Car accidents can cause immense physical and emotional suffering, long-term medical issues, and financial hardship due to lost wages and medical bills. Thankfully, the law gives injured individuals several options when it comes to recovering damages after an auto accident. If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to seek legal advice from Athens Injury Law‘s car accident lawyers.
You are not alone if you have been seriously injured in a car accident. By contacting Athens Injury Law, you can put an experienced car accident lawyer on your side. We have decades of experience helping injured clients maximize their recovery in motor vehicle accident cases.
Injured in a car accident in Georgia? Call 706-940-7889 today to discover your legal options.
What Does A Car Accident Lawyer Do?
We have seen the devastation and injury caused by car crashes from distracted and careless driving. When we accept your car accident case, we take away your legal worries and anxiety. Our attorneys take quick action to preserve the evidence needed to prove your personal injury case and alleviate some of your stress and worry.
For instance, we:
- Take care of all communications with the insurance companies or defendants
- Send certified letters requiring important evidence to be saved
- Obtain cell phone bills and records
- Have experts trained in accident reconstruction who can inspect the vehicles involved in the accident
- Measure and record the accident scene
- Download the “black box” information now found in most U.S. vehicles.
Many times, accidents can be explained simply by a driver being focused on a cell phone rather than on the road ahead of them. Further, it is important to identify who an at-fault driver calls or texts immediately after the auto accident. Generally, the at-fault driver will contact someone they trust and confess accurate details about the cause of the car wreck.
With so many people involved in distracted driving from the use of cell phones and other technology, and with “onboard event data recorders” (black boxes) in most vehicles, you need a lawyer experienced in obtaining and interpreting the electronic information needed to prove your case. Technology plays a huge role in proving who may be at fault in an auto accident.
Common Causes Of Georgia Car Accidents
Car accidents happen very frequently. There are numerous reasons for them, some of which include:
- Failure to signal when switching lanes
- Reckless driving (swerving, rapid lane changes)
- Damaged/Dangerous roads
- Road work
- Driving under the Influence of drugs/alcohol
- Failure to adapt to severe weather
- Not obeying traffic rules
- Distracted driving
If you are seriously injured in a car accident, a free consultation with an experienced auto accident lawyer is the best way to determine if you have a case. However, suppose you need medical attention after a car crash. In that case, there is a high likelihood that you will have ongoing issues that will cost more than the insurance company is willing to cover.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can have devastating and life-altering consequences for those involved. Every year, thousands of people in Georgia are injured or disabled due to motor vehicle collisions. Victims of car accidents often face immense physical and emotional suffering along with long-term medical issues and financial hardship due to lost wages and medical bills.
Call an auto accident attorney if your car accident claim involves any of the following:
- Head and brain injury – Traumatic brain injuries can result from the violent movement of the victim’s head during a crash. This violent motion can cause permanent or short-term damage to the brain.
- Neck injury – Whiplash is one of the most common car accident neck injuries due to sudden force on the neck muscles and the tendons that control it.
- Back injury – A spinal cord injury is a very serious back injury commonly caused by trauma to any part of the spinal cord or the nerves that branch from it.
- Broken bones/fractures – Fractures and breaks occur due to the extreme forces that are often exerted upon bones during an accident. Types of bone breaks include: open fractures where bone fragments protrude through the skin; as well as closed fractures where there are no external signs save for swelling and tenderness around the affected area.
- Internal organ damage– Blunt force trauma from a car accident can cause damage to organs such as the lungs, heart or intestines.
- Burns – Motor vehicle collisions can cause severe burns due to contact with hot surfaces such as engine covers, radiator tanks, and exhaust systems.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event such as a motor vehicle collision. Symptoms include flashbacks and nightmares of the event, avoidance behaviors, hypervigilance, and more.
It is important for victims of auto accidents to seek legal advice so they can get the compensation they need to recover from their injuries. At Athens Injury Law we have decades of experience helping injured clients maximize their recovery in motor vehicle accident cases. We understand that this is a difficult time for you and we are here to help.
National Statistics On Car Crashes
Car accidents can be catastrophic and have a huge impact on the lives of those involved. Nationwide, auto accidents are the leading cause of death for younger adults and kids. Here are some sobering statistics:
- According to NHTSA, there are over 5.5 million reported accidents each year. These car wrecks kill over 50,000 people each year and injure more than 2 million.
- The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) reported 27,729 crashes in the Athens-Clarke County region from 2013 to 2017, resulting in 9,122 injuries and 50 fatalities.
- On average, 90 people a day die in motor vehicle accidents – one every 16 minutes.
- Distracted driving is now a serious threat to our safety. At any given moment, approximately 660,000 U.S. drivers are using cell phones.
- Drivers who text are 23 times as likely to be involved in a collision.
- 94% of teens acknowledge that texting while driving is dangerous, but 35% of teens still admit to doing it.
- Always wear your seat belt – nationally, seat belts save over 12,000 lives per year.
- Avoid texting or distracted driving – texting/distracted driving kills almost 10 people per day and injures more than 1,100 people per day.
In Georgia, over 1,400 people die each year due to motor vehicle collisions, with thousands more being injured or disabled as a result. The most dangerous thing most people ever do is get behind the wheel of a car.
What To Do Immediately After A Car Accident
Being involved in an auto accident can be a traumatizing experience, especially if you were not at fault. You may feel overwhelmed with shock after the event and find yourself wondering where to begin and what to do next. If you have been involved in a car accident in Georgia, be sure to do the following:
- The most important task after being in an accident is to call the police, no matter how minor the collision. If it is a significant crash, EMS will be notified and directed to the scene. The attending police officer will investigate the scene, take statements from the involved parties, and generate an accident report. This accident report will clarify how the collision occurred, and who was at fault, and provide insurance information for all involved drivers.
- Attend to any injured parties and call an ambulance if necessary. Additionally, you should seek medical attention right away if you feel pain after the accident. Sometimes symptoms do not surface for several days due to the adrenaline running through your body after the collision. It is also important to follow your treatment plan, as instructed by your doctor. Inconsistency in treatment can be detrimental to your recovery from your injuries as well as your personal injury claim, as insurance companies will use any gaps in treatment to downplay the severity of your injuries.
- Exchange names, contact information, license plates and insurance information with all involved drivers. Write down contact information for any potential witnesses. Independent witnesses can clear up any liability disputes. Compose a summary of the incident as soon as you are capable, including as many details about the accident as you can.
- Remain at the scene of the accident until cleared by police to leave. Additionally, you should get detailed photographs of all aspects of your crash, including damage to all vehicles, injuries, tire marks, weather conditions and traffic patterns.
Once you have left the scene and gotten the medical help you need, contact Athens Injury Law to discuss the next steps.
Georgia Car Accident Statute Of Limitations
Car accident lawsuits in Georgia are subject to time limits known as “statutes of limitations” which set hard deadlines on how long a victim has to file a civil claim. The purpose of these deadlines is to ensure that car accident claims are filed while evidence is still valid and accessible, as well as to limit the threat of legal action against defendants long after the crash has occurred.
In Georgia, statutes of limitation on car accident claims are as follows:
- Six months for accident claims against some local government entities
- One year for accident claims involving state vehicles
- Two years for general car accident injury claims
- Four years for property damage claims
Filing a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired may result in your case being dismissed, thereby preventing you from pursuing damages for your injuries. These time limits are also unaffected by pending insurance claims, so it is important you speak to an attorney as soon as possible after a crash to ensure you meet all applicable deadlines.
Georgia’s Minimum Requirements For Auto Insurance
To operate a motor vehicle in Georgia, drivers must purchase and maintain the following minimum liability coverage limits:
- $25,000 of bodily injury coverage per person
- $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 of property damage coverage per accident
Georgia follows a traditional “fault” system in regards to auto accidents, meaning that at-fault drivers (or more accurately, their insurance companies) are financially responsible for paying for the damages they cause to others in the event of a crash.
Unlike no-fault states which require drivers to turn to their own insurance for compensation regardless of who caused the crash, any injured party may sue the at-fault driver for damages. Insurance companies are only liable to pay up to the limits of the insured driver’s policy. The at-fault driver will be personally on the hook for any damages that exceed these limits.
Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Accidents
Below, we’ve answered some car accident questions our attorneys hear most often from prospective clients.
Can I sue for pain and suffering after a car accident?
In the state of Georgia, in order to recover general damages for pain and suffering they do not have to prove a specific amount of money was lost due to the car accident. Georgia law presumes if there was physical injury, that it was accompanied by bodily pain and suffering.
It is up to the jury to determine what your pain and suffering are worth and what compensation you could receive.
Who is going to pay my claim?
Finding insurance policies to pay your injury claim can be difficult. Many times, an injured victim must “stack” insurance policies together to provide enough money to pay for all the losses caused by the car accident. This process can be complex and confusing.
The firm can help. Our Athens car accident lawyers know how to uncover all available insurance. For instance, in many cases, the defendant will only disclose the initial liability policy — and try to “hide” the additional umbrella policy that “floats” above the first policy. Also, car accidents may involve multiple “uninsured motorist policies” that can be “stacked” to maximize the amount of money to pay your injury claim.
Timely notice may be required to unlock these additional insurance policies. When we take your injury case, we also take away any worries that the insurance company will try to trick you or play games with the amount of insurance money available to pay for your injury claim.
How do car accident settlements work in Georgia?
It is rare for a car accident case to actually proceed to trial; most claims are eventually settled out of court for a mutually agreed-upon amount. This allows both parties to avoid the cost and time commitment of litigation and reach an agreement with minimal contention.
Car accident settlement amounts are influenced by the following factors:
- The long-term consequences of your injuries
- The extent of injuries suffered
- Whether anyone was killed
- The amount of available insurance coverage
Unfortunately, insurance companies know that most people would prefer to avoid litigation and will offer minimal settlement amounts that are far less than what the injured party actually deserves to quickly resolve the matter. This is why it is important to retain the services of a skilled attorney who can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and maximize your eligible recovery.
Is there a limit to damages I can receive in a car accident lawsuit?
Since 2010, personal injury claims in Georgia no longer have caps on damages. This means that your attorney will be able to help you pursue a car accident settlement that covers all of your injuries and other damages without being subject to a statutory limit. Depending on the circumstances, you may even be able to pursue up to $250,000 in additional punitive damages if the at-fault driver acted with extreme negligence.