Boating Accidents can cause Death, and Responsible Parties can be held Criminally Liable in Georgia

ushers son killed in crashRecently, a jury found the man who caused the death of famous singer Usher’s young son in a boating accident guilty as reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution on February 21, 2014.  The accident was a senseless tragedy that could have been avoided with proper safety being exercised. 

The law in Georgia that governs Boating Accidents is O.C.G.A. Section 52-7-14.  The Georgia Law is very extensive and lists very important duties in the case of a boating accident including:

1.)  The Duty to Render Assistance and Identify the Vessel and Self that states that so long as it is safe to do so that assistance should be rendered to any person involved in a boating accident;

2.)  The Good Samaritan Clause which makes it possible for those rendering aid not to be held liable in doing so;

3.)  Accident Reports are Required to be filed with the Department within 48 hours of said accident if any injuries or deaths were involved;

4.)  These Reports are very extensive and must include very detailed information as listed in Subsection (c)(3)(A)-(T) of the Georgia Statute;

5.)  Medical Facilities must report injuries or deaths and supply copies of medical records;

6.)  Salvage Rights stating that any person who fails to claim a vessel within 12 months will lose the ownership interest in said vessel; and

7.)  Official Authority giving any officer who is authorized to enforce the provisions of this Georgia Law the authority to maintain any vessel for a period of time necessary for evidentiary purposes and otherwise.


Girl, Age 9, Kicked by Wandering Mule still Faces a Long Road to Recovery

Emma-Johnson kicked by mule As a follow up to the blog that I posted February 13, 2014 titled Owners’ Responsibility to keep their Animals on their own Premises to avoid Injuries and Deaths in Georgia , a young girl of age 9, Emma Carolina Johnson, was kicked in the head in Cherokee County Georgia by a mule who had escaped into a neighbor’s pasture where Emma was innocently carrying a bucket of feed.  She was kicked in the head and knocked unconscious by said mule.

Fortunately, Emma is a strong little girl and is recovering.  Unfortunately, her recovery is long, and the Cherokee County Marshall’s Office stated that, although the owners of the mules fence was washed away due to rain, that the owners would not be held criminally liable in the incident since there was no negligence on the part of the owners.

I understand that the Cherokee County Marshall can make a decision not to hold the owners of the mules criminally liable.  The Cherokee County Marshall, however, does not decide whether or not the owners of the mules should be held liable in a civil action for negligence under Georgia Law as I have described in my last blog.  This is the very type of situation where it is imperative that owners of any kind of animal whether it be livestock, domestic animals whether such animals do or don’t have a vicious propensity, keep their animals on the owners or keepers own property for the safety of others as well as the animals.


Owners’ Responsibility to keep their Animals on their own Premises to avoid Injuries and Deaths in Georgia

Cow in the roadwayOn December 29, 2013 a new bride from Ballground, Georgia, just North of Canton, GA, Kali Dobson Quinton, was a passenger in a car driven by her husband, Ryan Quinton, after their wedding that day when Ryan swerved to avoid a dog in the roadway whereby the car overturned ejecting Ms. Quinton, age 25, and killing her at the scene after being trapped under the vehicle when it came to rest.  This is a senseless tragedy and the end of a young woman’s life who had everything to look forward to after her wedding day. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of Ms. Quinton.

This accident could have been avoided if the owner of the dog kept the dog on the premises in accordance with Georgia Law.  Although O.C.G.A. Section 4-8-29 addresses Limitations of a dog’s presence off of the owner’s premises for vicious animals, it could be argued that any dog off the premises of the owner or keeper that causes an injury or, in this tragic case, a Death, that the owner or keeper could ultimately be held liable for the injury or death caused by the animal off the premises of the owner or keeper.  To read more about this terrible tragedy you may find the story in the Cherokee Ledger.

In rural areas such as Canton, GA we have many farms with livestock.  Georgia Law O.C.G.A. Section 4-3-3 addresses the issues surrounding the Owner’s Responsibility for permitting such livestock to run at large or stray, and O.C.G.A. Section 4-3-4 addresses the Impoundment of live stock running at large or straying.  Georgia Law O.C.G.A. Section 51-2-6 addresses the Liability of the owner or keeper of a dog for damages done to livestock while off of his or her premises.  I argue that this could extend to damage to people as well as livestock under Georgia Law such as in the case described above.


Call for Action to Attorneys in Georgia: Guardian Ad Litems and Child Welfare Attorneys Needed

children blog feb 7 2014Almost every day in Canton, Georgia, Atlanta, Georgia, and the Entire State of Georgia we hear of a child abuse case, child neglect case, or a child’s death.  At the same time, we hear about a sluggish economy and that even highly skilled professionals with advanced education and degrees such as Attorneys can’t get jobs.  Well, I have a job for every Attorney who is willing to work, and both offer training and both are desperately needed in our society:  Guardian Ad Litems (Attorneys for Children) and Child Welfare Attorneys.  I have served as a Guardian Ad Litem in many cases and I have found this to be some of the most rewarding work that I have done in my almost 20 years of practicing law.

As a result, I am initiating a Call to Action to Attorneys, especially those of you out of law school still looking for work and want to get your hands on cases that really make a difference.  And, yes, if you are court appointed, which you will be when you complete the necessary training, you will get paid, and, there is no doubt, that you will make a difference.

If you need further encouragement, I invite you to read these two (2) recent news articles.  One article is from the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) dated Sunday, December 29, 2013, titled Neglected in Life, unnoticed in Death.  The other article is from the Cherokee Tribune dated January 3, 2014 titled, No easy answers to keep children safe.  Both of these articles are compelling and for those of you interested in this type of work, there is no better time than the present to get involved.


Premises Liability at the GA Dome: The Premises Liability Law also applies in Canton, GA

slip and fall imageA woman broke her ankle at the Georgia Dome when she was directed by a security guard to a shorter line and then fell over a barricade.  She recovered over $ 200,000.00 in damages, and was held partially responsible in the incident since she had been drinking.  The law that governs these types of cases in Georgia is called Premises Liability.  Similarly, these same Premises Liability laws apply in Canton, GA to retailers for shoppers in their stores.

For example, retailers can be held responsible for slip and fall in their stores, or if an item falls off a shelf in a store and strikes a customer.  I had a similar case against a retailer where my client was standing in the toy isle and was struck in the head by a large box with a very heavy toy item that had been improperly stocked on the shelf of the store.  My client suffered head injuries, frequent headaches, lost wages, pain and suffering, and her husband had losses of consortium.  The retailer was held responsible and settled for an undisclosed amount.

You can read more about the woman who injured her ankle at the Georgia Dome.  Although in this case the Defendant was the security company, the Georgia Dome could have been held responsible in a similar fashion for Premises Liability if it was found that the Georgia Dome was at fault for not keeping its premises safe for invitees or guests on the premises.  As discussed in the earlier case against the retailer, the retailer was held responsible for not keeping its premises safe for its invitees and guests, and, therefore, acknowledged liability and paid for my client’s past, present, and future damages.