Car Accident Lawsuits in Augusta
Car Accidents in Augusta, GA
Augusta is the second largest city in Georgia and with automobiles being utilized as the dominant method of transportation, you can expect that this city has experienced its fair share of auto collisions. There have been hundreds of fatal car crashes in the last few years. Deadly crashes have occurred on roads such as Tobacco Road, Deans Bridge Road, and Milledge Road. Augusta’s intersections are also prone to car accidents due to the high volume of vehicles traveling through them every day.
Some of the most dangerous intersections in Augusta, GA include:
- Washington Road and Interstate 20
- Bobby Jones Expressway and Gordon Highway
- Interstate 20 and Washington Road
- Deans Bridge Road and Bobby Jones Expressway
- Wrightsboro Road and Bobby Jones Expressway
- Bobby Jones Expressway and Wrightsboro Road
- Washington Road and Boy Scout Road
- Tobacco Road and Windsor Spring Road
- Peach Orchard Road and Bobby Jones Expressway
- Windsor Spring Road and Tobacco Road
Regardless of the type of car accident, Augusta residents can further protect themselves and their loved-ones by searching for credible Augusta, GA lawyers on the State Bar of Georgia website. Otherwise, residents can also be connected to a professional Augusta, GA personal injury lawyer through the Eichholz Law Firm.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Augusta, GA
Unfortunately, car accidents happen on quite a regular basis. Accidents can occur due to a variety of circumstances, such as from the negligent actions of a motorist. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are several common factors that occur in many of these accidents including (but not limited to):
- Distracted Driving
- Drunk Driving
- Reckless Driving
- Texting & Driving
More often than not, a serious injury can occur due to a driver being irresponsible and not paying attention to the road. Being distracted while driving poses a number of risks, including potential car accidents. When such accidents occur, you’ll want to ensure you are protected by your insurance company and the help of an attorney.
What to Do After a Car Accident
- Remain calm. Above all else, this is the most important thing no matter how difficult it is under the circumstances.
- Make an attempt to take as many pictures as possible of the scene. This will be the only time to act to preserve evidence. Once the accident scene is cleared, most of the evidence will be lost.
- Try to find and speak to anyone who witnessed the accident. Take down their contact information and write down their initial recollections about what they witnessed.
- Make sure to call the police and get an accident report. If a driver broke a traffic law prior to the accident, this will be documented.
- Call a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. If they cannot immediately make it to the scene of the accident, they can at least give tips for how to deal with the situation.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident
- Don’t attempt to argue with the other driver. It is more important to remain calm rather than convince the other driver that the accident was their fault. It is better to concentrate on bolstering the evidence for a potential claim.
- Don’t admit liability for the accident no matter what. This could come into play in a car accident lawsuit, even if the driver’s initial thoughts about liability were incorrect. Once it is said and witnessed, it is difficult to take back.
Injured in a Car Accident
If there has been any injury whatsoever, it is best to get medical treatment for the accident. Even if there has been no insurance settlement or if one is not promised, it is unwise to delay seeing a doctor. In fact, the best course of action is to immediately establish and document any injuries in case it is necessary to file a lawsuit. There may be issues dealing with health insurance as to whether some of the treatment is covered. If there are uncovered expenses, these will need to be documented and taken into account when filing your lawsuit claim.
Communicating with the Insurance Company
Dealing with auto insurance companies can also be extremely difficult. Remember that it hurts an insurance company’s bottom line when they write large checks, so there is a great incentive to minimize payments associated with an accident. Never make the mistake of assuming that an insurance company is a friend. The other driver’s insurance company may even resort to subterfuge to convince a driver to admit that they were liable. In general, insurance companies will be trying everything they can to do to keep the amount that they have to pay low.
Negotiating with an insurance company may also be a hassle. Do not expect insurance companies to immediately make their best settlement offers. They will likely try to lowball their offer, hoping that the insured will just want a settlement as quickly as possible. Be prepared to say “no” to their initial offer. This is where an Augusta, GA car accident lawyer can help. They have experience in negotiating with the insurance companies and are familiar measures that insurance companies will take. An experienced car accident lawyer will have an objective opinion about what a claim is worth and what may be obtained in a car accident lawsuit.
What May Be a Part of the Claim
Here is a list of some compensable damages after a car accident in Augusta, GA:
- Damage to the vehicle and the cost of repairing it
- Lost earnings that resulted from being unable to work after a car accident
- Any medical bills that have not been covered by insurance (to the extent that health insurance does cover medical expenses, they will receive that part of the reimbursement)
- Compensation for pain, suffering, and mental anguish
It is difficult to calculate damages for pain and suffering or anguish since there is no established compensation formula for this. A car accident lawyer in Augusta, GA will be able to help quantify the damage and injuries in order to present them to the insurance company.
The insurance companies will conduct an investigation to determine fault for the accident. Once that happens, the claim can be negotiated. The parties involved will try to reach a settlement in order to avoid a car accident lawsuit in Augusta, GA. However, it may still be necessary to take this matter to court if the settlement offer is inadequate.
A Car Accident Lawsuit at Trial
When the case gets to court, it is very difficult to represent one’s self since witnesses must be questioned and evidence established. Insurance companies will have their own lawyers who are experts in car accident lawsuits. Having an attorney who is an experienced car accident lawyer in Augusta, GA will help even the playing field and give a claim a better chance of succeeding.
If a car accident lawsuit goes to trial, liability for the accident will likely be at issue. This means that evidence must be presented that shows that the other party was at fault. After the liability is assigned, an award will be made based on what the judge or jury decides.
Proving the Other Party's Negligence
In order to win a car accident lawsuit in Augusta, GA, the injured party must show that the other party was negligent. In other words, they must have acted in a way that caused the damage or injury. There are generally four elements that must be proven in order to reach the conclusion that a party was negligent.
The first element that must be proven is that one party owed a duty to another party to exercise a reasonable amount of care. This is not usually difficult to prove in a car accident lawsuit, as drivers on the road owe a duty to the other drivers on the road not to operate their vehicles in a dangerous manner.
2. Breach of Duty
After duty is proven, the car accident lawyer must show that the other party failed to uphold their duty. This is probably the most difficult part of the trial. Drivers do not necessarily have to be perfect, but they must act as a reasonable driver would when they are operating their automobile. For example, if a driver is speeding or makes an illegal turn, they are not acting as a reasonable driver would. This part of the trial will require witness testimony and a thorough examination of the facts and circumstances behind the incident.
3. Injury & Damages
Damages are the third part of the test. The specific harms suffered in the accident may be questioned. For example, disputes over pain, suffering and mental anguish as damages of the accident are common. However, these will be addressed in more detail after liability has been established.
Finally, it must be shown that one party is the proximate cause of the other’s injury. Basically, this element of the test requires establishing that the plaintiff would not have been injured but for the defendant’s action. In other words, if the defendant had not been speeding or did not make a wrong turn, then the plaintiff would have never been injured. An example of how this could be in contention is if the defendant argues that a defect in the car caused the plaintiff’s injury as opposed to anything that the defendant did.
Assuming that the other side has been found responsible for the accident, the judge or jury will then look at the plaintiff’s actions to see if there was anything that the plaintiff did that caused the accident. In some states, if the plaintiff was negligent in any way, they could not recover anything from the car accident. This is called contributory negligence. For example, if the plaintiff ran a red light and was struck by a speeding car, then they cannot recover anything for their injuries.
Augusta, GA Car Accident Laws
Georgia is not a contributory negligence state. Georgia uses a comparative negligence system that will allow some recovery even if the plaintiff shares the blame for the incident. Here, the judge or jury will typically establish a percentage value to apportion blame for the accident. For example, they could find that the plaintiff was 20 percent at fault for the accident. Then, they will adjust the damage award to which the plaintiff is entitled by the amount of their negligence. The modification to this rule in Georgia is that a party who is more than 50 percent responsible for the accident may not recover anything.
Georgia’s minimum liability insurance coverage amounts that a driver is required to have include:
- $25,000 for the death or injury of one individual, which can be another driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, yourself, etc.
- $25,000 for any property damage caused by the accident
- $50,000 for the death or injury of more than one individual in a single accident
Georgia state law requires accidents to be reported immediately to local police if there is property damage of over $500, an injury, or death. It is also required that parties exchange information such as license, insurance, and contact information. Parties involved in a car crash must assist any injured persons and remain at the scene of the accident until all obligations are completed.
Georgia Statute of Limitations
The state of Georgia is similar to most states in regard to the statute of limitations, which is a state law that sets a time limit on a plaintiff’s right to file a lawsuit. The deadlines will vary depending on the level of injuries that the plaintiff has suffered or the type of case that needs to be filed. However, the statute of limitations does not apply to car insurance claims. Georgia Code Section 9-3-33 states that “Actions for injuries to a person shall be brought within two years after the right of action accrues.” This means that whoever was injured in a car accident must file a claim within two years.
- If a person is killed in a car accident in Augusta, GA, the family may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver who was negligent and caused the crash. The deadline for filing a wrongful death car accident lawsuit is also two years.
- The deadline for filing a car accident lawsuit in Augusta, GA over vehicle damage caused by the car crash is four years, according to Georgia Code section 9-3-31.
It is important for victims to contact a car accident lawyer to help guide them through the complex legal steps of a car accident lawsuit.
Why Hire an Augusta, GA Car Accident Lawyer?
As apparent from the above, there are a lot of steps in the process of being financially compensated for a car accident. The hope is that the matter can be settled quickly with the insurance company for a fair amount, but other steps are sometimes necessary. An Augusta, GA car accident lawyer is a valuable asset if there is a possible claim. It is best to engage and retain a car accident lawyer as early in the process as possible to present the best possible case for compensation. Most car accident lawyers are hired on a contingency basis. This means that there are no upfront payments due when becoming a client. They are only paid if there is a settlement or a jury award.
Contact The Eichholz Law Firm to File a Car Accident Lawsuit
An experienced attorney can help guide an accident victim through the aftermath of a car accident. The Eichholz Law Firm has experienced personal injury attorneys who have helped victims recover hundreds of millions of dollars in legal action.
The Eichholz Law Firm prides itself on providing individuals with an attorney to serve their specific needs. Georgia residents who need an Augusta, GA car accident lawyer can contact our law firm and will receive reliable legal counsel.
- Driving-Tests.org. “The Ultimate List of Driving Statistics for 2019”, Driving-Tests.org, https://driving-tests.org/driving-statistics/. Accessed May 9, 2019.
- Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. “Cost of Auto Crashes & Statistics”, Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, http://www.rmiia.org/auto/traffic_safety/Cost_of_crashes.asp. Accessed May 9, 2019.
- DMV. “Accident Guide”, Department of Motor Vehicles, https://www.dmv.org/accident-guide/. Accessed May 9, 2019.
- ASIRT. “ROAD SAFETY FACTS”, Association for Safe International Travel, https://www.asirt.org/safe-travel/road-safety-facts/. Accessed May 10, 2019.
- NHTSA. “Teen Driving”, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving. Accessed May 10, 2019.
- NHTSA. “Speeding”, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/speeding. Accessed May 10, 2019.
- NHTSA. “Driver Safety”, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, https://one.nhtsa.gov/Driving-Safety. Accessed May 10, 2019.
- Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. “New data from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute provides insight into cell phone use and driving distraction”, Virginia Tech, https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2009/07/2009-571.html. Accessed May 10, 2019.
- Nathan Bomey. “Spate of drugged driving deaths alarms U.S. regulators”, USA Today, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/10/27/drugged-driving-dui-nhtsa-auto-safety/92678186/. Accessed May 10, 2019.
- David Goguen, J.D. “Georgia Car Accident Laws”, NOLO, https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/georgia-car-accident-laws.html. Accessed May 15, 2019.
- FindLaw. “Georgia Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline”, Thomson Reuters, https://statelaws.findlaw.com/georgia-law/georgia-car-accident-settlement-process-and-timeline.html. Accessed May 15, 2019.