Gwinett County ranks third in Georgia when it comes to traffic fatalities. The number of collisions here has been growing constantly since 2012. In 2016, there were no less than 41,527 crashes. Out of these, 9,436 resulted in injuries. Many accident victims found themselves needing a car accident attorney.
In fact, most accidents take place in Lawrenceville. The seat of Gwinett County seems to have quite dangerous roads. The ones that have seen the most accidents throughout the years are:
- Lawrenceville Highway
- Bethesda Church Road
- Georgia 316
- Buford Drive
- Ronald Reagan Parkway
Most accidents occur due to the negligence or wrongdoing of one of the drivers. They have various causes, but some of them are quite frequent.
Common Accident Causes and What They Mean for a Lawrenceville Car Accident Attorney
- Failure to signal traffic maneuvers
Many drivers forget to announce their intentions. They take turns or change lanes without signaling, getting in the way of other traffic participants. In theory, the fault for such accidents belongs to the driver who failed to signal their maneuvers. In practice, if the other driver was speeding, texting, or was intoxicated with drugs or alcohol, things change. They will share fault for the accident, and their share percentage will determine their responsibility for the losses.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
DUI is a serious offense in Georgia. However, many drivers still commit it, without thinking of the consequences. A BAC above the legal limit makes the intoxicated driver at least partly liable for the accident. It takes a good auto accident attorney to assess and prove the fault of all the parties involved.
Many drivers in the area exceed the legal speed limit. Unfortunately, speed decreases the drivers’ reaction period and increases the impact force. Drivers who exceed the legal speed limit will share fault for their accident. At Cain & Mays Trial Lawyers, we always try to find out what speed each car involved had.
- Texting and driving
Although the law forbids it, many drivers still do it. The text to their friends and family, update their social status or browse the internet. With their attention diverted to their mobile device, they fail to notice dangerous situations on time. When they do, it is usually too late to avoid an accident. Unfortunately, although it equals liability, texting and driving are very difficult to prove. It takes a skilled distracted driving accident attorney to succeed.
- Drowsy driving
Drivers often drive while tired. Some are so tired that they fall asleep. Fatigue has similar effects to alcohol. It impairs drivers, diminishing their focus and attention and slowing down their reaction. Many tired drivers get off the road or onto the adjacent lines without signaling, losing vehicle control. Most drowsy driving cases involve truck drivers. An auto accident attorney will always check their driving schedule and rest periods.
Identifying the cause of a traffic accident is the first step to proving liability. It is the first thing the police officers investigating a crash try to establish. It is also one of the first aspects of car accident lawyers look at. Why is a liability so important? In order to understand that, it helps to review Georgia laws.
Accident Liability and the Importance of Working with a Lawrenceville Auto Accident Lawyer
Georgia is an at-fault state. This means that, when a traffic accident occurs, the party at fault is liable for the damages. Since liability insurance is mandatory, insurers usually cover the damages.
Establishing fault for a car accident can be tricky. Georgia laws accept the possibility for all the parties involved to share fault. Insurers speculate, trying to blame the claimant, in order to pay less or avoid paying. That is why all accident victims should enlist the help of an auto accident attorney.
Fault distribution has a direct and drastic impact on the compensation value. The law sees accident fault as 100% and distributes it between the parties based on the available evidence. It also sees total accident losses as 100%. The fault percentage attributed to a driver determines the percentage of losses that the driver is liable for.
For example, a driver who is 30% at fault for their accident will be responsible for 30% of the losses. This means they can only recover 70% of the losses they incurred. Of course, they will have to prove the other driver’s liability and the value of their losses. This is much easier when working with a car accident attorney.
The outcome of car accident cases depends often depends on how the parties act at the accident scene. At Cain & Mays Trial Lawyers, we advise all drivers to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. If they do not, or their lawyer cannot get to the scene on time, taking the right steps is very important.
Steps Drivers Should Take after a Car Accident
- Stop at the Scene.
It is a requirement of Georgia Code Title 40, Chapter 6, Article 12. Drivers should pull over safely, without impeding traffic.
- Call an Ambulance.
If anyone incurred injuries, they should receive medical assistance as soon as possible. Otherwise, their condition may aggravate.
- Clear the Road.
If the accident did not involve injuries or debt, drivers should take their cars out of the carriageway area. If they do not, and an accident occurs, they could be liable for it.
- Report the Accident.
This obligation refers to accidents involving injuries and/or property damages higher than $500. A police officer will most likely come to the scene to investigate and prepare the accident report.
- Obtain contact, driving, vehicle, and insurance information.
The parties involved in the accident should exchange names, addresses, and phone numbers. They should also exchange driving licenses, vehicle registration, and insurance policy details.
- Gather evidence.
The most valuable evidence on how the accident occurred is only available at the scene. Drivers should focus on documenting accident circumstances, causes, damages, injuries, and more. These, along with the accident report, will help substantiate their compensation claims.
At Cain & Mays Trial Lawyers, we always advise clients to be careful about what they say or do after the accident. We have seen many drivers apologize even if they had not done anything wrong. Apologies could qualify as an admission of fault. Also, signing agreements and right waivers at the accident scene is never a good idea. Many insurers try to take advantage of the accident victims’ state of confusion to avoid paying.
All accident victims should focus on getting in touch with a car accident attorney as soon as possible. Until the latter gets to them, they should focus on the six steps described above and avoid mistakes. Later on, their lawyer will help them file the compensation claim.
The Car Accident Claim Process and the Role of the Lawrenceville Car Accident Attorney
The first step to an accident claim is identifying the party at fault and their insurance status. If they carry insurance, the defendant to the claim will be their insurer. If they do not, accident victims can seek compensation from their own insurer. Another option is to file a civil court lawsuit against the party at fault themselves.
Most accidents end with insurance claims, so this is what we will focus on in the following lines. The first step to any insurance claim is filing the notice of claim. It is basically a letter announcing to the insurer that their client’s victim seeks compensation for their losses.
Obviously, this letter should summarize how the accident occurred and its consequences. Its filing should take place within a fixed time period. That is why an auto accident lawyer should be the one preparing and filing it. They will then have the chance to substantiate the claim.
This means putting together conclusive evidence regarding accident fault and consequences. The process is similar to a court trial but less formal and stressful. It directly influences the claim outcome, so it is a job for an experienced auto accident attorney.
Depending on how thorough the claim is, the defendant will approve it or reject it. The approval usually comes with a settlement offer. The insurer will offer the claimant a sum of money to give up all their rights and demands. It helps to have a car accident attorney review the offer and conduct further negotiations. The compensation should cover as much of possible of the losses the victim incurred, including:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Disability expenses
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
The latter can assess whether it is worth accepting and, often, secure an even better deal for their client. If the insurer denies the claim or offers an unfair settlement, appeal options are available. They can go from filing an appeal with the insurer to filing a lawsuit in civil court.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lawrenceville, Georgia Car Accidents
Car accidents are often traumatic and shocking events that leave victims feeling overwhelmed and uncertain. At Cain & Mays Trial Lawyers, we receive many different questions from our Georgia neighbors wondering how to respond after a car accident. Below, we provide general answers to some of the most frequently asked car accident questions.
For specific answers to your individual questions, contact us now for a free consultation.
Your immediate priority after any car accident should be ensuring the health and safety of yourself and any other occupants of your vehicle. Move your vehicle to a safe location out of the flow of moving traffic if it is safe to do so. Then check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If you or anyone else was injured in the crash, dial 911 to request assistance from emergency medical services.
If you do not require emergency care, your next focus should be on documenting the accident scene. Request contact and insurance information from other drivers and ask any other vehicle occupants or witnesses for statements and contact details. Write down everything you can remember about the collision and take photos of any visible damage or injuries.
Not all car accident cases require the assistance of a lawyer. For example, if the accident caused only minor property damage, you can likely deal directly with insurance providers to resolve your claim.
However, it’s a good idea to contact a lawyer if:
- You were seriously injured as a result of the accident.
- It’s unclear who was at fault for the accident.
- You’re not sure how much your car accident claim is worth.
- The insurance company tries to minimize or deny your claim.
- You are forced to negotiate for the settlement you deserve.
- Another driver tries to blame you for the accident.
- Another driver files a lawsuit against you.
In most cases, yes. Georgia state law requires all drivers who are involved in a car accident to notify the local police department if the accident resulted in injury, death, or $500 or more in property damage.
Members of law enforcement can be incredibly helpful at the scene of an accident. Police officers can assist with redirecting traffic, alerting emergency medical services, and ensuring the safety of everyone present.
Police officers also typically investigate accident scenes and generate official reports, which often contain information that could be useful if you have to file a claim.
Most car accident claims are resolved without anyone ever going to court. However, if you were injured in a car accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, you have the right to sue for the compensation you need to recover.
Filing a lawsuit is a complicated and time-consuming process. If you decide to sue another driver, it’s a good idea to seek assistance from a qualified attorney. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you find and preserve valuable evidence, establish a strong argument for your case, and demand the financial recovery you deserve.
Here at Cain Injury Law, we have years of experience obtaining real results for Georgia car accident victims. We are prepared to handle every aspect of your claim and fight aggressively to protect your rights.
Contact us today to learn more in a free, confidential case review.