Atlanta Injury Lawyers Blog
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The common law rule in Georgia does support the traditional theory of liability, i.e., the first bite rule, in determining an owner’s responsibility for a dog bite attack. This common law rule has been codified in Georgia at O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7, which states: A person who owns or keeps a vicious or dangerous animal of any kind and, who, by careless management or by allowing the animal to go at liberty, causes injury to another person who does not provoke the injury by his own act may be liable in damages to the person so injured.

Despite this statute being known as the first bite rule, it is not necessary in Georgia to prove that the dog has bitten before in order to for the owner to be liable. Instead, the plaintiff must show that the dog has demonstrated a propensity to bite in the past that caused the injury in the present case. In other words, as long as there is an incident or incidents in the past that would put a prudent owner on notice to anticipate that the dog would bite or attack persons (as opposed to other animals, which would not be sufficient notice to hold the dog owner liable for the attack), the owner is liable for the damages caused by the dog.

Recent decisions have shown that the Georgia courts are replacing the one bite rule with legal theory that the owner of a dog must act reasonably to protect the public from his dog if the owner knows or has reason to know of the dogs vicious propensity to bite. Importantly, whether the owner knew or had reason to know of the prior acts is usually a question for the jury at trial rather than a question of law for the judge. This newer standard is in line with other jurisdiction and makes good legal sense.

“In addition to the above theories of liability, there exists a third basis for liability for the owner of a dog who attacks an innocent person without provocation. “In proving vicious propensity, it shall be sufficient to show that the animal was required to be at the heel or on a leash by an ordinance of a city, county or consolidated government, and that said animal at the time of the occurrence not at the heel or an a leash.” O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7, as amended July 1, 1985.

Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, dog attacks, car accident cases and construction site injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.

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As an Atlanta dental malpractice attorney, I am often approached by potential clients who have sustained nerve injuries after a dental procedure.  The most common dental procedures that result in nerve injuries are root canals, dental implants and molar extractions (especially wisdom tooth extractions). Of these, the majority of serious dental nerve injuries result from work on the mandibular (bottom of the jaw) teeth. This is because the inferior alveolar nerve and the lingual nerve run very close to these bottom teeth and tongue and can be damaged if the dentist commits malpractice when performing any of these dental procedures.

Less often, a nerve injury can occur in the upper region of the face when the dentist attempts to perform a nerve block using a local anesthetic instead of trying to numb the area being worked on via an infiltration injection just above the tooth. The nerve can be injured either by a needle stick mechanical injury or by the local anesthetic chemically damaging the nerve. There is literature to support that post marketing studies conducted by the manufacturer of a 4% local anesthetic solution have indicated an increased risk of nerve injury secondary to the administration of 4% local anesthetic solutions when administered by nerve block in the mandible.

If you have sustained an injury from a dental procedure, and would like to discuss your case in complete confidence, contact Robert J. Fleming at (404) 923-7497 for a free dental malpractice case evaluation or contact us online.

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The role of Dental Assistants is governed by the Official Code of Georgia. It has expanded over time and, now, dental assistants can do all of the following while they are actively assisting dentists in a dental office:

  1. Apply desensitizing agents to root surfaces of teeth and prepared the surfaces of teeth prior to cementation of temporary restorations and crowns, bridges, or inlays.
  2. Place cavity liner, base or varnish over unexposed pulp.
  3. Intraoral fabrication of temporary crowns and bridges. All such adjustments must be performed extraorally.
  4. Perform face bowl transfer.
  5. Make impressions to be used to repair a damaged prosthesis.
  6. Place periodontal dressing.
  7. Redressing (not initial placement of dressing) and removing dressing from alveolar sockets in post-operative osteitis when the patient is uncomfortable due to the loss of dressing from the alveolar socket in a diagnosed case of post-operative osteitis.
  8. Make impressions with irreversible hydrocolloid to be used to fabricate a night guard (bruxism or muscle relaxation appliance). All adjustments must be performed extraorally. Final adjustment must be made by the dentist.
  9. Monitor the administration of nitrous oxide/oxygen; turn off nitrous oxide/oxygen at the completion of the dental procedure and make adjustments to the level of nitrous oxide/oxygen, but only following the specific instructions of the dentist.
  10. Apply topical anticariogenic agents.
  11. Apply pit and fissure sealants, and primer and bonding agents to etched enamel or dentin; and light-cure with a fiber-optic light source (not to include the use of a laser device).
  12. Packing and removing retraction cord, as prescribed by the dentist, so long as said cord is used solely for restorative dental procedures.
  13. Changing of bleaching agent, following initial applications by the dentist, during the bleaching process of vital and non-vital teeth after the placement of a rubber dam; and applying the fiber-optic light source of a curing light for activation of the bleach (not to include the use of a laser device).
  14. Rebond brackets after a licensed dentist has examined the affected tooth and surrounding gingiva and found no evidence of pathology.
  15. Remove bonded brackets with hand instruments.
  16. Make impressions for passive orthodontic appliances.
  17. Apply primer and bonding agents to etched enamel or dentin; and light cure with fiber-optic light source (not to include use of a laser device).

While this is certainly not a complete list of what a dental assistant does, it is certainly a lengthy list and provides guidance as to what a dental assistant can and cannot do in Georgia. Many clients may be surprised to know that dental assistants can fabricate bridges and crowns. While most dentists would perform many of the above tasks themselves, it is useful to know that dental assistants are given quite a bit of latitude in assisting the dentist.

If anyone suspects that a dental assistant (or anyone else who is not a licensed dentist) is performing dental care without a license, they should contact the Georgia Dental Board immediately so that the Board can fully investigate the situation and take appropriate action. The Georgia Board of Dentistry can sanction and/or issue a cease and desist order to anyone in Georgia who is not fully in compliance with the laws. In addition, if the unlicensed practice of dentistry has resulted in a serious injury, you should contact an experienced dental malpractice lawyer to discuss the possiblitity of filing a dental malpractice lawsuit.

Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, dental malpractice, bus accidents, car accident cases and premises injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years. He practices in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties and nearby cities including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured in a dentist chair and would like discuss your case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.

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CVS, Walmart and Rite Aid account for the vast majority of prescriptions filled in the U.S. Not surprisingly, these pharmacies are involved in the majority of prescription errors as well. Doctors are writing and dictating prescriptions in fast-paced and hectic environments such as in hospitals and clinics. Once these prescriptions are sent to the pharmacy to be filled, the pharmacist must check to make sure that the prescription itself is accurate. Then, once it is filled, the pharmacist must ensure that the prescription, as filled, is accurate and correct. Finally, the pharmacist must make sure that the properly prescribed prescription should be dispensed to the patient or whether there is an alert or other reason why it should not be dispensed. In a busy retail environment (such as at CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid, Target, Publix, Kroger, etc.) this is not always done and prescription errors occur.

Failure to adhere to the standard of care amounts to negligence, or pharmacy malpractrice. In order to prevail in a court of law, the Plaintiff in these types of cases must prove: (1) that there was a duty flowing from the pharmacist-patient relationship to comply with the standard of care and properly fill the prescription; (2) that this duty was breached when the pharmacist did not dispense the correct prescription; (3) that the breach of the standard of care caused the injuries that the Plaintiff is complaining of; and (4) that the damages that the Plaintiff is complaining about were a direct and proximate result of the malpractice. In most cases, the duty element of the case is clear, as the Plaintiff was a patient/customer of the pharmacist and received her prescription from the pharmacy. The more difficult issues presented when you file a lawsuit for pharmacy malpractice are in proving what the applicable standard of care was and that the pharmacist breached this duty. Similarly, the Plaintiff still must prove that the malpractice caused her injuries and in exactly which ways Plaintiff has suffered. Damages usually include past medical and hospital bills, past pain and suffering, future medical and hospital bills, past loss of earnings and future loss of earnings or a decreased ability to work and labor in the future due to the Plaintiff taking the wrong medication after the prescription error.

Prescription errors result in over 7,000 deaths every year. If you suspect that you, or a loved one, have been the victim of prescription error, feel free to contact Attorney Robert J. Fleming for a confidential and free case evaluation. Mr. Fleming can be reached directly by phone on (404) 923-7497.

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A number of dental procedures result in the majority of dental malpractice claims in Georgia. As an Atlanta Dental Malpractice Attorney, I have noticed recently that the top five procedures that lead to dental injuries and malpractice claims are: Root Canals, Dental Implants, Crowns, Lower Molar Extractions and Jaw Surgery.

Each of these procedures is complicated. If you have suffered a dental injury from one of these procedure and would like to discuss your case in complete confidence, call Robert J. Fleming on (404) 923-7497 or contact us online. We are here to help.

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The alleged improper surgical technique of the defendant dentist was at the center of a recent $875,000 dental malpractice settlement in Atlanta. The plaintiff, a woman in her late 20’s, went to the dentist for the removal of her lower left wisdom tooth. During the extraction, the defendant dentist severed the plaintiff’s nerve. The plaintiff was then referred to an oral surgeon. After numerous surgical attempts to repair the nerve, it was determined by the oral surgeon’s office that the nerve was not reparable and the nerve injury was therefore permanent.
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Many times, potential clients who have suffered a dental nerve injury are not sure which type of doctor is best equipped to diagnose an injury to the inferior alveolar, lingual or mental nerves. While many specialists are trained to diagnose and treat pain and nerve damage, a microneurosurgeon is, many times, the best equipped for these types of injuries. Trigeminal nerve injury diagnosis, treatment and management is considered a subspecialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery. As such, microneurosurgeons possess additional training, experience and clinical skills to treat these nerves after damage caused by dental treatments.
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As a recent dental article notes, antibiotics are frequently used in dental practice. To be sure, this is a broad statement and, as we all know, the devil is in the details. While the standard of care in dentistry certainly does not require the administration of antibiotics before and after every dental procedure, it does require this for certain patients who suffer from certain conditions who are undergoing certain procedures. In other words, whether it is dental malpractice to not prescribe antibiotics when a dental procedure is performed is very fact-specific and is decided on a case-by-case basis.
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Many victims of dental malpractice properly request their records and encounter a host of dental terms and abbreviations that make it hard to decipher what the records mean. Some common dental abbreviations used in conjunction with dental procedures which may lead to nerve and other dental injuries are: ALV = alveolar; AMO = Anterior Maxillary Osteotomy; APEO = apicoectomy; B = buccal; BL = bone loss; dg or dx = diagnosis; E or EX or EXT = extraction; ENDO = endodontics; FDS = flap debridement surgery; fom = floor of mouth; FX = fracture; H&P = history and physical; L = lingual; MFP = myofacial pain; P-XR or pano = panoramic x-ray; pax = periapical x-ray; peri = periapical; POT = post-operative treatment; SL = sublingual; and WL = working length.
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Dental procedures in the area of the lingual and inferior alveolar nerves are the most common cause of nerve damage. Negligently placed dental implants and improperly performed root canals in the lower jaw can cause inferior alveolar nerve damage. Other negligent procedures such as wisdom tooth extractions can cause lingual nerve damage. If your dentist has identified nerve damage during or shortly after the procedure, a referral to a qualified nerve specialist should be made as soon as possible. Delay can often result in permanent nerve damage. Surgical repairs, when done within the window of time when they have the greatest chance of success, can often reduce numbness and pain, and bring back normal sensation to the affected areas. That is why it is important to refer out to a qualified oral surgeon or microneurosurgeon in a timely manner.
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