CAR ACCIDENT CLAIMS IN ATHENS, GEORGIA
Car Crashes in Athens
Severe car crashes are taking place on Georgia’s roads more frequently than in previous years. Sadly, the state death toll related to car accident fatalities seems to consistently rise. In 2018, the death toll due to car accidents in Georgia was just 994. In contrast, by late December 2020, more than 1,600 people had died on the state’s roads for the year.
According to reports, statistics indicate that the increase in crashes impacted every age group. Likewise, motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians all experienced an uptick in crash-related deaths. Even when the roads see fewer vehicles, dangerous driving behaviors may spike, leading to a rise in crashes caused by impairment, texting and driving, and speeding.
In addition to those impacted by the frightening death toll, many more individuals in the state experienced severe, often life-altering injuries because of vehicle collisions. If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a crash, then you understand how devastating these events can be for the victims and their families. Not only are the injuries painful and the losses emotionally traumatic, but families can also face financial hardship because of car accidents.
Accidents Caused by Drivers
Millions of car accidents happen in the United States every year. Although vehicles are becoming safer, drivers remain the most common cause of traffic-related injuries and fatalities. A few behaviors are frequently the causes of severe wrecks. Some of the most common forms of negligent driving behavior are:
- Drunk Driving
Drunk driving tends to lead to some of the most severe collisions on the road. In fact, some estimates indicate that about four out of every ten vehicle-related deaths involve a driver who is impaired.
- Distracted Driving
Distracted driving, including texting while driving, is an increasingly common and dangerous cause of collisions. Studies found that about 25 percent of drivers involved in car crashes were using their phones right before the accident. Many people do not even realize how long they take their attention off the road when they use their phone to send or read a text.
- Fatigued Driving
Many motorists underestimate how dangerous it is to drive when fatigued or drowsy. By driving when you are too tired, you may risk nodding off at the wheel and veering into other lanes of traffic, putting yourself and others in danger of an accident. Even if you remain completely awake, being drowsy can impact your ability to notice and promptly react to hazards on the road.
Speeding is another common behavior, especially among young drivers. Traveling at high speeds increases the chance of a crash and limits the effectiveness of safety features in vehicles.
If a driver injures you or your family member because they engaged in dangerous behaviors such as drunk driving, distracted driving, fatigued driving, speeding, or other traffic violations, then that driver was negligent at minimum. Negligent behavior involves acting in a manner that a reasonably prudent person—as in, someone using common sense—would not.
Comparative Liability in Athens
Under Georgia law, multiple people contributing to an accident through their negligent acts are considered comparatively negligent, and their liability for damages depends on their percentage of fault for the accident. Some acts that qualify as negligent may be minor oversights or mistakes, while others are reckless. If you file a claim against another driver, you will need to prove that they were negligent. In many cases, they may claim that you contributed to the accident and were also at fault for the crash. It is not uncommon for a court to find that more than one driver was at fault for a car crash.
Even if you are partly liable for the crash that caused your injuries, you can still recover compensation if the court determines that the other driver is more at fault. Georgia’s modified comparative negligence rule allows you to collect damages from someone else who contributed to the accident as long as you were less than 50 percent to blame.
Although you can still get some payment, the court will reduce what you can receive by your percentage of fault. For instance, imagine that you suffer $100,000 worth of damages in a car accident. If the court finds that you were 40 percent at fault for the crash and the other driver was 60 percent to blame, you may be able to get 60 percent of your expenses covered by the other driver, which would be $60,000 in this case. However, in the reverse situation, if you were 60 percent at fault, the other driver would not have to pay you anything in damages. In fact, you may have to pay the other driver 60 percent of any damages that they suffered.
Collecting Damages After an Athens Accident
Damages after an Athens car accident can cover your economic losses as well as non-economic losses. Economic losses are those that you can calculate or at least estimate. For instance, your medical bills and lost wages fall into the economic damages category, as do estimated future lost wages and future medical bills due to injuries from the accident.
You may also be able to get payment for your pain and suffering and the emotional distress that you suffered because of the accident and your injuries. These damages are considered non-economic and are intangible damages, making them difficult to estimate, so the jury has a great deal of discretion in deciding how much to award an injured individual.
In some instances, if the other driver’s behavior was particularly reckless, you might also be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer for their actions as opposed to compensating you for your losses. If the driver who caused your injuries was drunk, the jury might consider that particularly egregious conduct and punish that driver by making them pay you punitive damages.
Time Limits For Filing A Car Accident Claim in Athens
If you suffer injuries in a car accident in Athens, you will have to file your claim within two years. This is called the “statute of limitations,” which is a time limit for suing someone. Statutes of limitations vary based on what the other person has done, but for injuries from most car accidents, the limit is two years. If you wait longer than that, you would no longer be allowed to pursue a case in court against the other driver.
There are certain rare exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. If you were under the age of 18 at the time of the crash, you may be able to get more time to file your claim. Also, if the victim has a mental incapacity, the law allows for extensions. In cases where the defendant is a government agency, the deadlines are shorter. This could be the case if, for example, there was some sort of roadwork that created a hazard that was not labeled by any warning signs. In any of these situations, it is wise to speak to an attorney sooner rather than later so that your lawyer has time to develop a case strategy and possibly negotiate with insurance companies.
Williams Elleby – Athens Injury Attorneys
If you have been injured in a car accident in Athens, get medical attention and then get on the phone with an experienced personal injury lawyer at Williams Elleby. At Williams Elleby, our lawyers have more than two decades of experience helping victims get justice and compensation in personal injury cases. We will take the time to review your situation, and help determine the best way to proceed. Call (833)-534-2542 or contact us online for a free consultation.