Car accidents are prevalent in the U.S. – it records the most road crash deaths,…
Car accidents can be devastating. Unfortunately, they happen all too often on Georgia roads. From distracted driving to speeding and driving under the influence, there are numerous causes of car accidents in the state. While some are minor, others can be deadly.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Georgia, it is crucial to have an experienced attorney by your side who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
Nathan Fitzpatrick, a leading Atlanta car accident attorney, is here to discuss the top causes of car accidents in Georgia and how a car accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Statistics of Georgia Car Accidents
The statistics for vehicular crashes in the Peach State can be shocking. For instance, Georgia had a 20% spike in fatal car accidents in 2020, with 313 more people dying compared to the previous year. This is a concerning trend that goes against the state's efforts towards zero fatalities on its highways and roads.
The numbers of motor vehicle fatalities in Georgia show no signs of slowing down for 2021, either. According to the National Safety Council, Georgia saw 911 motor vehicle fatalities in the first six months of 2021 alone, a 29% jump from the same period in 2020.
The reason for the spike? Sam Harris, a state safety engineer with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the spike in fatal car accidents was due to three negligent driving behaviors: distracted driving, drunk driving, and speeding, with speed being the biggest contributor to car accidents.
Also, in 2020, Georgia ranked 4th for the largest number of fatal auto collisions. Only Texas, California, and Florida had more fatal accidents. Also, 95% of visits to Georgia emergency rooms in 2020 were attributed to occupants of motor vehicles. Of that number, 75% of them were hospitalized due to their injuries.
The Most Common Types of Car Accidents
Now that you know about some of the most sobering car accident statistics, let's look at the common car accidents that occur in the United States.
Rear-end collisions make up 29% of all auto accidents, making it one of the most common types of car accidents in the country. They happen when a vehicle collides with another from behind while on a highway or other road. Rear-end accidents often happen at low speeds, but high speeds are often a factor on highways.
These types of collisions often occur because of tailgating, not paying attention or sudden stops. Generally, rear-end accidents happen at red lights or at stop signs or during times when there are high volumes of traffic.
T-bone accidents, also known as broadside accidents or side-impact collisions, happen when one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle at an intersection or other T-junction. In 2020, t-bone collisions were behind 23% of vehicle occupant fatalities.
These types of car crashes are almost always due to motorist negligence. They frequently occur due to running red lights or stop signs or failing to yield the right-of-way. Causes of rear-end accidents also occur because of following too closely or driving while fatigued.
As the name suggests, head-on collision car accidents occur when two vehicles crash into each other in opposite directions. These can be some of the most dangerous types of car accidents because they usually involve high speeds and involve a higher risk of serious injuries or death than other types of car accidents.
For example, in 2020, frontal impacts accounted for a grim 58% of all passenger vehicle occupant fatalities. From 2015-2020, there were 3,631 fatal head-on collisions, making up 10.2% of fatal crashes in the nation.
Single-car accidents account for close to 5.6% of all car accidents. These types of accidents usually occur when a vehicle collides with an obstacle, such as a guardrail or tree. These collisions often happen because of impaired driving, aggressive driving, speeding, and other negligent behaviors.
The Top Causes of Car Accidents In Georgia
There are many reasons for auto collisions in Georgia, but the main car accident causes are:
Making improper turns is a type of driver error and another common cause of auto accidents in Georgia. This occurs when a driver fails to use their turn signal before turning, makes a wide or abrupt turn, or simply doesn't have enough time to complete the maneuver safely. All of these scenarios can lead to devastating accidents with serious injuries.
Nine people are killed in America daily because of distracted drivers. The lack of attention to other drivers and their surroundings makes a distracted driver extremely dangerous. Young drivers, who lack real-world driving experiences, are particularly prone to breaking distracted driving laws.
There are three main types of distracted driving:
- Visual: This one involves activities that take your eyes off the road, such as looking in the rearview mirror for an extended period of time, checking GPS navigation systems, or reading text messages. It is especially dangerous when a driver takes their eyes off the road for more than two seconds at a time.
- Manual: This distraction occurs when you take your hands off the wheel, such as adjusting the rearview mirror, turning knobs on a device, reaching for something in the back seat, or eating while driving.
- Cognitive: Finally, cognitive distraction occurs when you aren't focused on the task of driving. It can occur when you are daydreaming, tired or engaging in distracting conversations with passengers or fiddling with your pets.
Also, most of us think of driving distracted as texting or talking on the smartphone while driving. However, there are other common types of driving while distracted that take motorists' attention off the road as well. They include:
- Eating in the car: Eating while driving can be both dangerous and distracting. It takes your attention off the road, and it requires you to reach for food or a beverage, which can cause accidents.
- Electronics use: Other electronic devices besides cell phones can be a distraction. For example, GPS navigation systems and radio tuning devices can take your focus away from the road.
- Talking: Talking to other passengers in the car or focusing on pets increases the risk of an accident because it takes your attention off the road.
- Grooming: Shaving, applying makeup, or brushing your hair while driving should be avoided at all costs.
The most publicized kind of driver error is drunk driving. Every 90 seconds, someone is hurt in a drunk driving crash. Drunk driving is a serious offense, and it can have devastating consequences for those involved.
Drunk driving is especially dangerous during the late night and early morning hours, as there are more motorists on the road who have been drinking. The hours from midnight to 3 am are the most deadly ones, as two-thirds of fatal car accidents involve an alcohol-impaired motorist.
Drowsy driving, or driving when you are extremely tired or fatigued, can be just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Every year, fatigued driving and drivers that fall asleep at the wheel are responsible for approximately 100,000 vehicular accidents. That figure includes 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities.
Additionally, driver fatigue can make it a challenge to notice traffic control devices and hazards in your surroundings quickly enough.
There is also what is known as microsleep. This is when a motorist falls asleep for just a few seconds. If you fall into microsleep while traveling at 55 mph, you can travel up to 100 yards. That's enough distance to do plenty of damage!
Speeding is another leading cause of car accidents in Georgia. It increases the chances that you lose control of your vehicle, which will likely make a crash occur. Driving at high speed also increases the severity of the injuries caused by an accident. Motorists driving faster than the posted speed limit do not have enough time to react and stop their vehicles if an emergency situation arises.
Exceeding the speed limit is particularly dangerous in residential neighborhoods, school zones, and construction areas.
Reckless driving often involves aggressive behaviors such as tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, running red lights or stop signs, and cutting off other drivers—however, any willful or wanton disregard for the safety of people or property while driving is considered reckless.
Aggressive driving is a form of reckless driving. It happens when drivers succumb to road rage and do things like tailgate or pass a driver and cut them off too closely when they pass. This reckless behavior can cause avoidable high-speed crashes and personal injury to others.
The Consequences of A Motor Vehicle Accident
The outcome of an auto accident in Georgia can be devastating and long-lasting. What happens will also depend on who is at fault and several factors that are unique to your case. In this section, we'll look at outcomes related to physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial losses.
Suppose a driver causes serious injury to another person while driving under the influence (DUI) or engaging in reckless driving. In that case, they are guilty of any serious physical and emotional injuries that may result from their negligence (OCGA) §40-6-394.
For the auto accident victim, outcomes can include physical injuries such as broken bones, whiplash, and even death. For the person convicted of seriously injuring another by vehicle,
In Georgia, a person who is convicted of causing serious physical injury to another by vehicle could face up to fifteen years in prison. Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, they may receive a shorter sentence or even probation.
However, if the convicted individual displays a reckless disregard for human life and has a prior history of DUI offenses or other serious traffic violations, they could be looking at a maximum penalty.
In addition to physical injuries, car accidents can also cause emotional trauma. This can include anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. These conditions can be debilitating and interfere with a person’s ability to function normally.
Many times victims of motor vehicle accidents suffer from feelings of guilt even when the accident wasn't their fault. This is because they are often forced to relive the trauma that was caused by the accident as well as deal with any physical pain or disability resulting from it.
In Georgia, if a motorist causes you severe physical and emotional injury, you may be eligible for compensation. An experienced car accident lawyer will help you navigate the legal process to ensure that you receive the financial compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.
In addition to physical injuries, emotional trauma, and criminal penalties, automobile accidents can also lead to financial losses. Depending on the severity of the accident, victims may face expenses such as medical bills, lost wages due to missed work, and car repair or replacement.
In Georgia, an injured motorist may be eligible for compensation for these losses. That being said, it is important to remember that the other party’s insurance company may not always act in good faith. That’s why if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is critical to seek legal advice from a qualified car accident attorney.
The Importance of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
There are more than six million car accidents that happen every year. The likelihood that it will happen to you is very high as a result. Hiring a skilled car accident attorney is of the utmost importance when an auto accident happens to you.
Let's take a more in-depth look at some of the ways a car accident lawyer can help you.
Why You Need Legal Representation
Hiring a car accident attorney is essential if you want to protect your legal rights. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to review the details of your case, explain the laws which are pertinent to it, and advise on the steps necessary for protecting your rights.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
A car accident lawyer can help you with a variety of issues, including:
- Negotiating with insurance companies to obtain the highest possible settlement offer
- Filing a lawsuit if necessary
- Representing you in court
- Providing legal advice and guidance throughout the entire process
What to Look for in a Car Accident Lawyer
When selecting a car accident lawyer, it is important to look for one who is experienced in handling auto accident cases. The lawyer should also be familiar with the laws of your state and have a good reputation in the legal community. Additionally, you should look for someone who can provide personalized attention to your case and offer sound advice on how to proceed.
It's also not a bad idea to look for lawyers that offer free consultations or case evaluations. If you can find a car accident lawyer who offers this service, it can be a great way to get an initial assessment of your case and determine if the lawyer is the right fit for you.
How to Prevent Car Accidents
Many traffic accidents are avoidable. Here are some of the best approaches for preventing automobile accidents.
Defensive driving is an essential skill to master if you want to lower your chances of being involved in a car accident. For instance, if you find yourself in poor weather conditions, it is important to be extra cautious and take your time. Also, the Georgia Driver's Manual is full of good defensive driving tips, so you might want to download it to brush up on defensive driving advice.
Obey Traffic Laws
Obeying traffic laws is the most important thing you can do to prevent a car accident. Follow posted speed limits, always use your turn signals, and never go without your seatbelt being fastened. Remember that careless driving can lead to serious consequences, so make sure to stay focused on the road at all times.
As mentioned, distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents. Don’t look at your phone, don’t eat or drink while driving, and don’t engage in conversations with other passengers that can take your focus away from the road. The best way to stay safe is to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
Never Drink and Drive
Drinking and drugged driving are the top most preventable causes of accidents. When out with other people, be sure to choose a designated driver or get a ride home with a rideshare service if you plan to imbibe. That way, you'll avoid having to deal with any potential legal consequences, like criminal penalties and civil liabilities.
As you can see, car accidents can lead to serious physical and emotional trauma, even leaving those involved with permanent disabilities. Additionally, financial losses due to medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering can be devastating. To protect your rights as an injured party, it is important to seek the help of a skilled car accident lawyer.
Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Car Accidents and Their Consequences. Contact a Car Accident Lawyer At The Fitzpatrick Firm Today
At The Fitzpatrick Firm, we have decades of experience in the legal field and are dedicated to fighting for our client’s rights. We understand the stress and trauma that car accidents can cause, and we strive to protect our clients from car accidents and their aftermath by providing them with personalized attention and sound legal advice.
We are committed to helping you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, pain, and suffering. We are also committed to helping you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, pain, and suffering, and we have recovered millions in personal injury settlements for our clients. For a free consultation, you can contact us at (678) 607-5550, or you can fill out our online form. Let us help you get the justice and compensation you deserve starting today.