over. Overcorrection accidents can result in a vehicle veering into oncoming traffic. Many have been harmed or fatally injured in over correction accidents.

There are ways to avoid the dangers of over correction, but they must be practiced to ensure they become more automatic when a situation arises. These techniques need to be a part of the education of all new drivers and experienced drivers should be reminded about them as well. These include remaining as calm as possible, avoiding braking and decelerating. Although we do not yet know for certain what caused this accident, the swerving as described by the other driver and the lack of other causes, has led authorities to suspect over correction.

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iStock_000016429140XSmallTomorrow evening at the University of Georgia, four students who lost their lives in a car accident over this past weekend will be memorialized along with all other UGA students who passed away this year. The most recent deaths have left the school stunned and in mourning. The loss of these lives hits close to home for many of us who are UGA alumi and who have traveled these roads many times over the years. As an Athens native, I have traveled this highway countless times, and I have driven and ridden on the two-laned highways leading in and out of the classic city for my entire childhood. This tragedy hits close to home. Personally, it is heartbreaking to me that the families of these girls will have to live with this for the rest of their lives. The investigation continues into exactly what happened, but that will do little to assuage the loss felt by the Athens community and the UGA family.

As the school year ends and students begin their summer break, four families, four communities and all of Georgia will be thinking about the loss of these young lives. The crash that ended the students’  lives is being investigated, but no obvious cause has been identified at this time. The sadness of this tragedy has hit home and was evident as the local authorities spoke about the tragedy.

What we do know is that the crash took place in the evening hours as the UGA students, all young women, were traveling north on Highway 15 only about 15 miles from Athens. There were five in one car. At one point in their journey, their vehicle crossed over the center line and struck another vehicle traveling south. The driver of that car was traveling alone and was taken to Athens Regional Medical Center in serious condition.

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Texting and drivingSocial media can be used for good. And it can be used for not as good. The culture that drives the creation of apps that allow us to share our lives with friends is at the center of an Atlanta injury lawsuit filed just recently. The case is already making headlines in the tech community. As TechCrunch reports, last September, a young Atlanta driver did something incredibly dangerous and in their words “narcissistic.” She decided that it would be interesting to post a photo on the app Snapchat that showed her driving at 100 miles per hour. Only she was traveling at 107. Snapchat allows a user to put a filter on an image that shows how fast a car or other motor vehicle is going. The feature is aptly noted by TechCrunch to be included as an option “for some reason.” This subtle reference to purposelessness is one we happen to share. Because, as one might expect, her actions resulted in a terrible crash in which her victim sustained traumatic brain injury. He is now in a wheelchair … all due to the fact that this young woman made one of the worst decisions of her life.

According to reports, the young woman had several co-workers in her vehicle, including a pregnant friend. She crashed into her victim’s vehicle while distracted trying to document her speed. Her drive home is now the subject of a lawsuit filed in Spalding County, Georgia in which she and Snapchat have been named as defendants. Snapchat claims that it warns users not to use the app while they are driving.Snapchat claims that it warns users not to use the app while they are driving. Perhaps implying that a wise user would allow a passenger to use the app, but not the driver who would become distracted. The catastrophically injured plaintiff is seeking to recover for his injuries and loss of work income. Ironically, he was an Uber driver at the time of the accident which has now changed his life.

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825017_crash_carIf you have been a vehicle owner for a while, chances are at some point you have received, or one day will receive, a recall notice. So what do you do when you get a recall notice? The one thing NOT to do is to ignore it. Many people believe that a recall will cost them money or don’t have time to take their vehicle in for the repair. In fact, recalls do not cost the vehicle owner anything. The manufacturer pays for the repair. In addition, there are times when a recall notice and repair is critical to your safety. Many recalls are intended to avoid serious injury or worse. There are easy ways to find out if your vehicle is involved in a recall. Just check this link at safer car.org and put your vehicles VIN number in to find out about your vehicle.

This issue has come back into the news recently after a young Texas woman was in a fatal auto crash due to a malfunctioning Takata airbag in her 2002 Honda Civic. The air bag did what many others have done, when it opened in a relatively minor rear-end collision, the air bag tossed metal shards into the vehicle, struck the young woman in the neck and ended up killing her. The authorities have said that the crash was moderate and that she would have survived her vehicle rear-ending the vehicle in front of her had the airbags not malfunctioned. Her family says they never received a recall notice for the vehicle and were not aware that their daughter’s vehicle was a part of the recall.

Now America’s car manufacturers are seeking support from motor vehicle insurers to get vehicle owners to bring their cars for repair after a recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is also pushing for ways to get the public to bring their vehicles in for repairs when a recall. A major industry group representing vehicle manufacturers is asking that insurance companies help with the efforts to remind and inform owners to get to the repair shop when they renew their insurance.

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iStock_000003411145XSmallRecently, an elderly Norcross husband and wife drove along a local road not suspecting it would be their final moments together. Their vehicle was suddenly struck by another car. Behind the wheel of that vehicle was a 17-year old teen. The auto collision was the result of a rapid and tragic series of events. The teen had come upon stop sign with a vehicle stopped at it. Apparently, to avoid hitting the stopped vehicle, he swerved his vehicle and traversed several traffic lanes hitting the elderly couple’s vehicle. The impact on the couple’s car caused it to travel across two lanes of traffic. Both the husband and the wife passed away due to injuries sustained in this auto crash.

The teen has been charged with several violations of Georgia law, including failure to obey a stop sign and reckless driving. The most severe consequences could come if the teen is indicted and convicted of vehicular homicide in the first degree. Georgia’s vehicular homicide provision is found in Official Code of Georgia Annotated provision 40-6-393 (a). In this provision, homicide by vehicle in the first degree can occur when a person is driving in a manner that results in the death of another, even if the person charged did not intend to harm anyone. The consequences of a conviction of the provision can be severe — prison for three years minimum or a 15 year maximum.

This Georgia auto crash is under investigation. But one thing is certain. The life of this teen has been changed forever. Even if he is not convicted of this crime, he will have to live with the consequences of a failure simply to stop at a stop sign. Perhaps only he knows why this was not possible.

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overturned truck_584005_30246517Recently, a family’s tragedy made the news across the country. A Navy veteran, with tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq lost his life in a truck accident. Although the cause of the accident has not been disclosed, the veteran was driving a load of lumber when his truck overturned. His wife said they were hoping to have another child and she spoke to her husband at his wake to let him know she was pregnant. Only two weeks later, she learned that she is having triplets.

This tragedy brings to mind the dangers of trucking accidents. The load on the vet’s truck was apparently lumber and although it may not have been a cause of the accident, the fact that the truck turned over is an obvious concern. The federal government has a well-established regulatory scheme that addresses the way in which cargo should be managed and secured on trucks to avoid injury. These regulations apply to many trucks that cross Georgia’s highways and are intended to keep both those in the truck and those sharing the road, safer. The regulations specify the way trucks of all types are to carry cargo. Due to the large size of these vehicles, both the weight and distribution of cargo are key to remaining upright and safe in an accident or sudden stop.

Many serious injuries and fatalities involving large trucks occur every year across the country. A truck’s center of gravity is far different than that of a small vehicle. This means that if a load is not properly distributed and secured within the truck, it could jack-knife, overturn or become difficult to control more easily than other vehicles. This in turn, endangers not only the driver and any truck passenger, but all other vehicles traveling near the truck.

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Pedestrian2The bad news is out. Fatal pedestrian accidents are on the rise. As healthy and often necessary walking can be, it also brings new and dangerous concerns when we are walking near vehicles of any kind. About four million people walk to work these days. That is good. It gets cars off the road and is healthy for most walkers. Some walkers must be on foot to work for economic reasons. Many of us remember the amazing man who walked 21 miles to and from his Detroit factory job. A GoFundMe bought him a car and raised significant cash for him. He had no choice but to walk that great distance to get to his job. Other pedestrians walk to work because they prefer it and still others walk for health.

We don’t want to avoid walking out of fear that we could be hurt in a debilitating accident or worse. Unfortunately, this past year has the dubious distinction of having the highest percentage increase of any year before in pedestrian fatalities both in Georgia and around the country. This disturbing trend has been on the upswing for several years. But in 2015 the rise is as much as ten percent according to the annual Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). The GHSA issues its Spotlight on Highway Safety Report which is compiled using information provided by state highway safety agencies. The agencies are reporting higher numbers of pedestrian fatalities than in the history of record keeping which began in 1975.

The upward trend is clearly a major safety issue for Americans. Although Georgia is not at the very top of the list, every state with large urban centers has a greater likelihood of pedestrian fatality. The states with the highest number of pedestrian issues are New Mexico, Florida, Delaware, Nevada, Louisiana, South Carolina and Arizona. The situation is not hopeless, but steps must be taken to alleviate the upward trend. Continue reading →

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Georgia Bridge Safety Gets a Closer Look

We have heard time and time again in recent years that across the country our infrastructure is in need of major repair. Georgia is undergoing a $10 billion investment to our infrastructure which should help avoid serious or fatal Georgia injuries. Although the improvements will take time to complete, they are a welcome development. One area of concern has consistently been Georgia’s bridges. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the federal government has published alarming statistics about America’s bridges as well. The fact is that ten percent of America’s bridges are in disrepair. About five percent of Georgia’s bridges are said to be “structurally deficient.”

Over the next year and a half, many of Georgia’s bridges will either be replaced or repaired. Over 100 replacements are expected and about 300 repairs. Georgia’s Department of Transportation says that a bridge found to be unsafe for use will be closed. They also say that the inspection rate in Georgia is well beyond what the government requires. But as we learned from the bridge failure in Minnesota several years ago, Georgians driving on some of the bridge’s identified to be more problematic, could suffer injury. Although authorities say that Georgia’s bridges in the “structurally deficient” category are not about to fail, it certainly gives us all something to think about. When we cross our region’s bridges we want to know that we are safe. Many of us travel across our bridges day and night, on a work commute or with our families.

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