Atlanta Injury Attorney Blog

As most folks know, the Grand Jury in Ferguson decided not to return an indictment of Officer Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. That is not news. What is important is to point out how good an example this is of how groups shade evidence to suit their narrative. There is no doubt that young black men are disproportionately the target of police shootings. How much of that is a function of the amount of interactions young black men have with cops is not known to me. That would be a study I would like to see. It may well be true that officers of all races are more touchy on the trigger with young black men, and if so, that needs to be addressed.
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The Georgia Court of Appeals recently looked at this very question in a case that may have a major impact on the law related to social media and its relationship to negligent supervision and defamation. This unfortunate case began when two middle school students decided to create a phony Facebook page in the name of a fellow classmate. The two students used a photo of their unsuspecting peer that had been altered with a “fat face” app and adding postings indicating that the victim was a racist and had a “homosexual orientation.”

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It is common wisdom that driving in the rain is harder, but does it really lead to more car accidents? Every year in the U.S., there are approximately 5,870,000 accidents and of those, 23% or 1,300,000 are due to bad weather. Digging deeper into the data, we find that 16% of injury crashes and 13% of fatal crashes involve wet pavement or rain specifically.

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There was an unfortunate bus crash by a double-decker Megabus en route from Atlanta to Indiana yesterday and police are reporting that 35 passengers have been taken to the hospital. The preliminary reports are that the wire guardrail kept the bus from veering into oncoming traffic and saved countless more lives.

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We had a very unusual potential client call in last week. He was the victim of a “road rage” attack in downtown Atlanta by another driver and was inquiring about his legal rights and who would pay for the medical bills. In the particular case, another driver became enraged and cut across a double yellow line and then turned in front of the victim’s vehicle, scraping the bumper and bringing both vehicles to a stop.

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What is the unicorn of insurance coverage? Stacked personal lines liability insurance
In typical analysis of liability insurance coverage and whether and how they stack, most of the answers are negative. An example would be a car accident caused by a driver with $25,000 in liability coverage. A due diligence examination of the other potential coverages would include inquiring about whether there are additional liability insurance coverages in play. Typical car insurance policies provide coverage to the named insured as well as to any relatives residing in the same household. In analyzing whether that other insurance would stack on top of the liability policy covering the tortfeasor driver you also have to look at the owned vehicle language. While the policy grants coverage to the resident relative, the policy strips away the liability coverage if the driver is driving an owned vehicle!

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While the subject of “conflict of laws” has caused generations of law students’ eyes to glaze over, the practical applications of deciding what jurisdiction’s law applies in a given situation can often make or break a case. For the personal injury lawyer, these issues can come up frequently in the context of uninsured motorist (UM) insurance contracts drafted in other states.

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In 2010, a 6 year old girl sitting near home plate at Braves Stadium suffered skull fractures when she was struck by a foul ball off of Melky Cabrera’s bat. The seats she was in have no safety netting and her parents filed a lawsuit claiming the stadium owners were negligent for that omission.

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On the news this morning was the story of a second story metal deck collapsing and injuring five tenants at Northeast Plaza Apartments off Buford Highway. Having worked on 5 deck collapse cases at apartments and private homes over the years, I can say it is rarely an overloading issue and usually the result of years of negligently deferred maintenance.

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We often get calls from upset Georgians asking whether they can sue for purely emotional damages without a physical injury and the answer is usually, “no.” The State of Georgia for over 100 years has decided to draw a bright line distinction between a claim flowing from a physical injury to claims flowing purely from shock, horror, fear or harassment. The public policy behind this thinking is that in the face of a gruesome accident on a street corner, one might have 20 passersby, each filing a lawsuit claiming emotional damages. To ward off this scenario, Georgia Courts fashioned the “impact rule.” With the recent Court of Appeals decision in Oliver v. McDade rendered in July 2014, that may all be changing.

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