Atlanta Injury Attorneys Blog
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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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Litigation Helps Youth Soccer Safety

There has been a great deal of discussion in the past few months about the hazards of head injuries due to sports. “Concussion,” the movie has triggered important conversations about concussion, the injury. Across Georgia our kids are playing soccer and football every day and parents are concerned about ensuring their kids’ safety. The good news is that more and more is known about the long term effects of repeated concussions. Youth coaches are learning more about these injuries, are hopefully taking these injuries more seriously and many are not sending players back on the field when they need to rest. If your kids’ coach is not engaging in more conservative practices with regard to return to play, it is important to address this issue. The temptation to send a star player back into play is not worth the potential impact on that child’s future.

Changes will be seen on the soccer field. After a lawsuit was filed against all the major soccer associations, a recent litigation settlement includes some big changes to protect youth soccer players. Coordinating with the plaintiff’s counsel in the case, the United States Soccer Federation established a policy that prohibits children aged 10 and under from heading the soccer ball. The litigation settlement also includes educational requirements to make all parties, from referees to players and parents, more aware about concussion. It also places limitations on the use of heading the ball by children from the ages of 11 to 13 years of age. Although the U.S. Soccer leadership claims that they were already about to implement some of these changes, they have issued a statement saying they are pleased the plaintiffs appreciate their efforts and recognition of this important health and safety issue for youth.

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Drunk Driving Crash Statistics are Sobering 

It is a fact of American life that every two minutes, someone is hurt in drunk driving crash. When we read a statistic like that, it is something we need to take a moment to absorb. We grieve the loss of life in these tragic drunk driving crashes which have too often taken lives of Georgians. One of the worst such crashes of late is one in which five lives were lost in a horrific crash this past weekend. Five people lost their lives in a wrong way crash on I-75 near Dayton, Ohio. The most recent information about this tragedy is that the driver who passed away in the crash, was driving with a suspended license and was allegedly intoxicated at the time of the crash. He may also have threatened to commit suicide that day and in the past.

The driver collided head on with an SUV and killed all those in that vehicle, a group of friends — three of whom were in a popular band together. He had ended up back on the road drunk only hours after being released for another drunk driving charge. Possibly suffering from severe depression after his brother’s death this past fall, he and his wife were estranged and he was threatening to find a way to end his life.

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smv-triangle-smallMany Georgians don’t realize that our rural roads can be just as dangerous for fatal accidents or catastrophic injuries as our metropolitan highways. We live in a state in which we have some of the most sophisticated and vibrant metro areas and artistic, historic havens. We also enjoy a significant, productive farming community in our rural areas. Out on the open rural roads of Georgia, whether driving a truck or riding a motorcycle, we can encounter slow-moving farm equipment. Often this equipment, such as a large tractor, must travel more slowly. Many tractors and other equipment, can only travel between 15 and 25 miles per hour. Farmers often have to move equipment on our rural roads when they transfer equipment between fields.

Although perhaps not as well-publicized, Georgia’s rural roads are the scene of serious injuries and fatal accidents. To educate the public, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Georgia Department of Agriculture established a campaign entitled — Improving Georgia’s Yield Behind the Wheel. This educational campaign is intended to help Georgia’s drivers remember to be cautious and patient while driving around farm equipment. Georgia law requires certain slow-moving farm vehicles to display an emblem so that they can be seen by other vehicles and so that other drivers can quickly identify them as farm vehicles. Under the provisions in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-8-4, farm vehicles that travel under 25 miles per hour are required to display the red-orange triangular emblem on the rear of the vehicle. This also applies to certain slow-moving construction vehicles.  Continue reading →

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hoverboardOne of the “hottest” holiday gifts last year were hoverboards; those two-wheel devices with no handles. Riders stand on them and travel while standing, but hold on to nothing. The hoverboard has begun to lose its appeal due to some pretty bad fires and injuries. A Wired magazine report last month noted that hoverboard fires were on the rise and provided some answers to this worrisome situation which we will share in this post. Hoverboard owners are concerned that their homes could be lost or damaged or family members could be seriously injured by these seemingly “fun” rides. The rash of fire incidents around the country has also brought this device to the attention of tech geeks and gadget enthusiasts alike.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission is now paying close attention to the situation and has recently issued a press release regarding the fires. They are warning that consumers cannot be assured that fires won’t happen even when there is a UL mark on the label. They are continuing to work on helping the public protect their homes and personal safety.

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