Articles Posted in Car Accidents

If you are involved in a car accident, you expect that, after the accident, the other driver will stop, get out of his car, and the two of you will call the police and exchange contact information. This is the normal way that most accidents proceed. However, sometimes the at-fault driver in a car accident does not stop after the accident, but keeps on driving. This is what is known as a “hit and run” accident. In this article, we will go over what to do if this happens to you.

Hit and Run Accidents in Georgia

Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. In Georgia, this area of the law is codified at § 40-6-270 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) and reads, in pertinent part:

On December 1, 2016, a Ford F-150 truck driven by Dennis Mockenhaupt plowed through the entrance area of a Wal-Mart in Pella, Iowa at 48 miles per hour. The entrance to the store spanned about 25 feet and was surrounded by a set of five decorative bollards set eight to 10 feet in front of it. The bollards were made of an inner bollard about six inches in diameter, encased in a very thin steel wall, and filled with concrete covered with decorative cast iron. Mockenhaupt alleges that, at the time of the accident, he had lost consciousness because he was choking on coffee.

Although Mockenhaupt hit one of these bollards, it shattered instantly upon impact, allowing his truck to careen through the entrance of the store.

The accident claimed three lives–Lindsey Rietveld (whose family are the plaintiffs in the instant case), employee Carrie Zugg, and shopper Robert DeJong. When the truck crashed through the entrance, it hit Rietveld and Zugg first, then struck DeJong. Rietveld was thrown about 15 feet into the store when she was struck by the truck, where she became pinned between the truck and a large freezer. According to her family’s lawsuit, Rietveld’s official cause of death was “multiple blunt force injuries, that included multiple hemorrhages of the head and neck, fractured pelvis, ribs, T2 vertebrae, both legs, and lacerations to her liver, lungs, and aorta.”

Less than a decade ago, if you told someone to jump into a stranger’s car and let them drive you to their destination instead of hailing a taxi, they would have looked at you like you were crazy. Today, with the rise of ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, this idea is not so outlandish. App-based ride sharing programs have revolutionized the way we get around, making easy, affordable transportation a simple click away. However, one of the biggest challenges to the implementation of this new scheme is concerns about their safety. After all, it’s not always the best idea to trust just any driver with your life. To assuage fears that riders will be horribly injured in accidents and left to the mercy of their driver’s personal insurance policy (if they have one at all), ride sharing companies and the insurance companies who cover them have set up a new type of insurance program to handle these situations.

Ride Sharing Insurance Requirements

Uber splits all journeys into three phases, outlined below

If you are injured in an accident and prevail in a personal injury suit, you will be compensated in the form of monetary damages.The purpose of damages in a personal injury case is to compensate the victim so that they are in the same position they would be in had the accident never occurred. Thus, damage awards are compensatory—the plaintiff receives one the amount that will make him or her whole again.Because compensatory damages are awarded on a sliding scale relative to the plaintiff’s needs, damage awards can reach into the millions of dollars. In order to cut down on damage awards that many view as excessive, many state legislatures have enacted caps on the amount of damages that juries are able to award.

How Damages Caps Work

The main argument behind damage caps is that the United States is an excessively litigious society and that too many view personal injury lawsuits as a get-rich-quick scheme. Damage caps are thus designed to discourage lawsuit-happy litigants from filing frivolous lawsuits and clogging up the court system. The main argument against damage caps is that they unfairly limit the recourse available to injured parties and that judges already have the power to either decrease or increase unreasonable damages awards. The way damages caps work is fairly simple—they are a creature of state statute, wherein the state legislature places what they consider to be a reasonable limit on the amount of money a jury can award. Some states limit damages based on the type of action that is brought in the court—for example, the damages cap may only apply to medical malpractice or wrongful death. Other times they apply to certain categories of damages, most commonly to noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, and punitive damages.

Any type of car accident can be potentially deadly, but vehicle rollovers are among the most dangerous. While they are relatively rare, accounting for only about three percent of all crashes, they account for about 30% of people who are killed while riding a vehicle. Many people believe that rollovers only affect SUVs and large vans, but a rollover can happen in any vehicle under the right circumstances.

How it Happens

As we said above, any vehicle can roll over but these types of crashes are much more common to tall, narrow vehicles like SUVs, vans, and trucks because these vehicles have higher centers of gravity than sedans and coupes. Rollovers are most common in turns because what happens when a car rolls over is essentially a pendulum effect. When a car makes a turn, sideways forces shift the center of gravity to one side. The faster you’re driving, the stronger these forces are. If these forces become too strong, they can cause a vehicle to roll over.

If you’ve ever applied for a new auto insurance policy, you’ve probably been given the option to install a device in your car that tracks your driving habits. These devices are known as “telematics” and almost all major insurance companies now offer them to their customers in exchange for potentially reduced premium rates. The devices attach to the vehicle’s OBD-II port and collect data from your car’s computer. Insurance companies can program them to monitor different metrics, but some of the most common are:

  • Time the car was used
  • Distance driven

No one is ever truly prepared for a car accident—you’re simply driving along, maybe listening to your favorite song, and out of nowhere your life changes in an instant. Although every accident is different, there are some important steps you need to take after you’ve been involved in one to make sure that the police and insurance companies have all of the information they need to make a determination of fault and compensate the victims. If an accident is particularly serious, you may even need to hire an attorney.

Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take immediately after an accident and when you might want to consider hiring an attorney.

What to Do After a Car Accident

Usually, but not always.

Rear-end crashes are the most common type of vehicle accident in the United States, accounting for about 1.7 million crashes each year. Of those crashes, about 1,700 are killed and an additional 500,000 are injured. If you have been driving for any length of time, you are probably under the impression that the driver of the following vehicle (the one that crashes into the back of the lead vehicle) is always at fault for rear-end accidents. While it is true that the drivers of rear vehicles in rear-end crashes are usually mostly at fault, there are several situations that can reduce or entirely eliminate the rear driver’s liability.

Why Following Drivers are Almost Always at Fault

Car accidents can lead to a number of injuries, including bruises, broken bones, and whiplash. One of the more severe injuries that are common in car crashes are brain injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14.3% of all traumatic brain injuries are caused by car crashes, affecting roughly 2 million Americans per year. These types of injuries are so severe because the brain is the most important organ in the body, and even minor injuries to it can have long-ranging and life-altering effects.

Causes and Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are caused by violent blows to the head, either from being struck with an object or from the head coming into contact with a hard surface. There are two types of traumatic brain injuries: open and closed. An open traumatic brain injury occurs when a foreign object pierces the skull and enters the brain. A closed traumatic brain injury is caused by a bump or a blow to the head. Because closed head injuries are much more common than open head injuries in car crashes, that is the type that we will focus on here.

Driving is an inherently dangerous activity. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over three million people are injured every year in vehicle accidents in the United States. Some of these injuries are fairly minor, but, depending on the severity of the accident, can require extensive hospitalization and recovery time.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of injuries that can arise from car accidents.

Whiplash

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