If you regularly drive, you know that there are some drivers out there who are reckless. That recklessness puts others in danger, especially when high speeds and disregarded traffic laws are involved. Automobile accidents are an everyday occurrence. While some only result in minor property damage, others end in serious or even catastrophic injuries.
Bey & Associates is dedicated to helping personal injury victims all over Georgia with their legal needs, including those in DeKalb County. A crash can completely upend your life, especially if you sustain serious injuries and financial losses. Fortunately, you have the option to take legal action against the responsible party.
If you’ve been in an auto wreck and believe the other driver is at-fault, a DeKalb County car accident lawyer from our firm can provide you with the legal representation you need to file a claim, seek compensation for your losses, and negotiate a settlement that gets you back on your feet.
DeKalb County Car Crash Statistics
No matter where you live, it’s important to understand the unique driving dangers your area experiences. Whether you’re dealing with urban traffic and tight spaces or rural farmlands and the risk of blind turns or animal crossings, understanding how to drive responsibly in all conditions is crucial.
To get an idea of how common auto accidents are in sections of the state, the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety releases fact sheets for every county. According to their statistics, the following was reported for DeKalb:
- From 2013 to 2017, there were 174,077 crashes.
- 2017 saw the highest number of total wrecks, with 41,729. Comparatively, there were only 28,588 in 2013. There has been a steady increase in the total every year.
- As a result of the collisions in those five years, 66,787 people were injured and 383 died.
- Accidents resulting in fatalities most often involved alcohol, speeding, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
- Of the deaths from 2016 and 2017, 47% were restrained by a seatbelt. The remaining 53% were unrestrained or their restraint use was unknown.
Auto Insurance Laws in Georgia
Every state sets its own auto insurance laws. In Georgia, vehicle owners are required to carry liability insurance. According to the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, the minimum coverage limits include $25,000 for the injury or death of one person, $50,000 for total injuries or deaths of more than one person, and $25,000 for property damage. Those amounts cover medical bills, property damage costs, and other expenses of those who are injured or sustain losses in an accident you cause. Once the policy limits are exhausted, the at-fault party is responsible for the remaining expenses.
In addition to the required minimum coverage, motorists have the option of purchasing additional coverage, which includes personal injury protection (PIP), collision coverage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. PIP is used to pay for medical bills and collision coverage can be used for repairing or replacing a vehicle.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects you if the at-fault driver has no coverage, carries an insufficient amount, or leaves the scene without giving you the necessary information. In Georgia, this type of coverage is divided into Traditional and New. With Traditional coverage, the availability is diminished by what the other driver has. So, if you have $25,000 in uninsured/underinsured coverage and the other driver does as well, the two cancel each other out. With New coverage, your policy stacks on top of what the other driver has and kicks in once their policy is exhausted.
Determining Fault After a Wreck
Georgia follows a fault system for financial responsibility relating to car accidents. This means that the at-fault driver is liable for personal injury or property damage caused by a crash. In order to satisfy the losses, their insurance policy will be looked at first. Because Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state, your compensation can be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you’re found to be 15% at fault for the crash, you’ll only be eligible for 85% of the damages.
Accident victims have the option of seeking compensation in one of three ways. There’s the option to filing a claim with your own insurance company, but it’s possible they’ll turn around and seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer. You can also directly pursue a claim against the opposing insurance company. This is referred to as a third party claim. In the event settlement negotiations break down, you have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Most crash settlements, however, settle outside of court.
To establish fault you need to be able to prove the other driver owed you a duty of care. Drivers have a legal duty to take reasonable actions behind the wheel. This means abiding by the rules of the road and obeying traffic signals and signs. If a driver breaches that duty, like by running a stop sign, and they cause an accident, compensation can be sought for the resulting injuries and financial losses.
When you work with a car accident lawyer, we’ll build a claim on your behalf that proves the negligent driver owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, caused damages, and injured you.
Pursuing a Car Accident Lawsuit
In the event your claim does not settle outside of court, you have the option of pursuing further litigation. Lawsuits are complex, which is why you’ll want a lawyer by your side you guide you through the process. In order to fight for your right to compensation, your lawyer will evaluate the extent of your injuries, work with medical experts and accident reconstructionists, and ensure the compensation you’re seeking is what you’re fully owed.
We understand how overwhelming and even intimidating pursuing a lawsuit can seem. If, however, you have an understanding of your role as the plaintiff and what’s expected of you, you may be able to leave some of that anxiety at home when it’s time to head to court. As the plaintiff, you have the following duties and responsibilities when filing a lawsuit:
- Continue receiving medical treatment until you’re cleared by a doctor
- Never admit or allude to fault for your injury
- Document the progression of your injuries, including both the ups and downs
- Be sure to give your attorney any relevant injury documentation you receive, like a police report, insurance documents, and photos or videos of the accident scene.
With that information stored, you’ll be able to rest assured that nothing will jeopardize your lawsuit and your chances for a full recovery.
Serving the Residents of DeKalb County
Filing an injury claim on your own can be a challenge. That’s why you need the help of a DeKalb County car accident lawyer. When you work with Bey & Associates, we’ll fight to get you the compensation you need to recover as fully as possible from what you were wrongfully put through. If you’re concerned about the cost of obtaining services from an auto accident attorney, know that most operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that they’ll only get paid if they win your case.
The sooner you get in touch with an experienced legal representative, the better your chances are of achieving a successful outcome. To learn more about your legal rights and options, get in touch with our office today. We’ll start by providing you with a case evaluation.