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.

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.

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.

When can punitive damages be awarded in a Georgia lawsuit?

Georgia Punitive Damages Law

The place to begin when researching punitive damages in Georgia personal injury and wrongful death cases is the plain language of the pertinent statute, O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1. Punitive damages may be awarded in Georgia personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits only when there are "aggravating circumstances." See O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(a). Punitive damages are not for deterring a certain type of behavior in society at large, but rather "to penalize, punish, or deter" a particular defendant. Id. This blog post by Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, Georgia, based personal injury and wrongful death trial attorney Richard Armond gives an overview of punitive damages law in Georgia. 

What evidentiary standard must be met for a Georgia jury to award punitive damages?

Clear and convincing evidence. This is a higher standard than is required for a jury to find a defendant liable for general and special damages. The typical civil standard is "preponderance of the evidence," which is a simple balancing test where if the evidence is slightly greater than 50% against a defendant then that defendant can be held liable. 

Punitive damages, however, "may be awarded only in such tort actions in which it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant's actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences." See O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(b).

Clear and convincing evidence is defined as "evidence that will cause the jury to firmly believe each essential element of the claim to a high degree of probability. Proof by clear and convincing evidence requires a level of proof greater than a preponderance of the evidence (but less than beyond a reasonable doubt). See Georgia Suggested Pattern Jury Instruction # 02.040, Fifth Edition.

Are there punitive damage caps depending on the type of Georgia personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit?

Yes.

Product Liability Cases:

In product liability cases there is no limit or cap to the amount of punitive damages which can be awarded under Georgia law. However, punitive damages can only assessed one time against a particular defendant anywhere in the State of Georgia. Further, 75% of the punitive damages awarded go to the State of Georgia, less a proportionate part of the costs of litigation, including reasonable attorney's fees. See O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(e).

A major reason for this is the policy behind punitive damages. Georgia laws states that punitive damages are awarded "not as compensation to a plaintiff but solely to punish, penalize, or deter a defendant." O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(c).

Specific Intent to Harm Cases and Cases where the Defendant was Drunk or High:

In cases where it is shown that the defendant specifically intended to do harm (example: an assault with a baseball bat) to the plaintiff, or that the defendant was negligent while "under the influence of alcohol, drugs other than lawfully prescribed drugs administered in accordance with prescription, or any intentionally consumed glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to that degree that his or her judgment is substantially impaired," no cap exists in Georgia on punitive damages. See O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(f).

Further, no requirement exists under Georgia law in specific intent to harm/drunk and high cases in which the punitive damages get divided between the state and the plaintiff as is the case with products liability cases. See O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(f).

Finally, punitive damages in specific intent to harm cases can only be awarded against an active tortfeaser (example: a bar knowingly serves a person too much alcohol and lets him drive drunk...only the drunk driver can have punitive damages awarded against him even if the bar is liable for its negligence under dram shop laws for general and special damages). See O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(f).

All other Georgia Tort Cases:

The vast majority of Georgia personal injury and wrongful death cases, however, will unfortunately fall under the catch-call category of all other Georgia tort cases not listed above. For those cases punitive damages are capped under Georgia law at $250,000. See O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(g).

Conclusion:

If you or a loved one are the victim in a Georgia personal injury or wrongful death case, punitive damages are something that should be explored. The complaint (the lawsuit you file) must specifically pray for the award of punitive damages or else you cannot pursue them at trial. See O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(d)(1). An experienced attorney is needed to handle cases with potential punitive damages so that this potential source of recovery is handled properly.

If your or a loved one have been injured or lost in a personal injury or wrongful death case 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.

 

Equipment Violations in Georgia Car Accidents

This post by trial attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, a car accident and trucking accident lawyer in Gwinnett County who handles cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia, addresses the importance of equipment violations in car and truck accident cases.

Use of equipment violations in Georgia car accident and truck accident cases by trial attorneys

Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) deals with motor vehicle laws. The most common chapter of Title 40 that Georgia attorneys get questions about is Chapter 6 which addresses moving violations. Title 40, Chapter 6 of the Official Code of Georgia is extensive in length with all manner of rules of the road that keep motorists and pedestrians safe, but which also result in traffic citations (and questions for lawyers).

This post, however, briefly addresses another incredibly important chapter of Title 40, that being Chapter 8. Title 40, Chapter 8 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated is entitled "Equipment and Inspection of Motor Vehicles." Chapter 8 has the following parts:

  1. General Provisions
  2. Lighting Equipment
  3. Brakes
  4. Horns, Exhaust Systems, Mirrors, Windshields, Tires, Safety Belts, Energy Absorption Systems
  5. Equipment of Law Enforcement and Emergency Vehicles
  6. Equipment of School Buses

Why are motor vehicle equipment violations under O.C.G.A. Title 40, Chapter 8 important to Georgia car and truck accident cases?

Violations of the law involving equipment violations also result in traffic citations. However, in Georgia car accident, trucking accident, personal injury, and wrongful death cases, the code sections in Chapter 8 provide an additional means of proving negligence. 

Many Georgia car accidents and trucking accidents involve clear-cut negligence or fault on the part of one or more drivers who are responsible for injuring a victim in a wreck. However, plenty of times liability is disputed. Evidence regarding a lack of proper maintenance of a vehicle can contribute to proving negligence. Things like improperly maintained brakes, tire tread, and lighting equipment are potential evidence to show negligence. 

You will almost never have a Georgia fatality traffic accident in which the investigating law enforcement officer does not fully inspect all vehicles involved for faulty equipment. However, in other serious injury Georgia car and trucking accidents in which there is not a fatality it is not uncommon for the investigation to be conducted by regular patrol officers instead of specially trained accident investigation officers. 

Why is it important to have a Georgia car accident or trucking accident lawyer involved immediately in a personal injury case?

Evidence disappearance and/or spoliation. When someone is seriously injured in a traffic accident medical care should be priority number one. Attorneys should not give medical advice--an injured person should follow all advice of her treating physicians and other medical providers. However, it is a huge benefit to get a Georgia car accident or trucking accident attorney involved as soon as practicable. 

Georgia attorneys can serve a spoliation letter on the other driver or person having custody of the vehicle. A spoliation letter is basically a legal demand to maintain evidence for use and/or inspection at a later date. Failure to preserve evidence can be used against those who ignore a spoliation letter and can sometimes result in a finding of negligence by a court.

Many times after auto accidents cars are towed to body shops and work begins the next day. Crucial evidence regarding potential equipment violations can be lost if legal representation is not involved early after car or truck accidents in Georgia. 

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car or truck accident in Georgia, please contact Gwinnett County based car and truck 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.

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.

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.

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.

Personal Injury Lawyers Keep the Justice System Fair

As a native of Gwinnett County and metro Atlanta, I have for years seen television advertisements for personal injury attorneys on local television. Many of these ads left a bad impression on me as a child and they contribute to the stereotype of personal injury attorneys as "ambulance chasers" or unsavory characters who pursue frivolous claims. Even in law school and when I began my career as an attorney I somewhat carried that belief about personal injury law. However, as a prosecutor I saw too often the suffering of people who lost loved ones in vehicular homicide automobile collisions, people whose lives were altered by injuries sustained in wrecks, and others who were seriously hurt or who lost loved ones because of the actions of others. 

There are scores of cases from real people who are in real need of an attorney to fight for them when they have been injured or when they have lost a loved one. Whether a case is big or small what matters is that the injuries or loss is real. There are traffic accidents where the victim suffers what insurance adjusters refer to as a "soft tissue" injury in which the victim did not need to be transported to the hospital. However, hours or days later the injury appears and medical bills mount and pain and suffering exists. There are collisions where lives are lost or there are serious injuries that require transport in an ambulance. Many times, regardless of the extent of the damages, the insurance company will not settle for anywhere close to fair value. Personal injury attorneys keep the justice system fair by taking cases to trial if the insurance company is unfair.

The key to any case is that the injury or loss is real. Despite what people think from the catchphrases we hear on TV or the way the big insurance companies portray injury attorneys, most personal injury lawyers handle real cases for real victims with claims that are not frivolous. Personal injury law is not about a victim profiting. It is about fairness for the person or is hurt or who suffered a loss.

If you or a loved one have suffered a loss because of the negligence of another, please contact 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.