Articles Posted in Car Collisions

aseasThe Christmas and Holiday season, while a time of joy and celebration, also brings about unique challenges for drivers on the road. As families come together and festivities abound, the increased traffic, adverse weather conditions, and various distractions contribute to a heightened risk of accidents. In this article, we will delve into the most dangerous threats that drivers face during the Christmas season in Georgia.

  1. Increased Traffic Congestion:

One of the primary challenges during the Christmas season is the surge in traffic on the roads. As people travel to be with their loved ones or embark on holiday getaways, highways and local roads become crowded. The sheer volume of vehicles can lead to congestion, longer travel times, and a higher likelihood of accidents.

Car accidents can be life-altering experiences. Beyond the immediate shock and pain, victims often grapple with medical expenses, vehicle repairs, lost wages, and emotional trauma. In such challenging times, choosing the right personal injury attorney to represent you can make a significant difference. This guide aims to provide a clear pathway to make an informed choice.

  1. Understand the Importance of a Personal Injury Attorney

Before you embark on your search, it’s essential to understand the role a personal injury attorney plays. This professional will:

Craft-picture-300x300Car wrecks, also commonly referred to as car accidents or traffic accidents, occur for a variety of reasons, many of which are preventable. These accidents can result in property damage, injuries, and even fatalities. Understanding the common causes of car wrecks is crucial for improving road safety and reducing the frequency of accidents. In this comprehensive explanation, we will explore the most common causes of car wrecks, providing insight into the factors that contribute to these incidents and offering suggestions for prevention.

  1. Distracted Driving (Smartphones and Other Distractions): One of the leading causes of car wrecks in recent years is distracted driving. The increasing use of smartphones and other electronic devices has exacerbated this problem. Drivers often text, browse social media, or use apps while behind the wheel, taking their attention away from the road. To combat this issue, many jurisdictions have enacted laws against texting and driving, and campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving have been launched.
  2. Speeding: Excessive speed is a significant contributor to car wrecks. Speed limits are established to ensure safe driving conditions, but many drivers choose to exceed them. High speeds

hammer-to-fall-1223606-1-300x199Personal injury law is a multifaceted field, with its own set of rules, procedures, and intricacies. Navigating this legal landscape without the guidance of an experienced attorney is akin to embarking on a treacherous journey without a map. You may find yourself lost in a maze of legal jargon, deadlines, and complex statutes that can leave you at a disadvantage.

In Georgia, as in many states, personal injury law is subject to change and evolution. New court decisions and legislative amendments can alter the rules of the game. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer stays up-to-date with these changes and understands how they can impact your case. They can leverage this knowledge to build a strong case on your behalf, ensuring that you’re on solid legal ground.

The Battle Against Insurance Companies

money-dollar-coins-metal-value-300x191You just got into a car wreck and it wasn’t your fault. You instantly feel the pain. You treat with several doctors and are represented by an experienced personal injury lawyer.  After you have completed your treatment and a demand will be now be completed and sent to the insurance company requesting money for your losses.  How much should your attorney demand from the insurer? What are the elements in any personal injury demand?

Determining the value of injuries and costs in a car accident claim is a complex process that involves various elements. Insurance companies, legal professionals, and other stakeholders consider multiple factors to assess the extent of injuries, the associated costs, and the overall compensation owed to the injured party.

  1. Medical Expenses: One of the primary elements considered in car accident claims is the injured party’s medical expenses. This includes the cost of emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care. These expenses are quantifiable and serve as a foundation for evaluating the overall value of the claim.

As a Georgia accident lawyer, I understand the critical importance of evidence in establishing liability and seeking justice for victims involved in car accidents. In a car crash trial, evidence plays a pivotal role in determining the sequence of events, identifying responsible parties, and evaluating the extent of damages. In this article, I will explore the various types of evidence commonly presented in car crash trials, highlighting their significance and how they contribute to the overall strength of a case.

  1. Eyewitness Testimony:

Eyewitness testimony is one of the most powerful forms of evidence in a car crash trial. Eyewitnesses provide firsthand accounts of the accident, offering crucial details regarding the events leading up to the collision, the actions of the drivers involved, and other pertinent factors. Their statements can help establish fault and shed light on any negligent or reckless behavior exhibited by either party. The credibility and reliability of eyewitness testimony are usually evaluated based on factors such as visibility, proximity to the accident, and their ability to recall accurate details.

If you are reading this blog post, then it is probably because you received a letter from the Georgia Insolvency Pool regarding your bodily injury claim as a result of a car accident or workers’ compensation accident. This blog will focus on the car accident injury claim.  Basically, the insurance company for the at-fault driver which is responsible for handling your injury claim is in bankruptcy or receivership as it no longer has enough assets (money) to pay for your injury claim.  Covered claims under the Georgia Insolvency Pool generally requires that the insured (at-fault motorist) be a resident of Georgia at the time of the car wreck when either the insured or third-party claimant (injured innocent victim) was a resident of Georgia at the time of the automobile collision.

Typically, the Georgia Insolvency Pool (“Pool”) will request an affidavit from you that discloses contact and policy information regarding any other possible automobile insurance policy that could cover your injury claim (e.g. uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage on your own car policy) from the car crash besides the fault motorist’s insurer which is now insolvent.

The reason for that is that the Georgia Insolvency Pool is trying to limit its exposure (save money) to pay you for the claim.  If you have other coverage besides the at fault motorist’s insurer, then that other coverage becomes primary (pays first) and Georgia Insolvency coverage becomes secondary (pays second).   Under O.C.G.A. 33-36-14, your own insurance coverage (if applicable and existing – typically uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage under your own auto policy) must exhaust (pay out) its limits prior to any payment of your claim by the Georgia Insolvency Pool.  Moreover, the Pool gets credit for whatever the primary insurer pays to you.  And, your uninsured motorist bodily injury (“UMBI”) carrier may be able to recover (rare) what it paid to you from the assets of the insolvent insurance company.

Governor Kemp’s order for all Georgia residents to stay at home went into effect on April 3, 2020 which effectively allows Georgia residents to get outside for exercise, shop for groceries, seek medical help and to keep going to work at jobs deemed “essential.”  Thus, the only motorists allowed on Georgia roads should be grocery shoppers, essential workers and persons seeking medical treatment.   As I look out my window from the office, I still see many motorists on Piedmont Road in Atlanta; however, daily normal traffic of approximately 35-40K+ cars on Piedmont Road has greatly reduced since enactment of the aforementioned order.

As there are motorists on the roads in Georgia, the possibly exists that some motorists may be involved in car collisions.  As a result of those car collision, drivers and passengers may be injured and require treatment.  But, where should persons as a result of car collisions treat in the Covid age?  I have heard that emergency rooms across Atlanta are accepting patients with life/death situations; whether or not injured motorists whose injuries do not rise to that level are being accepted at those hospitals is unknown.  Of course, the reality is that wait times at hospitals are increasing.

If a person injured as the result of a car wreck is unable to treat at the hospital, then there are other options for treatment including but not limited to, urgent care centers, pain management physicians, chiropractors, orthopedists and similar health care providers.  It is best to do your homework and Google or call different providers to see hours/times/availability to best care for your injuries.

Recently, in Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company v. Rockefeller, the Court of Appeals of Georgia upheld the trial court’s ruling that declined to allow the insurance company to offset Rockefeller’s worker’s compensation recovery against the amount the company owed to him under his policy. Because the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident did not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay for Rockefeller’s damages, he sought additional compensation under his policy with Georgia Farm Bureau.  Rockefeller had four uninsured motorist (“UM”) policies totaling  $100,000 that were in effect at the time of the accident. However, Georgia Farm Bureau argued that because Rockefeller received $197,966.55 through workers compensation benefits for his injuries, and a $25,000 settlement from the other driver’s insurance company, his recovery exceeded the coverage limits of his UM policies, thus reducing Georgia Farm Bureau’s liability to Rockefeller under the UM policies to zero.

But, Rockefeller’s workers’ compensation award provided a weekly amount less than the wages he was earning at the time of the accident, so he accumulated an additional $183,022.38 in lost wages for which he was not compensated. The Court of Appeals rejected Georgia Farm Bureau’s argument, and held that the insurance company was liable up to the $100,000 combined coverage limit of Rockefeller’s four UM policies for losses he sustained that were not covered by his worker’s compensation award or his settlement with the other driver’s insurer.

The parties’ argument in this case revolved around the interpretation of OCGA § 33-7-11 which essentially provides that insurance policies may contain provision which provide for exclusions of liability of the insurer for personal injury or death for which the insured has been compensated under a workers’ compensation policy. Rockefeller’s insurance policy with Georgia Farm Bureau contained such a limitation, but the court refused to allow Georgia Farm Bureau to offset the amount owed to Rockefeller under his uninsured motorist policy by the amount Rockefeller recovered from other sources. This case provides an important precedent establishing a distinction between situations where plaintiffs would receive a duplicative recovery and where insurance companies seek to avoid the disbursement of funds owed under insurance policies simply because the policy-holder received some compensation from other sources. Thus, even where a plaintiff recovers some compensation from a source, like worker’s compensation, a non-duplication provision does not bar the insured from recovering from his insurer for uncompensated losses. While it is understandable that insurance companies would want to include non-duplication provisions in policies with their insureds, this ruling makes clear that insurance companies will not be let off the hook simply because their insureds have been partially compensated by alternative means. This holding reaffirms the precedent in Marby v. State Farm Automotive Insurance Corporation, which states that insurance companies remain liable up to the amount set forth in the policy limits so long as the plaintiff remains uncompensated for at least a portion of their damages, including future medical expenses, future lost earnings, and past and future pain and suffering.

marijuana-plant-1462950A recent study conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute is raising red flags about the legalization of marijuana for recreational use and its correlation to an increase in the number of vehicle collisions reported to insurance companies in Colorado, Oregon and Washington. The study compared the collision rates of Colorado, Oregon and Washington both before and after each state passed the legalization initiatives with the rates from Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming, where marijuana is still illegal. According to the Institute, since marijuana was legalized, claims are up 6.2 percent in Washington, 4.5 percent in Oregon and 16 percent in Colorado. The increase in reported collision rates appears to correlate to the lapse of time since the legalization, with Oregon being the most recent to legalize marijuana and having the smallest increase out of the three states, and Colorado being the first to legalize marijuana and having the greatest increase.

Critics of the study question the validity of the findings, as population densities in Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming have significantly less dense population centers than Colorado, Oregon and Washington. However, according to researchers, the study accounted for factors such as the number of vehicles on the road, the driver demographics, employment status and weather. Certainly such variations will affect the outcome of a study to some degree, but the significant increase in reported traffic collisions should not be minimized. While the Highway Loss Data Institute cautioned that the study did not look at highway fatality rates nor did it allege that the increase was directly caused by drivers who were high, the findings did indicate a greater crash risk to all drivers on the road.

To be sure, some of the increased percentage could be linked to an increased willingness of high-drivers to report traffic collisions due to the decreased risk of criminal culpability. While driving high is still unlawful, modern technology currently provides no means of determining the degree of influence a marijuana user may be under in a manner similar to that of a breathalyzer test for blood alcohol concentration. Thus, if the driver believes he can conceal the fact that he is under the influence of marijuana and he in possession of the substance, he will be far more willing to contact local law enforcement officials to report a collision than if he were in a jurisdiction that still outlaws pot. More significantly, as more and more states pass initiatives legalizing marijuana for recreational use, the rate of marijuana consumption will inevitably climb and the rate of high drivers will follow suit. After all, high drivers have a significantly greater chance of getting away with driving under the influence than drunk drivers due to the absence of any on-scene testing mechanism.

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