Tips for Avoiding a Boating Accident in Georgia

As summer is starting to wind down and Georgians are preparing to get back to a regular fall schedule (or at least as regular as possible in the midst of COVID-19), there are still opportunities to get out on the waterways. Boating is one of the few activities that can be done while properly distanced in an outdoor environment where it is far more difficult for the virus to spread. And Georgia has numerous lakes, rivers, and parks that are perfect for enjoying the great outdoors on a boat.

If you are one of those who is planning a boating excursion, be sure to take all of the proper precautions. There are thousands of boat accidents and hundreds of deaths on the waterways each year, so it is very important to be conscious of boating safety.

Here are seven important tips for preventing a boating accident in Georgia:

Understand and Follow the Boating and Navigation Rules

There are many different rules and regulations that a boater must be familiar with. Some of these are state laws, while others are specific to the waterway in which you will be navigating. Before going out, always know the rules that need to be followed and consider taking a boat safety course at some point so you are educated on all of the best safety practices.

Know What You are Getting Into

Weather conditions are always a major factor when you are preparing for a boating excursion. Hopefully, you will have clear/sunny skies and just enough of a breeze to keep you cool without creating dangerous waves. But we all know that “perfect” weather conditions are not likely, so we need to always keep abreast of the latest forecast and advisories. Follow any local advisories that have been issued, and if necessary, you might even have to postpone your trip.

Use a Checklist

Many people use a checklist before going on vacation, and a checklist is also a good idea before you go out on a boat. By having a checklist, you will help ensure that all of the pre-launch tasks are completed, and that you do not miss any important details.

Have Adequate Safety Equipment Onboard

One thing that should always be on your checklist is to ensure that there are enough life jackets/vests for everyone to wear, and that there are plenty of flotation devices available in case someone goes overboard. You should also make sure you have a first aid kit on board as well as a fire extinguisher and anchor.

Notify Someone that You are Going on the Water

Whenever you take a boating trip, you should always tell someone who is staying behind where you are going to be and approximately what time you plan to be back. Things can get dicey sometimes on the waterways, and there may even be times when you are out of cell phone coverage and unable to call for help. Having someone onshore who is aware of your trip provides an extra layer of security as they will be able to monitor your progress and contact the authorities to search for you if you do not come back within a reasonable amount of time.

Avoid Intoxication

Just as drinking and driving is a dangerous and often deadly combination, the same holds true for drinking and boating. It is true that alcohol is often a major part of many boat outings, but regardless, whoever is driving the boat needs to be committed to staying sober. No exceptions.

Avoid Distracted Boating

Another important issue that the boat driver needs to be aware of is getting distracted by his/her cell phone. It is tempting to take selfies and videos while out on the water, or even to send and receive electronic messages. But keep in mind that these activities are very dangerous when you are driving a boat, because they distract you visually, manually, and cognitively. If you are driving the boat, the best thing to do with regards to your phone is either leave it onshore or have someone else handle it.

Injured in a Boating Accident in Georgia? Contact Ross Moore Law for Assistance

You can follow all of the laws and best safety practices on the waterways, but unfortunately, you cannot control what others do. If you or someone you know suffered injury in a boat accident, you may be entitled to compensation as long as you were less than 50% at fault. After receiving proper medical care, your next call should be to an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.

At Ross Moore Law, we have secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for victims of all types of personal injuries in Georgia. We work closely with our clients, putting our extensive experience to work and exploring every potential legal avenue toward recovering maximum compensation. For a free consultation and case assessment with our attorney, message us online or call our office today at (404) 905-3146. We look forward to serving you!

What are the Most Common Types of Personal Injury Claims?

There are hundreds of thousands of personal injury claims that are filed in the United States each year, resulting in billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for claimants. Any type of accident or event that results in compensable losses for an injured person can result in a personal injury action. To be successful, however, the plaintiff must prove that the losses occurred because of the defendant’s negligent or reckless actions or omissions, although there are some cases in which strict liability may apply.

Most Common Types of Personal Injury Claims

There are a number of situations that could give rise to a personal injury action, here are five of the most common:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

By far, the most common type personal injury claim results from some type of motor vehicle or traffic-related accident. There are more than 6 million auto accidents in the United States each year, killing approximately 40,000 individuals and seriously injuring hundreds of thousands more. Vehicle accidents vary widely in type and severity, from your minor rear in collisions to multi-car pileups to everything in between.

Many people who get injured in an auto accident decide to handle the claim on their own, but this could be a big mistake. If it is a minor injury and the insurance company is presenting an offer that seems fair, then it might be okay to accept the offer and move on with life. But in a large number of cases, an injured person is going to be better off working with an attorney.

Statistics show that the average personal injury payout for those who hire a lawyer is more than three times the amount of those who handle a claim on their own. But even if you do not believe your case is worth all that much, it never hurts to at least get a free consultation from a lawyer to have your case assessed and be informed of your legal rights and options.

Premises Liability Accidents

Slips, trips, and falls that happen on someone else’s property are another common reason for a personal injury action. Parties who own and operate a business or maintain a public space are responsible for keeping their property safe and free of any dangerous conditions that might cause harm to visitors. A substandard condition such as a wet or slippery floor could lead to a slip and fall accident. Other premises liability claims might result from dog bites/animal attacks, negligent security, and other hazards.

Medical Malpractice

Very few people realize that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States (behind only heart disease and cancer). According to CNBC, as many as 440,000 individuals die each year because of errors committed by medical professionals to whom we entrust to care for us and our loved ones. When a situation like this occurs, it may be possible to file a medical negligence claim against the doctor and/or hospital that is responsible for the error.

Product Liability

Numerous products come on the market each year, and before they become available to the general public, they are supposed to be properly vetted. Unfortunately, many of these products are approved without confirming that they are safe for consumers during the course of regular use. If a product has not gone through the proper testing and ends up injuring someone who is using it correctly, then it may be possible to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or any other party within the product’s supply chain.

Workplace Accidents

Every seven seconds, a worker is injured on the job (according to the National Safety Council). Injuries can happen in any work environment, but there are some industries that are far more dangerous than others. For example, transportation workers drive in their vehicles all day, which greatly increases the chances of an auto accident. Construction is another industry where workers encounter numerous potential hazards on a daily basis.

The first recourse for injured workers to obtain reimbursement for their losses is usually through workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, workers’ comp benefits are limited, and they do not provide any compensation for noneconomic damages such as physical and emotional pain-and-suffering. That said, there are many workplace accidents that are caused by parties other than the employer, and in such cases, a personal injury claim can be brought directly against the responsible party.

Suffered a Personal Injury in Atlanta? Contact Ross Moore Law for Legal Help

If you or a loved one suffered an injury that was caused by another person or party, you may have a right to significant compensation. Before dealing with any insurance company, call Ross Moore Law today at (404) 905-3146 or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment. We are ready to go to work for you!

How Will My Criminal Record Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

Everyone has made mistakes in their life, and for some, poor judgment has landed them in trouble with the law. It could be a DUI, maybe a minor drug possession charge, or another type of offense. Maybe it was a long time ago, or maybe it was fairly recently.

Does any of this matter when you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit? The short answer is it shouldn’t. But unfortunately, sometimes it does.

If you have been injured because of the negligence or recklessness of another party, you have a right to file a civil claim for monetary damages. Provided your criminal offense was not directly related in any way to the underlying accident or event that caused your injury, then your personal injury claim should stand on its own merits.

Although this is how it should be, the defendant in your lawsuit might still try to use your criminal history against you in order to undermine the credibility of your claim.

Will it work? That depends on how you and your attorney choose to deal with it. And this is one of many reasons why it is so important to be represented by a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who is well equipped to successfully navigate complications like these.

How an Opposing Counsel Might use your Criminal Background Against You

As we touched on earlier, the goal of your opponent in a personal injury lawsuit is to discredit you in hopes that the jury will either dismiss the case or significantly lower the amount of damages that are awarded. To accomplish this, they will look for ways to demonstrate that you are dishonest and therefore anything you tell the jury is highly questionable.

The opposing counsel is most likely to bring up a past criminal offense if it has something to do with fraud – for example, shoplifting, writing a bad check, or trying to pass counterfeit currency. They will argue that a criminal charge like this speaks directly to your credibility.

Before you get too worried about how your criminal record might affect your personal injury claim, it is important to point out that the vast majority of civil claims do not end up in front of a jury. A large percentage of them are settled before they ever get to trial, and many others get settled shortly after a trial begins. If your case does not end up being litigated, then it is highly unlikely that your criminal history will have much impact on it.

All of that said, there are still a number of cases that do go to trial. And on a related note, your attorney should have extensive litigation experience and the proven ability to secure favorable verdicts at trial. Without the credible threat of litigation, the other side will have very little incentive to offer you a reasonable settlement.

Sometimes, defendants are simply not willing to negotiate in good faith. When this happens, there may be no other alternative than to try the case. So, if you do end up in litigation, you need to be prepared to have your criminal history brought up.

How you Can Mitigate the Effects of Your Criminal History

First and foremost, when you are involved with a personal injury claim, you need to be totally honest and upfront with your attorney. The other side has professional investigators who will dig up everything they can to undermine your case, so it will only hurt your claim if you conceal damaging facts and they are later brought up by the other side. It is best to get everything out in the open early on, so your attorney can develop the most effective strategy to deal with anything that might weaken your case.

With regards to a past criminal offense, here are just a couple of ways your attorney might choose to handle it:

  • Take a Proactive Approach: One way you might be able to mitigate the effects of past criminal offenses is to bring them up on your own terms before the other side has a chance to. This way, you can give the jury a proper perspective on what happened, which is more likely to be viewed favorably.
  • Waive a Jury Trial: If you have a more serious offense and it was pretty recent, your attorney might decide to waive your right to a jury trial and have a judge decide your case. Judges tend to be less emotional, and they are more likely to make a ruling on the merits of the case, regardless of someone’s past criminal history.

Contact an Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have you suffered an injury through no fault of your own, do not let a criminal record keep you from pursuing the just compensation you deserve. Having a past criminal offense is not the end of the world, and there are many ways that a skilled attorney can effectively deal with this type of situation. If your injury occurred in Georgia, Ross Moore Law is here to help. Message us online or call our office today at (404) 905-3146 for a free consultation and case assessment. We look forward to serving you!

Left Turn Accidents: Who is Liable

In countries where motorists drive on the right side of the road, making a left turn is among the more dangerous maneuvers. You are essentially going against the grain of the traffic, and this opens up drivers to a number of potential hazards.

Drivers for UPS almost never take left turns – even if they have to take a longer route to avoid doing so. The company started this practice in the 1970s, and today, they use a sophisticated routing software to avoid left turns whenever possible in the US and other right-side driving countries.

As you might guess, the primary motivation for the world’s largest private ground courier to avoid left turns (when possible) is to save money – UPS says that this policy results in 6 to 8 fewer miles driven per route, saving the company 10 million gallons of fuel per year. But the company also says that not making unnecessary left turns reduces the number of accidents, which keeps their drivers safer and also saves them money.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has studied the correlation between left turns and vehicle accidents. Their report found that turning left is a contributing factor in 61% of all collisions that happen while a vehicle is turning or going through an intersection. By comparison, right turns are a factor in only 3.1% of these types of collisions. When you look at overall accidents, left turns are a factor in 22% of the cases, while right turns are a factor in only 1% of them.

If making a left turn is this dangerous, it stands to reason that the driver that is turning left is assumed to be the one responsible for causing the crash. In a lot of cases, this is true. Someone turning left is turning through oncoming traffic, and a lot of things can go wrong in that scenario.

For one thing, the increased vehicle acceleration required to make the turn can cause the driver to misjudge the speed of an approaching vehicle. Or the car could have an acceleration problem that would make it unable to get through the intersection without avoiding a collision.

Another potential problem is the obstructed view that drivers of larger vehicles have when they turn left. This could cause them to miss smaller vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles that may be crossing the intersection. A driver might also forget to turn their left blinker on, making much more difficult for oncoming traffic to realize that they are intending to turn.

Liability in a Left Turn Accident

Just because left turn drivers have inherent disadvantages that make it more difficult for them to safely complete the turn, this does not necessarily mean they are the ones at fault if an accident occurs. Each individual case is unique, and there are always specific factors that need to be looked at in determining liability for a crash.

For example, if a left turn driver is crossing an intersection while they have a green arrow, then the traffic that is crossing from the other side is required to stop. If another vehicle were to run a red light and crash into the vehicle turning left, then this would clearly be the fault of the other vehicle driver.

Here are a few other cases when a driver other than the one turning left might share at least some of the blame for a left turn accident:

  • The other driver was sending a text message while crossing the intersection, which is a violation of Georgia law.
  • The other driver was going over the speed limit while crossing the intersection.
  • The other driver was legally intoxicated.

A thorough investigation is required to get to determine the exact cause of a left turn accident. This may include a review of any traffic camera or dashboard camera footage that may be available, cell phone records that may show the exact time a driver sent or opened a text, and the testimony of eyewitnesses.

If you have been involved in a left turn accident, do not admit fault for the accident – leave that to the experts to sort out. And after receiving prompt medical attention for any injuries you may have sustained, get in touch with a skilled and knowledgeable auto accident attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.

Injured in a Left Turn Accident in Atlanta? Contact Ross Moore Law for Legal Help

If you or someone close to you got hurt in a vehicle accident in Georgia, Ross Moore Law is ready to go to work for you. Call our office today at (404) 905-3146 or message us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment with our attorney.

How Distracted Driving Contributes to Motorcycle Accidents

Summertime in Georgia means warmer weather and a lot more motorcycles on the road. For avid bikers, there are few activities that are more refreshing and exhilarating than riding on the open roads while enjoying the beautiful scenery the Peach State has to offer. Motorcycle riding is also a socially distanced activity, which is especially helpful as our country continues to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Riding a motorcycle is a very enjoyable activity, but it can also be very dangerous. Unlike motor vehicle occupants, bikers do not have a steel cage to protect them, and when there is a motorcycle accident, there is very little that separates the rider from hitting the pavement. With that in mind, it is no surprise to learn that motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to be killed in a collision (per hundred thousand miles traveled) than vehicle occupants.

In recent years, motorcycle accident fatalities have been rapidly increasing. Back in the 1990s, things looked to be improving for bikers as the number of fatalities had been reduced to a consistent rate of under 3,000 per year. But around the turn of the 21st Century, things began to turn back in the wrong direction.

In 2001, motorcycle accident fatalities went above 3,000 for the first time since 1990. In 2004, fatalities broke the 4,000 mark for the first time since 1986. And in 2007, they went above 5,000 for the first time ever. Since 2007, the fatality rate has consistently stayed well above 4,000, and it has broken 5,000 several times during the past 13 years.

2007 just happens to be the year that Apple released its first version of the iPhone. By the time the first iPhone came out, texting was already a popular means of communication in the US, especially among younger people. But once smartphones became mainstream, Americans started to get addicted to the idea of “staying connected”.

Today, most Americans have some type of smartphone, and while carrying around a pocket-sized computer gives us access to a world of information at our fingertips, it is also become a major distraction. It comes as little surprise then that texting while driving has reached epidemic proportions.

Distracted Driving and Motorcycle Accidents

Vehicle drivers have always had distractions to deal with, but none have been as dangerous as texting and other types of electronic messaging using a smartphone. Texting while driving distracts motorists in three different ways; manually, visually, and cognitively. The end result is that a driver’s focus is directed entirely on their phone, rather than on the road where it should be.

Just to provide some perspective, the NHTSA points out that when a driver who is traveling at 55 mph takes their eyes off of the road for just five seconds to send, receive, or read a text, it is similar to driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded.

So, what does all of this mean for motorcyclists?

Even before texting came on the scene, there were well-funded national public awareness campaigns admonishing drivers to “start seeing motorcycles”. There has always been an issue with vehicle drivers not giving motorcycles proper space on the road, and because motorcycles have a smaller profile, they are more difficult to see even under ideal conditions.

When you add the element of texting while driving to the equation, it puts motorcyclists in even greater danger. This is why many experts believe that distracted driving is one of the major contributors to the spike in motorcycle accident fatalities in recent years.

According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report from 2017, nearly 40% of all motorcycle accidents involve a distracted or inattentive driver. These types of accidents can happen for a number of reasons; such as when a driver does not see a motorcycle that enters their blind spot, a driver weaves out of their lane or straddles the center line in the road, or a driver fails to notice a motorcycle slowing down in front of them.

Georgia and most other states have made texting while driving illegal, but the penalties for violating this law are not very severe. For example, for a first distracted driving violation, the penalty is a maximum fine of $50 and one demerit point on their driving record. A second offense doubles the fine to $100 and adds two demerit points to the driving record. And a third offense triples the fine to $150 and adds three demerit points to the driving record.

So far, it does not appear that these penalties are doing all that much to curb the problem of distracted driving. Hopefully, behaviors will change in the future as more people become aware of the dangers of this type of activity. In the meantime, motorcyclists need to continue driving defensively and watch closely for signs that a motorist might be distracted so they can keep their distance.

Injured in a Distracted Driving Crash in Atlanta? Contact Ross Moore Law for Assistance

Even if you do all you can to avoid an accident, you cannot control the actions of others. If you or a loved one got hurt in a distracted driving accident in Georgia, Ross Moore Law is here to help. Message us online or call our office today at (404) 905-3146 for a free consultation with our attorney. We look forward to serving you!

Can a Personal Injury Case be Reopened?

When someone is injured because of the negligent or reckless actions of another party, medical bills tend to pile up and all the time missed from work can make finances pretty tight. Under these circumstances, it is understandable that you would want to settle the case and get your compensation check fairly quickly.

The problem is that the defendant’s initial settlement offer is usually pretty low, and oftentimes, an injured person finds that their injuries are significantly worse than they originally thought. This causes many plaintiffs to wonder whether it is possible to reopen a personal injury case once it has already been settled or closed.

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is generally “no”.

Once you accept a settlement offer, you are usually required to sign a “release of liability”, which releases the defendant from any additional damages that they may be liable for resulting from your injury. So, if the defendant has already paid you a settlement check, this most likely means that the case is closed.

All of that said, there are some limited circumstances in which you might still be able to reopen your personal injury case. These include:

  • You Have not Yet Signed the Settlement Agreement: Maybe you are at the point where you have agreed to a settlement, but you have not yet signed the paperwork. If this is true in your case, there might still be time to back out of the agreement. Keep in mind, however, that sometimes even a verbal settlement agreement can be interpreted as legally valid, so you might still be bound by whatever you agreed to.
  • The Settlement Document has Clerical Errors: The settlement document might have drafting errors that are significant, such as listing the amount as $13,000 rather than $30,000. When there is a technical error, you can get the mistake corrected or it might be possible to reopen the claim.
  • You Settled the Case based on Poor Legal Advice: If you agreed to an insufficient settlement amount because of bad legal advice, you might have grounds for a professional malpractice claim against the attorney that represented you.
  • There are Other Defendants you Could Go After: With some personal injuries, there are multiple parties that could be held responsible. For example, if you were injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you might be able to file a claim against the trucking company and the cargo/shipping company in addition to the driver. If there are other defendants you could go after that were not part of the original settlement you received, then you might be able to open up a case against them.

Be Aware of the Statute of Limitations
Even if one of the above-mentioned instances applies to you or you have another avenue toward reopening your personal injury claim, the statute of limitations could be an additional barrier. In Georgia for example, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years. If the two-year time limit has passed in your case, then it will most likely be thrown out of court. So, if you are thinking of trying to reopen a personal injury claim, be mindful of how close you are to your state’s statute of limitations.

Avoiding Personal Injury Settlement Regret

It is questions like whether or not a personal injury case can be reopened that underscore the importance of speaking with a skilled and knowledgeable attorney before accepting any type of settlement offer. Insurance companies will often imply that you do not need a lawyer, and that you will get paid the same amount of compensation whether you retain legal counsel or not.

The truth is that in a large number of cases, there is no way of knowing how much compensation you are entitled to early on in the claims process. Additional symptoms may emerge, and you might need to see the doctor several more times, go in for tests, etc. before you know for sure how bad your injuries are.

So, if you have been injured in an accident that someone else was responsible for, it is in your best interest to at least talk with an attorney to have them review your case and inform you of your legal rights and options. This way, you can make the most informed decision on whether it is in your interests to accept any kind of settlement offer, and whichever path you choose, you can do so without regret.

Speak with an Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer

As we have discussed, most of the time a personal injury case cannot be reopened after the claim has already been settled or closed, but there are a few possible exceptions. If you have any questions about your Georgia personal injury case, Ross Moore Law is here to help. We can examine your case and help you determine if there is a way to reopen it and what steps would be involved.

For your free personal injury consultation and case assessment, message us online or call our office today at (404) 905-3146. We look forward to serving you!

How will COVID-19 Impact Personal Injury Claims in GA?

The coronavirus pandemic is the worst public health emergency most Americans have ever experienced. Thus far, hundreds of thousands have tested positive for COVID-19, and tens of thousands have died from it. In response to the outbreak, Georgia and most other states have issued “stay-at-home” orders to help slow the spread of the virus and prevent hospitals from getting overwhelmed.

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt in every area of our society, and it will continue to reverberate long after this pandemic subsides. Although not everyone will contract the virus, no one is immune from the effects of it – including the legal system.

At the moment, there is limited access to the Georgia courts, and if hearings are held, they are usually done via teleconference or videoconference. At Ross Moore Law, we want you to know that, in spite of the challenges presented by the coronavirus outbreak, we are still open and ready to serve you. The health and well-being of our clients remains our number one priority, and as such, we are taking all the precautions and following all the social distancing guidelines.

From the beginning, our firm was built with a mind toward providing strong personalized representation while leveraging the most up-to-date technologies to ensure smooth and efficient operations and an outstanding client experience. This has paid strong dividends as we have been able to rapidly transition into a fully operational virtual office during this unprecedented time for our state and country.

How the Coronavirus might Affect your Personal Injury Case

Access to Medical Care

When someone gets injured as a result of another party’s negligence, it is very important for them to get prompt medical treatment. This is not only true from the standpoint of your physical (and oftentimes emotional) recovery, but also for your legal claim. An injured party has a legal duty to mitigate their losses by receiving the care they need to recover or reach maximum medical improvement.

The coronavirus outbreak has caused difficulty for patients who are being treated for a personal injury. Some have had their appointments canceled or rescheduled, and many elective procedures have been put on hold in order to preserve capacity for expected COVID-19 patients. There is very little that can be done about a mandatory delay for certain types of medical care, but patients still need to be diligent, keep their appointments, and do what they can to follow all of their doctor’s recommendations.

This brings up another issue that many personal injury victims are experiencing. With the understandable concern about running into COVID-19 positive patients at the hospital or clinic, some victims are apprehensive about going in to see the doctor. It is important to understand, however, that these facilities are going to great lengths to keep everyone healthy, including putting on masks, keeping patients distanced from each other, and sanitizing surfaces. Although you can never completely eliminate the risk of contracting the coronavirus, the risk is minimal, and it would be far worse to miss out on the treatment you need to get recovered from your injury.

Court Access

As mentioned earlier, Georgia courts are limited to emergency proceedings for the time being. This means that personal injury trials that were scheduled for the Spring have been postponed. But although the wheels of justice are turning more slowly these days, much of the work that goes into a personal injury case continues unabated. For example, we are still able to review police reports and gather other critical facts and pieces of evidence for a claim, and many depositions are still being held through videoconferencing as long as the opposing counsel is cooperative. When everything reopens, there is likely to be a backlog of cases for a while, but we are confident that things will return to normal before too long.

Increased Pressure to Settle your Claim

With the delays in the court schedule and tighter finances for many households where a breadwinner may have lost their job because of COVID-19, many personal injury victims are feeling increased pressure to settle their claims. Insurance companies are also aware of this situation, and many of them are trying to drag things out so claimants are more motivated to settle for a very low amount.

Unfortunately, the offers claimants are likely to receive right now will probably only represent a fraction of what they are entitled to. This is why it is more important than ever to have strong legal counsel by your side fighting hard to recover the full and fair compensation you need and deserve.

Ross Moore Law is Here for You

If you or a loved one suffered injury because of the negligent or reckless actions of another party, do not put off obtaining legal help because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ross Moore Law is here for you, and we are ready to go to work immediately on your claim. For a free consultation and case assessment, message us online or call our office today at (404) 905-3146. We look forward to serving you!

Avoiding a Pedestrian Accident During the Coronavirus Shutdown

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage America and most of the rest of the world, Georgia has issued a “shelter in place” order to help prevent the spread of the virus. Thousands of non-essential businesses have been shut down temporarily, with countless workers being abruptly laid off or furloughed. Many of those who are still working are doing so from home rather than going into their office.

With most of us stuck at home, there are far fewer cars on the road. But at the same time, many people are going for walks in order to get fresh air and exercise. Walking is a great way to get out of the house and enjoy the warm weather while we wait for the effects of the coronavirus outbreak to subside. That said, the increased pedestrian traffic does heighten the risk of a vehicle (or vehicles) crashing into someone who is out walking.

In fact, just recently, multiple vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian who was attempting to cross Interstate 20 near the Moreland Avenue exit in Atlanta. At least four vehicles hit the man who was crossing, resulting in his death and possible injuries to motorists. The cause of the accident remains under investigation, but this tragic incident highlights the need for pedestrians and motorists to be mindful of the dangers out there and take the necessary steps to stay safe.

Tips for Avoiding Pedestrian Accidents during COVID-19 or Anytime

For Pedestrians

  • Stay Visible: Do everything you can to make sure that drivers are able to see you. If you are out walking during the day, wear brightly colored clothing. If walking at night after dark, wear lightly colored or reflective clothing. As much as possible, try to walk in areas where there is plenty of lighting, and also try to make eye contact with vehicle drivers before you cross in front of them.
  • Obey Traffic Laws: Understand and obey all of the traffic laws and rules in whatever area you are walking. For example, cross only at designated crosswalks and other places where it is legal, and do not try to cross when there is a red light and/or oncoming traffic.
  • Be Alert: Most of us have smartphones, and it can be difficult to put them away even for a short while. But as a pedestrian, it is your responsibility to pay attention to potential hazards and avoid them. In order to best accomplish this, limit your smartphone use, especially when you are crossing the road in places where there is typically high vehicle traffic.
  • Stay Sober: Alcohol plays a role in approximately 50% of all pedestrian accident cases. And although it is usually an impaired driver that causes the accident, about one-third of all alcohol-related pedestrian crashes involve a pedestrian who is intoxicated. Whether you are driving or walking, alcohol impairs your judgment. Stay safe by staying sober.

For Motorists

  • Avoid Distractions: As we discussed earlier, it is very tempting to look at your smartphone while walking or driving. However, doing this can have deadly consequences. The best practice is to put your phone away while you drive. But if you must get in touch with someone, do so only by making a phone call with the phone in “hands-free” mode.
  • Follow Traffic Laws: Many pedestrian crashes happen because of aggressive or reckless driving behaviors. Examples include excessive speeding, running stop signs and red lights, and failing to yield the right-of-way. As with pedestrians, motorists must be familiar with and obey all traffic laws in order to keep everyone safe.
  • Stay Sober: In spite of several decades of high-profile public awareness campaigns, far too many motorists make the horrible and often fateful decision to drive after having too much to drink. Do not be one of them – it may be a decision you regret for the rest of your life.
  • Be Mindful of Pedestrian Traffic: With more people out walking during the coronavirus pandemic, motorists need to watch out for pedestrian traffic not only in areas like downtown Atlanta where it tends to be heavy, but also in their own neighborhoods.

Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in Atlanta? Ross Moore Law is Here to Help

If you or someone close to suffered injury in a pedestrian crash, you may have a right to significant compensation. But do not put off speaking with an attorney simply because of the COVID-19 situation. At Ross Moore Law, we want you to know that we are still open and ready to serve your legal needs. In spite of the unprecedented challenges our nation is facing, we have the technology and resources to remain fully operational while following all of the social distancing guidelines to ensure their everyone stays safe.

To speak with a member of our legal team, message us online or call us today at (404) 905-3146. We look forward to serving you!

Why are Pedestrian Deaths and Injuries on the Rise in GA?

Pedestrian fatalities have been increasing in Georgia and throughout the nation in recent years. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 6,283 pedestrians killed in 2018 (the most recent year we have full records for). This marked a 3% increase over 2017, and a 30% increase from 2009, just a decade earlier.

The rate of pedestrian fatalities has also steadily increased in Georgia over the same period of time. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reports that there were 261 pedestrians killed in the state in 2018, which was a slight increase over 2017, and a 60% increase over the past five years. The state of Georgia is the sixth most dangerous state for pedestrians, and metro Atlanta is listed as one of the deadliest regions in the country for pedestrian accidents.

What is Causing the Increase in Pedestrian Deaths in Georgia?

There are a number of factors that experts believe are contributing to the rise in pedestrian fatalities in Georgia:

  • Population Growth: Georgia’s population continues to grow at a healthy pace. As of 2019, there were 10.62 million residents in the state, up from 9.71 million in 2010. Since everyone is a pedestrian at some point, a larger population means an increase in pedestrian traffic.
  • Demographic Changes: Georgia’s population is also aging. The median age of a resident in the state was 36.9 years old, an increase of 1.6 over 2010. With the baby boomers retiring, this trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Elderly pedestrians are particularly susceptible to severe injuries and fatalities when they are struck by a vehicle.
  • Health and Environmentally Conscious Citizens: Our population is larger and older, and it is also more conscious of staying healthy and protecting the environment. Both of these causes can be helped by walking, and many people are choosing to walk, bike, and/or take public transportation to work.
  • Larger Vehicles on the Road: Better economic conditions and lower fuel prices have led to an increase in the number of larger vehicles that are on the road. Among the most popular vehicles these days include SUVs and large pickup trucks. Because of the size and ground clearance of these vehicles, it can be more difficult to see pedestrians walking nearby; and when a pedestrian is struck by a large vehicle, there is a greater likelihood of serious and catastrophic injuries.
  • Electronic Distractions: In our digital age when nearly everyone owns a smartphone, many drivers have a hard time staying off of their phones when they are behind the wheel. Texting while driving and other electronic activities are especially dangerous, because they distract drivers in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively. The end result is that their focus is taken completely away from the road, causing them to miss important details such as a pedestrian crossing. Some pedestrians are also guilty of spending too much time on their phones, which can distract them from seeing an oncoming vehicle.

Ways to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents

Safety is a shared responsibility, and we must all do our part to reverse recent trends and vastly reduce the number of pedestrian accidents.

For Pedestrians

  • Stay visible by wearing bright clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night;
  • Be predictable by following all of the rules and crossing only when you have a green light at a stoplight;
  • Cross streets only at crosswalks and intersections when possible;
  • Never assume that a driver sees you – always try to make eye contact with the driver as a vehicle approaches so you know for sure that you have been seen;
  • Watch out for vehicles that are entering and exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots;
  • Avoid using alcohol or drugs while walking as it can impair your judgment and physical abilities;
  • Keep alert at all times while walking and do not let your electronic devices distract you.

For Drivers

  • Always be on the lookout for pedestrians, even when you are driving in areas where they do not usually appear;
  • Be extra cautious when you are driving in adverse conditions such as after dark or during inclement weather;
  • Never pass up vehicles that are stopped at a crosswalk as there may be pedestrians crossing that you are unable to see;
  • Be especially mindful of pedestrians when you are backing up;
  • Obey the speed limit and other traffic rules at all times, and especially when there are pedestrians on the street;
  • Never drive after you have consumed alcohol or drugs;
  • Put your phone away when you drive – never text, and only talk on the phone if it is in “hands-free” mode.

Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in Georgia? Contact a Skilled and Knowledgeable Atlanta Auto Accident Attorney

In spite of our best efforts, we cannot control the actions of others. If you or a loved one suffered injury in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to compensation. You can be sure that the insurance company will try to pay you as little as possible, however, and you need a strong advocate in your corner who is looking out for your best interests.

If your injury occurred in Georgia, contact Ross Moore II, P.C. for assistance. Call our Atlanta office today at (404) 491-8511 or message us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment.

When Can I Sue a Retail Store for a Slip and Fall Accident?

You’ve experienced a slip-and-fall accident in a retail store — what now? You may be sore, embarrassed, and ready to push past the incident. After all, those who suffer slip-and-fall accidents have been the butt of many sitcom jokes and painted as scammers trying to take advantage of the legal system. Don’t let this stop you from taking action after a fall. Over nine million people visit the emergency room every year for slip-and-fall incidents, so you aren’t alone.

When the owner of a store fails to maintain their property or create safe walkways, you aren’t in the wrong — they are. But before you can seek compensation, you have to find out if you have a solid case and if suing the retail store is an option.

Is the Store Liable?

For the store to be liable for your accident, they must have been negligent in some way. For example, if you are walking on a clearly lit walkway without any unavoidable obstacles and you trip because you are distracted by your phone, it’s unlikely that the store will be found liable. However, if you fall because store representatives failed to clear away snow and ice after a snowstorm, that would likely fall on their shoulders.

Other circumstances in which a store may be liable include:

  • Liquid spills
  • Debris blocking walkways
  • Uneven flooring
  • Slippery or torn floor mats
  • Exposed cords
  • Poorly lit areas
  • Broken handrails

Proving That You Are Owed Damages

There are several elements in a slip-and-fall case or any other type of premises liability case. Each one of these four requirements must be met for you to recover any damages:

  • The defendant (in this case, the store owner) must have had a duty of care to the victim to maintain the property;
  • The defendant must have failed to keep the property safe and free from hazards;
  • The breach of duty must be directly responsible for the victim’s injuries;
  • The victim’s injuries must have led to measurable damages.

If these conditions are not met, it is unlikely that you have a case. For example, if you break into a store while it’s closed and injure yourself, the other side would likely argue that they did not have a duty of care to you because you did not have permission to be on the property. If you slip on something but do not sustain any injuries, you don’t have damages, so you cannot sue for what could have happened. These details need to be discussed with an experienced premises liability attorney to determine the strength of your case.

Damages in a Slip-and-Fall Case

As the victim in a slip-and-fall case, you may be able to pursue compensation from the store owner and their insurance company. Any injury can lead to serious financial issues for victims, particularly if they have substantial medical bills or have to take time off of work to recover. Damages you may be able to seek include:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical care and rehabilitative care
  • Property damage; for example, if your phone is broken during a fall
  • Lost income for days away from work
  • Future lost wages if your earning potential is permanently affected

You may also be able to ask for noneconomic damages, depending on the details of your case. Noneconomic damages include disfigurement, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Planning Your Next Steps

Immediately after a slip-and-fall accident, you may be focused only on healing and resting. However, if you don’t think ahead and gather evidence, you could lose valuable evidence for your personal injury case. Take the following steps to protect yourself and your rights after a fall:

  • Take photos of the scene, ensuring that you get multiple photos of any wet areas, loose cords, or other hazards;
  • Get contact information from nearby witnesses;
  • Report the accident to the manager on duty and fill out an accident report (read everything carefully before signing to ensure that you are not signing away your right to pursue medical care or file a lawsuit);
  • Contact an attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal options.

Reach Out to Ross Moore II, P.C. Today

When you choose Ross Moore II, P.C., you can feel confident that you have an attorney on your side who is dedicated to the success of your case. While you concentrate on recovering, we will handle the insurance and legal aspects of your slip-and-fall claim. Find out how we can help you by messaging us online or calling us at (404) 491-8511.