Law Blog Atlanta

Pope & Howard P.C.

The latest Takata airbag recall affected eight auto manufacturers and more than 3 million cars on the road. From Honda to Toyota, some of the most popular car brands on the market were impacted. This follow-up recall is in response to the incomplete safety investigations of potentially defective units by Takata Corporation.

New evidence shows that the defective airbags inflated with too much force and caused metal shrapnel to shoot out at the driver and passengers. Honda reports as many as 30 injuries and two deaths caused by Takata airbags.

The airbag manufacturer Takata is no stranger to product recall. In early April 2000, defective Takata airbags were removed from the U.S. market. According to a report sent to U.S. safety officials, by the end of 2002, the airbag issues were resolved.

Unfortunately, this latest recall revealed significant problems with Takta safety reporting and filing systems.

Recalls are a fairly common occurrence in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recorded nearly 9,000 safety related automotive recalls from 1967-2008. Generally, the issues causing auto part recalls are not life threatening. However, this recent recall includes parts linked to catastrophic injury and death.

Who Suffers from Defective Auto Parts

While common, recalls can cost automakers big time. In instances like this Toyota, Honda, and affected carmakers are likely to face class action lawsuits. Product liability issues can lead to large settlements and a tarnished reputation.

However, at the heart of the issue is safety. Product liability is a leading cause of automobile deaths in the United States. Individuals and families who unknowingly drive cars with defective auto parts are the real victims in product liability cases.   

Product Liability at Pope & Howard, P.C.

The skilled lawyers at Pope & Howard, P.C. work with car accident victims to find justice after wrecks due to product liability.  Our Atlanta attorneys understand how to prosecute car accident cases due to faulty auto parts and product liability.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to a product liability issue, please contact the lawyers at Pope & Howard P.C. via phone at (866) 910-0642 or (404) 885-9999 for help.

Nearly 2 years after the death of Markea Berry, her family may finally find justice. The wrongful death attorneys at Pope & Howard, P.C. recently filed a wrongful death suit against DFCS for failing to investigate suspicions of malnutrition and abuse.

Filed on behalf of Markea Berry’s family, the suit states, “A proper investigation is likely to have led DFCS to undertake interventions that would have led either to a safer home environment or to placing the children in foster care. A proper DFCS investigation is likely to have prevented Markea Berry’s death by starvation.”

In June 2012, Ebony Berry found her daughter Markea Berry unconscious in her Atlanta area home. According to first responders, Markea died on the scene from starvation. At 16-years-old, the girl weighed only 43 pounds.

The shocking basis for the wrongful death suit comes from the inaction of DFCS. In a recent interview with NBC 11 Alive news, Atlanta attorney Marc Howard discussed the horrendous errors made by DFCS caseworkers, which led to Markea’s death.

Despite a history of DFCS investigations, Georgia caseworkers failed to properly address a case involving the Berry family in 2010. Employees at a local Walmart store reported that Markea, then 14-years-old, would walk around the store in the morning after sleeping on a shelf or hiding in the parking lot underneath a cart.

Although Markea told police and caseworkers that she didn’t want to return home, they returned her to her mother Ebony Berry. Without a thorough investigation, and despite observations of malnutrition, DFCS closed Markea’s case.

Two years later, Markea was dead.

Our team at Pope & Howard, P.C. provides legal support for families in difficult and traumatic situations, like wrongful death cases. We help families find justice after avoidable tragedies. Our lawyers are eager to help Markea Berry’s family find the justice they deserve.

More About Pope & Howard, P.C.

Founded in 2005, Pope & Howard, P.C. is an Atlanta area trial firm that helps individuals and families with wrongful death, construction site accident, and medical negligence cases. If you or your family need legal representation after an avoidable accident, contact our legal team at (866) 910-0642 or (404) 885-9999.

 

On Saturday, June 7, 2014, Wal-Mart truck driver Kevin Roper failed to slow his tractor-trailer in traffic, and struck a Mercedes limo-bus chauffeuring comedian Tracy Morgan to New York City. The incident happened on the New Jersey Turnpike when Roper attempted to swerve his truck away from the limo bus.

The tractor-trailer overturned Morgan’s limo bus, causing a chain-reaction vehicle crash with 4 other vehicles. Comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair was killed in the accident, and Ardie Fuqua, Harris Stanton, and Jeffrey Millea were among those injured in the accident. Tracy Morgan remains in critical condition after undergoing surgery to repair a broken nose, a broken femur, and several broken ribs.

Authorities report that the truck driver, Roper, hadn’t slept in over 24 hours prior to the fatal crash. He is currently being charged with several counts of assault by auto and one count of vehicular homicide for his negligence.

According to regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), truck drivers are permitted to work up to 14 hours per day, with a maximum of 11 hours spent behind the wheel. Federal regulations require truck drivers to have at least 10 hours between shifts to sleep.

While federal regulations strive to maintain the safety and security of everyone traveling on national roadways, vice president of the American Trucking Association Dave Osiecki said that the regulations cannot prevent a truck driver from making “bad choices.”

Just days prior to this incident, a Senate panel approved a proposal to roll back the rest regulations approved in July 2013. An amendment, proposed by Senator Susan Collins R-Maine, seeks to restore the 82-hour work week truck drivers enforced prior to last summer. Several truck safety advocate groups are opposing the amendment, and hoping that this fatal tractor-trailer crash will help to persuade Congress to reject the amendment.

The experienced trucking lawyers at Pope & Howard, P.C. understand the importance of federal safety regulations. We help families and individuals injured or killed due to truck driver negligence find justice and compensation for their loss.

Our team offers its deepest condolences to the family of James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, and our wishes for a hasty recovery to Tracy Morgan and others who were injured.

About Pope & Howard, P.C.

Pope & Howard, P.C. is a trial firm in Atlanta that helps victims of tractor-trailer accidents, industrial accidents, and other cases involving catastrophic personal injury or fatality. Contact our highly-experienced personal injury lawyers at (866) 910-0642 or (404) 885-9999 to find legal representation after a trucking accident.

 

For the second year in a row, Georgia was one of the bottom 10 states for senior healthcare according to America’s Health Rankings. The extensive study compares 34 different measures across senior care facilities to determine areas needing improvement.  Health data from across the state revealed many problem areas affecting our seniors and earned Georgia the 40th position on the list.

While the quality of nursing home care rose nationally over the past year, many Georgia seniors still suffer from low quality nursing homes. At Pope & Howard, P.C. we know that families want to choose care facilities where their loved ones will be safe. Unfortunately, the report found a lower than normal number of beds available in quality Georgia nursing homes.

With fewer quality nursing home beds available, Georgia seniors are more likely to live in less capable facilities and experience nursing home abuse or nursing home negligence.

Another issue affecting Georgia seniors involves home healthcare workers. As opposed to most other states, Georgia does not require home healthcare workers to pass a background check. That means violent criminals and sex offenders are able to be hired as aides the vulnerable senior population. While most home healthcare workers provide high quality attention and care, without background checks, Georgia elders are more likely to experience caretaker abuse.  

Our nursing home abuse lawyers at Pope & Howard, P.C. know that finding a quality nursing home for an older loved one can be a challenge. Make sure to ask questions your senior care facility these important questions before you make a final choice:

  • Does the nursing home require employee background checks?
  • Is the facility certified and accredited?
  • Have there been any incidents of nursing home abuse or negligence in the past 10 years?

Avoiding the problems present in Georgia senior healthcare can be difficult, but with additional screening and research it’s possible to find the best facility for your elderly loved one.

About Pope & Howard, P.C.

Pope & Howard, P.C. is an Atlanta area trial firm that helps victims after nursing home abuse, tractor trailer accidents, and traumatic brain injuries. If your loved one experienced Georgia nursing home abuse or negligence, schedule an initial consultation with Pope & Howard, P.C. at (866) 910-0642 or (404) 885-9999 for legal assistance in the Atlanta area. 

Around 10 AM on September 18, 2012, an executive jet attempted to land at the Macon Downtown Airport and hydroplaned from the runway to a wooded area. Over one and a half years later, reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are finally emerging about the cause of the accident.

The NTSB report raises some big questions about the Macon Downtown Airport design. Recent renovations narrowed the runway from 150 feet to 100 feet, and the length of the runway was 200 feet shorter than reported. Perhaps the most concerning, NTSB found the runway design to be defective. Instead of slightly tented for drainage, the Macon, GA runway was flat, which allows water to collect.

Our aviation experts at Pope & Howard, P.C. have years of experience reviewing NTSB reports following plane crashes. One of our founding partners, Marc Howard, has the unique experience of working for major airlines before representing plane crash victims. While this initial report could be beneficial for potential litigation, our lawyers stress that it also highlights some pilot errors, like landing speed, from the September 2012 crash.

It’s important to remember that plane crash reports often take years to complete. The NTSB report identifying a “probable cause” for the plane accident has not yet been published.

At Pope & Howard, P.C., our team knows that a winning aviation case looks at NTSB reports, physical evidence, and expert testimony. As NTSB continues to release reports on the Macon plane crash, it will be interesting to see how the blame is divided between the pilot and the airport.

About Pope & Howard, P.C.

Aviation lawyers Geoff Pope and Marc Howard founded Pope & Howard, P.C., an Atlanta area trial firm in 2005. Our expert legal staff helps victims after aviation accidents, construction site injuries, and nursing home abuse. If you were involved in an airplane accident, contact Pope & Howard, P.C. at (866) 910-0642 or (404) 885-9999 for legal assistance. 

Construction sites are full of potentially hazardous situations and materials. Falls, collapses, and toxic substances are just a few of the dangers that construction site visitors and workers face. It’s important to follow preventative safety measures at construction sites to keep a visit or work day injury-free.

Our team at Pope & Howard, P.C. has years of experience representing workers and individuals injured at construction sites. We know the financial and physical challenges that construction site accidents and injuries can bring. Listed below are a few tips from our experienced attorneys for construction site safety:

Wear Protective Gear

While hard hats, protective goggles, and heavy duty work gloves aren’t stylish, they are an important part of preventative safety at construction sites. Protective gear, like slip resistant boots and face masks, prevent many common work site injuries and keep site visitors safe.

Avoid Heavy Machinery Work Areas

When heavy machinery, like cranes and excavators are in use, the work area should be kept clear of spectators and unnecessary workers. Heavy machinery accidents that involve construction site workers or visitors frequently have fatal results.

Check Surface Conditions

Wet, muddy, or sandy ground can cause safety issues for construction site visitors and workers. When equipment or scaffolding is places on uneven surfaces, work site accidents become more likely. If a work site is located somewhere with less sturdy surface conditions, it’s important to be aware and take additional safety precautions.  

Keep Work Areas Clean and Clear

Work areas should be kept clear of refuse, unnecessary tools, and unnecessary people. When construction sites are filled with extra equipment and people, the likelihood of an accident or injury increases. During construction, workers and visitors are safest when kept away from operating equipment and active work areas. 

While safety tips are helpful, they don’t always prevent an accident or injury. If you’ve been involved in a construction site accident, contact the experienced lawyers at Pope & Howard, P.C. for support. Our legal team works with people injured at work sites to build a winning case.

About Pope & Howard, P.C.

Geoff Pope and Marc Howard are the founding partners of Pope & Howard, P.C., an Atlanta area trial firm specializing in construction site injuriesindustrial accidents, and cases involving catastrophic personal injury or fatality.  Our experienced attorneys help individuals and families injured at construction sites.   If you were injured at a construction site, contact our Atlanta law office at (866) 910-0642 or (404) 885-9999.

When truck drivers engage in distracted driving behaviors, not only are they a road hazard, they often cause catastrophic or fatal accidents.  An investigative report from Good Morning America shows that a large number of commercial truck drivers text or talk on the phone when behind the wheel. This startling investigation brings to light a major issue affecting our roads, distracted driving in the commercial trucking industry.

Good morning America placed recording devices on highways across America. The surveillance efforts recorded truckers checking their phones, making calls, and responding to text messages while driving tractor trailer trucks. The report went on to discuss recent tractor trailer accident fatalities caused by distracted truck drivers.

It is undeniable that technology plays an important role in our lives. However, behind the wheel of a tractor trailer truck isn’t the place to respond to text messages or check Facebook. Distracted driving has been linked to an increasing number of accidents. The trucking industry should strive for wide scale reform to remove texting and mobile phone usage from the cabs of tractor trailers.   

The experienced trucking lawyers at Pope & Howard, P.C. know that tractor trailer accidents can cause property damage, physical injury, and even fatalities. We help families recover after a trucking accident and find justice. Our team works diligently to identify the cause of tractor trailer accidents and develop a winning case.

About Pope & Howard, P.C.

Pope & Howard, P.C. is an Atlanta-based trial law firm that specializes in tractor trailer accidentsconstruction site injuries, and cases involving catastrophic personal injury or fatality. Geoff Pope and Marc Howard are highly experienced trucking lawyers. Contact our Atlanta law firm at (866) 910-0642 or (404) 885-9999 if you, or a loved one, was involved in a tractor trailer accident.  

A nursing home facility in South Dakota is scrambling to explain how 44 elderly residents contracted hepatitis C. So far, only 2 of the affected residents are suing for damages caused by nursing home negligence. It’s possible more of the senior residents will file personal law suits, or a class action lawsuit against the nursing home. 

Generally hepatitis C is spread through poorly sterilized medical equipment, contaminated needles, and blood transfusions. The current suits alleged that dirty needle usage or contaminated blood work from nursing home negligence caused the outbreak. It will take some time for the North Dakota Health Department to find an official cause, but it is highly likely the disease was spread through unsanitary blood work or nail care.

Stories about nursing home abuse and nursing home negligence cause many families to hesitate when looking for senior care facilities. The possibility that negligence will lead to an infectious disease, like hepatitis C, or a fatality can overshadow the benefits nursing homes can provide.

At Pope & Howard, P.C., we encourage families to do as much research as possible before choosing a nursing home. Thorough research includes a request for facility records from the Department of Human Services. Through the Open Records Request Act, families can pay a small fee for a report outlining past violations or charges against a nursing home facility.

Georgia families can send an open records request to the following address:

Georgia Department of Human Resources
Office of Regulatory Services
Long-Term Care Section
Two Peachtree Street, NW
31st Floor
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3142

It’s important to choose a nursing home with a positive reputation and violation-free record. Our nursing home abuse attorneys strongly recommend that Georgia families pay the small fee to keep their elderly loved ones safe with a facility record from the Department of Human Services.

If your senior loved one experienced nursing home abuse or nursing home negligence at a Georgia senior care facility, file a report with the Georgia Department of Human Resources. The staff from the Georgia Department of Human Resources investigates complaints about facilities that are not up to code, or employees who abuse residents.

About Pope & Howard, P.C.

Marc Howard and Geoff Pope are the founding lawyers of Pope & Howard, P.C., an Atlanta area trial firm. The highly experienced legal team at Pope & Howard, P.C. helps families dealing with  nursing home abuse, medical negligence, traumatic brain injuries, and wrongful death. Learn more about Pope & Howard, P.C. online at www.popehoward.com.

Could special license plates for repeat DUI and distracted driving offenders make our roads safer? In a recent survey by CarInsurace.com, more than 2,000 drivers agreed with using special license plates to identify potentially risky drivers. The drivers, who ranged in age from 18 to over 60, gave overwhelming support for DUI and Distracted driving ID plates, and about half support for special plates to indicate younger or older drivers.

 Special ID license plates, or ‘tattletale’ plates, are currently being used to indicate age or prior offenses in 4 states, Ohio, Minnesota, Georgia, and New Jersey. Nine states have tried, and failed to pass ‘tattletale’ plate legislation, and 2 states discontinued their ID plate program. The possibility of driver discrimination and questions about the efficacy of ID plates as a poor driving deterrent make many states hesitant to start a ‘tattletale’ plate program.

The car accident attorneys at Pope & Howard, P.C. know the serious and fatal dangers presented by distracted drivers and DUI offenses. Drunk driving causes about a third of car accident fatalities every year, and distracted driving is responsible for an estimate 420,000 injuries. Our experienced legal team agrees that well researched changes, with proven results, should be implemented to make our roads safer.

While ‘tattletale’ license plates might help drivers avoid a potential road hazard, they also have the ability to cause additional distractions and confusion. With so few states using ID plate programs, it’s not yet clear if there are real results. The car accident lawyers at Pope & Howard, P.C think more research is needed to determine the benefits of special Id license plates.

About Pope & Howard, P.C.

Super lawyers Marc Howard and Geoff Pope founded their Atlanta trial firm, Pope & Howard, P.C., in 2005. The experienced legal team provides support for individuals and families affected by car accidentsdrunk driving accidentstrucking accidents, and more.  Learn more about Pope & Howard, P.C. online at www.popehoward.com.

Moving an elderly family member to a nursing home or care facility can be a difficult decision. With a growing number of elder care options, selecting the best facility for your loved one’s medical and lifestyle needs can be a challenge. As nursing home negligence and elder abuse rates continue to rise, it’s more important than ever to thoroughly research care facilities before relocating your senior family member.

Our experienced nursing home negligence attorneys at Pope & Howard, P.C. want people to find the best possible nursing homes for their loved ones. Here are some valuable tips to help Georgia families choose the right senior care facility:

  • Read what you sign and do NOT sign an arbitration agreement

Many facilities try to limit their responsibility by having residents or family members sign a document known as an arbitration agreement.  This document may result in a resident signing away his or her constitutional right to trial by jury.  Then, if the nursing home is negligent or violates a resident’s rights, the resident or family may not be able to file a lawsuit and must pay a private decision-maker to hear a case.  Often times, these private decision makers are biased and favor the nursing homes in disputes.  If you are given an arbitration agreement (often times hidden in a big stack of papers), make sure you ask questions and don’t sign anything you don’t have to.

  • Choose a nearby facility

Seniors in nursing homes who receive visitors more frequently often experience a higher level of care. Selecting a nearby Georgia nursing home makes it easier for families to visit their senior members. A closer facility can also help families monitor their loved one’s health and treatment with frequent and unplanned visits.

  • Look for references

There are a variety of unbiased and government resources, such as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, that review nursing homes. Look online for information about your nursing home options, including incident reports and complaints. Friends and community members can also provide helpful Georgia facility recommendations.

  • Check on staffing

Nursing home negligence and elder abuse often happen in poorly staffed or understaffed facilities. When looking for at senior care home, ask specific questions about how much time residents spend with nurses and nursing aids. Make sure that the facility’s medical policies work with your loved one’s existing healthcare plan.

  • Schedule a visit

After the list of potential nursing homes narrows down, visit facilities with and without your senior family member. It’s important to see the facility at different times to check cleanliness, resident morale, and staff attitude. Beware of facilities that don’t allow tours or don’t let families interact with current residents. 

  • Consider costs

Nursing homes and elderly care facilities can be expensive. It’s important that families realistically assess their financial options. If a high quality nursing home that meets all medical and lifestyle needs is unaffordable, consider home healthcare possibilities instead of a less qualified facility.

  • Ask questions

When considering nursing homes for a loved one, there are no dumb questions. It’s important to be very clear about the medical and community options available at the senior care center. Families should also ask about any factor, such as organized outings, internet access, or special accommodations, which might be important to their elderly member.

Finding the right nursing home for a senior family member can be difficult, but also rewarding. Not only do elder care facilities provide medical support, they can also help senior family members pursue different hobbies and develop new interests. Matching your loved one with the right nursing home option begins with thorough research.

About Pope & Howard, P.C.

Marc Howard and Geoff Pope founded the Atlanta-based trial firm, Pope & Howard, P.C., in 2005. The highly experienced legal staff provides families with assistance after nursing home abuse, medical negligence, traumatic brain injuries, and wrongful death. Learn more about Pope & Howard, P.C. online at www.popehoward.com.