Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

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Georgia personal injury law allows victims of accidents to recover compensation for injuries caused by the negligence of other persons and companies.  If you have been involved in an accident, it is important to not only learn about our State’s laws, but also understand specific doctrines, like comparative negligence, that may affect your claim.

Accident victims are sometimes surprised when they are blamed for their own injuries. However, that does happen and in many more cases than most people realize.  The other party in your claim could attempt to point the finger at you, claiming that you were responsible for your own injuries by your own negligence.  For example, if investigations find that you were also negligent because you were on your cell phone at the time, or because you were also speeding, then Georgia’s comparative fault laws may apply to your claim, making it difficult for you to recover the full amount of your damages.

In a case like this, the courts will reduce the damages that you are eligible for by the percentage that you are at fault in the accident. For instance, if the court decides that the other person was 80% at fault in the accident, while you were 20% at fault, it will reduce the damages that are recoverable by you by 20%.

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Halloween is almost here, and that means excited parents working on costumes for their even more excited children. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Halloween can be a dangerous time, especially for children. Child pedestrians walking around in the dark simply translates into a higher risk of accidents for young children.

This Halloween, make sure that your children are aware of all safety rules before they go out trick-or-treating. There are basic, simple safety rules that children must follow when they are out on Halloween night.

Make sure that young children are accompanied by older children when they’re out. Children must be told to follow the old safety rule of looking left, right and then left again when crossing the street, and must only cross the street at corners. They must walk on sidewalks, and if there are no sidewalks, must walk in the face of oncoming traffic.

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Road rage is a major factor in American accidents, and as many as 80 percent of Americans admit that they have experienced an episode of road rage at least once over the past year.

According to statistics released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 4 in 5 Americans admitted to engaging in dangerous behaviors, like hitting another vehicle on purpose, or stepping out of their vehicle in anger, during a bout of road rage. As many as 8 million motorists admitted to these and other types of dangerous behaviors on the road.

It’s normal to experience a moment of frustration and anxiety when you are driving, especially during peak hours. However, a responsible motorist must keep control of his emotions and not allow them to cloud his judgment and his behavior. Road rage can contribute to the kind of dangerous and impulsive behaviors that can increase the risk of an accident.

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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.

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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.

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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:
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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.
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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.
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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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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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