All posts by ashendenlaw

What Laws Exist in Georgia to Protect Cyclists Against Drivers?

In the state of Georgia there are many laws that exist to protect cyclists on the road from drivers. Some of these laws pertain to drivers and what they can and cannot do on the road, and some pertain to cyclists. Since safety is everyone’s responsibility, the totality of the laws for drivers (when cyclists are present) and the laws directed at cyclists create a complex system of legislation intended to protect cyclists in Georgia.

O.C.G.A. Section 4-6-290 and 4-6-291

These two laws set the rules for cyclists in a general sense. Section 4-6-290 tell cyclists what rules they must obey when traveling on the highways and on bike paths. Section 4-6-291 explains the general rules for cyclists when traveling on any road.

O.C.G.A. Section 4-6-292 to 4-6-293

These two sections of the law regarding cyclists have to do with other persons and certain behaviors. For instance, Section 4-6-292 states that no person can ride on the handlebars of a bicycle, rules for transporting a person of under a year old on a bicycle, and further rules for transporting children between one and four years of age. Section 4-6-293 prohibits cyclists in Georgia from attaching themselves to a vehicle on the road. Laws like this are put into place so that cyclists are held responsible for irresponsible behavior that would put them or those riding with them at a greater risk of harm.

O.C.G.A. Section 4-6-294

This law mandates that cyclists in Georgia stay to the right hand of the road while driving. Without a clear indication of where cyclists should ride, motorists would not know where to expect cyclists and it would be much more difficult to prosecute a motorist for an injury to a cyclist. In this way, this mandate actually protects cyclists.

O.C.G.A. Section 4-6-295 Through 4-6-296

These laws require cyclists to wear a helmet, to keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times (and to not carry anything that would make it impossible to follow this rule), and outline the proper equipment that cyclists must carry.

The latter two subsections of this law, 4-6-297 and 4-6-298, tell the criminal penalties that must be handed down to those who break these laws, and provide information about overseeing boards who created the law and who oversee various aspects of it. While it might seem that these laws simply place restrictions on cyclists, they actually protect cyclists. All these laws are intended to do is to prevent cyclists from acting irresponsibly; were these laws not in existence motorists could likely be prosecuted for errors on the cyclist’s part.

However, so long as cyclists are following these rules they will be protected under the law and will have more of a voice in court should a driver cause them injury.

I was Injured Due to the Negligence of a Truck Driver, What are My Options?

If you are the victim of a negligent truck driver there are several options that you have at your disposal. Believe it or not, one option that is exercised far too often is to do nothing. There are people who will sustain considerable injuries due to the negligence of a truck driver and simply leave it up to the insurance companies to settle the claims. The first thing that anyone that is injured in an automobile accident should do is contact a personal injury attorney.

The Importance of Legal Counsel

Leaving the details of the case up to your insurance company or attempting to settle the case on your own – which are real options — exposes you to losses that you may not be able to recoup later. Speaking with an attorney will provide you with adequate counsel and someone that is legally obligated to represent your best interest.

A personal injury attorney will know where to begin in examining the specifics of your particular case. They will also know how to recognize higher-level negligence. For example, the company that hired that driver could be held responsible for your accident as well. If a company hires a driver that should not be driving a commercial vehicle, and it can be proven that they had reason to suspect such, they can be held accountable for any accident caused by that driver.

Proper Medical Examination

Another mistake made by people injured in accidents is not seeking immediate medical treatment. The proclivity to shake it off could lead to undetected injuries that could be serious or even life-threatening. Whether you feel that you are injured or not, you should go to a medical facility to be checked out by a physician.

Not only will this initial examination protect you from any further injury, it will provide the documentation of any injuries that may have occurred as a result of the accident.

Avoid Rushed Settlements

Your attorney will most likely advise you to avoid any rushed settlements. Initial offers from insurance companies are generally well below what would be considered fair. Many times financial issues will entice people to take settlements that are far too low. Subsequently they end up with ongoing medical issues and other costs that they don’t have sufficient funds to pay for.

In some cases, your lawyer may be able to provide temporary relief from certain financial strains based on the projected outcome of the cases.

There are a number of options, but the best option is to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.

When is a Death a Wrongful Death?

MalibucrashWrongful death is a term that many people hear when a person refers to lawsuits. This concept falls under the guidelines of personal injury. A personal injury is any injury, ailment or sickness that results from the negligence of another party. The victim has rights under the personal injury laws to file suit against the negligent party. Family members of a person who dies because of another party’s neglect may also seek legal restitution from the offending party for compensation. The following are three examples that depict the idea of wrongful death:

Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death

People who practice in the field of medicine are responsible for the health and welfare of their clients. Any person who conducts an act or omits any part of a proper procedure may be subject to a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, a doctor who administers penicillin to a patient who is allergic to penicillin may be negligent according to the law of their jurisdiction. If that patient dies, his immediate family members can pursue legal relief for the unnecessary loss.

Automobile Accidents

Many automobile accidents can qualify for wrongful death easily. Any time a person gets behind the wheel of a car, that person is responsible for other drivers. If a driver operates the vehicle while intoxicated, distracted or indifferent to traffic rules, he or she might end up on the receiving end of a wrongful death case. The spouse and children of a deceased driver can go after the other driver in this type of case. An example of this type of case is a situation in which a driver rear-ends another vehicle due to the distraction caused by text messaging.

Work Injuries

Fatal injuries that occur in the workplace can also qualify for wrongful death suits. An example of an injury that could be fatal is an object falling on a top shelf onto a customer’s head or an employee’s head. If that person were to suffer a brain hemorrhage and die, the courts may find the company liable for the person’s death. This type of case would require an extensive investigation to establish the neglectful party.

In conclusion, wrongful death is a term that is equal to unnecessary death. A wrongful death is something that a person could have avoided if that person was acting or reacting mindfully. To avoid wrongful death suits, all consumers, businesses and homeowners should stay aware of their surrounding and any potential dangers.

Why You Should Always Take Photos Following an Accident

St. Patrick's Day Collision  4 of 4

St. Patrick’s Day Collision 4 of 4 (Photo credit: 7mary3)

In the past, there were few methods to obtain information from the parties involved in an accident–specifically an auto accident. An officer arriving on the scene had no other recourse but to accept verbal bits of information from witnesses if any were present or from the parties involved. Consequently, a nearly accurate evaluation of the accident was hope for but not necessarily guaranteed. A drawn sketch might help, but they were at times not very indicative of what actually happened.

However, thanks to the digital age we live in today, there is another instrument that can be used in order to find out what happened in an accident. The little cell phone cam or video camera feature most everyone carries in their purse or pocket today makes putting together the nebulous parts of an accident easier than ever before.

Important Reasons For Taking Pictures After An Accident

Today, photographic evidence is almost indisputable. Although not fool-proof evidence in a court of law, it puts the finishing touch on establishing just what happened, to whom it happened and in some cases at what time the accident occurred.

Basically, it becomes your word against the other party and some times even the authorities. Not only is your testimony used as stated facts, the testimony of others also comes into play.

Sometimes, the witnesses may or may not be accurately honest in their testimony. Added to this fact is that many times wreckage is moved from position and accident material is lost when dragging off cars from an accident in an effort to clear traffic. Consequently, be sure to take plenty of pictures before the removal of any cars takes place and of any injuries that may have occurred to you or your passengers, including bruises, bumps and broken bones.

In essence, the case is only as strong as the evidence indicates; however, your evidence needs protection being backed up by photographs or other digital instrumentation.

In addition, searching for extra photographic evidence to back up yours is advisable. Many times an automobile accident occurs right at an intersection or other public road where video cameras are placed by authorities to monitor traffic-flow. If these tapes are obtainable for use in a court of law, the case is almost surely brought to a quick and fair conclusion.

A clearly written accident report; numerous photographs from different angles recorded with date and time; a handwritten sketch; and eyewitness accounts all make for evidence that is difficult to dispute in a court of law, which is why you should always take photos of the scene and your person following an accident.

To Settle or Not to Settle: Will My Case go to Court?

A common question clients have for attorneys upon first meeting is, “Will my case go to court?” Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing until the process unfolds whether a settlement will be in your best interest or whether you should take your case in front of jury. By hiring an attorney who is knowledgeable about your particular case and what type of verdict you can expect from a jury, you can be confident you are making the right decision in accepting or rejecting a settlement offer.

How Much Risk Will You Accept?

The biggest factor in choosing whether to accept a settlement or take the case to court is how much risk a client is willing to accept. Because there is no way of knowing how a particular jury will rule, it is a gamble to take any case to trial. However, this is also true for the defense, as a jury may come back with a huge award for the plaintiff. An attorney familiar with your particular injuries, familiar with any potential problems your case may have, and able to communicate effectively to connect with a jury will give you the best chance at a favorable outcome. Even still, the best attorneys cannot guarantee they will be able to persuade a jury. Therefore a client must be willing to decide whether the settlement offer is fair or whether it is inadequate before choosing to go to trial.

Determining Fairness

This idea of “fairness” can be tough. Obviously, each person wants as much compensation for their injuries as possible, but sometimes they must be willing to accept less. This does not mean that they should be willing to accept a low ball offer or accept a settlement offer that significantly underestimates the amount of future treatment the client will need. A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to determine what is “fair” for your case so you can be sure you are getting the most money possible to cover your injuries.

Being Treated with Respect

Most clients hire an attorney because they have been pushed around by the insurance company and feel their injuries are being minimized or dismissed. A fair settlement offer should be one that acknowledges your injuries, acknowledges your pain and suffering, and shows respect for you as a person. An aggressive lawyer will make sure that the insurance company shows you respect when it comes time to sit down at the negotiating table.

Determining whether to settle or go to trial is a tough decision that needs to be discussed by the attorney and the client. By hiring a lawyer that you trust and hiring one who constantly communicates with you, you can be sure that your case is in the best possible hands. This way, no matter which course you decide to take, you can be confident that you are making the best decision for you and your family.

What Are My Options: Injury Accident with an Uninsured Motorist

Being involved in an automobile accident is a very traumatic and painful experience. Being involved with an uninsured motorist who is at fault for the incident equally damages the victim. United States drivers in most states are required by law to carry a certain amount of coverage to pay for damages inflicted on other people in an accident. The problem is that a multitude of drivers tries to cut costs by not carrying insurance. Nationwide statistics state that the average amount of uninsured motorists throughout the United States is 15 percent of the drivers. The amount varies between states. Twenty six percent of Mississippi drivers do not have insurance, while 4 percent of Maine drivers are without insurance.

Options for Victims of Uninsured Motorist Accidents

A person who is involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist has a few options that he or she may choose. The first option is going through his or her own insurance company. Some states have no fault laws that allow a person to go to his or her insurance company for compensation after an injury from an uninsured motorist. The fault of the driver is irrelevant in these states.

In other states, the insurance provider of the person who is at fault for the accident will pay for the damages and bodily harm. However, the faulty driver has to have insurance coverage for this option to work properly.

Auto insurance companies also offer special uninsured motorist coverage that covers drivers in cases of collisions with uninsured motorists. If an injured driver opted to purchase this insurance, then the insurance company can help to pay for the person’s medical bills and repair bills. Unfortunately, not all drivers consider taking this special insurance due to budgeting and bill trimming. Therefore, many drivers are left with the last option, which is suing for personal injury.

Personal Injury and Automobile Accidents

Any time a driver causes an injury due to neglect, an injured driver may sue for personal injury. Driver neglect comes in many forms. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes for automobile accidents. The distraction could come from attempting to talk or text while driving, turning the head to speak to a passenger, or engaging in something superficial, such as applying makeup while driving. Neglect can also be ignoring a traffic sign or light, improper turning, speeding, drunk driving, road rage and other instances. If a victim can prove that an uninsured driver caused the accident by acting neglectful, the courts may award that person a settlement. Having a skilled personal injury attorney will improve the chances of a successful judgment.

Damages Recovered

A personal injury attorney can request two types of damages for the victim. Compensatory damages would cover the person’s medical treatment, repair expenses, work wages and household bills. A judge who sees a large amount of neglect may also award the victim with punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the other driver for the neglect. These damages are generally added to compensatory damages and not awarded by themselves.

It is quite possible for an injured driver to receive compensation from an uninsured motorist. The best protection against this situation is to purchase additional coverage through the auto insurance company. However, personal injury attorneys are always available to offer reliable services for an injured driver.

Tips To Avoid Auto Accidents This Holiday Season

It is estimated that 93.3 million people in America travel 50 miles or more during the holidays. Some people who travel for the holidays never make it back home because they get into an accident. The good news is that there are several things that can be done to avoid an accident. Below are some tips for avoiding a car accident while you are traveling for the holidays.

Make Sure That Your Vehicle In Good Shape

Before you travel, you should make sure that your car is in good shape. This is especially important if you will be traveling a long distance. If your car is not in good shape, then your chances of getting into a car accident will be much greater.

Keep Your Eyes Moving

One of the keys to avoiding an accident is to keep your eyes moving at all times. You not only need to look out for the other cars on the road, but you also need to look out for changing traffic conditions, motorcycles and pedestrians. You have to keep an eye on everyone else on the road because they may not be paying attention.

Make sure that you stay totally focused on driving. Activities like texting, talking on the phone and eating can distract you. Distracted driving is one of the top causes of car accidents.

Avoid Tailgating

You will need to avoid following too closely. If the person ahead of you was to suddenly slam on brakes, then you could very easily slam into the back of their car. There should be a six to eight second distance between your car and the car that is ahead of you.

Drive The Speed Limit

You may be anxious to get to your destination, but there is no need to speed. If you speed, then it will be much easier for you to lose control of your vehicle. That is why you should always drive the speed limit.

Do Not Drink And Drive

Risky behaviors, such as drinking and driving, drastically increase your chances of getting into an accident. When people get behind the wheel of a car after drinking, their reaction time is slowed and their judgment is impaired. If you choose to drink, then you should ask someone else to drive.

Each year, thousands of people are injured while they are traveling during the holidays. Fortunately, accidents can be avoided by driving the speed limit, keeping your eyes on the road and not tailgating. You also want to make sure that your car is in good working order before you drive. Furthermore, you should not drink and drive.

Tips On Caring For A Loved One With A Head Injury

Head injuries vary from severe to mild. If you have a loved one with a head injury, a positive prognosis is encouraging, but the home care is often difficult and long-term. Several tips can help you and your loved one through this recuperation period.

Follow The Basics

The brain does not heal rapidly on its own. Keep this in mind as your loved one recovers over weeks, months or years. Set a regular routine and stick to it. Consistently monitor prescription drug use.

Encourage Writing

The mind’s slow recovery is often helped with writing events down. If an important event occurred during the day, such as a successful physical therapy session, ask your loved one to write down their experience and feelings about the event. Recalling memories from the recent past is an active strategy to begin retaining long-term memories.

Know The Best Times For Activities

Plan most activities, such as visits with friends, during hours your loved one feels their best. Your loved one may be too tired and irritable in the afternoon to talk with people or simply attend a doctor’s visit. Listen to their body and only schedule high-stress events to coincide with their best hours.

One Thing At A Time

Suffering head trauma confuses one’s mind and makes concentration harder. Create a plan of activities for each day. Allow your loved one to concentrate on one task at a time. Guide their thought process to see the activity through to completion. Starting and completing a project, even something as simple as a word search, exercises the brain and encourages proud feelings in your loved one’s mind.

Take Time Out

You need a break from your loved one to stay fresh and alert. Find a weekly support group for your loved one. New friends help the mind exercise by remembering names and faces. Alternatively, you can hire a caregiver for one or two days a week. The time off allows you to refresh your mind and provide the best care when you return.

Evaluate Exercise

Because head injuries often make a person feel dizzy, consult with the doctor about correct and safe exercises. Your loved one may need to remain seated for some exercises. The doctor can give you a list of proper movements. Severe head injuries typically require a physical therapy professional to aid in exercise initiation. Always follow the doctor’s orders to keep your loved one safe.

Eat Healthy

The brain cannot properly heal on a diet of cheeseburgers and fries. Provide lean meats, whole grains, vegetables and fruits for your loved one. Each meal should be balanced for proper nutrition. Ask the doctor for any specific nutrient needs, such as added calcium for bones. Every head injury is unique, requiring specific care for each person.

Caring for a loved one with head injuries takes extreme patience and care. Ask family and friends to help you if you feel frustrated or overwhelmed.

Can I File a Legal Claim After I’ve Been Bitten and Injured by a Dog?

Dog bites are a common occurrence in the United States. Statistics have pointed out that over 4.7 million dog bites happen to people every year. Out of those 4.7 million occurrences, at least 800,000 of them require some sort of medical treatment. If you have been bitten by a dog recently, and the bite caused you to obtain medical services, you may be eligible for a special settlement because of the situation. You can use the money that you receive in this settlement to pay for medical costs, lost wages, bills and other obligations. The best way to have your case assessed is to visit a personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible.

Facts About Personal Injury

A personal injury is an occurrence that involves at least two parties. One party has received an injury and the other party has caused the injury because of negligence. The offending party may be an individual person, a corporation, an organization or any other kind of entity. The element that turns an injury into a personal injury is the negligence. If the injured party can somehow prove that the other party acted in a negligent fashion, he or she may be able to sue the party for damages.

The Reason Dog Bites are Personal Injuries

Just as parents are responsible for the acts of their children, pet owners are responsible for the acts of their dogs. A pet owner is supposed to train his pet how to act in a public environment. This person is responsible for making sure the dog is on its leash at appropriate times, and it acts in a non-aggressive manner when it is off the leash. Any time a dog bites a person, the reason is either lack of training or lack of supervising. Both elements can constitute a case of personal injury because the courts can see them as negligence.

Preparing for a Dog Bite Case

If a dog has bitten you recently, it is important for you to keep all documentation of your medical treatment. After you speak with an attorney, you will have to provide this person with evidence that he or she can use to validate your case. Your documents can also give the courts an idea of a monetary award amount. The judge will need to know such information as how much work you have lost, how much time you have spent in the hospital, and what the charges were for your treatment. If you win the case, he or she will use the information to charge the offender.

Compensatory and Punitive Damages

Your reward might involve compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages cover what you have lost. Punitive damages punish the offender a little more because of an extensive amount of negligence. For example, a person who causes a car accident because of drunk driving will most likely have to pay punitive damages to the person who filed a personal injury case.

Hiring a Dog Bite Attorney

A personal injury attorney is one that can handle a dog bite case. You will want to schedule a consultation as quickly as possible to get the process started of you receiving the compensation you deserve. A reliable attorney may even take your case on a contingency basis, which means you pay nothing until you receive your settlement.

Just How Distracted is a ‘Texting’ Driver?

A texting driver is completely distracted while on the road. Driving while text messaging is about as safe as driving with your eyes closed. It’s no wonder that the scourge of texting on our roadways has resulted in many deaths and injuries, all of which could have been avoided. Until this trend is reversed, expect more collisions to occur because of careless driving.

Some Statistics on Texting and Driving

Every day, approximately one million people use their cell phones while driving. And the average text message consumes a driver’s attention for almost five seconds. That might not sound like much, but consider: If your car is going 60 mph, taking your eyes off of the road for five seconds means that you’ll travel 440 feet without seeing the road. A sudden obstacle could arise or another motorist might cut you off. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, a person who is driving while texting is 23 times more likely to crash than a driver who’s focused on his surroundings.

Making Texting While Driving Illegal

There is currently no federal law in the U.S. banning texting while driving. However, some states, like Georgia, have established such laws. The first state to make text messaging illegal for drivers was Washington; its legislature passed that law in 2007.

In total, 12 U.S. states as well as Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have outlawed the usage of cell phones while driving. And as of October 2013, police officers in those places will be allowed to stop motorists who are operating cell phones even if they have not committed any other traffic violations. What’s more, Washington D.C. and 37 states now prohibit novice drivers from using phones.

The Fight Against Texting and Driving Begins at Home

It’s hugely important that you discuss with your children the hazards of texting behind the wheel. It’s equally important that you set firm rules against it. It’s vital that you set a good example and always refrain from driving while texting.