Child Passenger Safety Week 2019

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia. Based in Gwinnett County, he handles serious injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. Call him for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585.

This week (September 15-21, 2019) is NHTSA Child Passenger Safety Week. This week is important because car wrecks are a leading cause of child fatalities, and the statistics show that around 59% of all car seats are installed incorrectly. If you simply Google the issue, some statistics will put that number over 90%.

Why is proper car seat installation and use important? According to NHTSA, car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers. In the most recent year NHTSA statistics are available, 325 lives of children under the age of five were saved by car seats, but an additional 46 lives would have been saved if those children under the age of five had been properly buckled.

If you have children who use car seats of any type, there are usually resources in your community where you can have a professional check to ensure your car seats are properly installed and your children are being buckled properly.

NHTSA has a tool where you can enter your zip code and locate agencies in your area (typically law enforcement agencies, fire departments, health departments, etc.) that will allow you to schedule an appointment to have your car seats checked for free. The site is: https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats#installation-help-inspection . Please take advantage of this service in your community.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident or any other type of case and would like to speak with an attorney about whether the other party may be responsible for damages contact attorney Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation.

The information above is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Reducing Child Drowning Accidents: USA Swimming Make a Splash Initiative

This blog post by personal injury and wrongful death lawyer Richard Armond is a reminder to stay safe while enjoying the swimming pool this summer in metro Atlanta and to consider signing your children up for swim lessons to avoid drowning accidents.

Swimming pools around metro Atlanta opened up last weekend. This is a good time of year to remind everyone to have fun and enjoy swimming, but to also be safe around the pool especially when children are present. USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative aims to raise awareness of the importance of teaching children to swim, to increase participation in swim lessons, and to align with partner organizations to spread the message of water safety.

To quote directly from the Make a Splash website (linked here):

  1. No child is ever water safe. The goal of swim lessons is to make children SAFER in, on, and around water.

  2. 79% of children in households with incomes less than $50,000 have little-to-no swimming ability.

  3. Research shows 64% of African-American, 45% of Hispanic/Latino, and 40% of Caucasian children have little to no swimming ability.

  4. 10 people drown each day in the United States. 

  5. Formal swimming lessons reduces the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%

These statistics should be eye opening. We should all strive to make swimming safer for all children and always exercise diligence around pools, lakes, the beach, etc. Let’s make this summer a safe one for all children around Atlanta and throughout Georgia when they go for a swim!

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Photo by Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash

If you or a loved one have been injured in a Georgia swimming pool accident, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Products Liability: Fisher-Price Rock n' Play Sleeper

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, Fisher-Price, a subsidiary of Mattel, has issued a recall for all models of the Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper. If your baby has been injured or is deceased as a result of the use of the Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper please contact Georgia personal injury and wrongful death attorney Richard Armond for a free consultation regarding your rights.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission recall page for the Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper indicates 30 infant fatalities have occurred in the product. The recall involves 4.7 million units. If you know of any parents, daycares, or other caretakers who may have a Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper please notify them immediately so that they can stop use immediately and receive their refund or voucher. Such action may save an infant’s life.

 
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Georgia law provides protection to consumers of products which cause injury or death. A starting point for Georgia products liability law is O.C.G.A. § 51-1-11(b)(1) which provides:

The manufacturer of any personal property sold as new property directly or through a dealer or any other person shall be liable in tort, irrespective of privity, to any natural person who may use, consume, or reasonably be affected by the property and who suffers injury to his person or property because the property when sold by the manufacturer was not merchantable and reasonably suited to the use intended, and its condition when sold is the proximate cause of the injury sustained.

In other words, the manufacturer of a product which proximately causes personal injury or wrongful death to any person in Georgia can be sued for damages.

If your loved one has been injured or is deceased because of a Fisher Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper or any other defective product, please contact Gwinnett County, Georgia, based personal injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Georgia looking to fix school bus passing law

One thing we want Georgia traffic laws to do is to keep us safe on the roads through reasonable enforcement. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Georgia General Assembly is looking to fix Georgia’s school bus passing law that went into effect on July 1, 2018. The statute at issue, O.C.G.A. § 40‑6-163(b), arguably was written such that it is no longer a violation to pass a school bus from the opposite direction of travel when on a road divided by a center center turn lane. Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr came to that opinion on August 20, 2018.

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution story reports, Georgia lawmakers in both the House and Senate are looking to fix the law this year. This law is a major safety issue for our state and needs to be changed. The story cites a survey of school bus drivers in which 10,988 drivers witnessed 7,465 illegal passes in just a single day.

Further, there has been at least one documented wrongful death of a child since the new law went into effect. This past October in Colquitt County two children were struck while crossing the street to a waiting, stopped school bus. According to WCTV one child died and the other was seriously injured.

Hopefully, the Georgia General Assembly will fix the apparent error with school bus passing law and make our roads safer for children getting on and off the school bus.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a Georgia automobile or pedestrian wreck, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Avoid Child Injury at Christmas with Safe Toys

This blog post by Georgia personal injury and wrongful death attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, focuses on the risk of child injury from dangerous toys—specifically, it is a reminder about some of the toys this holiday season which may be unsafe and be a source of products liability for the manufacturers and sellers. The Armond Firm, LLC, is located in Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, Georgia. Call 678-661-9585 for a free case consultation. Please stay safe and make sure your children have age appropriate and safe toys this holiday season.

Each year the United States Public Interest Research Group releases its Toy Safety Report letting consumers know of toys which may be unsafe and pose a danger to children.

Of particular note in the report this year are the following:

  • Toys that are too loud and pose a risk of hearing damage

  • Slime. Several brands of slime contain toxic boron. Small kids love to put stuff like slime in their mouths so this is an obvious danger.

  • Toys marketed to adults. The U.S. PIRG mentions lead in makeup (again, we all know small children put stuff like this in their mouths) and fidget spinners. Later, the report also mentions makeups found with asbestos and to avoid any makeups with talc, which can be a source of asbestos.

  • Toys with small parts. We all know small parts pose a choking hazard to smaller children. One thing of note according to the U.S. PIRG: check all toys to see if any parts can fit through a toilet paper roll—if so, then the choking risk is there. The report also mentions balloons as a choking danger.

  • Hatching toys—again, when they break apart their can be small parts that are then a choking hazard.

  • Toys with magnets—swallowed magnets can bunch together in a child’s digestive system and cause serious injury.

  • Smart toys—these toys may be collecting personal data which can be hacked.

The report also warns to check older and used toys to make sure they were not recalled in the past. It also give really good advice to check the actual label of toys purchased online because the information on the website such as the appropriate age range for the toys may be incorrect when compared to the physical label.

Please review the full U.S. PIRG report (.pdf) to see further information including specific brands of toys that they believe are dangerous. Please keep your children safe and happy this holiday season!

If your child has been killed or injured because of a dangerous product or any person or company’s negligence, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

How to Settle a Personal Injury Claim for a Minor Child in Georgia

No parent ever wants to experience his or her child being seriously injured because of someone’s negligence. Should you have to pursue an insurance claim or a lawsuit on behalf of your child, Georgia has some special rules governing how personal injury cases involving minor victims (children under the age of 18) are settled.

When a minor child is injured and someone is at fault, a personal injury attorney will typically send the at-fault party and/or his insurance company a demand letter in an attempt to settle the claim. If a fair settlement is not reached through a demand letter and negotiations, or when circumstances such as time considerations dictate, a personal injury lawyer will file a lawsuit (see the prior post “Filing a Lawsuit on Behalf of a Minor Child in Georgia” for more info on who can file a lawsuit on behalf of a minor in Georgia). What happens in Georgia cases involving injured minors when a settlement is reached either before or after the filing of a lawsuit?

This blog post answers the question of what happens in the event a personal injury settlement is reached on behalf of a minor child in Georgia.

In a typical case when a settlement is agreed upon the insurance company and/or the defendant will send a release to the plaintiff. By signing the release the plaintiff agrees to settle the case in accordance with the financial payment terms and to release the defendant from further liability. When a minor is the plaintiff, however, the law does not always allow for such a simple process. The law differs when minors are involved based on the amount of the settlement.

It is important in reading below to understand that the law in Georgia defines “gross settlement” as “the present value of all amounts paid or to be paid in settlement of the claim, including cash, medical expenses, expenses of litigation, attorney's fees, and any amounts paid to purchase an annuity or other similar financial arrangement.” O.C.G.A. § 29-3-3 (a). When speaking of the value of settlements below I am speaking in terms of “gross settlement” as defined by Georgia law and which includes all of the items listed above.

When the gross settlement is more than $15,000.00:

All personal injury settlements on behalf of a minor in Georgia in which the gross settlement amount is more than $15,000.00 require court approval to finalize the agreement regardless of whether a lawsuit has been filed. O.C.G.A. §§ 29-3-3 (d) and (e). Typically, court approval will be petitioned for in probate court in cases in which no lawsuit has been filed, and, in cases in which a lawsuit has been filed, it must be done in the court where the lawsuit is pending. Id.

In many cases involving settlements on behalf of minors in which the amount is $15,000.00 or more, there must be a conservator in place before any court will approve the settlement.

  • When a conservator is required: When the gross settlement is for $15,000.00 or more and when subtracting out attorney's fees, expenses of litigation, and medical expenses which shall be paid from the settlement proceeds, the present value of amounts to be received by the minor after reaching the age of majority (18) is still $15,000.00 or more, then a conservator must be in place before any court will approve the settlement. O.C.G.A. § 29-3-3 (g). The guardian of the minor must file a petition in probate court to become conservator and then once appointed as conservator he or she asks the appropriate court (probate if no lawsuit was filed, the court where the lawsuit is pending if a lawsuit was filed) to approve the terms of the settlement.

  • When a conservator is not required: In cases in which the gross settlement is for $15,000.00 or more and when subtracting out attorney's fees, expenses of litigation, and medical expenses which shall be paid from the settlement proceeds, the present value of amounts to be received by the minor after reaching the age of majority (18) comes out to less than $15,000.00, then no conservator is required. O.C.G.A. § 29-3-3 (f). In this scenario the guardian may petition the appropriate court (probate if no lawsuit was filed, the court where the lawsuit is pending if a lawsuit was filed) to approve the terms of the settlement without first becoming a conservator.

When the gross settlement is $15,000.00 or less:

When a gross settlement has been reached for personal injuries to a minor and the amount is $15,000.00 or less, Georgia law allows the guardian of a minor to settle the claim withoutfirst becoming a conservator and without the approval of any court. O.C.G.A. § 29-3-3 (c).

Personal injury cases involving injured minors in Georgia can be complex and an attorney experienced in navigating through both the traditional litigation process as well as the probate court process is a necessity. Attorney Richard Armond is experienced in handling personal injury cases on behalf of minors in Georgia.

If you are the parent or guardian of a minor who was injured or killed as a result of someone’s negligence, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Filing a Lawsuit on Behalf of a Minor Child in Georgia

This blog post by Richard Armond, a personal injury and wrongful death attorney with The Armond Firm, LLC, a Gwinnett County law practice based in Lawrenceville, Georgia, discusses who can file suit when a minor child suffers an injury because the negligence or bad act of another.

O.C.G.A. § 9-11-17

A minor, for the purposes of Georgia's Civil Practice Act, is anyone under the age of 18 years. If a minor suffers a personal injury because of another's negligence or bad act the law provides the method for the minor to pursue a lawsuit. O.C.G.A. § 9-11-17(c) states:

"(c) Infants or incompetent persons. Whenever an infant or incompetent person has a representative, such as a general guardian, committee, conservator, or other like fiduciary, the representative may bring or defend an action on behalf of the infant or incompetent person. If an infant or incompetent person does not have a duly appointed representative, he may bring an action by his next friend or by a guardian ad litem. The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for an infant or incompetent person not otherwise represented in an action or shall make such other order as it deems proper for the protection of the infant or incompetent person. No next friend shall be permitted to receive the proceeds of any personal action, in the name and on behalf of an infant, or incompetent person, until such next friend shall have entered into a sufficient bond to the Governor, for the use of the infant and the infant's representatives, conditioned well and fully to account for and concerning such trust, which bond may be sued on by order of the court in the name of the Governor and for the use of the infant. Such bond shall be approved by the court in which the action is commenced and such approval shall be filed in such clerk's office."

The typical way a lawsuit for personal injury to a minor child gets filed in Georgia is by having one of the parents or guardians of the child bring the complaint for damages (lawsuit) on behalf of the minor as "next friend." As you can see from the statute, any guardian, conservator, or similar type representative can bring suit on behalf of the minor. Let's say John Doe Jr. is injured in a car wreck by another driver. His father John Doe Sr. could bring suit. The complaint could be styled as John Doe Jr., a Minor, By Parent and Guardian, John Doe Sr., Plaintiff v. Bad Driver, Defendant. Many times a parent will also be named as a plaintiff individually as well, as parents can sometimes be compensated for "loss of services" of the child or for medical bills and other expenses the parents have incurred. 

Other times a guardian ad litem or other representative is needed to file suit on behalf of the minor. This is generally the case when a parent or parents may be liable for the injuries to the child. An example in a car wreck case would be when both a parent and the other driver were negligent in their driving. Some other person besides that parent is generally best for filing suit to protect the minor's rights. 

As you can also see from the statute above, the funds from any recovery in the lawsuit are for the minor child and not the parent (unless the parent has also sued individually). It is very important to take note that in any recovery of a gross amount greater than $15,000, court approval is required pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§ 29-3-2 and 29-3-3.

Lawsuits on behalf of minor children can be complex to navigate and you should always strongly consider retaining a Georgia personal injury attorney to handle the case properly.

If your child has been injured by the negligence or bad act of another in Georgia, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury and wrongful death lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Georgia Dog Bite Prevention for Children

Preventing Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bite cases in which a child is killed or seriously injured are some of the most traumatic and emotional cases for children and their families, as well as for lawyers in the personal injury and wrongful death practice areas. We hear all too frequently on the news of children who are mauled by vicious dogs and left with serious disfigurement, scarring, and with death sometimes even resulting. This blog entry is by Lawrenceville, Georgia, based serious injury and wrongful death attorney Richard Armond, who handles cases in Gwinnett County and throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. 

CHOA article highlights safety tips for children around dogs to prevent bites

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) is not only a top flight medical organization for metro Atlanta children, but they also frequently provide useful information for parents to use to keep children safe. One particular resource they have is an article on dog bite prevention (click here for the CHOA article). They note "[m]ore than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the United States, and 800,000 require medical attention—at least half of them children."

The informative CHOA article includes dog safety tips for children, signs that a dog may bite, and what to do if a dog bites your child. Of particular note is that parents should teach their children how to behave around a dog and should always supervise their children around dogs. If a child is bitten, immediate medical attention should be the number one priority. 

The article mentions in closing, and this is very important to protect you and your child's rights to recovery in a civil lawsuit, that you should always report a dog bite to (1) your local animal control and (2) the police in more serious bite cases.

It is important to report dog bites to local authorities

I have written before on Georgia law regarding what must be proved to establish a dog bite case (click here for that previous entry with a more in-depth summary of Georgia law on dog bites). In general, one must establish the dog owner's knowledge of the "vicious propensity" of a dog to prove a claim (unless there was a violation of an ordinance such as a local leash law at the time the bite occurred). That is why it is so important to report dog bites.

There may be no public record showing a past vicious propensity of a particular dog, but local animal control may have knowledge of past issues with a dog in which no formal record was made. It is also, in general, good to have official documentation of an incident. Even in minor dog bite cases the documentation at least makes a record should the dog do harm to another person.

If your child has been attacked by a dog

If your child has been attacked by a dog or other domesticated animal and you would like to speak with a Georgia personal injury and wrongful death lawyer please contact Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation today.

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Preventing Car Accident Injury to Children: Winter Coat Use with Car Seats

With the return of cold, windy weather to Lawrenceville, Georgia, today this blog post by Gwinnett County personal injury and wrongful death attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, details a safety issue involving potential dangers to children who are buckled into car seats while wearing winter coats. Please read below to protect your children from injury in the event of a car accident.

Wearing a winter coat in a car seat may pose an injury risk to a child in the event of a car accident

If you have a child who is in the age range for car seat use, you may routinely buckle your little one into her car seat when it is cold outside AFTER making sure she is bundled up in her winter coat. For many parents this is the norm as you want to keep your child warm. However, this can actually be a danger to a child in the event of a car accident.

Consumer Reports details the dangers of car seat use for children wearing winter coats and safety measures to prevent injury. As a general rule, winter coats should not be worn under a car seat harness. You can always have your child use a blanket or wear his coat in reverse after he is buckled into his car seat such that the coat is outside of the harness.

To see the danger to children posed by the wearing of a winter coat while harnessed in a car seat, you can view this video clip from a story which aired on NBC's Today Show.

Basically, there can be a big risk that the car seat harness is too loose because of the puffiness or bulk of a winter coat. In a car accident a child may not remain restrained and it can result in serious injury. 

When buckling your child into her car seat when the weather is cold, please remember that it may be safer to remove her coat before buckling her in. This little step with a few moments of inconvenience to you as a parent may pay off immeasurably if it protects your most precious cargo in the event of a car wreck. 

If your child has been injured in a car accident in Georgia, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury and wrongful death lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Georgia hit and run car-pedestrian accident

Georgia personal injury case issues in a hit-and-run car and pedestrian accident

A sad story out of Cobb County, Georgia, is in the AJC regarding an incident yesterday in which an alleged hit-and-run driver struck with his car a six year-old boy who was a pedestrian. As a personal injury attorney based in Lawrenceville, Georgia, (Gwinnett County) who handles car accident and pedestrian accident cases all around metropolitan Atlanta and the State of Georgia, I will analyze this news story for potential issues in a Georgia personal injury case. Fortunately, according to the story, though a witness feared for the life of child, he suffered two broken legs but no permanent damage.

Liability in a Georgia car accident or pedestrian accident case (duty and breach of duty)

According to the AJC report linked above the hit-and-run driver is alleged by police to have "improperly passed the stopped traffic and drove on the wrong side of the roadway and struck the victim in the crosswalk." These allegations, if proved, could form the basis for a claim of negligence on the part of the driver for violating Georgia's rules of the road. That one quote alleges multiple different obvious traffic violations.

  1. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-44 provides:  "No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle overtaken. In every event, the overtaking vehicle shall return to an authorized lane of travel as soon as practicable and, in the event the passing movement involves the use of a lane authorized for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, before coming within 200 feet of any approaching vehicle."
  2. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-40(a)(1) provides:  "(a) Upon all roadways of sufficient width, a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows: (1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement;"
  3. O.C.G.A. §§ 40-6-91(a) and (d) provide:  "(a) The driver of a vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching and is within one lane of the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. For the purposes of this subsection, "half of the roadway" means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel. . .(d) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle."

Additionally, the allegations against the driver, if provable in court, will likely result in additional criminal charges for Reckless Driving in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-390 (driving in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property), felony Hit and Run in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270 (a hit and run in which the accident is the proximate cause of serious injury or death), and felony Serious Injury by Vehicle in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-394 (accident that temporarily rendered useless the legs of the child, which is one of three qualifying injuries to prove a violation of this code section--case law makes it very clear uselessness only has to be temporary).

These violations, if proven, would show that the driver had a duty under the law and that he breached that duty.

Causation

Causation should be very clear in a case like the one outlined in the AJC. The driver striking a child in a crosswalk with his car caused the two broken legs.

Damages

The six year-old child suffered significant injury. Two broken legs, weeks to months in casts, physical therapy, lost time playing with friends and doing the things a six-year old boy likes to do, the significant pain he suffered, the medical and rehabilitation bills--all of that adds up to damages in a case such as this. Fortunately, the child apparently did not suffer life-altering injuries as this Georgia traffic accident between a car and pedestrian could have been much worse. 

Sources of Recovery

The first source of recovery will be the insurance company who insured the alleged hit-and-run driver. Hopefully he had insurance on the vehicle. A major issue with the driver's insurance coverage will be how much his policy is worth. Did he have bare minimum coverage under Georgia law which would involve only $25,000 in liability insurance? A case such as this will likely involve damages well above the minimum.

A second potential source will be whether any person in the child's household has an automobile insurance policy with uninsured motorist coverage. If so, any such policies are a potential source of coverage in the event the driver (1) did not have insurance, or (2) damages exceed the policy limit on the driver's policy. Even if the driver had insurance, uninsured motorist coverage typically covers damages exceeding the policy limits of the other driver's policy in a case such as this. One note of caution:  uninsured motorist policies typically have strict time limitations and notice requirements which must be complied with to avoid a coverage denial. This is why in cases such as this it is smart to get a Georgia personal injury lawyer involved immediately.

Again, fortunately the child was not injured worse. Let's all hope and pray for a speedy recovery for him. 

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car or pedestrian accident in Georgia, please contact Gwinnett County based car and pedestrian accident lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.