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In 2012, 20 percent of high school students were bullied (CDC, 2012). It doesn’t take the statistics from elementary and middle schools to see that bullying is a serious problem. Bullies intentionally prey on those perceived to be weak or different. With tactics that include taunts, threats, harassment, and exclusion, victims are often left fearing or expecting harm.

It wasn’t long ago that Georgia became the first state to adopt anti-bullying legislation, prohibiting bullying on school property, buses, and at school-related functions. Unfortunately, due to freedom of speech laws, school jurisdiction does not include cyber-bullying that occurs on technologies and networks that are not school-owned. However, if those behaviors spread into classroom environment, it can there be addressed.

Kids and teens don’t want to be labeled as a snitch or tattler, so they often don’t disclose when they are being harassed. It takes a lot of strength for them to publicize mistreatment. Here are some actions to carry out if your child has been a victim of bullying:

On May 21, 2010, Amanda Lawson entered the Southeast Laser & Plastic surgery clinic in Waycross, Georgia to receive breast augmentation surgery. The shopping center clinic advertised its cosmetic procedures in the local paper and even offered a discount coupon. Lawson paid $3,500 and underwent the four hour procedure.

A month later, she returned to the clinic because her incisions were open, exposing the silicone gel implants. She was prescribed oral antibiotics, pain killers and sent home. A few weeks later her condition had not improved. Lawson went to Irwin County Hospital and was diagnosed with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus — MRSA. She spent a week in the hospital to treat her still open wounds and the infection. The next month she was again hospitalized for a staph infection and received intravenous antibiotics. At this time, she underwent surgery to remove both implants. Lawson was permanently disfigured as a result of the ordeal.

According to the lawsuit she filed against the practice and doctor that performed the botched surgery, Lawson did not receive a complete pre-operative exam nor was she even measured for the implants. Her first meeting with the surgeon was the day of the surgery and his assistant was the owner of the clinic who was not a licensed medical professional. She was given only local anesthesia, a tranquilizer and a pain killer.

On June 13, over 80 employees at the Atlanta Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Bioterror Laboratory were exposed to anthrax. Workers had unknowingly sent live anthrax samples to other CDC labs. Live anthrax is a huge health risk. Though not contagious, active bacteria can multiply, produce toxins, and cause severe illness via inhalation or contact with a contaminated material.

A USDA investigation of the situation revealed that the lab’s anthrax had been stored in improperly labeled and unlocked refrigerators. For the cleanup, employees utilized expired disinfectant. Exposed workers were not given preventative antibiotics and vaccines until five days after the incident. Containment guidelines went unheeded, and contaminated materials were transported in Ziploc bags, instead of protective containers. Fortunately, if not by miracle alone, no one in the lab has reported illness. The head of that lab is reported to have resigned.

Less than a month later, yet another federal health agency was called out on acts of negligence. Over 300 vials of disease improperly stored bacteria and viruses were found at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md. Two of these vials contained live smallpox, a disease responsible for an estimated 500 million deaths in the 20th century alone. The most shocking part is that the samples had been sitting in storage since the early 1960s, unnoticed for nearly fifty years.

On July 1, Georgia House Bill 60, the “Safe Carry Protection Act” of 2014 went into effect. Given the nickname the “guns everywhere bill,” the law specifies where Georgia residents are permitted to carry concealed weapons. This law has expanded that right in many ways, but what does it mean for you?

The new law makes it illegal for police to perform random checks for weapons permits. When authorities are unable to confirm that someone has the legal right to carry a weapon, those without a license to carry may be emboldened to do so. And as Georgia doesn’t require applicants to undergo firearm safety training before obtaining a license, this could leave the greater population more vulnerable to gun injuries. With gun rights a hot topic of debate and traditional lifestyle for many of us in the South, this law can leave quite an impression on Georgia communities.

Slight changes in the law can lead to much confusion and concern for the following parties:

For many women, the birth of their child is one of the most pivotal moments of their lives. Months of anticipation come to an end as contractions begin. While the majority of U.S. women travel to a hospital for delivery, many are considering home birth. Home births are desired because in them, women can feel relaxed, comfortable, empowered, and wrapped in intimacy, as their grandmothers, greats, and ancestors may have been.

Though most babies today are delivered in hospitals, the United States maintains the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized country. In fact, maternal mortality rates are actually increasing! The World Health Organization states that caesarian section rates of a healthy population should never exceed 15%, but U.S. rates have reached an average of 34% (WHO, 2009). Most cesareans performed in the U.S. are unnecessary, leaving women to deal with higher risks of infection, hemorrhage, and additional injury. When hospitals are shadowed with high intervention rates, and in Georgia, where rural populations are higher than the national average, home birth may seem like a good alternative.

Increasing in popularity, home births still account for less than 1% of all births. Where we choose to have our babies is an important decision, and problems may arise when couples are unaware of the hazards that accompany home births.

Sadly, during the summer time, we often hear the heartbreaking stories of distressed parents discovering injured or lifeless children in their backseat. It is easy to become outraged at these cases and condemn parents and caretakers for irresponsibility. However, it is critical to remember that this can happen to anyone, even you.  A temporary lapse in judgment, a deviation from the regular routine, or a quick errand could expose your child to danger and leave you or a caregiver facing criminal charges and even jail time.

For those of us raised in the south, the lack of public transportation means much of our summer travel is spent in an automobile. From endless visits to the grocery store, trips to see family, and hours of joyrides, we may be accustomed to unsupervised time in parking lots for varying lengths of time. We may even arise from those experiences without harm, but not always.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that car seats were required to face the rear and placed in the backseat of a vehicle. This law alone, while protecting young children from airbag fatalities, has left them susceptible to the further risk of being forgotten. The statistics show a correlation between these occurrences, and McAleer Law would like to remind parents and caregivers about the dangers of leaving children alone in cars.

On the night of Monday, May 19, two transgender women stood on the train platform at MARTA’s Five Points Station in downtown Atlanta. Awaiting the train, the pair was allegedly mocked, photographed, and heckled by two men. The men relentlessly ridiculed the women, sneering and demanding to know if they were “real”. Though the women repeatedly asked their taunters to leave them alone, their requests were ignored.

Boarding the train, the verbal exchange quickly escalated, becoming physical when one of the harassers suddenly kicked one of the females. A brawl immediately ensued. Onlookers merely stood by. None of the train’s passengers reported the incident or tried to intervene. When it ended, one woman was left completely naked and on the floor. The horrifying display of violence had been recorded and posted online. It has since gone viral.

MARTA police arrested the two male suspects for disorderly conduct and are leading further investigations into the situation. The location of the attack alone could serve to elevate their charges to a misdemeanor of “high and aggravated nature” or felony of aggravated assault and battery, but unless statements are made or victims press charges, the perpetrators can only be held for lesser offenses. Humiliated and dishonored, both victims have since left town.

Forty-seven-year-old Wanda Franklin suffered from schizophrenia. As her condition worsened and Wanda’s ability to care for herself vanished, her husband placed her in a personal care home. Two months later, Mrs. Franklin leapt from her bedroom window, but survived the 20-foot fall, suffering a shoulder fracture, skull fracture, and brain damage.

Suicide is the number one cause of premature death among people with schizophrenia, with 40 percent attempting suicide at least once. In this case, the home’s failure to provide appropriate safety procedures to prevent Mrs. Franklin’s fall was found to be an act of negligence. When McAleer attorney, Katherine Jackson, was asked to take the case (Franklin v. Ryan’s Hope), we weren’t surprised when it resulted in a default judgment of nearly $1.2 million awarded to the Franklins.

“Negligence” is technically an umbrella of actions that cause harm or risk to the life and safety of a vulnerable person including, but not limited to, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment, and financial exploitation. Sadly, neglect is not always easily identified, as elderly victims are often unsure of reporting procedures, fearful for their safety, or dismissed when they speak up.

Summer is officially in full swing, and many caretakers will soon find themselves overwhelmed with the demands of entertaining restless and anxious schoolchildren. Some may resort to visiting the local trampoline park, where visitors are encouraged to jump, slide, and climb as they race to complete fitness tests and obstacle courses. Georgians will soon have eight to choose from.

Trampoline parks have sprung up across the country in recent years, and to date, remain largely unregulated with little to no standard for inspections and liability coverage. Whether you decide to visit one of these parks or host a trampoline party at your home, it is important to remember potential risk of trampolines if not properly maintained and managed.

For more than a decade, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended against the use of trampolines at home or on outdoor playgrounds. Unsupervised or incorrect usage can result in a number of serious injuries. Additionally, a recent study from the Indiana University School of Medicine finds that accidents on private trampolines accounted for nearly one million emergency room visits in just ten years.

If you have recently lost a loved one as a result of a third party’s actions, you may be considering your legal options. Before you go through the troubles of filing a lawsuit, it’s important to determine whether you have a case and whether you have the opportunity of winning compensation for the damages you have suffered. In the long run, evaluating your situation before moving forward with a suit will save you time, money, and further grievances. So before filing, ask yourself the following questions:

Did the death of a human being occur as a result of a “wrongful act” by another person?

A “wrongful act” by another person can mean any of the following:

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