Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 2.30.18 PMLocal News

15-year-old Kamaree Spencer was critically injured in a fatal Thomson car accident, which claimed the life of his mother, 39-year-old Shaquetta ‘Nikki’ Barnes, and three others Sunday, December 7, 2014.

According to WRDW Channel 12, 39-year-old Shaquetta ‘Nikki’ Barnes was traveling in a Toyota Highlander with her son, Kamaree Spencer, and their family dog when they were struck head-on by a Lexus. Ms. Barnes and all three occupants of the Lexus reportedly perished in the crash. 15-year-old Kamaree Spencer was airlifted to the hospital with critical injuries, per media reports. His dog was also killed in the accident.

Mr. Spencer’s grandfather, Eddy Roy Ruffy, is reportedly seeking answers in the death of his daughter and urging the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to perform a toxicology report on the Lexus driver. Deputy Coroner Sandy Yelton and the GBI have released conflicting statements on whether a toxicology test will be performed due to alleged backlogs at the Atlanta GBI lab.

Our Legal Take

The Murray Law Firm is following media updates of the accident closely and questioning what factors, such as speed, impairment and distraction, may have contributed to this tragedy as well as what steps the GBI is taking to ensure all families involved get the answers they deserve.

The speed limit on Augusta Hwy at Moose Club Road is 55 mph. How fast do traffic surveillance cameras and road markings indicate the Lexus was traveling at the time of the accident?

WRDW reports the Lexus crossed the center line, causing the head on collision. Do cellphone records and traffic surveillance footage indicate whether the driver was texting or engaged in other distractions at the time of the crash?

Have toxicology tests been performed on the Lexus driver and, if so, do these tests indicate whether drugs, alcohol or medications may have been involved in the driver’s failure to maintain lanes?

The families of the victims deserve these answers despite an alleged “backlog” at the GBI laboratory. As test results and details of this tragedy continue to emerge, Kamaree Spencer may elect to file civil claims for his injuries and for the wrongful death of his mother, Shaquetta Barnes. Families of the other victims may also file civil claims for their wrongful deaths. Claims of this magnitude would demand investigators release their findings and send a grave message to all Georgia drivers on the need to end distracted and impaired driving.

Particularly given the conflicting statements surrounding the toxicology testing, photographs and a thorough, unbiased investigation will need to be performed immediately on behalf of the victim’s families. The family of Kamaree Spencer and Shaquetta Barnes should retain an experienced personal injury firm without delay to ensure all evidence is preserved and their best interests are protected.

The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly to protect victims and families devoted by impaired and negligent drivers 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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Highway 29 Delivery Van Accident (Jefrey Leo/The Newnan Times-Herald)

Highway 29 Bridge Accident (The Newnan Times-Herald)

Local News

The driver of a delivery van was reportedly injured when a tractor trailer attempted to pass a low clearance bridge on Highway 29 in Grantville Saturday afternoon, November 1, 2014.

According to The Newnan Times-Herald, an eastbound tractor trailer attempted to pass under a railroad bridge when the backhoe it was transporting struck the trestle and fell from the truck. A dislocated backhoe wheel apparently rolled into oncoming westbound traffic, colliding with a delivery van.

The delivery van driver reportedly suffered severe injuries during the crash. He was airlifted to the hospital shortly after 12:30pm. His current condition has not been released.

Grantville resident, Patti Palmer, allegedly told media the bridge has “caused problems” in the past due to the steep angle the road hits the train trestle on one side. Several other local residents also commented on clearance issues with the bridge on the Newnan Times-Herald Facebook page.

Our Legal Take

Given the alleged history of accidents at this bridge, The Murray Law Firm is questioning whether railroad or city officials have attempted to remedy this potentially fatal stretch of roadway.

Does the train trestle meet government railway regulations and highway safety requirements? Following previous accidents, what actions were taken by city and railroad officials to examine the safety of this passing, particularly on the side of the angled roadway?

Is the bridge clearance properly marked and does this measurement allow for the elevated roadway at one end? Was the tractor trailer driver aware of his vehicle and cargo height at the time of the accident?

Should the tractor trailer driver be found at fault for failing to heed proper clearance requirements, the injured victim and his family may elect to hold the truck owner and operator civilly liable for his injuries. Given the history of accidents at this intersection, additional charges may also be filed with the railway should their negligence have contributed to this accident. Finally, if the delivery van driver was working at the time of the accident, he and his family are almost certainly entitled to substantial workers’ compensation benefits per Georgia law.

Total recovery may be in the millions of dollars and will demand highway and railroad officials reevaluate the safety of this passing. Claims of this magnitude will also send a much-needed message to trucking companies throughout the state on the need for their drivers to know clearance requirements of their vehicles and cargo prior to driving on public roadways.

Given the complexity of this case, the injured victim and his family should retain a firm experienced in both personal injury and workers’ compensation immediately to ensure all evidence is preserved and their best interests are protected.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive experience in protecting victims of catastrophic accidents, such as this, 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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Forsyth and Tucker Roads, Macon

Forsyth and Tucker Roads, Macon

Local News

23-year-old Gerald Butler reportedly suffered critical injuries in a car accident with an alleged DUI driver early Sunday morning, November 2, 2014.

According to The Macon Telegraph, Mr. Butler was headed northbound at the intersection of Forsyth and Tucker roads when the driver of a southbound Ford Explorer Sport collided into him. Mr. Butler was reportedly transported to the hospital with critical injuries. His current condition has not been released.

The driver of the Explorer was reportedly uninjured. He is allegedly facing charges, including driving under the influence and serious injury by motor vehicle.

Our Legal Take

The Murray Law Firm is following the accident closely. Advocates for the victims of impaired drivers, the firm believes Mr. Butler may elect to hold the allegedly impaired driver civilly liable for his injuries. Claims of this magnitude will send a gravely needed message to Georgia drivers on the perils of impaired driving. Such claims will also call on local and state officials to crack down on impaired drivers and impaired driving education programs throughout the Macon area.

As insurance companies are all too often more concerned with limiting their own financial exposure than protecting the long-term needs of victims, it is crucial Mr. Butler retain an experienced personal injury firm without delay to ensure all evidence, such as blood test results and traffic surveillance footage, is preserved and his best interests are protected.

The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly to protect victims of impaired drivers and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 478.246.1010. Consultations are free and confidential.

SAC EM Update