Wrongful Death Claims in Georgia

There are few things harder to cope with in life than the loss of a loved one. This is especially true when a loved one dies due to a preventable accident. If a person dies due to the wrongful conduct of someone else, family members of the victim generally have the right to bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible party or parties. A lawsuit can never replace what was lost, but under law, certain family members are entitled to fair compensation in these cases based on the “full value of the life of the decedent.” 

Georgia wrongful death claims are governed by The Official Code of Georgia Title 51 Chapter 4. These are claims made by family members that are intended to compensate them for their own loss. Wrongful death claims are usually brought alongside so-called survival claims that are made by the decedent’s estate. Survival claims are intended to provide compensation to a victim’s estate for any pain and suffering endured by the victim because of the wrongful conduct. 

Only Certain Family Members Can Bring a Wrongful Death Suit 

There are strict limitations on which family members can bring a wrongful death claim. Under Georgia law, the following persons are entitled to bring a claim: 

If there is a surviving spouse, they are entitled to bring the claim at the exclusion of all others; 

If there is no surviving spouse, surviving children may bring the claim at the exclusion of all others; 

If there is no surviving spouse or children, surviving parents may bring the claim at the exclusion of all others; and 

If none of the above family members are alive, the claim can only be made by the estate. 

Wrongful Death and Survival Action Damages 

Survival claims are brought by the administrator of a decedent’s estate whereas wrongful death claims are brought by family members of a victim in their own right. Wrongful death claims compensate family members for things like loss of companionship, loss of shared income, and loss of services that the decedent provided. A survival claim compensates the decedent’s estate for things like medical and funeral expenses, and also for any pain and suffering that the decedent endured. 

The Statute of Limitations 

Wrongful death claims must be made within the timeframe set out by the Georgia Statute of Limitations. Under this law, wrongful death actions must generally be brought within two years of the date of the death. After two years from the date of death passes, a claim is generally completely barred. For this reason, it is important for family members to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. 

Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, to Discuss Your Case 

The experienced wrongful death attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, are dedicated to helping Georgia clients get the compensation they deserve when they have lost a loved one due to the wrongful conduct of someone else. If you would like more information or would like to discuss your case, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, at (404) 389-1035 today to schedule a free consultation.

Bicycle Safety Tips

For many people in Georgia, cycling is an efficient, healthy, and enjoyable way to get around. For others, it is their exercise of choice or an occasional leisure activity. Whatever the reason cyclists are going for a ride, they should remember that it can be a dangerous activity. Bicycle accidents can be devastating because cyclists are in such a vulnerable position. Drivers have an enormous responsibility to be alert for cyclists and to safely share the road with them. But it is also important for cyclists to do their part by exercising caution when riding and following the rules of the road. 

Things to Remember When Riding Your Bicycle 

  • Follow the Rules. Many people don’t realize that bicycles are considered “vehicles” under Georgia law and that cyclists must generally follow the same rules of the road as those governing motor vehicles. There are also several special laws that apply specifically to cyclists. Cyclists should be aware of these rules and follow them. 
  • Communicate With Drivers. Even drivers that are paying attention sometimes hit cyclists. It happens most often when a driver had no idea what a cyclist was doing. Cyclists should make appropriate hand signals and when possible, attempt to make eye contact with drivers before crossing through an intersection. 
  • Maintain Control of Your Bicycle. Yes, this one is obvious. But it is worth repeating. Accidents are caused every day because a cyclist was going too fast, was distracted and lost focus, or attempted to do something unsafe. Georgia has several laws intended to prevent cyclists from losing control. For instance, it is illegal for more than one person to ride a single-person bicycle at the same time, cyclists cannot legally attach themselves to a motor vehicle as they ride, it is illegal for cyclists to ride if they are carrying something that prevents them from being able to hold both hands on the handlebars at once, and cyclists can get a DWI just like motor vehicle drivers. 
  • Ride as Close to the Right Side of the Road as Possible. Cyclists should stay as far to the right as they safely can, except when turning left or avoiding hazards. This safety rule is also legally required
  • Wear a Helmet. You can reduce the risk of head injury by always wearing a helmet. In Georgia, riders under the age of 16 are legally required to wear a helmet. 
  • Be Visible. It is always a good idea to wear brightly colored clothing when cycling. If you ride at night, you should have a light and reflectors as well. 
  • Ride With Traffic. It is safer to ride with traffic. If you are riding against traffic, drivers will not be expecting you and may not notice you. By riding against traffic, you also reduce reaction time to avoid an accident. 

If You Have Been in a Bicycle Accident, Joel Williams Law, LLC, Can Help 

Unfortunately, even safe cyclists get into accidents. If you have been in a bicycle accident and been injured as a result, it is important to be aware of your legal rights and options. For more information or to schedule a free case evaluation, call Joel Williams Law, LLC, at (404) 389-1035 today.

Bicycle Wrecks

Each year in the United States there are hundreds of thousands of accidents between automobiles and bicycles. Because of their vulnerable position, these accidents often have severe consequences for the cyclists involved. It is crucial for both motorists and cyclists to understand their rights and duties under Georgia law.

If you have been injured in a bicycle wreck and someone else was at fault, you need a qualified and experienced bicycle wreck injury attorney to represent you. Joel Williams Law, LLC, is dedicated to getting accident victims the compensation they deserve. To discuss your case, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, to schedule a free case evaluation today online or by calling (404) 389-1035.

Duties of Motorists and Cyclists to Each Other

Motorists and cyclists each have a duty to act with reasonable care while on the road. Drivers, as well as cyclists, must follow the “rules of the road” outlined by Title 40, Chapter 6 of the Georgia Code. If either a cyclist or motorist violates a traffic law, they can be considered at-fault in an accident. In some cases both parties are at-fault, and the issue becomes determining to what degree each party was at fault.

Specific Laws Applying to Cyclists

There are a few specific laws that apply to cyclists in Georgia. These are found in Chapter 6 Article 13 Part 1. Under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-294, “every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, except when turning left or avoiding hazards to safe cycling.” This generally means a cyclist must remain in a bike lane or on the shoulder of the road unless they are turning left; however it is important to note that if there is a “hazard to safe cycling” then cyclists are allowed to move into the main lane of traffic temporarily.
Bicycles must only be used by one person at a time, unless it is designed to carry more than one person. When riding at night, bicycles must have a white light in the front and a red light or reflector on the back. Adults are not required to wear helmets when riding a bicycle; however children under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet. Cyclists should also remember that riding a bicycle while legally intoxicated is illegal.

If You Have Been in a Bicycle Wreck, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, to Discuss Your Case Today

Bicycle wreck accidents claims, like other types of personal injury claims, can be complex. It is imperative for victims of harm to have qualified and experienced legal counsel on their side. A Kennesaw, Ga personal injury attorney that understands bicycle wreck cases and is familiar with local courts can ensure that your compensation is maximized.

If you have been involved in a bicycle wreck, the qualified bicycle wreck attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, can help you understand your rights and get you the compensation you deserve. If you would like more information, Joel Williams Law, LLC, is here to help. Call today to schedule your free consultation at (404) 389-1035.

Boating Accident Attorneys Kennesaw, GA

When people think of personal injury claims, the first thing that comes to mind is usually auto accidents, however boating accident claims are also frequently filed in Georgia. If you have been injured in a boating accident and someone else is at fault, it is important to have a qualified and experienced boating accident attorney represent you. The attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, have developed a deep knowledge of boating accident claims in Georgia.

Kennesaw, GA Personal Injury Attorney Joel Williams and his team have recovered millions of dollars for clients in personal injury cases. Joel Williams Law, LLC, offers free case evaluations. If you have been injured in a boating accident because someone else made a mistake, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, to schedule your free consultation online or by calling (404) 389-1035.


• Alcohol. Boating and alcohol do not go well together. Unfortunately, accidents involving alcohol pop up in the news all too often. Under the Georgia Boat Safety Act, “operating any boat, sailboat, personal watercraft, water skis, sailboard or similar device while intoxicated” at over the legal limit of .08 BAC is a crime. If you have been injured because someone else irresponsibly consumed too much alcoholbefore boating, you are entitled to compensation for your harm.

• Negligent or reckless operation of a watercraft. Many accidents occur because the boat operator was going too fast, too close to other watercraft, or wasn’t paying attention to where they were going. In some of these cases, the boat operator simply didn’t know what he or she was doing. While it is understandable to make reasonable mistakes, it is unacceptable for a person to attempt to operate a boat or other watercraft when they lack the knowledge to do so safely.

• Overloading or improper loading. Some accidents occur because a boat was overloaded or improperly loaded. A boat that is overloaded is at risk of capsizing. Overloading or improperly loading a boat constitutes negligent operation in Georgia.

• Watercraft defects. Manufacturing or design defects sometimes cause watercraft to be dangerous to use. If you have been injured because of a defective product, you have a right to bring a products liability claim to attain compensation for your harm.

• Life vests were not worn. Failing to wear a life vest may not cause a boating accident, but it can make the consequences much worse. A government study recently found that operators wearing a life jacket were 80 percent less likely to die in the event of a boating accident.

For More Information, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC

If you have been in a boating accident and would like to discuss your case, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, to schedule a free consultation at (404) 389-1035 today.

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is just around the corner. Trick-or-treating and Halloween parties are fun, but they also pose risks. This Halloween, the Joel Williams Law legal team wishes everyone in Georgia a safe and fun holiday. Below are a few safety tips to consider.

Keep Your Kids Safe While Trick-or-Treating

Parents or other guardians should ensure that their children have a safe trick-or-treating experience. This means making sure that the child’s costume is safe and that the child has age-appropriate supervision. Innovative costumes are integral to Halloween’s fun, but parents should make sure that their child can still see and move safely. If they will be trick-or-treating at night, children’s costumes should also be visible to drivers.

When older children are out trick-or-treating without supervision, they should always do so in a group and carry a cell phone to use in the case of an emergency. Children should also understand that they should watch for traffic and follow pedestrian traffic rules, stay in well-lit areas, only go to homes that have a front porch light on, and avoid taking short-cuts through back-yards or alleys that may not be safe.
It is also important to make sure that nothing a child received while trick-or-treating is dangerous. Parents should inspect their children’s treats to makes sure they are safe for them. For candy, this means ensuring that the treat does not present a choking hazard and is still in its factory-sealed condition.

Avoid Premises Liability

If you live in an urban or suburban neighborhood, every Halloween you should assume that children will come onto your property. Even if you don’t want them to and you leave your porch light off. So make sure you don’t have anything dangerous in your yard or on your front porch, and clearly mark any risks. If you are a homeowner and a child is injured while on your property, you could be considered at-fault under a theory of premises liability.

Drive with Extra Caution

With so many child pedestrians walking around, it is extremely important to drive with caution on Halloween evening. Not only will many children have a poor understanding of traffic rules, they may be dressed in costumes that make them difficult to see. Stay focused behind the wheel, and take extra care when turning or going through intersections.

There will also be more people out on the road on Halloween and over the weekend before Halloween, so it is important to drive defensively to avoid getting in an accident with a Halloween party-goer. And of course, if you are going to a Halloween party yourself, never drink and drive.

For More Information, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, Today

The experienced Kennesaw, GA personal injury attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, are dedicated to helping injury victims get the compensation they deserve. Joel Williams Law, LLC, is located in Kennesaw, Georgia, and serves clients throughout the state. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the wrongful actions of someone else, call Joel Williams Law, LLC, to schedule a free consultationtoday at (404) 389-1035.

One Dead After 8-Car Accident on I-16 in Twiggs County

Early on the morning of September 2, 2017, an 8-car accident claimed the life of one person on the eastbound lane of I-16 near exit 18. The Twiggs County Sheriff’s Office reported that six other victims were sent to the hospital. The interstate was shut down for several hours following the crash.

Because driving an automobile is something most of us do every day, it is easy to forget just how dangerous an activity it is. According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there are more than 115,000 injuries due to auto accidents each year on Georgia roadways. It is important to remember how dangerous driving can be and remain alert and focused behind the wheel.

As Sergeant Bert Clifton of the Georgia State Patrol stated following the September 2 crash on I-16: “Wear your seat belt, slow down, don’t be distracted, don’t be texting and driving, and give plenty of time to get to where you’re going. Nothing’s worth getting into a crash and not making it to your destination.”

Common Causes of Accidents in Georgia

• Speeding. Traffic can be frustrating, but it is important to be patient when you are driving. Defensive driving is one of the most important thing drivers can do to avoid car accidents. Most of us occasionally go slightly over the speed limit from time to time, but speeding is a terrible habit. Not only does speeding raise the chances of an accident occurring, but if you are speeding it can create a presumption that you were at fault if an accident does occur.

• Fatigued driving. Everyone knows that driving while intoxicated poses a huge risk, but many fail to also understand that driving while fatigued can be dangerous as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that tens of thousands of accidents are caused by drowsy driving each year.

• Distracted driving. Always stay focused. When people use their cell phones to text, check email, or go online while driving they put themselves and everyone else on the road at risk. Moreover, texting or reading messages from the Internet on a phone while driving is against the law in Georgia.

For More Information, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC

Even when you do everything right, accidents can still happen because of another person’s negligence. Driving is an inherently dangerous activity. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, it is imperative that you are aware of your legal rights and options. A qualified and experienced auto accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.

The experienced personal injury legal team at Joel Williams Law, LLC, is dedicated to helping injury victims and their family members get justice. The Joel Williams car accident legal team has deep knowledge of Georgia auto accident law, Joel Williams Law, LLC, is located in Kennesaw, Georgia, and serves clients throughout the state. Don’t hesitate to call today to discuss your case and schedule a complimentary case assessment. Call Joel Williams Law, LLC, at (404) 389-1035 to schedule your consultation today.

Georgia Child Booster Seat Laws

In 2002, John Creeks resident Jenny Harty was traveling with her husband and two small children when their car was struck by an SUV in rural Georgia. She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “a logging truck ran the stop sign, ignored the rumble strips and hit the tail end of [an oncoming] SUV. And the SUV lost control, hit us and literally shaved off the left side of our van.” Nobody was killed in the accident, but six-year-old Abby Harty was injured and five-year-old Madison Harty needed five surgeries to repair her arm. According to reports, the children’s booster seats “absolutely” saved their lives.

Since that the accident, Jenny Hart has been a staunch advocate for tougher child passenger safety laws in Georgia. She became a car seat technician and has worked with Georgia legislators to get new safety measures passed. Her efforts – and the efforts of like-minded safety advocates – have largely been successful. Georgia used to have somewhat lax child passenger safety laws, but now has laws requiring the use of child seats that are in-line with federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards.

Just like the Georgia law requiring drivers and front seat passengers to wear a seat belt, the law requiring children to be secured in car seats or booster seats is intended to save lives in the event of an auto accident.

Georgia Child Passenger Safety Law

Under Title 40 Chapter 8 Section 76 of the Official Code of Georgia, children under the age of 8 years old are required to sit in a car seat or booster seat. These car or booster seats must be secured in the rear seat, but appropriate for the child’s height and weight, and meet all U.S. federal standards. However, there is an exemption for children under 8 that have a height of over 4’9”.

The precise requirements of the Georgia car seat laws are as follows:

• Children under the age of 4 and under 20 lbs must be in a rear-facing car seat.

• Once a child is over the age of 1 and weighs over 20 lbs, they must be placed in a rear-facing or forward-facing car seat.

• Children aged 4-7 must be placed in a rear or forward facing car seat if they weigh less than 40 lbs.

• Children aged 4-7 that weigh more than 40 lbs must be placed in a forward-facing car seat or a booster seat plus lap and shoulder belt.

The Georgia Office of Highway Safety also recommends that children remain in a booster seat until they are big enough to fit properly in a seat belt.

For More Information, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, are dedicated to helping auto accident victims get the compensation they deserve. Joel Williams Law, LLC, is located in Kennesaw, Georgia, and serves clients throughout the State of Georgia. If you would like more information about Georgia’s child safety passenger laws or if you have been in an accident and would like to discuss your case, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, at (404) 389-1035 to schedule a free personal injury consultationtoday.

Local Lawmaker Wants to Alter Distracted Driving Law in Wake of Police Stings

In an effort to reduce traffic accidents, Georgia legislators passed a law cracking down on distracted driving in 2010. Under the law, it is illegal to “write, send, or read any text based communication, including but not limited to a text message, instant message, e-mail, or Internet data” while operating a motor vehicle on a public Georgia roadway. Officers have already given thousands of citations to drivers that were on their cell phones in various sting operations across the state.

While the law can no doubt help make Georgia roadways safer, some feel it goes too far. In particular, the prohibition on texting applies to anyone operating a motor vehicle rather than to anyone driving a motor vehicle. This distinction becomes significant when a person is in the driver’s seat of a running car that is stopped or parked. As written, the law permits officers to cite drivers that text when they are stopped at traffic lights, and possibly even while they are completely parked on the side of the road, because the drivers would still be “operating” the vehicle.

Proposed Legislation Could Limit the Prohibition Against Texting to Only Apply When Vehicles are Moving

It has been reported that lawmaker John Pezold (R) has a plan to introduce legislation that would limit the anti-texting law to apply only when a vehicle is moving. After all, if a vehicle is not moving, what does it matter if a driver is distracted? They could fail to accelerate right away when a light turns green, which could be a traffic annoyance, but that isn’t likely to be a major safety concern.

But there are some staunch opponents to Pezold’s proposal. They argue that even when a vehicle is stopped, it is important for drivers to maintain awareness of their surroundings. Moreover, that the distraction presented by texting or emailing lasts far longer than the mere moment that a person spends reading or typing out their message. There are some studies that back this idea up, with one 2015 study concluding that “texting at the light may decrease so-called ‘situational awareness’ and lead to driving errors even after the device is put down.”

Lawmakers will have to carefully weigh the risks and benefits of permitting drivers to text, email, and use the Internet while they are stopped at lights or in traffic. While it is a convenient freedom to have – and while it is certainly a safer practice than doing those things while on the move – there are still risks that need to be considered.

Regardless of how the law evolves, Georgia drivers should always try to pay attention when behind the wheel and avoid distractions whenever possible. And, unless and until the law changes, Georgia drivers should remember that it is illegal to text, email, or use the Internet on their phones even when they are stopped at a light.

For More Information, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC

The Joel Williams Law, LLC personal injury legal team encourages all Georgia drivers to be cautious and attentive when behind the wheel. When accidents do occur, Joel Williams Law, LLC, helps traffic accident victims throughout the State of Georgia get the compensation they deserve. If you would like more information about this issue or would like to discuss your case, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, at (404) 389-1035 today.

Fiat Chrysler Recalls 1.33 Million Vehicles Over Fire, Air Bag Risks

The auto maker Fiat Chrysler has recently recalled a total of 1.33 million vehicles due to two separate issues. Nearly 600,000 Dodge Journey vehicles (2011-2015 models) were recalled because of faulty wiring that “could chafe against pieces of steering-wheel trim, potentially causing a short-circuit and ultimately leading to an inadvertent air bag deployment.” The company also recalled another nearly 600,000 vehicles because the alternators posed a fire risk. The vehicles with faulty alternators include 2011-2014 Chrysler 300s, Dodge Chargers, Dodge Challengers, and Dodge Durango SUVs, as well as 2012-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokees.

This recall comes just two months after Fiat Chrysler was forced to recall 1.2 million Ram pickups over seat belt and airbag malfunctions (the 2013-16 Ram 1500 and 2014-16 Ram 3500 models were recalled). In that recall, the New York Times reported that an internal investigation by Fiat Chrysler revealed that “a significant impact to the underside of Ram pickups could cause the computer systems to generate error codes that temporarily disable the safety equipment.” In other words, the safety mechanisms could fail during a car accident, when they are needed most.

Defective Products Cause Millions of Injuries Each Year

The problems at Fiat Chrysler are nothing unique. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 38,573,000 injuries requiring medical attention that were related to a consumer product. Of these, there were approximately 36,000 deaths. Manufacturers of any products sold in Georgia have a duty to ensure that those products are safe to use. When consumers in Georgia suffer an injury due to a defective product, they can bring a product liability claim against the manufacturer or distributor.

Experienced Product Liability Attorneys Get Justice for Victims

When companies put dangerous products on the market and cause Georgia consumers harm, they should be held accountable. The experienced Kennesaw, GA product liability attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, know how to investigate these types of cases, identify the best possible legal arguments to be made, and gather all necessary evidence to make sure that product liability claims are successful.
It is also important that victims get the compensation they deserve. Damages in a product liability claim can include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

In cases where a company was grossly negligent or intentionally permitted a dangerous product to be sold, punitive damages may also be awarded. However, under Georgia law, when punitive damages are awarded in a product liability case, 75 percent of those proceeds are paid to the State of Georgia.

Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, to Discuss Your Case

If you or a loved one has been injured because of a defective product, it is crucial that you understand your rights. The personal injury attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, can help you understand if you have a valid claim, and if so can work to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Located in Kennesaw, Georgia, Joel Williams Law, LLC, serves clients throughout the state.

Polaris Recalls Sportsman 570 ATVs

Polaris Industries recently recalled just over 25,000 “Sportsman 570” ATVs after it was discovered that fuel could leak into the headlight pod of these ATVs, posing a fire hazard. There have been at least four instances where one of the ATVs caught fire as a result of the defect, although thankfully there have been no reported injuries so far.

The recall was announced on July 19, 2017, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reported that “consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ATVs and contact Polaris to schedule a free repair.”

Manufacturers must exercise a high standard of care when designing and manufacturing products. They must adequately test products to make sure they are safe, and must warn consumers about any possible risks. When manufacturers produce and sell dangerous products, victims of harm deserve to be compensated. Product liability lawsuits ensure that companies are held accountable when they put defective products on the market.


Many product liability cases arise because manufacturers fail to put the time and money into product development that is needed. In other cases, a company knows that a product poses a hazard, but fails to notify consumers because they don’t want sales to drop. In either case, is inexcusable for companies to put profits over the safety of consumers.

When companies try to cut costs and Georgia consumers are harmed as a result, the product liability attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, work hard to hold them accountable and get personal injury victims the compensation they deserve.

Overview of Georgia Product Liability Claims

Under Title 51 Chapter 1 § 11(b) of the Official Code of Georgia, manufacturers of products sold to consumers as new are generally strictly liable to anyone that is harmed by a defect in one of the products. To win a strict liability claim under this statute, a plaintiff must prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence that (1) the defendant was the manufacturer of the product; (2) the product was defective when it left the control of the manufacturer; and (3) the product’s defective condition caused the harm.

Georgia product liability cases can generally be classified as either:

• Manufacturing defects;
• Design defects;
• Breach of express of implied warranty;
• Failure to warn of risks; or
• Failure to adequately test and inspect.

The recent Polaris recall is an example of a design or manufacturing defect. It is unclear whether the ATVs were designed defectively, or whether there was some error in the manufacturing process. In either case, under Georgia law, Polaris may be liable for any harm caused as a result of the defect.

If You’ve Been Injured by a Defective Product, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC

If you have been injured due to a defective product, Joel Williams Law, LLC, can help you get justice. The Joel Williams personal injury legal team is based in Kennesaw, Georgia, and represents personal injury victims throughout the state. Joel Williams Law, LLC, offers free consultations, so call today to discuss your case at (404) 389-1035.