Georgia Legal Issues Blog

Negligence per se may apply in certain car and truck accidents

The highways are plagued with a daily dosage of tragedy from accidents involving motor vehicles. Truck accidents in particular take on a complex variety of factual scenarios. For example, a 40-year-old highway construction worker was killed on March 18 on Ga. 120 when he jumped from the trailer of a construction truck and was killed by a driver who had been rapidly approaching the rear of the truck, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

The authorities reported that the construction truck had been parked partially in the right lane of the highway with its lights flashing to direct travelers to get into the other available lane.  They report that the worker jumped from the trailer of the truck when he saw that the approaching car was not going to stop and would hit the rear of the truck. The driver did switch lanes at the last second but hit the worker who landed in front of the car.

Watch out for motorcyclists this spring

The cold weather may be lingering around Dalton for a few more days at least, but spring is on its way to Northern Georgia. That means that there will soon be lots of bikers riding motorcycles on the highways and byways of our lovely state.

It's every motorist's responsibility to watch out for the riders on their two-wheel cycles. This is especially important in early spring when drivers aren't used to seeing many motorcyclists on the highways during the colder months of winter.

Business litigation may deal with entertainment contracts

Georgia is the home of many new and emerging musical and entertainment artists. Every one of those individuals and groups will have the need to enter into various contracts for the production and distribution of their music or other entertainment activities. Business litigation often arises between the entertainer and the producer or a production company.

Contractual disputes in this context are familiar types of cases that are seen in both state and federal courts. For example, one lawsuit was recently filed in a federal district court in Atlanta by  Zone 4 Inc. against country artist Kane Brown. It is reported that Brown signed with the producer prior to his emergence as a star recording artist.

Fatal car accidents may impose death damages on negligent driver

The Georgia State Patrol is investigating a fatal accident that occurred in Murray County on Friday, March 1 at about 7:15 a.m. The three-car crash occurred on the Chatsworth Highway near the Grand Prix Boulevard intersection. A 16-year-old male operator who failed to slow down hit a car from behind, according to authorities. Rear-end car accidents are a common problem that can only be controlled by drivers paying attention to their surroundings and to the traffic in front of them.

The collision caused the rear-ended vehicle to go forward and crash into the car that was in front of it.  State troopers report that a passenger in the first car that was rear-ended, a 7-year-old boy, died at the scene from the collision. At this time, the Georgia State Patrol has not reported the precise cause for the first operator to have failed in controlling his vehicle.

Self-incrimination protection is a criminal defense in DUI case

The Georgia Supreme Court is the highest appellate court in the state. It often must give direction to the lower courts and to law enforcement authorities regarding the constitutionality of various criminal law statutes. The court recently issued a decision defining what are the parameters of a criminal defense in cases where there is a driver refusal to submit to a breath test. The law provides that such refusal will lead to a driver's automatic license suspension. It is also true that a DUI can be legally proved in some cases without the support of breath test evidence.

In Georgia, there has also been a statute that allowed the prosecutor to admit into evidence at trial the fact that the defendant refused to take a breath test. The top appellate court decided unanimously that such a provision is unconstitutional because it violates the protection against self-incrimination. The decision was based on an interpretation of the state constitution.

Damages owed to innocent passengers in motor vehicle accidents

Georgia law is consistent with other states in the treatment of the duty owed to passengers in vehicular accidents. Passenger who are injured in motor vehicle accidents are entitled to collect damages from any drivers who are determined to have been negligent and a substantial cause of the accident. Sometimes, the victim may therefore be compensated by more than one party involved in the accident.

If the passenger is killed by one or more negligent drivers in a motor vehicle accident, the decedent's estate will have a legal right to claim damages from those at fault. In many accidents, there is one driver who clearly lost control of his or her vehicle and was the only substantial cause of the accident. That driver is responsible to pay damages to all persons injured or killed as a result of that negligence, including to innocent passengers.

If your spouse wants the home in divorce, it's time to refinance

Your spouse asks for just one thing in the divorce: the family home.

They say they won't sell. They won't negotiate. They simply do not want to lose the house. You don't have children or pets. The home is the one asset they really care about that the two of you have bought together.

Motor vehicle accidents are reduced by distracted driving laws

Georgia has a new distracted driving law and the early indications are that the rate of traffic accidents has dropped. Fatalities from motor vehicle accidents fell over 3 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, according to one university research group. The Governor's Office of Highway Safety reported that preliminary data indicate a 7 percent decrease in fatalities. There has been a similar decline in injuries from vehicular claims.

The reports reflect that at least in part the improving figures are a result of the recently enacted Hands-Free Georgia Act, which prohibits motorists from holding phones while driving. The state has been focusing on various programs to combat distracted driving, including efforts to increase public awareness of the hazards involved. According to the research group's testimony to state lawmakers, improved technology also helped.

How a broken headlight led to a need for criminal defense

Georgia police often station themselves on the side of the road to monitor traffic. If they see a traffic violation or a situation that raises suspicion, they can quickly merge into traffic, activate their siren and lights and pursue their subject of interest in order to make a traffic stop. Sometimes, what begins with a seemingly minor issue winds up with one or more vehicle occupants in need of criminal defense assistance.

That's basically what happened at approximately 11 p.m. on Interstate 16 in Macon on a recent Monday. Two people riding together were confronted by patrol officers who reportedly stated that the reason for the stop was that a headlight was not functioning. Deputies also said they had witnessed the driver making several quick lane changes.

Litigation is not the only way to settle a partner disagreement

Having a business partner can have its benefits, but it can also have its disadvantages. Running a business can be stressful, and partners do not always agree on how everything should be handled. When a partnership dispute arises, Georgia business owners may think that litigation is the only way to resolve the situation. Truthfully, there are other ways to approach the matter that may prove just as effective.

It may be possible to prevent a number of disagreements by planning ahead and creating a detailed partnership agreement that lays out the responsibilities of each party and sets a plan for how disputes are to be handled. If a disagreement arises that cannot be resolved, a management agreement can list the requirements for one partner to buy out the other in order to dissolve the partnership. When constructed properly, partner and management agreements can work to quickly put an end to partnership disputes while doing minimal damage to one's company.

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