Driving is as much a part of most people’s lives as eating and sleeping. With so much time on the road, accidents seem inevitable. While some crashes may prove minor, many more result in serious injuries or fatalities. In many cases, motor vehicle accidents are the result of driver distraction or recklessness. From cell phones, to speeding, to substance abuse, certain behaviors put people at risk.
Car accidents happen every day. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were about 5,811,000 traffic crashes reported to the police in 2008. In those crashes, 37,261 people were killed and 2,346,000 people were injured. A primary cause of car accidents is driver distraction.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration completed a study and found that distraction from the primary job of driving potentially presents serious and deadly danger. High on the list of these dangers include cell phone use, especially texting, while driving.
The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration is dedicated to working with State and Local partners in developing and promoting programs and technologies to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on roadways.
CNN 360 Anderson Cooper – Auto Insurance Part 1
CNN 360 Anderson Cooper – Auto Insurance Part 2
In order to avoid a serious or deadly car accident, here are some basic safety tips while you drive:
- Don’t text while driving.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Don’t ride with someone who is under the influence.
- Don’t eat while driving .
- Don’t apply makeup while driving.
- If you need to make a phone call, pull over.
- Perform maintenance on your car and follow the speed limits.
- Use your turn signals.
- If you get drowsy or cannot focus while driving, pull over and rest.
- Do not reach for things.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. There are several types of damages that are recoverable from car accidents including, but not limited to, the reimbursement for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. You may want to contact our Georgia Accident Lawyers for more information and to help you protect your interests and legal rights.
There are several things you should do if you are in a car accident:
- First and foremost, if anyone needs emergency medical attention, call 911.
- Call the police. When the officer arrives, he/she will know exactly what to do. They will gather information from all the drivers involved and witnesses.
- Do not forget to gather the other driver’s information yourself, including contact information, VIN numbers, license plate number, and insurance information.
- It is also highly recommended that if you have a camera, you should take pictures of the accident scene and of the cars involved. Take pictures of skid marks and any other part of the accident scene. You also want to take pictures of bruises or marks that were a result of the car accident.
- If you have an injury from the car accident, you should see a doctor. Car accidents can result in extremely serious injuries. Some injuries do not become apparent until afterwards. This is why it is crucial to seek a medical exam after an injury from a car accident, no matter how small.
- Do not admit fault. In some circumstances, you may be tempted to admit fault without knowing all the facts surrounding the accident.
- Do not sign any papers without understanding what you are signing.
- When talking to insurance companies, use caution. They are trained professionals and are not working for you. You may want to contact our Georgia Accident Lawyers to help protect your interests, especially when insurance companies may be unfair or unreasonable.
- Make sure to obtain and save all your receipts from the expenses you incurred as a result of the car accident.
- Do not discuss the case with anyone except your doctor or your lawyer.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Georgia Accident Lawyers to see how they can help.
What happens when we represent you?
First, we will interview you and obtain general information related to your case. We will also notify the people responsible for your injuries that you have hired us as your lawyers and we will request all medical records and information from the hospitals and doctors you have visited for treatment.
You should not talk to anyone about your case except your doctor and your lawyer(s). Even if your own insurance company wants to talk to you, you should request that they talk to us. Many times when an injured person files a claim, insurance companies conduct investigations and may videotape you. If this happens, or is requested, contact us immediately. Do not give a recorded statement until you have an attorney by your side.
Your injury from the car accident may require you to file a lawsuit. This is a decision that will be made by you after input from your lawyer on the merits of your claim. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Georgia Accident Lawyers. The initial consultation is free and we are happy to answer your questions about your particular case.
If you were injured in an accident by an uninsured or underinsured motorist (“UM Coverage”), you may still be able to receive compensation for your injuries from your own insurance company. Most insurance companies do have provisions concerning uninsured motorists in their plans that will allow you to be compensated for lost wages and medical bills if you selected this type of coverage. The factors and consideration of UM coverage varies and can be quite confusing, but our attorneys deal with these issues on a daily basis and are happy to help as needed.
Georgia Statute of Limitations: 2 Years in Georgia
A statute of limitations is the time period during which a legal action or claim must be made or filed in a court of law. If the time period ends prior to you doing so, it is a complete bar to any recovery no matter how injured you may be. Simply reporting your claim to an insurance carrier is not enough and this will not protect you from the statute of limitations and the defendant will surely raise this defense against you. If your case is not completely settled, or if your lawsuit has not been filed and served on the appropriate parties prior to this date, you will likely not receive any compensation for your injuries. Georgia has a two (2) year statute of limitations for car accidents and other personal injuries. The statute begins to run from the date of the car accident or when personal injury occurs.
A rare exception to this rule exists with a recent Georgia Supreme Court case, Beneke v. Parker, which allows the statute of limitations to be tolled in certain circumstances where a traffic citation has been issued to the at fault party. According to Beneke v. Parker, the statute now extends (tolls) the time to file your car accident lawsuit by the same amount of time that passes between the car accident and the resolution of a ticket by the responsible party. Although this is a Georgia Supreme Court decision, it should not be overly relied on in waiting to file your personal injury claim. You may want to contact our Georgia Accident Attorneys to find out more information on how they can protect your legal interests.
Pedestrians also may be entitled to compensation if they have been struck by a car or other motor vehicle. According to the Pedestrian Safety Campaign, a pedestrian is killed or injured every seven minutes.
In the United States, around 5,000 pedestrian fatalities occur every year. Every year, there are about 64,000 injuries to pedestrians that are related to motorist collisions.
The most likely reason a pedestrian accident occurs is because the driver of the motor vehicle was not paying attention or was otherwise negligent. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care that an ordinary person would use under the same or similar circumstances.
A driver can be negligent by speeding, conducting distractive acts (texting, talking on phone, reaching for something, eating, etc.), driving under the influence and by engaging in other related activities.
Because thousands of pedestrians are injured or killed each year alone, pedestrians should exercise caution when walking places, like to work or to a friend’s house. Always follow traffic control devices and look both ways before crossing any street or roadway.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian from a motorist collision, you may want to contact our Georgia Accident Lawyers to see how they can help protect your legal interests.
Drunk Driving and its Effects:
Drunk driving is a very serious cause of car accidents. The effects of drunk driving can be tragic and fatal. People who drink and drive are not thinking at the time of the consequences of their actions. They do not think about the seriousness until it is much too late. All too often these careless and reckless decisions end in serious injuries and death to others. .
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11,773 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving accidents in 2008. Drunk driving accounted for 32 percent of the total motor vehicle fatalities that year in the United States. A driver is considered alcohol-impaired if their blood alcohol level (concentration) is .08 grams per deciliter or higher.
Drunk driving is also costly. When there are injuries or deaths from DUI accidents, the costs and effects can be very significant. The legal effects of drunk driving may include probation, therapy, fines, jail time and other civil penalties such as a lawsuit.
Always be sure to not drink and drive and do not get in the car with a driver who you know has been drinking.
As in other car accidents, a person injured by a drunk driver may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. In cases of DUI or hit and run, punitive damages may also be available to punish the liable party for their reckless acts and to prevent them from doing so in the future.
What are punitive damages and will they apply to my case?
Punitive damages are types of damages that are awarded to deter the defendant and other similar positioned people from acting the same way as the defendant did against the injured party. These damages are not generally awarded to compensate the plaintiff but the injured party does take a portion of these damages as compensation. Usually, punitive damages are sought where there is wanton and willful disregard for the safety of other drivers and/or pedestrians. The most notable cases in Georgia relate to hit and run collisions and DUI accidents.
If you were injured by a drunk driver, or a hit and run vehicle, these types of cases may qualify for punitive damages. These cases are unique in that regard and should be handled by experienced and trained Georgia auto accident lawyers.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving accident, you may want to contact our Georgia Accident Lawyers to see how we can help adequately protect your legal interests. We work tirelessly for our clients to not only maximize their claim, but to also help them put their lives back together.