Confidential Settlement for Premises Liability Accident
Confidential Settlement for Motorcycle Wreck
$705,000 Verdict in Commission Dispute Case
Confidential Settlement in Golf Cart Injury
$1.9 Million Recovered in Pay Dispute
Confidential Settlement For Atlanta Chiropractic Malpractice
Confidential Settlement in Commission Pay Dispute
Confidential Settlement In Dental Malpractice Case
$3.25 Million For Alleged Fraud in Sale of Business
$5.5 Million Medical Malpractice Verdict
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Georgia is one of 20 states that don’t require adults in the back seats of vehicles to buckle up. Safety advocates say many people are paying with their lives. In 2017, 44% of the 1,057 people who died in crashes on Georgia roads were not wearing seat belts. Nationwide, 43% of people who died in crashes were not buckled up.

It’s hard to imagine that this is the case, but Georgia first started regulating seat belts in 1988, only requiring front-seat occupants to buckle up. The law has been altered over the years — slowly adding specifications that allowed police to cite someone spotted not wearing a seat belt and required minors and those riding in pickups to be restrained. For many years, pickup trucks were specifically excluded from the seat belt laws, presumably to help farm workers, but the rationale makes no sense, as they could have passed the seat belt laws and simply excluded farm workers while they were working on the farm from the new laws.

Pick-up truck drivers and passengers in Georgia are now required to wear seat belts. Georgia is the last state to adopt pick-up truck seat belt laws. The upgraded seatbelt laws came were gradual over time and accompanied the Georgia General Assembly’s decision to increase speed limits on rural interstates, according to the Georgia State Patrol. Seat belt usage has increased 30% since the laws have been tightened, and this is a great development for Georgia driver safety.

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All of us lawyers start out with the best of intentions. Daily stress and requirements wear on us. We read in the papers about lawyers who have strayed and have been punished for doing things that are unethical, unprofessional, or even at times, illegal. This invariably provides fodder for those who relish in putting lawyers down and casting us as less than worthy of accolades. We are bound by a code of ethics and by rules of professionalism that set parameters of what we can and cannot do in most situations. I strive for more.

As a Georgia lawyer, I aspire every day to do the following:

  • to put the interests of my clients before all else.
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There are many elements of damages in Georgia Personal Injury cases. Some that come to mind immediately are medical bills and past lost wages. Those are easy to quantify and prove. In other words, they are what they are, they have already happened and there are hard numbers associated with these damages. These types of damages are called hard or special damages. The other extreme in regard to damages is what most people know as pain and suffering. We at Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall, LLC tend to stay away from the use of “pain and suffering” because many people have a negative connotation of this phrase. All it really means is: in what ways, other than special damages that you can affix a dollar amount to, has the injury affected the Plaintiff? So, the pain and suffering damages are at the other end of the spectrum from special damages — they are real, but they are for the enlightened conscience of the jury to decide what they are (the jury will not be given any receipts to prove these damages). In between these two extremes are damages that can be proved with expert testimony by using an economist or other expert. One aspect of these damages is proving an inability to work in the future or a decreased capacity to work. Typically, the following questions form a framework when trying to convey the extent of these damages to our client.
1) Has the plaintiff been injured in such a way that her ability to earn and labor has been affected? Not all injuries involve these types of damages, but most serious injuries do.
2) Can the plantiff return to work and perform the same job that she was doing prior to the injury she sustained? If so, the inquiry ends, as the only lost wages would be past lost wages.
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The state of Georgia will receive $3.4 million in settlement of tranvaginal mesh litigation that is also the subject in 40 other states. Neither  Johnson & Johnson nor its subsidiary Ethican who was also involved in the settlement, have admitted fault.

This mesh, once hailed as a breakthrough in abdominal, vaginal and other types of organ surgery has proved to be a costly mistake for the manufacturers due to its tendency to lead to infection or breakdown within the body. The Food and Drug Administration eventually reclassified the mesh as a high-risk device. This year the FDA ordered companies to stop selling the product for prolapse patients, but some doctors still use the product “off label” which can lead to the problems that have been experienced in the past. Off label use is not illegal, but it is highly risky because, as in this case, it can fly in the face of clear FDA mandates to not use a product due to known risks and complications.

In addition to paying the money, the companies must take certain actions: They can’t say that implantation “may” prompt flesh to react to the mesh as a foreign body. They have to say it “will” cause a foreign body reaction, and that the effects may vary and may be ongoing. They have to detail the risks, including permanent dysfunction going to the bathroom or pain with intercourse or loss of sexual function. They have to explain that surgery to fix the mesh failure has its own risks and may not solve the problem. In most cases, if proper informed consent is given to the patients, they would choose not to have this material placed in their body. While informed consent is not a claim that is usually successful under current Georgia law in medical malpractice cases, it does apply to a products liability case such as this one, since a patient must be properly informed as to the risks associated with putting a mesh in their body, especially one that has had specific complications in the past the the FDA has grown concerned enough about to change the product labeling and warning. In my opinion, there would have to be some pretty compelling circumstances that can’t be addressed in other ways without using the vaginal mesh to warrant to the use of the mesh with the risks discussed above.

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The Georgia Rule of the Road Statutes provides:

40-8-70. Horns and warning devices

(a) Every motor vehicle when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet, but no horn or other warning device shall emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle. The driver of a motor vehicle shall, when it is reasonably necessary to ensure safe operation, give audible warning with his or her horn but shall not otherwise use such horn when upon a highway.

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The AJC has recently run a series of articles which explores just how bad the nursing home industry is in Georgia. While this is something that we have known about for many years (it does not seem to be getting any better), it is good that the public is seeing in print what we have been seeing in lawsuits for decades. Among the (not so surprising) findings which simply underscore the general picture that Georgia fails to adequately protect seniors in assisted living communities and large personal care homes:

■ Nursing care homes in Georgia largely rely on low-wage workers who may not be properly vetted or trained and who may be given unreasonable workloads. Two out of every five homes were cited for training violations.

■ A fourth of all Georgia nursing homes have been cited for failing to complete criminal background checks of workers. Eleven of these facilities were cited for employing someone whose criminal record should have barred them from working in senior care facilities. In other words, the nursing homes are hiring criminals to take care of their patrons.

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As a lawyer in Atlanta who specializes in dental malpractice and dental nerve injuries, the following struck me as curious: A 72-year-old man could not figure out what was wrong with his throat. Following a minor operation on his abdomen, he had been in pain, coughing up blood and unable to swallow solid food for almost a week.

But when emergency room doctors examined the back of the man’s throat, they found nothing unusual. After ordering a chest X-ray and blood tests, they told the man he had a lower respiratory tract infection, and he was sent home with medication. The pain, doctors said, was likely a lingering side effect from having a tube inserted in his throat during the surgery.

It wasn’t until the man’s condition worsened, prompting a second trip to the emergency room, that doctors finally discovered the real source of his symptoms: His dentures, which he thought were lost during an operation eight days earlier, had actually been lodged in his throat the entire time, according to an article published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal BMJ Case Reports.

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Hiring an Employment Law Lawyer

Except the life-long self employed (or unemployed, but that is a different matter entirely), we all make a living by working for an employer. Like people, employers come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are wonderful to work for and treat their employees like gold, other, well not so much.  When you are not being treated like gold, but rather re being treated like dirt, it may be time to hire an employment lawyer. But, you must first ask: Why and when-—if ever—should I hire an employment lawyer?

The answer to this questions may surprise you:  hire an employment lawyer if you think that your legal rights are being violated and you know that you have proof, in writing, of the violations. Why? Because an employment lawyer advise you as to what your legal rights are and what you should do, regardless of what phase of the employment process you are in, to protect your rights.  If you contact an employment lawyer early in the process, they can help you navigate a very sticky situation.

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An Atlanta, Georgia area woman died recently after suffering fatal injuries following an accident on Lake Allatoona. The woman was a passenger on a water ski when the collision happened just north of Little River Marina reported the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. After the incident, she was taken to Northside Hospital, where she died. A man, who was driving the personal watercraft, was also taken to the hospital with serious injuries, but his condition was not provided.

While this incident is under investigation and no fault has been assigned, it is important to note that boats on the waterways of Georgia (such as Lake Lanier, Lake Allatoona, Sinclair Lake and many other man-made and natural waterways in Georgia) are subject to laws that are quite similar to the Rules of the Road that govern drivers on Georgia’s roads. In other words, when operating a watercraft, one must do so in a manner that complies with the laws of Georgia and in a generally safe manner.

My firm has litigated a number of serious boating accidents and many of the outcomes are not quite as clear cut as they may, at first blush, seem. The Department of Natural Resources is charged with enforcing the Georgia boating laws, and a lot of the basic laws (such as who has the right of way in certain situations and who must maintain a look out) are not the same as the Georgia Rules of the Road. This can lead to drastically different outcomes when litigating these cases vis-a-vis a normal car wreck case.

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The numbers don’t lie. Almost ten people a day are killed in car accidents caused by distracted drivers. In 2017 alone, the yearly total was 3,166 deaths, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Let’s break down the numbers to see just how much of a concern this should be for the pedestrians of Atlanta.

10%

The percentage of fatal crashes that involved a distracted driver who was focused on something other than driving — most often talking or texting on a cellphone (accounting for 15 percent of all distracted-driver fatalities), but sometimes eating, talking to passengers, fiddling with the radio, putting on makeup, drinking, watching videos or playing video games or adjusting controls on the car.

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