Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident is a traumatic event. Not only is the event itself traumatic, but the weeks and months following an accident can be stressful. Your injuries may take time to heal, or you may need ongoing treatment. You may have property damage, or total loss. You may also find that the process of getting compensation for your expenses or losses is a lengthy and complicated process. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with.
These are some of the reasons why it is helpful to consult an experienced car accident lawyer. Our car accident lawyers in Atlanta has seen the gamut of cases and can advise you on the best way to proceed. Maybe you need help getting an insurance company to pay, or maybe you want to learn more about personal injury claims. In any case, The Dixon Firm, P.C. can help you make the best decisions for your car accident case.
Types of Car Accident Cases We Handle
At The Dixon Firm, P.C., we have experience with all sorts of car accident cases. We help clients preserve their legal rights and get the compensation that they deserve. Whether you were injured in a “fender-bender” or a catastrophic truck accident, we can help you understand your rights as a driver in Atlanta, and find the best options for you to recover. Contact The Dixon Firm, P.C. if you have been injured in a:
- Single car accident
- Multi-car accident
- Head-on collision
- Rear-end collision
- Hit-and-run accident
- Drunk driving accident
- Distracted driving accident
- Uber accident
- Lyft accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Pedestrian accident
- Bicycle accident
- Truck accident
If someone you love was killed in any sort of car accident, we can also help you determine your rights under Georgia’s wrongful death laws. No matter what sort of accident you were involved in, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible so you can get the legal help and support that you need.
Atlanta Auto Accident Information
Atlanta highways are notorious for collisions and accidents. When there are six to twelve lanes of traffic, determining fault can get tricky, but a knowledgeable auto accident lawyer at The Dixon Firm, P.C. can help. Don’t accept representation from any lawyer just because he or she called you. When you work with our accomplished legal team, we use our years of experience to help you navigate the litigation process and advocate for your rights as a victim.
Georgia Auto Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety publish annual data on auto accident rates, percentages, and increases/decreases. There were 385,221 car accidents reported across the state in 2015. That number has continued to rise each year since 2008.
The most recent year for which data was published by the Georgia Governor’s Office was 2016. This data included the following statewide statistics for 2016:
- More than 19,000 accidents caused serious injuries.
- There were 1,432 car accident fatalities.
- 358 car accidents involved alcohol impairment.
- 268 car accidents involved speeding.
- 182 accidents involved a large truck.
- 152 accidents involved motorcycles.
- 194 accidents involved pedestrians.
- 23 accidents involved bicyclists/cyclists.
- 56 percent of car accident victims were not properly using safety belts.
- From 2014 to 2015, car accident fatality rates increased by almost 23 percent.
In the Metro-Atlanta area, some counties rate higher than others in terms of auto accidents and fatalities. In 2015, the top five counties were:
- Fulton – 104 fatalities
- DeKalb – 83 fatalities
- Gwinnett – 67 fatalities
- Chatham – 54 fatalities
- Cobb – 54 fatalities
If these statistics are not alarming enough, officials expect those numbers to continue rising following ongoing trends. In 2016, Georgia ranked 4th in the nation for car accident fatality rates. It was estimated that there are 15.1 roadway fatalities per 100,000 people.
Car Wrecks & Accidents Across the U.S.
On a nationwide level, the number of car wrecks and related injuries and deaths is staggering. Each year, around six million auto accidents occur across the U.S. These accidents resulted in 35,485 fatalities in 2015. In 2016, that number increased to 37,461 fatalities. These accidents are estimated to cause:
- 90 car accident deaths per day
- 3 million injuries
- 2 million permanent injuries
- Over $40 billion in damages
Across the U.S. the most common causes of accidents are alcohol, speeding, and reckless driving.
Common Causes of Auto Accidents in Georgia
There are numerous factors that may cause a car accident, or contribute to one. In Georgia, there are a few common causes of accidents that are reported more often than others. These include:
- Speeding – Speeding is a leading cause of accidents in Georgia. In 2016, the number of speed-related fatal car accidents increased by 25 percent. That makes speed a factor in 17 percent of fatal car accidents. Not only is speed a leading cause of accidents, but it is also a factor that exacerbates many other causes and contributing factors.
- Drunk Driving – Drunk driving is linked to as many as 25 percent of all fatal car accidents in Georgia. It is the leading cause of car accidents in general, and is one of the most common factors in car accidents causing serious injuries. In Georgia, driving under the influence (DUI) includes alcohol and drugs.
- Distracted Driving – Distractions are everywhere, even in our vehicles. While most people think of distractions being directly related to cell phones, the fact is that distracted driving includes any activities that take your focus off the road. That includes eating, applying makeup, talking to passengers, adjusting dash controls, etc. In 2015, 3.5 percent of car accidents in Georgia involved a distracted driver. A reported 72 distracted drivers were involved in 2,041 fatal accidents.
- Driver Inexperience – Teenage drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 cause more car accidents than any other age group. The reason is widely accepted as being due to inexperience. Teenage drivers are not as experienced managing traffic and difficult driving situations. This group is also more likely to speed, be distracted, or drive after consuming alcohol.
- Reckless Driving – There are many behaviors that may be classified as reckless driving. The most common behaviors – which are also often traffic violations – include:
- Aggressive driving
- Following too closely
- Failing to use signals
- Failing to yield when entering traffic
- Aggressive lane-changing/merging
- Driving while fatigued
- Driving inappropriately for weather conditions
- Driving inappropriately in construction sites
- Vehicle Malfunctions/Defects – When a vehicle malfunctions or has a defect, it can certainly impact how the vehicle handles and operates. Manufacturer defects can contribute to car accidents, or can worsen the outcome. For example, some 2019 car recalls have related to airbag function, seatbelts, defective steering wheels, and transmission gear-shifting failures. These are all defects that could contribute to an accident or increase the risk of injury.
- Improper Maintenance – Every car owner has a responsibility to properly maintain their vehicle so it is safe for the road. Whether you drive a Mini Cooper or a Mack truck, it is important for you, and those on the road around you, to keep your vehicle in good shape. Improper maintenance can increase the risk of brake failure, tire blowouts, or the vehicle becoming disabled in the road. These situations create hazards for other cars on the road, and can cause accidents for you, or those around you.
Georgia Car Accident Laws You Should Know
After a car accident, no one wants to take on the additional stress of navigating a web of complicated court proceedings, but when you’re injured in a car accident because of another driver’s error or negligence, you have rights.
- Fault System – Like many states, Georgia uses a “fault” system to determine liability. This means that the driver who caused the accident is liable for any resulting injuries or property damage. Insurance companies will investigate and determine fault before they supply any coverage.
- Negligence Laws – Many people wonder what will happen if they are partially responsible for an accident, but someone else was also responsible. Georgia has what is called a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that you can still recover damages in an accident if you were partially at fault. The court will determine the degree of fault on a scale of 1-100, and if you were less than 50 percent at fault, then you may be able to recover damages. Most car accident victims will not be eligible to recover damages if they are found to be 50 percent or more at fault.
- Insurance Requirements – Georgia law mandates that drivers have a certain level of insurance coverage on their vehicles. The minimum requirements are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury (for one injured individual)
- $25,000 in property damage
- $50,000 for bodily injury (more than one individual injured)
Sadly, too many people choose not to purchase minimum coverage, and are therefore uninsured or underinsured. What that means is that if they cause a car accident, their insurance (if any) will not cover the cost of anyone else’s property damage or injuries.
- Statute of Limitations – If you plan to file a claim for damages, there is a deadline, called the statute of limitations. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for injury claims is generally two years from the date of injury. There may also be ante litem notification requirements, before the two-year limit, if your claim is against a government entity. After that, your case will most likely be refused.
- Damage Caps – While car accident injuries can result in significant expenses, Georgia law places a cap on the amount of certain damages you can receive in an accident claim. There is currently no cap on compensatory damages in general, but there is a cap on punitive damages (designed to punish the at-fault party) of $250,000.
Understanding Your Car Accident Case and Legal Options
As you can see, there are many things to consider after a car accident. Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate this process on your own. An experienced car accident lawyer in Atlanta can help you determine what form of negligence caused your car accident, who was at fault, what insurance will cover, and what you can do to get the compensation you deserve.
Car accidents are stressful and often traumatic events. It’s important to understand how to protect your rights in the case of an Atlanta car accident. Here are some important things to consider:
- Do You Have a Case – The first thing you want to determine is if you have a case. If you were injured in a car accident and were 50 percent or less at fault, then you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim is different from insurance claims, and can provide additional compensation for your injuries, expenses, and other losses.
- Damages – Auto accidents take a physical, emotional, and financial toll on victims and their loved ones. Unlike basic insurance claims, a personal injury claim allows you to pursue damages for more detailed losses. The types of damages you are able to pursue will largely depend on the facts of your case. Georgia law divides damages into two categories:
- Economic – Economic damages are losses related to assets or money. Examples include:
- Medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Inability to earn wages (disability)
- Personal property damage
- Non-Economic – These damages are losses that are equally as important, but more difficult to quantify financially. Examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Economic – Economic damages are losses related to assets or money. Examples include:
- Evidence – While focusing on recovering from your injuries, you also want to make sure there’s a complete trail of evidence. This will help support your damage claims down the road. Keep copies of any medical reports, invoices, prescriptions, insurance letters, or other communications related to the accident. If you gathered witness information at the accident scene, keep that on hand for your attorney to review.
- Settlement/Negotiations – Many Atlanta car accident cases are settled outside of court. That means that the at-fault party and his or her insurance or attorneys decide on a settlement amount to offer the victim. The victim then has the option of accepting or rejecting the settlement offer. Negotiating with insurance companies and other parties is complicated, and it is best to speak with an Atlanta car accident lawyer before agreeing to any kind of settlement offer.
- Going to Court – If a settlement offer is inadequate for what the victim has suffered, or if no offer is made but insurance coverage is absent or lacking, then the case may proceed to trial. It is important to work with a car accident lawyer who is a skilled trial lawyer. If your case goes to trial, you need to be confident that your case is strong, and that your rights are being adequately represented.
What to do if You’re Injured in a Car Accident in Atlanta
Car accidents are overwhelming and stressful, and many people aren’t sure what to do in the aftermath. Here are some tips from the Atlanta car accident lawyers at The Dixon Firm, P.C.
- Don’t Admit Fault – Even though it is often a knee-jerk response, avoid admitting fault or apologizing to anyone.
- Call 911 – Call the police and make sure they file an official report of the accident. A thorough police report that records all the details of the accident and the information of other drivers and witnesses can be extremely helpful in getting compensation later.
- Seek Medical Attention – Even if you don’t think you’re badly hurt, injuries from a car accident – like whiplash or a concussion – can often surface later. Don’t take chances with your health. After any sort of car accident injury it is important to get thoroughly checked out right away.
- Keep Records – Keep records of all medical care you receive. If you happen to pursue a lawsuit, it improves your chances of getting compensation should you go to court for damages. Some juries may be reluctant to believe someone waited weeks after an accident to go to the doctor for the first time, but is now suing to recover damages for injuries. It’s also important to follow your doctor’s treatment advice – most importantly, it helps your recovery process, but it also shows that you took your injuries seriously.
- Contact a Car Accident Lawyer – Even if you don’t plan to sue for damages in court after a car accident, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case and ensure that your rights are being upheld.
An experienced car accident lawyer at The Dixon Firm, P.C. does more than just represent you in a lawsuit; our team of experts will evaluate your case and protect your rights in the event of litigation. At our firm, we offer free consultations to help you understand the facts of your case and where you stand regarding Georgia law, all with no obligation.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer
From the moment you contact The Dixon Firm, P.C., our team of car accident lawyers work to represent your interests. We will send out investigators to the site of the crash, take photographs of property and vehicle damage, talk to witnesses, look at police reports and hospital records, communicate with insurance companies, and gather all available information to build your case.
Once we’ve gathered all the evidence, your car accident lawyer will go over everything with you. We will help you understand the strength of your case, your legal options, and your chances of compensation. No matter what direction your case takes, the team at The Dixon Firm, P.C. is on your side.