Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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The Georgia Rule of the Road Statutes provides:

40-8-70. Horns and warning devices

(a) Every motor vehicle when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet, but no horn or other warning device shall emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle. The driver of a motor vehicle shall, when it is reasonably necessary to ensure safe operation, give audible warning with his or her horn but shall not otherwise use such horn when upon a highway.

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The numbers don’t lie. Almost ten people a day are killed in car accidents caused by distracted drivers. In 2017 alone, the yearly total was 3,166 deaths, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Let’s break down the numbers to see just how much of a concern this should be for the pedestrians of Atlanta.

10%

The percentage of fatal crashes that involved a distracted driver who was focused on something other than driving — most often talking or texting on a cellphone (accounting for 15 percent of all distracted-driver fatalities), but sometimes eating, talking to passengers, fiddling with the radio, putting on makeup, drinking, watching videos or playing video games or adjusting controls on the car.

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A Jeep Cherokee driven by a 17-year-old struck a new mom, her baby daughter in arms, and a family friend who were walking to a concert in downtown Woodstock. All three died of their injuries. While the resulting death are certainly heartbreaking and tragic, a jury is about to decide the fate of the 17 year-old driver. Whether the deaths of Kaitlin Hunt, 3-month-old Riley Hunt and Kathy Deming were due to criminal actions or a simple accident will be decided in a Georgia courtroom as the driver faces nine misdemeanor charges, including second-degree vehicular homicide and distracted driving.

On-site and subsequent investigations involved cellphone records, witness interviews and a crash re-enactment informed by U.S. Naval Observatory expertise on how dark it was at the time. A Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office investigation concluded the pedestrians should have been visible; an expert defense witness disagrees. “I found that it was unavoidable,” said the defendant’s expert, a former Sandy Springs and Fulton County police officer who now owns an independent Reconstruction & Expert Consulting firm.

The driver of the Jeep has said she never saw the pedestrians. Investigators have determined she wasn’t speeding or under the influence of alcohol or drugs and the undisputed facts are that the pedestrians who were killed were wearing dark clothing, and the collision site at the time had no traffic lights or a marked pedestrian crossing zone, as it does now. The initial Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office investigation recommended no charges be filed. But, in an about-face, the County has brought criminal charges against the driver who was 17 years-old at the time of the wreck and is now 19.

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Atlanta Braves reliever A.J. Minter was involved in a relatively minor car accident which eventually lead to him having to miss a turn pitching. Despite his own assessment that no one was hurt at the scene of the accident, including himself, the injuries including to his shoulder became apparent during the two days after the accident.

According to the AJC, Minter was driving around 6 p.m. Wednesday when, he said, he ran into the car in front of him. No one suffered any obvious injury, Minter said, and he was prepared to make his first appearance of the spring the next day. The Braves decided to move him back to Friday.

Minter went on to elaborate on how the extent of his injuries from the car wreck that he was involved in were not immediately discovered by him or the Braves medical staff: “Friday I woke up, played catch, everything felt fine. I wanted to get in the game. “Warming up, I started to get a little stiff when I started to let it loose. I got in the game, I realized I probably shouldn’t be out here. A little stiff, nothing serious. I need a couple more days of rest.”

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In the event that you are a driver involved in an accident, Georgia law requires that you stop immediately at the scene, or as close as possible.  This is true for any driver involved, not just drivers of the primary cars in the crash. Bellamy v. Edwards, 181 Ga. App. 887, 354 S.E.2d 434 (1987).   Drivers should cooperate at the scene and exchange information, including name, address, and registration numbers.  If someone is hurt, it is the responsibility of the other driver to offer reasonable assistance — including notification of emergency services and law enforcement, or even transporting the injured person to the nearest doctor, if emergency transport is not available and the injury required immediate attention. 

If you are involved in a bad car wreck and you are not at fault, your first priority is the safety of you and those around you. Make sure that you are free from the danger of being hit by other cars speeding past you and if you have are on the side of the road of shoulder of the highway, make sure that you do not linger close to oncoming traffic as the car speeding by you may not see you and could wind up hitting you. Not only is being hit while on the side of the road more common than you might think, the results are usually catastrophic and often this type of accidents leave the accident victim in much worse shape than the original accident. For example, there are many cases of a fender bender taking place on the highway, the cars moving over to the shoulder of the road, and then one of the driver who was involved in the original wreck being hit and killed by a passing car as they waited for the police or ambulance to come to the scene. Don’t take any chances and don’t assume other drivers are watching out for you and can see you on the side of the road. Move as far from traffic as you can and make sure you are not in a position to be hit by a car who is traveling on the road while you wait for the authorities to come to the scene of your accident. Keep calm, make sure that the at-fault driver does not leave the scene, but most important, stay safe.

For more than 20 years, Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, personal injury, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been injured or died as a result of the negligence of others in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area, including Alpharetta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, College Park, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. He has handled car wreck cases that have also involved injuries from a second wreck as well. If you or someone you know has been seriously injured or died while under anesthesia and would like quality legal representation or if you would just like to consult about a potential case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.

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When does Georgia law require you to signal when making a turn or changing lanes? Simple question, no simple answer. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-123 provides as follows:

(a) No person shall turn a vehicle at an intersection unless the vehicle is in proper position upon the roadway as required in Georgia Code Section 40-6-120 or turn a vehicle to enter a private road or driveway or otherwise turn a vehicle from a direct course or change lanes or move right or left upon a roadway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety. No person shall so turn any vehicle without giving an appropriate and timely signal in the manner provided in this Code section.

(b) A signal of intention to turn right or left or change lanes when required shall be given continuously for a time sufficient to alert the driver of a vehicle proceeding from the rear in the same direction or a driver of a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.

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Auto accidents are some of the most common types of cases that my firm handles. Most time, a full discovery process is necessary prior to being able to resolve the case. Most good Atlanta lawyers have their own set of questions that they ask the treating doctor in these types of cases. The following questions are the 100 most important general questions. Of course each case is different and there are many more case-specific questions that are covered in addition to these generic questions:

MEDICAL DEPOSITION – VEHICLE COLLISION

  1. Please introduce your self to the jury.
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In addition to damages that normally flow from a personal injury, the plaintiff in Georgia in automobile accident or trucking accident cases can make a claim for attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation under certain circumstances.  For instance, a claim can be brought pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 13-6-11 for attorneys fees when the Defendant, acting by himself or through his agent, has acted in bad faith, has been stubbornly litigious, or has caused the Plaintiff unnecessary trouble and expense, thereby entitling the Plaintiff to an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation under the Civil Code of Georgia.

By way of example, when the insurance adjuster assigned to an automobile or trucking accident case does not conduct an independent investigation of the claim, and denies the claim in it’s entirety based solely personal opinion, a claim for attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation may be properly plead by the Plaintiff.

Another typical scenario of when it is proper for a Georgia Plaintiff to plead and seek attorneys’ fees in an automobile accident or trucking accident case is when the Defendant pleads guilty to the citation that was issued at the scene and which caused the wreck (such as an improper lane change, following too close, failure to yield the right of way, etc.) and admits his negligence to the police officer. Yet, the Defendant then refuses to admit simple negligence in his or her Answer to the lawsuit. This is certainly evidence of stubborn litigiousness. This is known as the “so sue me attitude” and it makes sense that the Georgia trial court would allow a claim for attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation and the plaintiff should be allowed to recover these if he or she can prove the elements that are required under OCGA § 13-6-11. Not every case is ripe to recover attorneys’ fees (in fact most cases are not), but there are actions by defendants which lead to such a claim.

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Daubert motions are becoming more prominent in personal injury litigation as more and more judges entertain pre-trial motions to strike the other side’s expert. Historically, the defendants took the lead in this tactic, but lately, Plaintiff litigants have been filing their share of Daubert motions in an attempt to strike a defendant’s expert or to strike portions of that expert’s testimony at trial. Motions being filed ares similar to the following motion used in state court:

PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO EXCLUDE EXPERT TESTIMONY

Plaintiffs, files this motion to strike the testimony of A.B., M.D., and Mr. T.G., P.E., and would respectfully show as follows:

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As the recent AJC article detailing the car wreck makes clear, if you cause a car accident and your conduct is serious enough in nature, you will also face criminal charges for the harm that you cause.

Police say they expect charges to be filed in a crash that killed one man and seriously injured another recently when an 85-year-old Cobb County, Georgia driver struck them on the side of the road.

One of the victims (the driver of the other car) steered her black 2006 Dodge Magnum as two men pushed it off Johnson Ferry Road near Hampton Farms Drive in south Marietta, according to Cobb County police.

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