Animal Bite Injuries

Personal Injuries and Georgia’s Dog Bite Statute

WHAT IS GEORGIA’S DOG BITE LAW?

In Georgia, there is a statute regarding injuries caused by animals, including dogs. This is found in O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7. According to the 2024 version of this statute, a negligent owner of a violent dog that causes unprovoked harm can be held liable for damages. Specifically, the statute states:

A person who owns or keeps a vicious or dangers animal of any kind and who, by careless management or by allowing the animal to go at liberty, causes injury to another person who does not provoke the injury by his own act may be liable in damages to the person so injured. In proving vicious propensity, it shall be sufficient to show that the animal was required to be at heel or on a leach by an ordinance of a city, county or consolidated government, and the said animal was at the time of the occurrence not at heel or on a leash.

Dogs can be loyal and loving members of the family. But with ownership comes responsibility, and the potential for liability from a dog bite or attack if you are not careful. According to an article written by Peter Tuckel and William Milczarski that was published in 2020, dog bites are a common cause of emergency room visits in the United States each year.

Dog bites, as you could imagine, can cause serious injuries and even death. When dangerous or vicious dogs cause harm, or when dog owners negligently permit dogs to attack others, dog bite victims may be entitled to compensation for the damages and injuries they suffer.

Whether a dog bite claim will be successful depends on a number of factors and are what we like to call “fact specific.” If you have suffered an injury as a result of a dog bite or dog attack, it is important to understand the law and to be aware of your rights. Of course, it is always best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Four elements dog bite victims must prove to win their claim in Georgia:

  1. Vicious propensity. A dog that has a history of aggressive behavior towards people, or has been involved in past incidences of biting, may be considered “vicious or dangerous” under the statute. This element is automatically met if a dog was required by law to be at heel or leashed and was instead running free. S&S Towing & Recovery, Ltd. v. Charnota, 309 Ga. 117 (2020). Most cities and counties have ordinances requiring dogs to be on a leash. For example, in Cobb County, Georgia, dogs must be on a leash not exceeding six feet in length when away from their home. In addition, you can prove vicious propensity if you can gather evidence of prior bites or attacks. This can be done by sending an open records request to your local animal control agency for any and all complaints or incident reports regarding animals at a specific address.

  2. Careless management. Letting a dog off-leash in public or otherwise allowing it to roam free around others could meet this element. If a dog is on its owner’s property, careless management could occur if an owner knows the dog is aggressive to guests yet fails to contain or control it. Careless management could also occur if the owner does not have control of the dog while on leash and knew, or should have known, the dog could lunge or attack. If you undertake to restrain a dog, and do so in a negligent manner, you can be liable for that dog attacking or biting someone else. Myers v. Ogden, 343 Ga. App. 771 (2017).

  3. Unprovoked attack. To meet this element, a dog bite victim must not have provoked the dog into attacking. Unlike other types of torts, the doctrine of comparative negligence will not apply in this circumstance. If a person provokes a dog into attacking by antagonizing it, a dog bite claim will be completely defeated. Teasing, kicking, yelling, throwing objects, and other antagonizing behavior toward a dog that results in an attack or bite will not be recoverable.

  4. Attack causes injuries. As with any personal injury claim, a dog bit victim must prove that any injuries sustained were caused by the dog bite or the attack. This can include an actual bite from the animal, or an attack where the bog chases someone off leash causing that person to fall and become injured. In the second scenario there would be no “bite” but the attack and behavior of letting a dog run off a leash led to the injuries.

The Statute of Limitations for Bringing Dog Bite Claims

Under Georgia law, you have two years from the date of the incident to bring a claim for a dog bite or attack. The two-year period begins the moment that the victim knows that they have been injured by a dog bite. In certain circumstances this two-year period can be “tolled” or delayed, for instance when a victim is unable to bring a lawsuit because of their injury or because the defendant prevented them from doing so. When bringing a claim, the injured party is almost always bringing the claim against the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. If the dog owner does not own a home, or live in a home where coverage applies, we would look to renters’ insurance to cover any potential claim.

Contact Williams Elleby Howard & Easter Today for More Information

The personal injury attorneys at Williams Elleby Howard & Easter, are dedicated to vigorously representing personal injury victims throughout Georgia. If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, the injury attorneys at Williams Elleby Howard & Easter can help you understand your rights and get you the compensation you deserve. Call Williams Elleby Howard & Easter, to schedule a consultation today at (833) 534-2542.

Fall Prevention Week – DON’T FALL FROM THE STAND

Deer stand in field near a tree.

For deer hunters, September is the best time of year because it signals the start of the hunting season in most states. The beginning of deer season also coincides with Fall Prevention Awareness Week. For hunting enthusiasts, spending time in the woods on a crisp autumn afternoon is about as good as it gets. Unfortunately, a fall from a tree in the middle of a forest can have devastating consequences. If you intend to hunt from a tree stand, here are a few tips to help keep you safe:

GET IN SHAPE

Prepare your body well in advance of deer season. If you aren’t already physically fit, start preparing your body for the rigors of the outdoors by hitting the gym or taking hikes at local parks. Consider some resistance training to strengthen your legs, core, and shoulders. Hunters with strong bodies are less likely to succumb to exhaustion when walking to and climbing a tree.

USE A FALL ARREST SYSTEM

We know…hunters already have too much gear to haul in and out of their hunting areas. However, a fall arrest system should always be worn when hunting from a tree. These devices protect the hunter from getting stranded in a tree when they are using a tree stand harness. It protects hunters while climbing, sitting, standing, and descending. Think of it like a seat belt in a vehicle. We all hope that we are never in a car crash; however, chances are that we will be involved in a crash at some point in our lives. When a crash happens, seatbelts can save lives. The same is true for a fall arrest system.

HUNT WITH A FRIEND OR SEND YOUR LOCATION TO A TRUSTED FRIEND

Ideally, you will be hunting with a friend when you venture into the deer woods. If so, make sure you and your friend know exactly where each of you will be hunting and schedule a time and location to meet after the hunt. If you don’t have a hunting buddy, send a pin of your location to someone you trust and let them know what time you will be exiting the woods. Sending your location is incredibly easy if you follow simple instructions for Google Maps.

STAY AWAKE AND ALERT

 It goes without saying that you must stay awake and alert if you want to harvest that massive Pope & Young buck that you’ve caught on your trail camera. However, staying awake also keeps you in the stand. Too often, hunters fall asleep in the stand only to wake up on the ground with serious life altering injuries. Therefore, it is important to get plenty of rest before your hunting trip. Easier said than done right? Sleep can be elusive during the anticipation leading up to a hunt but do your best to get the rest your body needs so you will be mentally alert  during your time in the stand.

USE A HAUL LINE

Hunters should always use a haul line to get their gear in a tree stand. The cost of a haul line is minuscule when compared to the cost of your other hunting gear. The use of a haul line frees up your hands and removes unnecessary weight from your back as you ascend and descend the tree. You can find a good quality haul line for less than the price of a pack of arrows or box of ammunition.

DON’T SKIMP ON SAFETY

Life if too precious to take unnecessary risk when hunting. Most hunting related injuries and deaths result from rule violations and poor judgment. As my grandpa used to say, use your head for something more than a hat rack. Develop a safety plan before the hunt and utilize simple tools such as a fall arrest system, Google Maps, and a haul line to make sure you stay safe this hunting season. Good luck and stay safe out there my friends.

Family-Friendly Holiday Activities in Georgia

Georgia Holiday Activities

For many in Georgia, the holidays are a time for family-friendly activities. Gifts are exchanged, songs are sung, and a good time is had by all. Georgia offers plenty of safe adventures during the holidays, and you are sure to find one that is a perfect fit for your family. This year, we have gathered a list of some of our favorite activities across the state for you and your family to enjoy.

Georgia Aquarium: Festival of the SEAson

Atlanta is full of activities this season. You don’t want to miss all the holiday fun at Georgia Aquarium. As the largest aquarium in the United States, you are sure to find activities for the whole family. Look forward to The Polar Express 4-D Experience, daily tree-lightings with live carolers, and Georgia Aquarium’s favorite underwater Santa, SCUBA Claus.

Six Flags Over Georgia: Holiday in the Park

If you are ready for a spectacle, the “Holiday in the Park” event at Six Flags Over Georgia might be exactly what you need. The park is packed with fun attractions, rollercoasters and food. During the holiday season, the park is lit up with Christmas lights and other displays. The event runs throughout the season and is prefect both for the thrill-seekers of the family and for those who are happy to just to view the lights.

Holiday Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Speaking of lights, there are few options better than the display at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The Garden’s natural beauty transforms during the holiday season. Over the holidays, be sure to visit their amazing lightshow after the sun goes down. It is a must-see attraction for most families.

Drive-Thru Light Shows at Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights

If Christmas lights are for you but you’re looking for a drivable option, we have a compromise you will love. Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain offers a sprawling light display known as Fantasy in Lights. The show takes 45 minutes to drive through, and if you’re looking for a little shopping along the way, there are shops and snack vendors on location.

Stone Mountain Christmas

Stone Mountain Park offers millions of lights to enjoy, and several shows including a 4-D version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. They even host a parade featuring Santa Claus himself. One of the highlights is a ride up the lift to the top of the mountain. From there, you have a magnificent view of Stone Mountain Park with the Atlanta skyline in the distance.

Old-Fashioned Christmas at Dahlonega

If you are looking to spend Christmas in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dahlonega is the place to be! Rich with history, the town’s old-fashioned Christmas celebration offers you the chance to step back in time. In addition to almost-daily events through December, there is no shortage of food and shopping all topped off by the beautiful scenery.

Staying Safe During the Holidays

Hopefully, you will have a wonderful holiday season free from injury. However, if you are involved in an accident, it is important to protect your legal rights. Let the team at Williams Elleby Howard & Easter review your case and walk you through the claims process. By working with our professional team you can leave your claim to us and focus on the holiday season. Call us at 833-LEGALGA.

Georgia Halloween Safety Tips

halloween safety tips law

With Halloween just around the corner, be sure to keep you and your family safe while trick-or-treating or participating in other festive events. This Halloween, the Williams Elleby Howard & Easter legal team wishes everyone in Georgia a safe and fun holiday. Below are a few safety tips to consider for parents and property owners.

Keep Your Kids Safe While Trick-or-Treating

Parents and 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, it is safest for them to do so in a group and carry a cell phone in case of an emergency. Children should also 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 for parents to inspect their children’s treats to make sure there is nothing dangerous and that their treats contain no tricks. 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, you should assume that children will come onto your property. Young children will likely ring your doorbell even when 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. It is also a good idea to make sure there is nothing on your property that could be considered an “Attractive Nuisance” under Georgia law. 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 children walking around, it is extremely important to drive more cautiously on Halloween. Not only will many children fail to follow traffic rules, but they may also 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 Williams Elleby Howard & Easter, Today

The experienced GA personal injury attorneys at Williams Elleby Howard & Easter are dedicated to helping injury victims get the compensation they deserve. Williams Elleby Howard & Easter is located in Kennesaw, Georgia, and serves clients throughout the state. If you or a loved one have been injured due to the wrongful actions of someone else, call Williams Elleby Howard & Easter to schedule a free consultation today at 833-LEGALGA.

Stay Afloat on your Boat; Know the Rules Before You Cruise!

Boating Accident Injury Attorney Kennesaw Ga

Boating Safety Tips from Williams Elleby Howard & Easter

Some prefer fishing, like Attorney Joel Williams; others prefer skiing, tubing or just going for a breezy boat ride at places like Lake Allatoona. Water activities are fun, but they also present risks.

Below are a few safety tips to help you and your family avoid accidents this summer.

Boating Safety Tips

  • Don’t mix excessive alcohol consumption with water activities. The dangers of mixing alcohol and boating have been well documented by countless stories in the news. It is crucial for people to remember the risks involved with operating any machinery while intoxicated and to maintain a clear head while out on the water. While enjoying a beverage or two on the water can be fun, it isn’t an experience worth risking your life over. Also, operating boats or other watercraft while intoxicated can get you into legal trouble even if you don’t cause an accident. 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.
  • Wear life vests while operating a boat. Anyone out on the water should be wearing a life vest and making sure their friends and family members have one on, too. Water Safety USA emphasizes the importance of wearing a life jacket, even if you’re a good swimmer. “Wearing a life jacket is a key component of boating safety, along with the knowledge and skill needed to keep various types of craft under control in different environments.” Out of the 633 deaths caused by boating accidents in 2018, 77% of those deaths were caused by drowning and 84% of those were not wearing a life jacket. Even if you know how to swim, a life vest could save you in the event that an accident leaves you impaired.

  • Make sure you fully understand how to operate a boat before taking it out on the water. Some accidents occur because the boat operator simply doesn’t know what he or she is doing. Make sure you fully understand how to operate any boat or watercraft you are planning on taking out on the water.

  • Don’t go out alone. Boating, using watercraft or swimming in open water alone is rarely a risk worth taking. Try to always bring someone with you. When you participate in water activities with another person or in a group, you are simply better prepared to respond in case of an accident.

  • Know your abilities and limits. Take stock of your swimming abilities and don’t put yourself in a situation that pushes you beyond your basic capabilities. Also, pay attention to how you are feeling throughout the day. A few hours in the summer heat can wear on a person. If you are feeling tired or lightheaded, take a break from the water.

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Williams Elleby Howard & Easter wish everyone a fun & safe summer out on the water. In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one ever do suffer an accident, feel free to contact Williams Elleby Howard & Easter, at 833-LEGALGA to better understand your legal rights.

Back to School in the Age of COVID-19

Back to School Safety Covid-19

August usually brings the excitement of a new school year.  Aisles at local department stores overflow with reams of lined paper, packets of highlighters and pens, and brightly colored spiral notebooks.  Children fill their last days of summer with sleepovers, ice cream, and hours by the pool before they are back in the classroom for eight hours a day. 

This year, however, August brings much uncertainty as the spread of COVID-19 has led to a life-altering pandemic.  Many Georgia public school districts, including Cobb, Fulton, Clarke, and Dekalb, have decided to begin the semester all virtually in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.  Other districts, like Paulding, are going forth with in-person learning, with enhanced safety measures reflecting CDC guidelines.  Private schools are also struggling with how to proceed during these uncertain times. In addition, childcare services for children five and under have drastically reduced their capacity with many centers closing due to concerns over the spread of the virus.  Most that remained open also diligently follow enhanced safety measures provided by the Georgia early education department, Bright from the Start. 

Considerations When Choosing a School/Daycare Facility

Prior to COVID-19, parents already had much to consider when determining which childcare or school program was best for their children.  For younger children, Bright from the Start, the Georgia pre-kindergarten program, provides parents with a checklist of considerations, but these considerations are also applicable to parents of K-12 students.  Considerations include the following:

  1. Will my child be safe, healthy, and thrive?
  2. What will my child do during the day?
  3. How are parents included?
  4. What will my child eat and when?
  5. How are staff supported?
  6. Do I agree with the discipline policy?
  7. What is the cost of care?

While these considerations are still important for parents, a few more have been added to the due to COVID-19.  Adherence to CDC guidelines is at the forefront of the checklist.  Parents must now make the choice between virtual learning and in-person learning.  Parents are looking at class sizes, mask requirements, and social distancing measures both public and private schools are taking to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

When determining where to send their child to school, it is important for parents to remember that sovereign immunity applies to the Georgia public education system.  Under Article I, section II, paragraph IX of Georgia’s state constitution, it states “sovereign immunity extends to the state and all of its departments and agencies.”  This constitutional provision provides immunity to the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) from negligence claims against faculty and staff members of the department.  This means that if a child were to contract COVID-19 at school, whether or not the school was negligent in following CDC guidelines, parents cannot file suit against the school system. 

Even though there is sovereign immunity, public elementary and secondary education schools are provided the right to purchase liability insurance pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-991.  It is not explicitly required; therefore, it is important to consider whether or not one’s school board has purchased liability insurance.  Some school districts are self-insured while others have purchased liability insurance. Regardless, contracting COVID-19 will not be covered by liability insurance as there is no direct way to prove that one’s child became sick while at school.  Still, it is important to research liability insurance as a general consideration for school selection because the presence or absence of liability insurance is a big deal for auto-accident claims involving a school bus.

Similarly, daycare facilities are strongly encouraged but not required to purchase liability insurance.  Under O.C.G.A. § 20-1a-4, facilities that have not purchased liability insurance to cover events of negligence are required to post this fact in a prominent location and notify all parents.  Parents are also required to sign a form acknowledging their understanding that the facility has not purchased liability insurance.  Once again, it is unlikely contracting COVID-19 would fall under the coverage of liability insurance, but it is still important to consider as accidents at school are bound to happen, no matter how diligent the providers.  

Additionally, many local private schools are opening to in-person learning while taking extra precautions to do so. One example is Casa Montessori in Cobb County. Private schools have more flexibility than public schools and some cases are better suited to implement CDC guidelines to ensure a safe environment for returning school children.

How Governor Brian Kemp’s Executive Order Impacts Schools/Daycare Facilities 

On June 29, 2020, Governor Kemp renewed the public health state of emergency, extending the emergency until August 11.  Additionally, Governor Kemp updated Executive Order 06.29.20.02 titled “Empowering a Healthy Georgia.”  This order provides guidance for how citizens and government alike should combat the public health crisis of COVID-19.  Section VII focuses on how to protect children while still providing educational opportunities throughout the pandemic.  

The order allows school boards to depart from the traditional definitions of school year, month, and day detailed under O.C.G.A. §20-2-160(c)(2), providing flexibility for schools to determine for themselves how best to handle preventing the spread of COVID-19.  As of now, some counties have opted for virtual learning, where “independent study” will take place in the morning hours and classroom study over Zoom will take place in the afternoon.  Shortened school days are permissible under this order.

Governor Kemp’s order also provides a list of suggestions for how schools proceeding with in-person learning can protect their students from the spread of COVID-19.  These suggestions include screening for COVID-19 among individuals exhibiting symptoms, disinfecting surfaces often, encouraging outside lunch, discouraging students from using other students’ items, and requiring individuals who exhibit symptoms to not report to school.  It is strongly recommended for schools to follow this protocol; however, the order does not specifically require schools to follow this guidance.

In addition to providing recommendations for elementary and secondary education facilities, the order also details the running of daycare facilities.  Daycare facilities must adhere to the worker-child rations set forth by Bright from the Start.  Under Bright from the Start’s COVID-19 regulations, only 50 children, faculty, and staff can be in a single room at one time.  Not only must ratios be followed, extraneous transportation to and from the facility must cease.  The only transportation permitted under the order is transportation to and from the child’s place of residence.  Additional requirements, not suggestions as for elementary and secondary education, include screening children prior to them entering the classroom, restricting parental access to the classroom, having meals in the classrooms, not using toys that cannot be sanitized, and sanitizing bedding.  Parents can also look to the Bright from the Start’s COVID-19 page for more information on specific regulations. 

Considering the continued increase in COVID-19 cases, it is likely the public health emergency will be extended after August 11 and require another update to the executive order on “Empowering a Healthy Georgia.”  Parents should continue to stay up to date on orders published as they have a direct impact on their child’s education. 

How to Protect Your Child from COVID-19

There is no perfect solution to protect children from possible exposure to COVID-19 once they return in in-person learning. The risks can be minimized, but not eliminated. This is especially true for younger children who have difficulty understanding the importance of wearing masks and social distancing.

With that in mind, it is important for parents to teach their children how to protect themselves against contracting the virus.  First, parents should encourage their child to wear a mask while at school.  Many schools are requiring masks, but even if they are not, masks are important in helping to slow the spread of the virus.  Parents might worry about if their child can comply with wearing a mask for long periods of time; however, there are ways for children to become comfortable with wearing one.  Parents, prior to school beginning, should practice wearing a mask with their children.  Increase the amount of time per day the child wears the mask until they are fully comfortable wearing it for eight hours at a time, as they would during school.  Additionally, you can teach children how to properly take on and off the mask without touching their faces.

A second way for parents to protect their children is to teach their children how to properly social distance.  Children will likely look forward to seeing their friends for the first time since in-person learning ended in mid-March, so it is important for parents to emphasize to their children to avoid, they best they can, any unnecessary contact or close interaction with other children and teachers. Anyone with children will understand the difficulty in this approach, but simply reminding the children of the importance of social distancing will have an impact. Parents can also teach their children different, non-contact, ways to greet classmates and practice playing games without touching one another.

Third, parents can pack their child’s lunch rather than relying on school-prepared lunches.  This will limit the amount of people involved in handling the child’s food and the amount of surfaces the child must touch prior to getting the food.  The surfaces include opening the fridge to get milk, grabbing the tray, and punching in their lunch number on the pad.  Parents should also practice opening lunch items with their child prior to the start of school and pack easy to open food packaging.  Once again, this will reduce the amount of hands that touch the child’s food.

Lastly, parents should pack portable hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial wipes for their child.  In addition to encouraging frequent hand washing and sanitizing, parents should teach their child to wipe down surfaces.  Students should sanitize their desk each morning, the lunch table they are eating at, computer keyboards they are using, and any other surfaces that other individuals will be touching as well.  It is important, in an attempt to prevent further spread of COVID-19, for students take proactive measures to protect their own health.

These are just some suggestions for protecting children while attending in-person classes.  This is by no means an exhaustive list and parents should take into consideration risk factors, including asthma and autoimmune disorders, when deciding how to approach this school year.

School Buses

The return of in-person instruction brings more concerns than just those of the classroom and school building.  In-person instruction brings with it the use of school buses.  The Georgia statutory code (O.C.G.A.) details provisions concerning school buses and the liability associated with them.  O.C.G.A. § 20-2-1090 authorizes school districts to create insurance policies to insure students in the event of an accident. Additionally, O.C.G.A.  § 40-6-163 requires vehicles to stop when children are getting on or getting off school buses, and in turn penalizing drivers who do not.  The pieces of legislation do not waive the sovereign immunity detailed by the Georgia’s constitution, but, rather, find ways to provide compensation for potential injuries without the school board accepting liability for negligent actions.

As school buses are under the control of the school district, school bus drivers also enjoy the same sovereign immunity as other county employees.  With this said, it is up to the individual students to protect themselves from exposure to COVID-19, as there is no redress for negligent infection on the part of the bus driver.  Even under the best of circumstances, it is hard to control the spread of a simple cold or the flu when children are confined to such a small space.  Parents should encourage their children to space out as much as possible, wear a mask, and wipe down their seat before sitting down in order to ensure the least amount of contact with germs.

Parents’ Choice

The start of school will be a new experience for parents, students, and teachers alike.  Whether school is virtual or in-person, the risks of contracting COVID-19 impact the education-related decisions that parents make for their children.  In addition to the typical considerations of private versus public, liability insurance, and academic curriculum, parents must now consider how facilities are addressing CDC guidelines and how to best protect their child from contracting the virus.  Parents must look to executive orders, policies and regulations posted by school boards and Bright from the Start, as well as individual classroom functioning.  All of these considerations are understandably overwhelming for parents, but hopefully this post provides ample resources for making an informed decision.  The following resources are excellent sources of information on COVID-19 and requirements for in-person schooling:

Resources

Executive Order 06.26.20.02

https://gov.georgia.gov/executive-action/executive-orders/2020-executive-orders

Bright from the Start, COVID-19 Protocols

http://www.decal.ga.gov/BFTS/Covid19.aspx

Georgia Department of Education, COVID-19 Protocols

https://www.georgiainsights.com/coronavirus.html

Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers Offering Free Consultations

As Georgia citizens navigate through these uncertain times, the Williams Elleby Howard & Easter legal team wants everyone to know that we are working hard to keep our offices clean and sanitary for our clients and visitors. If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, we offer free consultations with our lawyers. The consultations can be in person, by phone, or virtually by Zoom. If you prefer in person meetings, please be aware that a face mask is required for the safety of our staff and guests. Simply call 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542) to set up your consultation today.

Protecting Yourself After A Car Accident During The COVID-19 Outbreak

COVID 19 Personal Injuries Car Accident Georgia

During the current COVID-19 outbreak, we want everyone to know that there are additional steps that you can take to protect yourself after a car accident. Obviously, the safest thing to do for yourself and your community is to stay at home until the CDC, state, and local authorities give everyone the go ahead to resume normal day to day operations. We understand, however, that this is not always possible especially for essential workers and individuals that must travel to gather household essentials. The Williams Elleby Howard & Easter team encourages everyone who must travel to protect themselves by adhering to the following suggestions during the COVID-19 outbreak.

STEPS TO TAKE BEFORE DRIVING TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM COVID-19

Most people take reasonable steps to maintain their vehicles under normal circumstances but now is the time to go the extra mile. The last thing anyone needs during this time is to find themselves broken down on the side of the road without proper safety equipment.

Before leaving your house, make sure to have these items in your vehicle:

  1. Plastic disposable gloves
  2. Face mask
  3. Hand Sanitizer
  4. Fix-a-flat or similar product
  5. Cell phone
  6. Plastic bags

Also, we strongly recommend taking the time do give your vehicle some extra attention. A few steps to minimize the risk of a break down are:

  1. Check the air pressure in your tires
  2. Change your oil and filter
  3. Change your air filter
  4. Check your spark plugs and battery
  5. Make sure your tire iron, jack, and spare tire are readily accessible
  6. Top off your windshield wiper fluid
  7. Check your vehicle’s power steering, brake fluid, and coolant

CRITICAL STEPS AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK

Even if we take all the proper precautions, we cannot control the actions of other drivers. If you are involved in a car accident during the COVID-19 outbreak, there are some precautions you can take to protect your legal rights and keep your family safe. After an accident, immediately put on your gloves and face mask if you are physically able. If you get out of your car, remember to stay at least 6 feet away from the other driver(s).

Some post-accident rules are the same as those you should follow under normal circumstances like:

  1. Do not leave the scene of the accident
  2. Call 911
  3. Take pictures of the property damage with your cell phone
  4. Notify your automobile insurance company
  5. Do not admit fault

Other post-accident rules must be amended due to COVID-19 concerns. For example, you still need to exchange information with the other driver(s), but you should do so from a safe distance. For example, you can exchange cell phone numbers and text each other your contact information and insurance information. When the police arrive, politely explain that you would like to maintain a safe social distance while cooperating with the officer’s investigation. If you need to go to the hospital, consider calling an in-home family member to take you to the emergency room instead of riding in an ambulance (of course this only applies to injuries that are not life-threatening).

After you exchange information with the other driver and cooperate with law enforcement, remove your plastic gloves and place them in a plastic bag. Immediately sanitize your hands with hand sanitizer and do not touch your face. If anyone else is in your vehicle, resist the urge to touch them until after you are home, and have thoroughly cleaned yourself.

One of the most difficult challenges facing car accident victims in the COVID-19 era is finding medical care. Obviously, the emergency room is not ideal except in the direst of circumstances. Also, many doctor offices are closed or not accepting new patients. However, some medical facilities are offering telehealth options. If you are in the Cobb County area, medical facilities like Benchmark Physical Therapy and Resurgens Orthopaedics offer virtual visits that can be completed using a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. If your injuries are back or neck related, chiropractic offices may be a good option. Cobb County providers that you may consider are Lake Pointe Wellness Center and Lake City Chiropractic.

Most importantly, listen to your body and take the necessary steps to get the care you need so that your injuries do not get worse.

CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER

In order to properly protect your legal rights, it is very important to contact a reputable personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident. Williams Elleby Howard & Easter partners, Joel Williams and Chase Elleby, are available for free phone consultations during the COVID-19 outbreak. Simply call 833-LEGALGA  (833-534-2542) to speak with us today.

If you prefer a more personal touch, we can arrange for a ZOOM meeting at a time that is convenient for you. We are here for you in your time of need.

Daylight Savings In Kennesaw Begins Sunday, March 8, 2020

Daylight Saving 2020 Clock

Prepare to “Spring Forward” because daylight savings time begins in Kennesaw at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 8, 2020. After a long, cold, and wet winter, most Georgia residents will gladly sacrifice an hour of sleep for the longer warm days of spring. But you may be asking, “Why in the world does a personal injury law firm care about daylight savings time?”

At Williams Elleby Howard & Easter, we are client centered and family orientated. This means we are always looking for helpful hints that may benefit our clients as well as our Kennesaw and Acworth friends and family. Lets start with a few ideas for fun outdoor activities in and around Kennesaw during the longer daylight hours and we will end with a few tips to keep you out of legal trouble.

5 Fun Daylight Activities in Kennesaw and Acworth

  1. Swift-Cantrell Park: Swift-Cantrell Park is a world class recreation park located in the heart of Kennesaw. It is spread over 42 acres and offers several outdoor activities for Cobb County residents and visitors including a dog park, two running trails, picnic pavilions, age appropriate playgrounds, a skate park, fitness station, and a splash pad for summer months.
  2. Acworth Beach: A beach in north Georgia? Yes!!! Acworth Beach is located on the north shore of Lake Acworth. It is the perfect place for a family to soak up some sunshine and for children to burn off energy on the playground. Other features include a walking trail, fishing, and a picnic area. After leaving the beach, visitors can grab a great evening meal at some local Acworth hotspots like Henry’s Louisiana Grill or Center Street Tavern.
  3. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park: Kennesaw Mountain is a national park in Kennesaw that spreads over 2,965 acres. In addition to the educational opportunities available at the park’s visitor center, there are several miles of hiking trails that will accommodate all fitness levels. A map of the parks hiking trails can be found here.
  4. Noonday Creek Trail: Noonday Creek Trail is 8.5 miles long beginning at Market & Elm Streets in Woodstock and ending at Kennesaw Mountain. Due to its asphalt surface and flat terrain, the trail is perfect for long distance running, interval running, biking, roller skating, and walking.
  5. Cobblestone Golf Course: Cobblestone is public golf course nestled along the banks of beautiful Lake Acworth. Golf enthusiasts will love its Bermuda greens, white sand bunkers, and views of Lake Acworth.

Dangers Associated with Daylight Savings Time

            Daylight savings time and longer days are great but losing an extra hour of sleep can cause problems associated with drowsiness. One of those dangerous problems is fatigued driving which can lead to serious injuries and death.

Have you ever been driving down the road when you began to yawn and your vision got cloudy only to be jolted into reality by the sound of rumble strips passing beneath your tires? If so, you are not alone. According to a National Sleep Foundation poll, 60% of adult drivers, or 168 million people, reported driving a vehicle while feeling drowsy. According to the study, 103 million of those people actually fell asleep at the wheel!

Most Georgia citizens lead stressful lives filled with work, community events, and family obligations. These factors combined with losing an extra hour of sleep can be a recipe for disaster. Prepare for daylight savings time by going to bed an hour early on March 7, 2020. It could save your or someone else’s life.

Fatigued Driving is Deadly

Kennesaw and Acworth are cities filled with outdoor enthusiasts ranging from runners, bikers, and casual walkers. Although these cities have gone to great lengths to provide crosswalks and sidewalks for their citizens, fatigued drivers still pose a hazard. It is time for all of us to consider whether we may be one of the fatigued drivers that are endangering our friends and neighbors.

The National Sleep Foundation has identified groups of people who may be at an increased risk for sleep related automobile crashes. These groups include shift workers, commercial drivers, males under the age of 26, and business travelers who spend many hours driving. Additionally, individuals who get less than 6 hours of sleep, suffer from insomnia, or work more than 60 hours per week may face an increased risk of causing a fatigued driving crash.

If we are honest, many of us are at an increased risk of causing a fatigued driving crash. When we combine other risk factors with the loss of an additional hour of sleep during the daylight savings time transition, we endanger ourselves as well as others.

Lawyers for Victims of Fatigued Driving Car Accidents 

Our lawyers encourage everyone to do everything possible to avoid sleepy or fatigued driving. As the Georgia Department of Transportation likes to say “Drive Alert Arrive Alive.”

Crashes caused by fatigued drivers often lead to serious personal injuries as well as civil lawsuits for monetary damages. The Williams Elleby Howard & Easter team has handled numerous personal injury cases involving car accidents caused by fatigued drivers. Some of these cases caused serious and catastrophic injuries to our clients and resulted in significant monetary settlements.

If you have been injured due to the negligence of a sleepy or fatigued driver, we may be able to help you obtain financial compensation from the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company. We offer free initial consultations. Simply call 833-LEGALGA or 833-534-2542 to speak with one of our Kennesaw based car accident lawyers.

Keeping Children Safe Around Dogs

Children Safe Around Dogs Personal Injury Attorneys Williams Elleby Howard & Easter

Kids can be quite frustrating. The pets in your home can definitely agree. A young child may make the mistake of hitting the dog or pulling its tail. Even the most patient dogs can get a little angry at the kid. In these moments, the dog may even be tempted to bite the child. Kids and dogs can be great together, but you need to put safety over everything. Here are some tips for keeping children safe around dogs.

  1. Supervise

Young kids and dogs should not be left alone together. As the adult, it’s your responsibility to keep an eye on everything. Do not leave them alone, even for a moment. If you notice the child doing something wrong, like agitating the dog by kissing it , you can stop things before something serious happens. If something happens while you are in charge, it is your responsibility.

  1. Teach Children How to Interact With Dogs

Knowledge is power. While you want to keep an eye on the child and dog yourself, it’s even better if the child knows how to handle a dog themselves. First and foremost, children should know not to just go up and pet a strange dog. Every child should learn from a young age that they should ask politely if they want to pet a dog. Explain that some dogs are mean and some are nice. You need to ask the owner to make sure it’s a nice dog. They should also learn to approach the dog calmly and let the dog sniff them. Then, they can continue petting the dog. Make sure they don’t jump on the dog or play too rough. You should also teach your child how to recognize when a dog is not happy. One big tell is if the dog is growling or barking. If the dog is backing away, that’s also a sign it wants to be left alone. Explain that no matter how cute the dog is, you shouldn’t pet it if it doesn’t want to be pet.

  1. Pick the Right Breed

Not all breeds of dog are created equal. If you have children in your life, you should get a breed of dog known for being good with kids. Some of the most popular kid-friendly dog breeds include the Golden Retriever, Collie, Beagle, and Newfoundland. This also shows you don’t have to stick to small dogs. In fact, some of the best breeds of dogs for kids are medium to large dogs. You should also take the children with you when picking up the dog to ensure that they get along. You may even want to include them in the dog buying process. Don’t forget to search your local humane society first. It’s better to adopt than buy a pure breed dog.

  1. Send the Dog to Training School

If you have children in the house and plan to have even more, you need your dog to learn how to interact with children properly. We all know that babies and toddlers are destructive. You need to teach your dog how to handle this. One of your best options is to send you dog to training school. It will help teach your dog patience and obedience. When your baby climb on the dog’s head even after you told him not to, the dog should be trained not to get aggressive or bite.

  1. Use Reward and Punishment

Dogs and children can be trained in a similar fashion using classical conditioning. The premise of this method is to encourage proper behavior with reward and punishment. When the child or the dog does something wrong, you need to punish the guilty party to prevent that behavior from happening again. If they do the right thing, you should reward them with more play time or treats. Before long, the desired behavior will continue and any negative behavior will cease.

  1. Start Slow

Some kids take to dogs immediately. Others take a little more time. Do not feel the need to force it. Let them interact slowly until they both become fully comfortable.

Your dog is a part of your family. You want all members of your family to get along. If you follow these steps, both your child and dog will be safe. Soon, they will likely become the best of friends.

 

About the Author:

Olivia Harper is the co-founder of the blog Daily Dog Stuff. She is a reserved and passionate pet parent who loves to spend time with her Sibe, who keeps her active and social. Read more of her guides and tips by visiting the blog or following their page @dailydogstuff.

Mixed Results for Macon-Bibb’s Pedestrian Safety Review Board

Pedestrian Safety Personal Injury Williams Elleby Howard & Easter

Pedestrian accidents are an unfortunate reality in Bibb County and throughout Georgia. While these accidents are somewhat rare compared to collisions between two vehicles, the outcome is often far more devastating. To combat the growing trend, the County developed a Pedestrian Safety Review Board. But has this attempt been successful?

Pedestrian Accidents Nationally

In 2006 alone, nearly 6,000 pedestrians died after being struck by a motor vehicle according to the Center for Disease Control. However, these fatal accidents pale in comparison to the number of severe non-fatal injuries that occurred during the same period. Nearly 129,000 Americans sustained injuries that required a trip to the emergency room.

These numbers do not cut evenly across all demographics. Pedestrian accidents disproportionally impact children and the elderly. Older Americans make up 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths, while one out of every five children that die in a traffic crash are pedestrians.

Intoxication also plays a major role in these accidents. Drunk drivers are less likely to notice a pedestrian or react in time to prevent a crash. The result: nearly half of all fatal pedestrian accidents involve alcohol use by one or more parties.

The Review Board

Born from the idea of one county commissioner, the purpose of the Board is to reduce and eventually eliminate the currently-growing threat of pedestrian accidents. The high number of fatal accidents led the county to move forward with creating the Pedestrian Safety Review Board. The Board pulls members from a variety of departments within the county, including the sheriff’s office, zoning board, and health department.

The Review Board is not without resources. Thanks to federal grants, they have spent approximately $40,000 on their “On The Move” campaign. In addition to awareness events, these funds also paid for lighted armbands free to anyone that walks at night. In addition to those funds, the board also received roughly $10,000 from the county Sheriff and the health department. This money has gone to additional awareness campaigns including signs and billboards. The Board does more than awareness and giveaways, however. They advise the county on how to spend money that could impact pedestrian safety, like sidewalk improvements.

Are their efforts working? The jury is still out. Since the formation of the board, the number of pedestrian accidents each year has fallen slowly but steadily. However, the number of pedestrian deaths in 2018 equaled the number of fatalities in 2016 and 2017 combined. Still, this is an improvement compared to other counties in the state who have not made similar efforts.

Contact a Georgia Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today

While the Review Board’s goal is noble, it is important to note that eliminating serious pedestrian accidents is years away at best. In the meantime, pedestrian accidents will remain a sad reality. If you have suffered an injury after being hit by a vehicle, you could have a claim for monetary damages. To learn more, reach out to the attorneys at Williams Elleby Howard & Easter by calling 833-LEGALGA.