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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

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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

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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.

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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

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Local News

A 43-year-old woman was reportedly assaulted outside a Columbus apartment complex Tuesday afternoon, February 24, 2015.

According to The Columbus Ledger Enquirer, a woman was attacked outside a Columbus apartment complex, near Gateway Road, shortly after 12:00pm Tuesday. Her current condition has not been released.

Columbus Police have not yet identified a suspect, leaving community residents concerned for their safety.

Our Legal Take

As police continue to search for the assailant, The Murray Law Firm is questioning whether a fatal apartment security lapse may have contributed to this horrific attack.

February 2015 Northeast Columbus Crime Map (spot crime.com)

February 2015 Northeast Columbus Crime Map (spot crime.com)

Was the assailant a resident of the apartment complex and, if not, how was he able to gain entry to the property? What access controls, such as security fencing, gated entry, ID card systems, security patrols, and surveillance cameras, were in place at the time of the assault?

Recent crime reports of the northeast Columbus community surrounding the apartment complex reveal a staggering number of assaults, burglaries, and violent crimes. What additional security precautions were implemented by the apartment complex owner and management following previous area violence to protect residents and deter future crime?

By Georgia law, apartment owners are required to protect residents from any foreseeable harm. For example, should an apartment owner have knowledge of previous crime on or near property, they have a duty to implement extraordinary security precautions to deter future crime and protect residents.

Should the owner and management of this Columbus apartment complex have failed in this responsibility, the survivor of this assault may elect to hold the property civilly liable for her injuries and suffering. Claims of this magnitude would demand the property reevaluate security measures and send a gravely-needed message to other Columbus apartment owners on the need to make resident safety their first priority. Perhaps, through these claims, many lives may be spared.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive experience in protecting victims of apartment violence and property negligence and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 706.494.2800. Consultations are free and confidential.

SAC EM Update

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Southside Recreation Center, Valdosta

Southside Recreation Center, Valdosta

Local News

A fatal shooting at the Southside Recreation Center in Valdosta reportedly claimed the life of 17-year-old Solomon Lee early Sunday, February 22, 2015.

According to The Valdosta Daily Times, multiple fights at the Southside Recreation Center, on South Oak Street, erupted into violence shortly before 1:30am Sunday morning. Valdosta High School student, 17-year-old Solomon Lee, was reportedly found shot multiple times outside the private recreation center.

Police have allegedly charged another teen with felony murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm in connection with the shooting. The tragic shooting comes less than five months after another Valdosta teenager was charged with felony murder, leaving Valdosta parents once again terrified for the safety of their children.

Our Legal Take

As police continue to investigate, The Murray Law Firm is questioning how an argument between children was able to erupt into deathly violence at a community recreation center and whether a facility security lapse may also hold responsibility in this tragedy.

The shooting allegedly occurred following multiple arguments at the Southside Recreation Center. What efforts were made by facility staff during these multiple initial disputes to deescalate the situation, notify parents, and safely and separately remove all children involved from the premises? Were police called to assist in deescalating the potentially violent situation prior to the shooting?

What additional security precautions, such as bag checks, security and police patrols, bright lighting, and surveillance cameras, were implemented by the owner and management of the Southside Recreation Center following the Valdosta teen shooting in October?

The shooting apparently occurred outside the facility in the early morning hours. Was the recreation center hosting an event for teens on Saturday evening and, if so, what security measures were implemented to protect children during and after the event? Were teens allowed to leave the center unaccompanied by an adult? What outdoor security measures, such as bright lighting, surveillance cameras, and security escorts, were available to teens exiting the facility?

The Southside Recreation Center is reportedly a privately owned facility, not affiliated with the Valdosta Parks and Recreation Authority. Under Georgia law, property owners are required to protect all those legally on premises from any foreseeable harm. This responsibility is paramount when overseeing the care and safety of children. Given the recent history of juvenile violence in the Valdosta community, The Murray Law Firm suggests that it is possible that the Southside Recreation Center failed in their duty to protect Solomon Lee. If so, his family may elect to pursue legal claims in his wrongful death.

Claims of this magnitude would demand the facility reevaluate staff training, youth programming, and facility security measures, particularly around their teen and at-risk youth programming. Perhaps, through these legal claims many other young lives may be spared.

The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly to protect victims and families devastated by property negligence and we offer our legal expertise, if desired. Anyone interested in further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 229.389.4900. Consultations are free and confidential.

SAC EM Update

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Ogeechee Road Railroad Overpass

Ogeechee Road Railroad Overpass

L0cal News

21-year-old Latroya Williams and 22-year-old Altovise Christina Thomas were reportedly injured in a motor scooter accident Friday evening, February 20, 2015.

According to Connect Savannah, Ms. Williams and Ms. Thomas were traveling a motorized scooter northbound on Ogeechee Road when a Chrysler Town & Country minivan struck them from behind. The minivan was reportedly changing lanes behind the scooter when the crash occurred, shortly before 10:30pm Friday.

Both victims were transported to Memorial University Medical Center with apparently non-life threatening injuries. Their conditions have not been released.

Our Legal Take

As police continue to investigate, The Murray Law Firm is questioning whether distraction, speed or impairment may have been factors in the crash.

Why did the minivan driver fail to notice, swerve or slow  for the oncoming scooter? Do cellphone records and traffic surveillance footage indicate whether the minivan driver was engaged in texting or other distractions at the time of the accident?

Was a blood test performed at the scene, immediately following the crash and, if so, do results indicate whether the driver was operating under the influence of alcohol, medication or drugs?

The speed limit on Ogeechee Road is 45mph. How fast was the minivan traveling at the time of the accident? 

As the details of this investigation continue to emerge, and should the minivan driver be found at fault, Ms. Williams and Ms. Thomas may elect to pursue legal action against the minivan driver’s insurance carrier for their injuries. Claims of this magnitude would send a much-needed message to all local drivers on the need to stay alert and share our roadways with scooters, bicycles and motorcycles.

Unfortunately, insurance companies are often more concerned with limiting their financial exposure than providing victims with the long-term medical care and compensation they deserve. As such, both Ms. Williams and Ms. Thomas should retain an experienced personal injury firm immediately to ensure all evidence, such as cellphone records and traffic surveillance footage, is preserved and their best interests are protected.

The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly to protect victims of motor vehicle accidents such as this one and we offer our legal assistance, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 912.385.9690. Consultations are free and confidential.

SAC EM Update