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A brain injury is one of the most devastating injuries a person can suffer in an accident.  Brain injuries are not only debilitating to the victim, but they can have a tremendous impact on the victim’s family as well.

Car accidents as well as slip, or trip, and fall accidents are two of the most common causes of brain injuries.  And as serious as brain injuries are, they are also, surprisingly, one of the most difficult and complicated injuries to diagnose and treat.   According to the International Brain Injury Association, approximately 1.5 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year.  Of these, 75% are classified as mild TBI.  Unfortunately, a mild TBI is often unnoticed or misdiagnosed because many victims do not have visible symptoms that most people associate with a brain injury.  Because of this, the mild TBI has been called a “silent epidemic.” However, the term “mild” can be misleading as these injuries can still have long-term and devastating complications on a victim’s life.

Many times a person may have been involved in a slip and fall or a car accident and, although he or she may not think they sustained serious injuries, could very well be overlooking some classic symptoms of a brain injury or mild TBI.   Symptoms of a brain injury or mild TBI include (1) any period of loss of consciousness, even if just for a few seconds, (2) any loss of memory immediately before or after the accident, (3) any altered state of mind such as confusion or disorientation at the time of the accident, (4) any neurological problems including speech, vision or hearing, (5) headache, nausea or vomiting, and (5) fatigue, sleepiness or dizziness.

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We have all seen it too often in the Atlanta area – delivery drivers and other commercial vehicles driving too fast or recklessly for the traffic conditions in an attempt to get to where they need to be.  Recently, there have been a few cases in the news where a driver of a commercial vehicle was involved in a car accident while on the job.  In one case, a delivery driver of a very well-known sandwich company rear-ended another vehicle causing injuries to both people in the car that was hit.  In other cases, a tractor trailer driver crossed a median and caused a head-on collision resulting in catastrophic injuries.  And earlier this year, a limousine driver was driving too fast for the conditions causing the limo to swerve off the road and killing all eighteen of its passengers.

In all of these cases, the offending driver of the commercial vehicle was on the job when the accident occurred.  In such situations, the employer of the negligent driver can be held liable for their employee’s actions.  Under Georgia law, if an employee causes a car accident while driving a vehicle owned by his employer, it is presumed that the employee was acting in the scope of his employment.  In order to avoid being held liable for the accident, the employer must show that the employee was not acting in the scope of his employment at the time the accident occurred.  This doctrine is known as vicarious liability.

An employer can also be liable for their employee’s negligence under the theory of negligent entrustment.   In order to recover compensation against an employer for their employee’s negligence, you must be able to show that the employer had actual knowledge of the employee’s negligent behavior.  In other words, if the employer knew that their employee had a pattern of, or caused, other prior accidents, while on the job, the employer could be held liable if they did not take any action to prevent their employee from causing any further accidents.

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Despite laws in Georgia and throughout the country, it may be surprising to know that many American parents fail to require their children to wear protective helmets while riding a bicycle or scooter, or skateboarding.

Those were the findings of a new poll that surveyed 1,300 parents across the country. According to the poll, as many as 18 percent of the parents admitted that their children never wore bicycle helmets while riding a bike. More than 58 percent admitted that their children didn’t wear helmets while skateboarding, and 61 percent admitted that their children never wore helmets while riding scooters.

Bicycling, skateboarding, and riding scooters are becoming more and more popular in Atlanta, not just as a form of recreation, but also as a form of transportation.  These activities, however, also have a high potential for causing serious, or even fatal, injuries to a child.  When a parent allows a child to ride without wearing a safety helmet, this only contributes to the risk of the child incurring serious injuries which can have devastating and often life-long impacts.

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Car designs of the recent past have focused greatly on improving the safety of front seat occupants.  Such safety improvements have led to better restraint systems, seat-belts, and airbags.  Advanced seat belt systems and airbags now make it easier for front seat passengers and drivers to escape serious injuries or death in the event of an accident.

However, rear seat passengers have not been as lucky.  Protections for passengers in the back seat have not kept up with the pace of other car safety improvements.  For instance, side airbags are present to protect back seat passengers in a side crash, but there are no front airbags for these passengers as there are for front seat riders.  Similarly, seat belts in the back seat usually do not have the same tension capacity as front seat belts. The result is that rear-seat passengers continue to be at risk of serious injuries in accidents.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently analyzed more than 100 crashes where rear seat occupants were seriously injured or killed. They found that the most common injuries to back seat passengers were injuries to the chest. This was the most common cause of serious injury or fatality to back seat passengers, regardless of whether they were adults or children.

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Boating season will soon be in full swing in all over Georgia.  Being on the water is one the greatest pleasures of life for avid boaters.  As with any activity, however, it is important that you follow all safety precautions to avoid any accidents or injuries.

The National Safe Boating Council has its own general safe boating tips.   The pre-departure boating checklist below will also help you be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.

First of all, make sure that the weather conditions are not only pleasant, but also safe where you plan to go boating. Check weather forecasts as well as tide and current reports.

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Few things feel more like summer than a trip to the amusement park. As schools let out all over the state of Georgia in a few weeks, thousands will flock to Six Flags, White Water or other amusement parks throughout the state, or country, for some summertime fun. And while accidents on rides at amusement parks are rare, they are not unheard of. The safety of the rides at amusement parks around the country was called into question recently when two crash test dummies flew off their seats on a roller coaster and landed several feet away.

The two dummies were being tested to check the safety of the GaleForce roller coaster at Playland’s Castaway Cove in New Jersey. The ride was putting the dummies though a routine safety check, when the dummies, that were supposed to be securely restrained in their seats, flew off the ride midway and crashed into the roof of a nearby hotel. Fortunately, there were no injuries reported to the people at the hotel, although there was significant damage to the roof of the building.

According to amusement park officials, the fact that the crash test dummies flew off the ride is no cause for alarm. They insist that the ride is safe, and has been safe ever since it was launched. They say that there was no failure of operation or machinery, and that this incident was a result of the dummies not being used properly on the ride.

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With the warmer weather here, people will be out in parks and their neighborhoods, and many will be with their dogs.  And while it is an almost universal truth that children love dogs, not all interactions between children and dogs involve are fun.  Instead, a child may very well suffer a dog bite after innocently trying to show a dog some affection. After suffering a dog bite, many children end up with serious injuries, some of which can be serious enough to require surgery.

Over 4 million people are bitten by dogs each year, but only 17% of those get reported.  According to statistics, children account for more than 50 percent of the dog bites recorded in the United States every year. They are also much more likely to suffer serious injuries. In Georgia, dog bites are considered a public health concern.

There are some things that parents can do to make sure that their child is not injured in dog bite attacks. Don’t leave your child alone with a dog. Pediatricians say that this holds true even for family dogs or dogs that are familiar to you.  Remember, any dog can bite.

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Every year, hundreds of motorists and construction workers in Georgia are injured in accidents in highway work zones. To raise awareness about the important of safety in these zones, the Georgia Department of Transportation recently launched a special awareness and education campaign.

The campaign is called Drive Like You Work Here, and it aims to raise awareness about the special dangers construction workers face while working in highway work zones.  These construction workers provide a vital service to the nation, namely by helping with infrastructure development projects that are oftentimes the lifeblood of our state’s economy. However, they are also frequently at risk from motorists who fail to understand the need to pay special attention they drive through these congested work zones.

It is not just construction workers who are at risk when motorists drive through these highway work zones without paying attention, but the motorists themselves are also at risk for serious injury when they are inattentive or speed through a zone. In the year 2018 alone, there were 52 accident related fatalities in work zones in Georgia.  These fatalities were all members of the public, meaning none of the fatalities involved a construction worker.

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The number of pedestrians has been increasing all throughout Georgia as more people choose to walk for health or recreational reasons. The City of Atlanta has especially taken extra efforts to become a more walker friendly town.  Therefore, as a pedestrian, you should be aware of the protections and rights afforded to you under Georgia laws. Learning about these laws will help you obey traffic rules as well as keep you safe.

First of all, pedestrians have the right of way on a marked crosswalk in Georgia. If you are already waking on the crosswalk, then all motorists must stop and yield to you. The law requires a motorist to stop and remain stopped while the pedestrian is crossing the road.  The motorist can only resume driving when the pedestrian has safely completed crossing. That means that a motorist can’t try to squeeze by you, or barely give you any room to squeeze by them while they are on the road.

However, the picture becomes different when you are crossing the road outside of a designated crosswalk. Now, it’s the motorist’s rights that take precedence, and you must yield to motorists who are driving. You, as a pedestrian, also have the duty to look in both directions to first make sure that the street is safe to cross – a lesson that we all learned as children.  This doesn’t mean that a motorist can continue to speed towards you though.  A driver still has the duty to avoid hitting a pedestrian if he or she is already in the process of crossing the street.   A driver also must anticipate that a pedestrian could attempt to cross the street at any point, and has the duty to warn a pedestrian of their approach by honking the horn or give some other type of warning.

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Claims based on negligent security, which can arise after a person has suffered an assault, rape or other violent incident on another’s property, can be complicated to file.

A claim for negligent security is filed when a person has been injured on another person’s premises as the result of inadequate security. Examples of negligent security could be the failure to provide adequate illumination or security in vacant areas such as parking lots, failure to provide adequate security or protection to attendees at a concert or other event, and other incidents in which there are injuries caused as a result of the failure of the property owner to provide safe and secure premises.

In a claim based on negligent security, the property owner is considered liable if the injured party can prove that the property owner’s failure to provide adequate security at the premises led to a violent assault, attack, rape or any other incident that endangered the safety of the victim or the person bringing the claim.