Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

iStock_000016429140XSmall.jpgWe have recently posted the statistics on teen car accidents, particularly in the area of distracted driving. In a recent fatal accident in Athens, a young teen’s life has forever changed, but he will likely not be charged with causing the crash. The accident in Athens has ended in tragedy for two families. As a Georgia wrongful death lawyer, I have represented many families dealing with the passing of a loved one due to a vehicle crash or other serious accident. Fatal accidents are very difficult to cope with for victims families and for others involved, but the circumstances surrounding the Athens crash are unusually and terribly sad.

A couple was driving in the early evening this past Monday with their two children to visit Santa at a nearby mall. It was their wedding anniversary. Their vehicle, driven by the wife, was making a left turn on Timothy Road in Athens. Her husband and the kids’ dad, was sitting in the passenger seat.

As the vehicle was turning left, it was struck by a teen driving through the intersection. The crash hit the passenger side of the car and killed the husband. The wife told police that she did not see the oncoming vehicle driven by the teen. It is believed her ability to see the oncoming vehicle was made difficult due to a car that was making a left turn from the opposite direction.

By all reports the young teen is a wonderful young man. He had just completed his volunteering with his youth group and his nursing home job when the accident occurred.

As reported in the Banner-Herald the children sustained minor injuries, as did their mom. The teen had some minor injuries from his deployed air bag. But from the reports, this fine young man was “emotionally devastated by the fatal crash.” One of the saddest parts of this tragedy is that the couple was celebrating their wedding anniversary and the boys birthdays are just before Christmas as well.

The Official Code of Georgia section 40-6-71 provides that “[t]he driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.” Intersections are very dangerous places. Accident rates are very high due to the turns being made and the risks of collision as happened in this tragic crash. If you cannot see around other vehicles in an intersection, do not turn. Wait until you can see that there are no vehicles coming towards your vehicle. Oncoming vehicles have the right of way and you must yield to them.

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iStock_000010641551XSmall.jpgWe are heading in the wrong direction with our highway safety and that is bad news for all Georgians. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has just issued a statement that warns drivers to be safe this holiday season. Traffic fatalities are up in Georgia for the first time since 2005. Over 1,000 people have died on Georgia’s roads and highways so far this year. In my experience litigating cases involving highway fatalities as an Atlanta wrongful death lawyer, the fact that we are moving in the wrong direction does not surprise me. It saddens me greatly.

Over the years I have supported my clients through the grief of losing a loved one. It is one of the most heart-wrentching aspects of my law practice. But it is important that victims and their families have the support needed to recover from these tragic accidents.

We are poised to head backwards. According to the GOHS director as reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this morning, ” ‘Already, we have surpassed where we were this time last year and we have not even entered the holiday season, our busiest traffic period of the year,’ ” he said.

Over the years, Georgia’s traffic fatality rate has been decreasing. In 2005, there were 1,745 deaths on our roads and in 2011, there were 1,226. But we are just at the start of the holiday season and it is likely that more deaths will occur and will raise these statistics.

As we have noted in prior posts, fatal crashes are often due to speeding, impairment or failure to use seat belts. Over half of those killed in traffic accidents in Georgia were NOT wearing seat belts when they were on the road.

Think about this. As our roads become more congested and drivers are more reckless with their risk taking, putting on your seat belt can save your life if you are in a car crash.

One of the new developments in our driving life is hazardous. Texting while driving which is not legal in Georgia is very dangerous. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-241 prohibits this activity, but many drivers continue to hold their phones and write texts which takes their attention off the road. This is especially true for teen drivers who have a very high rate of fatal crashes.

This holiday season, please put your seat belts on and get your kids buckled up as well. Watch for impaired drivers on the road and call 911 if you see one.

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Truck3.jpgSome Atlanta area roads are just dangerous. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a young man has lost his life in a deadly accident on Camp Creek Parkway in Fulton County. This is what was stated to be “the latest in a string of deadly incidents on the busy thoroughfare.” The dangerous nature of this road concerns me as I represent clients as a Fulton County truck accident lawyer.

This particular tragedy occurred at the intersection of Camp Creek Parkway and Butner Road. Apparently, witnesses to the crash were able to tell investigators that the tractor-trailer was traveling eastbound and failed to stop at a red light. It then hit a northbound vehicle (Toyota Solara) that was traveling on Butner Road.

As is the case with many tractor-trailer collisions, the truck then jackknifed and the result of that was tragic and involved other vehicles. After the jackknife, the truck hit a car head-on that was traveling in the westbound direction (a Nissan Altima) and rolled over another car (a Toyota Camry) that was also traveling westbound.

The driver of the first car hit (the Toyota Solara) was killed and the driver of the Altima sustained serious injuries and the driver of the Toyota Camry sustained superficial injuries. The truck driver had non-life-threatening injuries.

We don’t know whether the truck driver will be charged with the death of this young man. Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) section 40-6-393, a driver who causes a fatal injury can be charged as a homicide by vehicle. In this case, the running of the red light by the truck driver could also be viewed as reckless driving under OCGA section 40-6-390.

Trucking companies must follow the safety regulations promulgated by the federal government and running a red light is dangerous driving under these regulations. The United States Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry to avoid such fatalities.

Sadly, fatal crashes are becoming a normal occurrence on this roadway. As stated in the report, this is now “at least the fifth fatal incident on Camp Creek Parkway this year.” A trucker was fatally injured when he spun out on a curve, a teacher passed away in a tractor-trailer collision, a pedestrian died after he was hit by several cars on this road and two women died and others injured in still another tractor-trailer crash. Several years ago, five people were killed in a head on collision in this area in a case that ultimately involved a hit and run vehicular homicide.

With so many fatalities in one area, we hope that the community will come together to seek ways to make this road safer and that the local government will work towards this as well.

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Thumbnail image for car harmed.jpgA recent rash of wrong-way crashes has many wondering just what can be done to avoid these deadly collisions. Last week, Gwinnett County saw a deadly crash on Georgia State Route 316 which resulted in the loss of an innocent driver. This is the fourth in a series of head-on collision crashes. In my work as a wrongful death lawyer, who has helped many families deal with the tragedy of fatal accidents, I am saddened that this crash, along with the others, has resulted in serious injury or death due to wrong way drivers in the Atlanta area.

In this most recent crash, the driver alleged to have caused the crash was apparently under the influence of drugs when the accident occurred. Police statements regarding the accident were reported in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and revealed that the offending driver is believed to have stolen a sedative from the Gwinnett Medical Center prior to the wreck. She is employed by an anesthesia services company.

The evidence for the drug use prior to the accident were needles and an IV bag found on the front seat of the woman’s car. Additional drugs found in her purse after she was hospitalized. It is believed that she drove several miles in the wrong direction prior to the crash and that many 911 calls were made by other drivers trying to alert authorities about the situation.

This impaired driver ended up colliding with a passenger car, causing serious or critical injury to occupants of the vehicle, including the driver. The offending driver also sustained injury and was taken to the hospital. After her release, she was taken to jail and “charged with five counts of causing serious injury by vehicle and one count each of driving on the wrong side of the road, reckless driving and improper/erratic lane change…”

Among the violations alleged against the driver is reckless driving found in Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-390 which provides in part that: “(a) Any person who drives any vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property commits the offense of reckless driving. (b) Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, or by both such fine and imprisonment …” The cumulative charges against the driver for other violations may well result in jail time if she is convicted.

Is the wrong-way driver becoming a trend? We certainly hope not, because these collisions are often deadly.

Last month, several other crashes ended in tragedy including one that occurred in the northbound lanes of Interstate 85. In that crash two pickup trucks collided head-on in Fulton County. Sadly, the wrong way driver who reportedly caused the crash did not survive it and a passenger in the other truck also died.

Another wrong-way crash occurred last month on Georgia State Route 400 in Sandy Springs. The driver responsible for that crash also lost her life when she struck the vehicle driven by local radio show co-host Kelly Stevens. Finally, also last month two were killed on Georgia 400 in Buckhead in a head-on collision caused by a wrong-way driver.

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Thumbnail image for Truck9.jpgTwo recent incidents involving tractor-trailers are worth noting as we continue the summer driving season. Earlier this week in Douglas County, a tractor-trailer caused two deaths and four injuries after allegedly driving through a red light. In an unrelated accident near downtown Atlanta, a portion of a tractor-trailer’s transmission flew off and went through a car windshield and tragically cause the death of an eight-year old girl.

In my work as an Atlanta truck injury and wrongful death lawyer, I have represented clients in cases involving semi-trucks, tractor-trailers and other large vehicles. These recent tragedies illustrate the importance that we remain aware of the catastrophic injuries and deaths that trucks can cause and how the motor carrier industry is regulated.

In the Douglas County accident that occurred earlier this week, the truck struck the driver’s side of a car traveling northbound on Thorton Road. The car and the truck went into the southbound lanes and in so doing struck two other vehicles. The car’s passenger was reported to have passed away at the scene, and the driver passed away after being extricated from the vehicle. In addition, four people in southbound vehicles were injured and were later reported to be in stable condition. According to witness reports, the tractor-trailer ran a red light. An investigation is ongoing through the Georgia State Police.

512957_better_for_ducks.jpgOver the past several weeks in the Atlanta area, we have been stunned and saddened by the loss of life, including two young lives at Lake Lanier. Earlier this week, two Gwinnett County boys who were tragically killed in a boating collision in June, were laid to rest. Our community was riveted to the news about the search efforts to locate them after the crash that ended their lives. As a Gwinnett County wrongful death and personal injury lawyer, I have struggled, like the rest of our community, to make sense of such tragedy.

We can never say enough about the dangers of boating under the influence. The brothers were killed and another person on the boat also died, when the pontoon boat they were on with their family collided with a fishing boat that was driven by a man who had been drinking and boating on the Lake.

If this were not enough to bring so much grief to our community, we have another accident on Lake Lanier last week. Two youngsters were injured while on an inner tube when a personal watercraft ran over them. Sadly, the watercraft driver was part of the group that was with the kids being pulled by a pontoon when the accident occurred.

bicyclists with helmetsLast week, a tragic bicycle accident rocked Dekalb County when local resident, Paul Taylor, was struck by a pick-up truck as he rode his bicycle on North Decatur Road near Willivee Drive.This tragedy occurred only yards from my home. The victim later passed away at DeKalb Medical Center. In my work as a Dekalb County accident lawyer, I have learned that families dealing with tragedy need the support of their community. It is very clear in this situation, that the family is getting that important support. The obituary for this gentleman can be viewed here.

Our hearts go out to the family of the deceased resident, who by all accounts was an active member of his community as a dad, soccer coach and athlete. Having received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Augusta College in 1984 he went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia Health Sciences University (formerly Medical College of Georgia) in 1986. Following that in 1989, he received certification from the National Commission of Physician’s Assistants and went on to a stellar career in neonatal care and women’s health at Grady Health System and was a clinical instructor in the Physician Assistant Program with Emory University School of Medicine. In 1993, he was named Teacher of the Year by the Physician Assistant Program at Emory University.

In Mr. Taylor’s memory, it is important that we are mindful that as the weather changes and bicyclists are out on the roads, we all need to share the road with care. In this situation, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports that the bicyclist was riding on the inside lane of the four-lane North Decatur Road in the early morning hours. The driver of a pickup truck struck the rider. The accident is under investigation and the authorities are as yet uncertain whether charges will be filed against the truck driver.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 1330873_27868463.jpgA Fulton County State Court judge has issued an order that effectively closes the case involving the death of a Georgia Department of Transportation HERO driver that occurred last year. As a Gwinnett County truck injury and wrongful death lawyer, I have been following this tragic case and wanted to share with readers the outcome for the offending driver.

The judge in the tragic deadly accident ordered the truck driver to a year of probation, loss of commercial driver’s license for a year and other penalties. The closure of the matter is the result of a plea bargain reached earlier this week.

The accused truck driver caused the “HERO” operator’s death while he worked on Interstate-85. The driver had been charged with second-degree vehicular homicide in the death of the HERO operator who was hit while assisting an Atlanta driver. He was the first such operator to lose his life in the line of duty.

The parents of a deceased young adult have filed suit in Fulton County for the death of their son. The Atlanta fatal accident occurred in 2010 and was caused by a drunk driver. As a Georgia wrongful death lawyer, I have long been a supporter of Georgia Mothers Against Drunk Driving and want readers to understand the Georgia law under which this lawsuit has been filed. The cause of this tragic accident is unfortunately too common — drinking and driving.

As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this promising University of Georgia graduate was an intern for then-Governor and had recently been awarded a fellowship to continue his work. He had been celebrating with other interns the night of the accident and was the designated driver for the group. He had just dropped his friends off and was headed to his apartment, when this tragedy occurred.

The drunk driver that hit the young man’s car had just finished her work as a waitress. She is said to have been having “shots” after work. Her alcohol level was .229, which is close to three times the legal limit. Allegedly, the establishment that served her the alcohol, continued to do so even after she was obviously drunk. The driver is serving a five-year prison sentence, having pled guilty to driving under the influence and wrongful death.

Thumbnail image for AutoAccident3.jpgAlcohol consumption might be a factor in a tragedy that has stunned the Gwinnett County community. As a Gwinnett County car accident and wrongful death lawyer, I am saddened to report that drivers in our area simply have not learned the lesson that we know can lead to injury or death.

What happened to the two teens is under review. Authorities are piecing together the tragedy that took the lives of these young people. The two teens were cashiers at Kroger’s in Grayson. They were tragically killed, and three others were injured, in this terrible car crash in Gwinnett County. The crash was a three-car head-on collision.

What we know thus far is as follows. One deceased teen was driving and the other was a passenger in the car, when the collision took place at the intersection of Webb Gin House Road and Grayson Highway. A third teen was a passenger in the back seat and was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center in critical condition.

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