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Research has shown that pedestrians are much more likely to be killed in accidents involving sport utility vehicles, compared to smaller passenger vehicles. The result is not unexpected given the sheer size of SUV’s.  But the reason this is bad news for pedestrians is because SUV’s have become increasing popular over the past decade.

According to the results of a new study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, accidents where a pedestrian was struck by an SUV travelling faster than 19 miles per hour were much more likely to result in a fatality than accidents involving a smaller vehicle travelling at a similar speed. When vehicles were travelling at between 23 and 25 mph, the accident fatality rate for SUVs was 30%, compared to 23% for smaller passenger vehicles.

When SUVs were traveling at 40 mph, all 3 accidents involving SUVs in the study data resulted in pedestrian deaths, compared to 7 out of 3 fatalities in accidents involving small passenger vehicles. Not surprisingly, there was little difference in the fatality rate when the speed of the vehicles was below 20 mph, with passengers in both types of accidents sustaining minimal injuries.

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Recent headlines across the country have revealed that a significant percentage of COVID-19 deaths in the United States have involved residents of nursing homes.  One of the key reasons for this unfortunate result is understaffing at these facilities.

For decades, elder care advocates have tried to spotlight the problems involving understaffing in the nation’s nursing homes. In far too many nursing facilities that cater to the elderly or the infirm, staff numbers are far too low to ensure adequate care for their residents.

At several nursing homes across the country, the COVID-19 outbreak has raged unchecked. At these facilities, advocates say that the protocols for prevention of infections are simply not being followed as stringently as they should be in order to avoid a massive outbreak. Basic protocols like wearing of personal protection equipment have not been followed at these homes. In addition, hand-washing and hygiene protocols have also been neglected.

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The weather is getting warmer and the roadways have been emptier than they normally are.  This combination can make for a motorcyclist’s dream.

The National Safety Council has deemed the month of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.   This is the time to bring awareness to both motorcyclists and drivers alike to the special safety challenges faced by motorcycle riders.

Although riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience, it also comes with some sobering statistics.  Fatal accidents among motorcycle riders and passenger vehicles have more than doubled in the past 20 years.  Since 2017, motorcycle accidents account for 14% of all traffic related deaths.  Of these motorcycle death, older riders, age 50 and up, accounted for 36% of the deaths.  What’s more, 91% percent of those who died in motorcycle accidents were male.   And in a recent study, statistics showed that more motorcycle accidents occurred during the weekday versus the weekend.  The study also released that accidents that occurred at night were more serious, and often fatal, than those accidents that occurred during the daytime.

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The number of vehicles on our roads has plunged during the pandemic, but the risk from reckless and speeding drivers is ever present. According to the Governors’ Highway Safety Association, there has been an increase in reckless driving across the country since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Governors’ Highway Safety Association recently released a news alert urging motorists to adhere to their regular safe driving routines to avoid accidents, especially during these highly uncertain times.

The lower number of vehicles on the roads seems to have triggered a false sense of confidence among motorists during the pandemic that they are able to disregard normal driving laws. The organization is reporting an increase in speeding across the country. Several states have reported finding drivers now frequently exceeding the 100-mile an hour mark. In some states, drivers have routinely been found to be driving at speeds exceeding 20 to 40 miles over the limits. Many states are also seeing an increase in negligent or reckless driving.

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During the difficult recent times, there are limited options for people to engage in outdoor or recreational activity.  For those who own a boat, being out on the lake may be one of the few options left. Boating at anytime of the day or year must be approached with skill and care.  However, boating at night presents its own unique challenges.

Boating at night time is not something we recommend, because of the diminished visibility as well as the fact that sudden surprises or dangers might blindside you on the water in the dark. However, many Atlanta boaters do enjoy being out on a boat after sundown. In some cases, people may find themselves inadvertently stuck out on the water well past sundown, and have to make their way back to shore.

There are safety precautions that you can follow, however, to keep yourself and everyone on your boat safe at night. For one, understand all of the safety precautions that you follow during the day also apply, and even more stringently, at night. Most importantly, you absolutely must not be operating the boat without any boating experience or without basic boat safety training.

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If you are injured in an accident, oftentimes the last thing that may be on your mind is starting a lawsuit.  However, your injuries may be severely impacting your ability to work, to interact with your family and to live your daily life.  And, more often than not, if your injuries were the result of someone else’s negligence, your attempts to recover compensation from the other party’s insurance company may not be as successful as you would like.  That’s the time when you may have to consider filing a lawsuit to recover for your injuries.

When it comes to filing a lawsuit, timing is critical.  All states have a time limit for when a lawsuit must be filed.  This is called the statute of limitations which defines the time limits in which an individual may file a civil claim. This time limit ensures that claims are filed while evidence is still available, and it also prevents a party from threatening to sue long after a conflict has been resolved.

In Georgia, the statute of limitations varies significantly according to the type of claim. There is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injuries and fraud, while the state enforces a four-year statute of limitations for trespassing, debt collection, and injuries to personal property. A civil suit alleging libel or slander must be filed within one year, and medical or other professional malpractice claims must be made within two years or a maximum of five years after the act.

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Being in a car accident is enough to ruin anyone’s day.  But when you are a victim of a hit and run accident, it can double a person’s frustrations.

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, Georgia law requires a driver to stop after an accident and provide identifying information to the other people involved.  In any accident which results in injury or death to a person, or damage to a vehicle, a driver is required to stop at the scene of the accident and provide his or her name, address, and registration number of their vehicle.  The requirement to information applies to any driver who is involved in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of who is at fault.  There are some who may think that they are not required to exchange information with the other vehicle if the police are not called to the scene of the accident.  However, this requirement also holds true even if the police are not called to the accident.

Georgia law also requires a person to provide reasonable aid or assistance if a person is injured as a result of the motor vehicle accident.  This can include calling an ambulance or even transporting the injured person to receive medical care.  If the injury victim is unconscious or unable to communicate, the other driver is required to make reasonable efforts to contact the police and emergency medical treatment.

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The number of bicycle accidents across the country rose by 9 percent between 2008 and 2017, a grim reminder of the growing number of bicyclists on our roads and the risks they face every day. In order to tackle the growing threat to bicyclist safety, the Governors’ Highway Safety Association has joined hands with Uber Eats, the online food delivery platform, to educate bicyclists about the need to ride safely.

The Governors’ Highway Safety Association is a non-profit advocacy group that aims to promote efforts to keep all users of the roads, including bicyclists, safe. Uber Eats has a strong presence in many American cities, including the metro Atlanta region. Uber Eats and the Governors’ Highway Safety Association have come up with a set of eight tips for bicyclists to stay safe on the roads. The tips, although developed by Uber Eats for its thousands of bicyclist delivery boys across the country, are nevertheless also applicable to all bicyclists.

The Bicycle Delivery Safety Tips booklet advises all bicyclists to choose a bicycle that fits them correctly. This means that you should be able to extend your leg fully while pedaling.   A test to make sure you have the proper size bike is to see if your feet can reach the ground when you are seated on the bicycle.

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The state of Georgia is moving closer to requiring ALL persons in a car to wear seatbelts while the car is in motion, including back seat passengers.

Currently, Georgia does not require back seat passengers to buckle up while riding in a motor vehicle. Thirty other states have laws that require back seat passengers to wear their seatbelts. Not wearing a seatbelts can place back seat passengers at tremendous risk of injury, or even death, in an accident.

The Georgia Senate Passenger Vehicle Seat Belt Safety Study Committee was created recently to study the consequences of failure to wear seatbelts by back seat passengers. The Committee was created by Senator Tonya Anderson, D-Lithonia, who calls this failure to require back seat passengers to buckle up a serious safety issue.  Requiring back seat passengers to buckle up can help reduce the number fatalities in car accidents.

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In a recent case in New Jersey, a pedestrian was struck by a city bus in an intersection.  The bus’ impact caused catastrophic injuries to the pedestrian including permanent brain injury, as well as multiple fractures and broken bones.

What is as, if not more, troubling about this accident is that the driver of the bus had a record of being involved in over 50 accidents during his 30-year course of driving for his employer.  What’s more, the driver had over 40 violations during his employment for issues ranging from distracted and careless driving, driving with a suspended license, and failing to follow police instructions.  Yet, the bus company allowed the driver to continue to drive buses despite the egregious driving record the employee had.  When this happens, an employer can be held responsible for their employee’s negligence.

Under Georgia law, and in most states as well, if an employee commits a negligent act while on the job, the employer can be liable for their employee’s negligence under the theory of respondeat superior.  An employer can also be held independently liable for injuries caused by their employee’s actions under the theory of negligent hiring, supervision or retention.  If the injury victim can prove that the employer knew or should have known that the employee had the tendency to engage in certain behaviors, such as careless driving, and that the accident and injuries were caused by similar behavior, the employer can be liable for failing to properly hire, supervise or retain the employee.

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