Many individuals, especially our youth, view the operation of a vehicle as a rite of passage or as a slice of freedom. While being able to transport yourself to and fro wherever you want to go can certainly be freeing, the operation of an automobile can come at a high cost if it results in you suffering debilitating injuries or losing an integral member of your family in a crash.
Car accidents are, unfortunately, all too common in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) describes motor vehicle accidents as the second leading cause of emergency room visits and subsequent hospitalizations in our state. DPH reports car crashes are the leading cause of injury deaths in Georgia.
Each Macon car accident lawyer on our Bey & Associates legal team is compassionate, attentive, thorough, and aggressive (when we need to be).
Types of Car Accidents That Are Most Common in Macon, GA
Some car accident types happen more often than others, including:
These auto accidents, one of which may be referred to as a T-bone accident, may occur when a motorist runs a red light or fails to yield to the right of way of motorists traveling straight as they make a turn. Another type of collision that may occur at an intersection is a pedestrian one, whereby a motorist fails to notice and/or stop for someone crossing the road.
Chain Reaction Crashes
Also known as multi-driver accidents, these motor vehicle collisions often occur on interstates during inclement weather, when there’s a sudden road hazard or traffic congestion that catches motorists so significantly off guard that they are unable to come to a complete stop to avoid colliding with other vehicles.
Collisions like these often occur because a motorist becomes distracted, whether by their phone or something happening in their vehicle, causing them to lose sight of how they’re no longer centered in their lane and instead far too close to vehicles. A more serious version of this crash, a side-impact collision, may stem from an incident of road rage, for example, in which a disgruntled motorist takes their aggression out on another one by ramming the side of their car.
Accidents of this sort often occur when drivers travel in the wrong direction down one-way streets, such as an interstate off-ramp. However, head-on collisions can also occur if a driver falls asleep at the wheel, is intoxicated and thus isn’t fully aware of what they’re doing, or travels at too fast of a speed that they lose control of their vehicle and travel into oncoming traffic.
Crashes like these tend to most commonly affect operators of automobiles that sit up high off the ground, like sports utility vehicles (SUVs), due to their higher center of gravity than other vehicles. However, most any vehicle can roll over on and come to rest on its roof if a motorist loses control of their automobile, perhaps because it’s struck at just the right angle in the rear by another motorist.
Motorists tend to mistakenly believe that their chances of becoming involved in a crash are virtually nonexistent when they are stopped at a light or parked along the side of the road in a parking space. That’s not the case, though. Motorists are vulnerable to being rear-ended by another car when stopped at a stop light, especially if a motorist quickly approaching behind them doesn’t realize the automobile is stopped or doesn’t brake in enough time to avoid a crash.
Car accidents like these happen far more than they should. They involve a motorist becoming involved in a pedestrian accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident, or one with another passenger car and leaving the scene of the crash without checking to ensure the person struck isn’t hurt, exchanging contact and insurance company information, or calling law enforcement to arrive and make a police report.
There are various reasons why a motorist may leave the crash scene without taking any of the steps above. They may do so because:
- They don’t have a valid driver’s license
- They’re intoxicated from alcohol or drugs
- There’s a warrant out for their arrest
- They don’t have auto insurance
- They’re afraid they will receive a moving violation, resulting in points on their Georgia driver’s license
- They know they caused someone to suffer a catastrophic injury or die in the crash and worry they’ll be charged with a crime, convicted, and have to serve a long jail sentence
Hit-and-run crashes can take the form of any of the above-referenced wrecks.
The car accidents described above are commonplace and often result in serious injuries and fatalities. If you’ve suffered serious injuries in one of these, reach out to our law firm for a free consultation with a Macon car accident lawyer to discuss your car crash and how it hurt you. One of our Bey & Associates personal injury attorneys may inform you that you have a valid car accident claim that may allow you to recover compensation in your case.
Why Do Macon Car Accidents Occur?
Since your involvement in your car wreck, you’ve probably attempted to replay what transpired in your mind countless times. While we’ve already hinted at some of the contributing factors that are more likely than others to result in a Macon car accident, our GA lawyers want to provide a more comprehensive list of those causes. They include:
- Driver inexperience, which may afflict newly licensed drivers like teens
- Alcohol inebriation
- Motorist fatigue
- Distracted driving, such as texting and driving
- Defective auto parts, which cause vehicles to malfunction unexpectedly
- Diminished driving skills, which may impact aging motorists as their quick reflexes decline
- Drug use, which can include either illicit (street) drugs, over-the-counter, or prescription medication use
- A driver’s lack of familiarity with their surroundings
- Poor vehicle maintenance, which may cause a tire to blow out or a car to stall
- A motorist suffering a medical event, such as a seizure or heart attack, rendering them unconscious
- Reckless driving, such as delayed braking, tailgating, speeding, failing to stop at lights or for signs, and any other actions that violate Georgia traffic laws
As you may have noted in reading over the common causes of car accidents, while many of these crashes happen because a negligent driver engaged in reckless driving, not all do.
You may be surprised to learn when our car accident attorneys start investigating the crashes that hurt our personal injury clients, we often discover that many of them are wholly or partially to blame on third parties. In the next section, we’ll discuss liability issues surrounding car accident cases.
Understanding How Car Accident Liability Laws Work in Georgia
Georgia is an at-fault car accident state. This designation means that a car accident victim can file a car accident claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company if they suffered injuries in the crash.
The one caveat is that fault, responsibility, or liability isn’t always clear. This may lead you to inquire about what happens when liability for the car accident isn’t clear-cut.
While police reports that responding officers prepare when they arrive at the scene of a crash can be helpful in sorting out liability for a car accident, they just outline the facts surrounding the collision as per what they see and any statements they take.
How an Insurance Company Determines Liability
Discussions about liability are often front and center during conversations between insurance company adjusters and our Macon car accident attorneys. Insurers are often focused on casting as much blame as possible on you, even if you suffered injuries, because they know that under Georgia’s modified comparative fault statutes, a jury or the court can only award an injured party damages in a car accident case if they’re deemed 49% or less at fault for what happened.
As you might surmise, insurers often aggressively deny liability, even when their driver’s negligence appears fairly clear, to minimize the potential payout they have to make if they end up settling a case. Car accident lawyers like ours, on the other hand, have as a goal to hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions. We’re always focused on proving liability so we can seek fair compensation on behalf of our clients.
Proving Liability in Macon Car Accident Cases
Motorists owe their fellow drivers a duty of care. This means that they shouldn’t do anything that could potentially harm those vehicle operators that they’re sharing the road with. If a driver violates that duty of care, then Georgia law allows them to be held liable for injuries they cause another motorist, with a few exceptions, as outlined in the section above.
If you meet the initial qualifying criteria to file a claim, then know there are a few elements you must be able to establish to have a successful filing:
- You must be able to show that the motorist who struck you owed you a duty of care
- You need to demonstrate how another driver’s actions breached the duty of care they owed you
- You should be capable of showing that the car accident resulted in you suffering some kind of harm, like physical injuries
- You must be able to show that you suffered damages, such as medical bills or lost wages, as a result of the injuries sustained
If you and your Macon car accident lawyer opt to demand an out-of-court settlement as your legal strategy in your personal injury matter, then your attorney will establish this negligence and these elements in their demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company. And, when personal injury cases like these make it into the courtroom, you can count on your car accident attorney from our Bey & Associates law firm to lay out these elements for the judge or jury to decide the outcome of your case.
Third-Party Liability for Macon Car Accidents
As mentioned above, drivers aren’t always the only parties responsible for causing car accidents. Other parties that may be responsible for crashes include:
- Car mechanics
- Auto parts manufacturers
- Bar, restaurant, or entertainment venue personnel
What To Know About Georgia Dram Shop and Social Responsibility Laws
In the latter case, car accident victims can hold a hospitality facility that served up too many drinks to customers without concern for those they would ultimately be sharing the road with liable for the contributing role they played in causing the crash. Car accident victims are authorized to take such legal action under our state’s dram shop law, codified as Official Code of Georgia Annotated Section 51-1-40.
Also along the same vein as the Georgia dram shop law is our state’s social host liability law, enacted in 1985. It allows for civil lawsuits to be filed against adults who negligently serve alcohol to minors, who go on to cause injury accidents or fatal ones.
While our Macon personal injury attorneys, of course, work with injured clients who suffered harm in auto accidents that were caused by a negligent motorist, our Georgia law office also pursues other involved parties, such as the third parties described above, when appropriate.
Our legal counsel can assess who you should hold accountable for what happened to you, too. Our Macon car accident lawyers may determine there’s more than one defendant you should list when filing your personal injury claim. We’ll address this part of the legal process during your free consultation or in subsequent meetings if it appears this is an option in your personal injury matter.
Liability in Hit-and-Run Accidents
While becoming involved in any car accident is undesirable, the thought of becoming involved in a hit-and-run one is particularly unnerving because, in an at-fault state like Georgia, the fear most motorists have is that they won’t have anyone to pursue damages from if they sustain injuries, incur medical expenses, or have lost wages, as examples. That’s a valid fear if your motor vehicle accident caused you significant physical and mental injuries.
That’s one of the reasons that the representatives you speak to when you initially call our personal injury law firm request that you bring a copy of any insurance company documentation showing your coverage when you come for a free initial consultation. Our law firm does so to see if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance coverage. If you do, then you may be able to file an insurance claim with your own insurer to recover compensation for losses you’ve amassed.
Understanding How Liability in Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents Cases Works
Our Macon car accident attorneys often aren’t able to meet with crash victims because they didn’t survive the auto accident they were involved in. In those situations, paramedics may have been summoned to the car accident scene and have provided medical care while there. They may have even transported the auto accident victim to the hospital by ambulance or helicopter so they could receive advanced medical treatment. However, the medical care they received might not have been adequate enough to save their life.
Medical bills associated with life-saving or end-of-life care can be quite costly. If you couple those medical expenses with funeral and burial costs, this may put added stress on your family’s already limited financial resources.
One of the legal services we offer at Bey & Associates is handling wrongful death cases. Any experienced attorney from our Macon injury law firm can help with wrongful death scenarios that a car accident caused.
A car accident attorney can provide legal assistance in building wrongful death claims, including establishing some of the same negligence or liability elements discussed above that resulted in your loved one’s premature passing.
Collectively, our Macon car accident lawyer team at Bey & Associates has recovered millions on behalf of our clients since our law firm’s inception and will fight aggressively to ensure you receive maximum compensation for the medical expenses, memorial or funeral services, and emotional impacts your family is enduring because of the car accident-related loss of life your beloved relative suffered.
Steps To Take After a Macon Car Accident
When you hear advertisements for a personal injury attorney or, more specifically, a car accident lawyer on television, they’ll often say to make sure to do a few different things following a crash, which are to:
- Watch what you say and be careful who you speak to about your car accident
- Seek medical attention right away after car crashes and preserve any medical professionals’ reports and bills
- Quickly meet with any car accident lawyer when they offer free initial consultations to discuss the auto accident and the legal service they can provide in your case
These steps should be taken after a Macon car accident in addition to many others, as recommended by the Georgia Office of Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire.
Know That Statutes of Limitations Apply in Georgia Personal Injury Cases
A statute of limitations or a timeline by which you or your car accident attorney have to file a Macon personal injury case applies. It’s generally two years in car accident cases, whether or not it results in someone’s wrongful death. There are a few exceptions to this rule, though, such as if the injury victim:
- Was a minor at the time the car accident injured them
- Received their injury diagnosis or suffered a loss of life after their car accident occurred
Working with a car accident lawyer can be helpful for many reasons, one of which is keeping abreast of the statute of limitations that applies in your case, given its unique circumstances.
What To Expect During Your Initial Consultation
When you attend your consultation with a Bey & Associates car accident lawyer, you can expect them to go over details surrounding your crash, including what happened in the moment and after it occurred. Your accident lawyer will ask you these questions to gain a better perspective as to what caused your crash and who’s responsible so that they can better home in on rights you may have.
The accident lawyer you meet with will also want to know more about injuries you suffered, whether you sought out medical attention, and if you have your records and bills that they can review.
They’ll also want to see the police report and any insurance documentation you may have.
At the end of this initial consultation, the car accident attorney you meet with should have a better idea if you have a valid car accident claim and, if so, be able to apprise you of the legal options you may be able to take.
All of our free case evaluations are no-risk, meaning there’s no obligation associated with meeting with a Macon car accident lawyer from Bey & Associates for a consultation. Also, if our law firm takes on your case, you won’t owe any attorney fees unless we recover a settlement for you. So, contact our Georgia law office today to learn more about your rights.