droneWith Christmas comes gifts like hover boards and paintball guns that are highly desired but require skill to operate properly. An item sure to be a popular present this year is the unmanned aircraft system—commonly known as a drone. Drones, in the hands of new, untrained users, can be dangerous, and even when operated by experienced users they increasingly are causing accidents and injuries. https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/

Drones cause accidents by dropping out of the sky or crashing into people and things. Collision with a drone, with its sharp angular parts, high speeds of travel and zooming in seemingly out of nowhere, naturally results in physical injuries and damage to whatever it hits.

Drones can malfunction for many reasons, such as an operator failing to correctly gauge speed, distance, angle, height, weather conditions, etc. A drone may unexpectedly lose power midflight. Also, a drone may have a defect in its design or manufacturing.

Ridesharing companies such as Uber and LYFT have changed many people’s ideas about driving or renting a car, while providing stiff competition for taxi drivers and cab companies throughout the country.  Through a simple request via the internet, Uber and companies like it offer fast and affordable service when you need it, without having to have cash on hand. Recently, Uber unveiled the news that it would begin featuring driverless cars in some markets, a technology that has been in the works, yet not likely to impact regular consumers at any time in the near future. The company’s announcement raises ongoing concerns about car accidents or injuries and how they are handled by ridesharing companies. Whether you rely on ridesharing on a regular basis or just on certain occasions, you will want to be aware of these concerns, as well as when Ubers new self-driving cars may hit the Florida area.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Uber’s Self Driving Car

According to an August 2016 report in Scientific American, Uber chose to introduce its driverless car in Pittsburgh, PA, where the company’s technology center is located. One of several companies, including Tesla and Google, to put its resources to work in developing self-driving technologies, the unveiling will serve as a pilot program, allowing the company’s drivers to monitor the system while engineers collect data and take notes. Using a modified Volvo SUV, the self-driving vehicle is equipped with a passenger side steering and brake system, allowing a human driver to take over if needed, and plans are in place to modify several Ford Fusions to accommodate passengers during the project as well. According to the report, Uber is not the only ride sharing company looking to eliminate the need for drivers. General Motors recently invested a half million dollars in Lyft, Uber’s competitor, to begin testing self-driving technology on the Chevrolet Bolt.

injured at work
Workers’ Compensation is an insurance program that states require employers purchase to provide compensation to employees who experience a work-related illness or injury. Workers are compensated for any out-of-pocket medical expenses and any wages lost while the worker undergoes treatment and recuperates.

Generally, an employee who is injured on the job can successfully apply for workers’ compensation benefits without regard to who may have been at fault—the employee, employer, coworker, or customer. The compensation paid may be considered in lieu of damages the worker may be entitled to if he or she were to sue in court.

Benefits in Georgia

train accidentIn the U.S. millions of people travel by train every day, whether the trip is a short commuter ride to work or a weeklong vacation journey covering several states. When train accidents happen, the risk of injury or death to passengers, crew, and bystanders is a high probability due to the size and velocity of trains. Accidents can involve passengers, railroad workers, pedestrians and other persons who may have been walking, riding, or driving in the vicinity of the accident.

Common carriers

A railroad is a common carrier. The term also applies to railways, buses, airlines, trucking, and cruise ships. Common carriers are regulated by federal and state laws. The causes of most train accidents can be divided into three categories: 1. equipment or maintenance failure; 2. electrical or mechanical problems or defects; or human error, and include:

The holiday season is the time of the year when you visit the homes of family and friends to attend festive parties or stay a few days if visiting from out of town. Your host wants to make your comfortable and keep you entertained, but it’s also the host’s responsibility to ensure you are safe.

You might slip on a spilled drink or in the shower or fall down the basement stairs. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, half of all accidental deaths are caused by falls in the home. Falls account for more than 8 million hospital emergency room visits, and slip-and-falls account for over 1 million hospital visits.

Because you were the guest of a family member or a dear friend you may be hesitant to ask that the host help pay for your injuries from a slip-and-fall in his or her home. But if your injuries are severe and require a long period of recuperation or physical therapy, you may have to sue the host and/or the insurance company for compensation.

Photo Credit: Michael F. Nyiri Flickr via Compfight cc
Nationwide, hayride accidents are reported every year. Because part of the charm is being among a crowd of riders sitting on loosely packed bales of hay, when an accident happens, multiple people tend to get hurt. Hayrides present many hazards. The rides are often conducted at night to better enjoy the moon and starlit sky, but that could mean limited visibility for the wagon driver. The path the ride takes could be bumpy or marred by holes that could trip up a horse. Low-hanging tree branches may collide with riders. Eager to make a profit, the rider operator might overload the wagon beyond its capacity, causing the wagon to collapse or overturn.

Hayrides often are part of an “agritainment” enterprise–a farm or orchard that supplements its income by providing harvest-related entertainment such as fruit picking, pumpkin patches, petting zoos, corn mazes, and hayrides. The owner of the land where these activities occur can be liable to visitors on the premises and for the hayride too.

Hayride operation is not regulated by the State of Georgia or the federal government. So where injury or death occurs during a hayride, the injured party or his or her family must seek compensation for the personal injuries through general accident law or premises law.

There are few things more enticing than a swimming pool filled with clear blue sparkling water. Swimming pools are great attractions: They’re more convenient than the beach and you don’t have to deal with sand getting everywhere. Yes, pools are appealing, but they’re also fraught with hazards. Swimming pool-related accidents are a major cause of injury for children under age 14, even when a parent is present.

Owners and managers of swimming pools owe serious responsibilities to those who use the pool. Liability for swimming pool accidents stems from premises liability, which imposes a duty on the owner of a house, land, or store to keep the premises in safe condition and to protect visitors on the premises from foreseeable harm. The liability applies to private residential swimming pools and public-access pools, school, spa, gym, and amusement park pools. The kind of swimming pool does not matter: It can be in-ground, above ground, or indoors.

The owner of the pool is liable to someone who’s injured whether the person is an invited guest, a paying guest, or a trespasser. The list of possible pool-related injuries include drowning, slip-and-fall, negative reaction to pool chemicals, water-borne infection, and injury from horseplay in or out of the water.

We’ve all seen them on the road, or maybe even been stuck behind someone who’s got a cellphone plastered to an ear, blabbing away, and not paying attention to traffic or nearby pedestrians. Cell phones are distracting. Drivers who talk or text while driving are involved in 10 percent of car accidents where there is a fatality and in 18 percent of crashes that results in an injury, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Distraction.gov, the official federal government website on distracted driving, reports that a driver’s eyes are on average off the road five seconds while texting. A lot of mayhem can occur in those few seconds, and it too often does. Recognizing the dangers of using cell phones while driving, every state has enacted laws limiting or prohibiting cell phone use and texting while on the road.

A New Jersey court in 2014 heard a case where not only was the driver sued when he caused an accident while texting and driving, but his girlfriend, who had texted him shortly before the crash, was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Because the plaintiff could not show the girlfriend had known her boyfriend was driving at the time she texted him, she was not found liable. Thus far no state has passed a law extending liability to those who text drivers, but that case indicates that drivers distracted by texting regardless of whether they’re sending or receiving will be held liable for injuries and other damages that result.

Accidents happen all the time. People slip and fall in puddles of juiced spilled in grocery store aisles, trip on torn carpeting and tumble down stairs, and crash while attempting a challenging new move on a skateboard.

Accidents frequently happen in the home or at the local store or the classroom, schoolyard, or church. They include burns, poisoning, drowning, choking, strangulation, cuts and scratches, fractures and sprains, contusions, pulls, falls, dog bites, and nose and eye injuries.

Accidents can and often do cause serious injuries. When someone is injured he or she may feel the need to sue the homeowner, business owner, or insurance company to recover medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses incurred while recuperating from an accident.

Who's driving your Lyft and Uber rides?
Uber and Lyft have been described as two of the most lucrative and prominent ride hailing companies to exists in the United States over recent years. The ease of booking a ride to your destination with one touch of your Smartphone, coupled with competitive costs that has resulted in a decline of taxi use, has allowed these companies to profit tremendously and their popularity to soar. The issue of public safety has begun to create a nationwide buzz and those asserting the dismay are concerned that the screening process utilized for drivers is less than adequate to say the least. Political leaders suggest that the screening process of the tens of thousands of drivers that are employed by Uber and Lyft, have simply “slipped through the cracks.”

Lyft declares that their screening process usually varies depending upon the individual, but the average processing time is about 10 to 14 days. The screening process consists of a driving record check, criminal history background check, and employment history verification. Lyft has a unique process because they have implemented a “Mentoring” program that allows new drivers to engage in an apprentice-like experience before actually accepting ride appointments. Before participating in the program, about one hour prior to meeting your mentor, your driving record is entered into a system that will automatically let the company whether you are qualified to drive or not. Lyft prides themselves in providing a quick turnaround for the hiring process and some applicants have even been able to accept appointments within two days! Lyft urges applicants to contact them if they have not heard a response in 3 to 4 weeks.

Uber suggests that their employee screening process is surefire due to the use of social security verification. With this information, Uber is able to determine all addresses associated with the social security number, which as a result allows Uber to compare and search criminal records that exists within the past seven years. Uber gains access to the National Sex Offender Registry and databases that flag terrorists. Uber suggests that they are detailed and thorough in their investigation, so much so, that if criminal activity is flagged the record is pulled in person or via the internet.

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