car-crash-300x169This morning, a motorist, Javarius Exum, (25), was in a stopped 2009 Dodge Charger on I-75 North in Henry County, Georgia. For reasons unknown, Mr. Exum stopped his vehicle in the far right hand lane of I-75 North.  The AJC article indicates that the vehicle was disabled – yet, I suspect that is an assumption at this point.

(Photo credited to Georgia Department of Transportation)

A passing motorist noticed Mr. Exum’s stopped vehicle, called 911 at approximately 4:18 a.m., and notified authorities that the Dodge only had brake lights activated.  Roughly, three minutes later, a bus from Tennessee that was also traveling northbound was unable to get into the left lane (to the left of Mr. Exum) and struck Mr. Exum’s vehicle from the rear.

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In Georgia, dog bite law used to require that the victim prove the following: (1) that the animal was dangerous or vicious; (2) that the owner knew that the animal was dangerous or vicious; and (3) that the owner carelessly managed the animal or let it run free. This established law became known as the first bite rule which meant that every dog was entitled to one free bite before being labeled as a dangerous or vicious dog under Georgia law so as to establish liability and fault against the owner. Technically, a victim had to prove a prior bite by the dog to show the jury that the dog was dangerous and vicious.  However, as of today, the Supreme Court of Georgia, in a unanimous decision, held that victims of a dog attack need not prove evidence of a prior actual first bite by the dog to establish liability under O.C.G.A. 51-2-7.

In Steagald v. Eason (Ga. SC S16G0293), a father and mother allowed their son (Eason family) to bring home a pit bull as a pet.  The parents required that the son build a dog pen in the back yard.  The son did so, and the pit bull came to live at the home.  On the first day that that pit bull was in the backyard, it growled and snapped at the mom as she tried to feed the dog. Later that same day, the dog growled, barked and snapped at the father as he extended his hand close to the dog.  About a week later, the son was playing with the dog in the back yard and the dog was not confined to the dog pen, although he was on a lead.  A female adult neighbor just happened to walk into the back yard through the gate and approached the dog and extended her arm.  The dog jumped at the neighbor, bit her arm, and latched onto it.  The neighbor tried to run away but slipped and fell down.  While she was down on the ground, the dog bit and latched onto her right leg.  According to the case facts, the woman sustained serious injuries as a result of the attacks.

At some point in time, the woman filed suit against the Eason family for medical bills, injuries and pain and suffering against the parents under O.C.G.A. 51-2-7 which allows for damages against an owner or keeper of a “vicious or dangerous animal.”  The neighbors set forth that the pit bull was dangerous and vicious under the code section as the dog was involved in two snapping incidents against the parents a week before the actual dog bite as proof that the Eason family knew the pit bull had a propensity to bit and attack without provocation.  The Court of Appeals noted that the evidence did not indicate any prior attacks on people or animals and that snapping amounted to “merely menacing behavior” and affirmed summary judgment for the Eason family.

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Among other rules of the road, Georgia’s rule related to left hand turns is set in stone: thou shall yield to oncoming traffic prior to making a left hand turn.  In fact, the Highway Administration estimates that roughly 22% of wrecks are caused by left hand turns alone.  And, UPS made notice of an estimate that a left hand turn adds on an additional 30-45 seconds to a road trip.  Apparently, through creating its own software and maps, UPS has been able to avoid left hand turns that saves UPS from 6-8 miles per route, 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year,  emission pollution equivalent to over 21,000 less passenger cars per year and 10 millions of gas each year.

But, wait, there’s more. A study determined that right hand turns only cause about 1.2 % of all crashes.  And, out of all crashes that occur whilst turning or crossing an intersection, 61% relate to left hand turns as opposed to 3 % as to right hand turns.  If you read further, you discover that left hand turns are three times more likely to result in a fatal wreck.  Thus, if you are a pedestrian, it is probably better to use a sidewalk to the right of moving traffic.

I have been practicing personal injury law for over 25 years.  I represent motorists that have been injured by the negligence of drivers that have made left hand turns.  The law in Georgia, O.C.G.A. 40-6-71, basically mandates that drivers intending to turn left must yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction irrespective if that vehicle is in an intersection or so close to one that it is a hazard.

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The American pit bull terrier, better known as the pit bull, has an extensive background of unprovoked attacks on animals and humans alike.  Some are deadly.  Unfortunately, that was the case yesterday when a pit bull (and a border collie that is missing) attacked two children on Cerro Street in Atlanta as the children were walking unattended to school.  There were actually three children but only two were attacked.  The young boy who passed away from his injuries was Logan Braatz (6) and the injured girl was Syari Sanders.  The news story regarding the attack seemed to imply that the boy was beyond help at the scene. The young girl is still treating at the hospital and was listed in stable condition.

Fulton County Animal Control arrived at the scene as did the police.  The story implies that one dog was shot by officers and that one dog is still missing.

Typically, a pit bull will attack at the most vulnerable part of the body, be it human or dog, and that is the neck.  The strength and pounds per square inch (PSI) of a pit bull bite is off the charts. Once a pit bull has attached, it is very difficult to get the dog to release. In some attacks, folks have positioned a wrapped up thick bath towel and moved it in position of the pit’s mouth to replace the animal or human that is being attacked.

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Dogs have for the longest time been referred to as man’s best friend and indeed they are. At least in most cases they are man’s best friend.  No other animal can be compared to the loyalty of a dog to his/her  master.  In fact, nothing can be said to befriend man more than a dog. Dogs have been considered by many as exceptional gifts that only a handful of people would have the capability of understanding. A dog would do anything and everything for its master till its last breath.  There are many reported cases in which we get to read about dogs that have saved their owner’s life and/or  children from a catastrophe or criminal.  In most instances, the dog of the home is considered as one of the members of the family.  From experience, a dog’s love is unconditional. It seems to love for better and/or for the worse. The dog is indeed man’s best friend.

Irrespective of the love, there are some certain breeds of dogs that have over time acquired the reputation as vicious dogs. These dogs are considered as being violent and are in most cases capable of causing very serious harm up to and including death. These breeds are the main focus of our blog today. Would you want to find yourself in a position where you are being confronted or attacked by your very own dog? Alternatively, would you want a dog that bites your guests or even your family members with or without provocation? This blog article therefore assists you in knowing some of the different dangerous breeds of dogs.  This way, if you intend to buy a dog at any point in time, you will be well aware of the risks.

  1. Pit Bulls

Tired at the wheel

Tired at the wheel

The holidays are here and I know most of us are excited because we get to travel, and have fun as well as adventure. The excitement and anxiety that comes with holiday travel makes most of us not to sleep well yet we are supposed to be behind the wheel.

Well, worry not because I’ve got good news for you this holiday season!

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Auto-Insurance Claims – contemporary perspectives

In today’s dynamically complicated claims regime, more and more individuals are said to be hiring attorneys to represent them in their cases. There are many reasons that have been advanced for the progressive change. The Insurance Research Council conducted a study to find out the exact percentages of persons represented in personal Injury Protection cases to be 36%. This was a five (5) % increase from 2012 and close to 20% in the 1970s. In reality, this can be alluded to the increase in public awareness about legal issues and civilian control over the law. In the examination of the 2012 study, several factors as associated with the involvement of attorneys come to play. Represented claimants had issues as listed below that would lead to other legal issues as reported:

  • First, represented claimants were likely to receive treatment in pain from a hospital or clinic and also undergo MRI scanning and imaging for injuries that were similar to unrepresented claimants.

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Personal Injury Lawyer Super Lawyer

Recently, the results of the 2016 Super Lawyer awards were published and Attorney Kevin Ford was pleased, once again, to have been selected as one of the few Super Lawyers in Georgia. Attorney Kevin Ford stated that “The award is the end result of thorough preparation of the case from beginning to end for mediation or trial for my injured clients.” The award and distinction is evenly important as only the top 5% of the lawyers in Georgia are named in Super Lawyers.

Georgia Super Lawyer Designation

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New applications (“apps”) are being created every day in an attempt to make American lives more productive and entertaining.  The problem is such apps are being used by motorists while driving their vehicles and trucks on the highways and roads of Georgia and the nation.  Over 10 years ago, we all figured out that there was an increase in distracted drivers due to use of the cell phone and text usage.  We tried to curb that issue by developing new technology such as Bluetooth and voice recognition. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation created a program to stop texting and cell phone usage while operating a car that can be viewed here. Fast forward to the here and now, we see that new technology is once again making the roads and highways unsafe for safe drivers.

Some of the suspected apps that have contributed to car and truck crashes include the following:  1) a messaging app called Snapchat that allows motorists to post photographs  that record the speed of the vehicle; 2) a navigation app called Waze that gives motorists points with each and every report they make of traffic collisions and jams; and 3) an entertainment app called Pokemon Go that lets motorists hunt for Pokemon creatures while driving.

Experts have confirmed that new technology (such as WiFi) and new apps have directly caused highway deaths to spike despite past declines over the past 40 years.   In fact, the recorded fatalities last year had the largest percentage increase in over 50 years!  In 2016, highway fatalities have increased over 10% to 17,775 as compared to 2015.   These statistics and reports have been compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

50062_dog_biteMy client was 37 years old, recently separated, and a manual laborer who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Initially, my client was working on his wife’s car in the street when he decided to take a break and chat with his neighbor.  A short time later, the neighbor’s wife opened the front door and my client could see and hear that she was yelling at her two dogs to keep back from exiting the front door.  She was successful the first time.  Subsequently, she opened the door to walk down and give her husband a sack lunch.  However, this time, the two dogs rushed out the front door.

The dogs headed straight for my client who was in the street.  As he saw two rushing dogs, he attempted to jump up on the trunk of another neighbor’s car.  On his third attempt, the white (female) dog nipped at his pant leg which caused my client to slip and fall to the asphalt below squarely on his right elbow.  As he was down on the ground, he noticed that the second (male) dog was about to bite his face so he threw up his left forearm in defense which was promptly bitten by the black dog.  It took the owners over fifteen (15) minutes to get both dogs back into the house.  According to my client, the dogs were growling at the owners as well during this process.

My client drove himself to the hospital where his injuries were cleaned, a tetanus shot was provided and an x-ray was taken of the right elbow.  Fortunately, there were no fractures or stitches and the dogs were later found to be vaccinated against rabies.  Yet, the pain continued and worsened in his right elbow and left triceps area.  My client went back to the same hospital about a month and ten days later as fluid and swelling in his right elbow was causing limited range of motion and pain.  At the second visit, the hospital performed another x-ray, provided another prescription and discharged my client. The prescriptions were never filled due to the cost and over the counter NSAIDs were purchased.