The safety technology found in modern cars is simply amazing. Thanks to seat belts, airbags, and crumple-zones that absorb the force of an accident, people now walk away from car accidents that used to result in certain death. Despite these safety features, car accidents can still result in very serious injuries that are not always readily apparent. These injuries can be especially serious when they involve the head and neck.  

If you’ve been in a car accident, the first thing for you to do is see your doctor, even if you feel fine. Your doctor can give you a thorough examination and explain the symptoms you need to watch out for. You may need to take a few days off of work, but the most important thing is that you focus on your health.

Recognizing Whiplash

According to the CDC, 29 Americans die every day in alcohol-related car accidents. From 2003-2012, almost 4,000 Georgians were killed. And while death is certainly the worst-case scenario, these statistics don’t account for the horrific injuries that can change the victim’s life forever.  

If you or your family has suffered as a result of an alcohol-related accident, you need to understand who you may have a claim against. The intoxicated driver is obviously at fault, but what happens if he is killed or doesn’t have the financial means to make you whole? There were others who could have taken action to prevent this accident but did not. Should they be held accountable for your suffering?  

The Georgia Dram Shop Act

If you’ve never been in a car accident, you may be surprised at how quickly the insurance companies spring into action. It’s important to understand, however, that the insurance companies involved have different roles to play and different motivations. Your insurance company is working on your behalf because you pay your premiums and they are under contract.  The other driver’s insurance company, on the other hand, represents the interests of the other driver. Even if the other driver has admitted that the accident was his fault, the insurance company then wants to make sure that it pays no more than it absolutely has to in paying your claim.

As a result, the other insurance company is going to want to settle the claim as quickly as possible. That may sound very appealing, but understand that a settlement is going to require you to waive any other claims, whether you are aware of them or not. For example, if you later discover that you have nerve damage as a result of the accident, you won’t be able to bring a claim against them if you’ve already entered a settlement agreement. For these reasons and others we’ll get into below, it’s very important to understand how to talk to the other driver’s insurance company.

First Things First……..

Cycling in the United States is growing in popularity – not just as a form of recreation and exercise, but also as a way to get to work and as a means to get around town. Unfortunately, more bikes on the road increases the chances of more accidents and more injuries. Many motorists don’t understand the law pertaining to bicycles, and therefore think that cyclists are always at fault in an accident. Thankfully, this is not the case. If you’ve been in an accident with a motor vehicle, the driver may have negligently failed to obey the law, and therefore be liable for your injuries.    

Bicycles Have a Right to Use the Road

Under Georgia law, a bicycle is considered a “vehicle,” and is therefore subject to many of the laws concerning motor vehicles. With an exception by local ordinance for children 12 or younger, Georgia law actually prohibits you from riding on the sidewalk. As a result, you have a right to ride your bike on the road, despite what that angry motorist may have told you.  

There are few things more appealing to the American imagination than a motorcycle – the freedom of the open road, the sound of the engine, the places you can go, and the people you meet. But talk to any motorcyclist, and you quickly realize that they are exposed to more danger than those of us who travel by car. Ironically, most of those dangers are presented by people negligently driving their cars.  

Because they do not have the protection of an enclosed vehicle, motorcyclists are far more likely to be injured or killed in an accident. The CDC reports that motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to be killed in an accident than people who are driving cars. The statistics show that even though car deaths are declining, motorcycle accidents remain about the same, and in recent years, have even shown a slight increase.  

These are certainly sobering statistics. However, it’s important to remember that many accidents are the result of someone’s negligence. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident as the result of the other driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other expenses.  

Think about how many hours you spend indoors. If you work inside, that’s probably 8 hours per day at a minimum. Then you go home. You might be outside for an hour or two, but you otherwise are inside relaxing or handling other household chores.  

Now think about the air you are breathing while inside. Where is it coming from? You’re breathing the ambient air which is affected by the immediate environment. In office buildings and other climate-controlled places, you’re probably breathing air that is recycled through a ventilation system that is decades old. If you live in an apartment building or condominium, you are also breathing shared air where you live.  

The bottom line is that many of us are breathing air that can become infected with various toxins, and yet we often have no control over addressing that problem. Meanwhile, these toxins can lead to serious illnesses.  

A recent story about a police dog in Roswell, Georgia is a good reminder that some dog attacks are the result of training and deserve some special consideration. In that story, a teen suspect was complying with police direction when he was attacked by the officer’s dog. The dog failed to respond to commands to stop, and as a result, the teen suffered severe dog bite injuries when the dog failed to respond to commands.  

Most dog bite cases involve a private citizen who owns the dog as a pet. The dog may have a history of attacking and biting people, but in many cases, they do not. In those cases, the owner of the dog is typically negligent in keeping the dog under his or her control. In other cases, such as the one linked to above, the dog is trained to attack other people on command.  

Negligence in Dog Bite Cases Under Georgia Law

Despite modern safety equipment and government regulations, construction sites are still a very dangerous place to work. Construction workers can’t work when they’re injured so these accidents can be extremely problematic on a number of levels. In addition to your lost wages, what about your medical bills? How are you going to pay your mortgage or put food on the table? And what if you’re permanently disabled? There are a number of complicated questions that surround these injuries. If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, you should at least consider talking with a lawyer in order to understand your options.  

Worker’s Compensation vs. Personal Injury

Thankfully, worker’s compensation benefits are available in most cases, but most people don’t understand what worker’s comp covers and what it does not. Furthermore, in most cases, filing a claim for worker’s compensation prohibits you from suing your employer for personal injury.  As a result, it’s important to understand the difference between a personal injury claim and worker’s compensation and a personal injury lawsuit. We’ve provided the table below to help illustrate the differences between these two types of claims.

In our previous post, we discussed a scenario where you and your family were in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. As is often the case, the other driver winds up being charged with DUI. People sometimes get confused as to what that means for them if they are injured, and so we discussed some of the principal differences between the criminal case and a claim for your personal injuries. Here is a brief summary of the points we discussed:

  • The criminal case against the driver is brought by the government, based on the fact that he broke the law. He will face possible jail time and fines, as well as other penalties.  
  • A personal injury lawsuit is based on the victim’s claim for damages arising from the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.  

Here is an unfortunately all-too-common scenario: you’re driving home late one night from a family get-together. Suddenly, while coming around a turn, a car appears in your lane coming right at you. You try to swerve, but it’s too late, and the other vehicle hits you head on. Your vehicle is totaled. Your family is a bit shaken-up but seems to otherwise be ok. It’s immediately obvious that the other driver is severely intoxicated. When police arrive on the scene, he’s mostly incoherent. The police report indicates that there was a strong odor of alcohol emanating from the vehicle, he admitted to having several drinks, and could not perform any of the field sobriety tests. As a result, you’re not surprised to learn that the other driver is being prosecuted for DUI.  

A few days pass and you discover that even though you have insurance, you’re going to have to pay out of pocket in order to replace your car. In addition, you have a lot of stiffness in your upper body. Your husband has intermittent pain in his neck, and one of your children is complaining about severe, recurring headaches. What do you do?

Isn’t all of this being handled in the criminal case? Over the next couple of posts, we’ll be discussing how the criminal case and a claim for personal injury are related.  

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