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We just sent out a demand on a case involving a North Georgia winery where the risers, the up part of a stair, were all of varying heights and when our client walked down them for the first time, she lost her footing and fell, hitting her head on a table nearby.

The adjuster for the insurance company at first did not follow the legal argument, so I asked them to measure the risers and, sure enough, they were all in violation of Georgia Building Code. Stairs are supposed to all be of very close measurements so that the pedestrian can climb or descend in a rhythm.

The diagram below illustrates the requirements for stairs that establish the standard of care for static defect fall cases.

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I recently mediated a leg fracture case at a Georgia Daycare and in that case, the daycare employees had filled out 4 different incident report versions of how he broke his leg. They claimed he tripped while running, then that his shoes were too big, then that it was just unknown. Finally when Right from the Start reviewed the surveillance tape, you can clearly see him slipping in water and hitting the ground hard.

In that case the parents were lucky that the video tape held the staff accountable, but in many cases we are not so lucky and have to find other ways to prove that the employees may be lying about how the child was injured. Consider the appellate case below.

Persinger v. Step By Step Infant Development Center Case
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Amusement parks are a place where families and thrill-seekers alike can enjoy a day of fun and excitement. However, along with the thrills of amusement park rides comes the potential for accidents and injuries. In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one is injured on an amusement park ride, it is important to understand the legal liability that may come into play.

When it comes to amusement park ride legal liability, there are several key factors to consider. The first step in determining liability is to establish who is responsible for the accident. This can vary depending on the circumstances of the incident. For example, if the ride operator failed to properly secure a safety harness or if the ride was not properly maintained, the amusement park or ride operator may be held liable for any resulting injuries. Georgia has an entire code section governing the safety procedures that ride operators must stick to and they are the Rules and Regulations 120-3-27.

For example they contain requirements like:

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In an August 2023 decision, the Georgia Supreme Court issued an important ruling clarifying when and how investigating police officers must meet certain evidentiary standards for expert testimony in civil cases arising from vehicle accidents. Under the old case law, Judges sort of gave police officers a hall pass and assumed they automatically qualified as experts in certain matters.

In Miller v. Golden Peanut Company, the relatives of a woman killed in a tractor-trailer collision sued the driver and the tractor trailer company. At trial, the judge allowed the investigating officer to provide expert opinions on the cause of the accident without analyzing whether his conclusions met the Daubert standard for reliability. The Court granted the motion for summary judgment, partially based on the officer’s opinions, and threw the case out of court. The plaintiff’s appealed the ruling and the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court, so it was on to the Supreme Court for justice.

On appeal, the central question was whether police officers are automatically considered experts based on their crash investigation training, or if the Federal standard for whether an expert is qualied as an expert, known as Daubert standards, still apply. After examining differences between lay and expert testimony, the Court concluded the officer was providing expert conclusions based on specialized knowledge and therefore should be subject to the same scrutiny as any other expert witness.

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It’s common sense that a vehicle stopped in a road, whether it be an interstate or surface street can present a major hazard and result in death and injury. In 2014 in GRANGER et al. v. MST TRANSPORTATION, LLC et al 329 Ga. App. 268 (Ga. Ct. App. 2014), the Georgia Court of Appeals tackled this issue where a tractor trailer ran out of gas in the rightmost of three lanes and allegedly put out their safety triangles while they went for gas.

The Plaintiff came along in the next lane over and was struck from behind by a third vehicle and knocked into the lane with the tractor only 40 feet away. They were unable to avoid slamming into the back of the stalled out trailer. They filed suit against the trucking company (likely after settling out with the insurance for the car to the rear.)

The defense team for the trucking company filed a motion for summary judgment with the trial court, arguing that it was all the fault of the driver who hit her from behind and that their being stopped in the road did not make them responsible when it all started with someone else’s negligence. The trial court agreed and threw the case out, but the Court of Appeals wisely stepped in and said “no, its always going to be foreseeable that when you stop your vehicle in the lane of travel, people may run into it whether through their own negligence or that of others.” The sent the case back down to be tried on all issues including what percent fault the truck had versus the fault of the car that knocked the plaintiff into the truck.

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Some really interesting cases the last few weeks, so here is a summary.

Politicians Lose their Privacy Rights on the their Personal Facebook Pages Once they Use it to Post about Policy

Representative Ginny Ehrhart and Public Service Commissioner Echols both got sued when they deleted comments and blocked negative posters who commented on political content on the private Facebook pages of those public officials. Due to a lack of knowledge these officials did not realize that you can transition your private Facebook page to something public when you get political and hold office. The First Amendment protects our right to free speech and comments about politics are clearly protected. My only problem with these decisions by the Federal Court are the exorbitant attorneys fees awards. $80,000 for attorneys fees? I just hope it was worth it to not offer to unblock the senders.

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As an accident and injury lawyer in Georgia and an active mediator, I am well aware of the struggle to balance a vigorous representation of the client with a dose of cold reality. I was gripped by the headlines a week ago about the tragic death of the Father in North Carolina who drove into the gulch of a washed out bridge and passed away. North Carolina is unfortunately a jurcrash-300x169isdiction that, unlike Georgia, follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. That means that if the man who passed away is 1% responsible for his own death, he cannot recover.

Let’s review the facts. The bridge in question has been washed out for 9 years, since 2013. The decedent lived 4 miles away and had driven to the birthday party for their children at a house adjacent to the creek. What is not stated in the lawsuit is how Google Maps got him to the location. One would image that to arrive there, maps had taken him a different way. It is assumed that Google will have records showing that it gave the decedent different directions on the return leg, taking him home over the washed out bridge.

Now we know the facts and the issue is how does the law hinder the family making a recovery under the law?

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The good news coming from Saturday’s Greyhound bus crash is that none of the injuries were life threatening but that does not mean they were not serious. The preliminary reports are that the single vehicle collision occurred as a result of a tire blowo500px-Greyhound-300x225ut. Many people wrongly assume that the bus company will be legally responsible for the medical bills, but the legal analysis is more complex than that.

In order to hold Greyhound liable, we would need to show that the bus company was negligent in their inspections or maintenance of the tire. As a common carrier of people with a DOT number, there are strict pre and post trip inspection requirements as well as a strict maintenance schedule for tire replacements.

Under OCGA 46-9-132, a carrier of passengers like the Greyhound bus at issue owes the passengers a duty of extraordinary care, as opposed to the normal duty of ordinary negligence owed by average people.

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One of the sad truths of the industry is that many attorneys are too lazy to take on difficult cases. If the injuries are serious or it involves a wrongful death, we will sit down with you and analyze all of the possible evidence and approaches to proving responsibility.

Even if other lawyers have turned your case down, we are more experienced than most in how to develop new theories of recovery and at tracking down evidence they overlooked.

In a wrongful death case that recently went to trial, the mother of a young man came to us after he died in a single car collision because two other lawyers told her she had no case and that it was his fault. We dug into the matter and found the City Ordinances that showed that the City was responsible for not removing a stone wall from its property that was a mere 5 feet off of a 45 mph road and an obvious hazard.  The City never offered any money on the case until one month before trial when they offered $1,000,000. We turned it down and the jury awarded $32.5 million dollars.

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“Danger invites Rescue.” A lot of lawyers confuse the Rescuer Doctrine with the Good Samaritan Doctrine, so I thought we would explore them and draw the distinction. The most basic distinction is one is a sword and one is a shield. The Rescuer Doctrine allows you to sue the original wrongdoer if you go to save someone who has been put in danger by the negligence of another. Imagine that a person causes a car crash and you stop to help the victims and are then hit yourself. You have a cause of action against whomever negligently caused the original crash. On the other hand, the Good Samaritan Doctrine is a shield that protects you from being sued if you go help or rescue someone.

Let’s explore further.

Under general negligence principles in Georgia, the Rescue Doctrine may come into play in certain situations. The Rescue Doctrine recognizes that a person who is injured while attempting to rescue or aid someone in danger may have a valid claim against the party whose negligence caused the initial peril.
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