Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Swimming pool injuries happen frequently and can cause serious damage, especially to children. The following article will provide some helpful tips for preventing swimming pool injuries.

Swimming Pool Injury Statistics

The following section includes some notable statistics regarding swimming pool injuries:

As of 2019, there have been 173,040 unintentional deaths in the United States. Unintentional deaths can result from various incidents, such as work-related injuries, medical malpractice, or car accidents. When a loved one dies, it makes sense that survivors would want to file a wrongful death claim against the person or entity they believe caused the death. The following article will provide some vital information regarding wrongful death claims in Georgia to assist you if you decide to file a claim.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim typically asserts that the decedent’s death was the result of a person’s negligence or misconduct. Wrongful death claims can apply to all types of fatal accidents, ranging from car accidents to medical malpractice. Various individuals can be sued in wrongful death suits, such as the driver in a car accident fatality or the physician in a medical malpractice fatality.

With summertime rapidly approaching, hot sunny days cannot be far behind. Few things go better with a hot summer day than a refreshing dip in a swimming pool. While refreshing, however, that dip in the pool is not risk free, as accidents in and around swimming pools result in thousands of injuries and deaths each year. Young children are particularly at risk, especially those too young to know how to swim. Summer is a time for having fun in and around water, but be sure to exercise necessary cautions.

Pool-Related Injuries and Deaths Happen Frequently

When discussing swimming pool accidents, drownings often are among the first topics raised, and might even be the only topic discussed. Drownings and near-drownings, which are not fatal but can result in severe injuries, are the cause of thousands of deaths and injuries every year. From 2005 through 2014, 3,536 people on average drowned every year. Drowning is the fifth-leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. each year. There were more than 3,700 people who died from drowning across the country in 2016. While those drownings took place in all bodies of water, many of those drownings, fatal and non-fatal, occur in swimming pools. Children younger than the age of 15 account for a significant number of those drownings and near-drownings.

It goes without saying that a drunk driver can be held liable in a civil lawsuit for injuring someone while on the road. In some cases, Georgia law even makes it possible for an accident victim to sue a bar or restaurant for serving the drunk driver. But what about a mental health professional who treated the drunk driver? Can they also be held responsible for failing to take action to prevent their patient from getting behind the wheel?

Stanley v. Garrett

The Georgia Court of Appeals addressed these questions in a recent decision, Stanley v. Garrett. This case involved a man named Fettig, who had a history of alcoholism and depression. The defendant in this case was Fettig’s psychiatrist.

Industrial accidents are often the result of a chain of events. There are usually multiple parties whose negligence or intentional failures led to an innocent worker’s injury. Of course, when the victim files a lawsuit, these parties are quick to try and deflect blame to one another.

Hill v. Konecranes, Inc.

An ongoing federal lawsuit in Savannah, Hill v. Konecranes, Inc., provides an apt illustration of this principle. This tragic case involves the 2015 death of a crane operator. The victim worked for International Paper Company (IP) in Augusta, where he used a gantry crane to move timber. Konecranes, Inc., was the company responsible for manufacturing and installing the crane. IP also retained Konecranes to perform regular inspections of the gantry crane.

In October 2014, a man from McDonough, Georgia, died after his Suzuki motorcycle collided with a Toyota Prius. According to a report from the Henry Herald at the time, the man “was traveling east on Campground Road and the Prius was traveling north on Palmer Road.” The Prius then pulled out onto Campground Road and was “hit by the Suzuki.” At the time, police attributed the accident to “speed and reckless driving” on the part of the motorcyclist.

Clack v. Hasnat

The family of the motorcyclist subsequently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver and owners of the Prius. The case was tried before a jury, which returned a verdict for the defense. The family then unsuccessfully moved for a new trial.

There are certain types of records that are considered inadmissible in Georgia personal injury cases. For example, there is the well-known attorney-client privilege. There is also a mental health privilege. This generally protects any communications between a patient and his or her psychologist or other mental health care professional.

Advantage Behavioral Health Systems v. Cleveland

A recent decision from the Georgia Court of Appeals, Advantage Behavioral Health Systems v. Cleveland, illustrates the broad scope of the mental health privilege. This tragic case involves the suicide of a young man. The victim went to a hospital emergency room in Athens, Georgia, in March 2016, telling doctors he had a “history of suicidal thoughts, bipolar disorder, severe depression, hallucinations, and alcohol use disorder,” according to court records.

Personal injury claims against Georgia state officials are subject to a special set of constitutional and statutory rules. According to the Georgia Constitution, the General Assembly “may waive the state’s sovereign immunity” by law in cases in which an individual employee negligently injures someone. But “except as specifically provided” by such a waiver, the Constitution says, no public employee can be held liable for “the performance or nonperformance of their official functions.”

What does this mean, practically speaking? Basically, you can not sue an employee for exercising his or her own discretion in the performance of a job. You can, however, sue an employee who fails to carry out a legally mandated (or “ministerial”) task.

Wyno v. Lowndes County

In just about every city there are certain places known to host dangerous (and illegal) activities. City officials are often aware of the threats posed by such places but fail to take appropriate action to protect the public. If someone is injured or killed as the result of these public hazards, however, can the city itself be held legally responsible?

City of Albany v. Stanford

In 2016, a Dougherty County jury answered “yes” to this question. The specific context was the horrific 2010 murder of a 20-year-old man at an illegal nightclub in Albany. The victim, who was from Butts County, was visiting his aunt in Albany at the time. Some friends took him to a local recording studio known as Brick City.

It is common practice following a Georgia car accident for the victim to negotiate a settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company. Typically, the insurer agrees to settle for the policy limits in exchange for a “release of all claims” arising from the accident. Either party may also impose a deadline for the other to accept the terms of the settlement.

DeMarco v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently examined an unusual case involving the widow of a deceased accident victim who attempted to enforce a settlement agreement three years after the fact. The accident itself occurred 11 years ago, in July of 2007. The victim’s car was knocked by one vehicle into a third vehicle. The victim subsequently sued the owner and driver of the third vehicle for damages.

Contact Information