Over the past decade, states have slashed workers’ compensation benefits, denying injured workers help when they need it most and shifting the costs of workplace accidents to taxpayers.
Dennis Whedbee’s crew was rushing to prepare an oil well for pumping on the Sweet Grass Woman lease site, a speck of dusty plains rich with crude in Mandaree, N.D.
It was getting late that September afternoon in 2012. Whedbee, a 50-year-old derrick hand, was helping another worker remove a pipe fitting on top of the well when it suddenly blew.
Oil and sludge pressurized at more than 700 pounds per square inch tore into Whedbee’s body, ripping his left arm off just below the elbow. Co-workers jury-rigged a tourniquet from a sweatshirt and a ratchet strap to stanch his bleeding and got his wife on the phone.
“Babe,” he said, “tell everyone I love them.”
It was exactly the sort of accident that workers’ compensation was designed for.
Until recently, America’s workers could rely on a compact struck at the dawn of the Industrial Age: They’d give up their right to sue. In exchange, if they were injured on the job, their employers would pay their medical bills and enough of their wages to help them get by while they recovered.
We help people like these every day. The “working poor” have no power in our state legislatures and can’t compete with the insurance lobby, which pumps millions into the campaign coffers of our elected representatives. We are the workers’ representatives.
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When you’re sick or injured badly enough, it’s natural to want to seek qualified medical care. Like most people, you probably assume the doctors and other medical professionals who care for you are competent and competent enough to diagnose the issue and help you get healthy again. Although the vast majority of medical professionals are talented and go to great lengths to provide meticulous care, they’re still only human. Mistakes happen. When they do, malpractice could be involved. If you live in Georgia and feel you may be the victim of malpractice, it’s crucial to seek legal help immediately.
How common is malpractice in Georgia?
You’re hardly alone if you are the victim of malpractice by a medical professional. Every year in the United States, between 15,000 and 19,000 suits are filed against physicians by people who were injured or killed due to alleged malpractice. Every year, as many as 98,000 people in the U.S. die in hospitals due to medical errors. Incredibly, 1.3 million people per year are inured due to medication errors alone. These sobering statistics highlight the very real fact that doctors are not perfect.
The state of Georgia sees its own fair share of malpractice suits every year. When a doctor is investigated for suspected malpractice, the state board pulls a licensure report for him or her as a part of its investigation. According to a 2006 report that was created from information collected by the National Practitioner Data Bank, 1,242 licensure reports were pulled in Georgia in 2006. 1,110 of them were pulled in conjunction with malpractice investigations. Nearly 90 percent of all licensure actions in the state of Georgia, then, are related to malpractice. There’s no doubt about it: Malpractice is a serious issue.
Statute of Limitations
Every state in the country has its own statute of limitations regarding medical malpractice. At just two years, Georgia’s is very prohibitive. The two-year countdown begins on the date on which a person is injured or killed due to suspected malpractice. All too often, people are unsure about how to proceed and wait so long that there’s nothing more to be done. Ideally, malpractice suits should start being developed at least six months to a year before the two-year mark arrives. This allows attorneys plenty of time to build a strong case. Moreover, you must get a signed affidavit from the same medical specialty who believes that the conduct was below the standard of care. This affidavit must be filed simultaneously with the lawsuit or it will be dismissed by the Court.
Filing Malpractice Suits in Georgia
Proving malpractice against a medical professional is very difficult. The process tends to take huge amounts of time and requires exorbitant amounts of money to prosecute. Indeed, it’s not unusual litigation costs related to such suits to meet or exceed the $100,000 mark. When combined with the fact that the evidence that is presented must be extremely clear, convincing and unambiguous, it’s little wonder that many people are reluctant to move forward in the first place. That’s too bad, though, because anyone who is injured or killed due to the negligence of a medical
professional deserves to have his or her rights protected to the fullest possible extent. Further, medical professionals routinely have the right to object to settlement of a case even if the insurance company decides to do so.
Medical Malpractice Trials
Some malpractice suits are settled out of court. The majority, however, end up being tried in court. Hospitals and other medical facilities tend to be quite confident about allowing such cases to go to trial because the evidence must be incredibly compelling. Still, that’s not to say that such cases aren’t won on a regular basis. The average Georgia malpractice verdict or settlement is approximately $306,000, which is the seventh highest average settlement in the country. Medical professionals need to be held accountable when they violate the standard of care and cause injuries and death, so be sure to seek legal help right away if you believe you are a victim of such negligence.
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There has been a recent trend for people to stay connected through a growing number of great innovations that include everything from mobile phones to online social networks. Unfortunately, this has also led to several tragedies. Motorists distracted when texting and driving are becoming increasingly more responsible for highway accidents. With this in mind, several years ago the state of Georgia passed legislation banning the practice to help reduce roadway deaths and injury.
Latest statistics for Georgia indicate there were approximately 4000 motor vehicle crashes last year directly attributed to distracted drivers. Driving a vehicle and texting is an enormous distraction. The motorist must take their eyes off the road and at least one hand off the wheel. This significantly increases the odds of an accident occurring and puts fellow motorists and innocent bystanders at risk. If you are a victim of a distracted driver it’s imperative to seek out the services of an attorney that specializes in personal injury. A qualified law firm can handle everything from personal liability cases to workplace injuries in Macon GA.
Workers compensation in Macon GA legal representatives have extensive experience dealing with distracted driving accidents and negligent injury claims. When you have a competent and aggressive personal injury and workers compensation lawyer on your side, you can rest assured they will take any legal action necessary to obtain compensation that covers economic and other damages. Many studies have shown that texting while driving can cause as much impairment as a legally intoxicated motorist.
Texting drivers that cause accidents leading to injuries and other losses should be held legally responsible for pain and suffering. A personal injury and workers compensation lawyer stands up for those who become injured in Georgia because of reckless and negligent behavior. The legal definition of texting while driving is anyone that is sending, writing, reading or receiving text messages on a mobile device during the operation of a motor vehicle. It is unquestionably one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving that people engage in.
Whether you are seriously hurt due to the actions of a distracted driver or suffer workplace injuries in Macon GA, your first step should be contacting a skilled personal injury lawyer. You might be entitled to receive compensation for lost income, medical expenses and property damage. There are specific laws that allow workplace and roadway injury victims to receive accident and workers compensation in Macon GA. Therefore, make certain your legal rights are well protected in these situations.
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We have all heard the saying “Don’t drink and drive”. Yet, despite how often this phrase is repeated and how much evidence there is to prove drunk driving is not just serious but possibly deadly, thousands of drivers get behind the wheel each day after consuming alcohol. Drunk drivers are a very real threat on the road, contributing to one out of every three car crash related deaths. On average, once every 53 minutes, somebody in the United States is killed in an alcohol related crash. There were 299 drunk driving deaths in the state of Georgia in 2011 alone. These are staggering statistics for a culture who is educated about the dangers of drinking and driving beginning at a very young age.
If you or somebody you love has been injured or killed as a result of an alcohol related crash, that person should be forced to take responsibility for the harm they caused. Contacting a drunk driver collision attorney can be the first step in making the at-fault driver accountable for the crash they caused. Financial restitution in the form of medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress are typically awarded to the victim of a drunk-driving related crash. Punitive damages may also be awarded, and a drunk driver collision attorney can help obtain punitive damages to the victims of these accidents.
Drunk Driving Victim Attorney in Macon Georgia
What Are Punitive Damages? They are additional monetary compensation awarded as a means of making an example of an at-fault person. They are to punish the defendant and are additional funds above and beyond compensatory damages. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to prove punitive damages are due to the victim and are seldom awarded. However, in the event of drunk driving related crashes, punitive damages are necessary to punish and deter the defendant driver.
A qualified drunk driver collision attorney can help victims of drunk driving crashes to be awarded the additional punitive damages. Specializing in recovering as much monetary compensation as possible through their knowledge of precedent and statute, and will do whatever they can to help get victims of drunk drivers the compensation they deserve.
Drunk drivers are a threat to themselves and everybody on the road. Attorneys who specialize in drunk driving related crashes are dedicated to keeping people who drink and drive off the roads. Recovering punitive damages on behalf of victims of alcohol related crashes is one of the ways drunk driver collision attorneys punish drunk drivers. Not only does the awarding of punitive damages set an example for those who may consider drinking and driving, it gives the victims and the families of the victims a full measure of justice.
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When you have been in a serious car accident that involved injuries and damages to your vehicle, the last thing that you need is to fight with the insurance company. The stakes may be high with large medical expenses and even permanent injury. In such cases it’s usually a foregone conclusion that a car accident lawyer can help you. A skilled legal expert can help you deal with the laws, medical expenses and safeguard your rights.
But sometimes it may make sense to hire a lawyer even for accidents involving minor injuries. For instance, if the out of pocket claims that your insurance will not cover exceeds an amount that you’re comfortable handling on your own, you should call a lawyer. You may be able to handle claims of $2000 or $3000 yourself, but any claim as large as $10,000 or more may need the skill of a lawyer experienced in dealing with such cases.
If you’re settling out of court or in a small claims court, then you may be able to handle the proceedings yourself. But if your case goes to court, then you may need a lawyer who knows how to try a case.
Whether the fault is yours or that of the other party involved in the accident, if you cannot prove it, you recover nothing. If the fight goes to court, then a lawyer can help you deal with the rules of evidence and procedure.
Another reason many people hire a car accident lawyer after a wreck is because they want to save time. Learning about routine cases and then presenting your claim can take dozens of hours. That is the kind of time many people do not have, and they choose to hire a lawyer as quickly as possible. A lawyer’s experience gets the job done quicker and without hassle.
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Injured my hand on a machine. I was send to the doctor and was told I had fractured my knuckle. Almost four weeks later I did a follow up and was told there was no fracture to begin with. I was released to go back to work. Then I was called from work and told not to return because they had filled my position.
You can request to see another doctor on the employer’s panel of physicians even if you are fired from that job. If the employer has less than 6 different doctors on the list, you can select any doctor you want to treat with. Unfortunately in Georgia, the employer can terminate you for any reason or for no reason since we are an “at will” state. ~ Atty. Jeff Powers
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The current rainy weather in Macon, Georgia causes a lot of automobile accidents. In fact, 1.5 millions highway accidents in Georgia take place during this rainy weather every year. The rain causes the road to get wet, forming a layer of water and grease, which makes the tire lose traction, making the vehicle prone to roll of control. It is also difficult to drive in the rain as rain decreases visibility and efficacy of headlights as well as reflectors. For this reason, we need to be extra cautious when driving in rainy weather. Below are 10 tips for driving in rainy weather in Macon:
1. Slow down
It’s critical to reduce your speed when driving in the rainy weather. You need to be especially cautious when approaching puddles. You can lose control of your vehicle by hitting puddles when speeding. Driving at a low speed during rainy weather may help you avoid debris that may be carried by the rain to the roadway.
2. Keep a good distance between your own vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you.
The proper distance between your own automobile and the automobile ahead of you should be a three-second distance under normal conditions. However, during rainy weather this distance should be at least six seconds or more.
3. Do not over-use brakes.
If possible, lower your speed by lifting your foot off the gas pedal instead of using the brakes. When braking, aim to brake as soon as possible to warn drivers behind you that you are reducing your speed, and then slowly apply firm pressure.
4. Make use of the middle lanes
Rainwater is more prone to accumulate on the edges of the roads creating dangerous conditions. So try as much as possible to drive in the middle of the road. Avoid driving or straddling the yellow lines becoming a danger to automobiles around you.
5. Hit your brakes after crossing over a puddle
Using your brakes after crossing over a puddle will help get rid of some of the excess water on the rotors.
6. Be cautious of water gathered on the road
Don’t drive over moving water which you cannot make out the ground below as your vehicle can get swept off the road. Moreover, keep off big puddles in general since driving through deep water or submerging your automobile can lead to substantial damage to your vehicle.
7. Use your headlights every time it rains, but not your high beams
Make sure you turn on your headlights every time it rains as this will assist you to see other drivers and enhance your own visibility. However, never switch on your high beams as doing so can cause the light to spring back particles of water in the space, creating a blinding impact to other drivers.
8. Never engage cruise control
Hydroplaning at the same time as the cruise control is engaged can really make your car to speed up. This can be very dangerous.
9. Be conscious of hazardous driving conditions
Any rainstorm which follows a lengthy dry period leads to the roads being more dangerous. The residual grease and rubber-dust which has collected on the roads will combine with the water to create a very smooth, skid-fabricating mixture. This slick residue mostly forms in junctions as well as other places where automobiles have to rest for duration of time. For this reason, avoid driving at the onset of rainstorms which follow dry spells. However, if you have to drive you need to be extra cautious.
10. Regularly maintain your automobile
Be sure to replace old, weak windshield wipers, as they worsen the poor rainy weather visibility. Test out your brakes and make sure your tires are properly inflated on a regular basis. Keep a clean windshield and utilize the windshield defroster to keep your interior windows free from moisture.
Regardless of your driving skills, driving in wet conditions can be very challenging and dangerous. May these tips help you drive safely during the rainy season.
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Getting injured in the workplace is more of an issue than many people think. If you get injured at work, it can lead to embarrassment, difficulties with management, and a legal hassle with the workers compensation insurance company. Although you may think that you will never have to deal with a workplace injury, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are 3.4 cases per 100 Georgia workers every year. Although the aftermath of a workplace injury can be troubling, there are solutions to your problems. If you have recently been injured at work, the most important tip is to remain calm and seek legal counsel.
Immediately after a workplace injury, seek the medical attention. Leave no stone unturned as this is your highest priority. If your injury is not an emergency, file a report with your employer first because your employer may have a preferred doctor that you should see. In Georgia, you must inform your employer within 30 days of the injury. Even if your injury happened at the end of a work shift, tell a supervisor where on your body you have pain. If your injury is an emergency, do not hesitate to call for an ambulance or to have a coworker do the same.If you see a doctor before reporting your injury, make sure to report your injury as soon as possible thereafter. Workers compensation insurance companies will give you more problems when handling your claim if you took too long to report your injury to your employer. Make this your second highest priority in the process of responding to any workplace injuries in Georgia. It is a good idea to give the Employer written notice of the injury and always keep a copy of anything you give to another person.After reporting your injury, you should talk to a lawyer who handles work accident cases. You may even choose to hire a lawyer before reporting your injury if you have reason to believe that you will need legal representation from the start. In most cases, however, you do not need legal help until you begin preparing for a claim. Remember that a claim is different than a report. You report your injury to your employer, but you file a claim with the workers compensation insurance company as soon as you need help paying your medical bills.
Workplace injuries in Georgia are difficult to navigate, but the good news is that your employer is required to have workers compensation insurance if they employ three (3) or more employees. Of course, you need a good workers compensation lawyer to help you exercise all of your rights. This area of law is complex, and so it is quite helpful to have someone on your side who can counsel you about your legal options and who can represent you when communicating with the insurance company.
The most important thing to remember about hiring a workers compensation lawyer is the principle of promptness. If you do not file your claim in a timely manner, any insurance company providing workers compensation in Georgia will question the relation between your injury and your visit to the doctor. They may accuse you of being hurt outside of work to pay for a non-work related medical bill. By hiring a lawyer as soon as possible, you can know that your claim will be handled in the ideal manner.
The legal matters associated with workers compensation in Georgia are complicated, but with the help of a lawyer, you can receive the benefits to which you are legally entitled. Our workers compensation lawyers deal with these issues every day and at Powers Law Group we are here to help you. There is no reason for you to go through a workplace injury alone.
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There is a case pending in the Georgia Supreme Court that will address the constitutionality of the cap on damages in medical malpractice cases. Please share this link with others. Please consider encouraging everyone to watch the video and to pass on positive comments to your legislators.
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Jeff Powers writes in the VERDICT magazine about his exemplary premises liability case for U.S. Air Force serviceman Sean Shockley, who suffered a serious injury while staying at the Days Inn in Warner Robins.
On January 7, 2007, Sean Shockley’s life was forever changed. He lives by the United States Air Force Code, which is integrity, service before self and excellence in all we do. Tim Hall and I were given the opportunity to represent Mr. Shockley in this case.
Mr. Shockley joined the United States Air Force in 1987. He was born into living the Air Force life as his father was a serviceman in the USAF and moved Sean’s family around the country. The Air Force was in his blood. Mr. Shockley married Michelle the same year he joined the USAF and they had three children. On January 6, 2007, Sean drove from Virginia to Warner Robins, Georgia to attend a conference at Robins Air Force base. Upon arriving for the conference, he checked in to the Day’s Inn a few miles from the Base.
On Sunday morning, January 7, 2007, Mr. Shockley’s son, Chad, went to go eat breakfast at a local I-Hop with his father. They then parted ways so Mr. Shockley could work on his conference program. While working in his motel room, Mr. Shockley’s pen ran out of ink, so naturally he thought to go to the lobby to get another one. He walked out of the room, down the center staircase and when he was almost at the bottom, his feet shot out from under him without warning. He landed on concrete shattering his left elbow into tiny little pieces.
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Annually, the system provides a free health screening day at the campus of Coliseum Northside Hospital. This year, over 1200 people participated in the event, which included more than 25 booths of free screenings, health information, food and children’s activities.Local Macon attorney Jeff Powers has run in marathons. He’s competed in triathlons. He even swam across the Alcatraz Bay in San Francisco during one competition.
Needless to say, he’s not someone who expected to find that he had high cholesterol – an early warning sign for heart attack or stroke.
“I decided to go to one of the Coliseum Health Fairs and they were doing a variety of free health screenings, so I took advantage,” Powers said. “When they sent me the results I was very surprised about my cholesterol level.”
Powers, who is married and has a nine-year-old and seven-year-old, worked on changing his diet and getting more exercise. “I am eating better and trying to make sure that I exercise regularly.” Powers said. “My cholesterol is where it needs to be now.”
Powers credits the Coliseum with doing its part to keep the community healthy.
“Coliseum is fantastic,” he said. “They are very beneficial to the community in what they are doing inside and outside the hospital. The screenings and lab work that I had would have cost hundreds of dollars if I would had it done in the physician’s office. Coliseum did all that for free and helped to make sure that I stay healthy for my family.”
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LAW OFFICE IN MACON, GEORGIA
Powers Law Group | Attorneys at Law | 3557 Vineville Avenue | Phone: 478-738-8884 | Fax: 478-254-4184
Located in Macon, GA, the law firm of Powers Law Group represents clients throughout Georgia,
including, but not limited to the cities of Macon, Warner Robins, Milledgeville, Perry, Fort Valley, Centerville, Byron, Forsyth, Gray, Dublin, Cochran, Roberta and Lizella.
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