Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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Earlier this month in Florida, a Georgia family was killed as they were taking their daughter to Disney World for her first birthday. According to one local news source, the family decided on a whim to pack up and head to Florida for the Labor Day weekend. Sadly, however, they never made it to their destination.

wet-road-1341044Evidently, the family was traveling on the Florida Turnpike in Lake County when another motorist struck the family’s car from the rear. Both cars flipped over and then caught fire. The two parents were pronounced dead at the scene by responding emergency workers. Their one-year-old daughter was taken to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando, where she passed away a few days later. The driver of the other vehicle suffered only minor injuries and is expected to make a full recovery.

Police are conducting an investigation into the fatal car accident. As of the publication of the article, the driver was not facing criminal charges, although his license was suspended. At this early stage in the investigation, police do know that it was raining at the time of the accident as well as the fact that the other driver was traveling faster than the family.

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Earlier this month, an opinion involving a wrongful death suit was published, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims because they were not brought soon enough after the accident. The case was a wrongful death suit brought by a woman against an ambulance company on behalf of her husband. Evidently, the husband was working as a contractor at a client’s home when he went into cardiac arrest. The client immediately contacted 911, and the emergency personnel dispatched an ambulance through a company they work with.

ambulance-1334534-mThe wife contends that the ambulance company did not arrive in a timely manner. She also alleged that when they did arrive, they did not provide appropriate and proper care. The suit claims that the ambulance driver’s failure to provide adequate care resulted in her husband’s death. At trial, the court found that the ambulance company was considered a governmental agency, and therefore a one-year statute of limitations applied.

Unfortunately, the woman did not meet that one-year limitation, and therefore her suit was dismissed. Both the Circuit Court and Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the defendants and dismiss the suit.

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A filmmaker who was in the process of shooting a Gregg Allman biographical movie has pleaded guilty to several criminal offenses for his role in the death of a camerawoman that occurred on the set of his film. According to a national news report, last February a freight train that was traveling around 55 mph rammed into the crew while they were filming on a Georgia railroad. Unfortunately, a young assistant was killed and six other members of the crew were also injured.

trestle-bridge-1261458-mWayne County state officials brought charges against the filmmaker, his wife, and their executive producer in relation to the death of the young crew member. The jury was set to determine whether this was a criminal act or just an unfortunate accident, and they faced over 10 years in a Georgia prison for criminal trespassing and involuntary manslaughter. However, shortly before trial the defendants entered into a plea agreement whereby they would all avoid prison time.

The railroad company that owns and operates the bridge where the accident occurred explained that they denied the film crew access to the bridge. The executive producer testified in a related civil case that he was told that only 1-2 trains passed on the bridge a day, likely trying to establish that they did not recklessly put their crew in danger.

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The Georgia Patrol has indicated to local news reporters that a woman was killed in a head-on crash involving her car and a tractor-trailer. According to one report, the incident happened on I-575 near Airport Drive in Cherokee County, Georgia. A State Patrol representative explained that a Toyota Corolla was driving south in the northbound lanes of the highway near Canton and Ball Ground. As the woman was traveling south, she slammed into a tractor-trailer.

danger-795594-mUnfortunately, the woman was declared dead at the scene of the accident. The driver of the tractor-trailer was taken to a local hospital. At the current time, there is a pending investigation to determine the details of the accident, why it occurred, and who was responsible.

Comparative Negligence in Georgia

In the above case. it is unclear whether the woman driving the Toyota was driving in the wrong direction because the details regarding the circumstances of the accident are vague and still under investigation. If it becomes clear that the woman was at fault, it is possible that the tractor-trailer driver may bring a personal injury suit against the woman. However, to counter that claim, the family of the victim may wish to claim comparative negligence if they can establish that the tractor-trailer driver was also at fault.

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Nissan recently recalled a series of vehicles because of their passenger airbags. A local Georgia newspaper reported that these airbags had the potential to explode and shoot shrapnel at individuals in the vehicle. Officials who have been investigating the cars explained that the shrapnel and shards of metal could cause serious injuries to the occupants. Thus far, there have been about three injury claims from the passenger airbag.

airbag-850338-mThe number of vehicles that are covered by this recall went up from 30,000 to over 52,738. And currently there are about eight states that are affected by this recall, including Georgia. Nissan and Takata Motors have reported that the airbag inflator will be replaced at no cost, and if that is not available, a certified Nissan dealer should disconnect the airbag and advise individuals not to use the passenger seat.

Products Liability in Georgia

There are many types of products liability cases and a few theories that one can claim against a manufacturer, designer, or seller of a defective product. Products designed for consumers can be dangerous if they do not contain appropriate warnings and usage directions, or are defectively designed or manufactured.

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Earlier this year in the Atlanta suburb of East Point, a young man was killed when he was tased repeatedly and unnecessarily by two police officers. According to a report by one local news source, the police were responding to a domestic disturbance when one of the parties fled on foot. The police chased him for a while, and then the man collapsed from exhaustion. It was at this point that the police used their tasers on him.
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Evidently, they tased the man over a dozen times, although he did not pose an immediate threat to the officers. Indeed, at the time of the tasing the man was handcuffed. As a result of this event, the man was taken to the hospital, where he died of “hypertensive cardiovascular disease exacerbated by physical exertion.”

In response to their loved one’s death, the man’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of East Point. In a settlement that became public just this week, the man’s family will receive $1 million from the city, the maximum allowed by the city’s insurance policy.

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Melissa Rivers, Joan Rivers’ daughter, has commenced a suit against the endoscopy clinic where Ms. Rivers died. According to a news report, Joan Rivers went into an endoscopy clinic to address a possible esophageal reflux condition and a change in her voice.

sala-de-parto-03-845205-mHer doctor was present during the endoscopy, and he noticed something suspicious. He asked the staff at the clinic to use their instruments, and they allowed him to. At some point during the unplanned biopsy, the comic went into cardiac and respiratory arrest. She was subsequently placed in an induced coma, and she passed away shortly after.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Suit in Georgia?

Like many states, Georgia’s wrongful death suits are administered and governed by a statute. The statute determines which individuals are permitted to bring a wrongful death suit. It explains that if the victim had a spouse, that spouse is the only one who can bring the claim. If there are children involved, the spouse acts as a representative and generally must share the damages with them. If there are no survivors, the damage award would go to the victim’s parents. If none of these classes of individuals exist, the administrator of the estate can bring a wrongful death suit.

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high-school-woes-1173688-mEarlier last year, the body of a high-school boy was found rolled up in a gym mat in the high school gym. Authorities conducting the investigation determined that the death was an accident, but the boy’s parents believe that he was murdered and that the school could have done something to prevent their son’s death.

According to a report by the New York Daily News, 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson was last seen alive on January 10, 2013. The next day, classmates found his body rolled up in a gym mat. When responding officers conducted an investigation, they deemed the death a “freak accident.” However, some have criticized the officers for failing to conduct a legitimate investigation.

Johnson’s Parents File a Wrongful Death Action

In response to what they believe was a gross failure to protect their son, the parents of the deceased boy have filed suit against the school, the principal, and the superintendent, alleging that they were negligent in preventing the death. The parents believe that their son died at the hands of one or more of his classmates, and the school should have intervened.

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