Georgia car accidents, often known as car wrecks or auto accident, happen due to various factors, many of which can be avoided. These incidents may lead to property damage, injuries, and even loss of life. Recognizing the typical causes of car accidents is essential for enhancing road safety and minimizing their occurrence. In this detailed overview, we will examine common causes of car accidents, shedding light on the elements that lead to these events and proposing preventative measures.

  1. Tailgating and Following Too Closely: Following other vehicles too closely reduces reaction time and can lead to rear-end collisions. Maintaining a safe following distance and avoiding aggressive tailgating can prevent such accidents.
  2. Distracted Driving (Smartphones and Other Distractions): Among the primary reasons for car accidents in recent times lies distracted driving. The proliferation of smartphones and other electronic devices has worsened this issue. Drivers frequently engage in texting, browsing social media, or using apps while driving, diverting their attention from the road. To address this problem, many jurisdictions have implemented laws against texting and driving, along with campaigns to raise awareness about the perils of distracted driving.
  3. Speeding: Exceeding speed limits significantly contributes to car accidents. Speed limits are set to ensure safe driving conditions, yet many drivers opt to drive beyond them. High speeds reduce a driver’s reaction time and amplify accident severity. To tackle this issue, law enforcement agencies enforce speed limits and install speed monitoring devices.
  4. Impaired Driving (Alcohol and Drugs): Impaired driving remains a major cause of car accidents. Alcohol and drugs, including prescription medications, impair a driver’s judgment, coordination, and reaction time. Efforts to address impaired driving include sobriety checkpoints, public awareness campaigns, and strict penalties for driving under the influence.
  5. Running Off the Road: Vehicles running off the road can result from various factors, including drowsiness, inattention, overcorrection, or slippery road conditions. Defensive driving techniques can help drivers avoid running off the road.
  6. Reckless Driving: Behaviors associated with reckless driving, such as aggressive tailgating, sudden lane changes, and disregarding traffic signals, contribute to accidents. These behaviors often stem from road rage or impatience. Enforcing traffic laws, such as issuing citations for aggressive driving, can help deter reckless behaviors.
  7. Fatigue: Driving while fatigued poses significant dangers as it impairs a driver’s ability to stay alert and make quick decisions. Prolonged driving without adequate rest can lead to decreased attention, slower reaction times, and even microsleeps. Awareness campaigns and encouraging regular rest breaks during long trips can help mitigate this issue.
  8. Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, ice, and fog contribute to car accidents by reducing visibility and road traction. Drivers often fail to adjust their driving behavior accordingly, leading to accidents. Educating drivers on safe driving practices in adverse weather and utilizing appropriate tires and equipment are crucial preventive measures
  9. Poor Road Conditions: Inadequate road maintenance and design flaws can also contribute to accidents. Potholes, uneven surfaces, and lack of proper signage create hazards for drivers. Governments and local authorities must invest in infrastructure maintenance and improvements to ensure safe road conditions.
  10. Running Red Lights and Stop Signs: Disregarding traffic signals and stop signs is a common cause of intersection accidents. Running red lights can result in T-bone collisions, which are often severe. Enhanced traffic signal enforcement and intersection redesigns can reduce these accidents.
  11. Inexperienced Drivers: Inexperienced and young drivers are more prone to car accidents due to their limited driving skills and judgment. Graduated licensing programs and mandatory driver’s education can help novice drivers gain experience gradually.
  12. Vehicle Defects and Malfunctions: Mechanical failures, such as brake or tire failures, can lead to accidents. Regular vehicle maintenance and addressing safety defects through recalls are essential in preventing accidents caused by vehicle malfunctions.
  13. Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Medications: Certain prescription medications can impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Healthcare professionals should inform patients of potential side effects, and individuals should avoid driving if they feel impaired by their medications.
  14. Inadequate Vehicle Safety Features: Some accidents occur due to the absence or malfunction of safety features like airbags, anti-lock brakes, or stability control systems. Manufacturers should continually improve vehicle safety standards, and consumers should choose vehicles with up-to-date safety features.
  15. Elderly Drivers: Elderly drivers may experience declining cognitive and physical abilities, increasing the risk of accidents. Regular driver’s license renewal requirements that assess a driver’s physical and mental fitness can help identify those who may need additional training or restrictions.
  16. Animals on the Road: Collisions with animals, particularly in rural areas, can lead to accidents. Drivers should exercise caution in areas known for wildlife crossings and be aware of the potential for animals to dart onto the road unexpectedly.
  17. Driver Distress (Emotional and Psychological Factors): Emotional distress, anxiety, or anger can affect a driver’s ability to focus and make rational decisions. Drivers should learn to manage their emotions while driving to reduce the risk of accidents.
  18. Inadequate Signage and Road Markings: Poorly marked roads and inadequate signage can confuse drivers and lead to accidents. Proper road maintenance and clear signage are essential for guiding drivers safely.
  19. Mechanical Failures During Driving: A sudden mechanical failure while driving, such as a broken axle or engine failure, can lead to loss of control and accidents. Regular vehicle maintenance and prompt response to warning signs can help prevent these incidents.
  20. Lack of Seat Belt Usage: Failing to wear seat belts significantly increases the risk of injury or fatality in an accident. Strict seat belt laws and awareness campaigns promote seat belt usage and save lives.
  21. Driving While Inappropriate: Some accidents occur because individuals are driving when they shouldn’t be, such as during medical emergencies or while under the influence. Encouraging responsible decision-making about when to drive is crucial.
  22. Street Racing and Exhibition of Speed: Street racing and reckless exhibitions of speed on public roads are dangerous and illegal activities that can result in serious accidents. Enhanced law enforcement and public education efforts are needed to deter such behavior.
  23. Construction Zones: Accidents often occur in construction zones due to lane closures, reduced speed limits, and changes in traffic patterns. Drivers should exercise extra caution in these areas, and road authorities should ensure proper signage and safety measures.
  24. Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents: Collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists can result from driver inattention or failure to yield the right of way. Education and awareness campaigns for both drivers and pedestrians are essential to reduce these accidents.
  25. Unfamiliarity with Roads and Routes: Drivers who are unfamiliar with a particular area may make sudden or unexpected maneuvers, contributing to accidents. Navigation systems and clear road signage can assist drivers in unfamiliar locations.
  26. Tire Blowouts: Sudden tire blowouts can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles. Proper tire maintenance, including checking tire pressure and tread regularly, can prevent blowouts.
  27. Failure to Yield the Right of Way: Accidents frequently occur when drivers fail to yield the right of way at intersections, merging lanes, or pedestrian crosswalks. Drivers should be aware of and adhere to right-of-way rules.
  28. Teen Driver Inexperience: Teen drivers, especially those newly licensed, may lack the experience needed to handle challenging driving situations. Graduated licensing programs and parental supervision can help young drivers gain valuable experience.
  29. Street and Road Design Flaws: Poorly designed streets and roads can create hazards, such as blind intersections or inadequate merging lanes. City planners and engineers should prioritize road safety in design and maintenance.
  30. Airbag Deployment Errors: In rare cases, airbags may deploy incorrectly or not deploy at all, increasing the risk of injury in an accident. Regular vehicle inspections and addressing airbag recall notices are essential for safety.
  31. Failure to Use Turn Signals: Failure to use turn signals can lead to confusion among other drivers and result in accidents. Proper signaling is a fundamental aspect of safe driving.
  32. Driver Aggression and Road Rage: Behaviors of aggressive driving, like tailgating and confrontations with other drivers, can escalate into incidents of road rage. To avoid such confrontations, drivers should learn techniques for managing anger.
  33. Nighttime Driving: Driving at night presents additional challenges due to reduced visibility, which increases the risk of accidents. Proper vehicle lighting, including headlights and taillights, is crucial for safe nighttime travel.
  34. Medical Emergencies While Driving: Sudden medical events such as seizures or heart attacks can incapacitate drivers, leading to accidents. Drivers with medical conditions should consult healthcare professionals regarding their fitness to drive.
  35. Teen Passengers and Peer Pressure: Teen drivers carrying other teens may face increased distractions and peer pressure, elevating the likelihood of accidents. Implementing passenger restrictions for newly licensed teen drivers can help mitigate this risk.
  36. Improper Lane Changes: Accidents can result from inadequate signaling, blind spot issues, and failure to check mirrors when changing lanes. Drivers should adhere to proper lane change procedures and remain aware of their surroundings.
  37. Panic and Overcorrection: In stressful situations, drivers may panic and make abrupt or excessive steering maneuvers, resulting in loss of control. Defensive driving training can assist drivers in reacting calmly and effectively during emergencies.
  38. Animal Crossings: Collisions with animals, such as deer or livestock, frequently occur in rural areas and can lead to accidents. Drivers should exercise heightened caution in areas known for animal crossings.
  39. Unsecured Cargo: Poorly secured cargo can shift during transit, causing drivers to lose control of their vehicles. Ensuring proper loading and securing of cargo is vital for safe transportation.
  40. Driving Without Corrective Lenses: Individuals with vision impairments who fail to wear prescription eyewear while driving pose significant risks to themselves and others on the road. Regular vision checks and compliance with eyewear prescriptions are essential.
  41. Driving in Flooded Areas: Attempting to navigate flooded roads can result in water entering the engine, causing vehicles to stall or lose control. Drivers should avoid flooded areas and adhere to safety guidelines during floods.
  42. Brake Failure: Though relatively rare, brake system failures can lead to accidents. Regular brake maintenance and prompt attention to brake warning signs can help prevent such failures.
  43. Blind Spots: Collisions may occur when drivers fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes or merging. Defensive driving techniques, including proper mirror use and head checks, can help mitigate this issue.
  44. Unattended Children and Pets in Vehicles: Leaving children or pets unattended in vehicles poses serious risks, including heat-related illnesses and accidents if a child shifts the vehicle into gear. Awareness campaigns highlight the dangers of leaving children or pets alone in cars.
  45. Falling Asleep at the Wheel: Falling asleep while driving, known as "drowsy driving," can lead to accidents, especially during long trips. Drivers should prioritize getting adequate rest before embarking on long journeys.
  46. Unsecured Loads and Debris on Roads: Debris or unsecured loads falling from vehicles can create hazards for other drivers. Properly securing loads and promptly reporting debris on the road are essential safety measures.
  47. Cell Phone Use While Driving (Hands-Free): Although hands-free cell phone use is legal in some areas, it can still be distracting. Drivers should use hands-free devices responsibly and avoid engaging in lengthy conversations while driving.
  48. Failure to Maintain a Safe Following Distance: Tailgating and following too closely can lead to rear-end collisions. Drivers should maintain a safe following distance to allow for adequate reaction time.
  49. Sudden Tire Pressure Loss (Blowouts): Tire blowouts due to sudden pressure loss can result from low tire pressure, road hazards, or defects. Regular tire maintenance and vigilance on the road can prevent blowouts.
  50. Hydroplaning: Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle's tires lose contact with the road due to a thin layer of water. Reduced speed and proper tire maintenance can help prevent hydroplaning accidents.
  51. Tire Tread Separation: Tread separation, particularly in older or poorly maintained tires, can lead to loss of control and accidents. Regular tire inspections and maintenance are crucial for preventing this issue.
  52. Inattentive Pedestrians: Pedestrians distracted by smartphones or other devices may not pay attention to traffic, increasing the risk of accidents. Public education campaigns emphasize safe pedestrian behavior.
  53. Inadequate Road Lighting: Poorly lit roads can reduce visibility and increase the risk of nighttime accidents. Road authorities should ensure adequate lighting on roadways.
  54. Construction Zone Speeding: Speeding in construction zones, where workers are present, poses a danger to both workers and drivers. Strict enforcement of reduced speed limits in construction zones is essential.
  55. Failure to Utilize Headlights in Reduced Visibility Conditions: Drivers who neglect to activate headlights during situations of reduced visibility, such as fog or heavy rain, can create dangers for themselves and other road users. Adhering to proper lighting practices is imperative.
  56. Navigating Railroad Crossings: Collisions with trains can happen at railroad crossings due to drivers neglecting to yield the right of way. Vigorous enforcement of railroad crossing laws and public educational campaigns underscore safety.
  57. Driving with Impaired Vision (e.g., Cataracts): Drivers with impaired vision, like cataracts, may pose safety hazards. Regular vision assessments and medical evaluations can aid in identifying and managing vision impairments.
  58. Non-compliance with Right-on-Red Laws: Accidents may result when drivers disregard right-on-red laws, either by turning when prohibited or failing to yield to oncoming traffic. Adhering to traffic laws is crucial.
  59. Disregard for Crosswalk Signals: Drivers who ignore crosswalk signals and fail to yield to pedestrians can cause accidents and jeopardize pedestrian safety. Rigorous enforcement of crosswalk laws is indispensable for pedestrian protection.
  60. Failure to Yield to School Buses: Disregarding school bus stop signs and failing to stop when children are boarding or disembarking can lead to accidents and endanger child safety. Public awareness campaigns highlight the importance of school bus safety.

In conclusion, car accidents can stem from a variety of factors, spanning from human mistakes and distractions to environmental conditions and mechanical malfunctions. Understanding these prevalent causes is vital for instituting preventive measures, improving road safety, and lessening the occurrence and severity of car crashes. Road safety initiatives, educational campaigns, and robust law enforcement efforts all play crucial roles in addressing these causes and ensuring safer roads for everyone. Moreover, individual drivers must prioritize responsible and attentive driving habits, along with regular vehicle upkeep, to promote safer road conditions and diminish car accidents.

SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers have been advocating for injured individuals in Georgia for over 30 years.  If you've been injured in a car accident, it's imperative to seek the assistance of a seasoned personal injury attorney with the expertise to handle your personal injury claim. Our offices are available seven days a week.  Reach out today at (770) 214-2500 to schedule a free personalized consultation.

Attorneys at Smith Wallis and Scott in Carrollton Georgia - Three attorneys next to a graphic stating we don't just see you as another case we see you as a person

Along with a duty to represent our clients, all of us at Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLC - SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers feel we owe a duty to give back to our community whenever possible.  For the 2023-2024 school year we have the pleasure of sponsoring the teachers of the month at each of the Carrollton City Schools.  Every month we present the teachers of the month at Carrollton Elementary School, Carrollton Upper Elementary School, Carrollton Middle School, and Carrollton High School with a check to show our gratitude for their hard work educating the children in our community.  Afterwards, we take a picture of the winners and place them on a digital billboard to help introduce our community to these wonderful educators.  Below are some examples of our billboard designs recognizing the winners.

Carrollton Elementary School and SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers
Carrollton Elementary School and SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers
Carrollton Upper Elementary School and SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers
Carrollton Upper Elementary School and SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers
Carrollton Middle School and SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers
Carrollton Middle School and SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers
Carrollton High School and SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers
Carrollton High School and SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers
Carrollton City Schools Teacher of the Month Billboard - SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers
Carrollton City Schools Teacher of the Month Billboard - SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers

 

A special thank you to Superintendent Dr. Mark Albertus and principals Dr. Kylie Carroll (Carrollton Elementary),  Tabitha Walker (Carrollton Upper Elementary), Eric Simmons (Carrollton Middle), and Ian Lyle (Carrollton High) for allowing us to support these wonderful educators.

In Georgia, the occurrence of medical malpractice often leaves individuals or their acquaintances deeply surprised. We anticipate that the healthcare professionals we rely on for our well-being will consistently prioritize actions that prevent harm. Regrettably, the truth reveals that in the United States, overworked, inadequately trained, and negligent providers contribute to injuries and illnesses on a daily basis.

Medical Malpractice/Error Facts

If you or a family member have been the victim of medical malpractice give our lawyers a call today at (770) 214-2500 for a free consultation.

Carrollton Attorney Joseph Brown- SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers - Image of attorney Joseph Brown standing in a suit

If you've sustained significant injuries in an accident that wasn't your fault, the aftermath can be both overwhelming and bewildering. These injuries could result from various types of accidents. In Georgia, motor vehicle collisions rank as the primary cause of injury-related fatalities and the second leading cause of emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

Navigating through this situation, you might be uncertain about the next steps and concerned about when life will regain a sense of normalcy. This concern is heightened, especially if your injury has led to the loss of a job or income.

Below are here are four mistakes to avoid while you’re healing from your injuries and/or preparing to file an insurance claim or lawsuit.

1. Waiting too long to seek medical treatment

Following an accident, obtaining timely medical care is of utmost importance. Only a doctor can assess and diagnose your injuries, a crucial step for both your healing process and potential personal injury case. Acting promptly is not only essential for your recovery but also plays a pivotal role in supporting your legal claim.

Delaying medical attention might create the impression that you were not injured or that your injuries were not significant. It could be argued that you were well enough to carry on with your life without seeking medical advice. Compliance with your doctor's treatment and recovery instructions is a factor scrutinized in personal injury cases. Failing to consult a doctor promptly will likely harm your chances of a full recovery from the insurance company.

2.  Lack of documentation

Upon consulting a doctor post-accident, you initiate the documentation process for your case. Your medical records play a crucial role in establishing a link between the accident and your resulting injuries. Beyond medical documentation, various other forms of evidence contribute to building a comprehensive case.

Depending on the nature of the incident, these documents may encompass a police report, photographs from the accident scene, available dashcam footage, and statements from eyewitnesses. An investigation is conducted to discern the circumstances surrounding the accident. The more thorough the documentation, the more effectively it constructs a narrative demonstrating that you were a victim of someone else's negligence.

Insufficient or lacking documentation makes it considerably challenging to build a robust case on your behalf. To gather compelling evidence, ensure the prompt involvement of the police in motor vehicle accidents, capture photos or videos, and secure eyewitness statements. Additionally, retain copies of receipts for any expenses related to the accident.

3.  Giving a recorded statement

Following an accident, it's possible that an insurance company will reach out to you, often seeking a phone conversation. These companies are notorious for employing deceptive strategies to exploit individuals unfamiliar with the compensation process after an accident.

One such tactic involves requesting your consent for a recorded statement. The adjuster might attempt to lead you into making statements that could imply fault on your part for the accident. When contacted by the adjuster, it is advisable to direct them to your attorney. Refrain from engaging in conversation until you have sought legal advice.

4.  Not hiring an experienced lawyer

The process of seeking compensation after an accident is intricate, and while it might appear cost-effective to handle it independently, the opposite is often true. It is crucial to have a lawyer with a proven track record of successfully representing numerous personal injury clients.

An experienced attorney can manage your entire case, taking care of interactions with insurance companies and negotiating settlements. Although the majority of cases are resolved without going to court, in the event of unsuccessful negotiations, you require a lawyer capable of constructing a compelling case to advocate for your justice in the courtroom.

If you have been injured, call our experienced lawyers today at 770-214-2500 for a free consultation.

3 Georgia lawyers

Navigating personal injury law in Georgia can be intricate, and misconceptions frequently steer individuals in the wrong direction when dealing with legal matters related to personal injuries. At SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers, our goal is to offer top-notch representation for personal injury cases throughout the State of Georgia. Leveraging our extensive knowledge and resources, we are dedicated to assisting clients in understanding and maneuvering through the legal complexities to secure the compensation they rightfully deserve. This in-depth guide aims to dispel common misconceptions about personal injury law, provide insights into the legal process, and underscore the significance of seeking specialized legal assistance.

There's a common misconception that personal injury cases are simple and adhere to a standardized procedure, but this is far from reality. Personal injury cases span a broad spectrum of incidents, including car accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and product liability. Each case presents its distinct circumstances, evidence prerequisites, and legal standards. It's essential to acknowledge that the particulars of your case profoundly impact the legal approach taken and the potential compensation you might be eligible for.

Although certain personal injury cases may be promptly resolved, it is a misconception to assume that all claims are settled swiftly. The duration of a case is contingent on several factors, such as the complexity of the incident, the extent of injuries, the accessibility of evidence, and the cooperation of the parties involved. It is crucial to approach personal injury cases with realistic expectations and to recognize that the legal process may require time to achieve a fair and equitable resolution.

A prevalent misconception is that enlisting the services of a personal injury attorney is redundant, and individuals can manage their cases independently. Yet, maneuvering through the legal system without professional guidance can pose challenges and potentially result in unfavorable outcomes. Personal injury lawyers bring in-depth legal knowledge, experience in handling comparable cases, and essential negotiation skills to enhance the likelihood of securing fair compensation. They are well-versed in the strategies employed by insurance companies and defense attorneys, effectively safeguarding your rights.

Contrary to common belief, most personal injury cases are resolved through negotiations rather than proceeding to trial. Litigation can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor for everyone involved. Seasoned personal injury attorneys dedicate themselves to negotiating equitable settlements outside the courtroom, alleviating clients from the stress and unpredictability of a trial. Nevertheless, in instances where a fair settlement remains elusive, adept trial attorneys are ready to litigate your case and advocate for your rights in court.

There is a common belief that personal injury compensation only addresses medical expenses resulting from an accident or incident. While medical costs are a significant part of compensation, personal injury law acknowledges that victims may endure various other damages. Compensation may encompass lost wages, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. Collaborating with an experienced personal injury attorney, who evaluates the complete range of your damages and advocates for comprehensive compensation, is crucial.

Personal injury claims are bound by statutes of limitations, legal deadlines that dictate the period within which you can initiate a lawsuit. These limitations differ based on the nature of the incident, the jurisdiction, and other factors. Neglecting to commence legal proceedings within the designated timeframe may lead to the forfeiture of your right to pursue compensation. It is essential to promptly seek the guidance of a personal injury attorney after an incident to ensure adherence to all relevant deadlines.

Misunderstandings about personal injury law frequently give rise to misconceptions that may negatively affect the rights of those who have suffered accidents. Our aim is to dispel these common misconceptions, illuminate the intricacies of personal injury cases, and empower individuals to make informed decisions when seeking legal help. At SWS Accident & Injury Lawyers, our devoted team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to delivering outstanding representation and vigorously advocating for our clients' rights. If you've sustained injuries due to someone else's negligence, we encourage you to reach out to our firm for a complimentary consultation. Together, we can navigate the legal process and strive towards securing the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Medical malpractice in Georgia refers to the professional negligence or misconduct by a healthcare provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, or other medical professionals, which results in harm to a patient. This negligence may occur through actions, errors, or omissions during the diagnosis, treatment, or general care of a patient. Medical malpractice cases typically involve a breach of the standard of care that a reasonably competent healthcare professional would provide in similar circumstances.

Recent studies have estimated errors may account for as many as 251,000 deaths annually in the United States, making medical errors the third leading cause of death. Error rates are significantly higher in the U.S. than in other developed countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the United Kingdom.  At the same time less than 10 percent of medical errors are reported.

Common types of medical malpractice include:

  1. Misdiagnosis
  2. Delayed diagnosis
  3. Childbirth injuries
  4. Medication errors
  5. Surgical errors
  6. Premature discharge
  7. Inadequate follow-up care

To establish a medical malpractice case in Georgia, the patient or their representative must generally prove 4 things:

  1. Duty: The healthcare provider owed a duty of care to the patient.
  2. Breach: The healthcare provider breached the standard of care by failing to meet an acceptable level of competence and skill.
  3. Causation: The breach of duty directly caused the patient's injury or harm.
  4. Damages: The patient suffered measurable harm or damages as a result of the healthcare provider's actions or negligence.

Medical malpractice cases can be complex, and they often involve expert testimony to establish the standard of care and to demonstrate how the healthcare provider's actions deviated from that standard.  Additionally, medical malpractice cases can be very expensive to bring to trial, with expenses typically exceeding $50,000.00 before the case even makes it to a court room.

With that being said, medical malpractice cases have a higher average settlement value compared to other injury cases.  This is due to the severe nature of the injuries caused by medical negligence.  Nationally, the average settlement payout for medical malpractice claims is between $300,000 to $380,000.  For cases that go to trial, and win, the average verdict is just north of $1 million dollars.

Laws regarding medical malpractice vary by jurisdiction, and there are specific procedural requirements and time limits for filing a claim.  In Georgia, you have 2 years from the date of the malpractice (or 2 years from when a reasonable person would have learned of the malpractice) in order to file a lawsuit.  Additionally, Georgia requires that any malpractice suit include a signed affidavit from a physician who practices in the same specialty as the physician accused of malpractice.  Without the accompanying affidavit, any malpractice lawsuit will be dismissed.

If you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice, give our attorneys a call today at 770-214-2500 for a free consultation to assess the merits of your case.

 

Bald Georgia car accident lawyer

Being the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Georgia can be a terrifying experience.   These incidents are serious, and they happen far too often. If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run, you may be worried about identifying the other driver, taking pictures or recording the accident scene, and interacting with law enforcement.  Then you have to worry about getting compensation for your injuries and damages. Remembering a few key things can help you protect your rights and maximize any compensation you might be eligible to receive.

How to Report a Hit-and-Run

After the initial shock of a hit-and-run accident, taking the proper steps is critical.  Georgia law requires you to “immediately” report any accident involving injuries, deaths, or more than $500 in property damage to the police. Here’s how to report a hit-and-run crash in Georgia:

Being the victim of a hit-and-run can quickly become overwhelming, but don’t lose hope.  Our experienced lawyers are here to help. We will evaluate the details of your accident and advise you on the best path forward to recover compensation.  Give us a call today at 770-214-2500 for a free consultation.

 

Kia Optima with front end damage in Georgia

You were injured and have filed a lawsuit, what judge will hear my case?  We get asked this question all the time.  In Georgia, the type of judge who will hear your case depends on what type of injury you have and where you, or your lawyer, decide to file the lawsuit.  In general, Georgia has 4 types of courts (Federal, Superior, State, Magistrate, Administrative).  This post will give a basic overview of what types of cases each court hears.

Superior Court

In Georgia, the superior court is a trial court with general jurisdiction, meaning it has the authority to hear a wide range of cases. Superior court judges in Georgia handle both civil and criminal cases.  Some Superior Courts have multiple judges due to the amount of cases they hear.  Some common types of cases that may be heard in a superior court in Georgia include:

  1. Civil Cases:
    • Torts: Personal injury cases, including car accidents and medical malpractice.
    • Contracts: Cases involving breach of contract or disputes over contractual agreements.
    • Property: Cases related to real estate, such as boundary disputes or landlord-tenant issues.
    • Family Law: Divorce, child custody, child support, and other family-related cases.
  2. Criminal Cases:
    • Felonies: More serious criminal offenses, such as murder, burglary, and drug trafficking.
    • Misdemeanors: Less serious criminal offenses, such as simple assault, petty theft, and DUI.
  3. Appeals:
    • Superior courts may hear appeals from lower courts within their jurisdiction.

It's important to note that the specific jurisdiction of a superior court judge can vary depending on the judicial circuit within Georgia. Each county in Georgia is part of a judicial circuit, and superior court judges preside over cases within their assigned circuit.  For example, Carroll County is in the "Coweta Judicial Circuit".  The Coweta Judicial Circuit includes Coweta, Carroll, Troup, Meriwether, and Heard Counties.  There are currently 7 judges in the Coweta Judicial Circuit.

State Court

State court judges in Georgia have jurisdiction over a variety of cases, both civil and criminal.  Each county in Georgia is required to have at least 1 state court judge.  Here are some common types of cases that state court judges in Georgia may handle:

  1. Civil Cases:
    • Tort Cases: Personal injury cases, including car accidents and slip-and-fall incidents.
    • Contract Disputes: Cases involving breach of contract or disputes over contractual agreements.
    • Property Disputes: Cases related to real estate, landlord-tenant issues, and property damage.
  2. Criminal Cases:
    • Misdemeanors: Less serious criminal offenses, such as simple assault, petty theft, and disorderly conduct.
    • Preliminary Hearings: State court judges may conduct preliminary hearings to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial in felony cases.
    • Traffic Offenses: Cases involving traffic violations, such as speeding and reckless driving
  3. Specialized Courts:
      • Some state courts may have specialized divisions or programs, such as drug courts or mental health courts, which focus on specific types of cases.

Magistrate Court

Magistrate courts in Georgia handle a variety of civil and criminal matters, typically involving less serious offenses and smaller financial claims. Magistrate courts are designed to provide a more accessible and efficient forum for resolving disputes. Magistrate courts can be county wide, or individual cities can create their own magistrate courts.  The types of cases Gerogia magistrate courts  may hear include:

  1. Civil Cases:
    • Small Claims: Magistrate courts often handle small claims cases  involving disputes over money ((less than $15,000) or property.
    • Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Cases related to issues between landlords and tenants, such as eviction proceedings and disputes over security deposits.
    • Contract Disputes: Cases involving breach of contract or disagreements over contractual obligations.
  2. Criminal Cases:
    • Misdemeanors: Magistrate courts have jurisdiction over certain misdemeanor offenses, including minor criminal offenses such as simple assault, shoplifting, and disorderly conduct.
    • Traffic Violations: Magistrate courts may handle cases related to traffic violations, including speeding tickets and other minor infractions.
  3. Preliminary Hearings:
    • Magistrate courts may conduct preliminary hearings in felony cases to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial in a higher court.
  4. Issuing Warrants and Bonds:
    • Magistrate judges have the authority to issue arrest warrants and search warrants.
    • They may also set bail or bond conditions for individuals awaiting trial.
  5. Civil Garnishments and Distress Warrants:
    • Magistrate courts may handle cases related to civil garnishments, which involve the withholding of wages to satisfy a debt.
    • Distress warrants may be issued in cases of landlord-tenant disputes to recover possession of leased property.

Administrative Courts

Georgia has several administrative courts and agencies that handle specific types of cases and disputes. Administrative judges, also know as "ALJ's" typically deal with matters involving state regulations, government actions, and specific areas of law. Keep in mind that the structure and names of these courts may be subject to change, and new developments may have occurred since my last update. Here are some key administrative courts and agencies in Georgia:

  1. Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH):
    • The Office of State Administrative Hearings is an independent agency that conducts hearings and renders decisions in contested cases between private parties and state agencies. OSAH covers a wide range of administrative law matters.
  2. Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC):
    • The Georgia Public Service Commission regulates utilities and services such as telecommunications, natural gas, and electricity. The PSC holds hearings and makes decisions on issues related to rates, services, and other regulatory matters.
  3. Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation:
    • The Georgia Workers' Compensation Board oversees the state's workers' compensation system. It handles disputes between employees and employers regarding work-related injuries and benefits.
  4. Georgia Department of Labor (DOL):
    • The Georgia Department of Labor administers and enforces labor laws in the state. It may handle cases related to unemployment benefits, workplace safety, and wage and hour disputes.
  5. Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR):
    • The Georgia Department of Revenue is responsible for administering state tax laws. Disputes related to taxation may be addressed through administrative processes within the DOR.
  6. Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR):
    • The Georgia Department of Natural Resources oversees natural resources, including wildlife, parks, and environmental protection. Cases related to environmental regulations may be addressed through administrative processes within the DNR.
  7. Georgia Composite Medical Board:
    • The Georgia Composite Medical Board regulates the practice of medicine in the state. It may handle disciplinary actions against medical professionals and other matters related to healthcare.
  8. Georgia Board of Regents:
    • The Georgia Board of Regents oversees the state's public universities and colleges. It may handle certain administrative matters related to education policies and institutions.

Federal Court

Federal courts in the United States have limited jurisdiction and hear cases that involve federal law, disputes between parties from different states, and certain types of cases specified in the U.S. Constitution.  Georgia is currently divided into 2 federal districts, the Northern District of Georgia and the Southern District of Georgia.  Here are the main types of cases heard in federal courts:

  1. Federal Question Cases:
    • Cases that arise under the U.S. Constitution, federal laws, or treaties fall under federal question jurisdiction. This includes cases involving constitutional issues, violations of federal statutes, or disputes involving federal regulations.
  2. Diversity of Citizenship Cases:
    • Federal courts can hear cases based on diversity of citizenship, meaning the parties are from different states or are citizens of a foreign country. The amount in controversy must exceed a statutory threshold (as of my last knowledge update in January 2022, it was $75,000) for the federal court to have jurisdiction.
  3. Bankruptcy Cases:
    • Federal bankruptcy courts handle matters related to bankruptcy filings, including Chapter 7 liquidations, Chapter 11 reorganizations, and Chapter 13 debt repayment plans.
  4. Admiralty and Maritime Cases:
    • Federal courts have jurisdiction over cases involving admiralty and maritime law, which deals with disputes related to navigable waters, shipping, and maritime commerce.
  5. Intellectual Property Cases:
    • Cases involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property are heard in federal courts. This includes disputes over infringement, licensing, and protection of intellectual property rights.
  6. Federal Criminal Cases:
    • Federal courts handle criminal cases involving violations of federal law. This can include offenses such as drug trafficking, immigration violations, white-collar crimes, and offenses occurring on federal property.
  7. Civil Rights Cases:
    • Cases involving alleged violations of individuals' civil rights under federal law, such as those protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), may be heard in federal court.
  8. Antitrust Cases:
    • Federal courts handle cases related to antitrust laws, which are designed to promote fair competition and prevent monopolistic practices.
  9. Class Action Lawsuits:
    • Class action lawsuits that meet certain criteria, such as numerosity and commonality of issues, may be filed in federal court. These cases involve a group of individuals with similar claims against a defendant.
  10. Environmental Cases:
    • Cases involving violations of federal environmental laws, such as the Clean Air Act or the Clean Water Act, may be heard in federal court.

It's important to note that federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and their authority is derived from the U.S. Constitution and federal statutes. Cases that do not fall within federal jurisdiction are generally heard in state courts (Superior, State, Magistrate, or Administrative).

 

Georgia Accident Lawyers

If someone asked you the most dangerous season of year to drive, what would your answer be?  If you guess Fall, you would are correct.  Fall is the most dangerous time of the year to drive, even more dangerous than winter.  Not  too many people realize it, but fall is the most dangerous season with a motorist’s risk of being involved in car accidents at its highest during these days.

Carfax recently announced that according to its data, it is autumn and not winter which is the deadliest season of the year for drivers.  In fact, according to the data, more than 72% of Americans live in states like Georgia where fall is the deadliest season of the year with the highest number of auto accidents recorded.

There are a number of reasons why the risk of car accidents is greater during fall season compared to other times of the year, but the 3 biggest culprits of increased accident are:

  1. Diminishing daylight: Fall means shorter days, and that means more driving in the dark, when drivers are twice as likely to have an accident as in daylight.  The data indicated  half of U.S. accidents happen in the dark, but those hours account for only 25% of travel.
  2. Slick surfaces: Wet leaves brought down by storms can be as slippery as ice.  Experts noted that braking on wet leaves can make a car travel more than twice as far as braking on a dry road.
  3. Deer danger: Mating season for deer runs from October through December, and nearly half of deer crashes nationwide happen in just those three months.  In addition, one study noted that deer-car collisions spike almost 16% in the week after the end of Daylight Saving Time because of the jump to an earlier sunset.

Avoid becoming a car accident statistic this Fall by following a few simple steps.

If you have been injured in a car accident, give our lawyers a call at 770-214-2500 for a free consultation.

Georgia Accident Lawyers

If you have been injured in an accident in Georgia, you may be dealing with pain while also facing substantial medical bills. People often do not know the steps that they should take to protect their rights. Here are some brief answers to frequently asked questions about Georgia personal injury claims.

What do I do after an accident?

If you have been injured in a Georgia accident, the most important priority is getting medical attention. Assuming that you are not taken to the emergency room immediately, you should take photos or videos of the accident scene and get the contact information of any witnesses. You should not admit fault or apologize to anyone else who was involved, even if it seems like a polite thing to do. Anything that you say in the aftermath of an accident can be used against you if you pursue a claim or lawsuit later. If you suspect that someone else may have been at fault, you should set up a consultation with an attorney to discuss your options. The first consultation is almost always free.

 

How do I know if I have a case?

You do not need to make this decision on your own. Contact a lawyer and set up a free consultation to go over your situation in detail. The attorney will be able to tell you whom you can sue and what you can expect to recover, based on the facts of the accident and the laws in your state. Essentially, in most situations, you will have a case if someone acted carelessly under the circumstances and caused your injuries. Applying this standard is more complicated than it sounds, however, which is why it is important to consult an attorney.

Do I have a case if I do not feel hurt?

You may still have a case even if you do not feel hurt at the scene. The biological response to a traumatic situation like an accident sends a rush of adrenaline through the body, which can temporarily reduce sensations of pain. You may start feeling significant pain or developing other symptoms later.  It is always smart see a doctor, even if you do not feel immediate pain, since some of the most serious conditions emerge over time.

How long do I have to file a personal injury case?

In Georgia, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. A personal injury case may need to be filed within a year of the accident, or you may have as much as four years to file. You should check the rule in your state to make sure that you do not accidentally waive your rights. There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations, but they are very narrow, so you should not assume that an exception applies. As a practical matter, moreover, you should try to pursue a claim as soon as possible while the evidence is still fresh.

What damages are available in a personal injury case?

The main type of damages is known as compensatory damages, which is further divided into general damages and special damages.  General damages are based on tangible, relatively objective costs and losses, such as medical bills, lost income and earning capacity, property damage, and the costs of future treatment.  Special damages are more difficult to calculate subjective, covering items such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and lost enjoyment of life. Damages must be reasonably justifiable to be awarded, rather than being speculative. If the defendant has acted in an especially egregious manner, you may be able to recover punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. These are meant to punish the defendant and deter this type of conduct. Punitive damages are rarely awarded but can be substantial, although there are constitutional limits on how much they can exceed compensatory damages.

How much is my personal injury case worth?

This will depend on the specific nature of your injuries and cannot be ascertained until your case has been thoroughly investigated. You can ask lawyers in your area for a rough estimate, based on similar cases that they have handled. However, you should be aware that attorneys are prohibited from promising that they will recover a certain amount or otherwise predicting the outcome of a case. Any estimate that you receive likely will be vague and qualified. An additional question is how much you can actually collect, which may depend on factors such as the insurance of any at-fault parties, their assets, and your own insurance.

What if I had a pre-existing condition?

You can still get damages from someone else who was at fault for the accident. The damages may be reduced to account for the pre-existing condition, but you can hold another person or entity accountable for aggravating the condition. Someone who interacts with you takes you as they find you, so the question of whether someone without your condition would have been injured is irrelevant. That said, these cases tend to be more complex and may require the assistance of experts, so hiring an attorney may be especially important.

How long will it take to settle my claim?

Very few personal injury cases actually go to trial. The overwhelming majority end in a settlement with the defendant or an insurance company. Unfortunately, the time that it takes to reach a settlement is hard to predict and can vary dramatically. As a general rule, a claim that involves substantial injuries and a significant amount of money will take longer to settle because the insurer will fight harder over it. If the case is complex or liability is unclear, a settlement also may take longer to reach. Hiring an attorney sometimes can motivate an insurer to make a fair offer earlier in the process, since they know that they are less likely to take advantage of you.

 

What is a release in a settlement?

A release is a document that you sign in exchange for receiving the settlement money. Basically, it provides that you release all of your legal claims against any defendant and their insurer based on this accident. You should be aware that a release usually covers claims not only against any defendant whom you sued or who paid a settlement but also any other potential defendant, including a party that was not involved in the litigation. If you are married, your spouse may need to sign the release too.

How long will it take to get my check?

You should not expect a long delay between getting your settlement and getting your check. Most insurers want to close out their case files efficiently, so they will send out the check within a week or two of signing the agreement The timing may depend on whether the insurer waits to send the check until they receive your signed release. Once you get the check, if you have an attorney, they will put together a settlement statement. This will state the total amount of money collected and subtract the attorney’s fee, court costs, reimbursements to your insurers (see below), and any other necessary deductions. You will review and sign the settlement statement, and then the attorney will send you a check for the remainder.

How do I pay my medical bills until I get my settlement?

Since the insurance for the defendant will not pay bills until liability is established, you will need to cover these expenses initially. You may be able to use Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage after a motor vehicle accident. Medical Payments coverage or health insurance coverage can apply after any type of accident. If you were injured at work, you can use your workers’ compensation benefits. Any insurers likely have a right to be reimbursed from the proceeds of any eventual settlement that you receive. If you have no insurance, you should be able to find a doctor or hospital that will treat you under an agreement that they will be paid from your eventual settlement.

How do I make up for lost wages until I get my settlement?

The insurance for the at-fault party will not pay for your lost wages in the immediate aftermath of the accident. You can use PIP coverage if you were injured in a car crash or another accident, or you may be able to get short-term or long-term disability benefits through your employer. These insurers usually will need to be reimbursed when and if you get a settlement. If you have vacation time, sick time, paid time off, or other forms of “comp” time through your employer, you can use these as well.

Do I need a lawyer for a personal injury case?

Some simple personal injury cases can be resolved without the help of a lawyer. For example, perhaps you were in a rear-end collision in which the rear driver was clearly at fault, and in which neither driver was severely injured. You might be able to resolve this claim fairly by negotiating with the insurance companies on your own. However, you probably need an attorney if the facts of the accident are complex, your injuries are significant or unusual, or the at-fault party is contesting liability. If a lot of money is at stake, you should never take a chance on going without a lawyer.

How do I pay for a lawyer in a personal injury case?

You should not be worried that you do not have the money to pay for a lawyer. Almost all personal injury lawyers take cases with no up front charge, collecting their fee as a percentage of any settlement or judgment that they obtain for you. Thus, if you get nothing from the case, neither does the attorney. This is known as a contingency fee arrangement. The percentage that an attorney takes from a settlement varies, but it is often around 33 -40 percent.
If you have been injured, give our lawyers a call today at 770-214-2500 for a free consultation.
Georgia Accident Lawyers

 

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