The Atlanta metro area is known for heavy traffic 24 hours a day. Along with daily commuters, our roads and highways are traveled by millions of visitors. The tremendous number of vehicles in our city puts every driver at high risk of experiencing a car accident.
If you have been in a car crash, you need expert legal advice to recover the financial consideration you deserve. At Joel Thrift Law, we connect you with a reputable Atlanta car accident lawyer who will evaluate your case for free.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Atlanta
The major interstates of Atlanta often have six lanes full of vehicles throughout the day and night. Collisions can happen when people change lanes or slam on their brakes as they react to traffic.
Some common causes of car accidents in Atlanta include:
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Ignoring traffic laws
- Aggressive or emotional driving
- Driving while fatigued
- Distracted driving
- Rain, ice, or other poor weather conditions
- Debris on the roadway
- Tire blowouts
- Brake failure
- Medical issues, such as a stroke, heart attack, or fainting while driving
Regardless of how your crash occurred, you should contact an Atlanta car accident attorney as soon as possible. Untangling the full story is essential to protect your rights and your chance at compensation from those to blame.
Determining Liability in an Atlanta Car Accident Can Be Difficult
In the US, states have laws addressing liability in car crashes. States may be either no-fault or at-fault, and Georgia is an at-fault state. This means drivers must pay for accidents that occur as a result of their negligent actions. Negligence is critical and may be shared by multiple parties.
Even in cases where one driver is clearly at fault, their insurance company may work to show that you are at least partially to blame. For example, in rear-end collisions, the following driver is usually considered at fault. However, if the front car lacked working brake lights, you may not be responsible. Gathering evidence to show their negligence and defend your innocence is critical.
Unless you are on more minor roads and sidestreets, a car crash on Atlanta roads rarely involves only two vehicles. Commonly, vehicles from neighboring lanes will be affected, such as by sideswipe accidents. Cars from opposing travel lanes can even roll over the median barrier walls and enter oncoming traffic. The short story is that determining liability in any crash requires a team of skilled car accident attorneys.
Proving Fault in Atlanta Car Accidents
Georgia law requires that you file a police report and notify your insurance company for any car accident, even those involving a single vehicle. You should also hire a car accident attorney to help you understand who is at fault for your crash, especially if there is reason to think that you could be partially liable.
Insurance adjusters will investigate the incident and often try to demonstrate that you are partially or fully at fault for the crash. Whether they are working for your insurance or someone else’s, these representatives will try to deny or reduce the amount you receive for compensation. They are in the business of saving their company money.
To defend yourself and protect your rights, you need help from a skilled car accident lawyer in Atlanta. They will do many of the same jobs insurance adjusters do to establish who is at fault. The difference is that your car accident attorneys are working for you.
They will gather evidence from various sources:
- Police accident reports
- Witness statements
- Statements from all drivers involved in the crash
- Reports from an independent accident investigator
- Photos and videos from the accident scene
- Data on weather conditions during the accident
- Road conditions
- Photos of any injuries suffered
- Photos of any property damage
- Driving records for everyone involved
- Cell phone records that could show distracted driving
- Driving histories of all drivers involved
- Repair records for all vehicles involved
The goal is to reconstruct the accident as truthfully as possible to identify who contributed and in what percentage. Georgia uses a modified comparative fault rule, which is why insurance companies will fight to show that you bear partial blame for an accident in which you were hurt.
Georgia’s Comparative Fault Laws
The modified comparative fault rule in Georgia is used to determine who is liable and how much they are liable in any personal injury lawsuit. If you are injured in a car accident, but the court finds that you are 50% or more at fault, you cannot recover any damages. If you are 49% liable or less, then your compensation will be reduced by that amount.
This is a key reason you need knowledgeable Atlanta car accident attorneys like those at Joel Thrift Law. We work to uncover who is responsible for the crash and will bring evidence to show that you bear no fault or minimal fault. We help you protect your right to fair and reasonable compensation.
While Georgia requires drivers to carry insurance to pay for damages they cause in accidents, your injuries and property damage may amount to more than the other driver’s insurance covers. When this happens, you can sue them directly in a personal injury lawsuit to ensure you are not left with bills you cannot and should not have to pay.
Georgia Insurance Requirements
Georgia requires all drivers to carry liability insurance that will pay in the event they cause an accident. The minimum amounts you are required to carry are:
- Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident
- Property damage liability: $25,000 per incident
Although the state does not require it, you can also insure yourself for physical damages. This falls into two categories and pays you after a car accident or other incident that causes damage to your vehicle. The two categories are:
- Comprehensive: Comprehensive insurance pays for anything that damages your car beside an accident, such as theft, vandalism, fire, or other loss.
- Collision: Collision coverage pays for damage to your car resulting from a car accident.
You can also purchase uninsured motorist insurance to protect yourself against damage caused by people who drive without insurance coverage. Many insurance carriers automatically offer this insurance, and you have to decline it voluntarily.
Common Injuries From Atlanta Car Accidents
The range of injuries you can suffer in a car accident can be staggering. Many are apparent at the scene of the crash and can be treated by first responders or in the hospital. However, some conditions may not become evident until days or weeks after the accident. It is important that you seek medical attention and follow all your doctor’s orders so that you can heal completely.
Back and neck issues can bring some of the highest medical bills after a crash, but there are a number of other injuries you may experience.
Leg and Arm Injuries
If you are involved in a sideswipe crash, you could be thrown into the door and break your shoulder, arm, or leg. Likewise, although the airbag may deploy and save you from impacting the steering wheel or windshield, your hands could slam against the dashboard and be broken. Many people suffer broken legs, ankles, or hips from their feet being forced against the pedals or floor of the car.
Passengers could suffer damage when their knees hit the dashboard. If they have their feet on the dash or a foot resting outside the window, their injuries can be horrific. Back-seat passengers who are lying down without a seatbelt could be thrown into the front seats and suffer broken arms and legs.
Soft Tissue Injuries
When damage is done to connective tissue, such as tendons, ligaments, and muscles, you can suffer a soft tissue injury. These can limit your movement and result in lifelong pain if not treated properly. Soft tissue injuries are some of the most common in car crashes.
Whiplash is one of the most diagnosed conditions. In a rear-end, head-on, or t-bone collision, the car is stopped suddenly with great force. This causes your head and neck to move so quickly that the tendons and ligaments are stretched and damaged.
Scrapes and Cuts
You may not think about it as you drive, but any object in your car that is not secured can become a projectile during the sudden stop of a car crash. Other people and pets can even be thrown around the car and cause extreme damage to themselves and others. Cell phones, handbags, backpacks, books, groceries, and travel mugs can all cause scrapes and cuts.
These are usually minor injuries and can be treated by first responders or at home afterward. Some may require stitches.
Head injuries such as concussions or closed head injuries can be some of the most life-altering. If unsecured items fly around the car during impact, you could suffer a penetrating wound into the cranium that requires surgery. Closed head injuries arise from bruising and tearing of brain tissue and blood vessels.
Some of the most common injuries include concussions and coup-contrecoup injuries. Both involve damage when the brain hits the skull. In a coup-contrecoup injury, the brain hits one side of the skull, then the opposite side, which results in greater damage. Symptoms of brain injuries may take some time to appear and must be monitored carefully.
Chest injury in a car accident often happens when the airbag deploys or when you impact the steering wheel if the car has no airbag. You can also suffer bruising or lacerations from the seatbelt tightening to restrain you during the crash. Frequent injuries include broken ribs and damage to your internal organs.
Passengers may suffer damage from the dashboard or seats in front of them if they are sitting in the back. Loose objects in the car cabin can fly around during impact and potentially cause chest or other injuries.
Potential Value of an Atlanta Car Accident Claim
The extent of injuries you can suffer varies depending on the severity of the accident, but each one of them should be compensated by the person who is at fault. Along with medical bills, you will have costs to repair or replace your vehicle, but you can also pursue payment for damaged items such as clothing, cell phones, computers, luggage, or even a trunk full of holiday gifts.
These are all economic costs for which you can show a specific dollar amount. In addition to these tangible costs, you are eligible for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. At Joel Thrift Law, our Atlanta car accident attorneys are highly skilled at listening to your story and helping you calculate a full estimate of your losses.
With extensive injuries, you could need significant compensation to cover thousands or even millions of dollars for a full recovery. At Joel Thrift Law, we help you consider expenses such as:
- Medical bills
- Car repair or replacement costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential if you can no longer do your job
- ICU, ER, or surgery bills
- Emergency transportation costs
- Prescription medications
- Travel costs for treatment
- Mobility devices such as crutches or wheelchairs
- Renovations to your home to accommodate a long-term disability
- Physical therapy bills
- Psychological therapy costs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD
Because some injuries can take time to become fully apparent, and others may need many months or years of treatment, it is crucial to create a full accounting of your past, current, and future expenses. Once a claim or lawsuit is settled, you cannot return for more compensation against the person or entity at fault.
You can help your car accident lawyer with your estimate by keeping a pain journal to record how you feel and how you are recovering. You should also give your attorney copies of every bill and receipt related to your injuries and property damage. When you provide high-quality supporting documentation for your losses, the court is more likely to decide on full compensation.
Common Sources of Compensation in Atlanta Car Accidents
Each crash is unique, but there are multiple potential parties who can be sued for reimbursement, as well as insurance sources that can pay your compensation. These sources include:
- Your medical insurance
- Automotive insurance, either yours or the other driver’s
- Personal injury lawsuits
- Government agencies that may be at fault for road debris or poorly maintained roads
- Trucking companies whose drivers contributed to the accident
- Vehicle manufacturers that produce defective cars
- Parts manufacturers that produce faulty components
- Automotive dealership or repair shop that repaired a car improperly
Car accident attorneys will often seek damages equal to about three to four times your medical expenses. This ensures you have a sufficient amount for unexpected expenses due to any additional conditions that could develop, such as infection. For property damage, lawyers will ask for the same amount as your repair or replacement costs.
Non-economic damages are extremely subjective and vary in each situation. If a child is injured, for example, you can argue that the child’s future is drastically affected. You could demonstrate that they can no longer pursue the career they intended or be unable to enjoy the life they had planned.
Protect Your Claim Right Away
After a car accident, no matter how minor, you can be disoriented and may not think clearly. If you are injured, you are likely concerned with your pain and getting help. As soon as you are able, you can take steps to protect your claim by following these recommendations:
- Accept medical treatment at the scene: Doing so establishes a baseline of your injuries and shows they are related to the accident.
- Give your statement to law enforcement: Police accident reports are vital evidence for your claim.
- Take photos of your injuries, property damage, and the scene: Do this or ask someone to do it for you. This information can provide valuable documentation of what happened, the road conditions, and who may be to blame.
- Exchange contact and insurance information: This is required by state law and allows you to begin filing a claim immediately.
- Do not apologize, admit fault, or assign blame to someone else: Most people automatically say, “I’m sorry” when they get out of the car after a crash, but doing so can be used against you later as an admission of guilt.
- Contact your insurance company: They will need to know about your crash right away.
- Call Joel Thrift Law: Our car accident lawyers will meet you quickly, even in the hospital, to help you begin building your claim.
Follow up with your doctor for further medical treatment: Follow all your doctor’s orders and keep all appointments. Failing to do so could provide insurance companies with evidence that your injuries are less severe than you claim.
How an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
You may think that resolving damages in an Atlanta car accident is simply a matter of filing an insurance claim. However, there are facets of injury law that can be very complicated for someone who is not trained as an attorney. When you try to handle a claim yourself, you risk receiving too little compensation and could face astronomical bills you are unable to pay.
There are numerous services a skilled attorney can perform to ensure you have all you need to be made whole.
Interpreting Injury Law To Your Advantage
If there are multiple individuals involved in the crash, there could be multiple parties who can be found at fault. A skilled car accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate the accident and help you understand the best options in your unique situation to maximize the compensation you can receive.
Negotiating With Insurance Companies
You may think your insurance carrier will be sympathetic to your claim, but the truth is, they are in business to make money. Filing a claim without the help of a lawyer can result in frustration and denied expenses. Rather than fighting with them for every bill, you can rest and heal while your lawyer pushes back until you receive a fair and full settlement.
No matter how minor or severe your injuries are, a skilled lawyer can connect you with medical experts who can provide a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Knowing what your treatment may cost over the long-term can help you calculate a reasonable estimate of what you will need for a full recovery.
Liability is key to receiving compensation for your damages, and the law requires that the plaintiff demonstrate that the defendant(s) has exhibited negligence that led to damages. With the right high-quality evidence, your attorney can prove the four elements of negligence:
- The defendant owed you (and others) a duty of care while driving.
- The defendant breached or failed in that duty.
- Their actions or inactions directly caused your injuries and property damage.
- You have incurred expenses related to your damages from their negligence.
Preparing and Trying Your Case in Court
The car accident lawyers at Joel Thrift are highly familiar with Georgia law, Atlanta city statutes, and the court systems in the area. If insurance negotiators do not agree to a satisfactory settlement, we will move immediately to prepare your case for court.
We will ensure all paperwork is filed correctly and on time. We will meet with opposing counsel to discuss potential out-of-court settlements. And if you need to go to trial, we will be right beside you to ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.
Speak With an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Today
Do not wait to secure the compensation you deserve with the help of a highly qualified Atlanta car accident lawyer from Joel Thrift Law. We are dedicated to investigating your claim and negotiating the maximum award for you.
We know that the result of your case has huge consequences for your entire family. Our team can serve as a calming influence to reduce your stress. We answer all your questions, work hard on your behalf, and stay honest with you about any challenges you might face.
We are here to help you in your time of need. Contact us through our online form today.