By: William C. Head, Personal Injury Attorney Atlanta Since 1976
National news and online news feeds constantly talk about automobile engineering advances in our cars, trucks and SUVs. Lincoln is turning heads with their new line of high-tech vehicles for 2020. Companies like Subaru, Nissan, Tesla and Mercedes are vying for new car business by broadcasting news releases and television commercials touting their new, unique safety features and motor vehicle industry publications.
Despite these advances in high-tech vehicles, the latest reports from the National Safety Council are dismal. Recently, government statistics show that for the least three years, in excess of 40,000 deaths PER YEAR have occurred on America's roads and highways near me. Plus, another 4,400,000 to 4,650,000 people were seriously injured annually for EACH of those same years in the United States. Almost every day on local news, a story of an overnight semi accident or car crash resulting in a fatality is broadcast. (e.g., this recent morning I-75 news report of a dump truck accident that killed a 2-month old child.)
Auto industry and trucking companies tell us that our safety will be improved when driverless vehicles dominate our highway transports and normal car, truck or SUV passenger vehicles. Atlanta-based UPS, the giant in the over the road delivery vehicles has quietly been using self-driving trucks already.
Beyond driver error in a Georgia car accident from distracted driving, impaired driving and speeding, three primary factors have caused a significant increase in total car wrecks in the Atlanta GA metro area. First, rampant road construction on hundreds of interstates and the connecting roads around these projects. Second, the explosive population growth of metropolitan Atlanta, which has added millions of people to the greater Atlanta area in the last 15 years. Third, across the State of Georgia, a serious shortage of police personnel has occurred.
This law enforcement deficiency (about 20,000 jobs unfilled in Georgia) limits the ability of cities and counties to aggressively enforce traffic laws. When police are not visible and don't issue traffic citations to dangerous motorists and big rig trucks, higher speeds and riskier driving take place. Plus, shortages in police department staffing can slow down the response time for a critical accident where life and death is at stake.
Finding an Accident Lawyer Near Me For Personal Injury Cases
Accidents of all types happen, including single car crashes, 3 car wrecks and the most common, which is two vehicle collisions. Regardless of the number of vehicles concerned, and HOW the impact happened, the injury may have been significant in accidents near me today.
Perhaps you are reading this page and searching for solutions or answers to the increasingly dangerous roadways on the Atlanta metro roads. However, most readers of this information have had a car accident case. Most of these internet surfers are looking for an accident attorney near me at a reputable and experienced presonal injury law firm, due to an immediate need to hire a local PI lawyer.
The devastation that follows a freeway crash, motorcycle wreck or reported fatal night collision on a heavily traveled street impacts people's livelihood. Such life-changing accidents in cases involving friends and family can have tragic effects on both the people in the auto accident and their families. Head-on accidents are among the most dangerous passenger car crashes, due to the combined impact speeds that can result in fatal injuries.
Plus, when a key worker or businessperson in a small business enterprise is disabled or killed by a tractor trailer, (as has happened in recent car accidents near me), insurance company settlements usually don't cover all collateral financial losses. Collisions between any passenger vehicle and a commercial motor vehicle or large delivery truck can lead to the smaller vehicle driver being permanently injured. This may occur by virtue of a brain injury, paralysis, loss of limb or other disabling injury.
What Categories of Financial Recovery May Be Available to Me?
In the civil justice system, “tort law” will govern whether an injured person should be compensated for the injury. The initial hurdle to cross is establishing “fault” of the other driver. Next, Georgia personal injury laws set forth the categories of recovery a litigant may seek. Finally, if the parties to the litigation cannot settle a lawsuit through negotiations, mediation or some other non-jury method, a 12-person jury trial is available in a Georgia Superior Court or in a State Court, in larger population cities and counties.
Tort law, also known as injury law, comes from federal and state codes, as well as judicial opinions from prior cases. One online source described the scope of “torts” as follows:
“While some torts are also crimes punishable with imprisonment, the primary aim of tort law is to provide relief for the damages incurred and deter others from committing the same harms. The injured person may sue for an injunction to prevent the continuation of the tortious conduct or for monetary damages.” [Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute (LII)]
Georgia appellate cases discuss an injured party being able to ask a jury to give the “full measure” of losses (past, present and future) to the claimant or his or her representatives in a wrongful death case. These losses may include interruption of wages or other income that was being earned prior to the accident or intentional act. Additionally, diminution of or total loss of earnings capacity (past, present and future), using that person's life expectancy to calculate the number. A precocious kid at age 12 can have a 75-year life expectancy. Using this “life expectancy” a jury can award $30 million, if proof of his or her future earnings potential is accepted by the 12 jurors.
Hospital costs, funeral services, and all reasonable medical expenses are contemplated be paid in full, as well as any costs for rehabilitation and therapy. They include both present and future expected losses. Typical recoveries may include compensatory damages (e.g., lost wages, medical bills, etc.) and in particularly egregious situations, punitive damages.
In some cases, a plaintiff who sues the negligent party or parties may also recover certain non-economic damages such as assigning a value for pain and suffering, and perhaps a value for loss of marital relations (called loss of consortium), and for his or her loss of enjoyment of life. This last category can be summed up by saying that a jury can listen to witnesses who knew the claimant before his or her death, to explain the richness, quality and depth of his or her intrinsic “value” to friends, family and his or her faith (religious affiliation).
While most personal injury cases settle, a fair resolution is no guarantee, so it's crucial to make sure your case is in capable hands. From navigating the ins and outs of the insurance claim process, to knowing when (and how) to take a case to court, having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side can make all the difference.
How Worker's Compensation Differs From Personal Injury Laws in Georgia
A personal injury case may result in a judgment rendered by a jury or a judge (in some cases) or a settlement for various categories of damages. Some personal injury actions (like worker's compensation) have a special compensation method controlled by Georgia statute, that is a streamlined injury compensation law for workers within a business who receive injuries.
Unlike personal injury law, a worker's comp case is “limited” in its amount of potential recovery. This is because this type of law was created to be able to require employers to cover medical bills and rehabilitation costs of employees, plus pay a portion of the worker's wages during the worker's absence, but that “number” is capped at a low level. Even a death case only pays 400 weeks of compensation, which is only about 7.5 years of capped, partial earnings for the deceased party's family.
Other types of Georgia personal injury cases our law group handles in the metropolitan Atlanta area:
- Medical malpractice caused by an MD (medical doctor), hospital, surgical center, chiropractor, therapist, plastic surgeon, radiological or other treatment or medical professional.
- Pharmaceutical negligence through the issuance of the wrong medication, or the wrong dose or by selling you a tainted or contaminated product.
- Injury due to improperly maintained causeways, walkways, paths, trolleys, scooters, and recreational areas for public facilities like MARTA buses and trains, Piedmont Park, Stone Mountain, Chastain Park, the Georgia Aquarium, or Gwinnett Arena.
- Premises liability cases are very common. These happen when a person has broken a bone or suffered serious bodily injury. Commonly, this occurs from a slip and fall that caused by falling merchandise or a hazard within the building. Additionally, those big box companies or grocers are also responsible for the parking areas utilized by that business.
Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys For Traffic Accidents Near Me
If your family member has been injured or killed, call a personal injury lawyer with our law office for a free consultation. Let our Georgia lawyers make this difficult time in your life easier by acting NOW and demanding justice from those at fault. This FREE case evaluation costs you nothing, and you get to meet with our attorneys in Atlanta metro, face to face. Call our law firm immediately: 404-567-5515. Plus, our personal injury lawyers come to you, if your injuries or grieving process limits your ability to come meet with our law group.