crash5Motor vehicle consumers, drivers and passengers have an expectation that our vehicles are safe to ride in.  We often hear about roll-over tests and safety ratings.  Vehicle safety requirements took a step further by requiring that vehicles be equipped with seat belts for all vehicle occupants.  When it was determined that seat belts, alone, could not prevent death or serious injuries to vehicle occupants, the installation of airbags became a vehicle safety requirement.

However, at least six deaths have been determined to be linked to the defective airbags.  In all, at least 17 million vehicles have been recalled in the United States, in addition to over 36 million worldwide due to defective airbags.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has determined that inflators in certain airbags were made with a propellant which may degrade over time and lead to ruptures.  The Takata air bags could possibly explode resulting in shards of metal being propelled throughout the vehicle passenger compartment.

"class action lawsuit", injury, "assumption of risk"By now, everyone should be familiar with the lawsuits filed by former NFL players against the NFL for concussions.  Former NFL players sued alleging that the NFL failed to warn them of the dangers associated with concussions.

Well, now the WWE professional wrestlers have accused the WWE of ignoring concussions which have led to serious brain issues.

In recent actions, former professional wrestlers accused the WWE of “selling violence” all the while ignoring concussions.  The wrestlers alleged that the concussions resulted in serious brain injuries.

Talcum powder has been a very popular product on the market for years.  People use talcum powder to prevent moisture, remain fresh and even to alleviate itching.  And one would not ordinarily have any reason to believe that such a convenient product could possibly cause harm when used as directed.  However, each year thousands of cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed and suspected of being linked to the regular use of talcum powder.

So what exactly is talc and where does talc originate?  Talc contains magnesium trisilicate.  This substance is mined from the ground and contains elements including magnesium, oxygen and silicon.  And to enable talc to be used as a product on the market, the talc is first ground into a powder which is mainly used to absorb moisture.

But what are the possible dangers when talc is used as marketed?  Talc becomes a concern when it is used by women in the genital area.  In the event that the talc powder enters through the vagina and travels through the uterus and fallopian tubes to the ovaries, there could be a significant risk of ovarian cancer.

Father and Son-resized-600In years gone by, in a custody action, the court would routinely grant physical custody of the minor child to the mother.  Don’t you remember the days when everyone believed the child was better off with the mother?  However, that is no longer the case.

In todays world, both male and female judges are frequently granting physical custody to the Father.  So, let’s take a look at a few real life examples of recent cases in the Superior Courts.

In a recent contested divorce action, the mother had taken the children out of state to visit relatives.  She then decided that she no longer wanted to remain in the marriage.  Accordingly, when she notified the husband that she wanted out, he filed for divorce.  His Complaint for Divorce included a “Standing Order” which prohibited the children from being removed from the jurisdiction of the Court.

Insurance policy exclusions and collection of damages from insurance policies.An injured woman settled for $400,000.00 after  she  was hit by a golf cart driven by  an intoxicted driver.  The plaintiff in this case was walking after leaving  an  outdoor  concert in  Peachtree  City.  She was then struck by  a golf  cart  driven  by a man  who was later arrested for  DUI.     The Defendant in  the case was  leaving the outdoor concert and had parked his golf cart  near the golf cart path.    As the defendant pulled  onto  the path, he  struck the plaintiff  and kept  going until a passersby stopped  him and  removed the key from the golf cart.   It was reported that the Defendant was not aware that he had hit the injured lady.  The Plaintiff’s injuries included two broken bones in her leg, and her medical bills totaled $75,000.00.

The Defendant’s insurance company fought to exclude liability coverage under the Defendant’s homeowner’s insurance policy.  The company argued that the golf cart was excluded from the Defendant’s liability coverage.  The insurance company then filed a complaint for declaratory judgment arguing “policy exclusion”.

The court; however, held that the  wording in  the insurance policy was  “unclear”.  The policy attempted to include an exclusion for golf carts based on the number of people the cart was designed to carry.  Further the court held that the language in the insurance policy was ambiguous  and coverage exclusions must be clearly defined.

Assumption of Risk

“assumption of risk”

A $15 Million Dollar Verdict was deemed uncollectable under “Fireman’s Rule”.   A Fulton County police officer was providing security, part-time, for a local church.  While on his way home, he came upon a single car accident.   The officer recognized the crashed vehicle as the type of vehicle typically driven by undercover officers and detectives.

When the officer stopped to render  aid,  he was shot by the driver of the crashed vehicle.    The driver of the crashed vehicle turned out to be police  officer from a different police department.

wrongful death

In pursuing a “wrongful death” action based on negligence, the Plaintiff has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that (1) there was a duty to protect the victim from the harm suffered, (2) that the negligent party breached that duty, (3) that the negligent act of the defendant was the proximate cause of the harm suffered (i.e., causation), and (4), that the victim died as a result.  (In other injury cases, the Plaintiff must show duty, breach of duty, causation and damages.)

To prevail on the element of “causation“, the defendant must have been found to be liable where it appears that his negligence was the sole cause of the death complained of, or that his negligence put in operation other causal forces which were the direct, natural, and probable consequences of the defendant’s original act, or the intervening agency could reasonably have been forseen by the defendant as original wrongdoer.  Stern v. Wyatt, 140 Ga. App. 704, 231 S.E.2d 519 (1976).

O.C.G.A. § 51-4-1(2) defines “homicide” as including “all cases in which the death of a human being results from a crime, from criminal or other negligence, or from property which has been defectively manufactured, whether or not as the result of negligence.”

Other negligence is the breach of duty owed to the deceased at the time the homicide occurs and may thus be slight, ordinary or gross negligence depending on the facts of the case which determine the duty owed to the deceased.  Caskey v. Underwood, 89 Ga. App. 418 (1) , 79 S.E.2d 558 (1953).

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car accidentWhiplash injuries resulting from auto accidents are the most common type of personal injury cases. An auto accident occurs every ten seconds in the United States, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. In 2005 there were six million auto accidents in the U.S., resulting in 43,443 deaths and over 2 million injuries. Negligence is the most frequent cause of auto accidents. Some specific causes include distracted or inattentive driving, drunk driving, speeding, and reckless driving. Other causes include defective tires or brakes, malfunctioning traffic signals, and poorly maintained highways, roads and freeways.
SOFT TISSUE INJURIES

One common injury that victims of car accidents suffer is known as the soft tissue injury. A soft tissue injury is an injury to the supporting parts of the body that are not bones. These parts include tendons, ligaments, joints, and muscles. These soft tissues can be torn or stretched beyond their breaking point, causing pain, swelling, bleeding, and loss of function.

  • Common soft tissue injuries include the following:
  • Strains (damage to the muscle or tendon)
  • Sprains (damage or tear of ligaments)
  • Bursitis (inflammation of one or more bursae, which are small sacs of synovial fluid in the body)
  • Tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon)
  • Contusions
  • Bruises
  • Dislocations
  • Nerve damage

Soft tissue injuries do not appear on x-rays, so you may not know if you have been injured until symptoms appear. These symptoms can be immediate, but can take from a few hours to several days to present themselves. The two most obvious symptoms are pain and inflammation. Continue Reading ›

Xray docSpinal Cord Injury (SCI) happens when the spinal cord is damaged due to a disease of the vertebral column or a traumatic injury to the spinal cord. Most spinal cord injuries occur when the spinal cord becomes bruised or swollen from the backbone pinching the spinal cord. More serious injuries may actually tear the spinal cord. When injury happens to the spinal cord, the nerves below the injury are unable to send messages between the brain and parts of the body as they did before the injury took place; nerves above the injury, on the other hand, continue working normally.

1. The location of a spinal cord injury is described by medical professionals by referring to the level of the vertebrae supporting the spinal cord. The top of the spinal cord consists of the cervical nerves, which are protected by the C1 through C8 and the T1 vertebrae. Next are the thoracic nerves, which are protected by the T2 through the T12, the lumbar nerves (L1 though L5), and the sacral nerves (S1 through S5).

Because a spinal cord injury affects the nerves below it, injuries higher on the spinal cord affect more bodily functions than lower injuries. An injury located between the C1 and the T1 vertebrae usually causes Tetraplegia (formerly known as quadriplegia) where the damaged cervical nerves affect the head, neck, diaphragm, deltoids, biceps, upper chest, arms and hands. Damage located between T2 and S5 generally causes paraplegia. A paraplegic can have a loss of feeling or not be able to move the chest, stomach, hips, legs and feet. Continue Reading ›

dog bite litigation

It is rare for a  month to pass without news of a child being attacked and bitten by a vicious dog.  Dog bites occur often and can result in disfigurement or even fatalities.

According to a Vet Med Today special Report (JAVMA, Vol 217, No. 6., September 15, 2000, during 1997 and 1998, at least 27 people died of dog bite attacks (18 in 1997 and 9 in 1998).

 

At least 25 breeds of dogs have been involved in 238 human dog bite-related fatalities during the past 20 years. Pit bull-type dogs and Rottweilers were involved in more than half of these deaths.

Of 227 reports with relevant data, 55 (24%) human deaths involved unrestrained dogs off their owners’ property, 133 (58%) involved unrestrained dogs on their owners’ property, 38 (17%) involved restrained dogs on their owners’ property, and 1 (< 1%) involved a restrained dog off its owner’s property.

Merritt  Clifton, editor of Animal People,  reported that between 1982 and 2013, the breeds most responsible for serious injury and dea Continue Reading ›