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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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Cities throughout the U.S., and over the globe, are increasingly encouraging alternative forms of transportation to ease traffic and improve air quality.  In response, bicycling as a means of transportation has gained popularity in many urban areas.  And with the increase of cyclists on the road, city planners and governments have been working to improve safety for both the cyclists, as well as the vehicles and other pedestrians that they share the road with.

Dedicated bike lanes are the most common protections cities have implemented to keep cyclists safe while travelling on local roads.  Forms of bike lanes vary from street level bike lanes with painted lane markings, street-level bike lanes with protective barriers, and protected bike lanes that are raised from the roadway.  Of these, the safest type of bike lanes are the protected bike lanes that are raised and separate from the roadway as these provide a permanent and solid barrier, such as a raised curb or sidewalk, between the cyclist and motor vehicles.  Statistics have found that the fewest number of bike accidents involving crashes with vehicles occur in these types of bike lanes.

Many people tend to think that a street-level protected bike lane, protected by physical barriers such as posts or landscaping, would be safer for cyclist than conventional bike lanes with just painted lines.  However, a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that this isn’t necessarily the case.  While the level of serious injury and number of fatalities may be less with street-level protected bike lanes, the number of injuries is actually more than the number of accidents that occur with conventional bike lanes.

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If you have a loved one or an elderly family member currently residing in one of Georgia’s nursing homes, there is plenty that you can do to check and monitor to make sure your loved one is not being physically abused. However, monitoring for emotional or psychological abuse is always as straightforward.

Recently, two nursing aides in a nursing home were fired after they posted a video on Snapchat taunting a 91-year-old resident with dementia who had a fear of hospital gowns.  The video shows the two aides mocking the woman as they pushed a hospital gown towards her, even as she resisted their attempts to do so. The video was posted on Snapchat, and was brought to the attention of the resident’s family members. They brought it to the attention of the nursing home, which suspended the aides, but promptly put them back on work barely 6 days later, citing insufficient evidence of any abuse.

Rightfully, the family has gone ahead and filed a lawsuit against the nursing home for damages. They claim that the psychological trauma has harmed their loved one, and that her mental condition has actually regressed.

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Downtown Atlanta has no shortage of bars, clubs and other nightspots.  Patrons of these establishment need to know that while they are great places to unwind and have some fun, they must also be aware that these places can often be crime and injury magnets.

Nightclub owners must make sure that their premises are safe for patrons.  This includes taking action to prevent falls in the dark unlit areas, as well as taking precautions against crimes like rapes and assaults, and even the threat of terrorism.

All staff must be trained in safety protocols, and these must be followed stringently. Make sure that entry to the club is restricted to persons above the age of 21 only.  Safety checks of all patrons should be enforced to prevent and dangerous or violent occurrences.  Staff should be thoroughly trained about identifying clues that require notification of management immediately.

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The U.S. Department of Transportation is looking to relax current federal regulations that govern the amount of time commercial truck drivers can be on the road without taking a rest break.  This could lead to an increase of fatigued truck drivers on the nation’s highways which, in turn, could result in more deadly trucking accidents.

Current regulations limit the drive time of long-haul commercial truck drivers to 11 hours of a 14-hour on-duty day.  A driver must then take 10 consecutive hours off before the clock can start again, and if they are going to be driving for more than 8 hours, they must take a rest break of a minimum of 30 minutes before they can drive again.  Essentially a driver cannot exceed 70 hours of driving in eight days. This is known as the 70-hour rule.

Even with such drive time regulations for commercial truck drivers, serious accidents involving fatigued truck drivers are all too common.  In 2017, there were 4,657 fatal truck crashes, a 10% increase from the prior year.  A study by the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) found that a significant percent of fatal accidents involving truck drivers was caused by fatigue.  In fact, sleep deprivation and fatigue has been noted to be one of the most frequent causes of fatal large truck accidents.   The NTSB has recognized that truck driver fatigue is a “pervasive problem” and has declared reducing fatigue-related accidents as one of its “most wanted” safety improvements of 2019-2020.

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A large number of boating accidents on Georgia’s lakes and rivers are linked to alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, far too many boaters believe that the “no drinking and driving” rules that apply when they are driving a car no longer apply when they are operating a boat.

According to statistics, about 16 percent of all boating accidents are linked to boaters operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, far too many boaters believe that it is okay to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol, even though the same boater would never engage in drunk driving.

The effects of alcohol on your brain are the same whether you’re on water or land. In fact, the effects of alcohol may be even more dangerous on water for a number of reasons.   Being exposed to the sun, heat and humidity while out on the water can make you dehydrated and intensify the effects of the alcohol.   The frequent movements or rocking motions of the boat can lull an alcohol-impaired person into a false sense of complacency and security. The noise and vibrations of the craft can also make the effects of the alcohol more potent than they seem behind the wheel of the car.

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Summer is here which means more people are out walking or riding their bikes.  This also means that there more pedestrians and bicyclist are at risk of being struck by a motorist while enjoying their activity.  Preliminary data shows that pedestrian and bicyclist accident deaths increased last year, even though there was a slight drop in the number of traffic accident fatalities recorded in 2018.

The agency projected estimates of the total number of traffic accident fatalities for 2018, and believes that that number may be in the range of 36,750. That is a one percent increase from the number of deaths that occurred in 2018.

That is the good news. The bad news is that there was a significant 4 percent increase in the number of pedestrian accident fatalities recorded last year. Overall, pedestrian accident deaths increased from 12 percent of all traffic accident deaths in 2017, to 16 percent of all deaths in 2018.  Further, bicycling accident fatalities, according to agency data, are projected to increase by 10 percent.

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When you are being treated at the hospital, it is not uncommon for you to interact more with the nurses than with the doctors.   And because of that, the nurse’s role plays a critical part in your treatment.  Many patients are not aware, however, that a nurse’s emotional and mental well-being can have a significant impact on the safety of the patients under his or her care.

There is enough research indicating that hospitals need to invest more in the mental well-being of their nursing staff. Earlier studies have indicated that depression is a fairly common problem among registered nurses. A study published last year in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that far too many nurses report below-average emotional and mental health.

Out of the 1,790 nurses who were included in the study, more than half reported struggling with problems like depression and reported poor mental well being. The lack of well-being also seemed to be directly linked to the risk of medical errors.  In fact, the study found a 26 to 71 percent higher likelihood of the person committing a medical error as a result of their compromised mental condition.

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Summer road-trip season is here, which means thousands of people will hit the roads all throughout the country to travel to their vacation destinations.  Oftentimes these trips involve long drives, sometimes overnight, on a seemingly endless stretch of highway.   During these long road-trips, many drivers will ignore the need to stop and rest adequately, and continue to drive until they reach their destination.   Unfortunately, thousands of people are killed every year in accidents that involve drowsy or fatigued drivers. The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety was recently awarded a grant that will be used to combat this dangerous driving situation.

Drowsy driving is a widespread phenomenon. According to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association, in 2015, at least 5,000 deaths were attributed to traffic accidents caused by drowsy drivers. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that at least 50 percent of American drivers frequently drive under the influence of sleep or fatigue. More than 40 percent of drivers admit to having fallen asleep while driving at least once in the past.

The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety recently received a $15,000 grant from the Governors Highway Safety Association and the National Road Safety Foundation to aid in its campaign against drowsy driving in the state.  The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety strives to promote awareness of the dangers of drowsy driving which is a dangerous but overlooked hazard on Georgia’s roads.

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There have been some cases in the news recently about claims for personal injuries after slip and fall accidents against national retailers and hotel chains.  In one case, a customer in the retail store H&M in Pennsylvania slipped and fell on a wet floor at the entrance.  In another case, a guest at a Hyatt hotel in Houston slipped and fell on a wet floor after it had been mopped by an employee.  In both cases, the injured victim claims that the property owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the accident and their resulting injuries.

The injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident can be very serious.  Often times these injuries can involve fractured or broken arms or legs, but can also include a head injury or even a broken neck.  Needless to say, these injuries can have a devastating affect on the injured victim as well as the injured person’s family.  Compensation for these types of injuries can include not only compensation for the medical bills and any future treatment, but also compensation for lost wages and loss of services and companionship to the victim’s family.

The Atlanta area, and the state of Georgia as a whole, is home to a countless number of retailers, restaurants and hotels where thousands of patrons and guests frequent on a daily basis.  At all of these types of properties, the owner or occupier of the property has a duty to exercise reasonable care to make sure the property where the customers or guests will be is safe.  This undoubtedly includes the floor surfaces within the property.

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