Personal Injury Blog

Teenager runs from Marietta police, kills one, injures another


There are no guarantees that your teenage children will listen to your advice about who they should and should not spend time with. Teenagers are headstrong and sometimes fall in with the wrong crowd, including those teenagers that drink and drive. If your child is involved in a fatal car accident because his or her friend was driving drunk, you may want to hold that driver responsible.
After a recent accident in Marietta, one family may be considering a wrongful death suit because their 16-year-old was killed as his allegedly drunk friend tried to run from police. Cobb County police initially tried to pull over the vehicle in which the victim was riding after the driver made an illegal U-turn, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Instead of stopping, the driver tried to flee, but crashed the car after hitting two curbs and then smashed into a concrete retaining wall.
Tragically, the 16-year-old died at the scene of the accident. In addition, another 16-year-old passenger was seriously injured in the accident and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. His condition has stabilized somewhat, but the teen needed emergency surgery after he was originally admitted to the hospital.
Police are unsure why the Georgia teen decided to try and out-run the police. While the pursuing officers noted that he had made an illegal turn, ran a red light and couldn’t stay in his lane, all indicating he had been drinking, toxicology reports are still pending. Regardless of why, this teenager’s carelessness about his and his friends’ safety has left one friend dead and the other struggling to recover in an Atlanta hospital.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Police: DeKalb teens killed in fiery Cobb crash,” Alexis Stevens, Feb. 20, 2012

Toyota Unintended Acceleration – What NHTSA doesn’t want you to know


The Federal government is at it again. Toyota has spent tens of millions of dollars over the past few years trying to convince the Federal government and the public there are no electronic problem with its vehicles that cause unintended acceleration. Toyota was able to convince the NHTSA to conclude there was no electronic-base cause for unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. NHTSA reached its conclusion despite the substantial evidence showing that many unintended accelerations appear to be due to a problem with the electronics in the vehicle.

Now, it appears that NHTSA is covering up other evidence showing that there is an electronic-base cause for some of these unintended accelerations. Below is a link to safety expert, Sean Kane’s blog describing an unintended acceleration incident involving a Toyota Prius driven by a Federal employee which, apparently, NHTSA does not want the public to know about.

Government Officials Video Electronic Unintended Acceleration in Toyota: NHTSA Hides Information, SRS Sues Agency for Records
By: Sean Kane- Safety Research and Strategy, Inc.

Occupant Detection Sensors (Passenger Airbag Sensors)- Deadly Consequences for Hyundai and Kia


Many of our cars have occupant detection sensors. The so-called “smart” airbag systems are enclosed in the seat cushion of the front passenger seat and are used to detect whether or not the front passenger seat is occupied by an adult.

Recent reports show that the Hyundai Accent and its model twins, including the Kia Rio, are sometimes defective. Failures in a product like this most often lead serious and fatal injuries.

Below is a link to safety expert, Sean Kane’s, blog detailing the dangers of this product.The information in this blog posting could save your life.

When Occupant Detection Sensors Don’t Make Sense?
by Sean Kane


Be careful of Facebook Scams


Over the past few years internet scamming has increased significantly. From 2008 – 2009 alone, scam complaints and reports increased by 30 percent. 65 percent of these scams originated in the United States, followed by 10.5 percent in the UK, and 7.5 percent in Nigeria.

One of the most common ways a person can be tricked by a scam is through Facebook. People can be easily fooled by these scams because they spread from network to network through friends and acquaintances that fall for them. The easiest way to tell if you or someone you know has been scammed is if your Facebook starts posting weird links to a scandalous video or freebies like an iPad or Subway gift cards.

The most common types of Facebook scams are phishing and identity theft, malware or spyware infested links, click and “like” jacking, subscription, 419 advanced fee scams , and romance scams.

Although Facebook scams appear in many forms they have enough things in common to make them easy to identify. A sure sign of a scam is if Facebook asks the user to paste a code or URL into their browser. Pasting the code will automatically run a javacript command on the account or direct the user to a malware infested page. Also, if Facebook suggests the user to upgrade Flash Player or download a program it could lead to a virus.

If Facebook prompts users to post links to other pages and invite their friends to do something before they claim a prize, it is a scam. Fake log-in pages are also a sign of a scam. A fake log-in page can be identified by checking on the URL address that appears on the top portion of the browser. Never give away confidential and private information. If a link asks for something such as a social security number or credit card information, it is a sure sign of a scam.

These scams are spread through wall posts, chats, private messages, groups, pages, rouge applications, and fake events. The best way to avoid these types of scams is to not click on a link unless you know what it is. It is also important to keep your anti-virus/anti spyware programs updated and limit online surfing to trustworthy sites. Scams can also be avoided by optimizing your privacy and security settings, and by changing your password every few months.

Facebook users can be on the lookout for new Facebook scams and how they work and spread by joining the Facecrooks Fanpage, and by reading the scam watch section on their

Please visit The Cooper Firm’s Facebook page for daily safety tips and legal updates. You can access (and like) our page by visiting our website,


Two Metro Atlanta Men Died in Mississippi RV Crash


The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that 2 people were killed and 10 were seriously injured in southern Mississippi when a motorhome crashed on its way to tonight’s championship game between LSU v. Alabama in New Orleans. The motorhome, driven by Alfred Hold, Jr. of Lithonia, Georgia, lost control after it blew a tire, ran off the roadway and struck a tree in the median.

There were 14 people traveling in the motorhome. Mr. Holt and Darryl Parker of Riverdale, GA were ejected and killed. Ten other passengers were taken to local hospital for treatment: two patients are in ICU in “extremely critical condition,” three passengers are in stable condition, and several others were treated and released.

As I stated above, the accident occurred with the motorhome’s tire blew and it ran off the roadway sticking a tree. I can’t express enough how important it is to check the condition of your tires on a regular basis and again before long trips. Proper tire maintenance is an important safety function that is often neglected. Your tires are the only contact between your vehicle and the road.

Like I said above, you should check your tire pressure at least once a month and again before you travel long distances. Below are some steps for maintaining proper tire pressure:

  1. Locate the recommended tire pressure on the vehicle’s tire information placard, certification label, or in the owner’s manual;
  2. Record the tire pressure of all tires;
  3. If the tire pressure is too high in any of the tires, slowly release air by gently pressing on the tire valve stem with the edge of your tire gauge until you get to the correct pressure;
  4. If the tire pressure is too low, note the difference between the measured tire pressure and the correct tire pressure. These “missing” pounds of pressure are what you will need to add;
  5. At a service station, add the missing pounds of air pressure to each tire that is under-inflated; and
  6. Check all the tires to make sure they have the same air pressure (except in cases in which the front and rear tires are supposed to have different amounts of pressure).


Another cause of tire failure is worn tire tread. Your tire’s tread provides the gripping action and traction that prevent your car from slipping or sliding. Worn tire tread can not only cause you to lose control of your vehicle but is can even cause your tire to have a blow out.

How Can You Tell if Your Tire Tread is Dangerous: 
You should replace your tire when the tread it worn down to 1/16 of an inch. Tires have a built-in treadwear indicator that will let you know when it is time to replace them. These indicators are raised sections spaced intermittently in the bottom of the tread grooves. When they appear “even” with the outside of the tread, it is time to replace your tires. Another method for checking tread depth is to place a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, you are ready for new tires.

An Atlanta woman was struck by a tractor-trailer Wednesday night


Lois John, 77, also known as “Granny,” is on life support at Grady Memorial Hospital after she was struck by a tractor-trailer last night. Ms. Johnson was crossing Virginia Avenue near Harrison Road in Atlanta when the tractor-trailer attempted a left turn, striking her with its left bumper and running her over.

The tractor-trailer driver, who stated he did not know he hit anyone, left the scene but returned after receiving a phone call with details of what occurred.

Witnesses told investigators that Ms. Johnson was jaywalking when she was struck.

Accident involving tractor-trailers often lead to serious personal injury and even death. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act is very specific as to what is required by the trucking industry and its employees. Failure by companies and drivers to comply with these rules and regulations demonstrates a complete disregard to the consequences.

Often tractor-trailer collisions are a result of the following:

  • Driver Fatigue
  • Driver under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Aggressive Driving/Tailgating or Speeding
  • Improper loading or weight distribution
  • Illegal Schedules/Illegal Logbooks
  • Improper Maintenance and safety equipment
  • Negligent hiring and training
  • Unqualified drivers

In Ms. Johnson’s case, it appears that the driver may have not seen her crossing the roadway. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ms. Johnson and her family.

Honda airbag recall


Honda Motor Co. has announced its largest recall ever. The Japanese automaker recalled 304,000 vehicles globally because they may contain defective air bags. (Approximately 273,000 of the cars recalled are in the U.S. and Canada.) This recall is Honda’s sixth recall since 2008 for the same problem, and brings the total number of cars recalled to nearly 2 million.

The recall affects some of Honda and Acura’s most popular models, including the Accord, Civic, Odyssey and Pilot. Honda has concerns that the vehicles’ air bags could burst in a crash due to defective inflators, sending metal and plastic pieces flying and potentially causing injury or death.

Honda has confirmed 20 accidents related to the air bag problem, including two deaths in the U.S., both in 2009.

The specific list of cars affected by Honda’s expanded recall includes: 2001 and 2002 Accord, 2001 to 2003 Civic, 2001 to 3003 Odyssey, 2002 and 2003 CR-V, 2003 Pilot, 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL and 2003 Acura 3.2 CL.

For more information regarding this recall, please review Honda’s “Statement by American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Regarding Driver’s Airbag Inflator Recall Expansion.”

Defective Products Are Deadly

As I mention on my website, most of our everyday products are safe and pose no significant risk of danger, however, thousands of defective products make it to the market place and cause personal injury and even wrongful death.

Product defect cases can be more complex than they first appear, so it is important that a potential product liability claim against the manufacture or sale of a dangerous product be pursued immediately. Proving a product defect requires input and investigation from a variety of individuals and is necessary to show one or more of the following:

  • The product defect existed in the design of the product, occurring before the product was manufactured;
  • The product defect manifested during manufacturing, occurring while the product was being constructed or produced; and/or
  • The product defect was determined after market and was due to improper instructions and failure to warn consumers about the dangers of the product.

Two Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers Disbarred for Using Runners

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The Georgia Supreme Court recently disbarred two Atlanta personal injury attorneys, Steve Freedman and Thomas Sinowski for using “runners” from April 1995 through April 1999.

The use of runners (a non-lawyer who is paid by a lawyer to recruit, recommend, or direct people to use the services of that lawyer) is strictly prohibited. Under O.C.G.A. 33/24/53(a), a lawyer shall not compensate a person or organization to recommend or secure his/her employment by a client.

According to the Supreme Court Order, the pair had kept a record of their illegal payments to runners in a “Runner Book.” Although they have admitted to paying 46 runners the total amount of $276,025.00, the pair appealed their punishment of three (3) years disbarment handed down by The Review Panel of the State Bar of Georgia citing it was too harsh and other lawyers in similar circumstances had been given mere reprimands. After extensive discovery and multiple hearing, the Georgia Supreme Court upheld The Review Panel’s findings with a 5-2 vote.

As a result of their disbarment, Thomas C. Sinowski and Steven F. Freedman are required to immediately cease any practice of law in Georgia and notify all clients within thirty days (30) of their inability to further represent them.

To view the oral arguments made on behalf of Steve Freedman and Thomas C. Sinowski, visit the Fulton Daily Report website.

New firefighters to be hired in Cobb County


Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services are hiring new firefighters for the first time since 2009. The department currently has 637 firefighters, 45 less than full staffing. The new hiring will only allow the department to add 24 firefighters due to the county cutting funding for 33 positions in its 2010 budget.

“We are expecting in excess of 1,000 applicants,” Training Division Chief William Tanks said, which is many more applications than positions available. Mr. Tanks expects many of the applicants to be great candidates for the job.

The application period will continue through December 23. The salary will begin at $38,355 in annual pay.

Selected applicants must pass oral, written and physical examinations as well as undergo background checks, drug screenings, and polygraph tests before beginning their training, which isn’t expected to start until next summer. Training will take about 30 weeks meaning new recruits will not begin work at the station until 2013.

Applicants who do not make the final 24 can be put on a waiting list and be asked to train in coming months. Cobb Fire is looking for a diverse group that is willing to perform EMT services and paramilitary duties. Trainees should be prepared to deal with the cold of winter and the heat of summer during the course of their training and should be prepared to work hard.

Cobb Fire last hired new firefighters in 2009, leading to 34 new firefighters in two classes, who began training in January and June 2010.

Applications can be found on the Cobb County Fire & Emergency Services website.

E. Coli linked to spinach – 16 cases so far


The Food and Drug Administration is collaborating with the New York State Department of Health, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate an outbreak of 16 foodborne illness infections believed to be tied to a blend of organic spinach and spring mix sold at the Wegmans chain of supermarket.

Wegmans recalled 5-ounce and 11-ounce packages of Wegmans brand Organic Spinach & Spring Mix sold in its stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts between October 14 and November 1. The recall was issued after New York State officials established a link between the product and reported illnesses in New York State due to E.coli O157:H7. State Garden, Inc. of Chelsea, Massachusetts provides the product to Wegmans.

The FDA is working with state officials, Wegmans, and State Garden, Inc. to determine further distribution of the product and ensure that it is removed from potential sale.

statement by Wegmans counsels consumers to discard any remaining product at home and visit their service desk for a full refund. Wegmans Consumer Affairs can be contacted at 1-800-WEGMANS (934-6267), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fast facts on E. coli

According to the FSIS, E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.

Consumer resources:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Food and Drug Administration’s Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts
FDA Food Safety
United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Education

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