High Volume Predicated for 2018 Georgia Thanksgiving Travel

The Georgia Department of Public Safety has issued a press release regarding the Thanksgiving 2018 holiday weekend and the expected traffic accidents and fatalities during the travel period.

The report cites AAA with the prediction that this year will be the highest travel volume since 2005 with the vast majority of travelers in automobiles.

Last year the Georgia State Patrol alone investigated 665 crashes that resulted in 373 injuries and 11 fatalities. Certainly, the statewide numbers were higher if one were to take into account county and city police department investigations.

Please be safe on the roads this year and have a happy Thanksgiving!

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed as a result of an unsafe driver, 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 holding phone while driving ban set to pass

As a personal injury and wrongful death lawyer in Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, Georgia, who handles cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia, I have made frequent blog posts following this year's session of the Georgia General Assembly and the hands-free driving bill. HB 673, which bans driving while holding a phone, appears to be set to pass through the Senate for the governor's signature according to WABE

Supporters of the bill estimate it may reduce traffic fatalities by 20 percent annually, amounting to 300 lives saved on Georgia roadways each year.

The current Georgia laws combating distracted driving are often unenforceable. While O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241.2 bans sending or reading text messages, another similar statute, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241, allows for the "proper use" of mobile telephones. 

In order to stop a vehicle for a violation of the law, a police officer must have a reasonable, articulable suspicion before activating the blue lights and using police power to effectuate a traffic stop. It is currently very hard to make such a stop when a person is allowed to dial phone numbers and look at a phone to do so. Further, even if an officer has specific facts to believe a person is texting rather than engaging in "proper use" the officer cannot look into a person's phone without either consent of the person or a search warrant (a significant hurdle on a routine traffic stop). 

The new law may make enforcement easier and cut down on dangerous distracted driving activities. This may make Georgia roads safer for everyone.

If you or a loved one 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 distracted driving bill in jeopardy

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

For those who follow Georgia politics, an important piece of legislation designed to reduce car accidents, save lives, and make our roads safer, is HB 673. This bill is intended to make an enforceable law which cuts down distracted driving by making non hands free cell phone use illegal. Unfortunately, as reported by the AJC (on the myAJC subscription site with limited free monthly access), the bill may have hit a snag in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Governor Nathan Deal did, however, endorse the bill in an interview on Georgia Public Broadcasting, noting the virtual impossibility of enforcing current distracted driving laws and safety. 

This piece of legislation will hopefully pass by next Thursday's deadline. I have written before on the dangers of distracted driving with the CDC statistics regarding traffic accidents and fatalities caused by distracted drivers. Please do not use cell phones while driving and keep our roads safe for everyone.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident and would like to speak with a lawyer contact attorney Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation.

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

 

Fatality Accident Statistics on I-285 in metro Atlanta

We need to work to eliminate fatality accidents in Georgia as we have way too many wrongful deaths on our roads. Georgia and metro Atlanta have some of the deadliest roadways in America according to a report by Vox. Depending on where you look at the statistics, different highways rank as the most deadly. The Vox report accounts for total miles of interstate highway when factoring its conclusions.

Based on total fatality accidents per ten miles of interstate, the report concluded I-285 in metro Atlanta, which traverses DeKalb, Fulton, Cobb, and Clayton counties as Atlanta's perimeter interstate highway, was the nation's deadliest interstate in 2013.  The report also notes that Georgia is the seventh worst state for fatality accidents.

Traffic fatality cases are some of the most emotional and difficult for a family to experience. Let us all work to improve traffic safety around Atlanta and make our roads safer.

If you have lost a loved one in a fatality car accident in Georgia, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury and wrongful death lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

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

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.

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.

Proposed Federal Bill to Prevent Underride Trucking Deaths

Georgia woman one of the leaders of the effort to pass this bill to protect motorists in trucking accidents

Last month a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress that aims at saving motorists from deadly "underride" crashes with tractor-trailers and other trucks. This bill, introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is entitled the "Stop Underrides Act of 2017." Two women who lost children in tragic underride collisions have advocated for this legislation for years according to the NBC News story. One of the women, Marianne Karth, actually lost her two teenage daughters in an underride trucking accident in the State of Georgia in 2003. 

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has required rear guards on trucks since 1998, but this bill would mandate the guards on the sides of tractor-trailers. Some 200 lives are senselessly lost each year because of side underride trucking accidents. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has concluded that mandating side underride guards would save lives and has recommended mandating them to NHTSA since 2014. 

It is rare in today's political climate to have such a common sense bill that both major parties support. This bill is important for the safety of all motorists in Georgia and throughout the United States. Please let your congressman and senators know that you support passage of this bipartisan bill.

If you want to follow the legislation, click here for S.2219 and click here for H.R.4622.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or loss in 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.

Tractor-trailer and train crash in Norcross, Gwinnett County, Georgia

An example of the dangers of semi-trucks in Georgia disobeying the law

This past Friday in Gwinnett County an accident in Norcross in which a train collided with a tractor-trailer fortunately resulted in no reported injuries despite the truck's trailer being split in half. The AJC reported that the incident was not the first near this location. In November 2016 there was another semi-truck collision nearby also involving a train. 

This area of Norcross is near the historic downtown and fortunately no pedestrians, shoppers, or restaurant patrons were injured. The AJC story linked above does, however, point out an interesting fact. The roads have signs prohibiting these semi-trucks from driving in the area. This accident never should have happened if the rules of the road were obeyed.

O.C.G.A. § 40-6-20(a) requires:

"[t]he driver of any vehicle shall obey the instructions of an official traffic-control device applicable thereto, placed in accordance with this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this chapter. A violation of this subsection shall be a misdemeanor, except as otherwise provided by subsection (f) of this Code section."

In other words, when an official traffic sign is in place prohibiting the use of a roadway by a vehicle such as an 18-wheeler, it is a violation of Georgia law for the driver of such a truck to drive on that road. The incident demonstrates the dangers of semi-trucks when their drivers do not obey the law.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or loss in 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.

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.