ParkingLotSafetySignMost mall-related crime occurs in parking lots, making shoppers and drivers navigating these lots vulnerable to theft, assault and vehicle break-ins. Law enforcement officials who patrol the country’s busiest malls have coordinated with Consumer Reports to help shoppers reduce their risk of becoming victims. Their advice appeared in the December 2013 issue of Consumer Reports Magazine:

Be Choosy Where You Park

Sure, that isn’t always easy. But it could be worth driving around a little to find a spot in a populated area instead of settling on one in a dark, remote location, especially if you are alone. “Park in a well-lit area because criminals hate light; they don’t want to be identified,” said Officer Heidi Miller of the Police Department in Bloomington, Minn., home of the Mall of America.

Lock and Stow

Many parking-lot thefts occur because drivers neglect to perform the simplest task: locking the car and closing the windows. Don’t allow your car to be an easy target for thieves. Hide valuables such as GPS devices, cell phones, laptops, and ­iPods. If your GPS is mounted to your windshield, pull it off and try to clean off the suction marks so that thieves don’t break into the car looking for it. “Don’t even leave the GPS cable,” Miller said, because criminals think you’re simply putting the device away in your glove box or center console. In addition, if you have an aftermarket stereo with a removable faceplate, Miller suggests removing the face and taking it with you.

Stay Focused

“People walking through the parking lot don’t pay as much attention as they used to,” Capt. Robert Guidetti of the Paramus, N.J., Police Department said. Instead they are checking e-mail or making calls. Look to your front, side, and rear when walking to and from a store. Being aware of your surroundings lessens your chances of becoming a victim or getting struck by a car, Guidetti says.

Assume You’re Watched

Criminals watch for shoppers who put purchases in their car or trunk, then walk back into the store. Once you’re gone, it can take only moments to break in and grab items. If you need to stow packages while shopping, repark your car in a different location, away from anyone who could have been observing, says Detective Bob Welsome of the New York City Police Department. Other options are to find out whether the mall has storage lockers available or ask security to hold your packages until you’re ready to leave.

Don’t Dally

“Walk like you have a purpose,” said Officer Harry Nuskey of the Upper Merion Township, Pa., Police Department, near the popular Mall of Prussia. “Don’t wander, even if you don’t know where your car is.” Have your car key in hand before you leave the store. It can also act as a weapon if necessary, Guidetti says. Once in your car, lock the doors immediately and drive off. Don’t sit and do other things. That will lessen the chance of you becoming a target.

Beware of Stranger Danger

If you are approached or chased, yell or scream to get attention or go back to the store and alert security. If you are followed while driving, go to an open gas station or a populated area with plenty of light, Miller says. “Your best defense is a well-charged cell phone,” Miller said. “Get on the phone and call 911.”

Please visit Consumer Reports for the complete article.

Parking lot owners and managers are required by law to provide a safe premises for all patrons legally on their property and to prevent foreseeable third-party criminal attacks, such as rapes, shootings, assaults, or robberies. For example, should a proprietor have reason to anticipate a criminal act based on knowledge of a security lapse or a previous crime on or near property, he or she then has a duty to exercise ordinary care to deter such crime and protect those legally on their premises from harm.

We Fight for Victims of Parking Lot Security Negligence in Georgia…Contact us Now for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has recovered millions of dollars for victims of parking lot violence and security negligence in Georgia, and we offer our legal assistance if desired.  We represent our Clients on a contingency agreement, which generally means that no fees or payments are owed until and unless we recover. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us via e-mail (click here) or by telephone at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

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(WTOC News)

(WTOC News)

Solidarity in Savannah: Community Calls for Peace

The Savannah community is taking to the streets in an effort to end a violent string of shootings, which has recently plagued the city. Solidarity in Savannah, a grassroots campaign for peace seeks to end violence by educating the public.

“For the most part, there’s a lack of care for human life right now. It saddens me. It’s heartbreaking,” Ylana Abbot, Director of Solidarity in Savannah, told WTOC News.

Solidarity in Savannah is taking an innovative approach to fighting violent crime in the city. Treating violence as a disease, Ms. Abbot’s group is providing a public health message to their neighbors and community leaders. The group creates public awareness of the violence and educates the community on how this crime will affect everyone.

“This is who it affects, it’s the neighbors here, it’s the children here,” said Ms. Abbot.

Troy Smith’s children were among those innocents affected by violence in their community. A shooting down the street from the Smith home claimed the life of one man. Apparently the victim’s body was left uncovered during the investigation and his children witnessed the aftermath on their way to school.

“My kids had to see that, a dead man on the ground,” said Mr. Smith.

Mr. Smith later stood with Solidarity in Savannah protestors on the street where the shooting occurred.

“No more killing, enough is enough. No more killing. No more killing,” chanted Mr. Smith, holding a sign for passersby, which read, “A shooting happened here today. It could be your doorstep next….”

Savannah Property Owners: Deter Crime Before It Happens

Equally as important as raising public awareness of the ongoing community violence, and its affect on all Savannah families, is preventing it. Many of these violent crimes have occurred in apartment complexes, parking lots and nightclubs throughout Savannah. It is time Savannah property owners follow the example of their neighbors and take measures to protect our families and deter such crime.

Apartment, parking lot and nightclub owners have a duty to protect all patrons legally on their property from foreseeable harm. Should the property owners or managers fail in this responsibility, they may be held civilly liable for any injuries or wrongful deaths which occur as a consequence. Many responsible property owners train and work with local police to prevent such crime, implementing security precautions and procedures to protect patrons and deter crime. These security measures may include:

Savannah Parking Lot Shootings and Assaults

  • Many Savannah parking lot shootings and assaults may be prevented by implementing and maintaining proper security precautions, such as bright lighting, frequent security patrols, emergency call boxes, and surveillance cameras.

Savannah Nightclub Shootings and Assaults

  • Many Savannah nightclub shootings and assaults may be prevented by implementing proper nightclub security measures, such as weapons screenings, surveillance cameras, bright lighting, and security patrols. As many nightclub assaults occur in the parking lot, these security precautions should extend outside. Additionally, many police departments will train nightclub owners, managers and staff to recognize and deescalate potentially dangerous situations.

Savannah Apartment Shootings and Assaults

  • Apartment residents have a right to provide a safe and secure home for their families. Apartment complex owners and management companies may deter crime and protect residents by implementing and maintaining proper access controls and security measures, such as gated-entry, fencing, bright lighting, security patrols, ID-controlled building entry, deadbolts, steel frame doors with viewers, security bars, and surveillance cameras. Additionally, many police departments will train apartment owners and managers to adequately secure their property and to implement procedures to keep residents informed and protected.

As the Savannah community raises awareness of local violence, responsible Savannah property owners can help us to prevent it. Perhaps, together, many lives may be spared.

We Fight for Victims of Violence in Savannah…Contact us Now for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has recovered millions of dollars for victims of violence and security negligence in Georgia, and we offer our legal assistance if desired.  We represent our Clients on a contingency agreement, which generally means that no fees or payments are owed until and unless we recover. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us via e-mail (click here) or by telephone at 912.385.9690. Consultations are free and confidential.

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DumpTruckNightWorkers Compensation and Car Accidents: Company-Related Motor Vehicle Accidents May Allow for Two Cases

Work-related car accidents account for a large percentage of all on the job injuries. OSHA warns, more than 1,766 deaths a year result from occupational transportation incidents. That number is more than 38 percent of the 4,547 annual number of fatalities from all occupational injuries.

Many Georgia employees are not aware that when they are injured in a motor vehicle accident while on the job they may be entitled to more than just workers’ compensation benefits.  The fact is that both a workers compensation claim and a personal injury claim may possibly be pursued.

Georgia work accident victims are, of course, entitled to a number of benefits ranging from medical care to weekly indemnity checks.  These benefits may be limited, however, and not allow an injured worker to receive full compensation for an injury.  Thankfully, the workers compensation system is not always the only option for an individual hurt in a work accident. It is true that Georgia law includes a statute that is commonly referred to as the ‘exclusive remedy doctrine’ which prohibits an injured worker from bringing a personal injury action against its employer. This statute does not, however, apply where a third party unrelated to the employer is at fault in causing the work accident. Under such circumstances, the injured worker may also have a personal injury case in addition to the workers compensation claim.  Thus, where a worker is injured in a car accident by the fault of another, a personal injury claim may exist against that party.  These third party claims often result in recoveries that are substantially more than the recovery allowed under a workers compensation claim.  Because these claims are legally complex, a worker injured in a car accident should seek the assistance of a Georgia attorney experienced in both personal injury and workers’ compensation.

We Fight for Victims of Work-Related Accidents in Georgia…Contact us Now for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive and successful experience in representing Clients in both personal injury and workers’ compensation claims.  The Murray Law Firm has recovered millions of dollars for our workers compensation and personal injury clients, and we offer our legal assistance, if desired. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us via e-mail (click here) or by telephone at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

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Nightclub Bar SceneThe DC Metropolitan Police Department has released their Best Practices for Nightlife Establishments report, outlining how nightclub owners can develop a safe nightlife atmosphere for patrons. While the full report addresses a variety of crucial nightclub security guidelines, including age verification, intoxication, employee training, and security procedures, this article specifically focuses on the DCPD best practices for preventing nightclub sexual assault.

It is your responsibility as establishment owners and managers to ensure that your customers enjoy the evening as safely as possible. These precautions help create a positive relationship between you and your neighbors, and they help ensure that your establishment is free from any illegal activity. –DC Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier

Developing a Safe Nightlife Atmosphere: Preventing Sexual Assault

  1. Management and employees can help to prevent their premises from being exploited by sexual aggressors, who may seek to take advantage of vulnerable patrons. Alcohol is the most common substance aggressors use to facilitate sexual assault. Both the aggressor and the target may have impaired judgment and lower awareness as a result of alcohol consumption, leading to a greater chance of sexual violation anywhere along the spectrum from harassment to violent assault. However, the environment around a sexual aggressor can make a difference in their behavior.
  2. Young women are statistically most likely to be the target of unwanted sexual attention and aggression, but it’s important to keep in mind that anyone may be a target, including patrons of gay establishments. Aggressors often present themselves as friendly, seeking to get to know a target, buying them drinks, or otherwise displaying a romantic interest. Aggressors may also engage in unwanted contact such as pressing up against someone on the dance floor, groping, or “up- skirt” grabbing. If bar staff notice any of these behaviors, it may be useful for them to ask the target if s/he would like any intervention and/or keep a close eye on the situation in case it escalates.Escalation can also take place off-premises. A common scenario is for an aggressor to initiate an inter- action on the premises, isolate the target from her friends, and then persuade or pressure the target to leave with him. Employees should be attuned to behavior that seems overly familiar or aggressive under the circumstances, especially if the potential target is visibly intoxicated or seems to be impaired.
  3. Establishment personnel should offer to call a cab for the vulnerable or impaired person, and closely observe as patrons leave to see if they seem to be able to navigate safely. Security personnel at the door or outside are well positioned and should observe when patrons leave. They should also take general note of whom patrons arrive with and whether they leave with the same group or someone else. Note that aggressors may seek to get targets drunk or drugged, encourage them to get some air, and then pull up in a car or hail a cab to take them away.
  4. If establishment personnel sense that something is awry, either when an aggressor is purchasing drinks for a potential target who is visibly intoxicated, isolating her from her friends, or trying to leave with her, personnel should make it clear to the aggressor that they have been observed by asking them in front of others how they’re doing or if they need some help. Staff can also use distraction techniques to separate the target from the aggressor, such as telling the potential target that her friends are looking for her. If possible, employees should make a note of the circumstances, the descriptions of the parties, or any other information that could become relevant at a later time. However, establishment managers and staff should make every effort to keep patrons safe and proactively intervene if they observe any suspicious or problematic behaviors.
  5. Encourage groups to designate one person as a chaperone and perhaps identify this person with a wristband. This person could be served non-alcoholic beverages at a discount for the night.
  6. For prevention of assaults on the premises, maintain surveillance cameras outside restroom doors, and consider employing a restroom attendant. Ensure that restrooms are used by the appropriate gender. If the restrooms are gender-segregated, monitor to ensure that men do not enter the women’s restroom (keeping in mind that some people who appear to be one gender may in fact be another). Surveillance cameras should be monitored throughout the night, especially near closing time. Ensure that storage areas and other restricted areas are kept locked and secured. Closed darkened areas create a potential danger.
  7. Support staff, including porters, barbacks, busboys, and kitchen staff, should receive sexual assault awareness training that will help them be aware of patron behavior and recognize potential perpetrator behaviors that may lead to sexual assault, especially as these employees work in or pass through areas that are dark or restricted. As part of their training, employees should be instructed to immediately report any suspicious or problematic behavior to a supervisor or manager.
  8. Establishments can send a clear message that there is zero tolerance for sexual assault by posting signs letting patrons know that their safety is a priority, and including on the signs who among the staff a patron can approach if they need assistance.
  9. Perhaps most important, management and employees should trust their instincts regarding possible predatory behavior they may observe. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Management should communicate to employees, ideally by establishing a written policy, that they support proactive efforts to address suspicious, aggressive, or predatory behavior. If possible, employees should make notes of any situation they observed for later reference if needed.

    Visit DC Metropolitan Police Department for Complete Best Practices for Nightlife Establishments Report.

Victims of Nightclub Sexual Assault

By law, nightclub owners and managers are required to protect all patrons legally on the premises from any foreseeable harm. Should a nightclub owner or manager fail in this legal duty, victims of nightclub sexual assault may elect to pursue a legal claim for their injuries and suffering. Under such a claim, victims of sexual assault may be entitled to an award of damages that could include, among other items, substantial monetary compensation for: pain and suffering; past and future medical expenses; loss of wages and future earning capacity; disfigurement; and, mental anguish.

Photographs and a thorough inspection of the scene will need to be performed on behalf of the victim immediately before any evidence, such as register receipts or surveillance footage, may be destroyed. As such, it is imperative that nightclub sexual assault victims speak with an experienced premises liability firm immediately to ensure their interests are protected.

We are here to Help. Contact us for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive and successful experience in representing victims of nightclub sexual assault and security negligence in and we offer our legal expertise, if desired. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

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Young People Waiting Outside Nightclub

Following a spree of violent nightclub crime, which resulted in the death of two young women, the NYPD has formulated a set of best practices “in order to guide the nightlife industry in making itself more accountable and preventing the kind of crime and disorder problems that bring it into conflict with law enforcement agencies.”

The Murray Law Firm represents many victims and families who have been devastated by nightclub violence. It is our hope that nightclub owners and managers across the country will collaborate with their local police departments to implement the security measures and training necessary to deter crime and protect their patrons. We have highlighted some of the NYPD’s best nightclub security practices below.

Nightclub Owners: NYPD Nightclub Security Best Practices

  • There should be a minimum of one licensed and trained security guard in every premise when 75 or more patrons are present at the same time. For larger premises, there should be one such security guard for every 75 club patrons present. Discretion should be used by management to determine the appropriate number of security based on the event or crowd to ensure safety and lawfulness.
  • Security guards should be trained in techniques to de-escalate potential violent encounters and difficult situations.
  • Establishment policy should mandate that security personnel separate and remove all potentially violent patrons in a manner consistent with the law in order to prevent a continuation of violent activity inside or outside the club. Establishments must call 9-1-1 to report criminal activity and may call 9-1-1 or otherwise notify police for assistance in these circumstances.
  • It is recommended that security guards be distinctively and uniformly attired–that is very easily identified.
  • It is recommended that security guards be distributed evenly throughout the establishment and not just at the door.
  • It is recommended that properly working and maintained digital cameras be mounted in front of the establishment (both inside and outside), at all entry doors, and outside the bathroom doors.
  • It is helpful to learn if all of these efforts are working. To that end, establishments should hire an independent security consultant to ensure club security and to see that the establishment is adhering to other laws and policies, including laws prohibiting sales to minors.
  • Establishments should ensure that levels of lighting inside and outside the establishment are sufficient for observation by security.
  • All those awaiting admission should be placed in a line that does not block the sidewalk. All individuals in admission lines should be informed that if they are not orderly, they will not be admitted. Individuals who will not be admitted should be encouraged to leave the area.
  • At closing, security should ensure orderliness when patrons are exiting the establishment.
  • If metal detectors are used, every patron should be subjected to magnetometer searches in accordance with establishment policy. VIPs, DJs, entourages, and so on should not receive special treatment.
  • Spot checks of employees should be conducted to ensure compliance with establishment policies and applicable laws and rules, including integrity tests for false IDs and underage sales.
  • The use of ID scanning machines is strongly recommended. Although they do not reject legal IDs used by other individuals, nor are they foolproof in rejecting fake IDs, they are extremely helpful in recording who is entering the establishment.
  • Establishments should not admit anyone under 21, except for establishments operating primarily as restaurants during those hours in which meals are served.
  • If bottle purchases are allowed, establishments should not admit anyone under 21. Establishments must take sufficient steps to ensure that tables are closely monitored to prevent underage drinking or overconsumption.

Read All 60 NYPD Best Nightclub Security Practices: Formulating Best Practices for Nightlife Establishments

Police & Nightclub Owner Collaboration

Many local law enforcement agencies provide workshops and training seminars for nightclub owners, managers and staff. Nightclub owners should connect with their local police department to enroll in, or help create, a nightclub security and safety training program.

Victims of Nightclub Violence

By law, nightclub owners and managers are required to protect all patrons legally on the premises from any foreseeable harm. Should a nightclub owner or manager fail in this legal duty, victims and their families may elect to pursue a legal for any injuries or wrongful deaths, which occurred as a consequence. Under such claims, the victims may be entitled to an award of damages that could include, among other items, substantial monetary compensation for: pain and suffering; past and future medical expenses; loss of wages and future earning capacity; disfigurement; and, emotional distress.

Photographs and a thorough inspection of the scene will need to be performed on behalf of the victim immediately before any evidence, such as register receipts or surveillance footage, may be destroyed. As such, it is imperative victims speak with an experienced premises liability firm immediately to ensure their interests are protected.

We are here to Help. Contact us for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive and successful experience in representing victims of nightclub violence and security negligence in and we offer our legal expertise, if desired. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

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Security cameraA Jefferson City Police Apartment Security & Safety report warns, “There are some criminals who prey specifically upon apartments and condominiums….You should be aware of, and periodically review, the security and safety of your apartment and apartment building. In rental buildings, the building owner and management are responsible for security.

Apartment complex owners and management companies may implement a variety of security precautions to meet this crucial responsibility. According to JCPD, this duty typically involves:

  1. ensuring that security systems meet or exceed security requirements for apartment buildings, such as deadbolt locks on doors, good lighting and window locks;
  2. ensuring that security systems provide reasonable protection for all residents — in their apartments and in common areas, such as parking garages and elevators;
  3. conducting regular inspections to spot and fix security problems, such as broken locks or burned­out exterior lights, and asking residents to submit security concerns or suggestions as part of continuing maintenance;
  4. dealing with complaints about dangerous situations, suspicious activities or broken security items.

The Jefferson City Police Department recommends particular attention to the following security measures:

  • Apartment Corridor & Balcony Doors

Doors are a burglar’s first choice of entry. Your apartment door should have a good deadbolt lock. One feature to look for is lock throw — the length the locking bolt protrudes from the door into the surrounding door frame when placed in the full lock position. Test this by locking the door while it is open — a good deadbolt lock protrudes 35 mm (1 1∕2 in.) or more when fully extended. A strong deadbolt lock also has a jimmy­ proof strike plate (the part of the lock assembly mounted in the door frame to receive the bolt). The strike plate should be secured to the door framing by screws at least 50–75 mm (2–3 in.) long. This ensures the strike plate is fastened to the structure of the wall and not just the door frame….Install a door viewer (peephole) in your entrance door, if you do not already have one.

Equip balcony doors with the same type of deadbolt locks recommended for corridor doors. There is special hardware to secure sliding balcony doors but a simple, effective, inexpensive solution is a sturdy piece of wood in the door’s track to prevent the sliding door from opening.

  • Windows

Make sure all windows close fully, that the locking hardware is in good condition and that it is easy to lock the window when you shut it. Ensure that a thief cannot lift a horizontal window out of its track.

  • Electronic Building Entry Systems

The front door entry system of most apartment buildings allows a resident to remotely let guests into the building. These systems are only effective if the front door locking system functions and intruders cannot take advantage of an open door to enter the building (known as piggy­backing).

  • Elevators & Lobbies

Elevators and lobbies should be well lit, day and night. Interior lighting in lobbies and corridors should not be on an accessible switch but should instead be controlled by a timer or photocell….Possible hiding places under stairwells should be eliminated. Elevators should be equipped with both a telephone and alarm or duress buttons connected to the resident manager’s unit and an outside central monitoring station. Lobbies should have glass doors, glass in exterior doors and/or side lights.

  • Laundry Rooms & Workout Rooms

Laundry rooms in apartment or condominium complexes can represent special security problems. Ideally, the entrance into laundry rooms should be from the exterior of the building and clearly visible. Laundry room door locks should require a tenant or owner key. The laundry room door should have a window in it. A duress alarm and/or telephone should be available in the laundry room. Interior lighting should be wired to remain on permanently during hours of operation. Residents should be encouraged not to use the laundry facilities alone or during late night hours. The same crime prevention or security recommendations applicable to laundry rooms are also applicable to common exercise or workout rooms.

View the complete JCPD Apartment Security & Safety report here.

We are here to Help. Contact us for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive and successful experience in representing victims of apartment violence and security negligence in and we offer our legal expertise, if desired. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

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Children Attend 2012 Prayer Rally to End Violence at River Glen Apartments. (The Augusta Chronicle)

Children Attend Prayer Rally to End Violence at River Glenn Apartments. (The Augusta Chronicle)

Every family has a right to raise their children in a safe, secure environment. Yet, as apartment violence soars across the country, many apartment complex residents live terrified for the safety of their families. The violence must stop!

How can police help to prevent crime in my apartment community?

Many police departments are now taking a proactive approach to apartment crime. They have developed training programs to educate apartment owners and mangers on how to protect residents and reduce community crime. These free incentive programs encourage apartment complex owners to improve their communities through specific physical changes, such as the installation of bright lighting, proper window and door locks, surveillance cameras, and fencing. They also teach apartment owners and managers how to recognize criminal activity on property.

The Dallas Police Department describes their Gold Star Certification Program as “a cooperative effort between the Dallas Police Department, Apartment Association of Greater Dallas, along with owners, managers and residents of apartment communities to combat crime in those communities.”

Talk to your local police department to see if they offer an apartment-focused crime reduction program and what you can do to get your apartment complex owner, manager, and neighbors involved.

Is my apartment complex legally responsible for keeping residents safe?

By law, apartment complex owners and management companies are required to protect all residents and guests legally on premises from any foreseeable harm. For example, should an apartment owner have knowledge of previous violence on or near property, they have a duty to take extraordinary security precautions to protect residents and deter future crime.

Security precautions may include:

  • Enrollment in a crime-reduction training program at the police department.
  • Background checks on tenants prior to residency and a crime-free tenant rental contract.
  • Installment of security precautions, such as bright lighting, security patrols, fencing, gated-entry, surveillance cameras, locks, and alarm systems.
  • Review of daily 911 activity logs for the property and surrounding neighborhood.
  • Proper maintenance of property and structures, including fencing, gating, lighting, windows, cameras and locks.

What can neighbors do to stop crime in their apartment community?

Many apartment complex residents want to take a proactive approach to protecting their families and reducing apartment community crime.

  • See something, say something. Following a string of shootings, residents of a New York apartment complex recently coordinated with police, city leaders, neighbors and apartment management to create a neighborhood watch.
  • Speak out. Residents of a Georgia apartment complex plagued with violence, recently hosted a peace rally to bring attention to apartment complex violence. These peaceful protests encourage neighbors to watch out for one another, community leaders and police to get involved, and witnesses and victims of violent crimes to come forward.
  • Know your rights. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one to apartment complex violence, speak with an experienced premises liability firm to learn your rights. No one should have to raise their family in fear.

We are here to Help. Contact us for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive and successful experience in representing victims of apartment violence and security negligence in and we offer our legal expertise, if desired. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

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Shady Tree Apartments Achieves Gold-Level Status in Crime Prevention Initiative

Shady Tree Apartments Achieves Gold-Level Status in Crime Prevention Initiative

Local News

The Evansville police department has reportedly recognized its third gold-level participant in the department’s Crime-Free-Multi-Housing program.

Shady Tree Apartments, a 126 unit complex off North Fulton Avenue, is apparently the third rental community to be recognized for reaching gold-level status in the voluntary program. A group of townhomes and the Sunrise East complex, on Covert Avenue, have also achieved the recognition.

According to Evansville Courier Press, EPD joined the worldwide crime-reduction initiative in 2013. The program is a collaborative crime prevention effort, which educates apartment owners and managers on recognizing criminal activity, such as drug use, and making their communities safer for their residents. Safety and security improvements may include physical changes, such as installing outdoor lighting and window locks. The program also provides daily 911 activity reports on each property, so that owners and managers may take steps to address any issues in their communities.

“It’s working on the screening and tenant-retention process and working on the physical environment to make it a safer place,” Police Officer Kevin Corbin told Evansville Courier Press. “Obviously nothing is ever going to be 100 percent safe…but [the program] is saying [criminal behavior] will not be tolerated. And that ownership and management, along with the police department, are going to work together to keep the place safe for everyone.”

Media reports indicate there are over 500 properties currently participating in the program, including low-income and luxury residences, ranging from single-units and duplexes to large-scale apartment complexes.

“It doesn’t matter what your economic status is; you deserve to live in a place that is free of crime…,” Officer Corbin describes the police department’s expectation for Evansville residents.

Our Legal Take

The Murray Law Firm applauds the Evansville Police Department in their proactive approach to reducing community crime and the rental owners and managers, such as Shady Tree Apartments, who are taking action to improve the safety and security in their own communities.

By law, apartment complex owners and management companies are required to protect all residents and guests legally on premises from any foreseeable harm. For example, should an apartment owner have knowledge of previous crime on or near property and fail to implement adequate security precautions to protect residents and deter future crime, they may be held civilly liable for any injuries or wrongful deaths that occur as a consequence.

The Murray Law Firm protects victims of apartment violence and security negligence. Many of our Clients have been severely injured in, or lost family members to, apartment complex violence, which may have been prevented. In their honor, we encourage all apartment owners and managers to work with their local police departments to improve the safety and security of their properties and deter crime. Perhaps, through such safety training and community cooperation, many other lives may be spared.

Contact us Now for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive and successful experience in representing victims of apartment violence and security negligence. If you or a family member has been injured in an apartment complex, contact us now at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

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Huntsville Police Capt. Mark McMurray

Huntsville Police Capt. Mark McMurray

Local News

Police departments across the country are launching the Gold Star Property program, an anti-crime incentive program to assist apartment complex owners and managers in reducing violence and other crime in their communities. The program has currently found success in 44 states.

The Huntsville, AL police department is now hoping to bring this success to apartment communities in their city, having sent six officers for certification as instructors in the Gold Star program.

“These instructors will have classes throughout the year to teach apartment managers to keep their properties crime free,” HPD Capt. Mark McMurray announced to media.

“Sometimes management companies overlook the small things, making your property crime free means you need to put the proper locks on doors and windows, proper lighting in the parking lot, tenants need to sign a crime-free addendum that they will remain crime free, you need to do background checks on your tenants,” warns Capt. McMurray.

The HPD hopes to assist struggling property managers and owners with all types of crime, including loitering, drugs and violence. The changes needed to meet the Gold Star Property standards may be small, such as fresh paint and trash removal, or more complex. All property owners who complete the free program will be able to advertise as a certified Gold Star property.

Our Legal Take

The Murray Law Firm commends the Huntsville Police Department for taking the initiative to educate property owners on community safety and security. The Gold Star program is an invaluable training tool for apartment owners and managers to reduce and deter crime in their communities and it is our hope that every local apartment owner will take advantage of this free and potentially life-saving opportunity.

By law, apartment complex owners and management companies are required to protect all residents and guests legally on premises from any foreseeable harm. For example, should an apartment owner have knowledge of previous crime on or near property and fail to implement adequate security precautions to protect residents and deter future crime, they may be held civilly liable for any injuries or wrongful deaths that occur as a consequence.

The Murray Law Firm protects these victims of apartment violence and security negligence. Many of our Clients have been severely injured in, or lost family members to, apartment community violence, which may have been prevented. In their honor, we encourage all apartment owners and managers to work with their local police departments to improve the safety and security of their properties and deter crime. Perhaps, through such training and community cooperation, many other lives may be spared.

Contact us Now for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive and successful experience in representing victims of apartment violence and security negligence. If you or a family member has been injured in an apartment complex, contact us now at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

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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

FireLineThe Augusta Fire Department provided a fire safety training course to representatives from 20 local apartment complexes Thursday, August 7, 2014.

Fire Lt. Carlton Bradley implored apartment complex managers and owners to take the lessons imparted over the two hour course and apply them to their communities.

“The biggest thing I want you all to take away from this is to be safe and make your tenants safe,” urged Lt. Bradley.

Thousands of people are hurt and affected by devastating apartment fires each year and many of these fires are preventable. Fire safety is an ongoing commitment for apartment owners and managers. They must ensure residents have access to smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, emergency exits, water sprinklers, and alarms. But, these tools are useless without frequent inspections and fire safety drills.

The Murray Law Firm protects victims and families harmed by apartment, nursing home and hotel fires. We hope other Georgia apartment owners and managers will follow suit and coordinate with their local fire departments to implement the best fire safety equipment, frequent safety inspections, and proper staff and resident education on fire emergency procedures.  Through this preparation, many lives may be spared.

Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

Following a recent surge in preventable cell tower fatalities and injuries, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is warning cellphone tower owners and contractors to comply with safety standards.

As carriers scramble to upgrade networks with LTE technology, promising cellphone users better wireless speeds, we are once again experiencing a rise in cellphone tower accidents. The surge happened previously when carriers upgraded 3G technology and the pattern promises to continue as technology advances, if tower owners and contract companies don’t make employee safety a priority.

The Wall Street Journal Reports:

The warning in a letter to employers followed a rise last year in fatalities among tower climbers, a job once called the most dangerous in America. The agency said it is concerned about the possibility of future incidents, especially when employees of subcontractors are doing the hazardous work, and warned that companies could face penalties if they don’t do enough to prevent falls.

It also said it would look not only at the contractors that do the work, but also at the larger companies and carriers that order it up.

“It is imperative that the cell tower industry take steps immediately to address this pressing issue,” the agency said in the letter, which was dated Monday and sent Tuesday to about 100 communication-tower employers. “It is your responsibility to prevent workers from being injured or killed while working on communication towers.”

In the past, carriers have said that tower work “isn’t their core business and, while they care about safety, they shouldn’t be held responsible when subcontractors violate safety standards.” Contract companies often place the blame on employees, saying those who violate safety standards “are subject to termination.”

However, these preventable tragedies are not always the result of failure to properly use equipment, but also equipment failures, falling objects, structural collapses and a lack of adequate safety training. Thus, while employees must use provided safety equipment, other parties need to start taking responsibility for the lives and safety of these employees. Cell towers need to be designed with maintenance safety as a priority. Contractors need to properly train employees and enforce these safety standards.

OSHA is now starting to crack down on the entire industry, finally making carriers, tower owners and equipment manufacturers accountable:

In a strategic shift, the November letter encouraged compliance officers to pay special attention to the chain of contractors connected to the site, as well as the wireless carriers that ordered the work. Investigators “should make sure to collect information regarding contract oversight issues, and obtain copies of any relevant contract documents,” the letter said. “Try to identify, as far as possible, not only the name of the company performing the tower work, but the tower owner, carrier, and any other relevant parties in the contracting chain.”

The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly to protect victims and families of catastrophic work accidents, such as this, and is encouraged by OSHA’s recent efforts to make the cellphone industry safer for employees. By holding employers, carriers, tower owners and equipment manufacturers accountable, many lives may be spared. We offer our legal expertise to the employees and families, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us toll free at 888.842.1616.

MotherDaughterCanoeJust in time for Memorial Day weekend, Georgia officials have teamed up to launch a comprehensive summer driving and boating safety campaign.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, The Georgia State Patrol and The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety  started the new campaign on Monday, May 19, 2014, in an effort to keep families safe and boaters and motorists from drinking and driving.

Unfortunately, Georgia motor vehicle and boating accidents soar during the summer months. Tragically, many of these fatal accidents are caused by impaired boaters and motorists and could have easily been prevented. Last year, the state boating under the influence limits were lowered to match driving limits, at 0.8.  This summer, several Georgia departments are working together to crack down on impaired boaters and motorists and to strictly enforce seat belts, life vests, speed limits and distracted driving.

The Gwinnett Daily Post Reports:

“We’ve got our DNR partners on the water and our GSP and local law enforcement partners on the road. No matter where you choose to celebrate this Memorial Day weekend, if you’re drunk behind the wheel, your home for the night will likely be in a jail cell.”–GOHS Director Harris Blackwood

The summer boating season is a great time for families to get outside and enjoy Georgia’s beautiful and abundant waterways. Boaters must always keep safety in mind, make it a habit to wear a life jacket, always have a sober operator and do not take risks out on the water.”–Lt. Colonel Jeff Weaver of DNR

Enjoy your time with family and friends as we remember those who died fighting for our freedom. As you travel, remember to always buckle up, properly restrain children, watch your speed, avoid distractions inside your vehicle, and use a designated driver if alcohol consumption will be part of your festivities.” –Col. Mark McDonough, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety

In consideration of our many clients who have lost loved ones or suffered injuries due to impaired drivers and boaters, The Murray Law Firm reminds our readers to please drive responsibly this season. We wish you all a safe and healthy summer!

As families return to swimming pools and water parks for summer fun, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that water safety must be a priority.

A CDC study recently warned:

Drowning is a leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4, and the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages. For toddlers (children ads 1 to 4 years), swimming pools pose the greatest risk of submersion injury.

For every child less than 15 years old who dies from drowning in a pool, another 10 receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries. Nonfatal drowning can cause brain damage that may result in log-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functions. The good news is that drowning can be prevented….

Reduce The Risk

A swimming pool can be a great source of family fun and fitness. But, it’s important to make safety a priority to protect children and others in and around the water. Some of the most effective ways to prevent drowning include four-sided fencing, swimming lessons, life jackets, and supervision/lifeguarding. Knowing CPR can also save the life of someone who drowns. For best protection, combine several safety measures to most effectively reduce drowning risks.

While home owners are able to implement many of these safety measures to protect their families and guests, the safety regulation of hotel, apartment and water park swimming pool falls outside of parent’s control. These property owners are responsible for the safety of all guests on property and, as such, it is crucial that their swimming pools are frequently inspected for safety hazards and that their staff is certified and trained in CPR and emergency first aid.

Water Safety Precautions for Apartment and Hotel Owners

  • Apartments, hotels and water parks must implement proper fencing (including self-closing and self-latching gates) and access control to their swimming pools.
  • Swimming pools should be clearly marked with signage, indicating all swimming and diving restrictions and water depth in every area of the pool.
  • While swimming pool fountains, slides and game nets are entertaining, they can also create serious hazards. All structures, including ladders and stairs, should be carefully and frequently inspected to ensure swimmers won’t become trapped or injured.
  • Overcrowding can cause swimmers, especially children, to become trapped under water. It also prohibits parents and lifeguards from properly monitoring these small swimmers. As such, property owners must post and enforce maximum occupants in and around the pool, particularly on busy weekends and holidays.
  • Finally, should an incident arise, the addition of a lifeguard and CPR-certified staff could save a life. A lifeguard should be stationed during all pool hours.

For more information on swimming pool and water safety, please visit the CDC.

We wish you a safe and fun summer!

Georgia legislators have passed a bill which seeks to end the unethical practice known as ‘ambulance chasing.’
The Bill, which amends O.C.G.A. § 33-24-53, targets attorneys and medical professionals who purchase and sell accident reports as a means to exploit victims. Unscrupulous attorneys and doctors use these reports to obtain personal contact information of accident victims and their families, and then directly contact these victims in their homes, hospital rooms and by telephone in an unlawful attempt to procure new clientele.

The disdainful practice is a violation of privacy and a clear disregard for the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct. Unfortunately, the regrettable actions of a few have 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.

As a personal injury and wrongful death law firm, The Murray Law Firm has long been aware of the unscrupulous and illegal measures some attorneys in this field use to obtain clientele. As such, The Murray Law Firm founded the SAC ‘EM Campaign (Stop Ambulance Chasing) to raise public awareness, empower victims, and effectuate change. The new Bill is an encouraging step toward that end, and we cheer the legislation. To learn more about this newly proposed legislation, please visit the Georgia General Assembly website by clicking here.

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.

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.

SAC EM Banner.jpg

62 Georgia United Parcel Service employees have been recognized in the company’s Circle of Honor, a recognition reserved for delivery drivers with 25 years or more of accident-free driving.

UPS Work Injury Attorney.jpgAccording to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Georgia now boasts 342 Circle of Honor drivers, including driver Robert Millican, Jr., who holds 43 years of accident-free driving, making him the “safest” UPS driver in the state.

These numbers are especially impressive, given that UPS drivers are at an unusually high-risk for work related accidents and injuries. Delivery drivers face long days on the road, opening themselves up to road hazards, poor weather conditions and distracted drivers.

These driving dangers, combined with the physical risks of lifting and handling heavy packages on a frequent basis, make delivery drivers particularly susceptible to work-related accidents and injuries.

The Murray Law Firm protects the rights of UPS employees who have been injured while working, whether on the road or off. Our workers’ compensation attorneys ensure these delivery drivers receive the medical care they need and the compensation they deserve.

We’d like to congratulate the newest UPS Circle of Honor drivers for making safety their top priority and remind all Georgia drivers to help these dedicated employees maintain their stellar safety records by staying alert on the roadways and providing them a safe distance while passing.

Contact our UPS Work Injury Attorneys at 404.842.1600 or toll free at 888.842.1616.

MotherDaughterCanoe.jpgThe Georgia Department of Natural Resources is preparing for a safe Fourth of July weekend on Georgia waters. Operation Dry Water is a national initiative teaming up local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to increase enforcement of Boating Under the Influence laws over Fourth of July weekend.

As many Georgia boaters and swimmers hit the waters to celebrate Fourth of July, instances boaters operating under the influence of drugs and alcohol also surge, creating a potentially fatal mix. According to the Gainesville Times, Operation Dry Water began in 2009 and has now grown to include all 56 U.S. states, trusts and territories. In 2012, 337 BUI operators were removed from the water and over 14,500 boating safety citations were issued over the 72 hour holiday weekend.

In May, Georgia implemented a new BUI law, a response to the tragic death of two young boys killed by a BUI boater on Lake Lanier. The new law lowered the legal blood alcohol limit for boaters to .08, the standard legal limit for automobile drivers. The law also included new life jacket and boater education requirements.

This Fourth of July, Georgia waters, including Lake Lanier, will be guarded by mobile intoxication units and increased safety patrols to ensure boaters and swimmers enjoy a safe holiday weekend.

Please visit the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for more information on New 2013 Boating Regulations and Operation Dry Water.

The Murray Law Firm represents many victims and families who have suffered injuries at the hands of BUI boaters. On their behalf, we ask all Georgia boaters and swimmers to please enjoy the upcoming holiday weekend and our beautiful Georgia waters safely and responsibly.

New boater safety legislation, sponsored by Sen. Butch Miller, passed the House 146-17 Thursday March 21 and now awaits signing from Gov. Nathan Deal. The bill previously passed the state Senate 50-0.boat safety cdc site.jpg

The bill tightens boating restrictions, including tougher boating-under-the-influence laws, boater education courses, and life jacket age requirements. The new legislation would increase age requirements on boat and personal watercraft operation. It also lowers the BUI blood-alcohol limit to .08, mirroring motor vehicle limits.

As warm weather approaches and Georgia families head back to the water, we remind boaters to operate all water crafts safely. Last year alone, boaters suffered 36 drownings, 12 fatalities, 53 injuries and 180 BUIs. The Murray Law Firm has represented numerous clients injured or killed in boating and water craft accidents and, on their behalf, we ask everyone to do their part to keep our waters safe this season.

The CDC offers boater safety tips to Reduce Your Risk:

Wear it. Properly fitted life jackets can prevent drownings and should be worn at all times by everyone on any boat.

Don’t Drink. Alcohol use affects judgment, vision, balance, and coordination, and is involved in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities. Boating under the influence of alcohol is just as deadly as drinking and driving. Not only is it dangerous to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it’s also illegal in every state in the United States.

It’s not just boat operators at risk from drinking while boating. Passengers are at greater risk of injury as well. In fact, 46% of all boating fatalities occurred when vessels were docked, anchored, or drifting. Due to sun exposure and heat, both operators and passengers are likely to become impaired more quickly, drink for drink, when on the water. So play it safe and avoid alcohol when you’re on a boat.

Take a Course. More than 7 out of every 10 boating incidents are caused by operator error. Boating education courses teach the rules for safe operation and navigation of recreational boats, and can help boat operators keep their passengers safe.

Get a Vessel Safety Check. The Vessel Safety Check (VSC) is a free public service provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron volunteer organizations. For more information on the VSC Program, visit their web site: www.vesselsafetycheck.org
Know about carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that is emitted by all internal combustion engines, such as boat engines and onboard motor generators. In the early stages, the symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to seasickness, but CO can kill in a matter of minutes, whether you are inside or outside of your boat. To avoid CO poisoning, be aware of the risk, ensure sufficient ventilation, properly install and maintain equipment, and use CO detectors, especially in living and sleeping areas.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive experience representing clients who have been injured in boating and swimming accidents and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. If you would like a free case evaluation, please call us toll free at 888.842.1616.

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

Teen Driver Boy.jpgThis fall Georgia teen drivers and parents were encouraged to set aside time to talk about road safety during the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Teen Driver Safety Week. Teen car collision legal experts warn, many of the tragic accidents they witness on a daily basis could be avoided by talking to teens about simple, safe driving habits. Parents should also take care to model these behaviors themselves. The DOT warns, “Parents serve as primary influences on teenage driving behavior.”

The NHSTA offers the following tips on talking to teen drivers. Please take time to talk to the young drivers in your life and help keep Georgia teens and roads safe!

Learn and follow your state graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws – GDL systems have been shown to reduce teen crashes. All states have three-stage GDL programs (learner’s permit, intermediate or provisional license, full licensure). During the process, restrictions are put in place so young drivers can gain critical driving experience in lower-risk situations and a gradual introduction to more complex tasks through controlled exposure to high-risk situations.

Create and sign a parent-teen driving contract – A parent-teen driving contract sets ground rules and creates and explains the consequences of breaking those rules. This ensures teen accountability, ownership of expectations, and an understanding that driving is a privilege that can be revoked.

Prohibit the use of electronic devices while driving – Driving while talking on the phone or while texting is risky for all drivers, but especially for teens. In 2010, 368 teen drivers ages 15 to 19 involved in fatal crashes were distracted, accounting for 13 percent of all fatal distraction affected crashes. Use of electronic devices while driving is also forbidden by law in many states for all drivers. Parents and caregivers should forbid the use of portable electronic devices while driving and also model safe behavior by turning off their cell phones while behind the wheel. Encourage your teen to speak up when someone is using an electronic device while driving. A recent NHTSA survey found that young people were less likely than other age groups to say something to a driver who made them feel unsafe.

Limit teen passengers and night driving – A NHTSA analysis found teen drivers were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in one or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with one teenage peer compared to when driving alone. That risk increased with multiple passengers. In 2010, 1,326 passengers in young drivers’ vehicles were killed in crashes involving young drivers. Most nighttime fatal crashes of young drivers occur between 9 p.m. and midnight. NHTSA recommends a maximum of one passenger in the car with your teen at all times (no passengers if required by your state GDL law) and nighttime driving restrictions starting no later than 10 p.m.

Encourage your teen to always buckle up – Wearing a seat belt is the most effective protection for drivers and passengers in the event of a crash. In 2010, three out of five 16- to 20-year-old occupants killed in passenger vehicles were not wearing seatbelts.

Talk to your teen about alcohol – All states and the District of Columbia have 21-year-old minimum-drinking-age laws. In 2010, 22 percent of the young drivers involved in fatal crashes were drinking. Talk to your teen about the risks of both drinking and driving, and of riding with an impaired driver.

Establish regular supervised driving and feedback sessions – Most parents and caregivers are unaware of the number of hours of supervised driving teens must complete as part of the intermediate phase of their state’s GDL program. Parents should refer to the minimum supervised driving requirements required by their state, but are also encouraged to continue to drive with their teen in a variety of driving situations and environments, such as at night, in inclement weather, and in high traffic situations even beyond what’s required. More practice will only make them better drivers. Set aside a regular time to discuss your teen’s progress, experiences, concerns and achievements.

A recent study by GMAC Insurance confirms what our personal injury law firm has long known…Georgia’s roadways are among the most unsafe in the nation. The following article was posted Atlanta Journal Constitution, detailing the results of the GMAC study:
Peach State motorists ranked 32nd in the sixth annual GMAC Insurance survey with a 76.7 score (out of 100) — below the national average but a significant improvement from a year ago, when Georgia drivers ranked 47th out of the 50 states. Overall the study showed that nearly one in five licensed motorists – roughly 38 million Americans – would fail a written driver’s test if taken today.

Kansas drivers ranked first in the nation (82.3 percent average score), with New York motorists coming in last (70 percent average score).

The survey polled 5,202 licensed Americans from 50 states and the District of Columbia. They were administered 20 questions from state Department of Motor Vehicles exams, with additional questions exploring distracting habits, such as texting behind the wheel.

(11 Alive News)

(11 Alive News)

Was Security Sufficient? Our Legal Take: Man Injured in Parking Lot Shooting

Local News

A man was reportedly shot and critically injured in the parking lot outside Dugan’s Bar in Atlanta Tuesday evening, August 11, 2015 per media reports.

According to 11 Alive News, the shooting occurred in the parking lot outside Dugan’s Bar on Old National Highway, shortly after 10:00pm. The news station reports that “Fulton County Police units were dispatched to Dugan’s Bar in the 6100 block of Old National Highway at about 10:15 Tuesday evening after a man was reported shot outside his vehicle there.”  The victim was reportedly shot in the chest, and transported to Grady Memorial in critical condition. Fulton County Police apparently have not yet identified a suspect or motive in the shooting.

Our Legal Take

The Murray Law Firm has represented Clients who have been subject to violent crime in the Old National Highway area.  As police continue their investigation, questions arise as to the level of security afforded to those in the parking lot.

  • What parking lot security measures, such as bright lighting, surveillance cameras and security patrols, were in place at the time of the shooting? Did any such precautions fail?
  • Have there been prior incidents of violence on or near the property and, if so, were any additional security precautions implemented by the parking lot owner to protect patrons and deter such crime?

Generally, parking lot owners are required to protect all patrons legally on the premises from any foreseeable harm.  Should the facts of this matter reveal that the owner or management of the parking lot failed provide adequate security, the victim may elect to pursue a legal claim for his injuries. Under such a claim, the victim and his family may be entitled to substantial monetary compensation.  Given the complexities of pursuing such a potential case, it is imperative that the victim immediately retain an experienced attorney who can ensure the preservation of any and all evidence that may support such a claim. Based upon its prior experience in handling negligent security cases in Georgia, The Murray Law Firm suggests that photographs and a thorough, unbiased inspection of the apartment and property will need to be performed immediately, before any evidence may be repaired, damaged or destroyed.

We Fight for Victims of Security Negligence in Georgia…Contact us Now for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has recovered millions of dollars for victims of gun violence and security negligence in Georgia, and we offer our legal assistance if desired.  We represent our Clients on a contingency agreement, which generally means that no fees or payments are owed until and unless we recover. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us via e-mail (click here) or by telephone at 404.842.1600. Consultations are free and confidential.

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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