Though a coastal city in Georgia, Savannah has a variety of interstates and highways that run through it, including but not limited to I-95, 1-16, and I-516. With that said, you can expect that Savannah GA has seen its fair share of car accidents.
Savannah residents can rely on The Eichholz Law Firm as a credible Savannah GA car accident law firm. By hiring the services of one of our experienced attorneys, you will have someone who can act as a shield to investigators, help guide you safely past the dangers of dealing with insurance companies, and get you the compensation you’re entitled to.
What To Do After a Car Accident
With the potential risk of fire and explosions, flashing lights and broken glass being everywhere, the scene of an accident can often be very dangerous and disorienting – especially if you have been injured.
It’s very important to note that if you are unable to move or are pinned in a vehicle, it is paramount that you remain calm, and use deliberate, deep breaths to help soothe your nerves. In most cases, help will be on the way.
In the immediate aftermath of an auto accident, at the scene, a victim should do the following things:
- Determine if anyone has been injured
- Gather contact information from the other driver
- Talk to witnesses and get their recollections of what happened. Get their contact information in case their testimony is necessary for a trial.
- Remain calm and do not say anything about who was at fault or what happened. Resist the urge to persuade the other driver as to who was liable.
- Take pictures of the accident scene and document everything possible while the evidence is still there.
- Call the police so that there is a report of the accident even if liability is not determined. Then wait for the law enforcement officer to arrive.
People generally forget the details of a car crash soon after it has finished. By keeping these basic records, it can help a car accident lawyer build a more robust car accident lawsuit when pursuing legal action for any injuries or damages that you may have sustained.
Injured in a Car Accident?
If there has been an injury, victims should retain a Savannah GA car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Insurance companies will usually try to either take advantage of unrepresented parties or will try to give them a lowball offer. They will often try to use various methods to trick an uninformed party into agreeing to a car accident lawsuit settlement that is less than fair. Unrepresented victims will not have the same knowledge of the legal process and how to deal with the insurance companies. Hence, they are prone to making a mistake that could complicate their prospects for financial recovery. The good news is that most car accident lawyers will work on contingency, meaning that they are not owed anything unless there is a financial recovery.
Savannah GA Car Accident Laws
In some states, victims cannot recover from a car accident unless they were not negligent in any way. In other states, liability will be apportioned based on the percentage of negligence that each party has been assigned.
Georgia’s minimum liability 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.
Car Accident Settlements in Savannah GA
It is difficult to determine the amount of an average car accident settlement since cases will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the accident. For example, there will be lower a settlement amount for a fender bender than a reckless driver killing a family. To reach an appropriate settlement, the factors that must be considered include:
- Insurance Coverage
- Car damage and repairs
- Medical bills from both the past and future
- Pain and suffering of the injured
- Wages lost from missing work
Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Savannah GA
The state of Georgia is similar to most states in regards 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. 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 Savannah 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 Savannah 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.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in Savannah GA
When a person either files a car accident lawsuit in Savannah GA or makes a claim from the insurance company, they can seek a variety of different damages from the other party. This includes:
- Compensation for pain and suffering experienced due to a car accident
- Lost wages if a victim has been unable to work
- Remuneration of medical bills (past, present, and future)
- Loss of consortium for a spouse
- Punitive damages based on the egregiousness of the other side’s conduct
If there is a car accident lawsuit, a victim will have to prove that the other party was a negligent driver in order to be eligible for financial compensation. There is no statute that says what constitutes negligence. Instead, the law of negligence comes from common law. In other words, it has been developed in legal cases over the years. To make the showing that one party to the car accident was negligent, several things will have to be proven. These required elements are as follows:
- Duty of care – The plaintiff will have to show that one party owed a duty of care to another. This equates to having the obligation to exercise a due amount of care. In other words, drivers owe a duty of care to other drivers on the road not to do anything that would place them at risk of harm.
- Breach of duty – This is shown by demonstrating that one party did not uphold their duty of care. This means that they have not acted as a reasonable driver would under the circumstances. For example, a reasonable driver would obey laws governing lane changes and would not travel at an excessive rate of speed.
- Injury – The plaintiff will have to demonstrate that they suffered some sort of injury or other damage. The injury itself is one of the easier elements to prove.
- Causation – One must prove that their injuries were proximately caused by the other party’s actions.
Parties will prove these elements in several different ways. Here are some things that may be necessary in order to prove negligent driving:
- Witness testimony – This will be important because it is a contemporaneous recollection of someone who was not a party to a car accident.
- Photographic evidence – Pictures of the car accident scene can show a judge or jury what happened and enable them to piece together the events that led to the incident
- Parties’ testimony – The testimony of the parties themselves will be important to reconstructing the facts. It will have some weight but will have more if it is corroborated by something else.
- Expert testimony – In certain special cases, expert testimony can be important when dealing with things such as rates of speed and patterns of skids.
Causes of Car Accidents
In many cases, some car accidents are simply unavoidable – especially in circumstances when the negligent actions of another motorist causes the accident or if there is a mechanical malfunction that causes a driver to lose control of their vehicle.
While there can be a variety of circumstances that contribute significantly to the cause of a collision, in the many years that collision data has been collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are a number of factors that consistently arise in many accident situations.
Some common causes of car accidents include (but are not limited to):
- Distracted Driving
- Drunk Driving
- Reckless Driving
- Texting & Driving
In most instances, serious personal injuries are simply caused due to negligent drivers being irresponsible and not paying attention while they are behind the wheel. An interesting “distracted driver” statistic is that in the time it takes to send a short text message, a vehicle can easily travel the length of a football field.
The main causes of death from a car accident are alcohol, speeding, and reckless driving. Alcohol is responsible for 40% of car accident deaths, while speeding and reckless driving are responsible for 30% and 33%, respectively.
United States Car Accident Statistics
- Speed-related car accidents cost Americans about $40.4 billion each year.
- Over half of the 5 million yearly car crashes in the U.S. are caused by aggressive drivers who are speeding.
- Speeding is the number one cause of fatal highway accidents.
Car Accident Fatalities
- In 2016, half of car accident deaths occurred in rural areas.
- Pedestrian deaths make up 16% of traffic deaths in 2016.
- Male drivers were involved in 34% of fatal car accidents while female drivers were involved in 12%.
- Fatal car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S.
- More than 9 people were killed each day due to distracted drivers.
- Drivers are 23 times more likely to crash while texting and driving.
- Every 1 out of 3 people text and drive.
- Every 3 out of 5 people are likely to be involved in a car crash due to impaired driving in their lifetime.
- After alcohol, marijuana is the second most often linked reason for impaired driving.
- The rate of fatal car accidents in which at least one driver tested positive for drugs has almost doubled in over a decade.
- Drunk driving car accidents cost the U.S. about $199 billion every year.
General Car Accident Statistics
- Over 37,000 people die in car accidents each year.
- There is an average number of 6 million car accidents every year.
- Over 90 people die in car crashes every day.
- Around 3 million U.S. citizens are injured in car accidents each year and 2 million of these people suffer permanent injuries.
- The risk of car crashes is higher during the first year drivers have a license.
- There are about 10 million car crash incidents that go unreported every year.
Experienced Savannah GA Car Accident Lawyers
Most people who have been in an auto accident are dealing with many different people and factors all at the same time. Simultaneously, there may be financial issues, especially if medical care is necessary or work time has been missed. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with and their profit motive dictates that they will not easily give money to those who have suffered injury in an accident. This is why victims need a car accident lawyer. Our Savannah GA car accident lawyers have experience dealing with all aspects of the aftermath of a car accident and can give victims the advice they need to navigate each required step in a car accident lawsuit. Our car accident lawyers will also look out for the victim’s interests along the way to make sure they are not being pushed around or taken advantage of in any part of the process.
Contact The Eichholz Law Firm
The Eichholz Law Firm helps car accident victims take legal action that advances their legal rights. Our personal injury lawyers have experience with every step of the process and know the tricks that insurance companies will use to try to make sure that victims do not receive fair compensation. Car accident lawyers at The Eichholz Law Firm will negotiate on behalf of accident victims knowing that they can handle the legal process if the insurance company’s offer is inadequate. They will try to resolve legal issues outside of court but will take the matter to court if necessary. Insurance companies are often fairer to victims who they know are represented by counsel because going to court is an expense for them too. Contact our team to make sure that legal rights are respected and fair compensation is given to you.
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- 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.