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16 year old Columbus, Ga girl killed in tragic drunk driving accident

COLUMBUS, GA - Northside High student, 16-year-old Hannah Gilmer was killed in a car accident on County Line Road back on June 15, 2012. According to police records, Hannah's 17-year-old boyfriend, Clayton Qualls, was driving her 2006 Toyota Scion under the influence of alcohol when he lost control of the car before spinning out, flipping the car several times and eventually striking a tree.

The accident occurred at a little after 11 o'clock on Friday night, June 15, 2012.

Ms. Gilmer was ejected from the car during the accident and, according to the accident report, neither of the teens were wearing their seat belts.

Qualls survived the accident but Ms. Gilmer was pronounced dead just after 1AM on June 16, 2012.

Clayton has been charged with numerous traffic charges, which include 1st degree vehicular homicide, DUI, and improper lane change. The underage drinking charges are not the first Qualls has faced. On June 4, 2012, he was arrested on charges of DUI under 21 and minor in possession of alcohol.

"My heart goes out to this young woman's family. This is such an awful tragedy. I know the family is suffering a tremendous loss," said attorney Gary Martin Hays.

This wreck really points out some important lessons for parents and their teenagers. "People should never get behind the wheel and drive a vehicle after they have been drinking, and in the case of this 17-year-old boy, he should never have been drinking at all." Hays stresses how important it is to talk with your children about the dangers of under age drinking.

It is also extremely important to remind people to always wear their seatbelts. According to the CDC, "Seat belt use is on the rise. Laws, education, and technology have increased seat belt use from 11% in 1981 to nearly 85% in 2010, saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Yet, about 1 in 7 people still don't buckle up."

Gary Martin Hays is a very active supporter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D) and has served on the state advisory council in Georgia. He has also sponsored a fundraiser for M.A.D.D , Strides for Change, in support of their mission.

If a drunk driver is negligent in causing an accident, their insurance company is responsible for compensating the victims of the accident. In a case such as this, the family may pursue a claim for wrongful death and seek punitive damages since the defendant was allegedly driving under the influence. Other parties that may be responsible for compensating victims could include an establishment that served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated individual or a homeowner who hosts a private party where the drinks/drugs were served.

Fatal accidents such as this can cause extreme emotional and financial stress. The unexpected loss and sudden grief can be devastating to the victim's loved ones. It is very important that families of the victims know that they have every right to seek legal advice and they may be eligible for financial compensation.

Here at the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays, we have an expertly trained staff of professionals ready to assist you in your wrongful death claim. We have recently expanded our offices from Atlanta to Savannah, making our services available to all Georgia residents. Call us today for your FREE legal consultation: 1-800-898-HAYS.

What you should know about Atlanta negligent security claims

It's an unfortunate but not uncommon scenario: a patron of a bar is assaulted and injured by another person. Under such circumstances, the injured person may have a right to sue the bar or property owner for what is known as "negligent security."

A negligent security case can be complex. Typically, an Atlanta negligent security lawyer will investigate any prior criminal assaults on the property. If there is a history of assaults on the premises, the owner of the business should have known to take extra security measures. The attorney typically will have access to an expert who can discuss any types of security measures that should have been in place at the bar.

At the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, our premises liability attorneys in Atlanta have experience protecting the rights of individuals who were injured due to negligent security. We have access to the experts who may be needed to prove that the owner was negligent.

Negligent security cases can be emotionally devastating for the victims. Some of these Atlanta inadequate security cases involve individuals who were sexually assaulted or violently attacked. While a bar can be a location for a negligent security case, victims can be injured just about anywhere, from malls, hotels, apartment complexes, schools and parking lots.

The following are examples of how a negligent security case may arise:

  • Lack of security cameras, or malfunctioning cameras
  • Poorly lit parking lots, garages, stairwells, etc.
  • No security guards in an area with a history of criminal activity
  • Inattentive security guards
  • Unlocked gates, doors or windows

An assault or violent crime can happen anywhere. For example, you might expect to relax at an Atlanta hotel or resort. What unfortunately sometimes happens is that the management fails to hire sufficient security; they may fail to make sure hotel keys are kept secure; they may not have bothered to fix a broken window lock. Any of these factors can lead to tragic consequences. You or a loved one may experience a dangerous or deadly assault through no fault of your own.

The following are just a few places where an assault or sexual abuse can occur, leading to a potential negligent security case:

  • Nursing home
  • Bar or night club
  • Elevator
  • Stairwell
  • Movie theater
  • Bus
  • College dorm or classroom

If you or a loved one was injured on someone's property, it's important to discuss your options with an Atlanta negligent security lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation for your losses. For a free consultation, call 1-800-898-HAYS. At the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, we have experience handling all sorts of Atlanta inadequate security cases. An attorney can provide the guidance you need if you were injured on someone's property through no fault of your own.