Every single day, hundreds of auto accidents occur due to complex navigation systems and distracting technology. Lives are turned upside down within a moment of inattention or mistake. Many people who have been in an auto accident wonder if they really need an attorney to handle the case. There are a lot of things to worry about, expenses to address, recovery from injuries to focus on, and much more as you navigate through the difficult aftermath of an auto accident. In most of these cases, a good auto accident lawyer can make all the difference in reducing the stress level and ensuring that your rights are protected and advocated so that you don’t have to face this challenge alone.
When another driver has been careless, reckless, or negligent, you can find yourself facing the consequences with devastating injuries, invasive surgeries, substantial medical expenses, time consuming rehabilitation, and lost wages. You could even lose your ability to work and provide for yourself. In too many cases, the heartbreaking reality is that victims of auto accidents lose a piece of themselves as loved ones are tragically taken from them.
Then, with all of these overwhelming circumstances piled in front of you, you find yourself facing the at-fault driver’s insurance company with their exhausting paperwork, smooth talking adjusters, and focused dedication to settling your claim for the lowest possible amount. This is why you will find it to be in the best interests of yourself and your family to have tough legal representation in the aftermath of an auto accident.
Statistics From A Kennesaw Car Accident Attorney
The average cost of an auto accident in Georgia is over $1,000 per person with accidents occurring more frequently in rural areas than in urban areas. Every year, over 1200 Georgia auto accidents result in fatalities and all together, over 60,000 years of life are lost to these motor vehicle crashes.
Even when an accident is not fatal, the statistics on collisions in Georgia are alarming. Close to 1200 auto accidents occur every single day with over 100,000 injuries occurring. These are most often caused following too closely, failure to yield, or loss of control by the driver and happen in passenger cars three times as often as trucks and SUVs. Whatever the cause or circumstances of your auto accident, the injuries and losses sustained can be completely devastating to you and your family.
For a free legal consultation with a car accidents lawyer serving Kennesaw, call (770) 792-1000
Common Injuries From Auto Accidents
Many of the most common injuries from auto accidents are disabling. Too often, those who might be lucky to escape with their lives are devastated by the long term and even permanent disability that results from these collisions. The amount of force exerted in a high speed auto accident is enough to significantly damage the human body with an array of painful and debilitating injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Brain and head injuries frequently occur in auto accidents because the body cannot safely slow to a stop when traveling at high speeds. Even seatbelts cannot stop the brain from crashing into the skull during impact. This can happen with enough force to cause a range of injuries from mild concussion to extreme traumatic brain injury.
Even if things appear to be alright in the aftermath of the accident, symptoms of brain injuries can surface later on. This could cause a person to opt out of seeking the assistance of an auto accident attorney because he or she mistakenly believes that no further medical bills will be incurred. Then, when symptoms present themselves, it is too late because the claim has been settled, and the expenses for medical care rest on the shoulders of the victim.
Back And Neck Injury
Back and neck injuries are also common occurrences during an auto accident. Some injuries of the neck and back include whiplash and damage to the spine, nervous system, or muscles. When a person is in a car crash, the sudden stop causes an amount of force that can create substantial pressure on the body. As the head slams forward and back, the neck can be injured. As your body twists and collides with parts of the vehicle, or is even crushed by the impact, your vertebrae can be fractured or otherwise damaged.
Much like head injuries, the trauma of some back and neck injuries can go unnoticed and untreated in the shocking moments that follow an auto accident. Not every back and neck injury is obvious, apparent, or paralyzing. Symptoms may start with mild discomfort and grow into disabling pain and limited range of motion over time.
It is extremely common for drivers and passengers in car accidents to experience injuries to the face, including deep cuts, scrapes, bruises, and burns. The most common cause of facial injuries in auto accidents is the broken glass from windshields, door windows, mirrors, and eyeglasses. Broken jaws and teeth are also potential issues that can be faced by people who have survived a car crash.
Serious auto accidents can also cause chest injuries. These most often arise from the impact of the chest with the seatbelt, the dashboard, or the steering wheel. In some cases, broken ribs and internal injuries occur from this impact or when passengers are thrown from the car. Chest injuries can require a lot of time and rehabilitation to recover from.
Kennesaw Car Accident Lawyer Near Me (770) 792-1000
Auto Accident Lawyer On The Claims Process
These injuries and many others (like fractures, burns, and various lacerations) are the result of Georgia auto accidents hundreds of times every single day. So, what do you do when you have been injured in an auto accident? What steps do you need to take to receive the financial compensation that you deserve and need to sustain yourself and your family?
The very first thing that you need to do following a car crash in Kennesaw is to file a report for the physical injuries and property damages. This not only beneficial for your case, but is your legal obligation in Georgia. You will begin by calling the police, who will arrive quickly with the paperwork that you need to file a report for the accident. Avoid saying anything that might imply that you are in any way at fault. This does not mean that you should lie about anything, but that you should avoid making apologies and keep discussion to a minimum to avoid accidentally saying something that could be used against you at a later date by the other driver and his or her attorneys.
If you are able to, exchange information with the other driver. This means that you need to provide and collect the full name, address, phone number, and insurance information. You should also make notes about the details of the accident, the positioning of the vehicles, the possible cause of the crash, and the names and information of any witnesses. These will come in handy later when you need evidence and witnesses to testify in your case.
Even if you feel as though you have not suffered any injuries from the accident, and naturally, if you have apparent injuries, you need to see a doctor after you file your accident report. Not all symptoms of injuries are immediately obvious. Head and brain injuries, back and neck injuries, and in some cases, even internal injuries can seem non-existent or minimal in the moment. Further inspection, however, can reveal serious problems that you have not noticed.
This is especially true in the dazed and stunned moments that follow a car accident. People can go into shock, and if head injuries are present, you may be confused and unable to adequately assess your own injuries. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible is the best way to ensure that you are adequately treated to prevent further injury and obtain financial compensation for your medical expenses.
Unfortunately, many people do not follow this advice, and find that they are accused to faking their injuries when health concerns are claimed later on. The insurance company can easily claim that your injury was caused by an unrelated event or that the injury never happened to begin with. It is important to have medical records as evidence of the injury and the cause.
When an accident occurs on Georgia roads, fighting for adequate compensation for damages and injuries can be an uphill battle. However, the more detailed you are in your initial report on the accident, the easier it will be to get the judgment you deserve. To establish fault, considerations like recklessness and negligence will be taken into account. As the plaintiff, you will have to show that the defendant failed to operate his or her vehicle in a responsible and appropriate way to avoid the accident, and that this failure is what caused the accident, the injuries and the damages.
To prove fault, the more evidence you have, the better. An auto accident attorney will assemble the necessary documents to be able to approach the at-fault driver’s insurance company with everything prepared for the case. Your attorney will contact anyone who provided medical care for your injuries (including doctors, chiropractors, hospitals, radiologists, rehabilitation providers, etc) to understand the treatment provided and calculate the bills incurred for these treatments.
The auto accident attorney will also view statements from witnesses and may even consult with an accident reconstructionist to get a better idea of what actually happened to cause the crash. With all of this documented evidence in hand, the auto accident attorney can file a demand letter with the responsible insurance carrier.
The Demand Letter
The next step is to file the demand letter with the insurance carrier who was responsible for your car accident. This letter will explain the facts, including the cause of the accident, and the details of what happened and the medical needs and expenses that resulted. All of your injuries and expenses will be described in detail in this letter, in addition to any other expenses. If future care is anticipated, these costs will also be included.
The ultimate goal of the demand letter, after listing and explaining injuries and expenses, is to demand a specific amount of money to compensate the injured plaintiff. The demand letter will be mailed to the insurance company and the claims adjuster for that company will be responsible for reviewing the evidence and offering a settlement.
This is where your auto accident lawyer will be able to negotiate for a settlement that is fair and sufficient to cover your losses. It will be your responsibility to remain in close contact with your attorney to ensure that the case progresses. However, patience will be necessary as each case is different and yours may not be resolved for months.
Hire An Auto Accident Lawyer For A Stress Free Settlement Process
It is always important to have adequate representation when you are involved in negotiation for a settlement with an insurance claims adjuster. It is not easy to face these professionals on your own as you focus on recovering from your auto accident. Your attorney will have the experience to protect your interests and refuse unfairly low offers for a minimal settlement.
All too often, plaintiff’s choose to settle their cases early and even accept the very first offer that they are given by the insurance company. It’s is not unreasonable to be tempted to do this because you want to get past this difficulty and waste no more time than you have to on the challenging negotiation process. However, a bit of patience can ensure that you get a settlement that is several thousand dollars more than the initial settlement offer.
Consider this example: You are in an auto accident that results in broken bones and neck surgery. You have received treatment for all of these injuries, and your case is the settlement phase. You accept the first offer which will compensate your medical expenses up to this point, and you feel satisfied with this decision. You begin to move on with your life and put the accident behind you. A few months pass. Suddenly, you’re noticing more neck pain and you return to the doctor for additional treatment. These medical expenses will come out of your pocket, because you’ve already settled your case; and there’s no going back once you’ve made that decision.
It is essential to work with an experienced professional auto accident attorney to prevent a situation like this from happening to you. Take your time in healing and let your lawyer handle the stressful paperwork and negotiations. As time passes, you’ll have a better idea of what sort of continued medical treatment may be required for your recovery and how much you’ll lose in wages. When in doubt, ask your auto accident attorney about the best course of action.
To ensure that you are working with the most experienced and successful auto accident attorneys in the area, call Roger Ghai. Personal Injury attorney Ghai has represented victims of auto accidents throughout Georgia and knows how to fight for your best interests.
Call (770) 792-1000 for a free consultation for your case with Roger Ghai and his team of legal professionals!
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Tips for Safe Holiday Driving
While dropping temperatures and shorter days signal the changing seasons, it also means that we are approaching the holidays. The holidays are a time to spend enjoying the company of friends and family, but all the traveling and celebrating associated with holiday festivities also leads to an increased risk for car accidents. If you are injured a car accident in the Marietta, Kennesaw, or Acworth area that interrupts your holidays, you should consult an experienced car accident attorney at the Law Offices of Roger Ghai, P.C. who can handle your case while you focus on family and friends.
In past years, the Georgia State Troopers released numbers for accidents and fatalities that occurred during various holiday periods. In 2012, during the Christmas period that ran from Christmas Eve at 6 p.m. and ended on Christmas Day at midnight, state troopers investigated 702 traffic crashes resulting in 371 injuries and 11 fatalities. Likewise, during the New Year’s timeframe that lasts from 6pm on New Year’s Eve and runs through midnight on New Year’s Day, there were 694 crashes, 353 reported injuries, and 4 fatalities.
Safe Driving Tips
During the holidays, people may be consuming more alcoholic beverages, they may be more tired or in a hurry to get to the store before it closes or they may be rushing from work or school to a get together with friends. Additionally, en route to holiday parties on the quest for the perfect gift, drivers are more likely to find themselves on unfamiliar roads. The tips below are applicable in any driving situation, but they are even more important to keep in mind during the holiday season.
- Program your holiday party destination into your phone or navigation system before you begin driving;
- Obey posted speed limits, especially on unfamiliar roads;
- Allow more time to brake; at night, it’s possible that roads may be slick;
- Make sure your cell phone is charged, but never text and drive;
- Remain observant and aware of surrounding cars, especially when approaching intersections and driveways;
- Use blinkers to signal lane changes and turns;
- Refrain from driving when you are tired;
- Because of increased traffic throughout the holiday season, allow more time for travel; and
- Check your lights before traveling at night to make sure they are on and operating properly and check your windshield fluid level.
For drivers who are preparing to consume alcohol, the Georgia Office for Highway Safety lists the following recommendations for ensuring a safe celebration:
- Plan a safe way home before you start festivities;
- Designate a sober driver before you start drinking;
- Program the numbers for taxi services or sober ride programs into your cell phone in case you or a friend unexpectedly need a sober ride home;
- Also consider public transportation;
- Download Drive Sober, the Georgia app for a list of sober ride services in your area; and
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement immediately.
A car accident is a quick way to spoil this season’s celebrations. If you have been injured in an accident, experienced car accident attorney Roger Ghai can help. Our office represents clients in the Kennesaw, Marietta, and Acworth areas. Contact the Law Offices of Roger Ghai, P.C. today at 770-792-1000 for help recovering the compensation you deserve.
Unpacking the So-Called “Death Wobble” Lawsuit
Lawsuits involving major auto manufacturers are not uncommon. For a variety of reasons, cars, trucks, and SUVs enter the stream of commerce with major defects. In some cases, it takes years to sort out what happened. In some cases, death tolls increase while the dispute remains in litigation for decades.
Recently, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has been targeted over the so-called death wobble in the 2015 to 2018 Jeep Wranglers. According to the lawsuit, the Wranglers built during that time period have a solid axle that can cause the steering wheel to shake at highway speeds. Here, we’ll take a look at this lawsuit and what it could mean for those who own Wranglers built between 2015 and 2018.
Is the “Death Wobble” a Safety Issue?
According to FCA, the so-called “death wobble” should not concern their customers. They maintain that any vehicle with a solid front axle can experience shaking at highway speeds. The lawsuit, however, maintains that the death wobble is a safety concern and that consumers should have been warned at the point of sale that this could happen.
The “death wobble” occurs because the front axle cannot absorb road shock and bumps as efficiently as a vehicle equipped with front suspension. The front suspension allows the two wheels to move independently of one another. The death wobble occurs when the Wrangler is shocked out of alignment, which causes a shaking of the front end components and, by extension, the steering wheel itself.
On the other hand, the Jeep Wrangler is one of a handful of “true SUVs” which are meant to accomplish what SUVs were originally designed for: Off-roading. Off-roading vehicles are typically designed with unique suspensions and the very things that make them great for off-roading make them less than great for highway driving.
Is it a Feature or a Bug?
The Jeep Wrangler is not the only vehicle designed with a solid axle. When Ford announced it was bringing back the Bronco, it also announced that the SUV would be designed with a solid axle. For decades, Jeep has dominated other auto companies when it comes to off-road vehicles. While there has been some movement by auto companies to offer their pickup trucks with off-roading features, Jeep’s Wrangler and related vehicles are still the go-to choice for consumers.
In fact, solid axles are a cornerstone of “true” SUVs and those who purchase SUVs, not as family vehicles but as off-roading vehicles, would expect that technology to be present.
Is There a Better Option Available?
If you have a vehicle designed with a solid front axle intentionally to accomplish its one goal of being a premier off-road vehicle and drivers who have no interest in off-roading purchase this vehicle as a primary vehicle, is Jeep responsible for their failure in judgment?
The answer would almost undoubtedly be no, especially in this case, since there have been no major injuries associated with the death wobble despite its scary name. Consumers, however, are claiming that they don’t feel safe driving the vehicle and that offers from FCA to fix the problem have amounted to a temporary patch.
In order for this lawsuit to gain traction, the consumers and their attorneys must be able to show that their problem is not simply a feature of all off-roading vehicles but a design flaw in their particular vehicles. In other words, there is something unique to the Jeep Wrangler’s design that makes it more susceptible to the death wobble than other similar vehicles designed with a solid front axle.
Complaints Filed with NHTSA
Complaints concerning the Wrangler and its death wobble have made their way all the way to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which is the regulatory agency responsible for overseeing consumer vehicles and safety concerns.
These complaints allege that if a Wrangler hits a bump at highway speeds, the steering column will begin violently vibrating. When this happens, drivers claim they are forced to slow down in order to stop the rattling from happening. Nonetheless, the problem resulted in nearly 200 complaints against the company.
The majority of these complaints address the death wobble, but other complaints allege that the steering becomes overly stiff or starts veering to one side. As of yet, however, the NHTSA has not issued an official ruling on whether or not the vehicles are safe.
Complaints Going Back to 1995
According to federal records, there have been complaints about Jeeps and wobbling going all the way back to 1995. While there have been no deaths related to the wobble, there are five instances of injuries. It remains difficult to separate the actual death wobble from one driver’s frantic reaction to it. However, if Jeep failed to disclose that their vehicles had a propensity to shake at highway speeds after a minor bump in the road, consumers would indeed be entitled to recover damages related to correcting the issue.
Jeep, on the other hand, maintains that the death wobble may indeed frighten those who are on the road, there are no instances of anyone losing control of their vehicle after their Jeep begins wobbling.
This Is a Case Worth Following
This is an interesting case to follow because you have an auto manufacturer which designed a vehicle toward a specific purpose and its design made it not a great option for driving on the highway. Anyone with a passing interest in off-roading would have already been aware of this fact. Nonetheless, the case can be made that Jeep owes it to its customers to make them aware that there is a potential issue at highway speeds. It also remains true that five injuries related to the non-disclosure of this fact are five too many—even if it is a feature and not a bug.
Car Accident Attorney Kennesaw
If you believe that a malfunction in your vehicle caused or exacerbated your injuries, the attorneys at the Roger Ghai Law Offices can help you recover damages related to your injuries. Talk to us today for a free consultation.
How Talented Kennesaw Auto Accident Attorneys Prove Causation
Tragically, there are thousands of auto accidents on Georgia roads and on the roads and highways surrounding Kennesaw. Statistics show that, in 2015, there were more than 385,000 wrecks, crashes and collisions in Georgia. In 2018, there were more than 1,500 fatalities. See here.
If you or a family member are injured in an auto accident in Kennesaw or Cobb County, you are entitled sue the wrongdoer under the Georgia legal doctrine of negligence. To prove negligence, you and your dedicated team of lawyers must provide evidence of
(2) breach of duty by the careless driver
(3) causation and
(4) your injury
Often, proving the first two elements is straightforward. However, sometimes, your Kennesaw auto accident attorneys must focus their skills on proving the third element because the injuries and medical issues or the causal linkages are complex. Here is a quick primer on how talented and skilled auto accident and personal injury lawyers prove causation.
Kennesaw Auto Accident Attorneys — Causation In Kennesaw
In Kennesaw, proving causation requires providing evidence showing of logical causal connection between the wrongful conduct and the alleged injury. Causation is about sequence — this certain event happened and then a subsequent-in-time event happened next. The connection between the events must be logical, and must be linked in time and space. An event that occurs in Atlanta a 9:00 o’clock in the morning cannot be the cause of something that happens in Kennesaw at 8:00 o’clock that same morning or something that occurs at noon. There is no temporal or spatial linkage. Further, the logic linkage must not be a “mere possibility” or speculation or conjecture.
Kennesaw Auto Accident Attorneys — Simple Causation In Kennesaw
Where causation is easy to see and can be determined by people of ordinary knowledge and common sense, the courts allow causation to be shown by the testimony and facts of the case. Thus, for example, in Gardner v. Clark, 793 SE 2d 439 (Ga. Court of Appeals 2016), that causation was proven by testimony and documents showing an otherwise healthy woman was found dead with “charring” and “burning” on her lower extremities after a fire engulfed her mobile home. See also Cowart v. Widener, 697 SE 2d 779 (Ga: Supreme Court 2010) where the court said: “… it does not require expert testimony for a lay jury to determine that a gunshot wound to the head of an otherwise healthy person who died shortly thereafter was the proximate cause of her death.”
Kennesaw Auto Accident Attorneys — Complex Causation: Experts Needed
On the other hand, for many Kennesaw auto accidents, proving causation can be complicated because expert opinion is needed. Experts are needed if causation is not within the realm of the knowledge or ordinary persons.
One common example is where specialized medical knowledge is necessary to explain the injuries and to explain how the injuries resulted from the wreck, collision or accident. For example, in a truck collision case, the victim alleged that during the wreck, he suffered trauma to his head and that the head trauma caused him to being suffering epileptic seizures, severe headaches and and depression. On the issue of causation, medical records and medical expert opinions were needed. As it turned out, the victim had a cancerous brain tumor. All the physicians and experts agreed that the tumor was not caused by the accident. However, the experts disagreed on possible aggravation. The victim’s physician offered the opinion that: “… a stressful situation [like the collision]… may have caused very small hemorrhaging … Then perhaps the pressure or the irritability of the surrounding nerve cells around this [cancerous] lesion would be more affected” leading to epileptic seizures. For the Georgia Court of Appeals, such opinion testimony was sufficient to send the case to the jury. See Holley v. Smallwood, 330 SE 2d 136 (Ga. Court of Appeals 1985).
Skilled Kennesaw auto accident attorneys like those at the Roger Ghai Law Offices know how to gather and forcefully present this sort of specialized medical expert opinion.
Another example of complex causation needing expert opinion is where the linkage of events is not knowable absent specialized training and knowledge. A good example here is the case of Layfield v. Department of Transp., 632 SE 2d 135 (Ga. Supreme Court 2006) where the Georgia Supreme Court discussed the need for expert testimony on questions of causation. In Layfield, a young man died when he lost control of his vehicle during a rain storm and crashed into a tree. The decedent’s mother filed suit claiming that excessive water accumulated on the road because the Georgia Department of Transportation and its contractors (i) had not properly constructed the road originally without sufficient sloping and (ii) had made the accumulation problem worse by recent microsurfacing. The decedent’s mother claimed that her son’s loss of control of his vehicle was caused by encountering the accumulated water on the road.
In Layfield, all members of the Georgia Supreme Court agreed that expert testimony was needed for both aspects of the causation argument: that the road was improperly constructed/maintained causing excessive water accumulation and that the water accumulation caused the loss of control of the vehicle.
However, the members of the Court disagreed about whether sufficient expert testimony had been offered for purposes of summary judgment. Five members of the court said “yes”; however, four members dissented. The dissenting Justices argued that the expert should taken the following steps to solidify his opinion:
- Conduct an accident reconstruction;
- Determine the path or trajectory of the accident;
- Determine speed;
- Determine the amount of water that may have accumulated on the road;
- Consider the effect of the condition of the vehicle’s tire;
- Determine where on the 300-foot stretch of road control of the car was lost;
- Connect the defective parts of the roadway to where the driver lost control of his vehicle; and
As can be seen, Kennesaw auto accident cases often require the need for experts. If you have been injured, you need to hire skilled Kennesaw lawyers who know how to find the right experts and present the best case to the judge and jury.
Kennesaw Car Accidents: Contact the Roger Ghai Law Offices
If you have been injured in a wreck — or if a loved one has been injured — contact the skilled and experienced Kennesaw auto accident attorneys at the Roger Ghai Law Offices. We have the litigation and trial experience to gather the right evidence if your case involves complicated causation issues. The Roger Ghai Law Offices provides legal services for the residents of Cobb County including the communities of Kennesaw, Acworth, Marietta and the surrounding areas. Click here to schedule your consultation.
How Technology Can Help You Win Your Kennesaw Auto Accident Case
If, maybe, you are driving to Kennesaw to see the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, we here at the Roger Ghai Law Offices wish you safe travels on our roads and the roads of Cobb County. However, we know that auto accident, car wrecks and vehicle collisions occur even if it is not your fault. If you are in a car wreck through no fault of your own, please call us. We know Georgia law. We are also on the cutting edge of technology and know how to use it to assist you in recovering FULL compensation to pay for medical bills, damage to your car, pain and suffering, lost salary and/or wages, etc. As with nearly everything, technology is changing the way automobile accidents are litigated. Here is a quick rundown.
Car Accidents in Kennesaw: Accidents Facts and Legal Principles
Here in the Peach State, there are more than 350,000 car accidents every year with more than 1,400 deaths resulting. See here.
Some of the most common causes of accidents are:
- Reckless driving including speeding, swerving in and out of lanes, quick turns and other dangerous driving;
- Distracted driving including using a cellphone, texting, inputting information in a GPS device and similar device-use distractions; and
- Driving while impaired with alcohol and/or drugs (including over-the-counter and/or prescription drugs).
Automobile accidents are governed by the Georgia law of negligence. In other words, to prove your case, you must prove that the other driver was negligent and to prove negligence after an auto accident in Kennesaw, you must prove the standard four elements: duty, breach, causation and damage. Duty is often straightforward since every driver in Kennesaw is under the duty to exercise “ordinary care” for the safety of their passengers and other using the roads of Cobb County. Often, the difficult part is proving the second element: breach of duty.
This is where technology has irretrievably changed auto accident litigation. Cellphone, GPS devices and event data recorders are now providing precise information about car wrecks which is removing the uncertainty and doubt created by witness testimony.
Car Accidents in Kennesaw: Cellphones Prove Texting and/or Calls
At least for a limited period of time, cellphones store all information about calls and text messages. Moreover, your service provider stores the same information for many months and sometimes many years. As such, skilled and experienced automobile accident attorneys can seek such information during litigation. The cellphone data can provide the precise time at which a text or call was sent or received.
As noted above, texting while driving is one example of breaching the duty of “ordinary care.” Texting while driving is illegal. That alone makes texting while driving a breach of a driver’s duty to take “ordinary care.” But texting is also proof that the driver was not paying attention. Not paying attention is a breach of one’s duty to take “ordinary care” while driving.
Under the Georgia rules of procedure and of evidence, cellphone data and information can be sought and used at trial. If the cellphone data shows that — just before the collision — the reckless driver of the other vehicle was texting, the jury is more likely to hold the driver negligent and liable for the wreck.
Car Accidents in Kennesaw: Cellphones Can Prove Location
Cellphones can also be used to prove location. As most people know, to function, a cellphone must be connected to a cell tower. Each cell tower has a transmission and receiving range. As your phone moves, it leaves and enters the range of the various cell towers. As such, a generalized “map” can be traced of a cellphone’s “journey.” Via triangulation and other methods, the location of the cellphone can be PRECISELY mapped.
Depending on the facts of your particular case, the cellphone location information can be crucial to proving the driver’s breach of duty. If the allegation is, for example, that the other driver was drunk, then cellphone data showing that the driver had just left the SuBourbon Bar & Social Club on Summers Street might help prove that the driver had been drinking.
Car Accidents in Kennesaw: Cellphones Have Cameras
In a similar way, the video and photos taken by a cellphone can be recovered during litigation. Thus — continuing our example — maybe the driver took several photos and selfies while drinking at SuBourbon just before the wreck. Those photos are very likely admissible in court as some evidence showing that the driver had been drinking.
Car Accidents in Kennesaw: GPS Devices
If you have been injured in a vehicle collision in Kennesaw, it is likely that one or more car had a device providing global positioning system (“GPS”) navigation. Data from a GPS device can also be recovered and used at trial. Like data from a cellphone, the GPS data might show that the driver causing the accident
- Had just left a bar/tavern — possible evidence of impairment;
- Had been driving 12 hours without a break — possible evidence of drowsy driving;
- Was at the scene of an accident but then left the scene — criminal behavior;
- Was traveling in the wrong direction — violation of traffic laws; and
Depending on your case, any of these facts might help prove to the jury that the driver was reckless and careless and that he/she should be held liable for your injuries.
Car Accidents in Kennesaw: Event Data Recorders
In addition to cellphones and GPS devices, most new cars are now equipped with event data recorders. See USA Today article here. The recorders track and record various data about your car’s operation including:
- Throttle position
- Deployment of airbags including when
- Brake application — when and how many times
- Restraints worn
- Engine speed
- Steering angles
Like data from cellphones and GPS devices, the event recorder data can be recovered and used at trial. The event data recorder information might show — very precisely — that the driver causing the accident
- Was driving too fast;
- Was quickly and repeatedly changing lanes;
- Was following too close;
- Had taken dangerous turns;
- Had failed stopped at traffic control signs/devices; and
Again, depending on your case, any of these facts might help prove to the jury that the driver was reckless and careless — breached his/her duty of care — and that he/she should be held liable for your injuries
Kennesaw Car Accidents: Contact the Roger Ghai Law Offices
As can be seen, technology and data recovery are essential to automobile accident litigation. Such data can show that an accident was caused by careless and wrongful driving. If you have been injured in a wreck — or if a loved one has been injured — contact the skilled and experienced Kennesaw auto accident attorneys at the Roger Ghai Law Offices. We have the litigation and trial experience to recover the data to prove your case. The Roger Ghia Law Offices provides legal services for the residents of Cobb County including the communities of Kennesaw, Acworth, Marietta and the surrounding areas. Click here today to schedule your consultation.
There Are a Number of Car Accident-Related Issues That Still Need to Be Figured Out When it Comes to Self-Driving Cars, in and outside of Kennesaw, Georgia
We’ve briefly discussed some safety issues associated with self-driving cars—what to do after an accident caused by one, what to do if it was your car involved in the accident, who is responsible for these accidents in general, etc. However, there have been a number of updates with respect to legal liability in these accidents that need to be addressed.
Specifically, one state prosecutor just recently determined that Uber is not criminally liable for the death of a pedestrian who was fatally struck by one of their self-driving cars last year. At the time of the crash, the car was in computer control mode, although there was a person operating the car.
Determining Responsibility & Liability
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, right before the crash, the car classified the pedestrian as an “unknown object,” then a “vehicle,” then a “bicycle,” but failed to activate the emergency braking system because it was in computer control mode. In these circumstances, these cars are still designed to rely on the human operator to intervene to avoid accidents because the feature of the car’s technology essentially ignores any object in the road that it does not register as an obstacle to driving.
Still, this does not mean that Uber and the driver cannot be held liable in a civil action and, in the case of the driver, criminal charges may be appropriate. The driver—apparently, an Uber employee—was reportedly looking down and streaming a television show at the time of the accident, and may now face manslaughter charges. Not only could Uber still face a lawsuit in civil court, but the managers and/or employees of Uber could also be sued, as test drivers are supposed to intervene in situations like this. While the victim’s family has reached a settlement with Uber, the family has also sued the city, alleging that the crosswalk was poorly designed.
Experts have also weighed in on the prosecutor’s decision not to pursue criminal charges. It is difficult, in general, to hold companies criminally liable unless they purposely overlooked a huge defect that they knew would place lives at risk. Still, the decision leaves a number of unresolved issues for regulators to figure out as they try to maneuver this new technology and make it safe for everyone on the roads.
What about The Lithium-Ion Batteries & Other Autopilot Features In Other Self-Driving Vehicles?
While this may be the first fatal accident for Uber, Tesla has, unfortunately, had its fair share of accidents involving their Model S vehicles and the Autopilot feature. Not only have there been a number of fatal accidents involving the car, including here in Georgia, but a number of these cars have also led to massive fires afterward as well when the lithium-ion batteries reignite, over and over, after the crash. These accidents not only pose a serious danger to those in the car, but arguably to those that are anywhere near the car as well. The Autopilot feature in the Tesla Model S advertises itself as being able to “automatically change lanes” and “brake for you”; however, the feature has also been involved when Tesla drivers have struck a number of tractor-trailers. The National Traffic Safety Board has already determined that Tesla provides too much leeway to drivers and still lacks the proper safeguards, and this is especially concerning given that these cars do not appear to know how to obey police sirens and pull over when instructed to. There is also no apparent way for police to commandeer the cars, which leaves law enforcement in a difficult position when something goes wrong on the road.
The Model X version has also started receiving safety complaints, with reports that the vehicle gets confused as Autopilot doesn’t seem to understand diagonal white lines on the road. In these cases, the drivers were not necessarily distracted, nor were they driving negligent in any other way, but instead reported an inability to course-correct to avoid the accident beforehand because the steering wheel locked up. According to Tesla, there was one car accident recorded for every 2.91 million miles driven with Autopilot just during the fall of 2018, and there have been at least two deaths since 2016.
When Will Self-Driving Cars Be Safe Enough?
It is generally accepted that, one day, self-driving cars will be safer than human drivers, and therefore, safety issues that arise with respect to these cars should be judged against each other instead of human-driven vehicles. Still, even though in this case the test driver made a huge oversight that arguably cost someone their life, test drivers are not expected to be present when these companies eventually deploy these vehicles – an issue that must be addressed before more are allowed on the road.
Some have also pointed out that it may be impossible to eliminate every risk when it comes to these vehicles, and this is certainly an assessment that was never done for regular human-driven vehicles. Still, the accident has definitely had its effect: although companies continue to test the vehicles, efforts to pass legislation to get these cars on the road have significantly slowed since this occurred.
Contact Our Top Kennesaw Car Accident Lawyers
The law firm of the Roger Ghai Law Offices is the premier law firm serving car accident victims who suffer injuries and other damage in Kennesaw, Georgia. If you have been hurt in an accident that was not your fault—whether that involved a self-driving or human-driven vehicle—you have the right to recover the damages you need to get back on the road to recovery, and you should not, under any circumstances, have to negotiate and hassle with insurance companies to try and obtain this recovery. Contact our attorneys today to find out more about our excellent services.
Car Accident in Kennesaw, What Do I Do?
When you’ve been involved in a car accident, you need an experienced Kennesaw GA car accident attorney on your side to protect your rights. But there are other steps you need to take to protect your rights as well. Read on to learn more.
Having a car accident is a stressful experience, and the time afterward can be confusing – especially if you’ve been injured. Most people who are involved in car accidents know they need to report the accident to their insurance company, but what else should you do? And what should you NOT do, especially if you’ve been injured and may seek damages?
Here’s what you should do:
At the scene, you should:
- First, assess your own injuries. If you’re able, check to see if other people in your car are injured. If anyone is injured, call for medical help.
- Put on your flashers.
- If you can safely exit your vehicle, check on the occupants of the other car and call for medical help if necessary.
- Call the police.
- Use your cell phone to take a picture of the accident if you can do so safely.
- Exchange information with the other driver.
- Get names and phone numbers of witnesses and jot down notes of what you remember while the memories are still fresh.
- Do not discuss the accident with witnesses or people from the other vehicle.
- Do NOT sign any papers presented to you by the other driver or any insurance representative.
Once you leave the scene, you need to:
- Call your own insurance company to report the accident.
- Consider calling a doctor, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured since some injuries, like whiplash or concussions, can take time to show up.
- Call a Kennesaw GA car accident attorney as soon as possible.
An experienced Kennesaw accident lawyer can help protect your rights.
Many people may believe their insurance company, and the insurance company of the other driver, will be able to adequately cover the costs associated with a car crash. But in fact, insurance companies are going to try to limit damages so they can also limit their losses.
Think you can work things out without an attorney? Insurance companies deal with accident victims all day long. They have legal teams to protect their interests. Responding to an accident victim – especially one who is not their customer – usually doesn’t rank high on their list of priorities. Having a skilled Kennsaw Georgia car accident attorney like Roger Ghai on your side provides you with an experienced voice the insurance companies will hear.
Don’t sign away your rights.
Insurance companies may be anxious to get you to close out a claim as soon as possible. If you intend to work with an accident attorney to pursue damages, do not sign any form from an insurance company regarding your damages or your right to collect without first showing the form to your lawyer. Otherwise, you could be limiting or even eliminating your right to be compensated.
Kennesaw car accident attorney Roger Ghai can help ensure your rights are protected so you get the results you need. Call today to schedule a consultation at (770) 792-1000 and learn the difference having an experienced accident lawyer can make.
Duties Owed By Drivers In Kennesaw
When you are driving a motor vehicle in and around Kennesaw, you owe various duties to the other drivers using the road and to motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Likewise, other motorists and other users of the road owe those same duties to you. Maybe you are on a road trip driving up I-75 past Acworth to visit some family in Chattanooga and along the way there is a terrible wreck. Sadly, car accidents take place in Cobb County and all over Georgia at a very high rate. In 2015, for example, there were 385,222 car crashes in Georgia with nearly 20,000 involving serious injury and resulting in more than 1,400 deaths.
Very likely, the vast majority of those 385,222 crashes involved some form of negligence and breach of duties owed to others. If you or a family member are injured in a car wreck through the careless and negligent driving of another, under Georgia law you are entitled to recover money damages for all of your injuries and damage to your car and other property. You will need the aid and assistance of courtroom-tested Kennesaw car accident attorneys.
Car Accidents in Kennesaw — Legal Principles
To recover for negligence after an auto accident in Kennesaw, the victim must prove the standard four elements of negligence: duty, breach, causation, and damage. As articulated by the Georgia Supreme Court, the traditional elements are phases in this manner:
(1) A duty, or obligation, recognized by law, requiring the actor to conform to a certain standard of conduct, for the protection of others against unreasonable risks;
(2) A failure on his/her part to conform to the standard required;
(3) A reasonable close causal connection between the conduct and the resulting injury; and
(4) Actual loss or damage resulting to the interests of the other.
Lau’s Corp., Inc. v. Haskins, 405 SE 2d 474 (Ga. Supreme Court 1991).
This article discusses the first of those elements: duty. Here is what you should know.
Car Accidents in Kennesaw: Duty Of Ordinary Diligence/Care
The main duty owed by drivers in Kennesaw is the duty to exercise “ordinary care” which, as noted above is defined as acting in conformity with “certain standard of conduct, for the protection of others against unreasonable risks.” This duty is also defined by § 51-1-2 of the Georgia general tort statute.
The statute states:
“In general, ordinary diligence is that degree of care which is exercised by ordinarily prudent persons under the same or similar circumstances. As applied to the preservation of property, the term “ordinary diligence” means that care which every prudent man takes of his own property of a similar nature. The absence of such diligence is termed ordinary negligence.”
In practice, this requires the following:
- Keeping a reasonable lookout — vigilance — for other vehicles, pedestrians and others using the roads;
- Driving in a safe manner for the conditions including during bad weather conditions such as rain, excessive glare, fog, smoke, hilly/mountainous roads, and more;
- Providing warning to others — use of horns, hazard lights, signaling, etc.; and
- Avoiding and minimize distractions such as other occupants in the car, texting or phoning while driving, etc..
As discussed below, with regard to driving speed, exceeding the speed limit can justify a finding that the driver committed negligence per se. Furthermore, under some driving conditions, driving in a “safe manner” may require driving slower the listed speed limit such as during a snowstorm or while driving in a construction zone.
Car Accidents in Kennesaw: Heightened Duty Towards Children and the Helpless
The duty to exercise ordinary care is a flexible standard. Remember that the statute defines ordinal care as that “… degree of care which is exercised by ordinarily prudent persons under the same or similar circumstances. This means that the level of ordinary care required can rise be higher some circumstances and lower under others. With respect to children, in general, the level of ordinary care is generally higher because everyone understands that children are not as learned or as experienced as adults and children act on emotional impulses sometimes unknowingly putting themselves at risk.
But even with children, there are no hard and fast rules. Here are some questions:
- How old is the child?
- Is the child is alone?
- Are adults nearby?
- Can a child (or some unseen child) be concealed and run into traffic?
- Is the child distracted? Or is the child aware of you and your car?
- How many children are near the road?
- Are bicycles being ridden?
All of these facts are relevant to the level of care needed. This reasoning applies with equal force to others using the road who might require a heightened level of attention — such as the blind crossing a street, those that might be deemed helpless, etc.
Car Accidents in Kennesaw: Duty to Obey Laws — Negligence Per Se
All Kennesaw drivers are duty-bound to follow and obey all laws, including the traffic laws. If a driver fails to obey and abide by such laws, that driver has breached his/her duty as a matter of law. This is termed under Georgia law “negligence per se.” Indeed, a Kennesaw jury will be instructed that
“The plaintiff contends that the defendant violated certain laws or ordinances [LISTED]. Such violation is called negligence per se, which means negligence as a matter of law. It is your duty to decide whether such violation took place or not.”
A Kennesaw jury will then be instructed on the relevant law that the victim of the car crash claims was violated. For example, if speeding is alleged to be the breach of duty, the judge will instruct in this manner:
“No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and careful under the conditions and having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing. Consistent with the foregoing, every person shall drive at a reasonable and prudent speed when … [FACTS RELEVANT TO CASE such as “when approaching and going around a curve…”]
Ga. Civ. PJI 42.010; see also O.C.G.A. §40-6-180.
Car Accidents in Kennesaw: DUI, Street Racing — Negligence Per Se
As is true in every state, driving under the influence (“DUI”) is a crime in Georgia. DUI includes not only alcohol but illicit and illegal drugs and also prescription or over-the-counter drugs. The same is true for street racing and drag racing. These are intentional forms of reckless driving.
Those that drive under the influence or engage in street racing face criminal prosecution and, if an innocent bystander is injured or killed, the driver has committed negligence per se. As such, a civil verdict for personal injury and/or for wrongful death is very likely.
Kennesaw Car Accidents: Contact the Roger Ghai Law Offices
If you have suffered — or someone you love has suffered — an injury due to a careless driver in Kennesaw or Cobb County who has breached any of his or her duties while driving, contact the knowledgeable attorneys at the Roger Ghai Law Offices. We provide legal services for the residents of Cobb County including the communities of Acworth, Marietta, Kennesaw and surrounding areas. Click here today to schedule your consultation.
Kennesaw, GA Car Accident Attorney
Each year, more than 130,000 people are
injured in car accidents throughout the state of Georgia. This includes
motorists, pedestrians, and those on bicycles. Some of these accidents involve
other passenger vehicles while others involve commercial delivery vehicles like
tractor-trailers. Our job as Kennesaw car accident lawyers is to ensure that
you are compensated fairly by the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy.
Insurance companies do not want to pay out more money than they have to.
Regardless of how good your case is, you can expect the insurance company to
offer you a small fraction of the total value. The attorneys at the Roger Ghai Law Offices can help you maximize your recovery.
What Happens After a Car Accident?
Car accidents are not everyday events for
most people. Most people find themselves in a state of shock after the car
accident happens. The savvier among us might have the presence of mind to use
our phones to snap photos of the damage, license plates, and even witnesses.
When surveillance footage is available, this can help sort out what happened.
Directly after a serious car accident,
the police will generally arrive and take statements from both drivers and
witnesses. If either you or the other driver requires medical care, ambulances
will arrive to take you away. Doctors will tend to your injuries, stabilize
you, but in the most serious cases, you will require a period of rehab. In some
cases, you will need time away from work. You’ll have bills piling up and your
financial stability may depend on the timely receipt of your insurance
settlement. Don’t think for a second that the insurance company isn’t aware of
You’ll find yourself caught between two
different kinds of pressure. The first pressure will be your immediate need for
compensation. On the other hand, a first offer is unlikely to be anything close
to what you could get if you hire an attorney to litigate the case for you. You
will only get one chance to maximize
How a Skilled Kennesaw, GA Car Accident Attorney Can Help
If you’ve been involved in a car
accident, it’s more than likely that the allegedly at-fault driver’s insurance
company will attempt to make contact with you. You don’t want to speak to them.
Their job is not to “help you get your money.” It’s to pay you as little as
possible to resolve the claim. The insurance company will ask you loaded
questions to trip you up and compromise the value of your claim. Unless you
fight, you will only receive a fraction of the total value of what you’re owed.
On the opposite side, your car accident
attorney’s job is to ensure that you are compensated for all of your damages.
This includes both economic damages related to your medical expenses and loss
of earned income and noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of
Calculating Damages in a Car Accident Claim
Damages in a car accident claim include
both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are those that can be
easily quantified. They include:
- Medical expenses related to the accident;
- Lost wages that resulted from your injury; and
- Any out-of-pocket expenses related to the
Essentially, if the accident cost you any
money, you deserve to have that money reimbursed. Noneconomic damages, on the
other hand, reimburse you for the inconvenience of having to go to the
hospital, pain and suffering related to your injuries, emotional trauma, and
your inability to enjoy your life fully while recovering.
Noneconomic damages are more difficult to
calculate. Typically, this is done on a per
diem basis. For instance, if you suffered severe pain due to broken ribs,
had trouble sleeping, and had trouble breathing, you would be entitled to
recover money damages based on that. A jury would assign some amount per day
for compensation, and multiply that amount by the number of days you
experienced that pain.
The Causes of Car Accidents
The number-one cause of car accidents
this day and age is distracted driving. This includes driving under the
influence of drugs and alcohol. More than ever, there are a number of
distractions that split a driver’s attention between the road and something
else. These include cell phones, texting, vehicle entertainment systems, and
Drivers are expected to follow the rules
of traffic and exercise a reasonable duty of care to ensure the safety of other
drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. When they fail in this duty of care, they
are responsible for paying damages to the injured party.
This is known as a negligence claim. In
order to prove negligence, an injured party must show that the defendant
violated their duty of care and that the injured party’s injuries resulted from
that violation. A skilled Kennesaw car accident attorney can help you file that
The Other Driver Is Claiming that I’m At Fault
When fault is contested, as it often is,
a determination must be made by a jury or through the settlement process to
determine which party was at fault and to what extent. Here, juries can assign
fault as some percentage. For instance, you can be held 25 percent at-fault for
an accident and still recover 75 percent of your total damages. However, if the
jury finds that you are 50 percent at fault for the accident or more, then you
are barred from recovering any damages.
Talk to a Kennesaw, GA Car Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in a car accident,
you want to start the claims process early. When you hire an attorney, all
communications from the insurance company are handled by your attorney. You do
not have to worry about saying the wrong thing and you can focus on your
recovery. For those with serious injuries, having an attorney litigate your
claim is important. The stakes are quite. Talk to the Roger Ghai Law Offices today for a free consultation.
Dealing with Insurance Companies after a Car Accident
Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with. Speaking with adjusters and navigating the process of your claim can be a trying ordeal that may not result in a successful outcome. Though dealing with insurance companies can be unpleasant, they are often the first call you receive after car accident. If you have been injured involved in a car accident, before you speak with an insurance representative, it is helpful to consult with a Kennesaw car accident attorney.
If you need help dealing with an insurance representative, contact us. Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Roger Ghai, P.C. have the experience you need to successfully navigate the intricacies of your claim and will fight with you to receive the outcome you desire.
Do Not Provide An Insurance Company With An Official Statement Immediately After A Car Accident
After a car accident, insurance companies do not want to pay you money; but if they must, their goal is pay you as little as possible. When the insurance company speaks with drivers injured in car accidents, to limit the amount they must pay, the insurance company looks for an injured driver to admit some fault for the accident.
In Georgia, fault can be apportioned to drivers through the state’s comparative negligence system found in O.C.G.A. § 51-11-7. The theory of comparative negligence provides that a jury can examine liability in an accident and distribute percentages of fault for the accident among the parties involved. Under the statute, a plaintiff’s amount of recovery can be reduced by the percentage of his or her negligence. The byproduct of the comparative negligence system means that insurance companies are looking for plaintiffs to admit fault. Many plaintiffs have inadvertently implied fault in a recorded statement with an insurance company and missed out on money that they should have received.
Why Would An Insurance Company Want To Take Your Statement Immediately After Car Accident?
Insurance companies want to be in the driver’s seat and want complete control over the outcome of your claim. Generally, right after an accident, an insurance company is looking for information to use against you. They may ask you about your injuries and attempt to get you to downplay the severity of your injuries. However, immediately after an accident, the full extent of your injuries may not be clear. Insurance companies are also looking to approach you before you have hired an attorney. Insurance representatives and attorneys work with each other on a daily basis and they know from experience that they’ll have to pay more money when a claimant has legal representation. Whether you choose to be represented by an attorney or not, before speaking with a representative from an insurance company, you should review the police report for accuracy and seek to correct any statements you believe are incorrect.
Seeking Legal Help For Your Injuries
Dealing with insurance companies can be distressing process. If you were injured in a car accident, your focus should be on seeking medical attention and healing from your injuries. Experienced Kennesaw car accident attorney Roger Ghai knows how to navigate the insurance landscape and can help you recover the monetary sum that you deserve. Before you speak with an insurance representative, contact the Law Offices of Roger Ghai, P.C. today at 770-792-1000 to discuss how we can help.
Holidays That Are Deadly For Traffic Fatalities
Kennesaw car accident
Although drinking and driving is entirely preventable, it still leads to far too many car accidents every year. Annually, drunk driving kills more than 10,000 people in the United States alone.
And unfortunately, “holidays”—like Memorial Day—are no exception: According to one source, during the Memorial Day weekend between 2010 and 2015 alone, 365 people across the country were killed in drunken-driving crashes. And during the 2014 Memorial Day holiday alone (between March 16th and March 18th), close to 30 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers.
With this kind of crisis happening every year, it’s worth taking a closer look at some of the repercussions of drinking and driving on this holiday.
Increased Police Presence, Criminal and Civil Charges
Not only can those who drink and drive and are involved in auto accidents be sued for civil damages as the result of their negligence and the victim filing a personal injury lawsuit, they can also be charged (criminally) with an aggravated DUI.
Police as well are prepared for drunk driving on holidays like Memorial Day: Not only are they prepared to order warrants to test drivers’ blood if and when they refuse to take breath tests, but police prepare what is known as “saturation coverage” throughout the weekend in an effort to prevent drunk driving; setting up extra DUI checkpoints in order to do so.
Regardless of your blood alcohol concentration and whether or not you refuse to take the test to determine if you are intoxicated, you can still be charged with a DUI if the arresting officer determines that you are impaired to the point where you are an unsafe driver. As a result, you can spend time in jail, lose your driver’s license for up to a year (for a first-time offender), and face fines, as well as be required to serve community service hours and counseling requirements, amongst other penalties. One publication estimated that, if you add up the penalties, legal fees, fines, restitution, increased insurance costs, and everything else, even a first-time DUI offense can cost you upwards of $15,000.
Lawsuits against Bars & Others
Following the death of two police officers after a drunk driver collided with their patrol car, a new round of lawsuits recently emerged, filed by the officers’ families who claim that the bar where the drunk driver was drinking before the crash is responsible for the wrongful death of their loved ones.
Most states (including Georgia) have what’s known as a “hospitality” or “Dram Shop law,” which dictates that if an intoxicated person is served alcohol and, as a result, causes an accident, the victim can bring a claim against the entity responsible. In order to hold the bar responsible, the driver needs to have been visibly intoxicated and, in spite of this, served additional alcohol drinks. In addition, the server must have understood that the driver would be operating a vehicle and it must be determined that it was the act of serving the driver these additional drinks which lead to (or was the cause of) the accident.
Specifically, Georgia law states that a person who provides alcohol to a person who is under age 21, or who provides alcohol to a person who is clearly intoxicated, knowing that the person will likely be driving a motor vehicle in the near future, may be liable for any damages that result.
In fact, this law doesn’t just apply to facilities such as bars and restaurants, but to anyone responsible for serving and/or providing alcohol on their property, even if they aren’t present at the time the alcohol is consumed. Thus, property owners can be held liable for underage drinking and/or drinking and driving under certain circumstances.
Understandably, when an individual and their family are trying to recover from a serious auto accident, one of the last things on their mind is costs they’ve incurred as a result of damage to their vehicle. And yet the value of your car is impacted by an accident. As a result of the accident, a car can end up having “diminished value” when you go to sell it. Diminished value is simply the value of your car prior to the accident minus the value of your car after the accident, and should be incorporated into any auto accident claim that you bring against whoever is responsible for the accident. Naturally, the more repairs your car needs after the accident, the higher the diminished value.
Car Accident Attorney in Kennesaw
Avoiding auto accidents on the holidays can sometimes simply involve choosing a designated driver if you and your loved ones know you will be drinking, as well as keeping an eye on people you know will try to drive after they’ve been drinking and, perhaps as a result, making plans to ride-share together in order to keep everyone safe. It may be one small choice which makes the difference in saving someone’s life.
Also remember not to overlook pedestrians: Pedestrians who have had too much to drink also face a high risk of injury, as they can be especially susceptible to being hit by a car.
Most of the people who contact us for help aren’t the ones who engaged in drunk driving; but rather, the individuals and families negatively affected by drunk drivers. For legal assistance with an auto accident due to drunk driving, contact a Kennesaw accident lawyer for a free consultation. We’ve been serving clients in and around Kennesaw for years, and we’ve built a solid reputation for aggressively representing our clients’ interests and ensuring that they have what they need to get back on their feet again.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Not Uncommon After an Accident
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been in the news a lot in recent years as men and women fighting overseas find they have another battle to fight once they get home. Plagued by memories of war, many armed forces members find themselves struggling to cope with bad dreams, anxiety and other issues related to the actions they witnessed during combat. Sometimes, these very real issues can persist for years afterward, altering behaviors and relationships, making it difficult to hold a job and even causing other significant health effects due to continual stress and lack of sleep.
PTSD and car accidents
But what many people don’t know is that active service is not the only cause of post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD can occur in anyone who has experienced a traumatic event, and it can occur even in people who have not been directly, physically injured in that event.
Recent studies have focused on the effects of car accidents on PTSD, and what they’ve found has been alarming. One recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found the symptoms of PTSD can be very serious among accident victims, and they can persist for many months afterward. Another study published in the same journal reported changes in brain activity in a husband and wife who were involved in a serious car accident, even though they sustained no physical injuries. According to that report, the husband experienced intense anxiety and escape-focused thoughts, with a significant increase in heart rate; the wife experienced “great peritraumatic dissociation,” reporting feelings of mental “numbness” and being “frozen,” and also showed changes in brain activity. Not only do these studies underscore how serious PTSD can be in auto accident victims, but they also highlight how different victims’ experiences and symptoms can be.
Car accident lawyer in Kennesaw
It’s easy to think of car accidents in terms of physical injury and property damage. But the fact is, many injuries are not “on the outside,” but psychological in nature. Getting compensation for pain and suffering or other “non-physical” injuries can be very difficult, and the best way to protect your rights and support your case is by having a skilled and experienced attorney on your side who knows which evaluations you need to have to clearly demonstrate the full scale of your injuries.
As a leading personal injury lawyer in the Kennesaw area, Roger Ghai is ready to battle the insurance companies and get accident victims the compensation they need and deserve to help address all their injuries. From gathering evidence to taking witness statements to helping victims schedule important medical and psychological testing, the Law Offices of Roger Ghai will work with you so you feel confident your rights are being represented.
When you need a car accident lawyer in Marietta, Ga., Kennesaw, Acworth or the surrounding area, Roger Ghai can help you protect your rights and pursue compensation. The sooner you have an attorney working for you, the better. Call us today at (770)792-1000 and schedule your consultation.
Protect Yourself: Know the Dangers of Rail Crossings
Collisions between trains and cars cause thousands of injuries and deaths every year in the U.S., not to mention extensive and costly property damage. While some collisions may be due to driver error – for instance, driving under the influence or falling asleep at the wheel – many, many accidents occur because of unsafe crossings, including crossings that aren’t properly marked or lit.
In recent months, one railroad crossing in Douglas County has seen a high number of railroad crossing accidents which local residents attribute to poor grading where the asphalt highway meets the actual crossing, as well as a steep drop off between the roadway and the railroad ties. The combination has resulted in cars becoming stuck on the tracks, providing plenty of time for collisions to occur. Just last month, a woman was taken to the hospital in serious condition after her car was struck at the crossing, flipping over and trapping her inside.
Grading issues are just one type of negligence that can lead to accidents. Many crossings lack proper lighting, making it difficult to see trains at night; others may be blocked by vegetation or other obstructions that make it difficult to see when an train is approaching. Malfunctioning crossing lights and arms or complete lack of these features also increase the likelihood of car-train collisions. And in some cases, engineer error, such as failing to sound a train horn prior to entering a crossing, can also play a role.
Kennesaw Car Accident Attorney
Given the extreme weight and massive size of an average railroad engine, it’s no surprise railroad crossing accidents can be especially dangerous. In fact, rail safety education group Operation Lifesaver says people involved in collisions with trains are almost 20 times more likely to experience a fatal injury compared to those in collisions involving two cars.
The cost of treating train collision-related injuries can be significant, and include not only emergency treatment but also prolonged hospital stays, extensive surgery and long-term physical therapy. In addition to medical costs, loss of wages during treatment and rehabilitation periods can be disastrous. Many people are never able to resume their careers or other normal activities, resulting in significant pain and suffering, not to mention lifelong financial problems.
When collisions occur, railroad representatives typically see the victim as soon as possible to get them to sign forms and agreements involving the accident events or settlements. The best advice: Never sign anything without having it reviewed by a lawyer. Railroads have their own best interests at heart, and when you sign a form without an attorney review, you could be signing away your right to claim any losses at all.
Protect Your Rights
As a leading car accident lawyer in Kennesaw, Roger Ghai has worked with victims of train collisions to help them get the compensation they deserve for their injuries. He understands the techniques railroad companies and their insurance providers use to attempt to limit damages, and he’s ready to fight for his clients’ rights.
If you or a loved one needs a car accident attorney in Kennesaw, contact the law offices of Roger Ghai at 770-792-1000. The sooner you begin working with an experienced Kennesaw car accident lawyer, the faster you can receive the compensation you need and deserve.
Seven Die in Wrong-Way Crash
In a tragic accident that took seven lives, a Ford Excursion crossed the median on a Georgia highway where it struck a van in oncoming traffic. Seven people died in the accident, but three children survived albeit with serious injuries.
The Georgia State Patrol indicated that the Ford Excursion was heading northbound on the I-85 when it entered the center lane. Police did not indicate why the SUV suddenly jumped the median. All four men in the van were killed on impact. There were two adults and four children in the Excursion. Two adults and one of the children died. Another child remains in critical condition.
Investigating the Accident
When there is an accident like this that takes the lives of so many people, an inquiry is made into how it happened. This means taking a look at surveillance footage if there is any, witness statements, and the debris.
Accidents in which a vehicle on a highway cross the median of a street and then strikes another vehicle head-on are thankfully uncommon. However, they do tend to point to a mechanical failure in a number of cases.
Tires are composed of casings and treads. The treads are attached to the casings using steel belts and an adhesive. The adhesive is hardened during a curing process that bonds the treads to the casing. When this process fails, the result is tread separation.
The other common way that a tire can fail is sidewall damage. In cases where there is uneven pressure on the sidewall, bulges form where there is too much pressure. Eventually, the tire simply explodes as the pressure inside the tire is not distributed evenly.
Nails and other road debris also are a serious danger to tires. They can leak air slowly over a period of time. But once the tire begins to lose significant pressure, there is an increased risk that the tread will separate or the sidewall will fail.
It’s clear that the driver lost control of the car. One of the most common reasons that a driver will lose control of a car is tire failure. Tire failure happens when the tire rapidly deflates. This can be caused by a manufacturing defect in the tire, the age of the tire, or a problem with the road. In some cases, drivers will drive around with nails in their tires without realizing it. Newer model vehicles have tire pressure monitoring systems that will indicate if one tire is considerably lower than the others. Older model vehicles, however, don’t.
Why Tires Fail
There are a number of reasons why tires fail. These range from manufacturing defect to poor maintenance by the driver. Below, we’ll look in-depth at some of the most common reasons why tire failure occurs.
- Underinflation – When a tire is underinflated, it causes the bottom to bow and go pear-shaped. Not only is there added pressure on the sidewalls, but there is also pressure on the treads. Keeping tires properly inflated is paramount to good tire safety.
- They’re old – Even tires that have not been driven on for extended periods of time will accrue wear and tear. As the tire ages, the rubber gets harder, making it less pliant and capable of absorbing shock from the road. This is especially problematic for those who drive sports vehicles that they leave in their garage throughout the winter months. They think that because the tread is still good that the tire is too and that isn’t always the case.
- Overinflation – Even as underinflation presents a serious threat to your tires, so too does overinflation. Overinflated tires are more susceptible to blowouts because there is simply too much pressure already inside the tire. Drivers are cautioned never to exceed the recommended pressure ranges for their vehicle.
- The vehicle is overloaded – In the same way that overinflation can make your tires more susceptible to a blowout, so too can overloading your vehicle. There’s simply too much pressure on the tires.
- Road hazards – Major potholes and other hazards can puncture the tread of the tire. When they puncture through the tread and into the casing, the tire will begin to lose air. This can happen either immediately or slowly over time. When it happens at high speeds it can be particularly dangerous.
- Wear and tear – Tires cannot be used indefinitely. They are generally warrantied up to a certain amount of treading. Once that treading is worn down, the tires need to be replaced.
- Alignment problems – Alignment problems with your vehicle will cause the tread to wear unevenly. In some places, you will find that the treading has worn down almost completely, while another part of your tire appears to have untouched treading. Overall, alignment issues reduce the life of your tires are produce tires that are more dangerous to drive on.
Possible Non-Tire Related Causes
While tires are one of the first things that investigators will check in this type of accident, they aren’t the only reason that a vehicle can veer into oncoming traffic. In some cases, it will be the fault of the driver who fell asleep at the wheel.
There’s no way to know for certain if this particular driver fell asleep at the wheel, but in the absence of any other explanation, it becomes one of the most likely reasons.
Additionally, there could have been some other mechanical failure that caused the car to veer left violently enough to jump the median and careen into oncoming traffic.
Tire Safety Tips
Tires should be checked once a year when inspections are due. If you feel as though your tires are on the verge of wearing out, then you should make every effort to replace them. When cars suffer blowouts on highways, chances are good that the driver will lose control of the car. Tragic accidents are not uncommon.
Car Accident Attorney Kennesaw
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, the attorneys at the Roger Ghai Law Offices can file a lawsuit on your behalf. Talk to us today to set up a free consultation.