Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

As the summer driving season comes to a close, drivers still need to be watchful on the road, especially on highways and areas with a lot of tractor trailer traffic.  Our Atlanta truck accident lawyers saw a news story just last week about a fatal car vs. tractor trailer accident in Gwinnett County.  Unfortunately, these fatal kinds of accidents are all too common.

Last Wednesday at around 10:15pm in Suwanee, a tractor trailer, driven by 50 year old Eddie Scott from Lawrenceville, was heading north on Satellite Boulevard.  A PT Cruiser tried to turn left onto Satellite Boulevard from Shawnee Industrial Way, and pulled into the path of the tractor trailer, which could not stop in time.  The tractor trailer hit the car, then drove off the road and into a wooded center area, leaking fuel.  The PT Cruiser was driven by 20 year old Ethan Ashline, who was killed in the accident.  His front seat passenger, 25 year old Adrianna Romero from Norcross, also died in the accident.  Another person was in the backseat, 31 year old Justin Kyall from Cumming, and he was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.  Mr. Scott, the driver of the truck, was not injured at all.

PT Cruiser Credit

The police are still investigating the accident, but don’t believe alcohol was involved and also don’t believe speed was a factor in this accident.  Regardless, the above story highlights once again how dangerous these tractor trailer accidents are for people in passenger cars. The driver of the truck is usually totally fine while the accident is often fatal for those in the much smaller and more vulnerable passenger cars.

Our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers read about a really horrific case of medical malpractice in our state that is now the subject of a lawsuit.   Two women have died due to liposuction surgery at a medical clinic in Georgia, and the family of one of the women brought the case against the clinic.

Surgery Credit

April Jenkins, a 37 year old woman went to Opulence Aesthetic Medicine on February 19. Opulence is a cosmetic surgery clinic and a medical spa and is located in Kennesaw, Georgia.  The company that owns it operates clinics in 45 states and ten foreign countries.  Ms. Jenkins went to Opulence for a liposuction surgery.  The lawsuit alleges that her medical vital signs were not recorded before the surgery.  Dr. Nedra Dodds performed the surgery, but apparently there were no nurses in the room and Dr. Dodds put her under anesthesia by soaking a rag in the drug propofol and stuffing it into her mouth.  She was not put on a cardiac monitor, either. And during the surgery Dr. Dodds allegedly punctured her liver.  The sloppy doctor didn’t even record when the liposuction surgery was finished according to the lawsuit, which also alleges Ms. Jenkins was showing clear signs of having a seizure.  She stopped breathing, but 911 was not called for ten minutes after that.  April Jenkins was already dead by the time she got to the hospital.  Her father, Hal Jenkins, has now sued Dr. Dodds, Opulence Aesthetic Medicine and their parent company CLJ Healthcare LLC.  The lawsuit, in Cobb County State Court, is asking for damages for wrongful death, pain and suffering, professional negligence, and funeral costs.

Even more disturbing is news that after April Jenkins’ tragic and horrible death, another woman died at the same clinic during a cosmetic surgery procedure. In June, Erica Beaubrun, a 28 year old from Florida, was at the clinic undergoing a procedure when the police were called there for “suspicious activity”. When emergency officers got to the scene, she was in cardiac arrest and apparently had been for some 22 minutes before emergency services were called.  They found her lying in a pool of her own blood.  The EMTs were able to get a heartbeat and brought her to Kennestone Hospital, but they believed she was brain dead by the time she got there.

Our Atlanta, Georgia Medical Malpractice Attorneys saw news about a recently settled wrongful death lawsuit over the death of a patient from a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.  The merits of the case will never be decided by a court because of the settlement, but the family received more than $1 million in the deal. 

The case came from the death of 67 year old Trellis Basham at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta in July 2010.  Dr. Alexander Park performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy but found complications from scar tissue blocking the gallbladder so stopped the laparoscopic procedure and started open surgery.  During the more invasive open surgery, Ms. Basham started bleeding profusely and Dr. Park found a tear in one of her veins.  Dr. Park brought another doctor in to fix this tear but Ms. Basham had already lost too much blood.  She died in intensive care at the hospital not long after the surgery was finished.

After her tragic death, her grown children filed the wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Park and Georgia Surgical Associates, his employer.  The Bashams claimed that Dr. Park was in a rush during the surgery and tore the vein open by putting in a medical instrument, called a trocar, without properly seeing what he was doing.  The trial proceeded, and was stopped with the settlement agreement while the jury was deliberating on the case.

Last week, our Atlanta truck accident lawyers saw another tragic story of a critically injured Georgian after a car vs. tractor trailer accident. In most cases it is the person in the personal car that is injured, as the large tractor trailers can be so much more dangerous on the road to smaller vehicles. This proved the case again in the accident that occurred last Wednesday on Georgia Highway 16 near Senoia.

Lynda Adcot, a 67-year-old woman from Senoia, was turning left in her Chevy Cobalt when she crossed the path of a tractor trailer in the westbound passing lane when her car was smashed by the tractor trailer. The truck, referred to by Senioa Police Major Steve Tomlin as “a commercial tractor trailer truck”, was being driven by 50-year-old Jeffrey Williams of Smyrna. The Cobalt was so mangled it took nine rescuers to get Ms. Adcot out. It took them about 15 minutes for the rescuers from the Coweta County Fire Department to get her out of the wrecked car and then she was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center in critical condition. The next day she was still in critical condition.  Police say the investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Whether or not Mr. Williams can be held criminally liable from the police investigation, unknown at the moment, in cases like this it is still possible to have a civil case to get compensation for the victim. Not only is it possible the truck driver could be liable, but also possibly the trucking company and/or the insurance company. For example, the trucking company may have policies in place that contribute to negligent driving behavior. Also laws require that trucking companies have a much larger insurance policy than passenger vehicles. And unlike in other types of vehicle accidents, in commercial trucking accidents the insurance company can be sued directly by the injured victim thanks to Georgia’s Direct Action Statute. This can help victims because often juries are more willing to give compensation from an insurance company than from a person or company.There is also the issue of many trucks coming from out of state, and thus a civil claim might be in a federal court, rather than a Georgia state court.

Just days before Christmas, a mother and her four-year-old daughter were killed in a tractor trailer accident on I-75 in Bartow County. According to news reports, on Friday, December 21 at about 1:30pm, 29-year-old Maria Tabuena was driving her daughter, Melina Tricell, northbound on I-75 when a big rig tractor trailer clipped their 1998 Ford Expedition, sending their car careening into a guardrail. A witness said that when the Expedition hit the guardrail, it was launched into a support pillar and burst into flames. Both mother and daughter were pronounced dead at the scene. They had been residents of Calhoun, Georgia.

Heartlessly and selfishly,  the tractor trailer driver didn’t even stop after causing this carnage.  Georgia State Police are still looking for him. They say he was driving a dirty, late 1990s, maroon Peterbilt “long nose” truck with a silver trailer. Witnesses say there was visible damage to the truck’s right side as well. News sources say the driver was changing lanes, from the right lane, when it hit the Expedition on the left side with the right side of the tractor trailer. Continue Reading