Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

People who would never drive while under the influence of alcohol routinely drive while they are seriously fatigued. Scientifically, intoxication and fatigue are closely related. Driving after 20 hours without sleep, which is like driving home after not sleeping well at night and working a full day at the office, is like driving with a .08% blood alcohol content (BAC) BAC level. That is above the legal limit in Georgia. Shortcuts, like blasting the air conditioner or radio, only help people feel more alert. They do nothing to address clouded judgment, delayed reactions, and other effects of fatigue. 

Other than distraction, fatigue is one of the most common and dangerous kinds of driver impairment. Arguably, fatigue-impaired people know they should not drive. But they get behind the wheel anyway and intentionally put other people at risk. As a result, a Marietta personal injury attorney can usually obtain substantial compensation in fatigue-related crashes. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Evidence of Fatigue

Plaintiff’s winning percentage in court has declined over the last several years, mostly because insurance company revenue has skyrocketed over this same period to more than $1 trillion per year. As a result, these companies can now hire more effective lawyers and allow them to go to trial if necessary. Usually, the insurance company’s trial strategy in a vehicle collision claim revolves around one of the three defenses discussed below.

Back in the day, when the plaintiff’s winning percentage was high, and insurance companies had limited resources, almost any lawyer could successfully handle a vehicle collision claim. In the current environment, only a Marietta personal injury attorney can obtain the best possible result in such claims. That result usually includes maximum compensation for the victim’s economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Last Clear Chance

To defend their actions, officers claimed a reckless chase lasted only 37 seconds before the driver caused a fatal wreck. However, in a high-speed pursuit, thirty-seven seconds is an eternity. 

According to Georgia State Police investigators, the crash happened on Northside Drive and 14th Street after Atlanta police tried to conduct a traffic stop at 17th Street. Suspects in a white Toyota RAV4 drove away on Northside Drive and failed to stop at the red light. The RAV4 crashed into a Mitsubishi Outlander, almost instantly killing an Uber driver and passenger. Three people inside the suspect vehicle were rushed to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.

Georgia State Patrol officials have not commented on what charges will be filed in this case.

Since the start of the smartphone era in 2007, many states, including Georgia, have passed a hands-free law. In general, these laws prohibit motorists from holding and/or using smartphones and other digital devices while they are behind the wheel. However, these laws contain many exceptions, mostly for hands-free devices. Additionally, device distraction is only a small part of the distracted driver problem. 

Many distracted drivers do not feel remorseful after they cause crashes, as if the device or behavior somehow excused their negligence. A Marietta personal injury attorney forces these tortfeasors (negligent drivers) to accept full responsibility for the wrecks they cause. This responsibility includes paying compensation for damages. In a perfect world, tortfeasors would do the right thing before a lawyer gets involved. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.

Device Distraction

A 16-year-old girl, a passenger in a vehicle, is dead after a single-vehicle crash in Georgia. 

According to investigators, the crash happened when a gray 1996 Toyota 4Runner, driven by a 17-year-old, struck the curb on the right side of the road. Deputies say the teenage driver overcorrected, and the vehicle went out of control and rolled over several times. The vehicle eventually hit an electric pole, killing the 16-year-old passenger. 

The driver only suffered minor injuries.

Maybe not “most” accidents, but speed is a factor in about a third of the fatal car wrecks in Georgia. The proportion of speeding-related collisions had been dropping slightly until the 2020 coronavirus lockdowns. When roads emptied, many drivers acquired some bad habits, including excessive speeding. Like many bad habits, this one is easy to form and hard to break. As outlined below, speed impacts the risk of a wreck and the force in a collision. 

Also, as outlined below, excessive speed is usually negligence, or a lack of care. If that is the case, a Marietta personal injury attorney can obtain the compensation the victim needs and deserves. Victims need this compensation to pay accident-related expenses, like medical bills and damaged property replacement. They deserve this compensation because their injuries were not their fault, and no one should bear the responsibility for someone else’s mistake.

How Speed Affects Car Crash Injuries

Georgia has one of the country’s lowest auto insurance minimum requirements. Therefore, many Georgia drivers do not have enough insurance to cover all the losses in a catastrophic injury claim. The medical bills alone in such claims usually exceed $100,000. 

Victims in this situation usually have two basic options, especially if they do not have UM/UIM (uninsured/underinsured motorist) coverage. They can file separate collection claims against the tortfeasor (negligent driver), who is most likely judgment-proof, or they can look for a responsible third party with deep pockets and additional insurance.

So, in many cases, establishing legal responsibility for damages is only part of the process. A good Marietta personal injury lawyer goes the extra mile and obtains meaningful compensation in vehicle collision matters. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Georgia law regarding owner liability for U-Haul, Enterprise, and other rented vehicle wrecks is very complex. 49 U.S.C. 30106 makes these laws even more complex. In the wake of several large verdicts in the 1990s, including one that involved a fireball Enterprise Rent-a-Car wreck in Connecticut, lawmakers added the Graves Amendment to a large transportation bill in 2002. Rep. Sam Graves and his colleagues wanted this amendment to immunize owners of rented vehicles from liability lawsuits. However, as outlined below, the Graves Amendment contains some large holes.

In most cases, a Marietta personal injury attorney can use the complex Georgia laws to hold U-Haul, Enterprise, and other vehicle rental companies responsible for damages if they rent vehicles to individuals who cause crashes. This third-party liability is important because, in most cases, rented vehicle drivers have little or no insurance. Vicarious liability gives injured victims another way to obtain compensation for their economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Negligent Entrustment

Gone are the days where taxi cabs reigned supreme as the preferred way to get from point A to point B. An increasing percentage of Americans are using ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft. The ease and notoriety of ridesharing services has increased over the years, and it is safe to say that the percentage of Americans who use ridesharing services will continue to grow. The fact that so many Americans are turning to ridesharing services will likely lead to an increase in car accidents involving Uber and Lyft drivers. What happens if you are the driver or the passenger in a ridesharing service car accident in Atlanta?

Insurance Issues in Atlanta Ridesharing Car Accidents

The legal insurance requirements for typical Georgia drivers and ridesharing service drivers are quite different. Regular drivers must carry $25,000 per person and $50,000 per car accident of bodily injury liability insurance. They must carry at least $25,000 of property damage liability insurance per accident. 

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