Archive for the ‘In the News’ Category

Four Teens Killed in Collision with Semi-Truck

Posted on: April 26th, 2017 by James Haug

truck on asphalt roadThe City of South Fulton is reeling after discovering that an SUV full of high-school age teenagers was in a devastating wreck with a semi truck. According to reports, a Lincoln Navigator with five teens ran a red light at the intersection of Butner Road and Campbellton Fairburn Road around 1:15 p.m. They were struck by a semi-truck, resulting in what one witness said was the worst thing they’d seen in their life.

Four of the teens in the car, including the driver, were killed. One of the passengers, a 16-year-old girl, survived the wreck and is expected to make a full recovery from her injuries. The grandmother of the survivor thanked two bystanders for saving her granddaughter. After the wreck, they pulled up to the scene and carefully pulled the girl to safety before emergency personnel arrived.

Witnesses said they didn’t hear the typical sounds of an accident, like squealing tires. Instead, they just heard “one loud boom” — and when they looked over, the SUV was nearly in half. One of the victims was thrown from the vehicle in the accident, but the others were trapped inside.

South Fulton Mayor-Elect Bill Edwards said he was particularly disturbed by the accident due to the time at which it occurred. He said the students should have been in school at the time (all but one were students at Langston Hughes High School), and if they were, the accident could have been avoided.

Edwards said he is not pointing fingers in the incident, but rather it should encourage parents and the community as a whole to be more involved in their teenagers’ lives. He plans to introduce a truancy program once he is officially in office in May.

The driver of the semi truck driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Accidents involving semi trucks are often the most devastating on our roads. If you have been injured in a semi truck accident in Atlanta, contact the attorneys at Haug Law Group today for a free consultation.

Young Boy Killed at Rotating Restaurant

Posted on: April 19th, 2017 by James Haug

Abstract blur beautiful luxury restaurant interior for backgroundFor anyone who has traveled through Atlanta, the cylindrical Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel is one of the most recognizable landmarks. The top of the hotel is the Sun Dial restaurant, which rotates slowly to give diners a full, 360 degree view of the city. Unfortunately, the Sun Dial was recently the site of a tragic incident that took the life of a 5-year-old boy.

A family from North Carolina were visiting Atlanta and decided to have a late lunch at the Sun Dial. The young boy wandered away from his family and somehow got his head stuck between a chair and the inner rotating wall. The automatic safety features stopped the rotation as adults tried to move furniture to get to the boy.

By the time the boy was able to be freed, he was unconscious. His father attempted to perform CPR while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive. Once the paramedics got to the restaurant, they rushed the boy to Grady Memorial Hospital. The boy died from traumatic brain injuries sustained in the incident.

The Sun Dial closed immediately after the incident, and is expected to remain closed indefinitely while an investigation is conducted. This is believed to be the first accident of its kind at this restaurant.

The boy’s parents described him as a sweet, accepting, lovable child who had a thirst for adventure. His parents say everyone is his friend, and he always had a hug for everyone.

In lieu of flowers, his parents have set up a memorial fund in their son’s honor. Contributions can be sent to: The Charlie Holt Memorial Fund, Towne Bank, 5806 Harbourview Blvd., Suite 201, Suffolk, VA 23435.

There is no word yet as to whether the parents will file a lawsuit against the Sun Dial.

When a loved one loses their life due to someone else’s actions or negligence, no amount of money can be any real comfort. Yet, a wrongful death lawsuit can help with any financial obligations and can provide closure. Contact our Atlanta wrongful death attorneys today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Whistleblower Suing Atlanta Over Lost Job

Posted on: April 12th, 2017 by James Haug

Atlanta Georgia State Capital Gold Dome

Kasim Reed, mayor of Atlanta, has been in some hot water in the past few months due to his use of using vehicles with sirens and blue lights to get around the city. While some law enforcement officials say it’s clearly illegal, as doing so is not for an emergency situation, Reed says it is for security purposes. While that issue is still under investigation, a related problem has been brought to light by a whistleblower.

A former city police manager recently filed a lawsuit that claims the City of Atlanta used federal money that was supposed to be used to buy police cars to instead buy vehicles used for Reed, and she lost her job for reporting it. These are the same vehicles that are outfitted with blue lights and sirens to chauffeur the Reed family around Atlanta.

The whistleblower claims that, when she found out about the misuse of funds, she brought the issue to the attention of former police chief George Turner. Shortly after, she was laid off, and the position of city police manager was eliminated altogether. On April 5, she filed her lawsuit against the City of Atlanta.

Within the lawsuit, she also accuses Turner of using federal money, as well as money from drug seizures, to pay for overtime for police officers instead of using it for the special programs for which it was earmarked.

The plaintiff in the case says she wants her job back and back pay, as well as an unspecified amount of damages. The city says the manager was fired for not reporting grant funds and expenses appropriately.

While this lawsuit is being pursued, Atlanta is also involved in a federal criminal investigation. According to authorities, two contractors allegedly paid over $1 million in bribes in order to influence city contracts.

Whistleblowers, whether revealing information about their private employer or the government, have a right to not face punishment for doing so. If you have faced retaliation for whistleblowing in Atlanta, contact the attorneys at Haug Law Group today for a free consultation.

Driver Hits School Bus, then Flees

Posted on: April 5th, 2017 by James Haug

Front part of yellow school bus children educational transport with signs in the parking lot waiting to be in serviceSharing the road with school buses is a task (and sometimes a hassle) that every driver has to deal with at one point or another. Yet, those buses provide a vital service for our communities, and being in an accident with one can cause injuries to children. Luckily, this wasn’t the case in a recent incident.

A school bus was driving down State Route 142 in Covington on Friday. Due to a backup at a nearby intersection, the traffic was stop and go. The bus was struck by a small, brown Chevrolet sedan. No children were on the bus at the time of the accident, and there were no reports of injuries, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

According to reports, the driver of the sedan then turned around and fled in the opposite direction. Someone who saw the incident gave a statement to the Georgia State Patrol that included a license plate number; however, that plate number did not match the description of the car. The sedan driver was vaguely described as a white man with facial hair.

When it comes to hit-and-run incidents, the Georgia State Patrol keeps cases open until enough information is brought forward to conclude the case. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact Georgia State Patrol Post 46 in Monroe at 770-464-1800.

Hit-and-run accidents are often some of the most confusing to deal with. It can be a struggle to get your insurance to pay for any damage or injury, since the insurer of the driver at fault generally pays these costs. However, it is possible to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been in a hit-and-run accident in Atlanta, contact the attorneys at Haug Law Group today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Georgia Woman Charged with Abuse

Posted on: March 30th, 2017 by James Haug

elder hand on loincloth thai, elder sitting on wheelchairs in bamboo gardenWhen we entrust our loved ones to the care of others, we expect that they will be loved and looked after appropriately and professionally. It is rarely an easy decision to place an elderly family member in a nursing home or long-term care facility. That is part of the reason it is so disturbing to hear of news of abuse in one of these facilities.

Sadly, a woman in Georgia has been charged with abusing an 87-year-old patient in the facility in which she worked. According to reports, it has not been confirmed if the arrested woman was a direct caregiver of the victim, but it is known that the abuse occurred at Pruitthealth – Magnolia Manor in the city of Moultrie.

Certified State Ombudsman Elaine Wilson said that abuse is something that happens everyday and often goes unnoticed. To help end the abuse that elderly patients suffer at the hands of caregivers, the state of Georgia enacted harsher penalties in 2013. In 2016, a law was passed that created a registry for Certified Nursing Assistants.

Any person who suspects that an elderly or disabled patient is the victim of abuse should speak up. It is only when someone is brave enough to step forward that the cycle of abuse may be brought to an end. In many cases, those being abused rely on others to be their voice.

If you suspect that your elderly loved one has been abused at the hands of a caregiver or are certain abuse has occurred, reach out to our team of experienced attorneys. We will review the details of the abuse and advise you of your legal options. Call today to schedule your free initial consultation. We are here for you and your family as you begin to move forward with your lives.

Bicyclist Victim of Hit and Run

Posted on: March 27th, 2017 by James Haug

Man leading a group of riders up a mountain road during a raceA cyclist is recovering after being hit by a car on Tuesday, March 25. The man was riding his bicycle with a group of other cyclists, wearing reflective clothing. He also had blinking lights on his bike, as did other riders. Despite being visible, he was still struck. Here is what happened in Senoia, Georgia according to reports.

A group of 30 bicyclists was out for their normal ride. The man and three other people were at the back of the group, eventually separating from their friends. It was when they had separated that a car became impatient and attempted to pass the group on their left. The vehicle passed too closely after sounding its horn multiple times. The man heard the vehicle accelerate past his friends who were riding behind him and then he was struck.

The car hit the man with enough force to knock its passenger-side mirror off. The driver then sped away. The man said that the car’s driver never applied brakes or slowed to see if he was okay. The man suffered injuries to his hip and elbow and had back pain from falling on the ground. He hit his head on the pavement but was wearing a helmet which prevented serious injury.

The man is thankful to still be alive, but hopes that the accident serves as a message to other drivers. Cyclists have a right to the road as much as anyone else, and passing involves giving cyclists at least three feet of room. Police believe they have identified the man who struck the cyclist, and he is facing several charges as a result of the accident.

If you have been the victim of a hit and run driver, reach out to our team of experienced accident attorneys. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your legal options.

Man on Probation in Georgia Accused of Hit and Run

Posted on: March 16th, 2017 by James Haug

Traffic cones at tropical street warning about asphalt pavement worksA hit and run accident proved fatal for two department of transportation workers in South Carolina earlier in March. The state’s highway patrol investigated the incident and they now believe that they know what happened.

According to reports, a man who was on probation in Georgia was traveling in South Carolina. Driving through Aiken, the man struck two DOT workers who were on the road, killing them. The man failed to stop. Instead, the man drove off, hid his vehicle and tried to cover it. Authorities did not say what the man covered his car with.

During a bond hearing for the driver who was eventually caught, officials brought up prior arrests and convictions in an attempt to have his bond denied. The man’s attorney said that he was not a flight risk, but the judge disagreed. The man’s bond was denied. Investigators spent time recreating the scene in an attempt to discover exactly what led to the accident. What is known is that the workers had just started their day and had not had the chance to put down orange warning cones before they were hit.

Anyone traveling through construction zones knows the irritation of being forced to travel at slower speeds or even wait as heavy machinery moves about. Despite this irritation, drivers are urged to stay aware of the people who are working along the road. Speeding through construction zones is dangerous for everyone and, if you hit a worker or cause an accident, you will face stiffer penalties.

If you have been involved in a hit and run in Georgia, call our office to schedule a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of the options available to you.

Woman Pleads Not Guilty to MLK Blvd Hit and Run

Posted on: March 10th, 2017 by James Haug

crosswalkEarly in March, a woman was crossing Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at Murray Street. The woman was struck by two vehicles, the first stopping and the second fleeing the scene. The woman who fled was eventually caught and has pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide and driving with a suspended license.

The woman’s attorney argued that she should not be charged with vehicular homicide based on the facts of the case. According to reports, the victim was struck by the first car and sent into the opposing lane of traffic. It was then that she was hit by the defendant’s vehicle. The woman’s attorney said that no one expects a person to suddenly appear in front of their car, and that vehicular homicide requires causation.

Investigators will need to prove that the second hit was the cause of the victim’s death. What they won’t have to work to prove is that the defendant should not have been driving as she was not legally able to do so or that she failed to stop after striking the woman.The driver who did stop is not facing any charges.

Officials want people to understand that they are required to stop after being involved in an accident. Leaving the scene of an accident before being instructed to do so by the police is a crime and is punishable by consequences unique to the totality of the incident.

If you have been in an auto accident or involved in a hit and run, reach out to our team of experienced accident attorneys. We will help you schedule a free consultation at which time we will review the details of the accident and advise you of your legal options. You may be entitled to compensation for injuries, property damage and more. Call today for your case evaluation.

“Vegan” Woman Crashes into Chicken Truck

Posted on: February 28th, 2017 by James Haug

chickens on a farmMany people have personal convictions about what they will and will not eat. However, these convictions do not often result in violence or crime. One local woman from Hull, Georgia (northwest of Athens) took her convictions to the next level when she took action against a chicken truck.

The driver of the truck was driving westbound on Highway 72 when a red sedan slammed into the side of his vehicle. He pressed on his brakes, but the car came a second time and hit him again, causing the car to spin in front of the truck. The car driver then fled. The truck driver had a basic description of the driver — a woman with shoulder-length red hair — and called the Madison County police.

However, in the act of slamming into the truck, the driver left her license plate. This led the police to a home on Comer, which when they first arrived was abandoned. However, on the second attempt they found both the car and the woman who matched the truck driver’s description, later identified as 26-year-old Judith Moriah Armstrong.

The police attempted to get her to come out, but she refused unless they had a warrant. However, she did talk to the officers through the window. During that conversation, Armstrong told the officers that she had slammed into the truck because it was carrying chickens, and she was vegan. She saw the truck on her way home and hit it.

She did say she was sober at the time, but took a couple shots of alcohol when she got home. Once the police officer finally got a warrant, they arrested Armstrong, and in jail she blew a BAC of 0.089. She was charged with aggressive driving, obstruction, hit-and-run and driving under the influence.

The truck driver was unharmed.

If you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run car accident in Atlanta, you have legal options. Contact Haug Law Group today for a free case evaluation.

Doctors Found Guilty in Brain Damage Case

Posted on: February 22nd, 2017 by James Haug

ropped image of judge hitting gavel with stethoscope in courtroomIn 2009, a pregnant woman checked into Northside Hospital, ready to give birth. However, during the birthing process, she suffered from preeclampsia and a pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs). The woman’s family say doctors did not properly treat her for these conditions, which led to severe issues just a few days later.

Three days after giving birth, the woman was undergoing x-rays. She suffered from a heart attack during the procedure. She was resuscitated eventually by hospital staff, but not until about 10 minutes later During that time, her brain was without oxygen. This led to severe brain damage, which left the woman unable to care for herself.

The argument was made that the heart attack was caused by high blood pressure caused by the preeclampsia, as well as the pulmonary edema. The plaintiffs claimed these conditions were not properly addressed and treated. However, the defendants argued that, while the woman had shortness of breath before the x-rays, she showed no signs of edema. Her lungs were clear, and she had proper blood-oxygen saturation levels.

The defendants further argued that the heart attack was most likely caused by a pulmonary embolism. While experts proved that the embolism probably directly caused the heart attack, there were other mitigating factors that the doctors failed to treat. Specifically, the doctors did not properly treat her fluid levels and erratic blood pressure.

After an eight day trial, the jury eventually found the two doctors guilty of medical malpractice. The woman’s family was awarded $45.8 million, including nearly $10 million in economic damages and two awards of $18 million each for noneconomic damages.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to a medical professional’s actions (or lack thereof), you may be entitled to legal compensation. Contact the Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys at Haug Law Group today for a free consultation today.

Crash in Walker County Claims 3 Lives

Posted on: February 21st, 2017 by James Haug

closeup of seatbeltThe Georgia State Patrol responded to a tragic accident earlier this month in Walker County, near State Route 136 and Ponder Creek Road/Cantrell Road. The wreck happened late in the afternoon, around 5 p.m. The driver, a 51-year-old man, lost control of his car, veered off the road and hit a tree. He hit the tree head-on, then his van spun around before coming to a rest.

There were also two children in the car, ages five and 10. The five-year-old was in the back seat, not wearing a seat belt nor using a booster seat. The 10-year-old was in the front seat, and he was wearing a seat belt. The driver himself was not wearing a seat belt. When the car hit the tree, the driver and the five-year-old boy died.

The 10-year-old boy was cut out of the van and rushed to Children’s Hospital at Erlanger in critical. He later succumbed to his injuries. The Georgia State Patrol says they believe the driver went to go buy new windshield wipers, and the two boys came along for the ride.

The GSP also believes alcohol was a factor in the wreck. At the scene of the accident, they found a cooler with beer. They also found open containers in the floorboard of the van. Blood tests will determine if the driver was drinking before the wreck.

The driver was engaged to the boys’ mother. She also has two daughters and an older son who were not in the car at the time.

We at Haug Law Group encourage anyone who is getting into a car to put on a seat belt before you start your journey. In addition, if you have been drinking at all, don’t get behind the wheel of the car. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Atlanta or the surrounding area, contact us today for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation.

Mother Fighting for Wrongful Death Suit in Daughter’s Suicide

Posted on: February 8th, 2017 by James Haug

Closeup of gavel in court roomIn 2011, a 14-year-old girl from the coastal city of Richmond Hill, Georgia took her own life. Before her suicide, she self-mutilated herself multiple times in the neck, abdomen and breasts. Local police investigated her case, taking multiple photos of her wounds. One of the investigating officers used those photos to explain the nature of suicide to his own daughter, a classmate of the girl.

A few weeks later, the girl who was the subject of those photos committed suicide. Her mother says that breach of police protocol led to her being constantly harassed and embarrassed at school. This embarrassment allegedly led to the girl’s suicide. The mother is claiming that the officer and the city as a whole should be held accountable for her daughter’s wrongful death.

The mother is suing the city and the officer for $5 million. An appeals court ruled 4-3 that the case may proceed. However, there were heated arguments over the matter.

A 1913 case set precedent that no suicide could lead to a wrongful death suit. In that case, suicide was ruled an “unforeseeable intervening cause of death” that absolves the potential defendant of any wrongdoing. The exception is if a special relationship exists, such as doctor-patient, exists — which does not apply in this instance.

In addition, the defendants argued that the officer should not be held responsible, since the girl was already “susceptible to suicide.” However, a case 1988 case allowed for wrongful death rulings in suicides. These clashing precedents have been at the center of this particular case. But, the courts ended up siding with the mother, allowing the case to move forward.

If your loved one was killed due to someone else’s actions or negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Though no amount of money can make things right, it can help ease the financial burden of losing a loved one. Contact the attorneys at Haug Law Group today for a free consultation regarding wrongful death in Atlanta.

Woman Suing Hospital, Ambulance, Doctor for Brother’s Death

Posted on: January 30th, 2017 by James Haug

Interior of an ambulanceIn January of 2015, a man named Johnny Lee Bryant was living in The Place nursing home in Augusta, Georgia. He was sent to Doctor’s Hospital to be treated for sepsis and pneumonia. There, he was treated by Dr. Hetal Thakore from January 8 to January 15. During that time, it was noted that Bryant, 54, was also suffering from end-stage renal disease, stroke, diabetes, numerous pressure sores and malnutrition.

When he was discharged, his pulse and white blood cell count were elevated and his blood pressure was low. Instead of being taken back to The Place, he was instead taken by Gold Cross ambulance to a nursing home in Bainbridge, Georgia, more than 300 miles southwest of Augusta. When they finally arrived, the nursing home refused to accept him.

The ambulance then turned around and brought him back to Augusta. During that ambulance ride, over 12 hours long, Bryant was in severe pain but received nothing more than aspirin. Shortly after arriving back in Augusta, he was transferred to University Hospital. It was there that he died on February 10.

Now, Bryant’s sister and administrator of his estate, Mary B. Taylor, is filing a lawsuit against Dr. Thakore, Gold Cross and Doctors Hospital. In the lawsuit, Taylor is accusing the defendant of causing emotional distress, negligence and causing wrongful death.

Doctors Hospital has not commented on the lawsuit. Gold Cross Chief Financial Officer Frank Lindley said the company has not received the lawsuit yet. Until then, his company will not comment on the case.

If you are dealing with the death of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or actions, you are not alone. Though no amount of money can bring your loved one back, it can ease your financial burden and ensure the perpetrator never acts in this way again. Contact the Atlanta wrongful death attorneys at Haug Law Group today for a free consultation.

Damages Awarded After Deadly Truck Crash

Posted on: January 20th, 2017 by James Haug

The semi-truck moving on a highway.In 2015, a truck driver caused a seven-car wreck, which killed five nursing students from Georgia Southern University. After a nearly two-year long legal process, a survivor of that wreck, Megan Richards, has been awarded $15 million in a civil suit. Jurors deliberated for nearly four hours before deciding on the amount that the trucking company Total Transportation of Mississippi and its parent company, U.S. Express, must pay.

The accident happened in April of 2015. Wayne Johnson, a truck driver from Louisiana, was traveling at 70 miles per hour. He failed to brake in time, and slammed into several cars in front of him. Five women were killed, all between the ages of 20 and 21, on their way to what would have been their last clinical rotations at a Savannah hospital.

Weeks later, families of the victims filed lawsuits against Johnson, claiming he did not stop properly, even though he had plenty of time to do so. Johnson ended up pleading guilty to five counts of first-degree manslaughter. As part of his plea deal, he was imprisoned for five years and will also have five years of probation afterward.

A year after the accident, the trucking company settled with the families of those who were killed, as well as another survivor. Richards says she suffered from a traumatic brain injury and still deals with its symptoms every day. She still has anxiety and nightmares about the wreck. Her roommates say she has a strong fear of dying, and doesn’t like being alone when she sleeps.

Richards’ attorney originally argued for $25 million for his client, but in the end they settled for $15 million. The truck driver apologized in court to Richards for the wreck.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in Atlanta, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the attorneys at Haug Law Group today for a free consultation.

Ga. Supreme Court to Make Decision on Malpractice Case

Posted on: January 10th, 2017 by James Haug

gavel resting on law bookIn 2009, a man named Sean Elliott underwent back surgery at WellStar Kennestone Hospital. He had a degenerative disc disease. The operation seemed to go well, but two weeks later, Elliott was rushed to the emergency room. The only way he could breathe was through a ventilator. The reason? His surgical wound was infected.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Tapan Daftari. Daftari also performed postoperative care and treatment. This included examining Elliott’s spinal cord and draining the wound. Three days later, after the wound was closed, Elliott began experiencing decreased movement in his legs. Daftari then ordered an MRI and went to operate on a different patient while waiting on the results.

By the time Daftari got back five hours later, Elliott’s condition had worsened, though the test came back negative. A second scan was ordered, which showed that the patient’s spine was expanding dangerously. Daftari performed an emergency procedure to make room for the expansion and discovered an abscess on the spine. Elliott eventually lost use of his lower body. In 2011, he sued the doctor and Resurgens Orthopaedics.

The case hinged on one question: Did Daftari know of Elliott’s decreased leg mobility? The doctor said he was not aware of the issue until 11:30 a.m., but Elliott said he expressed his concerns at 9 a.m. In order to fight his case, Elliott’s legal counsel called a nurse to the stand as a “surprise witness.”

The court refused to let her testify. As such, the jury sided with Daftari. However, the case went to the Court of Appeals, who said that excluding evidence is not the proper way to handle an omission in the discovery process — meaning they sided with Elliott. Now, Daftari is appealing to the Georgia Supreme Court to see if the Court of Appeals made the right call.

If you have been injured due to doctor’s negligence in Atlanta, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the attorneys at Haug Law Group today for a free case evaluation.