One of the most common ways a person can be injured in the United States is in an automobile accident. Car accidents were responsible for at least 37,000 deaths and a projected 2 million medically consulted injuries in the year 2015. The National Safety Council had also projected a total of $152 billion of total costs for these accidents including all factors: deaths, injuries, and property damage. A car accident can be frightening, costly, and when all the dust has settled, frustrating. Car accidents, due to their nature, can cause very serious injuries and property loss. Injuries from car accidents can keep a person hospitalized, or coming back for repeat doctor visits.
Causes of Auto Accidents
There are a number of different reasons why car accidents can occur. This can include anything from road conditions to simply not paying enough attention to one's driving. However, there are certain circumstances where a person does not take reasonable care for other people's safety when driving. When this happens, there is a possibility that the driver that caused the accident could be considered "negligent." Under Georgia law, a victim of negligence may be entitled to certain forms of compensation. Some common causes for auto accidents that are related to negligence can include:
- Impaired Driving: One of the leading causes of accidents is impaired driving. Not only is this a crime in every state, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs greatly increases the likelihood of an accident. Many times accidents involving impaired driving can result in serious injury, and in some cases, death. Impaired driving often shows a severe lack of care for other drivers on the road.
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving can include things like a person texting and driving, or simply not paying enough attention to the road. In several jurisdictions, distracted driving can result in traffic offenses as well. Drivers must always be focused on the road, and allowing a distraction to get in the way can be considered a negligent act.
- Driver Error: Driver error can be attributed to several factors. Operating a car requires an incredible deal of care to avoid causing an accident. A driver who makes an error may not be taking proper care to avoid hurting themselves or others. Depending on the situation, a driver's error can potentially be considered a negligent act in court. Other examples of driver error can include failure to properly maintain one's vehicle. A vehicle in poor repair poses a danger to its own driver, as well as others on the road.
If an accident occurs because of someone's negligent actions, and someone is injured, they may have the grounds to pursue a claim for personal injury. Roadway negligence can result in severe injuries and loss of property.
Damages in Auto Accidents
When a person brings a personal injury claim against another for a negligent act, they typically seek certain types of damages for what transpired during the incident. Depending on the severity of the accident a person can claim several different types of damages. Damages commonly seen in auto accidents can include:
- Medical Costs: The most common claim for damages arises from medical costs. Car accidents that result in injuries can leave a person swamped with mountains of expensive medical bills. These can be sought out in court in Georgia and most other states.
- Loss of Property/Property Damage: Car accidents, especially serious ones, can result in partial or complete destruction of a person's car. In court, a negligent motorist may be held liable for the loss of the vehicle.
- Loss of Income: Private transportation is crucially important to nearly everyone's ability to get to their job, and in some cases, a person's vehicle is necessary to work, such as those who provide taxiing or towing services. In addition, serious injuries can keep a person out of a work for several weeks or more. A person may be able to make a claim for their lost income in these situations.
- Funeral Costs: The grim reality of auto accidents is that they can sometimes result in tragedy. If a person dies in an accident, their surviving family members or another representative may pursue damages for the funeral costs during their case.
Georgia does not have any strict numerical general damage "caps" on personal injury claims, which means that when a person brings a claim, the law does not impose strict numerical limits on what amounts may be granted in damages. Typically, the amount of damages will be decided by a jury, except in unusual cases.
Auto Accident Cases in Georgia
When it comes time to file an injury claim, there are certain things to keep in mind. Sometimes the insurance company or the negligent driver may try to assert that the injured person was negligent also and that the injured person's own negligence should reduce the amount that is owed to the injured person. Sometimes this is called apportionment or comparative fault. These can be difficult to navigate. An experienced personal injury attorney can help.
Georgia state law also requires all motorists to have a certain amount of insurance. Georgia's minimum liability coverage is $25,000 for injury or death of one person, $50,000 for injury or death of multiple people, and $25,000 for property damage. Typically most individuals have higher coverages, however, these amounts are set forth by the state as minimums of coverage. Some people drive without any insurance. For that reason, we recommend that everyone consider buying Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage.
Contact an Auto Accident Attorney in Macon
If you or your loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation for your case, and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.