Can You Sue for Wrongful Death?

When a loved one dies it is a time of great emotion, and the survivors need time to process what has happened, to grieve, and to pull their lives back together. With all that’s going on, it is easy to forget about the circumstances of the loved one’s death, and whether it could have been avoided. Sometimes there are people or organizations who have at least some responsibility for the death, because of recklessness or negligence. These are called wrongful death cases. Wrongful death can be caused by health care malpractice, product deficiencies, a crime (homicide), intoxication, unsafe work conditions, and various issues connected to vehicle accidents, to name some common ones. If it can be proven that recklessness or negligence played a part in a death, the victim’s family can sue for wrongful death and the estate of the deceased may be able to sue for other damages. However, Georgia law specifies who may sue and the nature of damages that may be recovered. There are many factors to consider before you start a wrongful death legal action, and the best course is to get expert advice from an attorney who is experienced in dealing with wrongful death cases. In Georgia, that means contacting Michael W. McElroy, P.C., for a free...

Phone Apps Are Deadly for Drivers

There are thousands of smartphone apps available these days, and they range from entertainment oriented ones to apps that serve serious purposes like dieting, exercise, budgeting, maps and directions, news, and much more. People rave about their apps, and with good reason, but apps can also be quite deadly, if they’re used in the wrong place at the wrong time. One of those wrong places is inside a car if you’re the driver. The New York Times recently reported that there has been a significant spike in car accidents in the past few years, and experts are blaming phone apps for that trend. In the first half of 2016, alarmingly, there were 17,775 collisions. This is a 10.4 percent increase over the same period in 2015. It’s understandable. Operating a vehicle that weighs several thousand pounds while you’re traveling at speeds of 45 mph or more and negotiating all the ins and outs of traffic demands full attention, but a phone app can split your attention in ways that are deadly. Young drivers, who are especially at risk anyway, are increasing their chances of getting into an accident by using apps like Pokemon Go, in which they use their phones to search for virtual creatures while they’re out driving. If drivers cause an accident while using a phone app, they can be held legally responsible for damages. If you or someone in your family have been a victim of a distracted driving crash in Georgia, contact Michael W. McElroy, P.C., for a free...

The Distracted Driving Debate Heats Up

The national debate about distracted driving has moved into another phase with the announcement of a lawsuit by a Texas family against the Apple computer company, holding them liable for the death of their daughter from a crash involving a driver who was using Apple’s FaceTime application when the crash occurred. The family claims that Apple has already patented software that could disable the FaceTime app when the iPhone detects that a user is driving a car, and that Apple should have installed that software on all its iPhones to prevent distracted driving. Whatever happens with this lawsuit, it’s an indication that technology companies are going to be held more accountable for the growing problem of distracted driving. And it is a problem that is growing sharply. In Georgia alone, estimates are that in 2015, about 1,125 fatal accidents were caused by distracted drivers, which is nearly 75 percent of the total traffic fatalities that year. There are already strict laws on the books in regard to texting — it is not permitted in Georgia while driving — and cell phone use in a moving vehicle is forbidden for drivers under 18. Whatever happens with the Apple lawsuit, it’s important that parents tell their young drivers — who are most at risk for distracted driving — not to use their phones while they drive. There is too much at stake for a teenage driver, or any driver, for that matter, to try to split their attention between the road and their phone. If you or someone in your family have been a victim of a distracted driving crash in...
When Bad Road Conditions Cause an Accident

When Bad Road Conditions Cause an Accident

Winter is pothole season in much of the U.S., and depending on the amount and size of the potholes (which is determined by the temperature and/or construction sites), they could cause millions of dollars of damage to cars and trucks. Drivers often don’t see potholes, which can appear overnight, and if they are traveling at a high enough speed when they hit the hole, it can cause serious damage to the tires, the suspension, and the underside of the car, among other things. Even when drivers see the pothole in advance and try to avoid it, they will sometimes swerve without warning into an oncoming lane of traffic, which can result in a collision, serious injury, or even death. Potholes aren’t the only kind of poor road conditions that can cause an accident. Others include eroded roads, missing traffic signs, nonexistent guardrails, poorly marked construction zones, metal plates, icy road surfaces, improper or missing lighting, and just bad engineering and construction in general. If poor road conditions have caused damage to your vehicle or injury to a driver or passenger, you may want to think about taking legal action. The public agency responsible for that stretch of road may be liable for not doing enough to correct the road conditions, and you may be able to receive compensation. However, there are some criteria that have to be met before you have a case. You must prove the road conditions did cause the problem, and you must prove the agency had a reasonable amount of time to discover the problem and fix it. Here is an example of how the...