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West Georgia Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Blog

Georgia jury awards $11.2 million for wrongful death on movie set

The family of a crew member who died while working on the 2014 biopic about Gregg Allman has just been awarded a total of $11.2 million by a Chatham County jury. The unanimous jury award came after a six-day trial. The filmmaker, first assistant director and unit production manager had already settled with the family.

The crew member was killed in 2014 when a moving train came through the area that had been staged for the film, which was never completed. Props and equipment had been set up on a railroad bridge and trestle just south of Savannah, and the train struck the materials and, tragically, the worker.

The rightness of looking out for #1

Some parents might cringe at the thought but there is something positive about looking out for number one. The concept runs counter to the lessons many readers grew up with. To put yourself first is selfish and selfishness is a negative trait. Some even suggest selfishness is like a gateway drug to greed.

For those solidly programmed with such notions, the mere thought of doing something that someone else might view as self-centered can trigger deep feelings of guilt or shame. Shame can lead to self-doubt and doubt can lead to inaction. In some circumstances, such as those encountered by victims of negligence by others, failure to act could mean a life of suffering or death.

Top 4 reasons not to return to work too quickly after an injury

Even though employees are an employer's most valuable asset, when it comes to work-related injuries, an employer's best interests can sometimes be at odds with an employee's best interests. On-the-job injuries can lead to higher insurance premiums, which isn't ideal for employers. Unfortunately, returning to work too quickly after an injury isn't good for employees.

Though an employer may mean well by asking an employee to come back to work sooner rather than later after an injury, employees should always resist the urge to comply. Here are just four reasons why returning to work too quickly after an injury is a bad idea:

Rules of road sometimes require flexibility for biking safety

All roads are not created equal. Non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians are not allowed on freeways in Georgia or any other state. On most roads, bicycle riders are expected to stick to the side of the road.

There can be exceptions. Some communities make room for cyclists - setting aside marked space for convenience and safety. In special parkway areas, such as some operated by the National Park Service, special accommodations are made to encourage road sharing by vehicles and cyclists. If a user neglects to follow the rules of the road, the result can be serious injury or even death.

Summer work can pose injury risk for Georgia teens

What's the matter with kids today? "Bye Bye Birdie" posed that question on Broadway and in film in the 1960s. The generation known as the silents might deserve credit for being the first to bemoan this character gap, but you can be certain that parents in every age bracket since have echoed the phrase.

It surely gets pulled out of the closet every summer when parents push kids to go out and find a seasonal job. However, many experts say there aren't as many job opportunities as there used to be for young people in the summer. As a result, many choose not to enter the workforce. At the same time, those that do work face increased risks of job injuries.

Truck crashes can differ from most vehicle accidents

When two cars collide on the highway, serious injuries almost always occur.  When a semitrailer truck is involved, however, the results can be catastrophic.  The mere size of the big rig makes it a formidable hazard. Risks increase exponentially if you add the weight of a load and highway speeds. On a busy thoroughfare, that can translate into serious injury or death.

Several other factors contribute to making collisions involving commercial trucks different from the typical vehicle accident, especially where recovery is concerned under a personal injury claim. Commercial carriers are obligated to carry more insurance and drivers must prove they've complied with federal and state regulations to obtain appropriate licensure. Beyond that, however, ongoing regulatory oversight might be hit or miss.

According to the US Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, for the year ending 3/31/2017, there were 165,536 crashes and 4660 fatalities involving Large Trucks and Buses.

It's hot out there, is your employer keeping you safe?

Summertime in Georgia; whether you are climate change believer or denier, there is no denying that it's hot outside. That heat is bad enough for workers who toil outside day in and day out. If the humidity happens to rise on any given day, the potential for illness and injury due to hazardous working conditions only increases.

There are ways for outside workers to stave off the effects of heat stroke. Keeping three key words in mind is a good place to start. Those words are water, rest and shade. But did you know that providing those things isn't something you are responsible for? As the Occupational Safety and Health Administration notes, it's the employer's responsibility to maintain a safe work environment and water, rest and shade are basic necessities for preventing heat illness.

Can I sue for my motorcycle injury if I wasn't wearing a helmet?

Georgia's motorcycle law is clear. It states, "No person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he or she is wearing protective headgear." Not only do riders and passengers have to wear helmets, the safety gear has to comply with federal safety standards.

Considering the greater risk motorcyclists inherently face if they are involved in a vehicle collision on the road, it might seem to be a matter of common sense to require helmets. But state laws vary and helmets are voluntary in some locales. One common question that experienced attorneys receive in this regard is whether violating Georgia's helmet law negates the possibility of filing a personal injury suit if a rider is injured in an accident due to another driver's negligence. The answer should come as good news.

So, your employer doesn't believe you are really injured...

Suffering an injury that no one can see from the outside can be incredibly frustrating, especially when that injury is work-related. You know that your pain is real, you will need medical attention and you will need time away from work to heal. Unfortunately, your boss has a skeptical look in their eye, possibly even thinking you're lying about your condition.

Situations like this are all too common among workers who suffer internal physical injuries including repetitive stress injuries, joint injuries, back injuries, head injuries and more. These types of injuries are often met with skepticism, which can make accessing workers' compensation benefits a challenge. 

Is Georgia ready for autonomous vehicles?

Technology advances are revolutionizing just about every aspect of our lives and they seem to come down the pike at break-neck speeds. In some cases, the benefits are immediately apparent. In others, the prospects are less clear. Still, cultural forces being what they are in the United States - political, economic and otherwise - we often press ahead without knowing exactly what we might encounter around the bend.

One of the most notable current trends in this regard is the drive toward autonomous cars and trucks. This spring, Georgia joined the ranks of states that have chosen to pave the way to allow unmanned vehicles to hit the road sooner, rather than later. Not fully answered at this point is who can be held responsible when an autonomous vehicle causes someone to be injured in a crash.

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