Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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Georgia’s laws clearly define eligibility criteria for a wrongful death claim. The laws also define the statute of limitations for filing a claim and allow for several different types of damages to be recovered.

Under Georgia law, the spouse of the deceased has the first claim to damages. If the spouse isn’t available, the children may file a wrongful death claim. If there are no children available to file a claim either, surviving parents of the deceased may bring a claim. If none of these parties are available to file a claim, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death claim to recover damages.

Under Georgia’s wrongful death laws, the survivors of the deceased / personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file to recover the following types of damages.

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Alarming statistics indicate that the rate of motorcycle accident fatalities in the United States in 2015 actually increased by 10% over the previous year.

The statistics were contained in a report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). According to the GHSA, the statistics are a very stark and clear reminder of the continuous and ongoing danger that motorcyclists face when they are riding on American roadways.

According to the statistics, there were a total of 5,010 motorcycle accident fatalities in 2015. There were 450 fewer fatalities in 2014. Overall, 2015 also marked only the third year in American history that the total number of motorcycle accident fatalities crossed the 5,000 mark.

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Medical errors rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer as a leading cause of death in the United States. Those findings come from a new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

According to the study, patients who suffer injuries as the result of a medical error are much more likely to die, compared to persons who suffer from respiratory diseases like bronchitis and emphysema. The tragedy is that people may take precautions in order to prevent contracting bronchitis and emphysema, or any other diseases that could result in death, but may not realize that they have a much higher chance of dying from a medical error.

The study estimates that more than 250,000 U.S. deaths every year can be traced to medical errors. There are a number of medical errors that could injure or kill a patient.  Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, overmedication and other types of medical errors are often serious enough to cause a patient’s death.

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U.S. authorities are reporting a disturbing 10% increase in the number of people killed in motorcycle accidents across the country in 2015. Those statistics come from the Governors Highway Safety Association, which blames alcohol and drug use, higher speed limits, and an increase in the number of states repealing motorcycle helmet laws for this increase in fatalities.

According to the statistics, there were 5,010 motorcycle fatalities in 2015. That suggests an increase of 450 fatalities compared to the previous year. What makes these numbers even more alarming is that it is only the third year in American history in which the number of motorcycle fatalities has crossed the 5,000 mark.

The GHSA believes that enacting universal helmet laws would do much to help reduce the number of fatalities in motorcycle accidents every year. Currently, 32 states have no universal helmet use laws.  The Governors Highway Safety Association believes that restoring these laws would be a highly effective way of reducing the number of fatalities. In states that have such universal helmet laws, the rate of helmet use is as much as 89%. In other states, the rates hover at about 48%.

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Parents, caregivers and the community at large all have a role to play in helping prevent heat stroke-related fatalities involving children left behind in cars during summer.

Those fatalities are already at record numbers in 2015. So far this year, there have been 11 fatalities involving children who were left behind in heated cars, by parents or caregivers. Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Safe Kids Worldwide commemorated National Heat Stroke Prevention Day, and the agency specifically focused on parents and caregivers, asking them to take precautions to prevent such fatalities in vehicles.

NHTSA has also released a new technical report that would help auto manufacturers in the development of appropriate technologies to help prevent such fatalities. There is no doubt that there is much that manufacturers can do to help prevent such needless fatalities every year. From warning systems to alarms and special child car seats, manufacturers are already working on, or have introduced technology to help parents prevent such fatalities. These devices however, are intended for use as add-ons, and their effectiveness is currently being debated.

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All motorists need to pay attention to tire safety. However, in the case of 15- passenger vans, the need to take precautions to prevent tire failures and blowouts is even more severe. That’s because these vans are very likely to be involved in a potentially fatal rollover during a tire blowout.

The design of the 15-passenger van makes it much more susceptible to a rollover. These vehicles have a higher center of gravity that places them at a higher risk of flipping over during an accident. According to some statistics, 15-passenger vans with between 10 and 15 occupants on board are approximately 3 times more likely to be in a rollover accident than vans that have a maximum of five occupants. The design which is longer and taller places these vehicles at a high risk of a rollover.

When you take a van that already has these design deficiencies, and add bad tires to the mix, the consequences can be disastrous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is specifically calling on owners of these vans to pay special attention to tire safety this summer. These vans are typically used very heavily during summer by church groups, sporting clubs, youth groups, summer camp operators, and other organizations for trips.

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It’s too late to save the three-year-old boy who died in a playground accident in Alpharetta recently. However, parents of toddlers and children who will be swarming the state’s playgrounds over the next few weeks of summer must take heed. It’s very easy, and much more common than you know, for children to suffer serious or even fatal injuries while playing at the playground.

In the Alpharetta incident, the three-year-old boy was playing on the slide when he choked on a piece of twine. The caregiver had turned her attention away from the child, and had gone inside for a moment. That is when the accident occurred. The boy was sliding down when his head got caught in the twine. When the caregiver found the child, he was hanging from the twine. He was rushed to the hospital, but died days later.The cause of death was ruled as asphyxiation.

It appears that the piece of twine was at the top of the slide, and shaped like a loop. When the child was sliding down, his head got into the loop, cutting off his air supply.At this time, no charges have been filed against the caregiver or anyone else involved here.

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A growing number of incidents across the country in which young children have died after being left inside a hot car have shocked child safety advocates and parents. In Georgia, state agencies are trying to draw attention to the fact that over the next few weeks, children in Atlanta and across the State are going to be at an increased risk of dying from such preventable incidents.

The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety recently joined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to mark National Heat Stroke Prevention Day. The goal was to increase awareness about the fact that any parent is at risk of making these dangerous mistakes. According to the NHTSA, more than 50% of all car- related heatstroke fatalities involving children are caused when a parent or caregiver unintentionally leaves a child behind in the car. In 29% of the cases, the child manages to get inside the car on his or her own, and is unable to get himself out.

This year alone, there have been 17 child fatalities from heatstroke. There is no doubt that these tragedies were all preventable. While calls for technology that could help alert parents when their children are in the backseats before they get in the car are increasing, there is no doubt that this is a problem that can be avoided by taking simple steps.

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Some of the most common accidents that result in premises liability lawsuits are drowning and swimming pool accidents that occur at private homes. Drownings involving pools, hot tubs and spas claim hundreds of lives every year, many of them children.According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 3/4 of drowning accidents involve children below the age of five. The CPSC estimates that children between the age of one and five account for 67% of all fatalities in swimming accidents and 64% of all injuries.

This summer, as more families head out for fun in the water the risk of drowning accidents increases. In fact, among children below the age of five, drowning happens to be the single biggest cause of accidental death. Unfortunately, the fact is that many of these accidents occur even in the presence of parents and caregivers at the scene.There was recently a very tragic story in the news about a child who drowned while family and friends were singing happy birthday to another guest.

This summer, make pool safety a priority for your family. Swimming lessons are a great place to start. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children below the age of five take swimming lessons.Besides teaching your children to swim, it’s also important to make sure that your pool is safe not only for your children, but also visiting children who may have gathered at your home to have fun this summer. Installing a fence around your pool, which is required by Georgia law, is one of the best things you can do for safety. And those fences need to be a minimum of 5 feet tall, have locking gates that swing outward, and have a certain amount of space between rails.

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Last year, there was a significant drop in the number of workers killed in accidents and worksites across Georgia.In 2012, there was a 23% drop in workplace deaths compared to the previous year.

The data was released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.In 2012, there were a total of 33 workplace fatalities across the state.Just two weeks ago, the Georgia Department of Labor had estimated the number of fatalities at Georgia worksites at 30, and new figures by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration now peg the final number at 33.That number is still significantly lower than the 43 fatalities that were recorded in 2011.This is good news to all Georgians, and also our Atlanta workers comp attorneys.

Out of the workplace fatalities that occurred in Georgia last year, 13 occurred in the construction sector, which invariably contributes to the highest number of workplace fatalities every year.The remaining fatalities included 16 deaths in the general industry, one in the maritime trade industry, and three in the agricultural sector.