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Georgia Personal Injury Law Blog

What is a qui tam lawsuit?

The term "qui tam" refers to a lawsuit brought by an individual on behalf of the government. The concept of qui tam in the American legal system goes all the way back to the Civil War. In 1863, Congress enacted the False Claims Act in an effort to staunch fraudulent practices committed by individuals selling war materials to the government.

Under the qui tam provision in the FCA, a person with knowledge of a fraudulent act committed against the government can receive anywhere between 15 to 25 percent reward of money recovered if the government decides to take on the case by itself. In cases where a citizen who reports the fraudulent activity alone and then files suit without the government's assistance, he or she can receive up to 30 percent of the total amount recovered.

Even Georgia's luxury car owners deal with recalls

While you might think that by purchasing a car with a six-figure price tag, you wouldn't have to deal with recalls, that's not necessarily true. Aston Martin owners learned that recently when 440 2014 Rapide S and DB9 vehicles were recalled by Aston Martin Lagonda of North America. The company has instructed its dealers not to sell any of these cars until the necessary repairs are made.

According to the Kelley Blue Book website, the base price on both models is in the neighborhood of $200,000. With added features and fees, consumers can expect to pay more than that.

What is Georgia doing to reduce truck accidents?

Americans are blessed with access to a wide variety of food and merchandise that is available at our local stores. Commercial tractor-trailers play a substantial role in providing us with such tremendous access to those products. Over the years, the number of commercial vehicles on our roads has increased accordingly with our growing demand for a wider selection of goods.

In January 2000, the U.S. Congress reacted to the rising numbers of vehicle accidents involving commercial trucks by creating the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The primary mission of the FMCSA is to reduce crashes involving commercial trucks and buses and thereby reduce the overall numbers of injuries and fatalities throughout the nation.

Why aren't Georgians and other Americans driving more?

You probably wouldn't guess it if you drive the roads in and around Atlanta and other major Georgia cities, but the number of miles driven by Americans has not changed in nearly seven years. The research firm Behind the Numbers hypothesized recently that we are in a new era where people simply choose to drive less.

So what accounts for this phenomenon and is it permanent? BTN notes a number of reasons why people are spending less time behind the wheel. Two key demographic groups are behind it -- baby boomers and millennials. As boomers age, many drive less or no longer drive at all. Meanwhile, millennials (the country's largest generation) are less interested in it. The move toward living in urban centers also reduces the need for one's own car. With high gas prices and mass transit as well as ride-share transportation options available, some folks are opting to forgo buying a car.

Tainted peanut butter may give rise to defective products claims

On Aug. 20, the U.S. Department of Justice began contacting victims sickened by peanut butter packaged at a Georgia plant in preparation for possible criminal charges. According to the manufacturer of the peanut butter, ConAgra, the DOJ is pursuing a case against them under the Crime Victims' Rights Act for their part in an outbreak of salmonella poisoning attributed to their products.

The 2006-07 incident at the heart of this investigation occurred largely in Tennessee after several people came down with Salmonella infections after eating contaminated peanut butter labeled as Peter Pan and Great Value products.

Georgia lawsuit filed over service members' missing vehicles

When military families relocate, as they often do multiple times, it's essential that their privately-owned vehicles make it to their new location. However, according to a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Georgia, too often they are not getting there on time or cannot be located at all. The suit was filed against the company recently contracted by the Department of Defense to transfer service members' POVs when they move to or from their assignments overseas.

In fact, according to an Aug. 19 email from a senior Army official, approximately 70 percent of vehicles shipped by the Georgia-based company International Auto Logistics have not arrived as scheduled. Both the U.S. Transportation Command, also known as TRANSCOM, and the Army's Surface Deployment and Distribution Command have search teams working around the world trying to locate POVs that did not arrive at their designated location.

Georgia businesses selling liquor may be liable for DUI crashes

When people are injured or killed in a car accident as the result of a drunk driver, we all know that the person who was under the influence is often held responsible both criminally and civilly. As we note on our website, loved ones may be entitled to uncapped punitive damages. However, responsibility may actually go beyond the driver.

Georgia has what are called dram shop liability laws. Under these laws, businesses that sell or serve liquor may also be held liable for personal injury or wrongful death. This includes restaurants, bars, nightclubs, liquor stores, gas stations and anywhere where a person can obtain alcohol.

Keeping defective products away from our children

During the course of our sons' and daughters' childhoods, we will buy them thousands of products -- including toys, clothes, furniture and car seats, just to name a few. We assume that the manufacturers of those products make safety a top priority. However, millions of products used by and around children are recalled every year due to safety issues.

According to the website Safekids.org, the top seven recalls currently include everything from storage chests to pacifier holding clips to lamps to car seats. Graco, which makes child safety seats and restraints, has three items on the list.

Feds go after Georgia hospital in False Claims Act lawsuit

On Aug. 8, the federal government filed a lawsuit against a Savannah, Georgia, hospital for its role in an allegedly fraudulent scheme to collect Medicare reimbursements based on referrals from doctors. According to the lawsuit filed in the U. S. District Court at Savannah, the leadership at Memorial Health Inc. recognized that their hospitals revenues were dwindling in 2007. Allegedly, the acting chief executive officer at the time recruited a trio of doctors and paid them higher than average salaries to drive more business to the hospital.

The government has alleged that there was an improper financial relationship that violated the law between the new doctors and the hospital because of their prohibited patient referrals. The lawsuit alleges that the three doctors were paid salaries and given other compensation packages that were well in excess of fair market value.

Former University of Georgia athlete killed in truck accident

Officials at the University of Georgia believe that it was a flat tire that ultimately led to the death of one of their former champion sprinters. According to police, the former UGA athlete had been traveling along Interstate 75 somewhere near Cordele, Georgia, when his vehicle became disabled. It was there in the southbound lane on the night of July 28 that a tractor-trailer struck the young man's vehicle from behind. The impact of the accident through the victim from the vehicle. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Friends of the victim at UGA speculate that the victim was on his way home to Jacksonville, Florida, at the time of the accident. The former sociology major graduated in 2013 after having captured several SEC and NCAA titles in his capacity on the university's track team. In fact, the victim still holds three school records and was on track to become a professional representing American track interests in international competition.

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