Recently in Automobile Accidents Category

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Georgia Officials Caution against Boating and Driving During the Summer Months as New Boating Under the Influence Law (BUI) Comes With Stiffer Penalties

June 29, 2013

With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, just a few words of caution: Don't boat and drive. Around this time of year, and particularly during the summertime, Georgia residents are often warned about the dangers of operating fireworks. Holidays like the Fourth are also accompanied by the usual admonitions regarding drinking and driving. Pretty much everyone is aware of the penalties for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. What many fail to realize, however, it that a boat is a vehicle too and boating accidents have the potential to be just as dangerous as car accidents.

During the summer, the weather is often deemed to be perfect for activities like fishing, swimming and jet-skiing. Lake Lanier is one extremely popular spot - which explains why it has also been the site of several major boating accidents. In 2012, five people died or were injured as a result of boaters who had too much to drink before operating a boat in Georgia. Often the accidents resulted because people become so careless in the midst of their drinking and reveling that they fail to exercise due care. The state of Georgia has its own set of safety regulations regarding boating, and while they aren't given quite as much publicity as traffic laws, they are just as important and apply to the operation of all watercrafts, including skis, motor boats, sailboats, and even surfboards.

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Car Surfing Trend Resurfaces at Great Cost: Injury, Deadly Car Accidents Result

June 13, 2013

As trends often do, this one seems to resurface every year or so. Like most fads, young people looking to impress their peers tend to be the ones to latch on. Unlike some less complicated trends, however, this particular trend has more dangerous implications - car accidents often resulting in traumatic brain injury, physical disabilities and, worst case scenario, in fatalities. It's called car surfing (or and, unfortunately, the activity isn't even on most parents radars.

Car crashes are already one of the leading causes for teenage deaths in the United States. Car surfing is an added recipe for disaster, many times including volatile variables like unpredictable motor vehicles, young and inexperienced drivers, and the distractions that necessarily tend to accompany such events. Videos of people successfully completing the act have gone viral, inspiring others to follow suit. The videos should come with an admonishment that viewers "not try this at home," but many personal injury attorneys already know that such a warning probably wouldn't act as much of a deterrent. The videos are simply too attractive to thrill-seekers and deceptively fail to depict the associated risk for injury or death. With school out for the summer, and teens looking for thrills to compromise their free time, we are sure to see a resurgence of car surfing accidents.

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Flying Tire Causes Fatal Car Accident during Atlanta's Morning Commute

May 2, 2013

There are undoubtedly many different types of car accidents. There are collisions between multiple drivers, and then there are those collisions caused by motorists who are under the influence, or distracted. All of these accidents, no matter, the driving force, invoke feelings of sympathy for the victims involved. But of particular tragedy are the accidents that may not be the direct result of any type of human error at all.

Often in these so-called "freak accidents," injury seems to have been almost inevitable. Even more disconcerting for personal injury attorneys is the fact that, in these cases, it is often extremely difficult to immediately pinpoint or assign "fault" to any one particular source. Take, for instance, an article entitled, "Woman Killed by Flying Tire Had Nowhere to go." The blaring headline displayed on the Atlanta Journal Constitution's (AJC) Web site regarding one of Atlanta's most recent morning rush hour traffic accidents serves only to accentuate the aforementioned point.

Last Friday morning, a 47-year-old woman was driving her daughter to school when a truck tire flew over the median that separates I-85 and in the direction of cars driving southbound on the highway near the Clairmont Road exit. The tire struck the van's roof and windshield, killing Aila Masud on impact. According to a police interview conducted by reporters at the AJC, another driver traveling in the opposite direction, and across the median, was trying to avoid his own collision, when a front tire came off of his truck and careened at least 50 feet into the air, eventually striking Masud's motor vehicle.

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Teen Driver Deaths Decreasing in Georgia: Improvement over National Numbers

April 1, 2013

It would seem that Georgia's recent spate of traffic laws (especially those laws involving the required usage of seat belts and banning texting while driving) is experiencing a decent amount of success. In fact, statistics show that there was a sharp and marked decrease in the number of young motorists who perished in car accidents last year. Unfortunately, however, while this is good news for the state, Georgia's numbers regarding teen deaths due to car crashes simultaneously provide a definite contrast to those of the nation.

Nationally, the amount of teen driver deaths is on the rise. According to a government report released February 26th of this year, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), teen deaths "increased sharply across the nation for the first six months of 2012."

The AJC article also shared with readers some fairly interesting, and contrasting numbers. Researcher Dr. Allan Williams conducted the state-by-state analysis of teen driver deaths. He suggests to the AJC that he "attributes much of the [nationwide] increase to the leveling off of state driving programs, and the fact that more teens are driving due to an improved economy."

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Proposed Georgia Law Meant to Keep Left Traffic Lane Clear and Cut Down on Car Accidents

February 26, 2013

Georgia may soon be the next state to enforce what others have already dubbed the "slow-poke" law. House Bill 459, introduced by Rep. Bill Hitchens, R-Rincon, was created to outlaw driving in the fast lane on Georgia's congested highways unless attempting to overtake and pass another vehicle. Intended to keep "slow pokes" from meandering and languishing in the left lane and impeding faster-moving motorists, the measure would take effect "only if another car is trying to get by."

An article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution makes the parameters of the bill even clearer. Quotes the article, "Hitchens, a former head of the state Department of Public Safety, wants to make it illegal, essentially, to drive in the left lane on all controlled access highways at all, except":

--When no other vehicle is directly behind the vehicle in the left lane.
--When traffic make it impractical to drive in the right lane.
--When weather conditions make it necessary to drive in the left lane.
--When obstructions or hazards exist in the right lane.
--When a vehicle changes lanes to comply with other laws.
--When exiting on the left.
--To pay tolls or use a toll pass.
--When driving in the left lane comply with traffic control

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