People do not expect to get into car accidents when they are out driving, but it happens every single day. While many are minor collisions, others lead to serious injuries, major property damage, and worse: It has been reported that Georgia ranks fourth in the number of fatal car accidents, after California, Texas, and Florida. If something like this has happened to you or a loved one, there is help available. Crash survivors turn to car accident lawyers when their economic and non-economic damages exceed the amount of compensation being offered and another party was at fault.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Check for injuries and call 911 immediately after an automobile accident, even if you and your passengers do not seem to be hurt. Many car crash-related injuries are internal and not immediately apparent. While riding to the ER in an ambulance is not always necessary, have a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Otherwise, an insurance adjuster or an at-fault party’s lawyer may question why you did not seek help sooner and might assert that your injuries were not serious or caused by another event.
As soon as possible, move your vehicle to a safe area to prevent it from getting hit again. Turn on the hazard lights and remain with the vehicle until help arrives, because you could expose yourself to further dangers if you wander away.
Take photos of the other vehicle and its license plate as soon as possible in case the other driver decides to flee the scene. If you feel comfortable doing so, exchange information with the other driver. Take down the details about their driver’s license and insurance information, and ask for their phone number and email address. If they are uncooperative or aggressive, return to your vehicle and wait for help.
Until assistance arrives, take as many photos as possible. Pictures of skid marks, vehicle positions, stop signs, and weather conditions can all be used as evidence that could help your claim. If you notice any witnesses, you can also ask for their contact information. Once law enforcement arrives, answer the questions factually without elaborating; being too talkative could also lead to problems during the claim process. Point out any witnesses and ask how you can get a copy of the police report, too. After that, you can call your insurance provider and provide the same kind of information.
What Are the Main Causes of Car Accidents?
The majority of motor vehicle crashes have not changed that much over the past few decades:
- Aggressive driving: Speeding is a leading cause of car accidents in the U.S. and is often accompanied by other aggressive actions like tailgating, illegal passing, running red lights, and failing to yield.
- Distracted driving: Even though the Hands-Fee Georgia Act went into effect in 2018, drivers choose to ignore it. According to the Act, drivers are not permitted to hold cell phones and other devices in their hands while driving. Yet even when hands-free technology is used, it takes drivers’ attention away from the task at hand. Other common distractions are adjusting a dashboard GPS, arguing with passengers, pets, eating, fatigue, grooming, and daydreaming.
- Driving under the influence: It is estimated that 25 percent of Georgia traffic fatalities are caused by drunk drivers. People who consume recreational and prescription drugs also cause serious car accidents.
- Poor weather conditions: Slippery road conditions, storms, and fog can all make roads and highways treacherous for driving. When you add aggressive driving on top of those, it is a recipe for disaster.
- Teenage drivers: Young drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 have less experience and are likelier to exhibit riskier behaviors like using their phones and driving under the influence.
Georgia Car Insurance Laws
Georgia laws stipulate that individuals involved in car accidents within the state must report the events when people are injured, or the property damage exceeds $500. The minimum liability insurance coverage amounts are:
- $25,000 bodily injury or death of one person
- $50,000 bodily injury or death or more than one person (in that same accident)
- $25,000 property damage
The statute of limitations for filing a car accident personal injury claim in Georgia is two years after the crash. If a fatality results from the crash, the statute of limitations is two years after that person’s passing. For vehicle or other property damage, it is four years. Georgia has a fault-based system for motor vehicle accidents, so an at-fault party is generally responsible for covering an injured party’s economic and non-economic costs related to an accident.
Personal injury lawsuits can have different outcomes because of Georgia’s comparative negligence law. If a plaintiff is found to be partially responsible for an accident they will be assigned a percentage and their awarded damages will be accordingly reduced. When courts decide that plaintiffs are 50 or more percent responsible, no compensation will be awarded.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help My Case?
Serious car accidents can lead to debilitating injuries, fatalities, overwhelming medical and property damage expenses, and temporary or permanent lost time from work. Many times, pain and suffering, and a loss of consortium may also part of the aftermath.
An experienced car accident lawyer will listen to your version of what happened and explain your rights. You will also be informed about the state’s laws. For example, if another party was at fault, they are liable for the damages, and you are entitled to seek compensation.
Once you enter into a contract with a car accident lawyer, they will communicate with the other driver’s insurance company so you will not have to. The evidence-gathering phase begins next, and your lawyer will be in touch with your insurance company, medical providers, and witnesses. If liability can be established, the next step would be negotiating an acceptable settlement with the responsible party’s insurance provider.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?
Many car accident survivors scour the internet, trying to understand how these cases work. This can lead to misinformation, stress, and needless anxiety. At Childers & McCain, LLC, we offer free initial consultations so you will not be confused about the facts. Our skilled, experienced attorneys diligently gather evidence and communicate with all of the involved parties. That way, you can concentrate on your recovery and not have to worry so much about the bills.
We can also negotiate with lien holders like your health insurance or workers’ compensation provider. Another part of the process is obtaining medical records from the facilities that treated you. Otherwise, you might get the runaround and end up frustrated and angry. Keep in mind that every car accident personal injury case is different, and yours might require more or less work to build up the claim. Another important thing to know is that we work on a contingency basis, so you will not have to pay anything up front.
The Savannah Car Accident Lawyers from Childers & McCain, LLC Are on Your Side
If you or someone you care about was injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the compassionate, experienced Savannah car accident lawyers at Childers & McCain, LLC. We will fight to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call our Macon, Georgia offices at 478-254-2007. We help clients throughout Macon, Savannah, Albany, and Atlanta.