Car Accident Lawyer in Carrollton GA
It can be a terrifying time to be involved in a vehicular accident. The time immediately following a vehicular accident can be just as troubling and upsetting. The duration of the wreck is often over in a few seconds; however, the injuries attached to the accident can take anywhere from months to years to improve. In addition, the time it takes to acquire acceptable compensation for personal injury and damages can take equally as long as the healing of the your injuries based, in part, on the particulars of your case as well as whether or not the insurance agency of the at-fault driver will be disputing your claim. Being aware of what one could anticipate and what steps to take next in the junctures after a car accident has occurred can be helpful in taking needed decisive actions and relieving the stressfulness of the situation.
Georgia Car Accident Statistics
According to records that have been maintained by The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia, the state has recorded what type traffic accidents and how many occurred within the state throughout the year. Records of the following numbers for 2013 (the latest available year) are as follows:
- 1,179 deaths were recorded in fatal traffic accidents.
- Of the deaths recorded, drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs were at fault for 297 deaths with 197 deaths being the fault of one or both parties driving in excess of the speed limit;
- Of the total number of deaths, 156 deaths were drivers at or below the age of 21 years old; and
- In order from highest to lowest, Fulton County, Dekalb County, Gwinnett County, Cobb County and Richmond County were the counties with the highest number of traffic-related deaths.
These numbers only reported the deaths occurring in the state, not bodily harm, which is a greatly higher amount. These records show that motorists on Georgia roadways are in peril of grave injuries and possibly death while driving the streets and highways.
How to Succeed in Your Car Accident Lawsuit
After the car accident, the injured party, or plaintiff, files a lawsuit that holds the individual(s), or defendant(s), the injured party claims is at fault for what damages and/or bodily harm was inflicted on their person. By way of providing a preponderance of evidence, the necessary legal propositions being proven true will give the plaintiff the ability to win his or her case. In other words, the plaintiff has not won their case until the four rudimentary elements are proven to be more true than untrue, at which point, the plaintiff is considered to be entitled to receive compensation. The following are four basic facets of negligence:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a “duty of care”. The “causation” factor is what this is normally called. This is to say that there is a way within which each driver is supposed to act while driving a vehicle on the roadway and generally accepted that there is a certain way each driver is to treat other driver with care and a fair measure of reason so this is a proposition that is not often argued in the courts.
- The defendant breached the duty of care. The opposite of the above mentioned, this proposition is contested often in vehicular incident cases. Driving recklessly or otherwise irresponsibly by the defendant is considered to be a breach of duty of care. Irresponsible driving is decided by determining what is rationally responsible for another driver to do: if the defendant behaved in any way contrary to this, it is deemed irresponsible. Driving in excess of the posted speed limit or texting while operating a vehicle is nearly always thought to be irresponsible or reckless driving. It is, however, a more arduous process to decide on a defendant being reckless if a defective part malfunctioned on the defendant’s vehicle causing the collision.
- The defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff to suffer injuries. Often this is called the “causation” facet. It must be proven that the negligence on the defendant’s part was, in fact, the causal factor resulting in the plaintiff’s injuries. The causal chain is demonstrated by examining the fact that the injuries inflicted on the plaintiff would not have happened had the reckless behavior on the part of the defendant taken place. If multiple events happened in the series of events leading up to the injuries that harmed the plaintiff, it can take a fervently argued case with a thorough description of the details before finding the plaintiff entitled to compensation.
- The plaintiff suffered compensable injuries. If the injuries sustained by the plaintiff were not the fault of the defendant, the lawsuit is not necessary. The plaintiff will be required with this proposition to establish the severity and type of injuries the plaintiff has sustained by making available to the court testimony and evidence. An invoice for medical service is usually sufficient evidence to show loss to the court. In situations where there is no tangible evidence exist, testimony from witness or the plaintiff can stand place to demonstrate extent of loss on the plaintiff’s part.
By way of evidence or testimony, in some cases both, every one of the four basic elements of negligence can be demonstrated. Your lawyer will make your case stronger by using the statements provided by witnesses in conjunction with evidence shown to the court. The likelihood that a lawyer will be able to obtain this type of critical evidence improves greatly the sooner you call and retain a lawyer.
Damages Available to Injured Car Accident Victims
Any injured party can attempt to obtain compensation for losses they experienced when they file a lawsuit against the party responsible for the damages. Losses and damages are split into two separate descriptions known as “economic” and “noneconomic” damages. Damages that are considered economic involve assets, money, and the following:
- Any costs associated with medical expenses and/or prescriptions;
- Wages lost from missing time at work;
- Losses from wages lost from missing future time needed of work;
- Physical therapy expenses; and
- Losses from damage to personal property.
Losses that are not associated with money are called noneconomic damages and are naturally a harder case to show proof. Noneconomic damages include:
- Damages lost according to the value of household services;
- Anguish suffered mentally and/or pain and suffering; and
- Damages due to the loss of enjoyment of life.
Injuries and damages have to be proven to be connected directly to the behavior of the defendant for any compensation to be received.
I’ve Been Involved in a Car Crash – Now What?
Directly after a car collision the formation of a rock-hard car accident lawsuit starts. If you have any physical injuries or believe you might have injuries, the first step is to call emergency medical services. If you have any injuries to the back, neck, or head, remain in the same position until medical services arrive unless it is completely necessary for you to move to not sustain further injuries, like that of leaking gas or fire. If you are not injured, you might be obligated to provide help within reason to anyone believed to be harmed. You should talk to all motor vehicle operators to obtain names, phone numbers, information on insurance agencies, and policy numbers after emergency medical help and the traffic enforcement agencies have been alerted. In order to increase your chances and ensure that rights are protected, make these necessary steps:
- Avoid admitting any responsibility for the crash. Even if there is a strong possibility that you were the primary at-fault driver, do not admit anything. Making even the simplest apology like, “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t know you were there” can be pulled up later by the lawyers representing the drivers that really are responsible. If this happens, you could find yourself being held entirely responsible, in which case, you will not be able to receive any compensation.
- Take visual records of everything. Be sure to take photographs of road obstructions, the vehicles involved in the accident, and any injuries you may have suffered. It is imperative that you do this as quickly as is possible before the road is cleaned up and injuries are improved. You will want to make multiple copies of the photos and give a copy to your lawyer to keep until your day in court.
- Communicate with all eyewitnesses. This includes all people that say they saw the accident. Your concern should be to just record contact information so that if your lawyer needs them later, he will be able to find them. Do not skip someone for fear they may not say something in your best interest. Your lawyer will closely examine their statements and decide what is useful for your case.
- Write down the things you remember. Try to do this as soon as possible after the wreck. In the stress of an automobile accident, it is easy to forget things. Your interpretation of the events may be useful at a later point. Write everything you remember out in detail. Be sure to also make additional copies of your recollections and deliver a copy to your lawyer.
How to Prove Injuries in a Car Accident
Proving your injuries will be done a certain way contingent on the type of injuries being noneconomic or economic injuries. Not only must it be proven that you suffered economic and/or noneconomic damages, you must also prove that the vehicular accident was the causal factor, either directly or consequently, of the injuries sustained. Losses associated with money and have tangible documentation to demonstrate loss are called “economic.” Any prescriptions for which you might have paid, medical costs that may have occurred, or wages lost from work, both future and past, are basic descriptions of what would be an economic losses. Most of the time, all that is needed to demonstrate economic damage is to provide a medical bill for treatments given or a paystub and /or a letter from an employer stating loss of wages. A loss that is not related to money or assets, but, instead, is related to the pain and suffering experienced or the depletion of enjoyment of life is called a noneconomic damage. Being that there is no specific number or dollar amount that quantifies your pain and suffering, it can be a more arduous process to prove noneconomic damages. Your damages can be demonstrated to the court by way of testimonies given from friends and family.
How to Deal With Insurance Adjusters
In the days following an accident, adjusters from insurance agencies will start making efforts to get in touch with you. After it has been decided that compensation is owed to you, the adjuster has the job of seeing that they settle your claim as soon is conceivable. The adjusters that are most valued by the insurance company they represent are the adjusters that close claims quickly and save the most money for the company when doing so. The insurance adjusters will use anything they can to reduce the amount you receive in compensation or deny your claim all together if possible. When speaking with the adjuster, do not give them any information that is speculative or that you do not know to be absolutely true without a shadow of a doubt. Never imply and directly state guilt for the accident, specifically if the investigation into the car wreck as not been completed by law enforcement. Most of the time, people find that it is far better to retain a lawyer experienced in vehicle accidents in Georgia before communicating with the adjusters.
Do I Need an Attorney to Handle My Accident Case?
There is not a mandate for drivers that have been injured in an auto accident in Georgia to retain legal counsel before the injured party is able to receive compensation for their losses, but it would be incredibly beneficial to ruminate over the ample advantages of retaining counsel, like that of following:
- An attorney has a plethora of experience with the law, things vital to your case, and the requirements of both parties;
- Responding to the motions made by the defendant(s) and entering your claim as well as your initial pleadings are things your lawyer knows well;
- Proving the nature and extent of injuries is something your lawyer will be experienced in dealing with as well knowing what will be the best approach via testimony and/or evidence while preserving the necessary elements;
- Your attorney will likely have a professional set of resources specifically for investigation of causal events surrounding your accident and be able to fully investigate every element that might have played a key role in the collision;
- Your attorney will know not only how to obtain and preserve elements necessary to help prove your injuries, but will also know what testimony and/or evidence is most needed to show the court;
- An attorney is skilled in extracting the necessary information from key expert witnesses as well as ordinary eyewitnesses and will know what needs to be brought to light for both the jury and judge.
Be aware that if you make the decision to proceed without legal counsel, you will be expected and required to meet the exact same measure of knowledge as that of an attorney as well as being familiar with the statutes and laws surrounding your case. No officer of the court will be able to present your case or help you in arranging it.
What if I Was Hit by an Uninsured Driver?
The responsibility for payment of medical services will, at least initially, be coming out of your own pocket after you have received injuries from an accident with an uninsured driver. Although, some health professional will work in conjunction with you for medical services you need, you should fully anticipate having to provide payment for medical treatments rendered at the time they are provided. The following are some of the ways one might be able to gain assistance with the obligation of payment:
- An Underinsured/Uninsured Motor Vehicle Operator Coverage Policy is an inexpensive (normally a few extra dollars a month) way to gain additional coverage extending past what a regular policy offers. This addition in coverage will extend funds for compensation should a hit-and-run occur or an accident with a driver not covered by insurance occur.
- Personal Health Insurance Policies have become more widely used, particular with the Affordable Health Care Act. In most cases, the policy will pay for bodily harm inflicted on the policy holder in a car accident; however, there is often a large deductible attached to these sorts of policies.
- Bringing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver will designate the responsibility for the accident to whom it rightly should be placed, although, if the at-fault driver has no resources or funds available, reimbursement for losses and expenses can be difficult or entirely impossible.
Retaining a lawyer in Georgia that is skilled in the handling of car collision after you have been in a wreck with an uninsured driver can assist you in getting through the procedure of a claim to receive your compensation quickly while also giving you a full understanding of rights which you have.
Drunk Driving Accidents
Driving while intoxicated is senseless act that will almost always result in the intoxicated driver having an accident. Whether a driver that is under the influence of alcohol is under the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol level has no bearing on the responsibility that driver can still be held to concerning your injuries. If you believe that the person that caused your collision was drunk, take notes as to what made you think this: Speech slurred or otherwise unable to speak clearly? The scent of alcohol coming from the driver’s person, clothes, or vehicle? Was the driver having difficulty walking or standing without stumbling? Was any comment made by the driver that he/she was “hammered?” It is possible that your lawyer can assist in your compensation claim by requesting any breathalyzer or blood test take from the driver.
Statute of Limitations
To file a lawsuit after a car accident, there is a statute of limitations. Two years after an accident is the extent of the time the state of Georgia allows. The two-year time period begins when the accident occurred and is over when either the lawsuit is filed properly or the two years has passed. If in this two-year period you do not file a lawsuit seeking to obtain compensation for your losses, usually you will not be allowed to in the future. It is recommended that if you intend to file a lawsuit, you do so as fast as can be thoroughly be done so as to have plenty of time before the deadline. A few occasions exist where the time period can be extended or the time will not count down. Discover of injuries at a later point after the accident is one of the circumstance within which the two years would count down from the date that it was found that you were injured. In these circumstances, you could possibly have extra time to get a lawsuit properly filed. If the statute of limitations has ended, but you feel your case is represented by these circumstances, consult with skilled legal counsel.
How Much Does an Accident Lawyer Cost?
A small number of lawyers in Georgia now work for you on the basis of them not getting paid until you get paid, however, there are many lawyers that will require a substantial retainer fee for a vehicular accident case. These lawyers have realized that many of the people injured in vehicular accidents do not have the resources to pay expensive hourly rates and significant retainers, yet they are still must have professional services from an experienced lawyer. A lawyer that basis his or her fees on contingence means that they do not get paid until they have achieved regaining compensation for your losses. You will not be required to pay any fees at all if the lawyer working for you is unable to recover compensation for your injuries.
Although, if your lawyer prevails, you will simply pay the fees by way of a portion of the compensation. On average, the fees for the lawyer’s services amount to a percentage of the compensation. This ease of getting great legal services had been improved, but not all lawyers work on this basis. Most attorneys will require you to be fully accountable for the expenses of your case, including preparation, filing fees, deposition fees, and the costs of requesting records. Before retaining any lawyer, be sure to ask what type of arrangement for fees and expenses they expect.
What is the Law on Rear End Accidents?
Rear-end automobile accidents will be processed with the exact methods as any other accidents. In the state of Georgia, a driver that causes a rear-end collision is held accountable for the injuries of the other drivers no matter behind which steering wheel he or she sits. No laws are specially crafted for these situations. Although, it can be a difficult task to assign blame in a rear-end wreck. Young drivers are often cautioned that the driver who rear-ends another driver will be the one at-fault. Several elements are in play when ruminating on the cause of a rear-end accident:
- A rapidly stopping front vehicle;
- Broken or otherwise improperly working equipment on the lead vehicle;
- The driver being hit by the driver behind him/her, causing him/her to strike the car in front.
A police officer might give the rear driver a citation for following too closely; however, it is still necessary for there to be a complete investigation into the facts before determining who caused the accident.
New popular modes of transportation for people that do not own automobiles or cannot drive themselves are Uber and Lyft as well as the older methods like the taxi. Being an Uber or Lyft driver gives one no more protection than that of a taxi or any other vehicle when considering negligent behavior. A driver for any ridesharing program or company can just as soon make a mistake or behave negligently, resulting in harm to them and their riders. A cab company is mandated to provide insurance for passengers should they suffer injuries. Uber drivers must also carry this sort of insurance to protect passengers.
Any driver or ridesharing company that does not carry this minimum level of protection can be criminally, civilly, or administratively held responsible, in addition to be on the hook for the injuries of their passengers. If you were in a taxi or Uber while the driver was involved in a collision, you should contact a lawyer to examine your case. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you protect your rights and tell you what steps to take next. An attorney can assist you in deciding the next angle to approach to recover your compensation if the taxi or Uber drivers were not properly covered.
What if I’m a Passenger in a Wreck?
There is no difference between a driver and a passenger when it comes to recovering compensation for injuries in the state of Georgia. A lawsuit can be brought against any party responsible for the injuries a passenger suffers, even if the driver of the car the passenger was in is the responsible party. The passenger can seek compensation by filing a lawsuit against as many people as are responsible for his/her injuries. If the court finds that they are responsible for the passenger’s injuries, it will be decide on how much they are responsible based on how negligent they behaved.
If you have been injured as the passenger in any vehicle, be aware that another factor in deciding your compensation is your own negligence. If primary responsibility does not fall on your shoulders, you might still be able be recover your losses. The amount you receive in compensation will be connected to how much negligent behavior you demonstrated. The passenger can be cited as negligent for such behaviors as taking the driver’s attention from the road, even if done in sport.
A pedestrian also has the right to seek compensation of any driver that hit the pedestrian in the course of being negligent. Accidents involving a pedestrian being struck are more complicated than the standard collision due to the fact that the injuries are more complicated and far more serious. The responsibility of the accident can sometimes be said to be that of the pedestrian if the at-fault driver gives testimony that says the pedestrian was not being observant of their surroundings or otherwise no visible to the driver. If you are a pedestrian involved in this type of accident, please contact an experienced attorney to make sure you succeed with your claim. To determine your responsibility and whether the fault rests with the driver, your attorney may have several expert witnesses establish the severity of your injuries.
Car Accident FAQs
It is common to have questions after you have been injured in an automobile accident. A few of those questions might be answered here:
- Shouldn’t I Just Settle My Case? It is probable that you will be offered a settlement quickly to keep you case from reaching court. When settling a claim, you are the only person that can decide whether or not the amount of compensation is fair. You will be bound by the agreement of the settlement once it has been accepted. Should you find out at a later point that your damages are worse that you first knew, you will not be permitted, normally, to file for further compensation or re-open your case.
- An adjuster from the insurance company is requesting that I make a recorded statement for them on the facts of my accident. Should I go along with this? Never provide the insurance with a recorded statement before you talk to an experienced vehicular accident attorney. You may end up receiving less compensation than you should or having your claim denied altogether.
- After the accident, I haven’t noticed any injuries. Do I need to go to the hospital in an ambulance? If you were severely harmed in an accident or unsure if you have been harmed, seeking emergency medical help from the professional at a hospital as rapidly as is possible. However, if you feel you were not harm, you will still need to go to your regular doctor just to makes sure. This can be a huge part of making sure your rights are protecting should you need to obtain compensation at a later point if injuries not initially noticeable begin to surface.
Don’t hesitate to contact a skilled attorney if you have suffered injuries in a car accident. The dedicated lawyers at the Law Office of John B. Jackson are prepared to assist you today. Reach out to our office for a free and confidential consultation on your case.