Thursday, 12 October 2017

Safety Tips for Driving Around Semi-Trucks

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Association’s “2017 Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics,” there were 480,000 crashes involving large trucks and busses in 2016. While that number is far smaller than the number of car accidents, crashes involving large trucks and busses can cause substantial damage to passenger-sized vehicles due to the massive size of these commercial vehicles.

“Large trucks and buses (commercial motor vehicles or CMVs) have operating limitations such as large blind spots, long stopping distances, and limited maneuverability that make it essential for other vehicles to put extra focus on safety,” according to the FMCSA. As the driver of a passenger-sized car, truck, or SUV, there are things you can do to avoid experiencing or causing an accident with a commercial vehicle, such as a semi-truck or bus.

Here are some suggestions from the FMCSA:

  • Be aware that large commercial vehicles have major blind spots, also known as “No Zones.” These are located around the front, back and sides of commercial vehicles. Essentially, if you cannot see the driver’s face in the truck or bus’s side mirror, the driver cannot see you. One of the best ways to avoid a truck accident is to stay out of the truck’s blind spot.
  • When you pass a commercial vehicle, make sure that you are able to see the driver in the side mirror before you pass. Use your turn signal and after moving into the left lane, accelerate so you can pass the truck (and get out of the blind spot) as quickly and safely as possible.
  • If a truck or bus tries to pass you, don’t try to prevent them from passing. Instead, stay in the right lane and slow down a little so it’s easy for them to pass. By helping the driver pass you, it gets you out of their blind spot quickly.
  • Never pass a semi-truck or bus while driving downhill, when it’s difficult for them to stop or slow down. Also, never pass a commercial vehicle from the right lane.
  • Never “cut off” a semi-truck or bus, even if the driver is being aggressive or reckless. Remember, it’s not about who’s right or wrong, it’s about who’s left.
  • Do not tailgate a truck or bus, no matter how slow they’re going. This places you in the “No Zone,” the blind spot. If the truck comes to a sudden stop, your vehicle can slide right under the truck.
  • Remember, trucks make WIDE turns. If a truck is turning right, do not try to squeeze in between the truck and the curb to beat the truck driver to the turn.

Need a Smyrna truck accident attorney? Contact Jones & Swanson for a free consultation at (770) 884-6652.


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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 15-21, 2017

This year marks the tenth year of National Teen Driver Safety Week, which is October 15 - 21. In an effort to raise awareness of teen driver safety, below are some of this year’s topics encouraged to discuss with teen drivers to educate them on the responsibilities that come with driving.

Seat Belt Use in Teens

  • Studies show that seat belt usage is much lower in teens than adults. There were 531 passenger deaths in 2015 teen driver accidents. Of that number, 58% were not wearing seatbelts. Seatbelts save lives and should be worn every time you’re in a vehicle, no matter how short the trip will be.

Underage Drinking Prevention

  • Drinking and driving is one of the most talked about topics when educating drivers on responsibilities on the road. Even though minimum age drinking laws have been implemented in an effort to save lives and prevent disaster, many young people consumer alcohol anyway. In 2013, 29% of drivers killed in accidents between ages 5 and 20 had alcohol in their systems. And in 2015, almost 1 out of 5 teen drivers who were killed in an accident had consumed alcohol before driving. Alcohol impairs all drivers, regardless of your age. And many young people end up paying a high price due to not fully being aware of the consequences.

U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

  • Technology isn’t slowing down, and cell phones are a huge part of everyday life. That’s especially true with young people. Distracted driving crash numbers have continually risen over the years, and cell phones are a huge reason. In 2013, over 3,000 deaths and 420,000 injuries were attributed to distracted driving automobile accidents. 10% of drivers involved in 2015 fatal crashes were reported to be distracted behind the wheel. Distracted driving has become a problem on Georgia roadways, but young drivers could change that.

Getting a driver’s license is an exciting time in a teen’s life. Take time this week to focus on the responsibilities that come with operating a vehicle and help keep our roadways safe. For more information on National Teen Driver’s Safety Week, visit www.nhtsa.gov. There are statistics and study materials provided for parents to review with young drivers. Be smart, and drive safely.


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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Can I Be Fired for Filing a Workers' Comp Claim?

Were you recently injured in a workplace accident? If so, you may be worried that if you file a workers’ compensation claim, you’ll lose your job. While it’s unfortunate that many Georgia employees think this way, it’s not without justification. It’s a reasonable concern because while employers are NOT supposed to let employees go for filing workers’ compensation claims, it does happen. The real question, is this practice legal?

According to the Georgia Secretary of State, “Georgia recognizes the doctrine of employment at will. Employment at will means that in the absence of a written contract of employment for a defined duration, an employer may terminate an employee for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all, so long as it is not an illegal cause.” So, what counts as an illegal cause for termination? Illegal causes of termination include firing people because of any of the following:

  • Pregnancy;
  • Race, color, sex, religion and national origin as protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
  • Sexual orientation;
  • Disability; and
  • Retaliation.

It is illegal for employers to terminate injured employees out of retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This does, however, happen because many employees are familiar with Georgia’s at will employment law, but they are not familiar with the fact that it’s illegal for employers to fire employees for filing workers’ compensation claims.

Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Law

According to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, “The law requires any business with three or more workers, including regular part-time workers, to have workers’ compensation insurance.” If you are approved for benefits, “You are entitled to weekly income benefits if you are unable to work for more than 7 days. Your first check should be mailed to you within 21 days after the first day you missed work,” says the Board.

If you were injured in a workplace accident and are unable to work, you should contact our firm for assistance filing a claim. If you’re concerned that you’ll lose your job, remember, it’s against the law for your employer to fire you out of retaliation.

To learn more about your rights to compensation and to discuss filing a third party claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim, contact Jones & Swanson today.


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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Driving Safely in Storms

Southernmost parts of the United States were recently devastate by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, causing hundreds of billions of dollars in damages and hundreds of lives lost. Fortunately, the metro-Atlanta area was affected with only thunderstorms and power outages. This caused millions of people traveling from Florida and more southern areas to travel north towards Atlanta to escape the storms.

Although Georgia did not see the damage that was experienced in other areas of the U.S., effects of the hurricanes were felt both in the weather and on roadways. Driving carefully becomes more difficult while navigating through storms, such as those caused by the hurricanes. The increased number of vehicles on roadways during natural disasters such as this only adds to the danger. Not only that, but this time of year is known for stormy weather in the Marietta area. Here are some tips that can reduce the risk of being in an accident while driving in a storm:

  • Use your headlights. Many vehicles on Georgia roadways are equipped with automatic headlights and taillights, so the vehicle determines when safety would be increased with lights on. Without this automatic feature, though, it can sometimes be difficult to determine when headlights should be turned on. A good rule of thumb is that if your windshield wipers are on, your headlights should be on as well. People often forget because they may still be able to see roads in a storm. Headlights and taillights increase your vehicle’s visibility greatly in a storm.
  • Allow yourself more travel time. This is a helpful tip in all driving situations, but is especially true in inclement weather. Leaving a few minutes early will allow for more time to drive slower and more cautiously. Simply lowering your speed seriously reduces chances of being involved in an accident. So plan accordingly and give yourself time to carefully reach your destination.
  • Avoid cruise control. Cruise control is a great automobile feature that is especially beneficial when driving long distances or on straight roads. Commuting throughout the metro Atlanta area provides ample opportunity to utilize cruise control. However, this feature can lead to drivers removing their feet from the pedals and become too comfortable when behind the wheel. This can lead to slower reaction times, and a higher chance of slamming on the breaks. Especially during storms when quick reactions can be the difference in an accident and safe arrival, cruise control should be avoided.
  • Be cautious of larger vehicles. Freight trucks and RVs are examples of vehicles to be extra careful driving near during bad weather. The unpredictability of large vehicles can cause accidents, even sometimes that aren’t necessarily the driver’s fault. Strong winds, for example, can blow larger vehicles in and out of lanes. They also require a longer distance to stop, and it can be harder to judge during bad weather. So give such vehicles necessary space to help avoid an accident during stormy weather.
  • Prepare your vehicle. It’s always recommended to check your car’s maintenance before driving, such as testing blinkers and checking for leaks. But would someone check their windshield wipers if it were sunny outside? It would be a dangerous situation to be driving during a storm with windshield wipers that do not work. Staying on top of maintenance and regular roadway checks can radically reduce your chances of being in an accident.

From everyone at Jones & Swanson, our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Drive safely and help ensure everyone’s safety while on the road.


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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Dangers of Fatigued Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Drowsy driving kills. It claimed 846 lives in 2014.” The NHTSA goes on to say that it’s working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help expand awareness about the dangers of drowsy driving in an effort to reduce the related injuries and deaths.

The NHTSA reports that while people can drive fatigued anytime day or night, “drowsy-driving crashes most frequently occur between midnight and 6 a.m., or in the late-afternoon – both times when there are dips in your circadian rhythm (the internal human body clock that regulates sleep,” says the NHTSA.

How Do I Avoid Drowsy Driving?

We get it – it’s not always easy to avoid drowsy driving, especially if you’re an adult with a job and family responsibilities. For example, you could be a mother or father who stayed up all night with a sick child, but that doesn’t mean you can call in sick to work the next day. With three-hours’ sleep, you make the 30-minute commute to work and back, exhausted.

In fact, parents of young children (or teenagers) are often some of the most sleep-deprived drivers on the roads! But unfortunately, parents don’t always have the luxury of taking a nap or taking a day off when they’re tired from lack of sleep.

While we can’t control everything in our lives, like a teething toddler, or a new puppy who keeps us up at night, what can we do to reduce the risk of driving while fatigued? Here are some suggestions from the NHTSA and us:

  • Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. If you have to, go to bed earlier.
  • Before you take a long family road trip, get a good night’s sleep. This way, you won’t put your family or other motorists at risk.
  • Do not drink alcohol before driving. Alcohol not only causes impairment by itself, but it enhances fatigue.
  • If you’re on medications, such as sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, or pain relievers that cause drowsiness, don’t drive. Instead, wait for the effects to wear off or take public transportation.
  • If possible, avoid driving between midnight and 6 a.m.
  • If you do drive late at night, be aware of any feelings of drowsiness. If you need coffee, an energy drink, or cold air to stay awake, it’s time to find a place to sleep.

Were you hit by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel? To file a personal injury claim for compensation, contact us for a consultation with a Kennesaw auto accident lawyer!


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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Glitter iPhone Case Recalls

iPhone case recall

Recent studies show that Americans spend up to 5 hours a day on their mobile devices – that’s a significant portion of our days. The Apple iPhone is one of the most popular phones on the market. Apple sold more than 201 million units in 2016 alone. Because we spend such a significant amount of time on our phones, cases and accessories are important to users, including iPhone cases. Unfortunately, a recent recall announced by MixBin Electronics reveals dangers with certain iPhone 6, 6s and 7 cases. Approximately 263,000 iPhone cases were included in the recall – all that contain glitter inside liquid. The defect is attributed to leaking, reports of burns and skin irritation. The manufacturer released a list of retailers where the glitter phone cases may have been purchased as recently as June of 2017:

  • Amazon
  • Henri Bendel
  • Nordstrom Rack
  • Tory Burch
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • GetMixBin.com

MixBin’s concern is that if the case breaks or cracks, the liquid inside the case can come into contact with a person’s skin. The recall was announced following 24 reports of chemical burns or skin irritation. Of the 24 worldwide reports, 19 of them were within the United States. One report left a consumer with permanent scarring from the burn. Another report stated that an individual suffered from burns and swelling to their chest, neck, face, leg, hands and upper body. The cases were manufactured in China and were sold worldwide.

MixBin urges anyone who may have a case that has been recalled to stop using immediately and contact the company for a refund.

Please visit mixbin.com to determine whether your phone is affected by the recall. If you have any questions about the phone case and recall, please contact their customer service at 855-245-4935 Monday through Friday, 8AM-5PM.

If you or a loved one were injured by a defective phone case, you may be entitled to damages for medical costs and suffering. Call Jones & Swanson today for more information at (770) 427-5498.


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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Jones & Swanson Volunteers at the Marietta Women's Extension

Recently, the staff of Jones & Swanson donated their time to volunteering at the Women’s Extension in Marietta, Georgia. This year, the extension is celebrating their 30th anniversary recovering live and restoring families. The women within the facility undergo a rigorous assessment to assure that they are committed to changing their lives. The challenges are tough but the help they need and deserve can be found right here in the Marietta community by way of The Extension.

The Extension is a licensed recovery program severing homeless men and women of Cobb County who suffer from alcohol and other addictions. This establishment provides substance abuse counseling as well as job and education opportunities for each of their residents. Teaching these women life skills and training them to be the best they can be is the goal of the recovery program. For almost 30 years, the facility has served the Cobb County community and have built strong relationships with local businesses and organizations.

Earlier this month, the Attorney and staff were honored to provide a dinner to the women currently staying in the extension facility. The staff enjoyed great fellowship and visiting with the women within the facility. The firm was able to donate several bags of gently used and new clothing as well as toiletries, office supplies and other needed items to the facility.

At Jones & Swanson, we feel like it is important to give back to our community. We are extremely proud to have such a wonderful recovery center right here in the Marietta area. If you have any questions about how you can volunteer, please contact our office at 770-427-5498


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