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The month of May marked the beginning of national bicycle safety month.  Thanks to a greater focus on helmet usage and other factors, there has been a significant reduction in the number of American children suffering serious head injuries in bicycle accidents.  However, adults continue to be at risk of suffering head injuries in these accidents, with injury rates in this section of the population barely budging.

According to a new study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, there was a significant drop of close to 50% in bicycle-related head injuries in children between 2009 and 2018. The researchers credit a number of factors for this significant drop in injuries in this section of the population.  The most important factor has been the increased usage of bicycle helmets.  Awareness campaigns that have pushed for the use of helmets in children have led to a greater awareness of the risk of bicycle-related head injuries in this section of the population. These injuries can be especially dangerous in little ones.  Several cities, including those in Georgia, have also significantly invested in the construction of bicycle lanes that have ensured that children and adults are not exposed to motorists and the risks of accidents involving cars.

However, those same safety interventions do not have seem to have had any effect on the number of head injuries in adults.  During the same period of time, the rate of traumatic brain injury involving bicycle accidents among adults dropped by less than 5.5%. This in spite of the fact that there was an increase in bicycle accident-related fatalities among adults during the study. In fact, in 2018, the number of bicycle accident fatalities involving adults in the United States was the highest in over two decades. According to the researchers, the drop in bicycle head injuries involving children has been as much as 9 times greater than those involving adults.

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A boating safety law that would require that recreational boaters use a kill switch link went into effect on April 1.

The kill switch law is a new federal law that requires operators of recreational vessels to wear a link to the kill switch.  Any recreational vessel that is less than 26 feet in length must be equipped with an engine switch-off lock link. Basically, the lock allows the operator to switch off the engine during an emergency, such as if the operator of the boat falls overboard.

When a boat operator falls overboard, he is likely to suffer serious or even fatal injuries, as the driverless boat may continue to circle around which could result in the victim being struck by the boat propellers. Injuries sustained in an accident like this are usually catastrophic or even fatal.

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The year 2020 is likely to be known not just as the year of the pandemic, but, unfortunately, also the year of record pedestrian accident deaths.  Those fatality numbers touched record highs during the first six months of 2020, in spite of the fact that fewer people were driving during this period of time.

According to the statistics released by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, while there were fewer vehicle miles driven during the first 6 months of 2020 due to the pandemic, there was an increase in the incidence of dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding and distracted driving. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association points to these factors as possible causes of the significant increase in pedestrian accident deaths during this time.

According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, which released a report titled Spotlight on Highway Safety, there was a 20% increase in pedestrian accident deaths, compared to a 5% increase in all other car accident fatalities, in the country from January to June 2020.

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All throughout the country, nursing home residents have been one of the hardest hit groups of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The same deadly results have been seen in Georgia as well.  According to estimates, as many as 50 percent of the fatalities in the state have involved residents of nursing homes.

The Georgia Department of Community Health recently released Covid-19 fatality numbers and the results are frightening. The data suggests that more than 6,000 residents and staff members of nursing homes in Georgia are currently infected with the virus. About 350 facilities in the state are currently grappling with the outbreak. About 20 percent of all Covid-19 cases in Georgia have occurred in nursing homes and 659 deaths have been linked to nursing homes.

The picture is even bleaker in the rural parts of Georgia.  The virus, which was earlier believed to be confined to urban areas, has spread with staggering speed in rural areas.  These counties, with predominantly poor or African American populations have been affected disproportionately by the outbreak, and nursing homes in these regions have seen an alarming spike in death tolls.

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It may be surprising to know that as many as half of all child passengers in the United States are travelling in car seats and booster seats that are incorrectly installed or not suitable for the child’s age or weight specifications. Yet, many parents continue to remain unaware that they may be placing their child at risk of serious injuries in an accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is sponsoring Child Passenger Safety Week between September 15 and September 21 this year. The aim of the campaign is to make sure that parents know the importance of securing their child in the correct car seat for his age or weight, as well as making sure that the car seat is properly secured and installed. Parents should also remember to get their child’s car seat registered with the manufacturer.

One of the most important things to remember is to make sure that the car seat is installed correctly. You can get your car seat checked by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician to ensure that it is correctly installed. Find a car safety seat inspection technician near you by using this tool. Remember, an incorrectly installed car seat is at risk of coming loose or collapsing in an accident, causing serious injuries to the child.

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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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Falls are a major cause of unintentional injuries around the global and the World Health Organization classifies falls as the second leading cause of such injuries and deaths every year. Every year, as many as 640,000 persons worldwide suffer a fall accident that leaves them with serious or fatal injuries, and seniors above the age of 65 form a sizable chunk of this group.  In the U.S., 2.8 million people are treated in the emergency room or hospitalized for fall related injuries.

Many times, a fall accident can be the result of property that has been poorly or negligently maintained.  In Georgia, business owners have a duty to keep their property safe and free of dangers, or warn of dangers, that could cause injury to their guests.  If a guest on their property trips and falls, or slips and falls, and gets injured because of their failure to maintain the property, they can be held liable for compensating the party that suffered personal injuries.

A fall accident can result in a number of injuries, many of which can be serious. Here is a look at some of the most common injuries that occur as a result of slip and fall accidents.

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After someone has been injured in an accident, or due to someone else’s negligence, most people are focused on seeking medical treatment, recovering, and getting their life back on track.  One of the last things on their minds it making sure that they file a lawsuit on time.  However, filing your injury claim on time is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your rights after an accident.

In a recent case in Pennsylvania, a court denied a woman’s lawsuit for personal injuries sustained when a sponge was left inside her following a surgery.  The judge in that case found that the woman waited too long, almost 11 years after her surgery, to file her lawsuit.  Therefore, her case against the defendant doctors was dismissed.

Each state has different deadlines by which a personal injury lawsuit must be filed.  The time period to file a lawsuit is referred to as the statute of limitations.

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A wrongful death claim can help offset many of the financial damages caused by the death of a family member. In the state of Georgia, it is also important to file the claim timely before the deadline passes.  This is one of the main reasons you should consult with an attorney soon after the accident to protect all of your legal rights.

Wrongful death claims can help family members and survivors recover compensation for the loss of the decedent’s income, loss of future earning and other damages like loss of affection, loss of parental guidance, and loss of consortium, as in the case of the death of a spouse.

A wrongful death claim can arise when a death has occurred as the result of the negligence of another. Examples can be claims that are filed after deaths in car or motorcycle crashes, deaths in slip and fall accidents, or deaths that occur as a result of the use of a defective product.  The statute of limitations may differ depending on the circumstances of the incident that has occurred.

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