Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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A settlement has been reached for a young boy whose brain injuries have left him permanently disabled. The boy and his family were driving in the family car when they were hit by another car driven by an intoxicated man who was returning home from a restaurant. Though all four members of the family were injured in the accident, the young boy was the most seriously hurt of the four.

The accident occurred about four-year ago when the injured boy was just two years old. His family filed a brain injury lawsuit on his behalf, which identified the intoxicated driver and the restaurant which over-served the defendant at fault driver as defendants. The attorney for the plaintiffs recovered a receipt showing that the drunk driver consumed no less than 23 alcoholic drinks in less than 2 hours at the restaurant.

Police reports supported that finding by showing that the driver’s blood-alcohol was more than three times the legal limit. The intoxicated driver was also convicted six prior times in two different states for drunk driving at the time of the accident and is awaiting trial on related drunk driving charges. The restaurant was held accountable as they have a social responsibility to provide alcohol in a way that does not harm their patrons or the public. Does anyone doubt the propriety of holding the restaurant liable in this case? After all, they over-served their customer to the point that he was 3 times the legal limit to driver and then they watched him get into his care and drive off. The restaurant, in my opinion, has gotten off easy.

Statistics show that over 50,000 automobile accidents occur in Atlanta and the rest of Fulton County each year. Flying wreckage and the impact resulting from crashes can cause a number of different kinds of head and brain injuries such as concussions, facial trauma, skull fractures, and subarachnoid hemorrhaging.

General damages in a personal injury action may be physical and mental pain and inability to work. Special damages are those damages that can be calculated as a result of a particular loss. Under Georgia law, a civil lawsuit for damages in which personal injury is involved must be brought in superior or state court. Georgia law provides that the proper place of trial in a case involving personal injury is the county in which the defendant resides when the lawsuit is filed. The courts in this county will have personal jurisdiction over the defendant and will be able to enforce a monetary judgment rendered against the defendant so long as the defendant is personally served with process (as opposed to service by publication, which is valid service but will not be sufficient service to enforce a monetary judgment against the defendant’s assets).

 

In the aforementioned lawsuit, the parents of the injured child sought compensation for the financial burden brought on by the brain injury, lost earnings, emotional trauma, mental anguish, and medical expenses. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, you can contact me at (404) 525-5150 or online for a free and confidential consultation.
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If you ask the majority of insurance defense lawyers in Atlanta, you will hear some version of the following: Some people in Atlanta feign whiplash injuries in an effort to receive money from an accident. After all, a number of different types of accidents can cause whiplash injuries and the symptoms are easy to fake. And to complicate matters further, neck pain is a symptom that can be difficult for doctors disprove.

As an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer, I am familiar with these types of injuries and the types of situations that can cause them. So, in response to the defense lawyer mantra above, I say: On the other hand, whiplash related injuries are real and many times can be detrimental to the patients who actually suffer such an injury. In other words, just because there are no broken bones, does not mean that there is not an injury and, more importantly, an absence of broken bones does not always rule out that the injuries are not severe. To be sure, most soft tissue cases are not severe, however, like everything else in life, there are exceptions.

Whiplash happens when the body of the injured person remains still but the head is forced backward and then very swiftly forward (much like how the body reacts during a rear-end car collision). Whiplash is often used to describe the injuries, but whiplash only illustrates the movement of the injured person’s head and neck.

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Many Georgia car accidents result in the accident victim suffering severe injuries which can require hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Unfortunately, some at-fault parties may have only $25,000 in insurance liability coverage. This presents a challenge to Atlanta auto accident lawyers. However, there are many other sources of recovery that can be used to compensate the client, the trick is being diligent and finding the money. Because someone is seriously injured, the incentive is great to do all we can as lawyers to find these extra sources and ensure that our clients are adequately compensated.

One source of extra insurance is uninsured/underinsured (“UM”) motorist coverage. This coverage will apply for all of the client’s insurance policies. It is possible that UM coverage may be available under the client’s umbrella policy. It should also be noted that UM coverage will be deemed to exist if the automobile insurer did not comply with O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11 and produce evidence that the insured rejected UM coverage. Additional source of UM coverage may be found on other cars or other vehicles (such as motorcycles) owned by the client (in which case the coverage would “stack”).

If the injured client lives with a resident relative who is insured and has a UM policy, the client is covered under the resident relative’s UM under O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11(b)(1)(B). Finally, if the injured client was in a work vehicle at the time of the accident, the employer’s automobile insurance policy may provide UM coverage as well.

The full text of O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11 (2010) is as follows:
33-7-11. Uninsured motorist coverage under motor vehicle liability policies

(a) (1) No automobile liability policy or motor vehicle liability policy shall be issued or delivered in this state to the owner of such vehicle or shall be issued or delivered by any insurer licensed in this state upon any motor vehicle then principally garaged or principally used in this state unless it contains an endorsement or provisions undertaking to pay the insured damages for bodily injury, loss of consortium or death of an insured, or for injury to or destruction of property of an insured under the named insured’s policy sustained from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle, within limits exclusive of interests and costs which at the option of the insured shall be:

(A) Not less than $25,000.00 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident, and, subject to such limit for one person, $50,000.00 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and $25,000.00 because of injury to or destruction of property; or

(B) Equal to the limits of liability because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and of two or more persons in any one accident, and because of injury to or destruction of property of the insured which is contained in the insured’s personal coverage in the automobile liability policy or motor vehicle liability policy issued by the insurer to the insured if those limits of liability exceed the limits of liability set forth in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph. In any event, the insured may affirmatively choose uninsured motorist limits in an amount less than the limits of liability.

(2) The coverages for bodily injury or death or for injury to or destruction of property of an insured person, as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection, may be subject to deductible amounts as follows:

(A) For bodily injury or death, deductibles of $250.00, $500.00, or $1,000.00, at the option of any named insured in the policy. Deductibles above $1,000.00 may be offered, subject to approval of the Commissioner;

(B) For injury to or destruction of property of the insured, deductibles of $250.00, $500.00, or $1,000.00, at the option of any named insured in the policy. Deductibles above $1,000.00 may be offered, subject to the approval of the Commissioner;

(C) Deductible amounts shown in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph may not be reduced below $250.00;

(D) Deductible amounts shown in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph shall be made available at a reduced premium; and

(E) Where an insurer has combined into one single limit the coverages required under paragraph (1) of this subsection, any deductible selected under subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph shall be combined, and the resultant total shall be construed to be a single aggregate deductible.

(3) The coverage required under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be applicable where any insured named in the policy shall reject the coverage in writing. The coverage required under paragraph (1) of this subsection excludes umbrella or excess liability policies unless affirmatively provided for in such policies or in a policy endorsement. The coverage need not be provided in or supplemental to a renewal policy where the named insured had rejected the coverage in connection with a policy previously issued to said insured by the same insurer. The amount of coverage need not be increased in a renewal policy from the amount shown on the declarations page for coverage existing prior to July 1, 2001. The amount of coverage need not be increased from the amounts shown on the declarations page on renewal once coverage is issued.

(4) The filing of a petition for relief in bankruptcy under a chapter of Title 11 of the United States Code by an uninsured motorist as defined in this Code section, or the appointment of a trustee in bankruptcy for an uninsured motorist as defined in this Code section, or the discharge in bankruptcy of an uninsured motorist as defined in this Code section shall not affect the legal liability of an uninsured motorist as the term “legal liability” is used in this Code section, and such filing of a petition for relief in voluntary or involuntary bankruptcy, the appointment of a trustee in bankruptcy, or the discharge in bankruptcy of such an uninsured motorist shall not be pleaded by the insurance carrier providing uninsured motorist protection in bar of any claim of an insured person as defined in this Code section so as to defeat payment for damages sustained by any insured person by the insurance company providing uninsured motorist protection and coverage under the terms of this chapter as now or hereafter amended; but the insurance company or companies shall have the right to defend any such action in its own name or in the name of the uninsured motorist and shall make payment of any judgment up to the limits of the applicable uninsured motorist insurance protection afforded by its policy. In those cases, the uninsured motorist upon being discharged in bankruptcy may plead the discharge in bankruptcy against any subrogation claim of any uninsured motorist carrier making payment of a claim or judgment in favor of an uninsured person, and the uninsured motorist may plead said motorist’s discharge in bankruptcy in bar of all amounts of an insured person’s claim in excess of uninsured motorist protection available to the insured person.
(b)(1) As used in this Code section, the term:

(A) “Bodily injury” shall include death resulting from bodily injury.

(B) “Insured” means the named insured and, while resident of the same household, the spouse of any such named insured and relatives of either, while in a motor vehicle or otherwise; any person who uses, with the expressed or implied consent of the named insured, the motor vehicle to which the policy applies; a guest in such motor vehicle to which the policy applies; or the personal representatives of any of the above. For policies issued or renewed on or after July 1, 2006, the term “insured” shall also mean a foster child or ward residing in the household of the named insured pursuant to a court order, guardianship, or placement by the Department of Family and Children Services or other department or agency of the state, while in a motor vehicle or otherwise.

(C) “Property of the insured” as used in subsection (a) of this Code section means the insured motor vehicle and includes the personal property owned by the insured and contained in the insured motor vehicle.

(D) “Uninsured motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle, other than a motor vehicle owned by or furnished for the regular use of the named insured, the spouse of the named insured, and, while residents of the same household, the relative of either, as to which there is:

(i) No bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance;

(ii) Bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance and the insured has uninsured motorist coverage provided under the insured’s motor vehicle insurance policy; the motor vehicle shall be considered uninsured, and the amount of available coverages shall be as follows:

(I) Such motor vehicle shall be considered uninsured to the full extent of the limits of the uninsured motorist coverage provided under the insured’s motor vehicle insurance policies, and such coverages shall apply to the insured’s losses in addition to the amounts payable under any available bodily injury liability and property damage liability insurance coverages. The insured’s uninsured motorist coverage shall not be used to duplicate payments made under any available bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance coverages but instead shall be available as additional insurance coverage in excess of any available bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance coverages; provided, however, that the insured’s combined recovery from the insured’s uninsured motorist coverages and the available coverages under the bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance on such uninsured motor vehicle shall not exceed the sum of all economic and noneconomic losses sustained by the insured. For purposes of this subdivision, available coverages under the bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance coverages on such motor vehicle shall be the limits of coverage less any amounts by which the maximum amounts payable under such limits of coverage have, by reason of payment of other claims or otherwise, been reduced below the limits of coverage;

(II) Provided, however, that an insured may reject the coverage referenced in subdivision (I) of this division and select in writing coverage for the occurrence of sustaining losses from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle that considers such motor vehicle to be uninsured only for the amount of the difference between the available coverages under the bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance coverages on such motor vehicle and the limits of the uninsured motorist coverages provided under the insured’s motor vehicle insurance policies; and, for purposes of this subdivision, available coverages under the bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance coverages on such motor vehicle shall be the limits of coverage less any amounts by which the maximum amounts payable under such limits of coverage have, by reason of payment of other claims or otherwise, been reduced below the limits of coverage; and

(III) Neither coverage under subdivision (I) nor (II) of this division shall be applicable if the insured rejects such coverages as provided in paragraph (3) of subsection (a) of this Code section. For private passenger motor vehicle insurance policies in effect on January 1, 2009, insurers shall send to their insureds who have not rejected coverage pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection (a) of this Code section a notice at least 45 days before the first renewal of such policies advising of the coverage options set forth in this division. Such notice shall not be required for any subsequent renewals for policies in effect on January 1, 2009, or for any renewals for policies issued after January 1, 2009. The coverage set forth in subdivision (I) of this division need not be provided in or supplemental to a renewal policy where the named insured has rejected the coverage set forth in subdivision (I) of this division and selected the coverage set forth in subdivision (II) of this division in connection with a policy previously issued to said insured by the same insurer;

(iii) Bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance in existence but the insurance company writing the insurance has legally denied coverage under its policy;

(iv) Bodily injury liability and property damage liability insurance in existence but the insurance company writing the insurance is unable, because of being insolvent, to make either full or partial payment with respect to the legal liability of its insured, provided that in the event that a partial payment is made by or on behalf of the insolvent insurer with respect to the legal liability of its insured, then the motor vehicle shall only be considered to be uninsured for the amount of the difference between the partial payment and the limits of the uninsured motorist coverage provided under the insured’s motor vehicle insurance policy; or

(v) No bond or deposit of cash or securities in lieu of bodily injury and property damage liability insurance.

(2) A motor vehicle shall be deemed to be uninsured if the owner or operator of the motor vehicle is unknown. In those cases, recovery under the endorsement or provisions shall be subject to the conditions set forth in subsections (c) through (j) of this Code section, and, in order for the insured to recover under the endorsement where the owner or operator of any motor vehicle which causes bodily injury or property damage to the insured is unknown, actual physical contact shall have occurred between the motor vehicle owned or operated by the unknown person and the person or property of the insured. Such physical contact shall not be required if the description by the claimant of how the occurrence occurred is corroborated by an eyewitness to the occurrence other than the claimant.

(c) If the owner or operator of any motor vehicle which causes bodily injury or property damage to the insured is unknown, the insured, or someone on his behalf, or in the event of a death claim someone on behalf of the party having the claim, in order for the insured to recover under the endorsement, shall report the accident as required by Code Section 40-6-273.

(d) In cases where the owner or operator of any vehicle causing injury or damages is known, and either or both are named as defendants in any action for such injury or damages, and a reasonable belief exists that the vehicle is an uninsured motor vehicle under subparagraph (b)(1)(D) of this Code section, a copy of the action and all pleadings thereto shall be served as prescribed by law upon the insurance company issuing the policy as though the insurance company were actually named as a party defendant. If facts arise after an action has been commenced which create a reasonable belief that a vehicle is an uninsured motor vehicle under subparagraph (b)(1)(D) of this Code section and no such reasonable belief existed prior to the commencement of the action against the defendant, and the complaint was timely served on the defendant, the insurance company issuing the policy shall be served within either the remainder of the time allowed for valid service on the defendant or 90 days after the date on which the party seeking relief discovered, or in the exercise of due diligence should have discovered, that the vehicle was uninsured or underinsured, whichever period is greater. The uninsured motorist carrier may conduct discovery as a matter of right for a period of not less than 120 days after service prior to any hearing on the merits of the action. If either the owner or operator of any vehicle causing injury or damages is unknown, an action may be instituted against the unknown defendant as “John Doe,” and a copy of the action and all pleadings thereto shall be served as prescribed by law upon the insurance company issuing the policy as though the insurance company were actually named as a party defendant; and the insurance company shall have the right to file pleadings and take other action allowable by law in the name of “John Doe” or itself. In any case arising under this Code section where service upon an insurance company is prescribed, the clerk of the court in which the action is brought shall have such service accomplished by issuing a duplicate original copy for the sheriff or marshal to place his or her return of service in the same form and manner as prescribed by law for a party defendant. The return of service upon the insurance company shall in no case appear upon the original pleadings in such case. In the case of a known owner or operator of such vehicle, either or both of whom are named as a defendant in such action, the insurance company issuing the policy shall have the right to file pleadings and take other action allowable by law in the name of either the known owner or operator or both or itself.

(1) In cases where the owner or operator of a vehicle causing injury or damages is unknown and an action is instituted against the unknown defendant as “John Doe,” the residence of such “John Doe” defendant shall be presumed to be in the county in which the accident causing injury or damages occurred, or in the county of residence of the plaintiff, at the election of the plaintiff in the action.

(2) A motor vehicle shall not be deemed to be an uninsured motor vehicle within the meaning of this Code section when the owner or operator of such motor vehicle has deposited security, pursuant to Code Section 40-9-32, in the amounts specified in subparagraph (a)(1)(A) of this Code section.

(e) In cases where the owner or operator of any vehicle causing injury or damage is known and either or both are named as defendants in any action for such injury or damages but the person resides out of the state, has departed from the state, cannot after due diligence be found within the state, or conceals himself to avoid the service of summons, and this fact shall appear by affidavit to the satisfaction of the judge of the court, and it shall appear either by affidavit or by a verified complaint on file that a claim exists against the owner or driver in respect to whom service is to be made and that he is a necessary or proper party to the action, the judge may grant an order that the service be made on the owner or driver by the publication of summons. A copy of any action filed and all pleadings thereto shall be served as prescribed by law upon the insurance company issuing the policy as though the insurance company issuing the policy were actually named as a party defendant. Subsection (d) of this Code section shall govern the rights of the insurance company, the duties of the clerk of court concerning duplicate original copies of the pleadings, and the return of service. Following service on the owner or driver by the publication of the summons as provided in this subsection and service as prescribed by law upon the insurance company issuing the policy, the plaintiff shall have a continuing duty to exercise diligence in attempting to locate the owner or driver against whom the claim exists, but such obligation of diligence shall not extend beyond a period of 12 months following service upon the owner or driver by publication of the summons. However, regardless of such time limitations, should the plaintiff learn of the location of the owner or driver against whom the claim exists, the plaintiff shall exercise due diligence to effect service of process upon that owner or driver within a reasonable time period after receiving such information.

(f) An insurer paying a claim under the endorsement or provisions required by subsection (a) of this Code section shall be subrogated to the rights of the insured to whom the claim was paid against the person causing such injury, death, or damage to the extent that payment was made, including the proceeds recoverable from the assets of the insolvent insurer, provided that the bringing of an action against the unknown owner or operator as “John Doe” or the conclusion of such an action shall not constitute a bar to the insured, if the identity of the owner or operator who caused the injury or damages complained of becomes known, bringing an action against the owner or operator theretofore proceeded against as “John Doe”; provided, further, that any recovery against such owner or operator shall be paid to the insurance company to the extent that the insurance company paid the named insured in the action brought against the owner or operator as “John Doe,” except that the insurance company shall pay its proportionate part of any reasonable costs and expense incurred in connection therewith, including reasonable attorney’s fees. Nothing in an endorsement or provisions made under this Code section nor any other provision of law shall operate to prevent the joining in an action against “John Doe” or the owner or operator of the motor vehicle causing such injury as a party defendant, and joinder is specifically authorized.

(g) No endorsement or provisions shall contain a provision requiring arbitration of any claim arising under any endorsement or provisions, nor may anything be required of the insured, subject to the other provisions of the policy or contract, except the establishment of legal liability; nor shall the insured be restricted or prevented, in any manner, from employing legal counsel or instituting legal proceedings.

(h) Before a motor vehicle shall be deemed to be uninsured because of the insolvency of an insurance company under division (b)(1)(D)(iv) of this Code section, an insurer under the uninsured motorists endorsement provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section must be given notice within a reasonable time by its insured of the pendency of any legal proceeding against such insurance company of which he may have knowledge, and before the insured enters into any negotiation or arrangement with the insurance company, and before the insurer is prejudiced by any action or nonaction of the insured with respect to the determinations of the insolvency of the insurance company.

(i) In addition to any offsets or reductions contained in the provisions of division (b)(1)(D)(ii) of this Code section, an endorsement or the provisions of the policy providing the coverage required by this Code section may contain provisions which exclude any liability of the insurer for injury to or destruction of property of the insured for which such insured has been compensated by other property or physical damage insurance and may contain provisions which exclude any liability of the insurer for personal or bodily injury or death for which the insured has been compensated pursuant to “medical payments coverage,” as such term is defined in paragraph (1) of Code Section 33-34-2, or compensated pursuant to workers’ compensation laws.

(j) If the insurer shall refuse to pay any insured any loss covered by this Code section within 60 days after a demand has been made by the insured and a finding has been made that such refusal was made in bad faith, the insurer shall be liable to the insured in addition to any recovery under this Code section for not more than 25 percent of the recovery and all reasonable attorney’s fees for the prosecution of the case under this Code section. The question of bad faith, the amount of the penalty, if any, and the reasonable attorney’s fees, if any, shall be determined in a separate action filed by the insured against the insurer after a judgment has been rendered against the uninsured motorist in the original tort action. The attorney’s fees shall be fixed on the basis of competent expert evidence as to the reasonable value of the services, based on the time spent and legal and factual issues involved, in accordance with prevailing fees in the locality where the action is pending. The trial court shall have the discretion, if it finds such jury verdict fixing attorney’s fees to be greatly excessive or inadequate, to review and amend such portion of the verdict fixing attorney’s fees without the necessity of disapproving the entire verdict. The limitations contained in this subsection in reference to the amount of attorney’s fees are not controlling as to the fees which may be agreed upon by the plaintiff and his attorney for the services of the attorney in the action against the insurer.

Issues related to insurance coverage are complex. If you or a loved one have been involved in a serious automobile accident in Georgia, you should contact an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible. A thorough investigation of the facts of the case can often lead to more available insurance coverage.
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On July 5, 2011, the Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether Georgia’s Dram Shop Act (“GDSA”), O.C.G.A. § 51-1-40, applies when a convenience store sells alcohol not intended to be consumed on the premises. The Court held that the convenience store is liable, if they sell alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron and the patron later causes and accident. Florez v. Exprezit! Stores 98-Georgia, 304 Ga. App. 333 (696 SE. 2d 125) (2010).

The GDSA (O.C.G.A. § 51-1-40) provides in relevant part that:

(a) The General Assembly finds and declares that the consumption of alcoholic beverages, rather than the sale or furnishing or serving of such beverages, is the proximate cause of any injury, including death and property damage, inflicted by an intoxicated person upon himself or upon another person, except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this Code section.

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Effective July 1, 2011, all children passengers 8-years-old or younger must be placed in a suitable baby seat or booster seat and ride in the rear seat of the car. Drivers who do not follow this new Georgia law will face fines and points against their license, if cited by the police.

According to the Georgia Attorney General’s website:

  • ALL children under the age of 8 whose height is less than 57 inches must ride in the backseat of a car.  A child is safer in the back and farthest away from the force of an airbag.  Remember that airbags are designed to save adults, and since they deploy with great force they can be fatal to children.
  • Children under the age of 8 are required to be in either a car seat or a booster seat suitable for their age and height.
  • If there is not a back seat in the vehicle (e.g., a truck) or if other restrained children are in the back seat, Georgia law permits a child under the age of 8 to sit in front if restrained in the proper car seat or booster and the child weighs at least 40 pounds.
  • Georgia’s Primary Safety Belt Law allows law enforcement officers to issue a citation if they OBSERVE a seat belt offense.  They do not need to stop the driver for another traffic violation first, as in some other states.
  • Violating these laws can result in a fine of up to $50 and one point against your license per improperly restrained child.  A second incident may double the fines and points.

Beyond the Law
Experts suggest several other tips to ensure your child’s safety while riding in a motor vehicle:

  • Children under the age of 13 should ride in the backseat.
  • Holding a child in your lap or placing a car seat in the front seat instead of the back could put your child’s life in serious danger.
  • Avoid using a used child car seat or one that has been in an accident.
  • Buckle up even on short trips around the corner.  Most car accidents occur within a 5 mile radius of the home, according to a 2001 study by Progressive Insurance.

This is a great new law which helps protect children from being seriously injured or killed if they are involved in a Georgia accident. Normal seat belts do not adequately protect our children because they are designed for adults. While children who are taller than 4 feet 9 inches are exempt from the law, the better practice is to continue to use booster seats placed in the rear seats for all children.
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As an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer, I understand that automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of lower back pain. Common back injuries resulting from auto accidents include a herniated disc, lumbar or lower back strain, and spinal cord injuries. These injuries can cause serious and debilitating pain in the lower back, making everyday activities – like working, caring for your family, or engaging in leisure activities – difficult. In fact, about 10% of these auto accident back injuries lead to long-term disability for Atlanta car accident victims who we have represented over the years.

Spinal cord injuries, in particular, can cause serious nerve damage, resulting in paralysis, loss of feeling in certain areas of the body, and loss of reflex functions. Spinal cord injuries can also lead to secondary medical problems including infection, sexual dysfunction, muscle spasms, loss of bladder control, and centralized hypersensitivity or pain in certain areas of the body.

Treatments for lower back pain include orthopaedic care, physical therapy, chiropractic care, prescription medication and surgery. However, for people suffering from spinal cord injuries whose chronic pain has proved unresponsive to prior treatments, doctors have begun using Spinal Cord Stimulators.

Spinal Cord Stimulators are prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain (lasting 3 months or more) and work to manage chronic lower back pain by intercepting and altering the perception of pain signals from the nerve pathways along the spine to the brain. Spinal Cord Stimulators are devices with internal and external components. A battery-powered stimulator is placed inside the abdomen, upper buttocks or collar-bone area, while wires called leads are implanted along the spinal cord and attached to the stimulator. A hand-held remote control helps the patient moderate his own pain.

Although a Spinal Cord Stimulator has recently provided good pain relief for one of my clients who was severely injured in an Atlanta auto accident, these devices also come with many risks, including, but not limited to, infection, allergic reaction, scarring, loss of blood and need for blood transfusion, loss of function of any limb or any organ, paralysis, brain damage, need for repeat surgery, persistent pain, cardiac arrest or death. In addition, the implanted battery inside the stimulator will wear out over time and additional surgeries will be required to replace the battery. Current batteries can be expected to last between three and five years, and the cost of a single surgery to replace a dead battery may be as much as $30,000.
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A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety holds no surprises for Atlanta car accident attorneys. The study seems to indicate massive support for more federal and state traffic safety laws that can help prevent accidents. But wait, more laws, more regulations, more governmental interference in our lives. Is this really necessary? Well….maybe.

It seems that most people (or at least the most vocal ones) want less government and less regulations. However, according to the study, 62% of respondents wanted the federal government to get more involved in passing traffic safety laws that could protect motorists by reducing the incidence of undesirable driving behaviors. A further 57% also want states to get involved in traffic safety matters. 70% of respondents said they want traffic safety laws be more strictly enforced.

Besides, there also seems to be plenty of support for stronger graduated driver licensing programs in Georgia. 62% of the respondents wanted new drivers to undergo an education program before they begin driving with a full license. Also, 60% of respondents said they wanted more auto safety features to prevent accidents. I for one, believe that drivers permits and licenses are being issued to teenagers who simply do not have the advanced cognitive brain development to safely drive. While this is not a condemnation of our youth, it is simply a fact that the human brain, and especially the male human brain, does not fully develop cognitive ability until at least the early 20’s. While most young teenagers are simply dying to drive, what would be the harm in pushing back the legal driving age (and the age that they can get driving permits) a couple of years. In my opinion, the down side is minimal, but we could save a lot of lives if we did this, as a state.
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Most Atlanta injury lawyers are well-versed in the more common car accident injuries such as orthopedic injuries (broken bones and fractures) and soft tissue injuries (torn or bruised ligaments, muscles or nerves). However, there is an increased incidence of mild to moderate brain injuries (also known as closed head injuries) diagnosed in Atlanta car accident victims.

Many times, closed head injuries are more debilitating than meets the eye yet go undiagnosed at first. The reason is simple: many doctors (and inexperienced accident lawyers) focus on the soft tissue or orthopedic injury because it is more obvious and fail to recognize the severity of the closed head injury.

Most symptoms of closed head injury are easily identified by family members and include brief periods of dizziness, overwhelming fatigue, vision problems, short-term memory problems, and unexplained irritability.
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Spring is in the air, and many Atlantans, weary of the winter weather, will be heading out in their bicycles. It’s the right time for Atlanta bicycle accident attorneys to warn bikers of the special risks they face out there. While bicyclists can do nothing to compensate for the negligence of motorists, they can increase their own risks of surviving an accident, by wearing a helmet, riding a properly functioning bike and obeying all road safety rules.

The number one rule of bicycle safety is – wear a helmet. A helmet will not completely protect you from traumatic brain injury in the event of an accident, but will reduce the chances of suffering a seriously debilitating head injury. The helmet should be well-fitting and fit snugly on your head.

Before you begin a ride, check and make sure that the handlebars are functioning properly, and the wheels are secure. Make sure that your brakes are functioning properly.

Dress for bicycling. Wear brightly colored or neon clothes to stand out in traffic. A motorist is more likely to notice you if you’re wearing a neon yellow T-shirt and a matching yellow helmet.
Avoid biking at night as much as possible. If you really must bike at night, equip your cycle with reflectors and bright lights.

Avoid all distractions. Avoid cycling while listening to music, or talking on your handset.
Be extra careful when you enter intersections -these are bicycle accident magnets.
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Every responsible Atlanta parent will make sure that their child is safely secured in a child car seat before driving. However, not every car seat will protect your child from serious injuries in an accident. Many of these seats are only tested for their protection against injuries in a front impact accident, but not injuries sustained in a rollover accident, a rear-ender or a side-impact collision. While every parent surely has nothing but the best of intentions in trying to keep their children safe in the car, they can only act on the information that is provided to them. Unfortunately, this is information is not always accurate and up-to-date. A further investigation into the information related to car seats for infants and children bears this out.

The Washington Post has a new report that should concern any Atlanta injury attorney or parent. According to the report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has limited abilities to test the effectiveness of car seats and prevent injuries to children. Most of these tests only determine the effectiveness of the car seat in front impact collisions, and the agency does not have a suitable-sized crash test dummy to test the effectiveness of the seats during rollovers, side impact crashes and rear end accidents. As an Atlanta car accident attorney, I see that some of the most serious injuries occur in these kinds of crashes. What that means is that in an accident like this, children who are secured in their car seats may have little chance of escaping serious injuries.

Besides, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has failed to keep pace with the change in the size and weight of America’s children. A growing population of overweight children has meant that parents have had to look out for large-sized car seats. Unfortunately, the NHTSA has failed to develop a plus-sized crash test dummy that it can use to test the effectiveness of car seats. In a situation like this, parents have no choice, but to believe the assurances of manufacturers when they buy plus-sized car seat.
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