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Macon GA Personal Injury Law Blog

Family awarded $20.5 million in wrongful death case

The family of an Atlanta man who died during a sleep study was recently awarded over $20.5 million of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. The man, who was only 25 years old at the time, agreed to take part in a sleep study at Emory Healthcare. He died of sudden cardiac arrest while he was at the clinic. The hospital claimed that it attended to the man with appropriate care., but the man’s family believed otherwise.

The victim’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit on his behalf. She claimed that the hospital was negligent in responding to her son, who tried to get the attention of the staff. The case went all the way to trial, and a jury rendered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The jury awarded over $10 million to the man’s estate for his pain and suffering and $10.5 million for the value of his life.

Motorcycle accidents can lead to life-changing consequences

Motorcyclists will likely tell you that when it comes to getting to where they want to go, they wouldn't have it any other way. The responsiveness, the maneuverability, the fuel economy and more are things that traveling in a car cannot match. But there is no such thing as an unalloyed blessing, and when it comes to traffic accidents the same factors that make riding a motorcycle such a joy can turn into the rider's worst enemies.

Simply put, when a car collides with you on a motorcycle the car has all of the advantages. What you have between you and the pavement – your clothing, and your helmet – is what you have. No seatbelt. No airbags. No anti-lock braking. And what that means is that there is a very real risk that you will suffer one or more serious injuries: broken bones, head and spinal cord injuries are but a few of the wounds that you can receive.

Legislation may curtail 18-wheeler accident risk on Georgia roads

When an accident happens, a car or other passenger vehicle is no match for a fully loaded tractor-trailer traveling along at highway speeds. A distracted or inattentive truck driver who fails to react to slowing traffic up ahead can cause a collision resulting in serious injuries or death.

Reacting to accidents this year on Georgia highways in which 10 people lost their lives when their vehicles were hit by big rigs, Congress is considering legislation to require every truck company to install automated braking systems on vehicles before putting them into service. The collision avoidance technology is designed to maintain a safe distance between the truck and other vehicles that are in front of them.

Georgia driver at fault for hitting pedestrian

A middle-aged Georgia woman was out on her morning jog with a friend through a crosswalk when she was struck by a pickup truck. She suffered serious injuries and was taken to a local hospital, where her condition was deemed to be critical. The 46-year-old driver of the pickup truck, also from Georgia, rolled through the stop sign without yielding.

Runners in the area are constantly vigilant and aware of their surroundings while crossing the street. Though the four way intersection where the woman was hit was clearly marked with stop signs and lights, runners claim that this is barely enough to get the drivers to slow down. Those who love to run in the area do so cautiously. The president of the runners club stated that these kinds of accidents are, unfortunately, all too common.

Use of GPS contributes to distracted driver danger to others

Much has been written about the dangers of texting and talking on a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle. The truth is that focusing attention on just those two behaviors ignores the fact that anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road contributes to making that person a distracted driver and a danger to others.

A fatal motorcycle crash was the most recent illustration of the danger a distracted driver poses on Georgia highways. According to police, a motorist became lost and realized that he had gone off the route shown on the GPS on his cellphone. The motorist made a sudden U-turn in an effort to get back on course, but his maneuver took him into the path of oncoming traffic that included a motorcycle.

What happens if I wait too long to sue for damages?

You could lose your right to compensation by waiting too long after a car collision to sue the negligent driver who caused you to suffer serious injuries. Georgia law sets time limits within which you must file a lawsuit or risk having your claim dismissed when you do finally sue. This law is referred to as the statute of limitations.

The purpose of the statute of limitations is to prevent car accident victims and others who may suffer a serious injury at the hands of a negligent party from delaying the filing of their claim. Delays could place the defendant at an unfair disadvantage by not being able to investigate the claim while the evidence is fresh. Witnesses may disappear or forget important information as time goes on. Evidence that might have existed following the event might be lost or destroyed with the passage of time.

Fatal accident is a case study in dram shop liability

"Dram shop" laws in Georgia and elsewhere in the United States pertain to the legal duty of the owner of an establishment that serves alcohol to stop serving liquor to a customer who shows signs of intoxication, with the purpose of reducing incidents of people drinking and driving. In the majority of these cases, if a person who is injured in a drunk driving-related accident sues such an establishment, the management and the intoxicated customer will be different people. But a recent incident in Atlanta shows that this distinction is not always the case.

The family of a motorcyclist who died when he was involved in an accident with an allegedly drunk driver is suing multiple defendants, beginning with the manager of the restaurant where the alleged drunk driver -- who also happened to be the manager himself -- as well as the company that owns the restaurant chain and that company's parent company. The plaintiffs' wrongful death cause of action is based on dram shop liability in the unusual circumstance that the person responsible for cutting off customers who drink too much failed to cut himself off. The complaint alleges that the employees of the restaurant served the manager alcohol even when it was apparent that he was intoxicated, and then allowed him to leave the restaurant in his car.

What if there are multiple defendants in my wrongful death suit?

In actions for wrongful death, causation is not always so simple that a single person or legal entity can be identified as the sole defendant responsible for the decedent's death. For example, if a person dies in a car accident, it may be partly because of the fault of another driver and partly due to a mechanical defect on one of the vehicles that may be the responsibility of the auto manufacturer. A lawsuit would name both of these as defendants. Assuming that the plaintiff prevails, how are the damages to be divided among them?

Until 2005, Georgia followed a doctrine known as joint and several liability, under which all defendants were liable for all of the damages even if none of them was 100% at fault. In the example above, if the other deceased was not negligent, the other driver was 70 percent at fault and the auto maker was 30 percent at fault, the old doctrine would have let the plaintiff collect 100 percent of the damages award from either the other driver, or the auto maker, or some combination of both of them. Changes to the law, however, have made joint and several liability obsolete in Georgia.

Lawsuit follows in wake of Bobbi Kristina Brown's death

Georgia law allows for two types of lawsuits to be initiated following the death of an individual.One of them is known as a survival action, and the other is an action for wrongful death. Both of these may be evident in a recent case if legal pleadings that have allegedly surfaced in connection with the death of Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late Whitney Houston, prove to be authentic.

A survival action is one in which the successor in interest of a person, who is often the personal representative of that person's estate, either initiates or continues a lawsuit that the deceased would have had against the defendant had he or she survived. According to the alleged complaint against the former boyfriend of Ms. Brown, the allegations against him include theft and abuse. As neither of these would ordinarily be thought of as causing the death of an individual, it would appear that the legal foundation for the lawsuit would be based in a survival action.

Common symptoms of traumatic brain injuries

Car accidents happen every single day in Macon and the rest of Georgia. A lot of them are simple fender benders or low-speed impact collisions. But even a seemingly minor car collision could result in a concussion or other form of brain injury. It’s important to know the symptoms of these types of injuries, as ignoring a concussion could lead to major issues later on.

In general, there are four categories of symptoms to look out for. The first is issues with memory and thinking. Someone who has suffered a concussion may not be able to think clearly or concentrate. They may feel like they are thinking slower than usual and may be unable to retain short-term memories. The second category is also mental, but involves the victim’s emotions. They may feel irritable or sad. They may also feel nervous, or just more emotional in general than they usually are.