Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

What-is-a-Recorded-Statement-and-Why-Should-I-Care-300x200People all over the United States get into car accidents every day.  They call the liable insurance company and get funneled through to a variety of different insurance adjusters who help them work out various claims related to the wreck.  In a single wreck, a claimant may ultimately talk to 4 different adjusters from just one company, and that’s before their case randomly gets assigned to a new adjuster for personal reasons.  You might have a bodily injury adjuster, a medical payments adjuster, a property damage adjuster and (if the damage is sufficient) a total loss adjuster.  It’s all very confusing and often people may not know which adjuster they’re reaching or that there’s a difference – they just want someone to help them with their claim.

What is a Recorded Statement?

Once they finally reach the correct adjuster, it can be a big relief.  However, the adjuster is not usually friendly, pleasant or sympathetic to the caller.  In their inexperience, many people overlook a very important moment called a “Recorded Statement.”  All of us are used to being warned that we’re being recorded when we call a big corporation.  The requirement has integrated itself so thoroughly into the corporate culture that, for most of us, it’s just background noise.  When you call customer service for your bank or credit card or your internet provider or any number of other corporations you deal with on a regular basis, you’re warned repeatedly that you’ll be recorded.  It’s the cost of doing business.  This is, in large part, thanks to states like Florida in which it is illegal to record a conversation if both parties have not acknowledged and consented to the recording.  Since companies don’t always know what state their callers are calling from, they warn everyone.  And it all seems very harmless.

Should-An-Attorney-Recommend-Medical-Treatment-After-a-Car-Accident-300x200Suppose you have been injured in a car accident and have been to the emergency room or urgent care, and now need further treatment.  You have hired a Duluth personal injury lawyer to represent you, and he or she has told you to seek out a follow-up appointment with your doctor.  These instructions seem vague to you and perhaps you do not know exactly what you should do.  Your attorney is not trying to confuse you.  He or she is trying to protect your interests and preserve a credible personal injury claim in a manner that accurately represents your injuries and the integrity of your claim.

Should An Attorney Recommend Medical Treatment After a Car Accident?

There is a common misunderstanding regarding what a lawyer can and cannot, or should not, do for clients who are injured in a car accident.  It is understandable that the entire process of setting up doctors’ appointments and navigating through your treatment can be overwhelming, especially if your car has been totaled or is being repaired.  However, when it comes to personal injury claims, there are certain things that are best handled on your own, such as establishing treatment with a doctor.  Yes, your attorney can guide you through some of the processes, especially when doctors’ offices claim they cannot use health insurance if you were in a car accident.

Scootermania-300x200In Atlanta, ride sharing transportation options are plentiful.  We have everything from Uber and Lyft to bicycles and electric bicycles.  And just last May, we were introduced to electric scooters (or e-scooters) as an exciting new option.  People are turning to these dockless e-scooters to zip around the city more and more.  They provide a convenient way to move around not only for pleasure but for short commutes to avoid congested traffic.  With lower carbon footprints than cars, many eco-conscious consumers view e-scooters as a good alternative transportation option.  These appealing qualities have led to an influx of e-scooters scattered across the city, with Bird and Lime being the major operators.  Lyft and Jump (owned by Uber) have also recently entered the Atlanta market.

E-scooters are easy to find and access.  By simply downloading an app on your phone, you can locate and reserve one or you can walk up to an available e-scooter and scan the QR code.  Users pay a small fee to “unlock” it (typically $1) with an additional per-minute fee after that.  Some e-scooter operators also ask users to agree to a rental agreement, waiver of liability and release.  An example of one can be found here:

Unfortunately, the arrival of e-scooters has transformed communities so rapidly that our state and local governments have been unable to effectively regulate this industry or protect the public.  Complaints have steadily increased about e-scooters being left unattended, blocking sidewalks and streets, and being operated in unsafe and erratic manners.  This has led to angry and annoyed citizens who have asked for their regulation.  In fact, residents of Decatur are so fed up with e-scooters that they have tried to ban them altogether.  Others have suggested that cities adapt its roadways to add more bike lanes to accommodate e-scooter users and encourage them to stay off the sidewalks.

The national average of car accidents in the US comes down to about 6 million a year – that’s over 700 a minute. These auto accidents are of various types, and learning about such accidents can help you avoid them in the first place.

This article lists four of the most common type of collisions and what you can do to avoid falling prey to such an unfortunate tragedy.

Front-Impact Collisions

If you are involved in a car accident in Georgia, any personal injury lawsuit to recover damages must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. The argument that a claim is barred by the applicable statute of limitations can be refuted by evidence that the statute has been tolled.

In a recent case, the court of Appeals of Georgia held that the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit following a car accident was tolled by the state’s prosecution for a traffic citation issued in the accident. If you sustained injuries or property damages in a car accident, it is in your best interest to consult a Georgia car accident attorney as soon as possible to protect your right to pursue compensation from the responsible party.

Facts Surrounding the Car Accident

Allegedly, on October 16, 2014, the plaintiff and the defendant were driving on a Georgia highway when they were involved in a collision. The responding police officer issued a traffic citation to Defendant for following the plaintiff too closely. The citation indicated November 18, 2014 as the date the defendant could contest the citation in Municipal Court. The defendant paid the citation on October 27, 2014, and on November 18, 2014 the Municipal Court issued a bond forfeiture.

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While it is not impossible, recovering compensation for personal injuries from a municipality or government entity is often a complicated and involved process. For example, if you are involved in a car accident with a municipal employee, in addition to the procedural requirements that navigate the pursuit of damages in a standard car accident case, there are additional ante litem, or pre-lawsuit, notice requirements under Georgia law.

A failure to provide the proper notice can be fatal to a claim, as was recently illustrated in a case arising out of the Court of Appeals of Georgia. If you suffered injuries in a car accident with a municipal employee, you should meet with a skilled Georgia car accident attorney to discuss the facts of your case and whether you may be able to seek compensation.

Factual Background

Reportedly, on May 2, 2014, the plaintiff sustained injuries while riding as a passenger in a truck that was involved in a car accident with a police officer that worked for the defendant city. On September 6, 2014, the plaintiff sent the defendant city ante litem notice, which stated, in part that she sought the full amount of recovery allowed under Georgia law. The defendant city acknowledged receipt of the notice and replied it was investigating the claim. On February 2, 2016, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant city. The defendant city filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s suit, arguing the plaintiff’s ante litem notice was insufficient. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the trial court’s ruling was affirmed.

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When someone is killed due to the negligence of another, their representatives may be able to bring a wrongful death suit against the tortfeasor(s) that caused their death. If someone is injured but does not die, they may still be able to collect damages for things like lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, and other damages, but a wrongful death suit cannot be brought until after someone dies. If you think that your loved one may have died due to the fault of another, you should contact a skilled Georgia wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.

Wrongful Death in Georgia

In most cases, damages for wrongful death amount to the full value of the person’s life. Georgia statute and case law states that the value of the life of the deceased will be shown by the evidence. A wrongful death claim only awards damages for the losses suffered by the deceased person. So even though a representative – such as a child of the deceased – brings the suit, it cannot consider the pain and loss suffered by the child.

In the case at issue, a woman was injured in a car accident resulting in a coma. After the accident, her legal guardian filed a personal injury lawsuit against the car manufacturer, alleging faulty seatbelt and door locking mechanisms. The car manufacturer settled with plaintiff, and in exchange for the settlement the plaintiff’s representative released the company from any claims and damages, including a claim for wrongful death “inasmuch as [plaintiff] has not died…”

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When a case goes to court, both sides are supposed to present evidence to support the arguments they are making. In fact, evidence is one of the most important (if not the most important) aspects of a case. If there is no evidence, then it is impossible for the plaintiff to prove their case. So clearly evidence is crucial. However, there are some kinds of evidence that one of the parties will be in a much easier place to hold on to. For example, a business will be in the best position to access important business records. At some point, there is a time when a party is required to hold on to certain evidence. If you have questions of this nature, be sure to reach out to a Georgia car accident attorney.

Missing Tires

This case looks at when the duty to preserve evidence applies in Georgia. Here, the plaintiff’s husband was killed in a car accident. He was driving on Interstate 16 when a tread on his left rear tire detached. It allegedly caused him to lose control of the vehicle and his vehicle eventually flipped over. He was injured, and although he regained consciousness at the hospital he died before he was able to be discharged from the hospital. His wife filed this suit on his behalf.

Unfortunately, sometimes after a car accident one of the drivers involved will leave the scene of the accident. That can cause some issues and complications for any court cases that follow from the accident. If you are in a car accident, you should contact a skilled Gwinnett County car accident attorney as soon as possible. As this case illustrates, you still may be able to recover damages under Georgia’s uninsured motorist statute. 

Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Georgia

Under Georgia law, it is a crime to leave the scene of a car accident. Penalties for leaving the scene of an accident differ depending on how serious the damage is and whether there was solely property damage or anyone was injured or killed. If you are caught leaving the scene of an accident, the penalty can often be worse than anything that would have arisen from the accident itself. If you are involved in a car accident, a knowledgeable Georgia personal injury attorney can help inform you of your options.

“John Doe” and Venue 

If you are in a car accident and the other party leaves the scene of the accident, you still may be able to hold them accountable for damages under the Georgia uninsured motorist statute. This happened in a recent case heard by the Georgia Supreme Court. The plaintiffs were driving on the highway when a car swerved into their lane and they had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting it. As the car behind them was following too closely, it collided with the plaintiffs’ car which caused injury.

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At any given time, there are several laws that can potentially govern a situation. For example, if someone is in Atlanta, they will be governed by any laws and regulations that govern the city of Atlanta, but also the state laws of Georgia and the federal laws of the United States. An individual may also be subject to specific laws based on their conduct, such as traffic laws if they are driving. The rules around what laws apply in which situations can get pretty complicated, and your skilled Georgia personal injury attorney can help you figure out what laws apply in your situation.

The Supremacy Clause 

The United States Constitution contains a provision known as the “supremacy clause.” This clause states that when federal law conflicts with state or municipal laws, federal law controls. There are certain areas of the law that are usually left to the states to govern. Generally, when there is a car accident, state law will control. Part of the case law around the supremacy clause states that when it is an area that is typically governed by state law, any federal law that Congress passes on that topic will not supersede state law unless it was clearly intended to. Insurance is one of those areas where this applies. Thus, any federal law regarding insurance will only preempt state law when Congress has required the preemption.

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