Johns Creek has been repeatedly named the best place to live in Georgia, and one of the best places to live in the country. Safety is an essential part of what makes a great home, and most of the time, Johns Creek residents are able to enjoy relatively peaceful and secure lives.
Unfortunately, deadly negligence does still happen here, ranging from industrial accidents to violent crime, and families are left searching for justice for their loved ones.
Below, we’ll go into detail on common causes of wrongful death in Johns Creek, and what makes a strong wrongful death suit. If you would prefer to speak directly with a Johns Creek wrongful death lawyer, feel free to reach out by phone or chat at any time.
Perpetrators and Enablers of Violence Are Liable for the Deaths They Cause
Murders are, by definition, wrongful deaths, and murderers are legally responsible for the pain and loss they cause to victims and families. Very few families of murder victims actually receive compensation from the perpetrator, however. This is primarily because a fair total for a wrongful death settlement is much more than an individual can usually pay, and a court can’t help a plaintiff collect money that doesn’t exist.
In many cases, however, there are other entities that helped make the murder possible, and can afford to pay for a worthwhile settlement. When looking for possible defendants other than the perpetrator, the first step is to look at where the murder happened.
Much of the violence that takes place in Johns Creek happens in or near homes. Sadly, it’s often part of domestic disputes. Johns Creek’s own former mayor, Mike Bodker, was arrested while in office for battery of his wife, and similar altercations absolutely do happen within the city, often farther out of the public eye, and with graver results.
Just over a week before Bodker’s arrest, a woman and two men were shot inside the Arium Johns Creek Apartment Complex. Both men were killed, and the woman was hospitalized. The shooting was categorized as a domestic incident, and the shooter and all victims apparently knew each other.
The year before, a teenage girl was found dead in the pool of the Atlantic Newtown Apartments. Her body showed signs of trauma, and police ultimately determined her death to be a forced drowning. Though her killer has not been conclusively identified, a man was charged with concealing her death. The same suspect pled guilty to scamming a person with special needs in a separate case.
More recently, in August of 2021, police responded to a call about an incident at a home on Mount Victoria Place, and arrived to find a man stabbed to death, apparently by his wife. Their two small children were in the home at the time.
In at least some of these incidents, the homes where the murders occurred were owned by landlords, rather than by the occupants. While this changes nothing about the guilt of the perpetrators, it means that the victims’ home security was not within their own control.
Landlords have a responsibility to provide appropriate security, according to the risk of crime on their properties. Those who ignore past crime patterns and allow them to continue are liable for the results.
Robberies in Johns Creek Kroger Locations Signal a Need for More Security
In an excellent example of predictable risk based on past events, the Kroger stores in Johns Creek should really be investing in security for their customers and staff.
Just before Christmas in 2020, a man robbed the branch of the Fifth Third Bank inside the Kroger grocery store on State Bridge Road. The footage of the incident shows him pointing a gun at the teller.
In April of 2022, there was another possible armed robbery at the Kroger on Holcomb Bridge Road. Three men in ski masks ran out of the store with a full cart of groceries, without paying. The store manager reported seeing one of them also carrying a gun.
Although no one was injured in either incident, the robbers escaped with the money and goods, and there is no reason to assume the danger they pose has passed. It’s fairly common for robbers to return to the same location multiple times, or for other robbers to target locations that have been unable to stop robberies in the past.
Most armed robbers don’t enter into robberies with the intent of killing anyone, but avoiding being caught for a crime is an extremely powerful motivator. No situation where a criminal has a gun is ever safe for innocent bystanders, and no one should ever expect to be involved in such a situation while out doing their shopping.
Emory Johns Creek Hospital Plays a Key Role in Countless Life and Death Situations
Emory Johns Creek Hospital is both a vital source of medical care for the Metro Atlanta area, and one of the largest, busiest workplaces in Johns Creek. Recently, the facility has undergone significant renovations and new construction.
That’s a lot of different ways in which this one facility is responsible for human lives.
Firstly, like any hospital, Emory Johns Creek is responsible for providing a decent standard of care, preventing any preventable deaths in accordance with patients’ wishes. Not all visitors to Emory Johns Creek report receiving adequate care, and one attributes his father’s death to the ER’s alleged failure to notice a stroke.
It’s important to note that, due to the sheer volume of cases being handled by fallible humans, all hospitals are sometimes accused of malpractice. This does not mean, however, that individual cases of possible malpractice should be taken any less seriously. Healthcare facilities have a duty to minimize errors as much as humanly possible, and when errors do happen, they are financially responsible for the consequences, via their malpractice insurance.
Secondly, construction work and healthcare services are two of the most dangerous jobs in the modern-day U.S. Emory Johns Creek Hospital has a responsibility to provide as safe a workplace as reasonably possible, while getting these important tasks done.
On the construction side of things, there seem to have been a couple of recent missteps. In October of 2020, a construction worker was injured in an accident and had to be rescued from the top floor, using a firefighting ladder truck and stretcher.
Then, in June of 2021, a work error of some kind resulted in a gas line being severed in front of the hospital’s Findley Road entrance. Thankfully, there was no ignition, but the entrance and the road itself had to be shut down while the leak was contained.
Mistakes at any construction site can cost lives, but when that construction site is also an active hospital, perfect adherence to safety protocols is even more important.
Any Death Caused by Unmet Responsibilities Is Wrongful
So far, we’ve talked about some very specific and timely threats to Johns Creek residents, which might become cause, or might already be cause, for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death takes many forms, however. Some closely follow certain patterns, while others arise from unique situations. Some are tied to a place, while others can happen anywhere. That’s why it’s important to understand the three basic elements that appear in every valid wrongful death case:
- Someone (or some organization) was responsible for some aspect of a person’s safety.
- This responsibility was not fulfilled.
- The person died as a result.
Responsibility for someone else’s safety can arise in many different ways, large and small. As a default, people do not have a legal duty to protect or help others, but they do have a duty to avoid recklessly harming others, and to offer aid for any harm they personally cause.
For example, in February of 2021, a Johns Creek man refused to call 911 after a 16-year-old girl overdosed in his apartment. When the girl’s friend found her body, the man told her to take it outside and lie about where she had found it. He was later charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and his stated reason for not calling for help was that he had drugs in the apartment, so it’s likely he was responsible for her condition in the first place. This would make his failure to assist her an act of negligence.
Some Societal Roles Come with Added Safety Responsibilities
Even though random strangers have very few automatic duties to one another, there are many, many situations that add extra duties. We’ve already touched on healthcare providers’ duties to provide adequate care, and landlords’ duties to address known threats to their tenants and guests. Other roles with special responsibilities include:
- Parents, teachers, and caregivers — Anyone with physical custody of someone who cannot care for themselves has a duty to meet that person’s basic needs.
- Product and service providers — Entities that sell anything, from kitchen knives to boat tours, have a responsibility to avoid harming their customers, and to warn them about any risks that can’t be eliminated. If the product or service is something used for safety, such as a surgical mask or car seat, it must also live up to its safety promises.
- Employers — As mentioned above, employers are theoretically responsible for their employees’ safety. Unfortunately, most workplace accidents fall under Worker’s Comp law, which offers only partial compensation and blocks wrongful death suits. There are exceptions, however, and sometimes alternative ways of collecting full compensation.
- Drivers — Anyone operating a vehicle, even a small, personal one, is responsible for driving safely, and for carrying liability insurance to pay for any harm they might accidentally cause.
- Police, security guards, prison guards — Authority figures who are empowered to use physical force have a duty to use this power judiciously. For example, the Johns Creek Police Department has been accused of failing in this duty in April of 2018, when officers shot and killed a Somali-American woman with schizophrenia. Her family had called to ask police for help getting her to the hospital. She was armed with a knife at the time, but forensic examination found that the officers were standing too far away to be in any immediate danger at the time of the shooting. The family has since filed a suit.
If you’re in doubt as to whether someone failed to meet their responsibilities to your loved one, it’s always a good idea to talk with a wrongful death lawyer to find out.
The Stoddard Firm Can Help with Your Johns Creek Wrongful Death Case
When pursuing a wrongful death case for a death that happened in Johns Creek, it can be very helpful to work with a lawyer who knows the area well.
At the Stoddard Firm, we’re already familiar with many of the people and organizations we’ll need to interact with in the course of investigating and arguing your case. We know Fulton Superior Court, hospitals like Emory Johns Creek, and local funeral homes like Crowell Brothers Johns Creek Crematory.
Having a rapport with these places helps us collect the evidence we need in a timely manner, but we also don’t put anyone, or any organization, on a pedestal. Our first duty is always to the clients we work with, and the justice they deserve. Whether we’re piecing together a full timeline of a subpar hospital experience, or we’re just picking up your loved one’s medical records to prove what happened to them elsewhere, we enter into every interaction with your best interests in mind.
To speak with a Johns Creek wrongful death lawyer about the details of your case, just call us at 678-RESULT or reach out by chat for a free consultation.