Seven Biggest Mistakes People Make After an Injury

There are many factors that can help or hurt your personal injury claim.  The things you do or choose not to do after an injury matter.  Here are the seven biggest mistakes we see people make after an injury that can negatively affect their personal injury case.

1. Not seeking medical treatment in a timely manner.

Waiting too long to seek medical treatment is the most common mistake we see people make after a personal injury.  We understand that life is hectic and that seeking medical care and following a treatment plan is a process.  However, popping some Ibuprofen and hoping injuries get better on their own is not a good choice to make.  If you do not seek medical treatment and fail to comply with the doctor’s orders, the insurance company will argue that your injuries must not be that bad or you’re not really hurt, simply because you waited to seek treatment.

You also want to avoid any gaps in treatment.  Be consistent with your treatment plan. If you don’t follow up with your doctor’s recommendations or appointments, the insurance company will dispute the seriousness of your injuries and the validity of your claim.

2.  Not taking pictures at the scene of the injury.

Cellphones are ubiquitous these days. If you are able, take as many pictures as possible.  Capture the property damage, injuries, the scene, and weather conditions.  Document as much as you can. Take a video, too.  Record witness information.  If a wreck looks like a clear liability case to a police officer, he/she might not take witness statements, but those statements are valuable to a personal injury case.

As soon as an attorney gets your case, he or she will likely take pictures of the property damage and the scene, but firsthand pictures and documentation are more valuable.  Documenting all the evidence at the scene can be crucial to winning your case.

3.  Trying to handle a case without a lawyer.

Honestly speaking, there are some cases where you might not need to hire an attorney.  That said, you should always speak to an attorney first.  Simply reach out and educate yourself on the process of a personal injury claim before tackling it yourself.  Consultations are usually free, individualized, and can give you valuable insight about your case and how to handle it.  If you try to manage things on your own without consulting an attorney first, you could miss vital steps that will harm your chances of obtaining a fair recovery.

4.  Failing to research a lawyer before hiring one.

There are a lot of attorneys out there; unfortunately, not all of them are knowledgeable and/or trustworthy. Do your research before hiring an attorney.  Look at their websites and social media; try to discern if the attorney is someone you can trust and work with.

Schedule an in-person consultation.  You can do this with multiple firms.  Lawyers are like doctors; they specialize in certain fields.  You need to find a competent and trustworthy attorney who specializes in personal injury.  You want an attorney who is experienced in settling cases and trying cases before a court or jury.  If you hire an attorney because you saw them on several commercials or billboards, that attorney is probably NOT going to be your attorney.  A common business model we see in personal injury law is to spend a lot of money on ads in multiple places and pass your case onto paralegals or lesser-known attorneys for a finder’s fee.  These attorneys try to settle your case quickly and don’t have a lot of experience going to trial. Here are 15 essential questions to ask before hiring an attorney.

5.  Giving a recorded statement to an insurance company.

You are not required to give a recorded statement to the at-fault insurance company, and you should never do this without consulting an attorney.  Anything you say can potentially be used against you and insurance adjustors are skilled at asking questions for their company’s benefit.

6.  Signing anything without a lawyer’s review.
You don’t want to sign anything an insurance company sends you without having a lawyer review it.  If you sign the wrong document, you could destroy your rights to bring a claim against the at-fault insurance company or to pursue an underinsured motorist claim. Sometimes, insurance companies will send an injured person a check along with a full release and the injured person might think this is only partial payment. If the injured person signs the full release, the claim will end, and the insurance company will not pay any bills that come after the release is signed.

Additionally, if there are any liens placed on your claim by a health plan, hospital, or medical facility, the liens must be addressed out of any settlement. If you sign documents settling you case without knowing the full extent of any hospital or medical liens, you could walk away with nothing.

7.  Waiting too long to file a lawsuit or make a claim.
If you wait too long to file a lawsuit you may be barred by the statute of limitations, which is basically the maximum amount of time the law allows for you to file a lawsuit. Also, it takes time for the attorneys to investigate the claim, send open records request, and review medical records. Attorneys need time to do all those things before filing a lawsuit or making a claim. If you want an attorney to do a good job, make sure you give them plenty of time to properly investigate all angles of your case before they must file a lawsuit.

If you or a loved one has been injured and are trying to navigate the personal injury claim process, call Williams Elleby for a FREE consultation today, 833-LEGAL-GA.

Lawsuit Loans: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Litigation Loans

What is a Lawsuit Loan?

 A litigation loan, commonly known as a lawsuit loan, is a type of loan from a private company that specializes in providing loans that must be paid back, with interest, from the recovery in a lawsuit.  It offers you a way to borrow money for whatever it is you might need at the time.  Instead of having your house or your car as collateral, your pending case serves as “collateral” on the loan.  You pay the loan back from the recovery you receive after your case settles or a judgment is paid.

Some lawsuit loan companies offer better rates than others; however, even when working with the best loan companies, we advise you to proceed with caution. Lawsuit loans should be considered a resource of last resort because they are very expensive. Let’s break down the good, the bad, and the ugly of lawsuit loans.

The Good

 Lawsuit loans serve a purpose and have their place in the litigation world.  We understand a lawsuit loan can be vital in some situations.  For example, if you are badly injured, out of work with no income, and your rent or mortgage is due, a lawsuit loan can help you keep your place of residence.  In their most basic sense, lawsuit loans provide immediate relief for injured people who are forced to suffer financial hardship while their case is pending.

The Bad

 A lawsuit loan is basically a cash advance on a potential recovery from a settlement or verdict.  As you can imagine, there are no guarantees of success on any case or claim so the cost of a lawsuit loan can be expensive.  There are costs to apply for the loan and to have the money wired to a bank. Then, interest begins to accrue and compounds quickly over a short period of time.

The Ugly

 There are some companies that are notoriously bad to work with and costs can add up quickly, sometimes doubling or tripling the amount you originally borrowed.

If you are considering a lawsuit loan, most companies will not give you a loan unless you are working with an attorney.  We highly suggest discussing all of your options with an attorney before taking out a lawsuit loan.  If there are no other options, your attorney should be able to recommend a reputable lawsuit loan company.  A good attorney should know which litigation loan companies set caps on the costs and which companies are willing to work with clients after a recovery is secured.

If you are navigating a personal injury claim and would like a free consultation, call Williams Elleby today at 833-LEGAL-GA (833-534-2542).

How to Give a Deposition

If you are the plaintiff, defendant, or witness in a legal case, you will likely be asked to give a deposition.  A deposition is a discovery tool where a lawyer may ask you a wide variety of questions about the lawsuit. In their simplest form, depositions are question-and-answer sessions that are used to collect information from the parties and witnesses involved in a case. There is no judge or jury present during a deposition. Depositions act as your sworn under oath, out-of-court, oral testimony and they usually take place at an attorney’s office. Although, some depositions will take place through a platform like Zoom when in-person meetings are not practical.

Here are our TOP 6 TIPS when preparing to give a deposition.

#1. Dress Appropriately and Stay Professional

The first thing to consider when preparing for a deposition is how to dress.  You want to make a good first impression.  Our recommendation is to dress business professional, or like you are going to court. Avoid jokes and wisecracks. A lawsuit is a serious matter.

#2. Tell the Truth.

In any lawsuit, honesty is always the best policy. The truth must be told, even when it hurts. When an attorney asks you questions, he or she usually already knows the answer. Don’t try to hide or fluff any information. Be truthful with your answers.

#3. Be Polite.

People are often afraid depositions will be these very heated back and forth situations, but that is rarely the case.  Most of the time, depositions are simply question and answer sessions. Some of the questions might feel difficult at times, but just remember to remain calm and polite. We are all human and experience emotions. Showing some emotion is fine; however, but if you find yourself getting frustrated or angry, take some time to collect yourself and remain professional. 

 #4. Keep Your Answers Short.

 Take your time when answering questions. Make sure you understand the question before providing an answer. Whether you are the plaintiff or defendant, a deposition is not the time to try to “win” your case.  Do not oversell, drag out, or exaggerate your answers. Your only job in a deposition is to answer the questions you are being asked simply and truthfully.  It is your lawyer’s job to ask the correct questions at trial to get the evidence in that is needed to win your case.

 #5. Avoid Absolutes.

 Be wary of time and distance questions.  We are all notoriously bad at estimating time and distance. Keep in mind, you are not expected to know exact answers. It is perfectly fine to give a range in your answer(s).  For instance, I left the house between 7:00 and 7:30 p.m.  Depositions are not memory contests. You also don’t have to guess just to provide information. If you don’t know the answer, “I don’t know,” or “I don’t recall” is perfectly fine to say.  This is especially true in reference to prior medical issues or care.  Guessing or assuming an absolute ‘yes’ or ‘no’ can put you in a difficult spot if you make an incorrect assumption.

#6. If You Hear an Objection, Ask to Rephrase the Question.

Attorneys should not assert a speaking objection or explain their objections in a deposition. Even so, take pause if you hear your attorney object to a question.  You might want to ask the opposing attorney to rephrase their question before answering.

If you would like to learn more about How to Give a Deposition, you can check out this video where Williams Elleby partners, Joel Williams and Chase Elleby, discuss The deposition process in a personal injury case:

How to Deal With an Insurance Company After a Wreck

After being hit by another driver, we often wonder “How do I deal with an insurance company after this wreck?” Naturally, most people immediately call their insurance company to report the wreck. However, few people stop to think about what they should say or how speaking to an insurance company may affect any claim they need to bring for property damage or personal injuries. Following these simple steps will save car wreck victims a lot of time and money.

Call a Car Wreck Attorney

If you have been injured in a car wreck, call a car wreck attorney first.  A vast majority of our first time clients come to us frustrated and upset after attempting to manage the aftermath of a wreck themselves. They often feel jerked around with bills to pay, subjected to delay tactics and little support from the insurance companies.

In our experience, people aren’t litigious or “sue happy,” and don’t want to get a lawyer involved if it seems unnecessary at the time. However, a quick phone call to a trustworthy attorney can help you get clear on how to proceed after you’ve been injured in a wreck.  A free consultation offers you a road map on how to move forward and an honest attorney will tell you if you really need to hire someone at that point in time.

There are a lot of excellent personal injury attorneys that help car wreck victims but there are some bad apples too. Before you call an attorney, you may want to check out this video to get a good idea of what you should expect from a personal injury attorney:

Be Careful What You Tell the Insurance Company

After you’ve been in injured in a wreck, you will have a minimum of at least two claims with the insurance company — a property damage claim and a bodily injury claim. Both will be assigned to different adjustors and handled separately.  Be careful what you say to any adjustor.  Every conversation you have is likely going to be recorded and can be used against you to minimize other claims. For example, if you tell the property damage adjuster “I’m fine but I need my car fixed,” the insurance companies records will reflect that you are not injured. Worse, if the statement is recorded, the insurance company will use your statement against you if need to bring a personal injury claim at a later time.

Let the Insurance Company Move Your Vehicle

With property damage claims, it is important to communicate where the wrecked vehicle is and let the insurance company inspect and move the vehicle as soon as possible. This mitigates the damages and expenses that can accrue the longer your vehicle sits at a tow yard.

If your vehicle is likely a total loss, you should also start shopping around for a replacement vehicle pretty quickly. As soon as you are paid for your property damage claim, the insurance company will no longer pay for a rental vehicle (if you have and are using rental coverage).

Do Not Minimize Your Injuries

Keep in mind, some injuries can take time to manifest. You do not want to settle your case until you know the full extent of your injuries. It’s best to consult your doctor(s) in terms of your diagnosis, prognosis, and plan of treatment. Once you settle your claim with the insurance company, it is done.  You can never go back and get more money if you end up needing additional medical care or procedures related to your injuries from the wreck.

Keep in mind, insurance companies are for-profit corporations that maximize their profits by collecting premiums and paying out as little as possible on claims.  You will likely receive a quick settlement offer in hopes you’ll take it and be done, but these offers are typically less than the fair value of your case.  Your best bet is to call an attorney first, to help you deal with the insurance company after you’ve been in a wreck.

If you have been injured in a wreck, call Williams Elleby today for a free consultation at 833-LEGAL-GA or (833-534-2542).

Family-Friendly Holiday Activities in Georgia

Georgia Holiday Activities

For many in Georgia, the holidays are a time for family-friendly activities. Gifts are exchanged, songs are sung, and a good time is had by all. Georgia offers plenty of safe adventures during the holidays, and you are sure to find one that is a perfect fit for your family. This year, we have gathered a list of some of our favorite activities across the state for you and your family to enjoy.

Georgia Aquarium: Festival of the SEAson

Atlanta is full of activities this season. You don’t want to miss all the holiday fun at Georgia Aquarium. As the largest aquarium in the United States, you are sure to find activities for the whole family. Look forward to The Polar Express 4-D Experience, daily tree-lightings with live carolers, and Georgia Aquarium’s favorite underwater Santa, SCUBA Claus.

Six Flags Over Georgia: Holiday in the Park

If you are ready for a spectacle, the “Holiday in the Park” event at Six Flags Over Georgia might be exactly what you need. The park is packed with fun attractions, rollercoasters and food. During the holiday season, the park is lit up with Christmas lights and other displays. The event runs throughout the season and is prefect both for the thrill-seekers of the family and for those who are happy to just to view the lights.

Holiday Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Speaking of lights, there are few options better than the display at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The Garden’s natural beauty transforms during the holiday season. Over the holidays, be sure to visit their amazing lightshow after the sun goes down. It is a must-see attraction for most families.

Drive-Thru Light Shows at Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights

If Christmas lights are for you but you’re looking for a drivable option, we have a compromise you will love. Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain offers a sprawling light display known as Fantasy in Lights. The show takes 45 minutes to drive through, and if you’re looking for a little shopping along the way, there are shops and snack vendors on location.

Stone Mountain Christmas

Stone Mountain Park offers millions of lights to enjoy, and several shows including a 4-D version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. They even host a parade featuring Santa Claus himself. One of the highlights is a ride up the lift to the top of the mountain. From there, you have a magnificent view of Stone Mountain Park with the Atlanta skyline in the distance.

Old-Fashioned Christmas at Dahlonega

If you are looking to spend Christmas in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dahlonega is the place to be! Rich with history, the town’s old-fashioned Christmas celebration offers you the chance to step back in time. In addition to almost-daily events through December, there is no shortage of food and shopping all topped off by the beautiful scenery.

Staying Safe During the Holidays

Hopefully, you will have a wonderful holiday season free from injury. However, if you are involved in an accident, it is important to protect your legal rights. Let the team at Williams Elleby review your case and walk you through the claims process. By working with our professional team you can leave your claim to us and focus on the holiday season. Call us at 833-LEGALGA.

Motorcycle Wrecks

motorcycle accident injured attorney

Motorcyclists face unique risks every time they get on the road. Drivers often fail to pay attention to motorcyclists or aren’t aware of safety rules regarding motorcycles on the roads. When motorcycle accidents occur, the consequences are usually most detrimental for the cyclist.

The personal injury attorneys at Williams Elleby understand motorcycle accident cases and help accident victims get the personal injury compensation they are owed. If you have been in a motorcycle accident and would like to discuss your case, contact Williams Elleby online or call 833-LEGALGA to schedule a free case evaluation today.

Motorcycle Accident Facts and Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,014 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2019, with motorcycle accidents accounting for 14% of all traffic fatalities. In Georgia, there were 93 fatal motorcycle accidents. Of those 93 killed riders, 16% were not wearing a helmet.

Multiple studies have proven the efficacy of wearing a helmet. The NHTSA has calculated that wearing a helmet can dramatically increase a motorcyclist’s chances of surviving an accident. According to the CDC:

  • Helmets saved approximately 1,859 lives in 2016.
  • Each year, the United States could save more than $1billion in economic costs if all motorcyclists wore helmets.
  • Helmets reduce the risk of death by 37% for motorcyclists and 41% for their passengers.
  • Helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 67%.

Georgia Law

All vehicle drivers and motorcycle riders have a duty to use reasonable care when on the road. If a driver or rider fails to meet this standard of care and causes an accident, injured victims are entitled to compensation. Determining whether a party was negligent or in breach of this standard requires a careful analysis of the facts. A presumption of negligence is created in Georgia when a driver or rider commits a traffic violation by violating one of Georgia’s “rules of the road.”

Motorcyclists generally must follow the same rules as all other motor vehicle operators, but there are some special rules that apply specifically to motorcycles. Motorcyclists are permitted to use a full lane of traffic, and two motorcycles are permitted to ride side-by-side in one lane. Motorcyclists are not allowed to pass a vehicle in the same lane of traffic, and riding between lanes of traffic (“lane splitting”) is prohibited in Georgia. Motorcyclists should also remember that Georgia law requires motorcyclists to wear a helmet.

Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Call Williams Elleby Today.

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Williams Elleby are dedicated to getting accident victims the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident, call Williams Elleby at 833-LEGALGA to schedule a free consultation today.

Who are the Players Involved in a Car Wreck Case?

Who are the Players Involved in a Car Wreck Case?

When involved in a car wreck in the state of Georgia, there are at least 30 players that may be involved in your case. Despite the many people you’ll likely encounter throughout your case, your personal injury attorney will assist you through every step. Read more to learn about each party and what they do to make or break your case.

  1. The At-Fault Driver: If you suffer injuries in a car wreck that was not your fault, make sure to get the at-fault driver’s contact and insurance information. You will need to know the at-fault driver’s contact and insurance information if you intend to bring a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
  2. The Injured Party: This might be you! If you are injured in a car wreck, you may be asking for compensation from the at-fault driver or their insurance company. You must find a diligent lawyer who will take the time to understand your injuries and help you recover what you deserve in your injury claim.
  3. Other Drivers in a Multiple Car Collision: This includes other drivers of vehicles involved in the accident who are not the injured victim or the at-fault driver. It’s important to get the contact and insurance information from these drivers, as they can provide more information throughout the case.
  4. Independent Witnesses: People who witness a wreck or those who stop to help the people involved are called independent witnesses. An independent witness may have seen enough of the accident that they can make or break your case. Be sure to get his or her contact information.
  5. Investigating Police Officer: The investigating police officer is the one filling out the accident report, getting information from both parties, issuing citations and filling out the narrative report.
  6. Ambulance or EMS Crew: An ambulance may arrive at the scene to provide care to any injured victims. If you are injured, be sure to let the EMS crew know of any pre-existing conditions you may have.
  7. 911 Operator: After a wreck, the first phone call you should make is to 911. The operator takes all information provided and transmits it to emergency response officers. Remember to remain calm and speak clearly to the operator so they can understand you and send necessary help.
  8. Emergency Room Personnel: ER personnel includes the doctors, nurses and technicians who assess your injuries and determine the next steps for your healthcare treatment. Let them know your injuries are from the car wreck.
  9. Adjuster for At-Fault Driver’s Insurer: The adjuster of the at-fault driver’s insurance company looks at your claim and offers a settlement for your case. They will try to settle your case for the smallest amount possible since they are not on your side. Be sure to hire a personal injury attorney who will ensure you are compensated fairly.
  10. Uninsured Motorist (UM) Adjuster: This adjuster works for your own insurance company and adjusts your claim in the instance that you are hit by a driver who has insufficient liability coverage to compensate you for your damages. They will also try to settle your claim for as little as possible. Hiring a personal injury attorney will ensure you get the most money out of your claim.
  11. Medical Payments or PIP Insurance Adjuster: This adjuster handles medical payments coverage that you may have under your automobile policy that will cover your bills regardless of whose fault the wreck was. This person is who you will send your bills to, and they will then either pay the bills directly to the provider or to you up to the amount of your insurance policy limits.
  12. Tow Company: If your vehicle sustains disabling damages, it will likely be towed to a salvage yard along with all of your personal belongings. The police officers who attended the scene will be able to give you the name of the tow truck company so you can locate your vehicle and retrieve your belongings. You will also need to let your insurance company know where your vehicle is being stored so they can assess the situation and determine any necessary further steps.
  13. Injured Victim’s Attorney: Also known as the trial lawyer or the plaintiff’s attorney, this attorney is responsible for handling all aspects of the claim for the injured victim, including pre-suit and post-suit aspects.
  14. Injured Victim’s Health Insurance Company: As the injured victim, it is important for you to get medical treatment from a provider that accepts your health insurance whenever possible. This will save you money, which can ease your financial burden.
  15. Medical Funding Company: A medical funding company assists injured victims who may not have medical insurance and cannot pay out-of-pocket but need medical treatment. These companies will pay your medical bills and receive reimbursement from the proceeds of your claim once it is settled.
  16. Lawyer for Hospital for Physician Lien: In Georgia, there is a law that allows a hospital or doctor’s office to file a lien on medical bills. This allows the doctor to collect the full amount of their bills instead of accepting the reduced amount from an insurance company. A lawyer will be able to assist you with the lien.
  17. Subrogation Analyst: A subrogation analyst’s job is to recover as much money as possible from your car wreck settlement to reimburse any relevant health insurance or lien holders for any amounts they paid related to the injured person’s care. It’s important to have a personal injury attorney on your side that can negotiate on your behalf, to save you as much money as possible.
  18. Medical Specialist: Other than your primary physician, a medical specialist includes medical doctors, chiropractors, psychiatrists, and other specialists that may help you after you’ve been involved in a car wreck.
  19. Process Server: This person is hired by your lawyer to make sure the at-fault driver is properly served the lawsuit if filed.
  20. Staff Attorney: This lawyer is employed by the court to work with judges to help them come to the right decision on disputed legal issues in your case. They are also responsible for any additional research about questions of legality to help the judge come to a decision.
  21. Court Reporter: This key player will attend all depositions, motion hearings and trial. The court reporter is responsible for transcribing all words spoken to create a written transcript that will be utilized by all parties involved.
  22. Trial Court Judge: The trial court judge is the overseer of litigation car wreck cases. The trial judge will decide who is right about what law applies to your case and may also issue scheduling orders and deadlines throughout your case.
  23. Insurance Defense Lawyer: Also known as the defense attorney, this person is responsible for defending the case on behalf of the at-fault driver. They will conduct discovery and try the case on behalf of the at-fault driver, if needed.
  24. Expert Witness: This includes accident reconstructionist, biomechanical experts, medical doctors, etc. These people can attend trial and offer an opinion that may be beyond the knowledge of the average juror.
  25. Investigators: In a car wreck case, an investigator may be hired by the at-fault driver’s insurance company to follow the injured party around in an effort to try and catch them doing something that makes it appear as if they are not injured. Investigators are also used by both parties to locate witnesses for more information on the case.
  26. Mediator: A mediator is the middleman of a mediation. His or her primary duty is to meet with both parties involved and help them come to a settlement so a trial is not needed and both parties are satisfied.
  27. Focus Group: To better help your personal injury attorneys prepare for trial, they may hire a focus group that will listen to both sides of the case and provide feedback and/or helpful suggestions that will benefit your case.
  28. Jury: The jury is composed of twelve disassociated citizens that will decide which side wins at trial. The jury will return a verdict in favor of the injured party or the defendant. If the verdict is in favor of the injured party, the jury will normally decide how much should be awarded.
  29. Courtroom Visuals: Visuals, including medical illustrations, PowerPoint presentations, videos, recorded 911 calls, etc., are beneficial to a case in allowing the jury to fully grasp the extent of the car wreck and any sustained injuries.
  30. Appellate Court: The appeals courts in Georgia include The Court of Appeals of Georgia and The Supreme Court of Georgia. After a car wreck trial or motions hearing, The Court of Appeals is usually the first line of appeal for any alleged errors from the trial court. The court will hear the case and decide whether to affirm or reverse the trial court or to remand the case to trial court.

There are many moving parts involved with a car accident case, and it can become confusing and overwhelming to face alone. Trustworthy personal injury attorneys like those in our office are here to help. Have you recently been involved in a car accident in the state of Georgia? Call Williams Elleby at 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542) today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Fatal Accidents on the Rise in Georgia 

fatal accident rise Georgia
Fatal Vehicle Accidents Are On the Rise in Georgia 

Driving a vehicle is an everyday activity for most of us, and often feels like a mundane task. However, it is important to remember that driving is an inherently dangerous activity that causes millions of injuries and thousands of deaths each year in the United States. This is especially true for those of us in Georgia, where there has unfortunately been an increase in fatal accidents in recent years. 

In 2019 there were about 1,500 fatal crashes; In 2020 there were about 1,700 fatal crashes. So far in 2021 there have already been 733 fatal crashes. This number has already surpassed the 600 fatalities from last June, and is expected to continue rising.

Common Causes of Fatal Vehicle Accidents in Georgia 

The three major causes of fatal accidents include distracted driving, impaired driving and speeding.

Distracted Driving

The main cause of distracted driving is cell phone use, which can include texting, using GPS, checking email, social media scrolling, taking photos and more. Texting while driving, or otherwise using a handheld device, is extremely dangerous because it creates both a visual and a cognitive distraction for the driver. It has been reported that drivers who text are eight times more likely to be in an accident, and that any distracted driver is four times more likely to be in an accident. Georgia drivers should also remember that it is illegal to text and drive at the same time. 

Impaired Driving

When most of us think of impaired driving, we think of driving under the influence, or DUI. And indeed, DUI creates an unacceptable risk that should not be tolerated. However, another form of impairment that causes a substantial number of accidents each year is sleepy or drowsy driving. There are few things more dangerous than falling asleep at the wheel, but even when drowsy drivers manage to stay awake, an accident is more likely to occur because fatigue significantly hinders reaction time. 

Speeding

Speeding also presents a major risk to others on the road. Many accidents are caused because drivers are traveling too fast to make a turn or to change lanes when necessary. In other cases, drivers have been traveling at the speed limit, but were going too fast for the weather or traffic conditions. Less frequent, but still sometimes a problem, are drivers that go too slow on highways. Under Georgia’s “slow poke” law, “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.” 

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 74% of roadway fatalities can be attributed to distracted driving, impaired driving or driving too fast for conditions. Other causes of fatal accidents include violating rules of the road, pedestrian or cyclist negligence, unsafe road conditions, and vehicle malfunctions. 

In more than half of fatal accidents in Georgia in 2019, the victims were not wearing their seatbelts. This is a striking statistic when considering that seat belt usage hovers around 90%. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, seat belts save roughly 14,000 lives every year. 

Drive Alert, Arrive Alive 

In response to the alarming increase in traffic fatalities, the Georgia Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, launched the “DriveAlert ArriveAlive” campaign. The goal of the campaign is to reduce accidents “by educating drivers about simple changes they can make in their driving behavior to prevent crashes, improve safety and save lives.” The campaign has three core messages for drivers: 

  1. Buckle up; 
  2. Stay off the phone and mobile devices; and 
  3. Drive alert. 
Who is the Best Attorney for Fatal Car Accidents in Georgia? 

Choosing an attorney after a fatal Georgia car wreck can be difficult. You want someone who has the experience required to handle a complicated case and you need to make sure the attorney you hire is not overworked and can devote him or herself to your case. Consider interviewing several firms or lawyers before making your decision so you can feel confident that you are hiring the best lawyer for your case. 

Williams Elleby Helps Victims Get the Compensation They Deserve 

All drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles with reasonable care and follow the rules of the road. This duty is extremely important because serious traffic accidents can place an enormous burden on personal injury victims and family members. The experienced legal team at Williams Elleby is dedicated to ensuring that accident victims get the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been in an accident, it is important to understand your legal rights and options. 

Georgia is a “fault” state when it comes to auto accident liability. This means if a party is responsible for causing an accident, they have an obligation to compensate any victims of harm. The attorneys at Williams Elleby work hard to provide knowledgeable, accessible and effective service to each of their personal injury clients, with the goal of maximizing compensation. If you would like to consult with one of the attorneys at Williams Elleby, call 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542) to schedule a free meeting.

Traffic Fatalities Spike Due to Distracted Driving

Traffic Fatalities Continue to Spike Due to Distracted Driving

Forbes reported that in 2020, despite the decrease in traffic on the road due to the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic death rates are the highest they have been in 13 years. Compared to 2019, there was a 29% increase in lives lost due to automobile crashes.

Georgia is no exception. According to WTOC 11, there has been an increase in fatal car crashes by 13% in just one year. Seventy percent of fatalities in vehicle accidents are caused by unsafe driving behaviors, and one of the deadliest unsafe behaviors is distracted driving.

Distractions Take Focus Away from the Road

For years, experts have been hopeful that advances in technology would lead to a reduction in the fatal accidents on America’s roadways. Innovations like automatic emergency braking systems and lane departure warnings have made an impact on accident rates as well as the severity of collisions.

However, new technology can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to driver safety. Between the prevalence of smartphones and in-dash infotainment systems, distracted driving is having a more significant impact on collision rates. A 2018 study from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests that fatalities attributed to phone-based distracted driving have increased in recent years.

Mobile phones may be the most obvious cause of distracted driving, but other actions like eating, grooming, smoking and even disciplining children can cause drivers’ attention to turn away from the roadway.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three main types of distractions that drivers fall prey to:
  1. Visual distractions. These are distractions that take your eyes off the road, like looking at a cell phone or turning to talk to someone in the back seat.
  2. Manual distractions. Any distractions that cause you to take your hands off the steering wheel are manual distractions.
  3. Cognitive distractions. These are distractions that cause you to take your mind off of driving. For instance, although hands-free technology for talking on a cell phone is a safer option, conversing can still cause you to be cognitively distracted. Avoid talking on the phone while driving unless it is truly necessary. 
Stay Focused When You Drive

Because driving is a day-to-day activity, we sometimes take for granted that we will stay safe on the road. Driving is a life-or-death activity that demands our full attention. We should all do our best to avoid visual, manual and cognitive distractions.

Remember the risk that comes with things like using your phone, eating, using your navigation system or interacting with other passengers as you drive – and choose to refrain from those activities until after you are done driving.

Never text, search the Internet or use apps while on your phone while you are driving. These phone-based activities are visual, manual and cognitive distractions all rolled into one dangerous behavior. As the CDC website points out, “Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph.” Thinking about a driver not paying attention to the road for that long is a scary thought!

If the risk of physical injury is not enough to dissuade someone from distracted driving, some states have laws prohibiting the use of cell phones. For example, in Georgia, it is illegal to hold your phone while driving thanks to the Hands-Free Law.

If You’ve Been in an Accident, Contact Williams Elleby Today

We all have a duty to stay focused on the road and drive with care every time we get behind the wheel. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. The experienced auto accident attorneys at Williams Elleby work tirelessly to get justice for personal injury victims throughout Georgia.

Joel Williams or Chase Elleby can investigate the facts of your case, help you understand your legal rights and options and vigorously pursue justice for you in pre-suit negotiations or court. If you think you have a claim, contact our Georgia personal injury attorneys to schedule your free consultation today at 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542).

Amusement Park Safety

amusement park safety victims
AMUSEMENT PARK SAFETY

Accidents happen every day at amusement parks around the country, including those in Georgia. Many times these accidents are caused by the avoidable negligence of the guest, the amusement park or both. While visitors should enjoy their time at the amusement park, safety should not become a second thought. Guests should prioritize their safety, and victims of amusement park negligence should be aware of their rights and seek justice.

AMUSEMENT PARK SAFETY TIPS

Know your limits. There are numerous health conditions that make riding on fast rides, such as a roller coaster, especially dangerous. Be aware of how a ride may interact with any health conditions you have. Have fun, but be cautious about putting too much stress on your body. This can have long-term effects on your health and well-being.

Respect warning signs. Assume the amusement park has foreseen a clear harm that is likely to occur if the signs are ignored. If you have children that are old enough to be left alone, make sure they understand the risks of not adhering to park rules. Reviewing park safety before you go your separate ways is key to keeping your child safe.

Never enter restricted areas. Do not assume that restricted zones are just glorified employee break areas. Odds are they aren’t places for employees to hang out, but are actually dangerous areas. Reduce your risk of injury by avoiding these areas.

NEGLIGENCE BY AMUSEMENT PARKS

Sometimes people are injured at amusement parks through absolutely no fault of their own. A recent example was seen in New Jersey, when the Six Flags log flume malfunctioned and sent two guests to the hospital. The boat tipped at an angle, causing it to not complete a cycle. Even though the injuries were minor, it was still no doubt a traumatic experience, not to mention a major inconvenience.

Many other cases end with much worse results. For instance, in July of 2021 an eleven-year-old boy, Michael Jaramillo, died while on a Raging River raft at Adventureland Theme Park. The raft malfunctioned and overturned about 20 seconds into the ride, causing the six passengers to have their heads stuck underwater until help arrived. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence.

Whenever these types of accidents occur, victims are entitled to bring a claim against the amusement park or any other company in charge of maintaining the rides. In Georgia, these will normally be negligence or premises liability claims, which allege that the amusement park failed in its duty to keep patrons safe. If you would like more information about amusement park safety or to discuss your accident case, call Williams Elleby, at 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542)