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Atlanta Personal Injury Law Blog

Man dies after accident at music festival

Coachella is a music event that many residents of Georgia have likely heard of. Prior to this year's event, the lead rigger for the event fell 60 feet while attempting to climb scaffolding. It is believed that the man was not properly attached to a harness that could have prevented the fall, and investigators said that he died at the scene of the accident.

According to authorities, fire and police units responded to the scene of the accident after it had been reported. The man was an employee of Goldenvoice, which was responsible for organizing the festival. In a statement, the company said that the man was a hard worker who would be missed. Authorities said that circumstances surrounding the man's death were still under investigation.

The importance of liability insurance

It isn't unusual for someone who rents or leases a space in Georgia to obtain insurance. This can be a good thing in situations involving landlords who shift liability to their tenants regardless of who was actually at fault for an accident. Of course, in most situations involving an accident or other incident caused by a tenant, it is not unreasonable to expect the tenant to accept responsibility.

Those who don't have insurance could put their personal or business assets at risk. If a customer were to trip on a wire or slip on a cloth that has oil on it, it could result in damages that an individual could be personally liable for. Individuals who lease space at an airport or other aviation facility may be best served by calling their insurance brokers to discuss their situation.

For immediate release: Major settlement reached

Melvin L. Hewitt, Jr., Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Isenberg & Hewitt recently announced that, after several years of litigation, Isenberg & Hewitt, along with its co-counsel, Deitch & Rogers, reached a settlement in excess of $2 million after an in-store incident where a fire extinguisher fell on a customer's foot. 

"Our client incurred significant injuries to her foot which resulted in a condition known as RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy) or alternatively as CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome), a painful trauma-related condition that destroys tissue and results in life-altering levels of discomfort and pain which disrupted, and likely will continue to disrupt our client's life for the remainder of her life. We're very pleased to have played a role in her recovery," Hewitt said.

Protecting a business from premises liability claims

In Georgia, business owners are responsible for the safety of any person who lawfully enters their premises, even when they do not own that property themselves. Even trespassers, usually children, may have the right to a safe environment under the doctrine of "attractive nuisance." Business owners must then ensure that the proper policies and procedures are in place for recognizing dangerous conditions and doing something about them.

Dangerous conditions often lead to slips, trips and falls. Entrants may, for example, trip on torn carpeting, on cracked pavement or over debris in a cluttered aisle. They might slip on a wet floor or on an icy sidewalk. People may fall down a flight of stairs after grabbing a loose railing.

You have a judgment from small claims court. Now what?

Owning a small business takes a lot of time, work and commitment on your part. You do your best to provide your customers with excellent products or services. In return, you expect them to pay you what they owe.

When that doesn't happen, you may end up turning to a Georgia small claims court for relief. After going through the legal process, you obtain a judgment against the other party. Your feeling of vindication and victory may be short lived, however. How do you collect on the judgment?

How vicarious liability works

In some negligence cases in Georgia, the responsibility for an injury or accident may be laid not on an individual but on a party that was not directly involved in the incident. This is called vicarious liability. This concept is often used to ensure that victims are compensated by a financially stable and adequately insured party.

For example, if an employee driving a company van causes a crash, the victim may choose to sue the employer rather than the driver since the employer is more likely to be financially secure. The employer would be accountable because the employee's negligence could have been the result of inadequate training, poor employee screening or some other failure to consider the safety of others. Vicarious liability is often used in slip-and-fall cases as well.

Liability Waivers May Not Hold Up in Court

Property owners in Georgia and other states often attempt to contract away negligence by using liability waivers. However, such waivers may or may not hold up in court--it all depends on the language contained in the waiver. For one thing, the scope of activities described in the waiver is critically important. Generally speaking, courts do not favor liability wavers and often rule against the party seeking to enforce them. However, when activities are specifically described in the waivers, courts will sometimes uphold them.

Typical businesses that require waivers before customers are allowed to participate in activities include bounce houses, water parks, trampoline parks and gyms. The waivers most likely to hold up in court are conspicuous rather than buried in a larger document where they are difficult to see. However, courts in many states have struck down waivers when activities are highly regulated and of public interest. Examples include motorcycle safety instructors and ski area operators.

Do you get nervous using an ATM? You aren't alone

Using an ATM puts you in a vulnerable position. You have your back to other people, so you can't see whether someone is watching over your shoulder or is about to rob you. Whether you are making a deposit or withdrawing money, someone else may have designs on relieving you of it.

While you shouldn't be solely responsible for your safety, your choices could make a difference in the outcome of your trip to the money machine. The risk isn't only to losing your money, but also to you since the robber could use physical force, and you could suffer serious injuries.

When bars and restaurants might be liable

Suffering a serious injury in an accident with a drunk driver in Georgia can leave you facing permanent disabilities and a reduced quality of life. If you subsequently learn that the driver was overserved at a restaurant or bar just before your accident, you may be infuriated that your accident and injuries could have been prevented.

Under the law, bar and restaurant owners can sometimes be liable when they overserve patrons if the patrons subsequently drive drunk and cause serious injuries or fatalities in accidents. They may also be liable in some cases in which intoxicated patrons assault others who are on the premises of the bar or restaurant.

$2 million-dollar settlement reached with Georgia Department of Transportation

In November 2013, Jacob Edward Spradley was driving to work when he lost control of his Mustang along I-20. Both Spradley and his passenger, James Stanley Joyner, were killed when a breakaway cable terminal (BCT) guardrail sliced through the car.

Melvin Hewitt, managing partner of Isenberg & Hewitt announced today that, as a result of a lawsuit filed in April 2016 in collaboration with Christopher Clark of the Clark & Smith Law Firm LLC, in Macon, Georgia, a $2 million settlement was reached with the GDOT. 

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