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 Traffic Fatalities for New Year's Travel Period

The Georgia Department of Public Safety has issued the final statistics regarding automobile accidents and fatality wrecks for the New Year’s travel period which began at 6:00 PM, Friday, December 28, 2018, and ended at 11:59 PM, Tuesday, January 1, 2019.

In total 18 people lost their lives in traffic crashes in Georgia during this recent holiday travel period.

These fatal crashes were investigated by the Georgia State Patrol, Dougherty County Police, Loganville Police, Atlanta Police, Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office, Chatham County Police, Gwinnett County Police, Newton County Sheriff’s Office, and DeKalb County Police.

The Georgia State Patrol alone investigated 550 traffic wrecks that resulted in 223 injuries and seven fatalities. They also made 368 DUI arrests and issued 6,971 citations during the New Year’s travel period.

Here is hoping you and your loved ones had a safe New Year’s celebration and will have a happy and prosperous 2019!

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a Georgia traffic 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.

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.

Can Georgia Judges Reduce Personal Injury Jury Awards (Remittitur)?

This blog post by personal injury attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, a Gwinnett County personal injury and wrongful death practice available to handle cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State Georgia, answers the question of whether a trial judge in Georgia has the authority to reduce the amount of a plaintiff's jury verdict at the conclusion of a lawsuit. The answer, though it typically rarely happens, is yes. Georgia judges also have the authority under the same statute, though it is even rarer, to add to the amount of damages awarded in a personal injury verdict.

What is the legal authority in Georgia law for a judge to add to or reduce the amount of damages awarded in a jury verdict?

The statutory authority is found at O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12 which states:

"(a) The question of damages is ordinarily one for the jury; and the court should not interfere with the jury's verdict unless the damages awarded by the jury are clearly so inadequate or so excessive as to be inconsistent with the preponderance of the evidence in the case.
(b) If the jury's award of damages is clearly so inadequate or so excessive as to any party as to be inconsistent with the preponderance of the evidence, the trial court may order a new trial as to damages only, as to any or all parties, or may condition the grant of such a new trial upon any party's refusal to accept an amount determined by the trial court.
(c) Only one grant of a new trial by the judge may be based upon the powers conferred by this Code section. The first grant of a new trial other than one ordered under this Code section and which order granting the new trial is not based on this Code section shall remain governed by Code Section 5-5-50."

As you can see, Georgia judges have the legal authority to add or subtract from the amount of damages awarded in a jury's verdict. The common law term for adding to a verdict is called "additur" and for subtracting from a verdict it is called "remittitur" (note: remittitur also has a second meaning in the practice of law, that being when a higher court such as an appellate court "remands" or sends a case back to a lower court). However, this ruling is not final as you will see below.

When can a Georgia judge reduce or increase the amount of a personal injury lawsuit verdict?

As stated in O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12(a), damages are ordinarily reserved for a jury to determine, and they should only be altered when they are "clearly so inadequate or so excessive as to be inconsistent with the preponderance of the evidence." Again, this happens rarely, and from observation, it is much rarer for a judge to add to a verdict than to subtract from a verdict.

What happens if a judge reduces a Georgia personal injury lawsuit verdict?

As stated in O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12(b), the judge may order a new trial as to damages only (wherein proving liability for a tort would not be at issue), or the judge can order a new trial on damages only and condition the new trial on either the plaintiff, defendant, or both refusing to accept the judge's ruling reducing (or adding to) the amount of damages. In other words, the judge's decision to add to or subtract from a verdict does not have to be final as the statute contemplates a trial on damages only in such an event. In the rare event when a judge subtracts from a verdict, the issue for a Georgia personal injury plaintiff is whether the amount awarded is appropriate. Ask any attorney who has tried numerous cases and you will learn no two juries are exactly alike. There is always the possibility a second jury could award even less than the judge had reduced the first verdict (as well as the possibility of a higher verdict). 

If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury 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.

Who May Bring a Georgia Wrongful Death Lawsuit

As a wrongful death attorney in Gwinnett County (Lawrenceville, GA) who takes cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia, a question that comes up from time to time is regarding who may file a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia. This blog post will review Georgia law on the correct person who may bring a wrongful death lawsuit when a loved one is lost because of the negligence or bad act of another.

Georgia wrongful death statutes:

I will list in this post, in order of the right, who may bring a Georgia wrongful death action. The first applicable statute is O.C.G.A. § 51-4-2. This statute, in laymen's terms, states that the person who may bring a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit is:

1.  The surviving spouse.

If person dies and another individual, company, etc. is liable, and the deceased person was married, Georgia law says the surviving spouse may bring the wrongful death lawsuit. 

Who may bring a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit if the deceased person was not married?

2. The deceased person's children (including adopted and out-of-wedlock children).

Any child of the deceased person, regardless of age, adoption, or having been born out-of wedlock may bring a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit if there is no surviving spouse. This is also pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 51-4-2.

Who may bring a Georgia wrongful death action if the deceased person was not married and never had children?

3.  The parents of the deceased person.

O.C.G.A. § 51-4-4 directs us to O.C.G.A. § 19-7-1 which states that the parents of a deceased (whether their deceased child is a minor or adult, when their child was not married and never had children) may bring a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit. If the parents live together and are not divorced they jointly have the right to file a Georgia wrongful death suit for their minor or adult child who was not married and never had children. If only one parent is alive then the right is with that parent. If the parents are divorced, separated, or live apart, then both parents have the right.  However, if one parent refuses to file suit or cannot be located, then the other parent may contract (hire a Georgia wrongful death attorney) to file suit on behalf of both of them.

Who can file a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit if the deceased person was not married, never had children, and has no surviving parents?

4. The administrator or executor of the deceased's estate.

O.C.G.A. § 51-4-5 allows for the administrator or executor of the deceased's estate to file a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit. The recovery in any such lawsuit must be held for the benefit of the next of kin (for example: if there is no spouse, no child, no parent of the deceased, but three cousins are equally of kin to the deceased and the closest kin to the deceased, they would share equally in any recovery of a Georgia wrongful death suit, which has to be brought by the estate's administrator or executor). 

Hopefully this post gives a basic understanding of who may file a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit. These cases can be complex just getting to the point of the correct person to bring suit. They should be handled by a Georgia wrongful death lawyer only. 

If you have lost a loved one because of the negligence or bad act of another, please contact Gwinnett County based 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.

AAA Study on Drowsy Driving Shows Dangers

AAA Study May be Useful for Georgia Car Accidents and Trucking Accidents Lawyers to Show Negligence

As a car accidents and trucking accidents attorney in Gwinnett County, Georgia, who is available to handle cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia, a news story today about drowsy driving dangers is of particular interest. The study by the American Automobile Association (AAA), as reported in the USA Today, demonstrates that sleepy drivers account for around 10% of all car accidents, at levels eight times higher than previous estimates, causing thousands of wrongful deaths each year. All Georgia car accidents lawyers and trucking accidents lawyers should be aware of this study as evidence of the drowsiness of drivers in car and truck wrecks can sometimes be used to prove negligence.

The USA Today report linked above indicates the AAA study was extensive, as it was conducted between 2010 and 2013 and involved over 3,500 drivers who allowed for cameras to be placed in their vehicles to monitor their eyes for drowsiness. In the end the study showed that 9.5% of all car accidents and 10.8% of more serious accidents involved drowsiness. This is significantly higher than the reported statistics of drowsiness being involved car accidents in the 1% to 2% range that the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has previously reported.

Georgia Car Accident Cases

Georgia personal injury and car accident lawyers should focus on the time of day in cases where liability is disputed. In deposing defendant drivers, a focus on activities leading up to an auto accident showing sleep deprivation can be a useful tool in establishing negligence. This sometimes will be apparent in early morning and late night crashes.

Georgia Trucking Accident Cases

Sleep deprivation is always a focus of Georgia trucking accident lawyers during the investigation of trucking wrecks. Federal regulations prohibit fatigued driving:

"No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle, while the driver's ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle. However, in a case of grave emergency where the hazard to occupants of the commercial motor vehicle or other users of the highway would be increased by compliance with this section, the driver may continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle to the nearest place at which that hazard is removed." 49 CFR § 392.3.

Additionally, federal regulations at 49 CFR §§ 395.1 - 395.38 place limitations on the number of hours truck drivers can work and require the keeping of logs to account for time.

Drowsy driving and sleep-deprived driving is a much bigger problem and greater danger than previously thought according to this new AAA study. Please stay safe on Georgia roads and avoid driving drowsy.

If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury or wrongful death in a Georgia car accident or trucking 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.

Personal Injury Settlement Calculator

In personal injury cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia, everyone wants to know how much a case is worth. This post by Richard Armond, a personal injury and wrongful death attorney based in Gwinnett County, dispels the idea that a "personal injury settlement calculator" can tell you how much a case is worth. Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, is available for free consultations regarding personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia.

The Georgia Personal Injury Settlement Calculator

Why is there no such thing in as a personal injury settlement calculator for cases in Georgia or anywhere? The simple answer is that many variables come into play. Any personal injury lawyer or website claiming to have such a calculator likely does not know what he or she is doing. Let's take a look at some of the variables which determine the value of a personal injury claim, whether it is in Gwinnett County, some other metro Atlanta county, or anywhere in the State of Georgia.

What should you beware of when asking a Georgia personal injury attorney how much your case is worth?

  1. Any Georgia lawyer or firm that claims to have a "personal injury settlement calculator." It does not exist. This is because there are too many variables and there is very much a human element to this area of the law. Ultimately, if a case does not settle, it is the conscience of a jury of twelve strangers who decide, and two different juries can reach much different results with the same set of facts.
  2. Most Georgia personal injury attorneys cannot give a close guess based on a simple phone call with five minutes of information. To get a general idea a Georgia personal injury attorney must examine all of the factors, and even then it is simply an educated guess.
  3. No magic formula exists in these cases to multiply an actual out-of-pocket loss for things like medical bills and lost wages to, for example, multiply by a certain number to get the dollar sum total of things like pain and suffering. No two insurance companies are the same nor are any two juries, any two venues, any two judges, etc.

What are some of the many variables that go into determining how much a Georgia personal injury case is worth?

  • DAMAGES

Damages include things like:

1. Past Medical Expenses

2. Future Medical Expenses -- it is unlikely you will know this number when consulting with a personal injury attorney (another example of why the mythical "personal injury settlement calculator" does not exist.

3. Past Lost Wages

4. Future Lost Wages--again, it is unlikely in many cases that this will be known early on

5. Pain and Suffering Already Experienced

6. Future Pain and Suffering--yet again, this will often be unknown

7. Costs to maintain quality of life (things in addition to future medical care such as adaptations to one's home, automobile, etc.)

8. Other damages such as permanent scarring or burns, loss of a quality of life, etc.

  • VENUE

Where a personal injury lawsuit can be brought can make a big difference. Historically, certain Georgia counties are known to have juries award larger verdicts than others. Insurance companies know this and take it into account when determining a settlement amount. 

  • WHETHER THE DEFENDANT HAS ASSETS THAT CAN BE COLLECTED

Typically, we are talking about how much insurance coverage is in place. Sometimes, with corporate defendants insurance is not as much of an issue. However, it is not uncommon for there to be a wrongful death car accident case against a driver with next to no assets and the Georgia state law minimum of $25,000 in automobile liability coverage. If the victim was not covered under an uninsured motorist policy, a case that otherwise may have been worth over a million dollars is sadly only a $25,000 case. At an initial consultation most of the time the insurance coverage information is unknown because the lawyer must send a demand to the defendant's insurer making an officer of the insurer certify under oath, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 33-3-28, the policy limits of coverage and information regarding any other known insurance coverage. 

CONCLUSION:

Each case is different. The purpose of Georgia torts laws is not for someone to hit the jackpot and get rich. The law is meant to balance the scales of justice to make someone whole again by the award of compensation for an injury. When you see large jury awards on the news it is because a personal injury victim lost his life or because a personal injury victim suffered a catastrophic injury which altered her life. At the onset of a case any experienced attorney will have to qualify answers because he or she is not going to have full information to let you know the full value. It is only after gathering medical records, gathering insurance coverage information, and investigating a case that any attorney knows how much should be demanded from the other party. Hopefully, this information gives you some idea of the many variables which go into determining the value of a personal injury case.

If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury or wrongful death 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.

Georgia Opioid Lawsuit and Legislation Update

This post by Richard Armond of the Armond Firm, LLC, a personal injury and wrongful death plaintiff's attorney based in Gwinnett County, Georgia, is an update on some recently proposed legislation as well as recent lawsuits aimed at addressing matters involving the opioid addiction crisis in Georgia. 

State Senator Renee Unterman of Gwinnett County's 45th District has sponsored legislation, Senate Bill 352, designed to fight Georgia's opioid crisis, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post. According to the story, the bill involves an educational component for students in the K-12 grades, is designed to allow communities and treatment centers to work together to expand access for treatment, and has insurance reforms to protect patients receiving treatment. The AJC also reports that rural Georgia counties are suing drug makers and distributors over misrepresenting the risks of prescription opioids and and falsely marketing the drugs.

Spend a day in any superior court courtroom in Georgia handling a miscellaneous felony court calendar and you will likely see the effects of opioids on your community. It is not uncommon to see people who started off using prescription opioid drugs who are in trouble with the law and have turned to heroin because it is less expensive to obtain than prescription pills.

If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury or loss because of opioids, please contact Gwinnett County based 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.

Premises Liability Issues Case Example: Gwinnett Hotel Crime Victim

Analysis of Potential Premises Liability under Georgia Law

Crime victim abducted at Gwinnett hotel

This blog post by Georgia personal injury and wrongful death trial lawyer Richard Armond of the The Armond Firm, LLC, focuses on premises liability lawsuits by crime victims against hotels. Today in Gwinnett County an apparent crime victim was allegedly kidnapped at a hotel. Richard Armond has a unique skill set at handling these types of cases based on his many years of experience as a senior assistant district attorney for Gwinnett County. While this post discusses premises liability and negligent security issues, please keep in mind that the news story linked in this story is being used merely as an example for some of the issues involved in these cases. Nothing in this blog post is intended to represent in any way that the hotel in this case was negligent or liable in any way. Cases such as these require a full investigation before a lawsuit can be brought.

According to the Gwinnett Daily Post, a woman was abducted at gunpoint from a Gwinnett County hotel today in Peachtree Corners, Georgia. According to the report the Gwinnett County Police Department believes this case is a legitimate kidnapping case. Two victims, a man and a woman, were in a room at the hotel when a gunman came to the door, robbed the man, abducted the woman, and fled in the male victim's car.

Georgia's Premises Liability Statute for Hotel Customers

The applicable Georgia statute for hotel and motel customers, tenants, and guests is O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1 which states:

Where an owner or occupier of land, by express or implied invitation, induces or leads others to come upon his premises for any lawful purpose, he is liable in damages to such persons for injuries caused by his failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.

At issue in any Georgia premises liability case where the victim of a sexual assault, physical assault, battery, or other forcible crime involving physical or emotional injuries will be the hotel's level of care in keeping the hotel grounds safe.

What factors affect whether ordinary care has been met?

A Georgia personal injury attorney will be particularly interested in whether a hotel has a history of similar incidents on its property when a crime like this Gwinnett County hotel abduction occurs. To investigate an attorney will likely need to to file an open records act request with the local police jurisdiction to see what crimes have occurred at the hotel in recent years. Later, in the discovery process, the attorney will demand all incident reports maintained by the hotel, as well as serve interrogatories and/or depose hotel employees about crime on the property. Further, a private investigator may be utilized to interview persons who may have information about the property. Additionally, an expert witness in the hotel industry may be needed to demonstrate ordinary care.

Won't the defense just argue that the crime perpetrator is responsible?

Yes, that is part of the job of a civil defense attorney. However, Georgia law has protections for hotel guests through premises liability laws. Many crimes are completely preventable, so long as hotel operators do not turn a blind eye towards crime problems on their premises. Ordinary care is owed to hotel guests and if ordinary care in a particular area involves things like an on-duty security guard, adequate lighting of parking lots, breezeways, and halls, security cameras, parking passes for guests' vehicles, restricted access at certain hours, and other ordinary precautions used by hotels, then the law puts responsibility also on the hotel owner and/or operator. 

O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33 is also another tool of civil defense attorneys. This Georgia statute provides for damages to be apportioned in accordance with the fault of parties and non-parties. So, for example, if a jury finds a hotel 20% at fault and the crime perpetrator 80% at fault, a $100,000 jury verdict would mean the hotel would only be responsible for 20% or $20,000. Often the crime perpetrators do not have assets from which to collect a judgment.

Crime Victims Have Rights

Crime victims in Georgia have rights, both as victims in the criminal justice system, as well as civilly. If you or a loved one have been injured in a crime that occurred on the premises of a hotel or any other business, please contact personal injury attorney Richard Armond. He has the unique skill set of years of experience prosecuting these cases. Based in Gwinnett County, he takes cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or loss in on the premises of a hotel or any other business contact Gwinnett County based 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.