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Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer

HSF Trial Attorneys > Practice Areas > Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer

Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer

Atlanta’s traffic has consistently ranked as some of the worst in America. There are plenty of reasons for this, from insufficient infrastructure to a booming population. But with so many people clogging up Atlanta’s streets and highways, one thing is certain: Serious car accidents are becoming more common.

At Hawkins, Spizman & Fortas, our Atlanta car accident lawyers have many years of experience helping injury victims get the compensation they deserve. We have represented clients fighting against nearly every major insurance company, and know the tricks they use to lowball your settlement offer.

Don’t trust the insurance company. Trust the experienced Atlanta car accident attorneys at HSF Law Firm to get you the full compensation you deserve. Call us at 678-248-6572 or fill out our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation today.

What You Need to Know About Atlanta Car Accidents

In 2016, Georgia ranked 14th when it comes to having the most dangerous roads in the country. The state 15.1 road deaths per 100,000 residents. For comparison, Rhode Island was ranked the safest state, with just 4.8 road fatalities per 100,000 residents. In total, there were 1,554 road fatalities in Georgia in 2016 — the fourth most in the nation.

What’s more, Interstate 285 has been ranked the deadliest interstate highway in the country. Some of these accidents are due to inebriated and distracted driver, but by far the most dangerous aspect of I-285 is the presence of large trucks.

Atlanta is a major distribution hub, with centers for Amazon, UPS and more. Those centers utilize semi trucks, and those trucks take to the highways to deliver their goods. There are so many trucks on Atlanta’s roads, in fact, that Spaghetti Junction is considered the worst truck bottleneck in the nation.

Clearly, driving around large trucks is a leading cause of truck accidents. But they aren’t the only cause. Other common causes of car accidents include:

1. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the main causes of fatal car accidents across the country. In fact, an estimated 3,000 people are killed in distracted driving accidents each year. In Georgia, 72 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2015.

Cell phones and other electronics are obviously the most well-known and common cause of distracted driving, but other distractions like billboards and children in the car can also be dangerous. In 2018, a new hands-free law was passed to curb distractions for drivers. The effectiveness of this law is still to be seen, especially considering the fact a first offense results in just a $50 fine.

2. Drunk Driving

Though distracted driving is a problem, drunk driving is a much more pressing issue. In 2016, 368 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in Georgia — 24 percent of all road fatalities. That same year, 10,497 people died in drunk driving accidents across the country, which accounted for 28 percent of all road fatalities.

In Georgia and 48 other states, the legal blood alcohol content limit is 0.08 percent (Utah recently dropped their legal BAC limit to 0.05 percent). Depending on how each person handles alcohol, knowing whether they’re too intoxicated to drive can be difficult. What’s more, alcohol often makes people more bold, which leads to them driving when they shouldn’t.

3. Speeding

Speeding is an infraction we’ve all been guilty of at one point or another. Whether it’s racing down the highway or driving over the speed limit on a backroad, speeding is a real problem. In 2015, 268 people were killed in speed-related accidents in Georgia. Nationwide, that number was 9,557.

Speeding is dangerous for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most obvious reason is that it reduces reaction time for drivers. But you are also much more likely to lose control of your vehicle at higher speeds, and protective equipment like airbags may become less effective. In short, speeding is deadly.

What to Do After a Car Accident in Atlanta

If you are involved in a car accident in Atlanta or the surrounding area, it’s important to keep your wits about you. There are certain steps you should take that could not only benefit your wellbeing, but also increase your chances of filing a successful personal injury lawsuit in the future.

 

1. Check on Everyone Involved

First, check your own body for any injuries. If you have serious injuries, don’t move more than you need to. Instead, call 9-1-1 immediately and stay put. If you don’t have any serious injuries, check on the passengers in your car. Again, if they have any serious injuries, especially to the neck or head, DON’T MOVE THEM! Also check on the passengers in the other car, taking the same precautions.

If it’s possible, move the cars off the road and onto the shoulder. If the cars are inoperable, try to get yourself and your passengers to the shoulder and out of harm’s way. If you do plan on moving the cars, try to take a few photos of the scene before doing so.

 

2. Call 9-1-1

Once everyone is in a safe location (or as safe as they can be), call 9-1-1. Not only should you request a police officer, but you should also request an ambulance. Even if you don’t think you are seriously injured, a medical professional can conduct a full evaluation to look for any injuries you may have missed.

When the police arrive, give them a full, unbiased statement. For instance, “The other driver struck my vehicle from the rear” is much better than saying, “The other driver was speeding and didn’t even see me when they hit me” — after all, you don’t know those details for sure. You will need to retrieve a copy of the police report after it’s filed.

 

3. Gather Evidence and Stay Quiet

While you’re at the scene, take as many photos as you can. Use your phone (or a camera, if you have one handy) to photograph damage to your vehicle, the other vehicle and any injuries you sustained. You should also take photos of road conditions, weather conditions, skid marks, street signs and anything else you may think is important. It’s always better to have too many photos than not enough.

You should also get the other driver’s information. This includes their name, contact information and insurance information. If possible, take a photo of their driver’s license. At the very least, take a photo of their license plate. Also talk to any witnesses about what they saw, and get their contact information as well.

What you should NOT do is apologize or admit fault in any way. Provide only the very basic information, such as your name and insurance information. Avoid any speculation or finger-pointing.

 

4. Call Your Insurer

Unfortunately, you’ll need to report the car accident to your car insurance provider. You should do so as soon as possible. If you don’t report the accident, there’s a good chance your insurer won’t cover your bills, and filing a successful lawsuit later on can be much more difficult. What’s more, if you fail to report the accident, your insurer could decide to stop providing coverage.

Giving a statement to your insurer is similar to giving a statement to the police. Stick with the facts. Offer as little information as possible, especially regarding your opinion of what happened. Your insurer will be recording the call and looking for any way to reduce your settlement offer. If they ask any probing questions, tell them politely but firmly you’d like to speak to your attorney before answering any other questions.

 

5. Keep Up With Your Medical Treatments

If the EMTs who arrive on the scene recommend you go to the hospital, do it! At the hospital, doctors can use other tools like x-rays and MRIs to further diagnose your injuries. If you aren’t taken to the hospital, at least visit your doctor within a couple days to have your injuries evaluated. Otherwise, any injury that becomes apparent later could be blamed on some other incident.

Whether you go to the hospital or your doctor, always follow any treatment prescribed. That way, there’s no question that you were injured in the car accident. Keep record of any diagnosis you receive, as well as all of your medical bills — including from any ambulance ride. All of these records can be used by your Atlanta car accident lawyer later on as evidence that you deserve greater compensation.

 

6. Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer in Atlanta

Under Georgia law, you have exactly two years from the time of the car accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you wait until after those two years have elapsed to file a lawsuit, it will almost certainly be dismissed. That’s why it’s important to talk to an Atlanta car accident attorney as soon as possible.

One of the main factors your attorney will evaluate is who’s at fault in the accident. Georgia follows a modified contributory negligence statute. That means if you are found 50 percent or more at fault for your injuries, you won’t be able to recover any compensation. As such, your lawyer will evaluate all the evidence of the accident, including the police report, to determine if you have a viable case.

Car Accident FAQs

What do you do after a car accident?

First, stay safe. You need to make sure that everybody is safe and you’re not in harm’s way further. Sometimes, that may require getting out of oncoming traffic or moving out of an intersection. If you can move your vehicle safely without impeding the ability of an investigator to determine who is at fault, do so.

Second, call 911. Have the police come to the scene to fill out a written report and to make sure any and all information is exchanged. There are times when people do not call police, because they believe that will complicate the process. Simply exchanging information can have serious consequences. Even with information from the other party, it may not be accurate. Without a police report there is no way to determine who was responsible for the accident. Stories change and accounts of the accidents can fade. If possible, take photos at the scene of any inter sections, road signs and conditions of the vehicles involved. Photos are an easy way help to resolve disputes regarding liability and damages.

Third, you want to report the accident to your insurance company. You can do this by calling your insurance company directly. They typically help get the other claim reported. However, calling an insurance company without speaking to an Atlanta personal injury attorney first can be dangerous. If you have questions or concerns about setting up the claim, please call us or speak with an attorney as soon as possible

Can I drive my car after an accident?
  1. Are your head lamps Functioning?

Before driving a damaged vehicle, it is important to look and see if you have any lighting issues.

Driving with a broken tail light, headlamp, or lens is not only dangerous for yourself and other drivers but also illegal. As a result, there is a highly likelihood that you will be pulled over.

  1. Are your Side Mirrors Intact?

If the driver’s side mirror is still in place after the crash but the passenger side mirror is missing, the car is drivable; the reason being you can use the rear view mirror to compensate for the missing passenger mirror.

If both mirrors are missing, you should expect to be pulled over for not having at least two functional mirrors. It will increase your risk of causing another accident if you cannot properly see surrounding and oncoming traffic.

  1. Is there Leaking Fluid?

If you see fluid leaking from your car, do not drive. There may be an oil, coolant or gas leak which could cause your engine to overheat or catch fire.

If there is an oil leak, it could also lead to engine damage, and a brake fluid leak could cause brake failure.

Any leak could be potentially harmful to yourself and others on the road, so if you notice leaking fluid from your vehicle, your best choice would be to contact a tow truck.

 

  1. Are your Wheels Aligned?

It is important to check and see if your wheels are properly aligned after a collision if they are, your car is drivable.

If there is faulty alignment with your wheels, this can cause the vehicle to pull to one side, increasing your chances of swerving in traffic and causing additional damage to other drivers on the road.

For any wheel issues in general, your best option is to contact a tow truck.

  1. Is your Hood Buckled?

Check the hood of your car after the accident to make sure the locking mechanism is not broken or jammed.

If your hood is damaged, it may pop open when you are driving, and your vision will be completely blocked. This can lead to an accident or worse on the road; be sure your hood is secure before leaving an accident, or do not drive!

What if I was not wearing a seat belt at the time of my accident? Can I still recover damages?

Although it’s the law in Georgia to wear a seat belt and you may receive a traffic citation from the police, whether you can claim or not depends on negligence and who caused the accident.

If you were a victim of negligence, the amount you will be able to receive will depend on the facts of the case.

Your Georgia auto accident claim will depend on two factors – negligence and causation. It’s not enough to show the other driver committed a negligent act like running a red light or improperly changing lanes. You must show that driver’s actions led to your injuries.

How long does it take to get a police report after an accident?

Municipal police reports or state highway patrol reports often take time to complete. There is a lot fo information that must be collected and entered from all parties in the accident, insurance reports and notes collected by police officers at the scene.

Commonly in Georgia, it takes 7 to 10 days before an attorney gets them upon request. If an accident reconstruction report or criminal investigation is also pending, it can take a Georgia Car Accident attorney longer to get the accident report.

Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney Today

If you’ve been in a car accident in Atlanta, you have rights. At Hawkins, Spizman & Fortas, our Atlanta car accident attorneys know how difficult this time can be. That’s why we always offer free, no-obligation consultations.

During your initial consultation, we’ll look at all the details of your case and help you decide whether we can help you. We’ll look at the settlement offered by your insurer and evaluate whether we can get you more compensation or not. If we can, we’ll advise you on the next steps in the lawsuit process.

If we don’t believe we can get you a greater amount than the insurance company has offered, we’ll let you know that, too. That way, you aren’t spending your time and money on a lawsuit that likely won’t be successful.

Call us at 678-248-6572 or fill out our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation with our Atlanta car accident lawyers today.

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