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Hands-Free-Driving-Update-300x200As you all know by now, it is illegal in Georgia to drive while holding a cellphone.  The Hands-Free Law went into effect on July 1, 2018 that made using a handheld cellphone against the law while operating a vehicle in the state, except in a few situations.

You can still talk on the phone while driving in Georgia as long as you use Bluetooth, a headset, or other hands-free device.  But, even with hands-free technology, drivers cannot write, read or send text messages, emails, social media content and other internet data while on the road.

Since this texting law went into effect through the end of 2018, the Georgia State Patrol estimates that they issued more than 8,000 citations for violations of the Hands-Free Georgia Act. Continue reading

How-Much-Can-I-Expect-From-a-Car-Accident-Settlement-300x200You’ve been involved in an car accident that wasn’t your fault. You see ads everywhere on billboards, television, the internet, and you hear them on the radio all promising that if you call that a car accident lawyer they will get you the hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of dollars! Meanwhile you are injured and wondering if calling a lawyer really will really result in the kind of settlement those ads claim.

We often get asked “how much can I expect from a car accident settlement?” The truth is, we don’t know when you first walk in our door because it depends on the facts of the case. What we do know is that we will work with you to obtain the best possible settlement.

Step 1:  Look At The Police Report From The Car Accident

To fairly answer the question of what your case is worth, we have to evaluate the facts of your case. For car accidents, this starts with the accident report. There, the police officer documents facts by identifying all parties involved in the accident and the cause of the accident and they will usually assign fault to one of the drivers. Also included will be the insurance information provided at the scene for the vehicles involved and any injuries reported to the responding officer. Continue reading

areyoucovered-300x180Georgia requires vehicles carry insurance with a minimum of $25,000 in Property Damage Liability, and $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident in Bodily Injury Liability. These coverages help pay for damages you cause when you are at-fault in an auto accident. If your vehicle is financed, the lender usually requires that you also carry Comprehensive and Collision, which will help repair damage to your car. The combination of these coverages offers protection, and is considered by some to be ‘full coverage’ – but it won’t provide all the protection you might need for an accident!

When you buy or lease a vehicle, it starts to depreciate, or lose value, the minute it leaves the car lot. Depreciation frequently causes the amount owed on a vehicle to be higher than the actual value of the vehicle during the first few years of ownership. If you are involved in an accident where your vehicle is badly damaged or totaled, Gap insurance covers the difference between the vehicle’s current value (what the insurance carrier will pay) and the amount you actually owe on the vehicle. If you lease a vehicle, Gap is usually a required coverage.

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Across our country, distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of death both for those sharing the road and walking on our streets around distracted drivers. Two years ago, a teenager was staying in Georgia with her family to get away from a Florida hurricane that threatened her home. That fateful stay here, altered her life forever. While driving in Woodstock, Georgia, she struck three pedestrians while they walked in a crosswalk. She had been texting prior to the fatal car accident that took the lives of all three of those hit by her vehicle. One of those was a small infant.

Although she claimed to authorities that she had not seen the three victims prior to hitting them, she was charged with several counts of homicide by vehicle. The laws relating to homicide by vehicle are found at Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-393. She was also charged with texting while driving, which has been against the law in Georgia for a while now. She is 19 years old and has pled guilty to the charges filed against her. She was recently sentenced to three years of probation, but no prison time. She cannot drive for several years and must also perform hundreds of hours of community service projects. She is in college in Texas and has been permitted to stay there, while reporting in to probation on a regular basis. Continue reading

motorcycle-300x177The weather’s getting warmer, the sun is shining, and you’ve been waiting months for this day to arrive. You’ve taken all of the safety precautions with your riding boots, leather jacket and DOT approved helmet, you’ve tuned up the bike, filled up the tank, and you’re ready to head to Deal’s Gap to Run the Dragon!

Even with the best of intentions, motocycle accidents happen. It’s a part of life, but an especially scary part if you’re on a motorcycle.  The feel of the wind on your face and body as you’re riding is exhilarating as you cruise around trying to find the best unknown eateries, but not as you’re flying off of your bike after someone hits you! For all of the preparations that you’ve made to be safe, does the insurance policy that you purchased really have the coverages you need to take care of you?

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ptsd-from-accident-300x200When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, the last thing you might be concerned with is the emotional and psychological effects that it can have.  Many times, the physical pain, soreness, swelling and bruising are hard to ignore and immediate medical attention is required in order to heal your body.  It is common to think of the physical injuries that can occur with car accidents, but injuries are not always physical.  What is often overlooked following serious motor vehicle accidents is an increased risk for psychological problems such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  PTSD can develop after any type of traumatizing event and car accidents, especially violent ones, can certainly be traumatizing enough to cause PTSD.

When someone survives a traumatic event, it is difficult to predict the long-term emotional side effects.  Not every person will suffer from emotional distress serious enough to require professional medical treatment.  However, some car accident survivors do go on to experience severe emotional trauma which can result in many life-affecting symptoms that could be related to a brain injury.  These symptoms include stress, depression, anxiety and panic attacks.  After being involved in a serious car accident, survivors have reported experiencing feelings of shock, panic, anger, nervousness, worry, fear, loneliness, embarrassment or uneasiness.  Some car accident victims have reported suffering from mood swings, chronic fatigue or exhaustion, and loss of appetite.  Often times, they find themselves reliving the accident through nightmares and flashbacks.  These symptoms can be debilitating and can cause the sufferer to become avoidant, to withdraw themselves socially and to isolate themselves from their family, friends and work.   Often times the trauma of the accident can render them unable to drive, or even be a passenger in a vehicle out of fear of another accident. Continue reading

Car-Wrecks-Involving-Ridesharing-Vehicles-300x187As we all know, ridesharing has become prolific with Uber and Lyft proving millions of trips on a daily basis.  If you are in a car wreck involving a ridesharing vehicle, there are several important things you should know, especially if you suffer injuries.  The discussion that follows will hopefully help you navigate the many issues you may face.

Know Who Files More Lawsuits

What most people do not realize is that in almost every car wreck case, the litigation is directed at the insurance company as opposed to the at-fault driver.  If a lawsuit is filed, it is filed in the name of the at-fault driver, but it is their insurance company that provides their legal defense and payment for damages to the non-fault driver(s) and passenger(s).

The-Importance-of-UM-and-UIM-Insurance-in-Georgia-300x200What is UM or UIM Insurance?

When you get a new auto insurance policy your insurance agent may ask:  “Do you want UM or UIM Insurance?  What is UM or UIM insurance?  UM insurance is Uninsured motorist insurance, and UIM is Under Insured Motorist Insurance.  In Georgia, they are treated synonymously, so if you have UM, you also have UIM.

Why Uninsured (or Under-Insured) Motorist Insurance important?

willattorneytakemycase-300x200Many people will be involved in a car accident at some point during their lives. Some people involved in car accidents manage to walk away unscathed, but others sustain injuries and damage to their vehicles. When an accident results in harm, the victim may incur significant costs in addition to pain and suffering. A common question that arises after car accidents is whether the accident is grounds for a lawsuit, or if an attorney will take your case. Whether you have a viable case depends on several factors. As such, if you are a Georgia resident who suffered property damage or injuries due to a car accident, it is prudent to contact an experienced Georgia car accident attorney to discuss whether you may be able to pursue compensation for your harm.

Factors Weighed in Determining Whether You Have a Viable Case

The factors assessed in whether you have a viable claim against another party following a car accident, and therefore whether an attorney can assist you in recovering compensation, involve whether you suffered harm that was caused by another person or entity, as well as how long it has been since your accident occurred.

caraccidentattorney-300x200Car accidents can be a shocking experience, both physically and mentally. Many people involved in car accidents are left stunned after the initial impact and uncertain of what to do next. If you are involved in a car accident, there are certain people you should call to preserve any evidence that may be needed to prove liability and damages in the future.  If you live in Georgia and were recently involved in a car accident, you should consult a seasoned Georgia car accident attorney to examine the circumstances surrounding your accident and whether you may be able to recover damages for any harm you sustained.

The First Call You Should Make

The first phone call you should make following a car accident is to 911. Even if it does not seem like an accident caused any injuries or significant damage, it is important to document evidence of how the accident occurred and the extent of any harm caused by the accident. Further, calling the police following an accident is not only prudent, it is also required under Georgia law for any car accident that results in an injury, death, or property damage that exceeds $500.00.

Typically, any first responder that responds to the 911 call will speak with the parties involved in the accident. Emergency medical services will assess the initial injuries caused by the accident and assist the injured parties in obtaining any treatment they need. The police will evaluate the damage to the cars involved in the accident and obtain eyewitness accounts of how the accident occurred. Any statement taken by the police and the observations of the police should be included in the police report. If the police determine that one of the drivers violated a provision of the Georgia motor vehicle laws, the driver will probably be issued a citation.

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