Articles Posted in Child Safety

Published on:

While personal injury cases arising from motor vehicle accidents tend to involve cars or trucks, it is important not to overlook other kinds of vehicles such as buses. For instance, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last December that there were “more than 700 accidents” involving school buses in Metro Atlanta during 2016–a rate of nearly two per day. These accidents resulted in over 300 injuries to students and teachers.

Croy v. Whitfield County

Bus operators, including school districts and public transit agencies, can be held liable for damages when driver negligence leads to passenger injury. Personal injury lawsuits against public agencies in Georgia are often complicated by additional notification requirements. Since the State of Georgia and its political subdivisions are normally immune from personal injury claims, plaintiffs must strictly comply with these requirements just to have their cases heard.

Published on:

Property owners are liable for injuries caused by their failure to correct or repair dangerous conditions. But what if the owner has rented or leased the property to someone else? Under Georgia law, an owner who has “fully parted with possession” (i.e., a landlord) is not liable for injuries sustained by third parties on the premises.

There are two exceptions to this rule. First, the landlord is liable if the injury was the result of “defective construction.” Additionally, the landlord is responsible for his or her own “failure to keep the premises in repair.”

Aldredge v. Byrd, et al.

Published on:

In his recent State of the State address, Gov. Nathan Deal praised the work of Georgia’s Division of Family and Child Services (DFCS), whose employees are charged with protecting abused and neglected children. The governor singled out a case manager in Telfair County who saved an infant’s life. He also proposed a 19% wage increase for case managers throughout Georgia, noting that the state pays its child welfare workers less than every other state in the southeast aside from Louisiana.

Cowart v. Georgia Department of Human Services

Despite the governor’s support, not everyone is satisfied with the the work of the state’s case managers. In fact, the Department of Human Services, which oversees the DFCS, is currently facing a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the estate of a child who died, allegedly after a case worker failed to follow up on serious abuse allegations. The Georgia Court of Appeals recently reversed a trial judge’s decision dismissing the case, citing the need for additional evidence on a key legal issue.

Published on:

Every day, millions of parents entrust the safety of their children to the cars they drive. If there is a defect in a vehicle’s manufacture or design, a parent may not learn about until it is too late and their child has paid the price. When that happens, parents understandably want to hold the vehicle manufacturer responsible.

Chrysler Group, LLC v. Walden

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently addressed such a terrible and tragic case. In 2012, a woman was driving her 4-year-old nephew to an activity when her Jeep Grand Cherokee was rear-ended by another driver. Upon impact, the Jeep’s fuel tank exploded, setting the vehicle on fire. According to court records, the 4-year-old “was alive and conscious while the Grand Cherokee was on fire and may have lived up to a minute with flames in contact with his body” before he died.

Published on:

Parents expect their children to be safe while attending school. Safety is especially important when dealing with children who have learning disabilities or other special needs. Unfortunately, if a child is seriously injured at school, parents may have limited legal options for holding negligent teachers or administrators accountable.

Postell v. Anderson

Here is an illustration from a recent Georgia Court of Appeals decision. The victim in this case was a 14-year-old wheelchair-bound special needs student. The minor attended special education classes at an elementary school in Cherokee County, Georgia. One day, a teacher’s aide transported the victim to an outdoor activity where several other students were in attendance. During this activity one of the other special needs children, a kindergartner with a history of “behavioral problems,” assaulted another student. In the course of restraining this child, the teacher’s aide took her hands off the victim’s wheelchair, causing it to roll down a hill and flip over.

Published on:

Every parent dreads the prospect of taking a child to the emergency room following an accident. This dread can turn to horror if negligence on the part of medical personnel compounds the child’s injuries. Unfortunately, Georgia law makes it difficult to hold emergency medical providers accountable for malpractice. Under a 2005 “tort reform” law, a victim must prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that a provider of “emergency medical care” committed “gross negligence.” This is a significantly higher legal standard than traditional malpractice claims, where Georgia only requires proof of ordinary negligence by a “preponderance of the evidence.”

Nguyen v. Southwestern Emergency Physicians, P.C.

The Georgia Supreme Court recently addressed the application of Georgia’s emergency room law to a tragic case involving an 8-year-old girl. When the child was just six months old, she fell off a bed and hit her head on a blunt object. The child’s mother—who later described the head injury as the size of an apple, practically “another head” on her baby—took her to a hospital emergency room in Albany, Georgia.

Published on:

In any personal injury lawsuit against a business—say, a slip-and-fall or similar premises liability case—the defendant may have a franchise relationship with another company. Does that mean the franchisor can be held liable for the local business’ negligence? A recent Georgia Court of Appeals decision provides a useful illustration of the law in this area.

Kids R Us International, Inc. v. Cope

The plaintiff in this case is the mother of a three-year-old child. The child was enrolled at a daycare center. One day, the child suffered injuries to his face when he collided with a metal gate located in the daycare’s play area. The mother argued the daycare center was negligent in failing to supervise her child and keeping the overall premises safe.

Published on:

Bad Boy Enterprises manufactures and sells golf carts modified to function as off-road vehicles. These “Bad Boy Buggies” are primarily marketed to outdoor enthusiasts and hunters. They are also the subject of an ongoing federal lawsuit in Georgia over their safety.

The plaintiffs in this case are the parents of a minor. The child was 13 years old when her parents allowed her to operate a Bad Boy Buggy owned by a family friend. The child had driven the vehicle on several prior occasions, always with her parents permission. On the day in question, she was driving the buggy around a looping gravel driveway with a friend sitting in the passenger seat.

According to court records, the buggy would suddenly accelerate even when constant pressure was maintained on the accelerator pedal. On this particular day, the child applied the brake as the vehicle entered a turn. The vehicle continued to accelerate, however, and eventually tipped over, severing the child’s left foot and part of her leg.

Published on:

Cerebral palsy is a chronic, incurable condition that impairs a person’s motor functions. Most cases of cerebral palsy arise from a brain injury sustained before, during or shortly after a child’s birth. While cerebral palsy is usually not life-threatening, it is a permanent condition that affects the child for his or her entire lifetime.

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently reinstated a lawsuit, Nixon v. Pierce County School District, brought by a mother whose now-five-year-old child developed cerebral palsy. The woman was about 38 weeks pregnant when a school bus rear-ended her sedan. She was immediately taken to a hospital. The next morning, doctors decided to induce labor. There were no complications during birth, and the woman had, up to the point of the car accident, experienced nothing unusual with respect to her pregnancy.

Six months later, however, the woman started to notice developmental problems with her daughter. The child had difficulty controlling the right side of her body. At approximately one year of age, a pediatric neurologist diagnosed the girl with cerebral palsy.

Published on:

peanut-butter-toast1.jpgAs a father of three children who enjoy Kellogg’s frosted mini-wheats, I was quite disturbed by the voluntary product recall for the frosted and unfrosted mini-wheats original and bite size this week. Apparently, flexible metal fragments from a faulty manufacturing machine were found to be in the cereal. The products subject to recall fall under the ‘better used by dates’ of April 1, 2013 – September 21, 2013. Kellogg is working with retail grocery stores to remove the tainted boxes and fortunately, no injuries have been reported to date. For more information about the recalled cereals, please go to Kellogg’s website consumer alerts.

However, that is not the case with a recent peanut butter recall linked to Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter that contain the salmonella virus. It has been reported that 29 individuals in 18 states contracted the virus with ¾ of all the cases were children under the age of 18. Luckily, no deaths have been reported. Trader Joes Consumer Updates lists the specific products subject to recall or call (626) 599-3817 for further information.

What is a parent to do? Cereal and peanut butter are two staples in my household and part of a balanced diet. As a Georgia Trial Lawyer and informed parent, I can only hope that these recalls will reduce illness and eliminate catastrophic injuries as we try and protect the health and safety of our children.