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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Inadequate Road Lighting: Poorly lit roads can reduce visibility and increase the risk of nighttime accidents. Road authorities should ensure adequate lighting on roadways.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Safe speed is key to staying safe on the road during the season. Stay within safe speed limits, and ensure that you leave plenty of distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you.
Look out for deer on routes that see high populations of these animals such as rural areas and forest areas.
Make sure that your car is in peak condition. Check your tires regularly. The sudden dips in temperatures can lead to loss of air. Be particularly cautious when you travel on roads that are covered with wet leaves. These may look harmless, but can be very slippery. Wet leaves can also conceal possible dangers like potholes and road bumps.
You might find yourself staring into glare from the sun in the morning. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare and maintain optimum visibility.
If you have been injured in a car accident, give our lawyers a call at 770-214-2500 for a free consultation.
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.
What is uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance and why is it important to have in Georgia? In Georgia, every individual driving a motor vehicle (excluding commercial vehicles like big rigs, which have different requirements) is required to carry automotive liability insurance. The minimum requirements under Georgia law require the policy to have minimum coverage of
Bodily Injury Liability – $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident
Property Damage Liability – $25,000 per incident
This means that in any type of accident involving the covered driver, the insurance policy will only pay a maximum of $25,000 to any individual injured in the accident, with a maximum combined payout of $50,000 per accident. Additionally, a minimum coverage auto insurance policy will also only pay for up to $25,000 in property damage (damage to another vehicle, building, etc.). Many of the well known, as well as highly advertised, insurance providers issue these types of policies.
Well what happens if you are in an auto accident where the at-fault driver doesn't have insurance, or the accident results in bodily injury or property damage that exceeds the coverage limits of the insurance policy? This is where uninsured and underinsured auto insurance come into play.
What is Georgia Uninsured Auto Insurance?
Uninsured motorist insurance (UM) is a type of auto insurance coverage designed to protect you if you're involved in an accident with a driver who doesn't have insurance, or doesn't have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate you for your injuries and damages. In can also come in handy in other instances, such as hit-and-run accidents where the responsible driver cannot be identified.
Here are situations where uninsured motorist insurance comes into play:
No Insurance or Inadequate Coverage: If you're in an accident caused by a driver who doesn't have insurance, or whose insurance coverage is insufficient to cover your costs, your own uninsured motorist insurance policy will step in to help cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. The amount of coverage is dependent on the policy.
Hit-and-Run Accidents: If you're involved in a hit-and-run accident where the at-fault driver flees the scene and cannot be identified, uninsured motorist coverage can cover your expenses, just as if the other driver were uninsured.
What is Georgia Underinsured Auto Insurance?
Underinsured Motorist Coverage is often included as part of uninsured motorist coverage. It's purpose is to kick in when an at-fault driver has insurance, but their coverage limit is lower than the costs you've incurred due to the accident. For example, say an at-fault driver has the minimum coverage required by Georgia law. Following an accident, the victim has extensive medical treatment due to injuries suffered in the accident and accumulates medical bills of $50,000. Without underinsured auto insurance, the victim will likely be limited to collecting a total of $25,000 from the at-fault drivers insurance company. Unless the at-fault driver is independently wealthy, the odds of recovering the additional $25,000 in medical bills is very slim.
Your underinsured motorist coverage can fill in this gap. If you have underinsured motorist coverage, then your insurance company would be responsible for paying the additional $25,000 for the medical bills resulting from the car accident.
Keep in mind that uninsured motorist coverage generally doesn't cover vehicle/property damage. It is mainly designed to cover your medical expenses and other costs resulting from the accident.
Does Georgia Require Insurers Provide Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage?
Georgia law requires all automobile insurers operating in Georgia to offer uninsured motorist coverage to policyholders in the same amount as the liability coverage purchased. Which as previously stated, is a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injuries, and $25,000 for property damage.
That being said, an insured driver can opt out of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage being included in their policy. This opt out has to be made in writing.
Should I notify my own car insurance if I am involved in a car accident that is not my fault?
You should always notify your own car insurance if you are involved in a car accident, even if it is not your fault and even if the at-fault driver has insurance. In order to file a claim for uninsured/underinsured motorist you are required to give the insurance company notice so they have time to investigate the accident. The old adage "the sooner, the better" applies when giving notice to your uninsured/underinsured about a possible claim, as waiting too long could allow the insurance company to deny payment.
If you or a love one have been injured in an auto accident, give our experienced lawyers a call to discuss your legal options today at (770) 214-2500.
It's that time of year again in West Georgia, where kids start another year of learning at school. Whether it be by bus, walking, or riding a bike, the increased traffic and congestion on the road can de dangerous. Below are a few back to school safety tips to think about.
Tips for Driving in a School Zone
In Georgia, school zone's are usually clearly marked and have a posted speed limit which is slower than the surrounding roadway. When driving through a school zone it is always important to limit distractions. Additional safety tips include:
Slow down and drive extra cautiously.
Do not load or unload children across the street from the school, if possible.
Do not double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles, and can lead to an extremely bad outcome.
Be prepared for kids to appear in unexpected places, like from between parked cars; particularly around elementary schools or other schools with younger children.
If children ride bikes to school where you live, prepare for them to turn in front of you without looking or signaling.
If you need to use your phone, be sure you’re pulled over safely, or just wait to use it when you reach your ultimate destination.
If possible, carpool to reduce the number of cars at school.
Never block a crosswalk; it forces pedestrians to go around you and could put them in the path of moving traffic.
Tips for Driving Safely When You See a School Bus in West Georgia
NEVER pass a school bus that has it's lights on.
According to NSC, most children who lose their lives in school bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old and are hit by the bus or by a motorist passing a bus that’s stopped to load or unload children—something that’s illegal in all 50 states.
If you’re driving behind a school bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car—at least three car lengths.
Stay alert for flashing lights on a bus, which warn drivers of an impending stop. Treat yellow flashing lights the same as a yellow stop light and decrease your speed. Stop when you see red flashing lights.
The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough away to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus.
Georgia Traffic Laws Regarding School Buses
Two-lane Roads – ALL vehicles traveling in ALL lanes must stop when a school bus stops for children.
Two-lane Roads with a Center Turning Lane – ALL vehicles traveling in ALL lanes must stop when the school bus stops for children, including vehicles in the turning lane.
Four-lane Roads Without a Median Separation – ALL vehicles traveling in ALL lanes must stop when the school bus stops for children.
Roadway of Four or More Lanes with a Center Turning Lane – ALL vehicles traveling in ALL lanes must stop when a school bus stops for children, including vehicles in the turning lane.
Divided Highway of Four or More Lanes with a Median Separation – If a school bus is stopped on a divided highway that has four or more lanes with a raised median or other physical barrier, only vehicles traveling in the same direction of the school bus must stop when the school bus stops for children .
Safety Tips for Walking to School
It is always a good idea to practice the walking route with your child before the 1st day of school. While practicing the walk, it would also be a great time to freshen up on pedestrian safety.
Never walk to school with headphones in your ears or while looking at your phone.
Always try to walk on a sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk and you must walk in the street, always walk facing traffic.
Before crossing the street, stop and look left, right and left again to see if cars are coming.
Always cross the street at crosswalks. If no crosswalk is available, cross at intersections; never in the middle.
Whenever possible, walk in groups rather than alone.