Articles Posted in Car Accident Injuries

A snowy street with cars parked on either side.Georgians may not see a lot of snow, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to deal with hazardous winter driving conditions. If you get in a car accident this winter, many people will tell you that it was “just an accident,” suggesting that no one is at fault. This isn’t always the case, and if you’ve been injured, an experienced personal injury attorney can assess whether the other driver is at fault and help you get you the compensation you may be entitled to.  

In this post, we’re going to cover some common winter driving hazards and how driver error may establish fault in the event of an accident.  

Snow Storms

Red car with dented door and front fenderGetting into a car accident is a traumatic event, even if you sustain only minor injuries. Because we all drive cars every day and to almost everywhere we need to go, we tend to forget just how serious a car accident can be. Cars are heavy, high-mass objects and are capable of generating a tremendous amount of force. Thankfully, modern safety features do a tremendous job of keeping us safe, but injuries can and do still occur. In this post, we’ll break down some of the forces involved in the most common types of car accidents.  

Head-On Collisions

Head-on collisions with another vehicle are perhaps the scariest car accident to be involved in. The impact can look and feel like an explosion – the force of each vehicle is being exerted against the other, essentially doubling the energy produced by the collision. Imagine what it would be like to drive into a brick wall at 30 miles per hour – a head-on collision with another vehicle traveling at the same speed would be twice as bad. As a result, head-on collisions can result in very serious injuries – broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, and even death.  

You may have seen the news that a 4-year-old little girl was killed in August due to distracted driving. The little girl, the granddaughter of a Paulding County Sheriff’s Officer, was killed by a truck driver who admitted he was distracted at the time of the accident. According to the driver, he rear-ended the victim’s vehicle when he bent down to pick up a bottle and his phone that had fallen on the floor of the truck. Although tragic, this accident serves as an important reminder in two ways: (1) that distracted driving can lead to very serious accidents and even death; and (2) that distracted driving includes much more than just cell phones.  

The Statistics

The CDC has reported that every day, 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes caused by distracted driving. While the data is only available through 2015, the statistics provided by the CDC paint a startling picture:  

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that approximately 40% of all car accidents occur at intersections. This may not be surprising, given the fact that intersections bring various streams of traffic together that are moving in different directions.  However, reports also indicate that in the state of Georgia the number of accidents occurring at intersections is increasing.  

The good news is that accidents at intersections generally involve slower moving traffic, and therefore fatalities are less common. Regardless, there is still some risk of death, and the risk of serious injury is very real. If you or a loved one has been injured in an intersection accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  

Causes of Intersection Accidents

It’s no secret that ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have exploded in popularity in recent years. Ridesharing offers a number of attractive options over traditional taxi service such as shorter wait times, a tech-based system, and newer, cleaner cars. However, no one ever thinks about what happens if they are injured in an accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft vehicle. Taxi companies are heavily regulated and have strict insurance requirements in order to protect customers in the event that something goes wrong. Ridesharing, given that it is relatively new, is still developing these standards.  

Insurance

In the event of an accident, the first question that arises is who’s insurance is going to pay the claim. Interestingly, ridesharing companies are actually subject to more onerous insurance requirements than taxi companies. A taxi driver is not required to carry more than the minimum amount of insurance required of private drivers: $25,000 for injury or death of a single victim and $50,000 for all victims in a single accident. The situation for rideshare services changed dramatically in 2015 when Georgia enacted House Bill 225. That law specifically mandated that rideshare services carry the following policy minimums:

In most cases, the parties involved in a car accident remain at the scene, exchange contact and insurance information, and wait for the police to arrive. In some cases, however, the at-fault driver flees the scene. These people are usually fleeing the scene because they don’t have insurance, but it may be because they are undocumented immigrants or they have a warrant out for their arrest. In some cases, the driver may be intoxicated, confused (if the driver is elderly), or simply panicked. Whatever the reason, hit-and-run accidents can be very complicated if you’re injured.  

What to Do First

If you’re reading this, you have hopefully already given whatever details you to have to the police regarding the driver and the vehicle. If you haven’t, you should contact the police as soon as possible, file a report, and cooperate fully with their investigation. You should also report the accident to your insurance company. More importantly, you should get checked out by your doctor.  

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……..

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.  

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