CarseatGeorgia and Tennessee state law enforcement officials confirm a spike in unrestrained motorist and passenger accidents. Sadly, these statistics extend to teens and young children who were injured or killed in accidents without being properly restrained.

The Murray Law Firm hopes this new data will serve as a grave reminder to all parents, drivers and passengers to buckle up.

News 12 reports:

Vehicle crashes involving unrestrained motorist and passengers are increasing in both Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia.

Georgia and Tennessee state law enforcement officials confirmed the statistics during a major press conference at Erlanger Medical Center.

“We’ve seen a spike in crashes. Interstates have seen a 22-percent increase in crashes this year,” said one Georgia State Trooper.

Within the 12-county Chattanooga district for the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the numbers are considered disturbing. 

Since 2012, more than 1,100 unrestrained people have been injured in crashes. 142 of those cases resulted in death. Hamilton County had the highest unrestrained fatalities with 33. 

Since January of this year, 86-unrestrained motorists and passengers were injured in crashes. 28-of those injures happened in Hamilton County. But those numbers mainly account for adults.

“We still see kids in our trauma unit that weren’t restrained properly or weren’t restrained at all,” Erlanger Trauma Surgeon Dr. Lisa Smith.

Georgia had nine straight years of reduced road fatalities. But this year, numbers have spiked.

“This year, we’re up almost 20-percent in the first quarter and it’s troubling,” said Georgia Governor Highway Safety Representative Harris Blackwood.

A great majority of those fatalities involve teenage drivers.

“We’ve buried too many of most valuable resources; our children. And many times they’ve done that because they were not wearing their seat belt,” Blackwood said.

Read the full story here.

Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Wyoming Tribune Eagle

High School students taking part in the “It Can Wait” program, sponsored by AT&T, are using a virtual driving simulator to learn the perils of texting while driving.

Students at Cheyenne South High School were among those to take part in the “It Can Wait” program. Teens took turns driving through a virtual city, negotiating turns, avoiding traffic hazards and watching other vehicles, all while trying to respond to text messages received through a provided cellphone.

The resulting virtual accidents showed students the potential risks of texting while driving on real roads.

“It shows in just three to five seconds what can happen when you’re distracted, and the consequences can be fatal,” said Debbie Maljian of the Laramie County School District. “It can wait. No message is worth texting and driving.”

Read the full story at the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. 

Visit the Distraction.gov Teen Page for more educational resources and information on preventing distracted driving.

The tragic August death of GSU freshman, Michael Gatto, has rallied many in support of Michael’s Law, a bill which would keep underage patrons and bouncers out of bars. House Bill 152 passed the Georgia House of Representatives on Friday, March 13th and now awaits review in the Georgia Senate.

Connect Statesboro Reports:

Since the death of GSU freshman Michael Gatto at Rude Rudy’s last August, Statesboro has been a hotbed of contention over underage alcohol sales and bar attendance. Police charged Grant James Spencer, then 20 — a bouncer who was at the club but reportedly off-duty at the time — with aggravated battery and felony murder. Gatto had arrived as a freshman at Georgia Southern University about two weeks earlier. Spencer, who was also a GSU student, remains in jail awaiting trial. Rude Rudy’s closed after Gatto’s death, and the club’s owner surrendered his alcohol license to the city.

In response to their son’s death, Gatto’s parents have been working to pass a bill that would keep underage people out of bars and away from alcohol. Last Friday, March 13, the Georgia House of Representatives passed House Bill 152, which proposes several changes to alcohol regulation laws statewide.

WHAT IT DOES

Here are the bare bones: The Georgia House of Representatives approved legislation to define what bars are, make 21 the minimum age to enter one or work as a bouncer, and place new demands on cities, counties and businesses to report alcoholic beverage violations.

BREAKING IT DOWN

What’s a bar?

According to the new legislation, a bar is a place that derives 75 percent or more of its revenue from alcoholic beverages. The Department of Revenue will be able to look at the monthly sales tax reports of each venue to determine where its revenue is coming from.

Under this definition, Statesboro technically doesn’t have any “bars” — only restaurants that serve alcohol but derive more than 50 percent of their revenue from food sales, or “sports restaurants” required only to have a food permit. However, if any Statesboro venues were to be audited and found to derive 75 percent of their revenue from alcohol sales, they would have to change their status to “bar” and enforce the under-21 restrictions.

The 21 rule

Under HB 152, a person have to be at least 21 years old to enter a bar. That applies to employees as well as customers, although the bill doesn’t explicitly include bartenders or servers.

Bouncers—defined as “individual(s) primarily performing duties related to verifying age for admittance, security, maintaining order, or safety, or a combination thereof” — must also be 21 years old.

Required reporting

Alcohol license holders must self-report any violations of local, state or federal alcohol laws to the Georgia Department of Revenue within 45 days of the violation.Cities and counties must also report any violations within their jurisdiction to the Department of Revenue. The revenue commissioner can issue fines of up to $750 for license holders who fail to report violations

SO IS THIS A DONE DEAL?

Not exactly. The bill has been passed in the Georgia House of Representatives and still has to go through the Georgia Senate. The Senate could alter the bill or hold off on passing it, meaning it wouldn’t come up again as a potential law until next year. Also, to become an official law, it’s going to need the governor’s signature.

Read the full article at Connect Statesboro and follow House Bill 152 at the Georgia General Assembly.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx (DOT)

U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx (DOT)

The Department of Transportation has released a new work zone safety campaign, urging drivers to “expect the unexpected.”

The new campaign launches during National Work Zone Awareness week and reminds drivers that work zones may change frequently from one day to the next, posing risks for both motorists and work zone employees if drivers are distracted or not paying attention.

The Augusta Chronicle reports:

Since 1973, 57 Georgia DOT employees have died in work zones, but motorists and their passengers are actually more likely to be killed or injured in work zones, according to a news release.

Since National Work Zone Awareness Week – an annual campaign sponsored by federal, state and local transportation officials – began in 1999, national work zone fatalities have decreased by 34 percent.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, in 2013 there were 579 work zone traffic-related fatalities, 29,000 work zone injuries and 105 worker fatalities. All of the categories were decreases from the previous year.

Last year the Georgia DOT had no employee work zone fatalities, but there were 20 total work zone fatalities.

“While we are pleased that we have not lost a GDOT employee in a work zone related crash this past year, the loss of 20 lives is 20 too many,” Commissioner Russell McMurray said. “I implore the public to be mindful of our workers and to pay strict attention when driving, not just today, but every day, especially in work zones.”

When going through work zones, drivers are expected to remain alert, minimize distractions, not tailgate or speed, pay attention to signs and obey road crew flaggers.

The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly for victims and families devastated by work zone accidents and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

The Murray Law Firm is taking an active role to curb a practice commonly known as “ambulance chasing.” In each of our blogs, we are informing our readers that, pursuant to the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer or anyone acting on behalf of a lawyer may not engage a potential client “through direct personal contact or through live telephone contact.”

As a personal injury and wrongful death law firm, we have long been aware of the unscrupulous practices of some attorneys in this field who use unethical and illegal measures to obtain clientele.

SAC EM Square.jpgThe immoral practices of a few have, unfortunately, given rise to a public distrust of many. The term ‘ambulance chaser’ has become synonymous with a field of law, which at its best, exists solely to empower people over corporations and insurance companies, to serve those harmed by the negligence of others and to guide everyday citizens to justice through what is often a daunting and complex legal system.

We are saddened to acknowledge that some in the field have tarnished this noble mission through a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, which is why we are proud to announce we are taking an active approach to ridding our community of those firms and attorneys that would harm the people and practice, which we care for so deeply.

The Murray Law Firm has achieved the Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent rating, an honor achieved by meeting the highest ethical standards in our field, as attested to by judges and other attorneys who serve to better the practice.

In support of our commitment to high moral and ethical practices, The Murray Law Firm has founded the S.A.C.’EM Campaign (Stop Ambulance Chasing Ethical Movement), which is committed to rooting out lawyers who violate Rule 7.3 of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct. Together, with our clients, the State Bar of Georgia and fellow attorneys committed to the highest ethical integrity, we will fight to stop this unethical practice that has become an epidemic in the legal profession.

If you have been injured and have been directly contacted by a lawyer or an individual acting on behalf of a lawyer, please notify The Murray Law Firm at 888.842.1616 and we will assist you in reporting the lawyer or individual to the appropriate authority.

SafeKids Worldwide is promoting a new safety campaign targeting child pedestrians. They are calling on communities around the globe to support improved safety measures, such as street lighting, sidewalks, crosswalks, and crossing signals.

The Murray Law Firm is proud to join parents, teachers and other pedestrian safety advocates in making our roadways safer for children. Having represented countless families through devastating losses and injuries due to reckless, impaired, and distracted drivers, we encourage all drivers to stay alert, particularly in and around school zones and residential neighborhoods. We also call on community planners and local officials to make both rural and urban streets safer for children.

Take a moment to watch this video of children from all over the world, asking us to help make their streets safe. A simple stop sign, caution light, crosswalk or crossing guard could save thousands of lives.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xwj8umCHVWA

BikePedestrianLaneLocal News

Gwinnett County Police are reportedly calling on pedestrians to stay alert and use crosswalks after a recent surge in pedestrian fatalities.

According to WTVM 9 News, Gwinnett authorities report there have already been 11 pedestrian deaths this year, a steady increase from 7 last year and 5 in 2012. The majority of these accidents reportedly occurred after dark, between 8:00pm and 11:00pm. Several of these accidents took place along Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Singleton Road and South Norcross Tucker Road, according to Gwinnett County authorities.

Media reports allege many of these deaths may have been prevented had pedestrians used crosswalks and obeyed traffic control signals.

Our Legal Take

Advocates for cyclist and pedestrian rights at The Murray Law Firm find the media’s sole focus on pedestrian safety, rather than driver caution, a disturbing trend.

While pedestrians should always try to wear bright or reflective clothing and mind traffic laws, these fatalities should serve as an equally grave reminder to Gwinnett County drivers on the need to share our roadways with pedestrians and to city officials on the need to reevaluate pedestrian safety measures in these high-risk areas.

Why were the drivers in these incidents unable to stop, slow or swerve for the pedestrians in time? Do cellphone records, traffic surveillance footage and blood test results indicate whether distraction, speed or impairment were involved in any of these fatalities?

Given the apparent pattern of pedestrian fatalities along Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Singleton Road and South Norcross Tucker Road, what additional pedestrian safety measures, such as improved sidewalks, light-up crosswalks, caution signage, lower speed limits, and pedestrian bridges, have Gwinnett County officials implemented to protect pedestrians in these high-risk areas?

Should the drivers in any of these accidents be found at fault for distraction, speed, impairment or other negligence, the families of these victims may elect to file civil claims in their wrongful deaths. Claims of this magnitude would send a critically needed reminder to all Gwinnett County drivers on the need to share our roads with pedestrians and end distracted driving. Further, such claims would demand city officials finally improve pedestrian safety measures in these high-risk areas. Perhaps, through these legal claims, many other lives may be spared.

The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly for families devastated by distracted and negligent drivers and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 404.842.1600. Consultations are free and confidential.

SAC EM Update

Pledge DOT.jpgThe Department of Transportation and the National Highway Safety Administration are urging the public to take the pledge to stop distracted driving.

In tribute to all of our clients who have been injured or lost loved ones to distracted driving, we’d like to encourage Georgia drivers to take the Distracted Driving Pledge and make the roads safer for our families.

Have you already taken the pledge? Spread the word! The NHTSA is looking for your pledge on Facebook.

“Pledge like a life depends on it. Because it does.”–NHSTA

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 11.12.19 PMLocal News

A truck purportedly leaking over 1,000 gallons of canola oil reportedly caused multiple accidents in Macon Tuesday morning, May 12, 2015.

According to The Macon Telegraph, the truck poured canola oil along its route from Raines Avenue, up Broadway and onto Eisenhower Parkway. From there, the truck apparently got onto I-75 southbound to Rocky Creek, and then turned around onto I-75 northbound, leaving slick and perilous roads in its wake.

At least three accidents appear to be related to the spill, including a four-vehicle crash on I-75 north, near the I-16 split, which left two people hospitalized.

Police finally stopped the truck near mile marker 193 in Monroe County, per media reports. The driver is allegedly facing charges for carrying an unsecured load.

Our Legal Take

The Murray Law Firm is following the incident closely and questioning what factors may have contributed to the leak and subsequent accidents.

Was the leakage a result of a mechanical malfunction or a grave oversight? Was the truck inspected by the owner and operator prior to cargo transport? What safety guards are in place to protect against vehicle spills during transport? 

As the details of this accident continue to emerge, any injured victims may seek to pursue a claim with the trucking company’s insurance carrier.  Under such a claim, victims may be entitled to substantial monetary compensation for damages such as: pain and suffering; past and future medical expenses; loss of wages and future earning capacity; disfigurement; and, emotional distress.  If the facts of this matter warrant a such a claim, it would not only be an avenue of justice for the victims, but would also serve as a critically-needed warning to all Georgia truck drivers to maintain vigilance while on roadways.

Based upon its prior experience in handling Georgia motor vehicle accident claims, The Murray Law Firm suggests that, given the multiple vehicles involved, the victims should secure legal representation without delay.  Insurance proceeds will most likely be limited, so it is imperative that the victims pursue a claim before any possible coverage is exhausted.  Additionally, photographs and a thorough inspection of the scene and the vehicles will need to be performed immediately on behalf of the family before any evidence may be repaired, altered, damaged or destroyed.  All evidence must be preserved to ensure that the family’s best interests are protected.

Call Us Now for Representation or Assistance.  Consultations are Free.

300x250 JusticeThe Murray Law Firm has collected millions of dollars for victims of motor vehicle accidents in Georgia, and we offer our legal expertise in this potential claim, if desired.

Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 404.842.1600 or toll free at 888.842.1616.

Consultations are free and confidential.

___________________________________________________________

Choosing the Right Attorney

Selecting the right attorney for you or your family is highly important. You must feel confident that the attorney you hire has a complete understanding of the law applicable to your particular case, and has successful experience in handling such cases.

Important: Do not hire a lawyer who has violated the Rules of Professional Conduct!!!

You should not hire an attorney who calls you or visits you unsolicited, or anyone that contacts you directly to offer legal services. This activity is strictly prohibited by Rule 7.3 of the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which states as follows:

ABA Center for Professional ResponsibilityA LAWYER “SHALL NOT” CONTACT A PROSPECTIVE CLIENT THROUGH A “LIVE TELEPHONE” OR AN “IN-PERSON” VISIT.

– RULE 7.3, ABA MODEL RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT.

If an attorney, or someone acting on behalf of an attorney, contacts you in this manner, that attorney is in violation of this Rule. This unethical and unprofessional activity on the part of the lawyer is good sign that you should stay away. It is imperative that you are represented by an attorney who is capable of advocating for you within the confines of the law, and an attorney who fails to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct is probably not the best fit. In fact, any such attorney should be immediately reported to the local State Bar Association. If you have been contacted in such an unsolicited manner, contact us and we’ll assist you in filing a report.

SAC EM Update

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 1.35.25 PMLocal News

A Smyrna resident was reportedly killed in a multi-car accident on I-75 Tuesday morning, May 12, 2015.

According to AJC, a multi-car collision occurred shortly after 6:00am when the driver of a Ford truck spun out of control, colliding with a Honda Accord, just north of the Etowah River bridge on I-75. Both the Ford and Honda drivers apparently exited their vehicles in the left emergency lane of the highway following the crash.  Tragically, one of several other vehicles, swerving to avoid the initial accident, fatally struck the Honda driver.

Cartersville Police are still investigating the complex and tragic chain reaction, which involved at least 6 vehicles in total, per media reports.

Our Legal Take

As police continue to investigate, The Murray Law Firm is questioning what factors may have contributed to this tragedy.

Do cellphone records, traffic surveillance footage and roadway markings indicate whether speed, distraction or a vehicle malfunction may have contributed to this accident?

As the details of this accident continue to emerge, the deceased victim’s family, and all others injured in the incident, may seek to pursue legal claims with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.  Under such claims, the parties may be entitled to substantial monetary compensation for damages such as: pain and suffering; loss of wages and future earning capacity; loss of consortium; and, mental anguish.  If the facts of this matter warrant a such a claim, it would not only be an avenue of justice for the victims, but would also serve as a critically-needed warning to all Georgia drivers to maintain vigilance while on roadways.

Based upon its prior experience in handling Georgia motor vehicle accident claims, The Murray Law Firm suggests that, given the multiple vehicles involved, the victims should secure legal representation without delay.  Insurance proceeds will most likely be limited, so it is imperative that the victims pursue a claim before any possible coverage is exhausted.  Additionally, photographs and a thorough inspection of the scene and the vehicles will need to be performed immediately on behalf of the family before any evidence may be repaired, altered, damaged or destroyed.  All evidence must be preserved to ensure that the family’s best interests are protected.

Call Us Now for Representation or Assistance, or Chat With One of Our Live Representatives.  

300x250 JusticeThe Murray Law Firm has collected millions of dollars for victims of motor vehicle accidents in Georgia, and we offer our legal assistance in this potential claim, if desired.

Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 404.842.1600.

Consultations are free and confidential.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Choosing the Right Attorney

Selecting the right attorney for you or your family is highly important. You must feel confident that the attorney you hire has a complete understanding of the law applicable to your particular case, and has successful experience in handling such cases.

Important: Do not hire a lawyer who has violated the Rules of Professional Conduct!!!

You should not hire an attorney who calls you or visits you unsolicited, or anyone that contacts you directly to offer legal services. This activity is strictly prohibited by Rule 7.3 of the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which states as follows:

ABA Center for Professional ResponsibilityA LAWYER “SHALL NOT” CONTACT A PROSPECTIVE CLIENT THROUGH A “LIVE TELEPHONE” OR AN “IN-PERSON” VISIT.

– RULE 7.3, ABA MODEL RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT.

If an attorney, or someone acting on behalf of an attorney, contacts you in this manner, that attorney is in violation of this Rule. This unethical and unprofessional activity on the part of the lawyer is good sign that you should stay away. It is imperative that you are represented by an attorney who is capable of advocating for you within the confines of the law, and an attorney who fails to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct is probably not the best fit. In fact, any such attorney should be immediately reported to the local State Bar Association. If you have been contacted in such an unsolicited manner, contact us and we’ll assist you in filing a report.

SAC EM Update

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 4.05.13 PMLocal News

Two people were reportedly injured in a collision on Turner McCall Boulevard Friday morning, May 8, 2015.

According to Rome News-Tribune, a man and woman traveling in a Chevrolet Tracker were struck while turning out of Bojangles onto Turner McCall Boulevard, around 9:00am Friday. A Nissan Titan apparently struck the Chevrolet in the driver’s side door. Per media reports, both occupants of the Chevrolet were transported to Floyd Medical Center with injuries. Their conditions have not been released.

Our Legal Take

As police continue to investigate, The Murray Law Firm is questioning what factors may have contributed to this crash.

Do cellphone records, traffic surveillance footage and roadway markings indicate whether speed, distraction, weather, or a vehicle malfunction may have contributed to this accident?

As the details of this accident continue to emerge, any injured victims may seek to pursue a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.  Under such a claim, victims may be entitled to substantial monetary compensation for damages such as: pain and suffering; past and future medical expenses; loss of wages and future earning capacity; disfigurement; and, emotional distress.  If the facts of this matter warrant a such a claim, it would not only be an avenue of justice for the victims, but would also serve as a critically-needed warning to all Georgia drivers to maintain vigilance while on roadways.

Based upon its prior experience in handling Georgia accident claims, The Murray Law Firm suggests that photographs and a thorough inspection of the scene will need to be performed immediately on behalf of the victims before any evidence may be repaired, altered, damaged or destroyed.  It is imperative that the victims retain a local attorney well-versed in Georgia law immediately to ensure all evidence is preserved and their interests are protected.

Call Us Now for Representation or Assistance.  Consultations are Free.

The Murray Law Firm has collected millions of dollars for victims of motor vehicle accidents in Georgia, and we offer our legal expertise in this potential claim, if desired.  Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 706.494.2800. Consultations are free and confidential.

 

___________________________________________________________

Choosing the Right Attorney

Selecting the right attorney for you or your family is highly important. You must feel confident that the attorney you hire has a complete understanding of the law applicable to your particular case, and has successful experience in handling such cases.

Important: Do not hire a lawyer who has violated the Rules of Professional Conduct!!!

You should not hire an attorney who calls you or visits you unsolicited, or anyone that contacts you directly to offer legal services. This activity is strictly prohibited by Rule 7.3 of the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which states as follows:

ABA Center for Professional ResponsibilityA LAWYER “SHALL NOT” CONTACT A PROSPECTIVE CLIENT THROUGH A “LIVE TELEPHONE” OR AN “IN-PERSON” VISIT.

– RULE 7.3, ABA MODEL RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT.

If an attorney, or someone acting on behalf of an attorney, contacts you in this manner, that attorney is in violation of this Rule. This unethical and unprofessional activity on the part of the lawyer is good sign that you should stay away. It is imperative that you are represented by an attorney who is capable of advocating for you within the confines of the law, and an attorney who fails to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct is probably not the best fit. In fact, any such attorney should be immediately reported to the local State Bar Association. If you have been contacted in such an unsolicited manner, contact us and we’ll assist you in filing a report.

SAC EM Update