Sandy Springs and Atlanta, Georgia
Auto accidents can result in life-altering injuries. Mounting medical expenses, lost income while you recover, and a lengthy rehabilitation can place a significant financial burden on you and your family. Accordingly, you should have an auto accident lawyer on your side to help you through this difficult time.
Our auto accident lawyer represents clients in Sandy Springs, Atlanta and throughout Georgia. She will fight for your rights to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. We will focus on recovering your settlement so that you can devote all of your energy to healing. With more than 30 years of experience handling auto accident claims in the Atlanta area, we have the skills needed to deliver the high quality representation you deserve.
What to Do After an Auto Accident in Georgia
- Call the police immediately after an auto accident. Leave the vehicles where they are until the police arrive unless you can move them to a safer position. You should also obtain the following information from the other drivers and, if applicable, witnesses:
- Full name
- Driver’s license number
- Home telephone number
- Work telephone number, cell phone number (if possible)
- Vehicle license number
- Insurance company name and policy number
- Witness names, addresses and phone numbers
- Be sure to take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the accident scene itself. This should be done as soon as is practical because scenes change quickly due to the time of day and the weather conditions.
- See a doctor immediately, even if you don’t think you have been injured. Many injuries stemming from vehicle accidents do not manifest themselves right away. Seeing a doctor will start a permanent record of possible injuries related to the accident which will be useful in your settlement negotiations with the insurance company.
- Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to notify them of the accident. In most cases, the accident must be reported if there is damage in excess of $500, if there are injuries or if there is a fatality. Be sure you are aware of any time limits outlined in your insurance policy.
- Notify your insurance company as soon as possible even if the other person is at fault. You should deal with your own insurance company if you have collision insurance. Your auto insurance company is obligate to attempt in good faith to promptly and fairly settle your property damage. If you are not at fault, your insurance rates should not rise and your insurance company should get the other insurance company to reimburse the deductible costs.
- If you are injured, inform the other person’s insurance carrier. You are not legally obligated to divulge detailed information about your injuries. Submit your medical bills to your own insurance company. Your insurer should seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company.
What Not to Do After a Car Wreck in Georgia
- Do not give any statements to the police or anyone else if you are not clear-headed. Once you feel healthy enough, give a statement to the police officer on scene. Do not give any statements, orally or written, to the other insurance carrier. They can get a copy of your statement and the report from your insurance company.
- Do not sign any authorization agreement sent by the other insurance company. Often the authorization releases them to read any medical and employment records about you. You have the right to ask the other insurance company what records it wants. You may then provide them with only those records pertinent to your case.
- Do not settle your claim prematurely or exaggerate the extent of your damage or injuries. You will eventually be found out and then you will receive nothing and may even be counter-sued. Don’t believe anything the other insurance company tells you unless you have verified it through your own company or a qualified lawyer.
Common Auto Accident Injuries
Car accident injuries can range from minor scrapes and bruises to life-altering harm such as paralysis to potentially fatal conditions including traumatic brain injuries.
The car accident lawyer at Robbins & Associates have more than three decades of experience successfully representing car accident victims throughout Georgia. Our attorney has represented people with most common car accident injuries. She understands that a car accident can leave you facing costly medical treatment, time away from work, rehabilitation and even permanent disability.
If you or a family member suffered injury in a car accident, it’s important to seek treatment and contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible. If the car accident was the fault of another driver, our Atlanta car accident lawyer may be able to help you pursue financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering among other damages.
Common car accident injuries include:
- Brain injuries
- Burn injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Muscle sprains or strains
- Cuts or lacerations
Because the symptoms of some injuries may not be immediately obvious following a car accident, it’s critical to undergo evaluation by medical personnel regardless of whether or not you believe you are hurt.
If a loved one has died in an auto accident, you may also have the right to collect damages through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
There can be any number of contributing factors to car accidents, and determining the cause of an accident is not always easy. The most effective way to determine the actual cause of a car accident is with the help of an experienced car accident lawyer who can investigate your accident, establish fault, and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Following are a few of the common causes of car accidents that our law firm’s clients have experienced:
One of the leading causes of car accidents in the Atlanta area is driver distraction. Distraction occurs any time a driver takes his or her eyes off of the road, but is most commonly linked to things such as:
- Cellphone use
- Adjusting a radio or music device
- Applying makeup
- Eating or drinking
- Reading a map/using GPS
Drivers talking on their cell phones face several distractions including dialing their phone, becoming engrossed in their conversation, and the hindrance a phone imposes when making turns or engaging in sudden driving maneuvers.
As a result of these distractions, cell phone use has caused many drivers to weave or fail to maintain a constant speed. There have also been many instances where drivers talking on their cell phones have rear ended a vehicle stopped in front of them.
Facts about Cell Phone Use and Car Accidents
There have been numerous studies linking cell phone use while driving to an increased risk of auto accidents causing serious injuries and even death. Consider the following facts:
- According to NHTSA, in 2013, 10% of all fatal crashes in the US involved texting and driving and 32,719 people were killed.
- Accidents caused by drivers distracted by cell phone result in approximately 424,000 injuries annually.
- Drivers using cell phones have the same reaction time as drunk drivers – they are 9% slower to brake and 19% slower to return to normal driving speeds.
- Drivers using cell phones are four times as likely to get into an auto accident.
- While some states have imposed laws requiring the use of hands-free devices while driving, statistics do not demonstrate that these devices significantly reduce the risk of an accident.
Text Messaging and Auto Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers who text while operating a vehicle are 23 times more likely to cause an accident. Due to this, the state of Georgia has banned texting while driving, but places no other restrictions on cellphone use. However, this does not diminish your right to file a claim when you are injured in an accident by a driver who was using a cellphone for purposes other than texting.
Text messaging while driving creates a serious distraction for drivers as well. A 2007 survey found that 19% of drivers admit to texting while driving. Drivers have to completely divert their attention from the road in order to read, write, and send text messages while driving. This greatly increases the risk of a car accident.
Text messaging is particularly a problem for teenagers and drivers in their 20’s. A 2006 survey indicated that 37% of teenagers believe that text messaging is their greatest distraction while driving.
Experienced Auto Accident Attorney Representing Victims of Distracted Driving
If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by a driver calling or texting on a mobile device in Atlanta, Sandy Springs or anywhere in Georgia, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Our auto accident lawyer has the skills, resources, and experience needed to provide you with the greatest likelihood of success in your distracted driving car accident claim.
Distracted driving claims involving cell phone use and auto accidents can be complex. Often, multiple parties may be held liable for your injuries. If the driver responsible for the accident was talking on a work-related phone call, the driver’s employer may also be held liable. Attorney Laurie Robbins has a thorough understanding of the laws governing these cases and can help advise you as to the proper parties to include in your lawsuit.
Other Common Causes of Car Accidents
In addition to driver distraction, many Atlanta car accidents are caused by things such as:
- Drunk drivers
- Aggressive or speeding drivers
- Road construction and other roadway hazards
- Vehicle defects
When you are involved in a car accident in Atlanta, identifying its cause is crucial for the success of your case. In the state of Georgia, if you are found to be more than 50 percent responsible for an auto accident, you cannot recover damages through legal action. To help ensure you are provided the true compensation you deserve, you will need an experienced car accident attorney on your side as soon as possible.
Proving Fault in an Auto Accident
One of the most important aspects in an auto accident case is establishing fault. Attorney Laurie Robbins is highly experienced in handling these claims in the Atlanta metro area. We work with you to hold the negligent parties, whether other drivers or vehicle manufacturers, responsible. We work with accident reconstructionists and traffic experts to conclusively prove negligence in your case.
Remember, the insurance company tries to pay out as little as possible and settle as quickly as possible. Therefore, you should consult with an attorney before making a statement to the insurance company in order to ensure that this statement is not used to unfairly limit your compensation. Attorney Robbins has handled thousands of auto accident cases. We stand up for your rights against the insurance company to ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve as an automobile accident victim.
How is Fault Determined in Georgia
Fault for an accident is sometimes clear-cut. One driver breaks a specific law, such as a speed limit, or running a stop sign. His action causes an accident. He is then issued a ticket that indicates he was breaking a law. The other driver was observing all applicable driving laws and was injured in the accident. In this case, the injured driver is obviously not at fault, and will be entitled to compensation.
In other cases, though, establishing fault might be less straightforward. For example, one driver ran a red light, but the other driver was speeding. The resulting accident could have occurred as a result of both negligent actions. An insurance adjuster might evaluate the circumstances to determine fault, or this case might end up in court, where a legal determination of fault will be made.
Why Fault is Important
In cases where both drivers are ruled to be at fault, the court must then decided what percentage of the fault falls to each party. Did the driver running the red light contribute over half of the fault for the accident, or should fault be equally divided between both drivers?
In the state of Georgia, if one of these drivers is found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, that driver will not be entitled to compensation, but the other driver will be eligible for a settlement. Because of this approach, called proportional comparative fault, determining compensation can be complex, and requires the help of an experienced car accident attorney to ensure you receive a settlement to help defray the costs of your injuries and/or damage to your car.
Proving Fault in Rear-End Collsions in Georgia
Rear-end collisions can occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, they prove to be unavoidable accidents. In other cases, they are the result of a clear-cut violation of the rules of the road. How fault is determined in this type of accident is often influenced by various state-specific laws related to traffic violations.
Georgia Law Regarding Rear-End Collisions
Georgia state law requires you to maintain a safe following distance between yourself and the car in front of you. This means that you should always have enough room and time to slow down or even stop if the car in front of you should stop suddenly or do something unexpected that requires you to slow down or bring your car to a standstill.
For this reason, fault for most rear-end collisions in Georgia falls upon the driver who rear-ended the car in front. Presumably, if this driver had been maintaining a safe following distance, he would have been able to decelerate quickly enough to avoid the collision. In most cases, this makes finding fault in a rear-end collision fairly clear-cut.
Other Reasons for Rear-End Collisions
This approach to finding fault in rear-end collisions is not always as straightforward as it sounds. There are conditions in which the person driving the back-most car in this type of a collision is not at fault.
For example, if a car swerves in front of you suddenly from another lane, taking up the space you have established as a safe following distance, you might not have time to establish a new safe following distance if that car then decelerates abruptly. In this case, the fault for the collision belongs to the other car, which made an unsafe maneuver in front of you.
In another example, if you are stationary behind another car and a car strikes you from behind, the force of the collision could drive you into the car ahead of you. In this case, you are not responsible for that collision, because you were not even moving at the time. Fault then lies with the driver who struck you from behind.
Auto Accidents and Drunk Drivers
Any serious injury can be devastating to you and your family. However, when the injury was caused by a drunk driver, it may be even more difficult to handle. In these situations, it is easy to be consumed with feelings of anger and resentment towards the person who irresponsibly got behind the wheel after having too much to drink.
At Robbins & Associates, PC, we share your outrage at individuals who risk the lives of others by driving drunk and is committed to protecting the rights of you and your loved ones if you have been the victim of such a tragic accident. Our attorney will listen carefully to the details of your story in order to devise the best strategy to ensure that the drunk driver is held accountable for your damages.
Damages in a Drunk Driving Auto Accident in Georgia
There are many tangible expenses you face after your accident with a drunk driver, including:
- Medical bills, such as
- Ambulance and emergency room bills
- Hospital expenses
- Prescription medication
- Prosthetics and aids, including canes and wheelchairs
- Physical therapy and ongoing treatment
- Lost wages as a result of
- Deceased wage earner
- Time off from work
- Decreased earning potential
- Funeral expenses
In addition, you can receive compensation for intangible losses as a result of your accident, including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and diminished quality of life.
Who is responsible for Your Drunk Driving Auto Accident
Of course, the primary person responsible for the accident is the drunk driver. However, few drunk drivers get drunk at home alone and then venture out on a whim. In most cases, drunk drivers are facilitated by numerous people who could have prevented or discouraged the driver from getting behind the wheel. These may include:
- Bars, restaurants, and clubs that serve visibly intoxicated drivers
- Bars, restaurants, and clubs that serve underage drinkers
- Sober companions or passengers that allowed an intoxicated person to drive
- Insurance companies that continue to insure a driver with a record of multiple DUIs
- Commercial companies that hire or maintain drivers with a history of DUIs
If you have been hurt in a drunk driving accident in Georgia, holding all involved parties responsible not only ensures that you receive just compensation for your loss, it also encourages others to do everything possible to keep drunk drivers off the road in the future.
Car Accidents with Inanimate Objects
Car accidents can cause devastating damage to both your vehicle and to you. This is true even if the car accident does not involve two moving cars. One car colliding with a stationary object can also end in massive damage and serious injury, whether the stationary object is a parked car, a tree, a telephone pole, a mailbox or a building.
Insurance for Car Accidents with Inanimate Objects
In many cases, basic collision insurance will cover automobile accidents involving inanimate objects. However, it is important to know exactly what your policy covers, as some collision insurance will not cover damage due to this type of accident.
If your automobile insurance policy includes comprehensive coverage, this portion of your policy might cover this type of accident when collision coverage does not. As is the case with any automobile accident, you should always contact your insurance agent to determine what damage is likely to be covered. You should also always speak with an experienced car accident lawyer before settling with the insurance company.
Liability and Inanimate Objects
Liability may be difficult to determine after a collision with an inanimate object. If the object was somewhere it was not supposed to be, the object’s owner might be liable for the damages. However, if a driver is careless and collides with your mailbox, house or tree, he will likely be liable for the damages.
Other conditions can also affect liability, however. For example, consider a case in which you collide with a tree that then falls and destroys your car. At first, it would seem that you would be liable, since you struck a stationary object. However, later investigation could show that the tree was improperly cared for, leading to rotting and instability. Had it been properly treated or removed, your car would not have been destroyed. In this case, liability could be found to fall upon the property owner who did not care for the tree.
In cases where liability is unclear and a case must go to court to determine damages, be sure to contact an experienced car accident lawyer at Robbins & Associates to help you navigate the complex process involved in making your case and securing damages. The right car accident lawyer can make the difference between receiving damages and facing debilitating repair costs or extensive medical bills.
Car Accidents and Pre-Existing Conditions
Sometimes, insurance companies will attempt to avoid paying compensation in a car accident case by claiming the victim had a pre-existing condition. In other words, the insurance company will say that your injuries existed before the accident and were not directly caused by it.
In order to circumvent this argument, you must able to prove that the car accident either worsened your pre-existing condition, or that your injuries are different than your pre-existing condition. This can be tricky to establish and prove without expert help, which is why, if you had a pre-existing condition that was exacerbated by a car accident, it is so important to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side.
Be Sure to Disclose Your Prior Injuries
During your free consultation with our attorney, we will ask you to disclose any previous injuries or medical conditions you had before your car accident – no matter how different they may be from your current injuries. Failing to bring these conditions to light could seriously interfere with your claim’s credibility and value, especially if the pre-existing condition affects the same area of your body that was injured in the car accident.
Vulnerability Caused by a Pre-Existing Condition
If you have a pre-existing injury, it may have made you more vulnerable to injury in a car accident – or more susceptible to aggravation of your condition. This argument can be used in your favor, especially if you suffered injury in a low-impact car accident, where the insurance company may doubt that the accident alone caused your serious injuries.
This is why properly documenting your condition pre-accident is so important to your case. The negligent driver is still responsible for the damage his reckless actions caused, but you must first demonstrate that the accident directly led to your current condition.
Analyzing Medical Records
When a pre-existing condition is involved in a car accident case, our Atlanta car accident attorneys work with a team of medical experts to compare past medical records, diagnostic tests, x-rays, and other information in order to verify exactly what your pre-existing condition entailed, and how it was affected by the accident.
Questions about car accident claims in Georgia.
- Why do I need an attorney after an auto accident? Isn’t my insurance company supposed to help me? While it’s true that the insurance company will handle the basics, the insurance company wants to settle your case as quickly as possible with the minimal payout. The insurance company is not as willing to determine negligence and fault as it is to settle the case. Our experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer works to ensure that you receive your maximum potential settlement.
- My accident wasn’t that serious and I feel fine. Should I see a doctor anyway? Our Sandy Springs car accident law firm recommends that you see your physician after any automobile accident. Some injuries may take a while to appear. If you intend to file a claim at a later date, having a physician’s report will help your claim.
- Should I call the police after a car wreck? Yes. Even if neither you nor the other party appears to be injured, a police report will help if you decide to file a claim at a later date. The police report will help the insurance company determine fault in the accident. It may also help the jury if your case goes to trial.
- If my spouse is injured or killed in an accident, can I file a claim? In most instances you can file a claim if the loss of or severe injury to your spouse results in a loss of income and acute change in your lifestyle.
For additional information, please visit the following pages:
- Uninsured motorist claims in Georgia
- Car accidents while on the job in Georgia
- Road construction and car accident claims in Georgia
- Safe driving tips
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in Sandy Springs, Atlanta or anywhere in Georgia, please contact our Atlanta auto accident lawyer today for a free, no obligation consultation.