Dogs Attack Three People in Gwinnett County

According to this story from Gwinnett County in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, two dogs on the loose in Lawrenceville, Georgia, yesterday attacked three different people, leaving an elderly man severely injured from head to toe. As a personal injury and wrongful death lawyer in Lawrenceville, I have seen way too many of these dog bite cases recently. According to the story the owner received six citations and the dogs were euthanized.

It is important to remember that the victims, especially the elderly man who was mauled, may have a long road to recovery with substantial medical bills and pain and suffering. According the news story, the elderly man was crossing the street when the dogs attacked. This should make liability against the owner clear.

Elements of a Georgia Dog Bite Claim

I have written before on the legal elements of a dog bite lawsuit in Georgia (click here for that blog post). Those elements, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7 are:

  1. A person owns OR keeps,
  2. A vicious or dangerous animal,
  3. Which the person carelessly manages OR allows the animal to go at liberty,
  4. Injury is caused by the careless management or letting the animal go at liberty, and
  5. The injured person does not provoke the injury

As explained in my earlier blog post cited above, the second element involves a plaintiff showing a vicious propensity of the animal which attacks. However the plain language of O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7 contains and exception to this requirement by stating, "[in] proving vicious propensity, it shall be sufficient to show that the animal was required to be at heel or on a leash by an ordinance of a city, county, or consolidated government, and the said animal was at the time of the occurrence not at heel or on a leash."

In other words, if the dogs were running loose in violation of a local ordinance, as the AJC story seems to indicate, the vicious propensity element will be met. 

Gwinnett County's Dog Bite / Animal Running at Large Ordinance

Gwinnett county has such an ordinance. Gwinnett County code section 10-71 states:

(a) It shall be unlawful for any owner or possessor of any dog to fail to keep the dog under restraint or control as provided for in this section.

(b) A dog is considered not under restraint or control when it is running at large, whether wearing a collar and tag or not . . .

Are the Funds to Pay for a Dog Bite Victim's Recovery?

One question for the victims of yesterday's dog bite attacks will be the source of recovery. Does the dog's owner have homeowners liability insurance and/or an umbrella policy to cover the damages to these innocent victims? Dog bites are actually the number one source of homeowners insurance liability claims

Let's all hope that the victims in these Gwinnett County dog bite attacks yesterday in Lawrenceville, Georgia, are able to recover to good health. 

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a dog bite, 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 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.

Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Indictment

Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Case

Personal injury attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, is based in Lawrenceville, Georgia, near the Gwinnett County courthouse. He handles personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. This post involves recent news as reported in the AJC regarding an indictment of three staff members of a DeKalb County, Georgia, nursing home. As the baby boomer generation ages, nursing home abuse will unfortunately likely become more prevalent in the news.

Richard Armond was an experienced prosecutor who handled elder abuse prosecutions before leaving the Gwinnett District Attorney's Office to start his own firm. He uses that knowledge to protect the rights of elder persons and their families in the event a nursing home abuse lawsuit needs to be considered.

A brief summary of the news report on the incident

Three nursing home employees were indicted in DeKalb County, Georgia earlier this week according to the AJC. One of the employees was charged with felony murder and neglect of an elder person. The other two employees were charged with offenses relating to neglect of an elder person. It must be stressed at this time that those charged have a presumption of innocence. The victim was an 89 year-old World War II veteran who, according to the report, was captured on surveillance video in respiratory distress and calling for help. This case has been in the news previously for the wrongful death civil lawsuit aspect of the incident. 

Georgia criminal law on protection of elder persons

Georgia law has two main code sections dealing with crimes involving neglect and exploitation of elder persons. Both code sections outlined here involve criminal punishments of one (1) up to twenty (20) years in prison. 

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-5-101. Neglect to a disabled adult, elder person, or resident. Subsection (a) of this code section states:  "[a] guardian or other person supervising the welfare of or having immediate charge, control, or custody of a disabled adult, elder person, or resident commits the offense of neglect to a disabled adult, elder person, or resident when the person willfully deprives a disabled adult, elder person, or resident of health care, shelter, or necessary sustenance to the extent that the health or well-being of such person is jeopardized."

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-101 is what appears to be the underlying basis for all of the charges in the indictment. It criminalizes (a) willful (b) deprivation (c) of an elder person (or disabled adult or resident) (d) of health care or shelter or sustenance (e) to the extent health or well-being is jeopardized. It appears from the story that the allegation involves willful deprivation of health care to the 89 year-old World War II veteran. The essence of this statute is deprivation.

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-5-102. Exploitation and intimidation of disabled adults, elder persons, and residents; obstruction of investigation. This statute primarily addresses knowing and willful bad acts done towards elder persons (and disabled adults and residents), though it also criminalizes deprivation of essential services (and also has subsections addressing threats, intimidation, and obstruction). Subsection (a) of this code section states: "Any person who knowingly and willfully exploits a disabled adult, elder person, or resident, willfully inflicts physical pain, physical injury, sexual abuse, mental anguish, or unreasonable confinement upon a disabled adult, elder person, or resident, or willfully deprives of essential services a disabled adult, elder person, or resident shall be guilty of a felony. . ."  

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-102 is often used by prosecutors when a person financially exploits an elder person or when a person does some bad act such as a physical or sexual assault on an elder person. 

Both of these code sections have additional provisions including exceptions to liability, but the intent here is to provide a brief summary and comparison of the two statutes.

The felony murder aspect of the indictment

Georgia law at O.C.G.A. § 16-5-1 involves the crime of murder. "Malice murder" involves either an express deliberate intention to take a life or it can be implied when there is no provocation and circumstances show an abandoned and malignant heart. Again, this post is a brief summary on the law relating to the AJC news story. Malice murder is not the type of murder that will be at issue in this particular nursing home incident. 

Also in O.C.G.A. § 16-5-1 is the crime of "felony murder." Felony murder is basically where a person, while in the commission of a felony, causes the death of another person. This appears to be the basis of the nursing home neglect indictment in DeKalb County, Georgia. Essentially, the argument by prosecutors will be that while committing the felony crime of neglect of an elder person the alleged perpetrator caused the death of the World War II veteran. 

This Georgia case in DeKalb County while likely continue to receive media coverage for both the civil lawsuit and the criminal prosecution. Georgia nursing homes should be places of care and not abuse. Our elderly loved ones should live their last days with grace and dignity. 

If you or a loved one have been injured or lost because of neglect or abuse in a nursing home or other care facility in metro Atlanta or anywhere in the State of Georgia, please contact Gwinnett County based nursing home abuse 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.

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.

Recent Georgia case on the proper county in which to file a Trucking Accident Lawsuit

As a plaintiff's trucking accident attorney in Gwinnett County, Georgia who handles cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia, a recent Georgia Court of Appeals opinion on venue in motor carrier (trucking accident) is of interest. The case, Blakemore v. Dirt Movers, Inc., A17A1540, decided January 11, 2018, involves a lawsuit against a Georgia based trucking company for wrongful death. Georgia trucking accident lawsuits can be complex and this case is an example of some of the litigation involved.

Summary of the court procedure of this Georgia Trucking Accident Lawsuit

According to the opinion, the wrongful death trucking lawsuit was filed in the State Court of Bibb County, Georgia, against the trucking company and its insurer. Bibb County is where the deadly trucking accident occurred. The trucking company then had the case removed to Jeff Davis County, its principal place of business, under O.C.G.A. § 14-2-510(b)(4), which allows Georgia corporations to defend lawsuits in their home counties, when, specifically under the subsection used, "venue is based solely on" that particular code section. The plaintiff then filed a motion to remand the case back to Bibb County, which the Jeff Davis State Court denied. An appeal followed and the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed, holding that this trucking accident lawsuit must go back to Bibb County. 

What Georgia law controlled in determining where the lawsuit should be heard?

As Blakemore v. Dirt Movers, Inc., is a Georgia trucking accident lawsuit, and the defendant corporation is a motor carrier, a different code section, O.C.G.A. § 40-1-117(b) controlled. It provides:

"Except in those cases where the Constitution requires otherwise, any action against any resident or nonresident motor carrier for damages by reason of any breach of duty, whether contractual or otherwise, or for any violation of this article or of any order, decision, rule, regulation, direction, demand, or other requirement established by the state revenue commissioner may be brought in the county where the cause of action or some part thereof arose; and if the motor carrier or its agent shall not be found for service in the county where the action is instituted, a second original may be issued and service be made in any other county where the service can be made upon the motor carrier or its agent. The venue prescribed by this Code section shall be cumulative of any other venue provided by law."

In other words, O.C.G.A. § 14-2-510(b)(4), was not solely the basis for venue being in the trucking company's principal place of business of Jeff Davis County. O.C.G.A. § 40-1-117(b) allowed for the plaintiff to file suit in the county where the cause of action arose (where the trucking accident happened) in Bibb County. 

Why does it matter which Georgia county a trucking lawsuit is filed in?

  1. It is fairer to the plaintiff to not have to pursue a lawsuit in the trucking company's backyard where prospective jurors may work for or have friends or family who work for or view the hometown trucking company favorably to the outsider plaintiff.
  2. Witnesses such as police and other motorists will often be closer (and more available to subpoena to court) in the county where an incident such as this trucking accident wrongful death case happened.
  3. As a practical matter, certain counties have a strategic advantage over others based on their histories of verdicts either for or against plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury and wrongful death cases.

Each of these factors is something a Georgia trucking accident attorney considers when looking at the appropriate venue, or county, to file suit.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or loss in a a Georgia trucking accident, 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.

Saving Georgia Lives: NIH recommends lowering legal BAC limit

New BAC recommendation may save lives and prevent serious injuries and wrongful deaths in Georgia

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is recommending lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration from .08 to .05. Should this recommendation be followed in Georgia I would hope that it would result in saving innocent lives from drunk drivers on Georgia roads. We need less wrongful death and serious injury lawsuits in Georgia and such a measure may help.

A link to the Newsweek version of the story can be accessed here. The story notes that according to the NIH, when the legal drinking age was increased from 18 to 21 in 1980 there was a significant decrease in alcohol-related accidents and fatalities. However, the reductions have plateaued in recent years and the belief is that the reduction of the legal BAC limit will further prevent DUI accidents and deaths. They also recommend other measures such as increasing alcohol taxes, decreasing the hours alcohol can be sold, and preventing the sale of alcohol to people who are already visible intoxicated (a potential Georgia dram shop claim). 

What really stands out in the Newsweek story is the staggering figures at the end:  according to the CDC, "alcohol-impaired driving kills someone every 51 minutes and alcohol-related car crashes cost more than $44 billion a year." Less than every hour someone in the United States dies in an alcohol-impaired driving crash. 

Let's hope something can be done to prevent more deaths and serious injuries at the hands of drunk drivers in Georgia. It will be up to the Georgia General Assembly to pass such a measure into law if it ever happens.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or loss in a Georgia car wreck, 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.

Study shows Georgia nursing home health violations

A recent article in the Gwinnett Daily Post detailed the findings of a national study of health code violations in nursing homes. According to the story, the study was conducted by Kaiser Health News and it found that nationally 74% of nursing homes have been cited for infection control lapses. Fortunately, that number is only 43% for nursing homes in the State of Georgia. One concern from the story for nursing home residents is that while nursing home patients are more vulnerable to infection than other patients, the staffing models are geared toward traditional long-term care and not necessarily the elderly.

Infections in nursing homes can have devastating effects on patients. Though the Georgia rate for violations is below the national average, the number is still just under half of nursing homes with these issues. If a patients suffers from an infection in a Georgia nursing home, the facility may be liable. Nursing homes have a duty to maintain the proper standard of care, which would include complying with the Georgia Department of Community Health's standards. A Georgia personal injury attorney can investigate to determine if a claim or lawsuit is viable. 

If you or a loved one have suffered an infection or injury in a Georgia nursing home in metro Atlanta or anywhere in Georgia, 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.