National Work Zone Awareness Week

This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week, which is designed to bring attention to motorist and worker safety issues on roadways. This blog post by wrongful death and personal injury lawyer Richard Armond of the The Armond Firm, LLC, in Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, Georgia, is designed to spread the message regarding the dangers of work zones on highways and includes some safety tips.

The statistics cited by the Federal Highway Administration regarding work zones are most alarming. In 2016 there were 765 work zone fatalities in the United States and 712 in 2015. In 2016, 143 of those fatalities involved workers, while in 2015 there were 130 workers lost. Most people recognize the dangers involved in the hard work those workers are doing, but those statistics indicate it is also very dangerous for motorists traveling through work zones.

Wrongful deaths in automobile accidents of any type are tragic, but often preventable. The Federal Highway Administration offers the following safety tips when driving in highway work zones:

  • Know Before You Go. Check your phone apps, agency websites, and the radio for the latest traffic information to ensure a safe and timely trip.
  • Wear Your Seatbelt. It is your best defense in a crash.
  • Expect the Unexpected. Work zones change often. The area you drove through yesterday may look different today.
  • Avoid Distractions. Distracted driving in a work zone can have deadly consequences. Put down your phone and keep your eyes on the road.
  • Pay Attention to Other Drivers. Narrowed traffic patterns provide less ability to maneuver around other vehicles safely. Paying attention can prevent the need for evasive actions in work zones.
  • Don't Speed or Tailgate. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you and don't speed. Tailgating and speeding lead to crashes with other vehicles and field workers.
  • Obey Road Crews and Signs. Flaggers know how best to move traffic safely in work zones. The warning signs are there to help you and other drivers move safely.
  • Be Patient and Stay Calm. Work zone crew members are working to improve the road and make your future drive better. Stay calm and drive safely.

Source:  https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/fhwahop18044/index.htm#source2

Please drive safely and attentively around highway work zones for your safety and for the safety of the workers and other motorists.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an automobile accident, 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 Legal Issues: Fatal Car Accident in Gwinnett County

Fatal Car Accident in Gwinnett County

This past Monday a construction worker was fatally injured when he was struck by a car in a tragic accident near Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, according to a report from the AJC. This post will outline someone of the issues a Georgia personal injury and wrongful death attorney practicing in Gwinnett County or metro Atlanta would look at if a loved were to do a free consultation for a case such as this. Trial lawyer Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, offers free consultations on Georgia personal injury and wrongful death cases.

The essential facts of the AJC report are that a construction worker who was wearing a reflective jacket and helmet was struck by a car in the area of Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road (Ga. 317) and I-85 near I-985 in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The construction worker died later at the hospital. According to the Gwinnett County Police Department charges are forthcoming on the driver. 

"Modified comparative negligence" law in Georgia

One of the first things a Georgia injury attorney in a wrongful death case would look at in a case like the fatal car accident in Gwinnett County outlined in the AJC story is liability. In a consultation setting, this may not always be clear. Georgia law is a "modified comparative negligence" state, as per O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33. A plaintiff can recover if he, or in the case of wrongful death those who can recover on his behalf, is less than 50% at fault. If the deceased was negligent in some way (example: was he in the roadway where he should not have been or was he follow proper safety protocols), but 49.9% responsible or less, there can be an award. If a jury ultimately finds the plaintiff 50% or more at fault, there is no recovery. Also, the plaintiff's recovery is reduced by the percentage he is at fault. An attorney would not necessarily know enough details at a consultation to know who all the parties in a lawsuit would be, but the driver of the vehicle, the worker's employer, other construction companies working at the site, conditions of the site, etc., are all things an attorney will analyze.

A Georgia personal injury and wrongful death attorney in a fatality car accident case such as this one will try to determine:

1.  Was the driver of the vehicle at fault? The police seem to indicate charges are forthcoming. I stress that at this time full details are unknown as to whether the driver violated any laws or was negligent in his or her operation of the vehicle. However, if there is evidence of negligence and/or a violation of the rules of the road the driver and his insurance company will be a potential source of recovery. Later, we would be able to determine how much insurance coverage was in place.

2. Was the construction worker an employee at the time (and not an independent contractor)? Georgia law has some limited allowance for recovery for a death during the course of employment at O.C.G.A. § 34-9-265 (workers compensation). A Georgia personal injury and wrongful death attorney will certainly look to see if the workers compensation laws are applicable to any wrongful death in the course of employment.

3. Was the victim responsible in any way? Again, not knowing all the details of the investigation, this will be difficult to ascertain at a consultation, but it is something to analyze when investigating the case. 

4. Are there any other parties who were negligent or contributed to this death? You always have too look at all aspects of the case. Were other companies working on the road and may they be responsible?

5. Did the victim have uninsured motorist coverage on any auto insurance policy in his household? If so, the insurance company must be notified promptly as any such policy may likely cover him for this wreck, but there are typically strict time limitations in those insurance contracts which require notification in writing to the insurance company promptly. 

Who is the proper person to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased?

A Georgia personal injury and wrongful death attorney will need to determine who can bring a claim and lawsuit in a case such as this. I have posted before (click here) on who the proper party is in a lawsuit. The correct person must bring the action. Additionally, if workers compensation is applicable, Title 34, Chapter 9 will control who, if anyone, has a claim as a dependent of the deceased.

The initial AJC report seems to indicate this tragic car accident may have wrongfully took the life of a person. Our thoughts and prayers are with those he left behind. Georgia fatality traffic accidents occur too frequently and leave families without a loved one and often in financial distress.

If a loved one of yours has been lost in a car accident or any other wrongful death at the hands of another in Georgia, 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.