When someone is injured in an accident, there is a period of time where the victim is wondering whether or not to hire a personal injury attorney. Part of this decision involves trying to figure out what, if anything, the victim’s claim may be worth. This is very difficult for most non-lawyers to figure out, and they often leave important factors out when thinking about their expenses. As a result, most victims tend to underestimate the value of their claim, and often wind up settling their claim with the insurance company for far less than it is worth.  

To be clear, getting injured in an accident is not like hitting the lottery – the objective is not to make money. But by undervaluing your claim, you run the risk of winding up with unpaid medical expenses or other economic losses on top of the pain and suffering you have to endure. We strongly recommend that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to get the compensation you deserve, but over the next couple of posts, we’ll review the various components of your claim.     

Medical Expenses

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

In a study released earlier this year, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association reported that Georgia ranked 16th in the nation in the number of pedestrian traffic fatalities. While every other type of traffic fatality decreased, pedestrian fatalities increased by 27% from 2007 to 2016. These are alarming statistics that underscore the importance of increasing our efforts to make sure our roadways are safe for everyone, not just motorists. However, these numbers also serve as a sobering reminder of the risks you face every time you go out for a walk. And of course, these risks include very serious injury and even death.

You May Be Entitled to Compensation

If you or a family member were injured in an accident as a pedestrian, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, in order to receive compensation, you need to prove that the driver owed you a duty – namely to drive in a manner so as not to cause you injury. You then have to prove that the driver breached that duty, typically by driving negligently. Finally, you have to prove that the driver’s breach of his duty to you caused the accident and thereby caused your injury.  

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:

To the relief of many parents, summer is almost over and kids are heading back to school. It’s an exciting time of year – new teachers, new school clothes and school supplies, and new opportunities. Lost in all the excitement, however, is the possibility for serious accidents and injuries. We’d like to take the opportunity in this post to review these potential dangers so that you’re prepared in the event one of your children is injured in an accident.  

Bus Accidents

Once school is in session, more than 20,000 buses take to the roads across the state of Georgia. Some of us logged many hours on school buses as kids, and the fact that they didn’t have seatbelts seemed totally normal.  Despite the recommendation of the NTSB, Georgia law still does not mandate that school buses have seat belts. As a result, kids are exposed to risks of injuries that they do not face when riding in your car.  Here are some common causes of school bus accidents:

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

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