Georgia ranks 4th highest in the nation when it comes to fatal car crashes, according to statistical data. A recent article published by WSAV news noted more than 1,500 people tragically died from traffic-related accidents in Georgia, making the Peach State rank 4th in the nation for the deadliest roadways. By mid-February of 2017, there was a reported 152 deaths on Georgia roads since the beginning of the year. A study conducted by the state of Georgia’s Department of Transportation (DOT) 917 traffic-related deaths due to merging lanes in 2016 recorded and more than 60 traffic-related deaths in the first two months of 2017.
While nobody likes to consider the odds of getting into a car accident, the risk of this happening – and the likelihood of injuries – is high.
While determining fault in some Georgia car accidents may be clear, more often than not fault is more difficult to figure out than simply looking at which car hit the other. There are two types of car accidents, however, in which fault is more easily determined: rear-end crashes and left-turn crashes. For nearly all other types of car accidents, a seasoned Acworth car accident attorney becomes a field investigator. He or she dives into through the record of evidence that relates to the car crash. Information the attorney will review in depth to determine liability includes witness statements, police reports, and applicable state or municipal codes that apply to the crash.
Unlike other states in the nation, Georgia is an at-fault insurance state. This means Georgia does not maintain no-fault laws but, rather, it is a traditional tort insurance state. Under no-fault law, each person’s car insurance company pays for the policy holder’s damage to property and person – no matter who was at fault. In a traditional tort insurance state, establishing fault is essential in determining who is responsible to pay for damages.
Under Georgia law, fault is established when the plaintiff – the individual who is pursuing the claim for monetary compensation – can establish the person or entity accused (known as the defendant) was recklessness or negligent. Recklessness happens when the party knew, or should have known, that his or her actions were likely to result in harm. Negligence, on the other hand, is established when a party owed a legal duty that was breached and that breach caused harm to another, resulting in damages. Most car accident cases are established through the proof of negligence.
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Types of Negligence
Generally, there is more than one type of legal theories relating to negligence that may be used to determine the amount of monetary damages owed to a victim of an Acworth auto accident. The three negligence theories are:
- Contributory negligence: an “all or nothing” determination, in order for the injured victim to successfully be awarded damages, that party cannot be found responsible for any portion of the car accident. If he or she is found to be at fault in any manner, recovery of monetary compensation is completely barred;
- Comparative negligence: even if an injured victim is found to be partially at fault for the car accident, he or she may still seek and be awarded monetary damages. If successful, damages will be awarded in proportion to the degree of responsibility of each party involved in the car accident;
- Modified comparative negligence: if it is determined that the injured party was 50 percent or more responsible for the accident and/or the injuries, he or she will not be able to recover monetary damages.
The laws vary from state to state, however, Georgia tort law utilizes the modified comparative negligence rule when determining damages in an Acworth car accident case. Personal injury cases fall under the type of law known in the legal industry as “tort law.” This law refers to the legal rights an injured victim has to seek monetary compensation for the reckless or negligent act of another that caused the harm. Under tort law, a victim may seek damages for injury to both property and person.
Common Causes of Georgia Car Accidents
Statistics show that there are more than 350,000 car accidents in the state of Georgia every year, resulting in almost 1,500 car accident-related fatalities. The cause of these car accidents are many, ranging from defective automotive parts to negligent drivers. Some common causes of car accidents in the Peach State include:
- Reckless driving: this may include exceeding the speed limit, changing lanes without looking, or making quick turns and endangering other drivers;
Distracted driving: cell phone usage and/or texting, radio adjustments, use of a GPS or paying attention to passengers all take away from a driver’s ability to focus on the road and prevent a crash due to reduction in reaction time;
- Driving under the influence (DUI): particularly dangerous to everyone on the road, operating a vehicle with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher is prohibited not just in Georgia but in every state across the U.S.;
- Driver fatigue: common among truck drivers who cross state lines during very long shifts, it is unsafe for any driver to operate a passenger vehicle or truck if fatigued as falling asleep at the wheel can have fatal consequences;
- Poor driving conditions: ill-maintained roadways and/or bad weather are common causes of car accidents. Poor driving conditions require motorists to take extra care on the road and adjust speeds to avoid accidents; and
- Equipment malfunction: sometimes how a driver operates the vehicle is not the cause of the crash but, rather, a vehicle part did not work correctly – whether due to defect or poor maintenance – causing a driver to lose control of the vehicle and cause an auto accident.
Acworth, Georgia Car Accident Attorney
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a Georgia car accident, contact a knowledgeable car accident attorney in Acworth. Roger Ghai, Esq. is committed to focusing on each detail of your case from claim initiation to trial, to help obtain the justice and monetary compensation you deserve. With years of serving car accident victims across Georgia, he will do what it takes to obtain the best possible settlement for you and your family. Click here today to schedule your initial case evaluation.