Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

Although it’s commonly said that police “protect and serve,” a local government is not necessarily liable when its sworn officers fail to protect the general public from harm. In a 1993 decision, the Georgia Supreme Court adopted what became known as a “public duty doctrine.” This doctrine holds that a municipality can only be liable for nonfeasance–a police officer’s failure to act–if there’s a “special relationship” between the individual alleging negligence and the local government. As defined by the Georgia Supreme Court, this means the police must give the person “an explicit assurance” of protection or assistance that the person then relies upon to his or her detriment.

Stevenson v. City of Doraville

Recently, the Supreme Court considered the application of the public duty doctrine to a negligence lawsuit arising from a multi-car traffic accident in DeKalb County. During a rainstorm one evening, a driver on Interstate 285 experienced car trouble. The driver was in the lane nearest the median. He attempted to cross six lanes and bring his car onto the shoulder, but the car stalled in the middle of the road.

Following an automobile accident, it’s common for injured parties to seek compensation, either from the person who caused the accident or their insurance company. It’s usually in an insurance company’s interest to settle accident claims without litigation. But a settlement is predicated on both sides coming to a mutual agreement. The insurance company shouldn’t be allowed to pull a “bait-and-switch” and change the terms of a settlement unilaterally.

Unfortunately, that’s just what happened in a March decision from the Georgia Court of Appeals. A sharply divided seven-judge panel upheld a “settlement” between an accident victim and an insurance company where the latter never actually agreed to the proposed terms. Nonetheless, a majority of the appeals court declared there was a binding contract.

Attorney vs. Insurance Company

NAIC.jpgThe National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ eighteen month investigation of Allstate’s claims handling practices ended this month with Allstate agreeing to pay a $10 million dollar settlement. The primary focus of the investigation and settlement relates to Allstate’s use of a claims handling software called Colossus. Allstate has agreed to make several changes to it’s claims handling policies. However as a injury claim lawyer, I still advise caution when dealing with giant insurance companies like Allstate.

Their are many types of insurance claims where hiring a lawyer is typically not necessary, such as clear liability property damage claims. When dealing with a company like Allstate, whether you hire a lawyer or not, it’s always a good idea to at least consult with a lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers provide free consultations and information gathered from a lawyer consultation can be an invaluable resource for determining whether you are being treated fairly by an insurance company.

I just finished up a case where a violent head on collision was caused by a texting teen. In my case, luckily no one was killed, but texting and driving is a huge problem that is killing American teens. Do’s Thumb Wars is a national campaign to help educate drivers on the dangers of texting and driving. Check out the site, they have free thumb socks! What are thumb socks you ask? Watch the video.

In the video above Ken Jeong (Community, The Hangover) and Joel McHale (Community, The Soup) share the sobering fact that car accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths in the U.S., while demonstrating how difficult it is to text when your thumbs are wearing socks.

In an attempt to fix this huge problem, the State of Georgia recently passed a law banning texting while driving. So who knows, if fear of a big traffic ticket doesn’t stop the problem, maybe thumb socks will.

carcrash.jpgMost people know how collision and liability property damage claims work following a car accident. However, from my experience as a Car Accident Lawyer, most people are confused when it comes to diminished value claims. Over the years, I’ve been asked so many questions about diminished value, I thought it would be helpful to put together this brief guide.

1. What is diminished value?

Simply put, it is the value a vehicle loses as a result of being in a collision. No matter how good the repairs, a wrecked car is never going to be worth as much as a similar car that has never been in an accident. Think about it this way, you are looking for a used car, and the dealership shows you two gorgeous identical cars listed at the same price. The only difference, the Carfax reports show one of the two cars was once involved in a car accident at some point. Which car would you buy?

A recent consumer survey indicated 55% of potential buyers would never buy a vehicle with a prior accident history. Additionally, those surveyed that indicated they would buy a wrecked vehicle said they would have to be given a large discount to make the purchase. In many instances, not only should the insurance company pay to repair your vehicle but they should also pay you for your vehicle’s diminished value. Valid claims should always be pursued. In many cases, I’ve seen diminished value claims worth several thousand dollars.

2. Has my vehicle suffered diminished value?

The short answer is that depends. If before the accident your vehicle was relatively new, in good condition, with no significant prior accident history, with significant current property damage then you certainly have a diminished value claim. The value of the claim will vary based on numerous factors. For example, $5,000 in repairs for collision damage will have a larger impact on the value of your car than $5,000 in repairs to paint over cosmetic damage. Along those same lines, if your vehicle already had a significant accident history, suffered minimal accident damage, then your claim will probably have little or no value. Most lawyers offer free consultations. If the insurance company is making you a diminished value offer that seems too low, it might be a good idea to contact a lawyer for a free consultation.

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Today, in the early morning hours, a fatal motorcycle crash occurred on I-75 northbound near the 17th street overpass. According to investigating officers, the motorcyclist was ejected and killed during the collision when his motorcycle was rear-ended by an SUV. The driver of the SUV was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving and DUI.

Our prayers go out to the family of the DUI victim and the driver that caused his death. There are going to be a lot of vehicles on the road this Memorial day weekend. More than 28 million Americans are going to be traveling our streets and highways this weekend. It is important to remember motorcycles are everywhere, look twice and share the road.

As a DUI victim’s lawyer, I urge everyone to have a good time this holiday weekend, but when it comes time to drive home call someone like Saferide America at 404-888-0887. SafeRide America is a non-profit organization that will drive you and your car home for less than the price of a taxi.

Thumbnail image for messageboard3.jpgSince the beginning of the year I’ve noticed an increased number of police catching speeders on the interstate and I think I know why. On January 1, Georgia’s Super Speeder law, and it’s new hefty fines, went into effect. A couple of people have asked me about the Super Speeder law this week so I thought I would explain it.

It is pretty simple really. If you are caught speeding 75 mph or more on any two lane road or 85 mph or more on the interstate you will have to pay an additional $200 fine to the State. This $200 fine will be added on top of the local fines and penalties. Getting a super speeder ticket is going to be a very expensive mistake.

According to the official press release of the Governor’s office, sixty percent of all trauma patients in Georgia are crash related and on average there is a speed related death a day in Georgia. The Governor’s office goes on to say, Super Speeder will save lives and change the behavior of speeders in Georgia. As a Marietta Injury Lawyer that has seen too many lives ruined by truck and car collisions, I hope this new law will have the desired effect. Please slow down, you will be safer, and your bank account will thank you.

From my experience as a Marietta Injury Lawyer, collisions on the Interstates are typically the most likely to cause death and serious injury. There are a number of reasons for this including the increased speed limits and the large number of tractor trailers that use the freeways. It is extremely dangerous to stop your vehicle on the interstate, but sometimes it just can’t be avoided. There are some steps you can take to reduce this danger.

Except for emergencies, never voluntarily stop your vehicle on the interstate. However, if your car breaks down on the Interstate, get your vehicle to the right shoulder as quickly and safely as possible. If you stay in your vehicle keep your seatbelt on. If you are going to get out of the vehicle use the passenger’s door to exit the vehicle. Once out of the vehicle, do not stand near your vehicle or any travel or emergency lanes. Put some safe distance between yourself and the roadway and call 511 (HERO vehicles) and 911. However, sometimes car trouble is immediate and it is not always possible to get over to the right shoulder.

Personal injury lawyers in Atlanta and Marietta sometimes see the more difficult situation when cars break down in interstate travel lanes. This is a terrible situation. Even with the use of hazard lights, it is often difficult for drivers to appreciate a vehicle is stopped on the interstate. When cars are rear-ended at highway speeds the results are often fatal. The Georgia State Patrol and DOT officials recommend you stay in your vehicle, call 911 and 511, and wait for help to arrive. However, State Patrol officers I have talked to say they probably would not sit in a car stopped in a travel lane for fear of getting blasted by a fast moving vehicle. One must use their best judgment when confronted with this situation because leaving your vehicle to walk or run to a safe location can also be extremely dangerous.

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With all the vehicles driving in and through the metro Atlanta area, auto accidents are going to happen. Unfortunately, some of these accidents cause injury. Georgia personal injury lawyers that handle these types of cases have observed that the most catastrophic accidents are usually caused by impaired or seriously distracted drivers. In the picture below, the driver of the Volkswagen was reportedly using a cell phone at the time of the collision. All three people involved in the collision were killed.

A recent study suggest that driving while talking on a cell phone increases the risk of accident twice as much as driving while intoxicated (.08 Blood Alcohol Content). More public awareness on the dangers of texting and talking on cell phones while driving will hopefully lead to less deadly auto collisions in Georgia.

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