A moment of distraction or wrong decision can change another person’s life forever.
The results can be deadly when drivers are distracted or violate traffic rules and regulations.
A collision can leave the victim with debilitating injuries, emotional trauma, and a terrifying list of expenses.
You would have legal rights in Georgia if you sustained injuries in a car accident due to another party’s negligence.
Our Georgia car accident lawyers will aggressively pursue the responsible party for compensation.
Our priority is to ensure you are not left with a massive debt that another party should be responsible for paying.
We want to help you hold the responsible party accountable for their negligence.
Georgia Auto Accident Statistics
In 2020, there were 35,766 fatal car accidents across the country. In these collisions, 38,824 people lost their lives. That works out to 11.7 deaths per 100,000 people.
That same year, Georgia had 1,522 fatal crashes that resulted in 1,664 deaths. Based on Georgia’s population, that’s a rate of 15.5 per 100,000 people, higher than the national average.
Of these collisions, 807 fatalities were drivers, 349 of which had a BAC of at least 0.08%. That means that 43% of drivers who died were drunk during the collision.
Common Causes of Auto Accidents
Any number of actions can lead to an auto collision in Georgia. Some of the most common causes we see include the following.
Distracted driving is more than just texting and driving.
Consider things like:
- Eating or drinking,
- Talking with passengers,
- Looking at the navigation,
- Changing the radio station, and
- Reaching for something.
Anything that takes the driver’s attention off the road is a distraction.
All motorists must follow traffic rules and regulations. Speeding or failure to stop at a red light are traffic violations that could lead to a severe accident.
Driving While Impaired
Getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs puts everyone at risk. However, impaired driving isn’t limited to illicit drugs and alcohol only.
You could be guilty of driving while impaired even by taking a prescription medication that makes you drowsy, for instance. If your doctor and pharmacist tell you not to operate a vehicle while taking a particular medicine, heed the warnings.
Driving While Fatigued
Driving when you’re tired or sleepy is also very dangerous. You could fall asleep behind the wheel and cause a serious, or even fatal, collision.
Road Rage or Racing
Some people act recklessly and engage in dangerous activities they know could harm others. For instance, someone who drag races and speeds excessively could kill people.
People who are aggressive and intentionally hit another vehicle or try to assault another motorist physically could face criminal charges as well.
Proving Liability in a Georgia Car Accident
Before the defendant’s insurance company offers you any compensation, you must prove liability against the other driver.
Proving liability is more complicated than many people realize. That is one reason why we recommend hiring a Georgia car accident lawyer.
To successfully prove the defendant is liable, you must show:
- The driver owed you some type of legal duty,
- The driver breached that legal duty,
- The driver’s breach of duty led to your injuries (causation), and
- You suffered financial losses due to the collision.
If you fail to prove even one element, your liability argument will not be successful. However, it doesn’t mean the defendant must be 100% at fault.
As long as you are less than 50% at fault, you can be partially responsible for the collision and still collect some of your damages.
For example, if you are 15% at fault, you could collect 85% of your damages. However, If you are 50% or more at fault, the defendant’s insurance company would deny your claim.
When you don’t have a Georgia car accident attorney representing you, the defendant’s insurance company will undoubtedly allege you are at least 50% at fault so they can extinguish any exposure for your injuries and other damages.
Types of Compensation Available Under Georgia Law
The amount of money you might receive in a car accident claim depends on your damages. Damages refer to financial losses, pain and suffering, and property damage.
They are broken down into two main categories—economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include tangible financial losses such as:
- Medical expenses, including hospitalization, doctor visits, diagnostic tests, physical therapy, and more;
- Future medical expenses;
- Lost wages from work and future loss of earnings; and
- Property damage, including personal property damaged in the collision.
Your general damages are more challenging to calculate because they are subjective. These losses include your physical pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of consortium, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Georgia Insurance Laws
All drivers in Georgia are required to carry liability insurance.
The minimum liability limits in Georgia are:
- $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident for bodily injury, and
- $25,000 per incident for property damage.
Some drivers opt to drive without insurance despite being legally required to do so. To protect yourself, you can purchase uninsured or underinsured insurance coverage.
That will allow you to make a claim for uninsured motorist (UM) coverage should the at-fault driver not have valid liability coverage.
Unfortunately, minimum limits won’t cover all damages in some auto collisions. Even moderate injury cases can easily exceed the $25,000 threshold.
Should your claim be worth more than the defendant’s insurance limits, underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage would allow you to pursue a claim through your own insurance company.
How to Deal with Insurance Companies in Georgia
When dealing with insurance companies, you must be extremely cautious about what you say to the adjuster. They are not on your side, no matter what they try to convince you of in conversation.
If you are unrepresented, the adjuster will be looking for you to say something they can use against you to establish your liability for the incident and release themselves from liability, if possible.
Depending on the collision severity and your injuries, the insurance company might try to get you to settle early in the claims process.
That could be a red flag. If they know your case could be worth significantly more, they might extend a “low ball” offer initially, hoping you take it so they can extinguish any further exposure.
If you try to settle your case before you finish medical treatments, you cannot go back and ask for additional compensation once you’ve signed a release of claims.
Benefits of Hiring a Georgia Car Accident Lawyer
Georgia law doesn’t require hiring a Georgia auto accident attorney to represent you, but it’s certainly recommended.
Building a solid case requires legal experience. Negotiating the highest settlement requires savvy negotiating skills. When hiring a Georgia accident attorney at MG Law, we will work tirelessly on your behalf.
The most significant benefit is you don’t need to navigate the challenges of the legal process alone.
We will start by initiating an independent investigation. You want a legal advocate who will go back and verify all the facts of the collision and speak to any witnesses who saw the crash.
In some cases, it may be necessary to hire industry experts. An accident reconstructionist can provide an expert opinion on how the collision occurred, which can be extremely useful when arguing liability.
Our office will also request all documentation, such as your medical and employment records.
In cases involving catastrophic injuries, we may need to hire an expert who can compile data on the potential value of permanent injuries, disfigurement, future medical treatment, etc.
Another benefit to hiring a lawyer is that we will handle all communication with the insurance company for you. You will not need to speak with the adjuster or negotiate on your own behalf.
Should the insurance company deny liability or offer compensation that is far less than your case is worth, we will proceed to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Like other states, Georgia has specific legal deadlines for personal injury claims. You typically only have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
In some cases, it might be significantly less time. Don’t risk missing the deadline because you didn’t hire an attorney early enough.
Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys in Georgia
Even a seemingly minor car accident can become complicated without warning. That’s why hiring a Georgia car accident attorney early in the claims process is best.
When you have a lawyer representing you from the start, we can preserve evidence and ensure witnesses are still locatable.
Also, you don’t risk missing any legal deadlines when you hire a lawyer immediately.
We have years of experience helping injured victims in Georgia. We aren’t afraid to stand up to these insurance companies or take your case to trial when necessary.
Schedule an initial consultation today and learn more about how we can assist you.