Recently in Automobile Accidents Category

Who is Liable in an Accident Caused by a Medical Emergency at the Wheel?

June 16, 2016

Sometimes, car accidents are the result of a driver having a medical emergency at the wheel. For instance, a driver who suffers a heart attack, stroke, or seizure may lose control of his or her vehicle, leading to a serious accident.

In cases like this, can another injured driver or passenger recover damages from the motorist who lost control as a result of a medical condition?

This can be a tricky question to resolve. Liability will depend very heavily on whether the motorist who had the medical emergency was aware of his or her health condition or the medical risks involved in driving.

For instance, if the motorist had a history of health problems such as diabetes, or had previously suffered episodes of seizures or diabetic coma, the court may consider that the motorist was negligent with respect to his or her medical condition and choosing to drive anyway. In other words, driving while you are aware of a medical problem that could place you at risk of suffering a seizure or some other problem which increases the risk of an accident could make you liable for damages.

However, if a motorist was not aware of his medical condition, and could not possibly have known about the risk involved, he may not be liable for a claim. For instance, if a person suffers a sudden first heart attack at the wheel, and causes an accident, it is unlikely that he could successfully be held liable in a personal injury claim.

Establishing that the other motorist had knowledge of his medical condition, but chose to drive anyway, can be challenging. Medical records, which are normally confidential, would need to be obtained via the litigation process and reviewed by an expert. This is one of the areas where quality legal representation can make a huge impact on a recovery for damages.

GDOT Shows Distracted Driving a Factor in Increase in Traffic Accident Fatalities

May 28, 2015

Motor vehicle accident fatalities continue to be a problem across the United States. This is true in Georgia, where the traffic accident fatality toll in the first half of 2015 looks set to exceed the number recorded the previous year. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) believes that distracted driving, accounts for much of that increase.

Thus far, according to the statistics, traffic accidents are up by 25% over the previous year. Georgia records an average of 100 fatalities every month, and at that rate, the total will be at least 1,200 fatalities by the end of the year. If that happens, it would be an increase of 4.6% from 2014. There have been close to 400 traffic accident fatalities in Georgia this year.

Other findings from the 2015 statistics should cause even more alarm. For example, many of the fatalities were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. Only 38 % of the motorists involved in fatal accidents were wearing seat belts at the time. In addition, 69% failed to maintain their lanes. These are crucial driving errors that dramatically increase the risk of being killed in an accident.

Even more worrisome is the fact that single-car accidents are on the increase. About 60% of the fatalities involved drivers whose cars crashed into trees, bridges, or other stationary objects. This seems indicative of distracted driving. Causes of serious car accidents vary, but it is likely that many of the drivers and/or passengers in these cases were inattentive, or preoccupied at the time of the accident.

It's hard to say for certain how many accidents in 2015 were linked to distracted driving. These accidents will result in investigations that will take many months to complete, and therefore, complete information will not be available for many months. However, when an accident involves a car and a stationary object, it is reasonable to assume that the driver was inattentive or distracted by something at the wheel. Other possibilities, however, include defective automobile parts, such as brake or tire failure.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation statistics, in 2014, out of a total of 8,581 accidents linked to distracted driving, at least 18 were fatal. In 2009, out of 3,454 accidents directly linked to distracted driving, 11 were fatal accidents. That seems to indicate that the proportion of fatal distracted driving accidents is increasing steadily. During that same time, the number of people injured in distracted driving accidents increased by 181%.

Drive Safely This Winter With Holiday Travel Tips

December 22, 2014

Whether or not you'll be home for Christmas, the holiday season is always a busy travel time. This year is slated to be even busier than usual. Due to the improving economy and the low price of gas, AAA predicts that 2014 will have the busiest holiday travel on record, with nearly 99 million Americans traveling more than 50 miles. Air travel is also expected to increase this year, to 5.7 million travelers.

The last days before Christmas are a particularly dangerous time to be on the roads, as people are rushing to finish their holiday shopping or leaving for trips out of town. For those wanting to avoid the worst of the traffic, traveling on the actual holiday may be your best bet. Fewer people are on the roads on Christmas and Christmas Eve.

Winter weather is another factor that makes holiday travel hazardous. Snow and sleet make roads dangerous and safe driving difficult. If you can't avoid being on the roads this holiday season, here are some tips to make your journey safer:

Continue reading "Drive Safely This Winter With Holiday Travel Tips" »

Takata Airbag Recalls Continue to Expand

December 16, 2014

For months now, the Takata airbag recall has been making headlines. So far, the faulty airbags have been responsible for five deaths and hundreds of injuries around the world. Currently over 20 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide, including over 11 million recalled in the United States.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has become involved, urging owners of the affected vehicles to act on the recalls. However, the agency's powers are limited. In November, the NHTSA called for a national recall of vehicles with affected driver's side airbags. Takata refused to issue a nationwide recall, although the company said it would cooperate with manufacturers who chose to issue recalls. Honda, Takata's biggest customer, has issued a nationwide recall in accordance with the request by the NHTSA.

The current recalls by Takata only apply to vehicles in high-humidity areas. Takata justified its refusal by stating that scientific evidence shows the malfunction is only present in high-humidity environments, and that expanding the recall would delay getting parts to those at greater risk. The NHTSA is preparing to take further action.

Continue reading "Takata Airbag Recalls Continue to Expand" »

2016 Trial Date Set for Deadly GM Defects: Faulty Ignition Switch the Culprit in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Suits

November 7, 2014

Some would say this has been a hard year for auto giant General Motors. Times have been even more difficult, however, for those consumers directly affected by the series of safety issues that have plagued the company, caused car accidents and prompted millions of recalls. The recalls affected several models, including Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions, Pontiac G5s, Chevrolet HHRs, Pontiac Solstices and Saturn Skys, primarily those manufactured from 2003 to 2007.

Loss in vehicle value aside, an ignition switch flaw in the vehicles has been linked to more than 30 deaths and instances of bodily injury. A federal judge in New York has slated the first of many trials for 2016 and those close to the lawsuit claim there was evidence that certain employees knew about the dangers posed by the ignition switch flaw for the last ten years, a full decade before the recalls were initiated.

According to the announcement finally made by GM earlier this year, the ignition switch may slip out of position when jostled, cutting power to and disabling life-saving devices - including air bags, steering capabilities, and brakes. Plaintiffs' attorneys hope the ruling in this first case will set a favorable precedent for those to follow.

Continue reading "2016 Trial Date Set for Deadly GM Defects: Faulty Ignition Switch the Culprit in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Suits" »

Underage Drunk Driver Causes Georgia Wrong-Way Car Crash

July 24, 2014

Despite all commercial efforts, underage drinking continues to be a prevalent problem amongst today's youth. Underage drinking is prohibited nationwide and Georgia law makes it illegal for adult motorists to drive with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 or greater and 0.02 or higher, for motorists under the age of 21. Not only is the practice of driving under the influence illegal, however, but it also has the added detriment of endangering lives. In fact, it's a risky business whenever anyone drives impaired. Just ask 18-year-old Alexandria Cymone Brooks, of Smyrna, Georgia. Following an early morning drunk driving car accident this past weekend, Ms. Brooks is currently languishing in jail, charged with two felony counts of serious injury by vehicle, DUI, underage possession and reckless driving, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The teen was allegedly driving her 2002 Nissan Maxima the wrong way on a major highway in Cobb County - southbound in the northbound lanes of I-575, near Barrett Parkway, - when she struck a 2005 Ford Focus head-on. When police arrived at the scene, an obviously still inebriated Brooks allegedly confessed that she had been drinking at a party shortly before getting behind the wheel of her vehicle.

Hers was a choice that would eventually cost both her, and her victims, dearly. Brooks faces possible license suspension, jail time and civil litigation while her two victims, a driver and her passenger, face a long road to recovery from the injuries they sustained. Both parties were lucky enough to escape with their lives. However, as many personal injury attorneys will tell you, that isn't always the case.

Continue reading "Underage Drunk Driver Causes Georgia Wrong-Way Car Crash" »

Discretionary Immunity and Remedies for the Motorist Injured in a Car Accident with a Police Officer

May 20, 2014

What happens when a personal injury plaintiff wants to file a claim for injurious acts committed by an on-duty police officer? Finding a remedy in such a situation has the potential to be an extremely difficult, albeit not impossible, road to traverse. Few people are aware that government officials, including police officers, enjoy a degree of official/discretionary immunity, which fortifies them against potential liability in many circumstances.

According to Georgia's doctrine of official immunity, "police officer who exercises discretion within the scope of the officer's authority and does not act maliciously or with intent to injure when investigating a complaint and arresting an individual is immune from liability for those activities under the doctrine of official immunity in an action for malicious prosecution...Even if the decisions by the officers are flawed, absent evidence of willfulness, malice, or corruption, such officers are entitled to discretionary immunity." 14 Ga. Jur. Personal Injury and Torts § 20:21.

Personal injury actions tend to be more successful where an officer's actions occur outside the scope of his employ or if and when the police department waives sovereign immunity. Waiver itself can be a tricky subject, often depending upon actions taken by the officer at the scene of the accident. While reluctant to overlook an on-duty police official's sovereign status, courts will often look at things like whether the officer's emergency lights were on and/or whether they were responding to an emergency call. Being aware that this "loophole" exists is one of the first steps towards a successful personal injury action, but Georgia car accident attorneys are best equipped to help injured plaintiffs navigate the murky waters of the doctrine.

Continue reading "Discretionary Immunity and Remedies for the Motorist Injured in a Car Accident with a Police Officer" »

Deadly Georgia Hit-and-Run Car Accident Claims Toddler's Life

April 8, 2014

The hunt continues for the driver of a white, late model pickup truck in Georgia. Officials say the motorist is responsible for callously striking two young children in DeKalb County Saturday afternoon as they waited on the sidewalk, near the entrance of a Tucker Walmart, to cross the street with their mother. Witnesses to the crime reported that they noticed the vehicle erratically making its way down the street just moments before the fatal accident.

One mall patron told local news channels in an interview that she very narrowly missed being hit by the motorist herself, only moments before the driver hopped over a curb, mowed down a two-year old toddler, Caleb, and his older sister, Meyaria, and sped off. Another witness reportedly told investigators that after the driver struck the children, he stopped briefly a few feet away to throw a beer bottle from the vehicle's cab. It's possibly an aggravating circumstance but, unfortunately, by the time he is caught, it will more than likely be too late to determine his blood alcohol content (BAC).

The two children were immediately transported to a local hospital. Their mother was not injured. Meyaria, 4, survived and is expected to recover, but 2-year-old Caleb tragically succumbed to his injuries. The local community is already vocalizing its grief and disbelief that someone could commit such a heinous act. The location where the pedestrian accident occurred has quickly become a shrine - with sympathizers leaving behind flowers, balloons and stuffed animals in memory of the deceased child.

Continue reading "Deadly Georgia Hit-and-Run Car Accident Claims Toddler's Life" »

Driving While Drowsy to Blame for Thousands of Car Accidents Every Year

March 31, 2014

In recent years, many states, including the state of Georgia, have placed an even greater emphasis on the importance of curbing instances of distracted and drunken driving. Millions of dollars have spent on ad campaigns designed to directly target motorists to who text and drive, with one of the most noticeable campaigns being the "It Can Wait" campaign. This and similar campaigns use celebrity endorsements to solicit pledges from drivers to refrain from texting and driving. What the public fails to realize, however, is that another, just as dangerous activity has been contributing to upwards of 17 percent of fatal car crashes per year--yet, for some reason, it doesn't garner nearly as much attention.

Driving while drowsy is one of the top reasons thousands of Americans are involved in a car crash, with the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) citing it as the cause for upwards of 100,000 accidents annually. In 2010, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS) reported that two out of every five drivers (approximately 41 percent) reported falling asleep or nodding off while driving and, with episodes of drowsy driving primarily making an appearance after midnight (and, on a slightly smaller basis, during the mid-afternoon), certain groups of motorists, including younger drivers, commercial drivers, shift employees and people with untreated sleep disorders, are more susceptible to the phenomenon.

According to the NHTSA, because of the higher speeds and slower reaction times sleepiness causes, car accidents associated with drowsy driver are more likely to be serious or even fatal than the average car crash, with higher rates of morbidity and mortality. In fact, the behaviors characterizing drowsy-driving are eerily similar to those of inebriated drivers or drivers otherwise distracted. Unlike, drunk driving, however, there exists no instrument by which police officers can measure the degree of someone's "drowsiness" post-accident. This can interfere greatly with an investigation in the accident's aftermath and means that deterrence becomes even more important.

Continue reading "Driving While Drowsy to Blame for Thousands of Car Accidents Every Year" »

Father Charged in Death of Own Child in Smyrna, Georgia DUI Car Accident

February 25, 2014

Fatal car accidents occurring as the result of a motorist driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are always tragic. Just as unfortunate, is when the resulting car crash claims not only the lives of other, innocent motorists but also the lives of the inebriated motorist's own passengers. All too often, we hear about the negligence of an irresponsible parent leading to the injury or death of a child. Such a situation is even more heartrending because children are essentially defenseless.

Barely able to walk, let alone see over a steering wheel or reach foot pedals, children are not qualified to be designated drivers. They cannot protest when their inebriated parent loads them into a vehicle, or drunkenly permits them to drive. They cannot confiscate the car keys from their parents' hands, and neither can they call for a ride. Oftentimes they are too young to fasten their own seatbelts and they certainly are incapable of properly installing their own booster seats. Instead, that's a duty to be fulfilled by their parents. It's most unfortunate that the people responsible for ensuring their children's' safety often fail to recognize the gravity of their responsibility - until it's too late.

Continue reading "Father Charged in Death of Own Child in Smyrna, Georgia DUI Car Accident" »

Snow Jam 2014 Culminates in Hundreds of Car Accidents, Few Injuries for the City of Atlanta

January 31, 2014

The names that people invented for this winter's catastrophe were just about as interesting as the snow storm itself, if not more so. From now on, the 2.6 inches of snow that effectively debilitated the entire city of Atlanta, Georgia for almost three full days and caused hundreds of auto accidents will be known alternatively as Snow Jam 2014, Snowpocalypse, and/or Snowmageddon. While one of those monikers sounds oddly like a concert title (and accordingly conjures up images of youths frolicking (see: jamming) about to their favorite tunes), the actual event was anything but. The city leadership's alleged ill-preparedness made it the butt of jokes nationwide, but for the people trapped inside the perimeter the distress caused by the storm was certainly no laughing matter.

Snow Storm Leon began early Tuesday, and by the end of the evening had culminated in hundreds of car accidents, abandoned cars and general headaches (see: migraines) for the city's citizens - and still the wind and snow continued to blow. Emergency vehicles were unable to access accident scenes due to the bumper-to-bumper traffic that resulted as everyone tried, en masse, to escape the storm in favor of the comfort of their homes. Many motorists elected to pull over and walk, and even more people found themselves spending the night in their cars as the storm continued and freezing temperatures made the icy roads too treacherous to traverse. Parents resorted to using 4x4s to pick up their children who were stuck at schools. At one point, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that emergency lines were receiving 300-400 calls on the hour.

By Tuesday night, conditions were so bad that police officials were allegedly only responding to auto accidents that involved more than two cars - and there were plenty of those. In fact, a majority of the accidents involved tractors trailers and multiple car pile-ups. Wednesday saw the snow begin to melt, only to re-freeze as temperatures dropped again, once again confining people to their homes. Thursday, motorists were still being warned about icy patches throughout the state as government workers began the cleanup process. By dawn on Friday morning, CNN reports that more than 2,029 cars that had not yet been claimed by their owners were towed from various locations throughout the Atlanta metro area.

Continue reading "Snow Jam 2014 Culminates in Hundreds of Car Accidents, Few Injuries for the City of Atlanta" »

Negligent Drivers May be Responsible for Safety of Passengers in Car Accidents

November 7, 2013

A Georgia motorist, Dominic Moceri, was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in a fiery car crash that claimed the life of his female passenger six years ago. The Athens man was found guilty of homicide after his attempts to outrun police following an attempted traffic stop culminated in him crashing into a utility pole. Brenna Garrison, a 26-year-old separated mother of young two children and former University of Georgia accountant, was fatally ejected from the car after the violent impact sheared off the passenger's side of the vehicle. Prosecutors said she had been wearing her seatbelt at the time.

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, the pursuing officer's dashboard camera captured the events as they unfolded - and the tape was subsequently played for the jury at trial. The officer had witnessed Moceri driving erratically only moments before the car accident. While some might claim the video was prejudicial, experienced plaintiff's personal injury attorneys can see the benefit in allowing the jury to see exactly what happened. Prosecutors theorized that Moceri, who had just recently begun to date the victim, fled from the police because he believed he was legally drunk. At the time of trial, however, Moceri blamed the accident on a defect in his BMW that caused him to accelerate suddenly. It was a defense that did not fly with jurors, especially once they saw the dashboard tape.

Garrison's husband, who continues to care for the couple's children, always believed that he and his wife would have reconciled, had she lived. If he and/or other family members so choose, in addition to the criminal proceedings, they may elect to file a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging negligence on Moceri's part.

Continue reading "Negligent Drivers May be Responsible for Safety of Passengers in Car Accidents" »

Drunk Driver Causes Death of Motorcyclist in Fatal Atlanta Collision

October 1, 2013

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports a 24-year-old motorist crossed the center line of a Georgia roadway and struck a motorcyclist in the early hours of the morning just last month. The pair was traveling in opposite directions on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta when the auto accident occurred. Reports by DeKalb County police indicated that the driver of the car was heavily under the influence of alcohol at the time. He was accordingly charged with driving under the influence, first-degree vehicular homicide and failure to maintain lane. The 58-year-old victim expired at the scene.

The accident was discouraging for motorcyclists, who already have to deal with a bevy of dangers on the road as it is. When it comes to a competition of survival between a car and a motorcycle, the car passes Darwin's test every time. Without the extra protection that the body of a car provides, motorcyclists are particularly susceptible to being physically harmed or killed when involved in an accident. In situations like that, helmets and protective gear provide little comfort.

A distracted or negligent driver may easily overlook and collide with motorcycle (or scooter...or bicycle, for that matter) and adding alcohol into the mix only makes things worse. Alcohol slows a driver's reaction time and impairs their ability to successfully maneuver a vehicle without incident. Case in point: Crossing over a clearly demarcated center line and striking an oncoming vehicle.

Continue reading "Drunk Driver Causes Death of Motorcyclist in Fatal Atlanta Collision" »

Texting While Driving: New Twist on Liability and Car Accidents Causes Concern for Motorists/Friends and Family

September 17, 2013

In this technology-driven age, texting while driving is undoubtedly the most rampant of the distracted driving culprits. It has become so much of an issue that many states, including Georgia, have in recent years implemented bans against the practice - hoping that discouraging the conduct will subsequently curtail the number of car accidents that result. Georgia codified its ban three years ago, in 2010. The law, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241.1, applies to all drivers in the state. Furthermore, acknowledging that young drivers most often fall prey to the call of the cell, a full cell phone ban was promulgated that same year against motorists under the age of 18. Violators in both instances face a penalty of $150 upon conviction, plus a point against their driving history.

Since that time, more serious offenses (e.g. distracted driving coupled with substance abuse) have carried the potential for stiffer penalties when an injured party actually files a lawsuit. Recently, some Georgia courts have held that texting while driving may result in personal liability of a kind beyond the protection of insurance coverage.

The laws have certainly experienced a certain degree of success. In fact, Georgia's laws on distracted driving are so effectively worded that the state was one of only seven selected to receive a grant from the Department of Transportation to help combat the epidemic. Georgia topped the list of seven with a grant of $1.63 million. So, it seems, the laws are here to stay.

Continue reading "Texting While Driving: New Twist on Liability and Car Accidents Causes Concern for Motorists/Friends and Family" »

Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents during the Summer Months and Practicing Rider Safety

July 27, 2013

While summer is still upon us, avid cyclists are quick to take advantage of the warmer weather. Many of them, especially motorcycle, scooter and minibike drivers, cite not only the thrill that accompanies riding a bike, but also the inescapable feeling of freedom that comes from flying down a road (well, more like driving really fast), with nothing manmade (i.e. car doors and roofs) between themselves and nature. However, motorcycle accident attorneys caution that the very thing that makes cycling so appealing is too often the very same thing that results in fatal motorcycle accidents.

While riding with the wind in their hair (or, more hopefully, buffeted against their helmets), some cyclists (especially those who are more inexperienced) tend to throw something else to the wind as well- caution. This is particularly true during rush hour traffic.

Continue reading "Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents during the Summer Months and Practicing Rider Safety" »

Find Your Attorney Match

We will match you with a well qualified attorney. There is no charge for matching with an attorney and, with respect to injury related legal matters, all of the attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. Each attorney to whom you are matched through this website has satisfied the five qualifications which we believe are important for any attorney representing an individual or business.

(*) Required Fields