Motor Vehicle Accidents
The State of Georgia has nearly 275,000 miles of roadway, among the most in the nation. It also has many Interstate and local highways crossing its metropolitan and rural communities, leading to ever-increasing traffic congestion. As a result, Georgia motorists face hazardous driving conditions while navigating Georgia's roads and highways. John Hadden is an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney with extensive experience litigating and resolving car accident cases, as well as those involving motorcycle accidents and trucking (tractor trailer) accidents.
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injuries. Despite advances in automobile design, more than 37,000 people died nationwide in automobile accidents in 2016 according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and the latest available Georgia statistics (2015) show that 1430 people were killed on Georgia roads and nearly 20,000 were seriously injured.
In many cases, injuries and deaths in auto collisions result from drunk or distracted driving. In others, drivers were simply inattentive or careless, leading to collisions. Regardless of the cause, Georgia law allows those injured in automobile accidents to recover from the at-fault driver for their injuries. Measures of damages include compensation for the pain experienced, the medical treatment (including medical bills) incurred, lost wages, and the diminished quality of life incurred by those injured by a negligent, careless, or reckless driver.
In most cases, the driver at fault for a collision has insurance that will cover a portion of the damages. But many drivers do not have sufficient insurance to compensate a seriously injured victim for their full damages. Georgia law requires a minimum of $25,000 per person (and $50,000 per collision) in liability insurance. Unfortunately, these minimum limits often leave victims without full compensation. And a significant number of drivers are driving illegally without any insurance at all. Therefore, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can be an important protection against at-fault drivers who do not carry enough insurance to cover the damages they may cause.
When our clients are involved in an auto accident, we work to maximize their recovery. This may include coordinating liability, medical payments (“Med Pay”), uninsured/underinsured motorist, and other sources of insurance coverage that may be applicable to them. We also work to coordinate health insurance payments, where applicable, which can cover treatment where an at-fault driver's insurance company refuses to fairly compensate the victim. On occasion, insurance companies will attempt to conceal insurance coverage to avoid having to pay out victims. This can harm both their own customers (the insured) as well as innocent victims. Therefore, we carefully analyze every case to ensure that we have uncovered all sources of insurance, even where an insurer is not forthcoming with this legally-required information. In one case, for example, we were able to discover and successfully pursue, at trial, additional insurance of more that $1 million that a national insurer had not properly disclosed at the beginning of the case.
Motorcyclists face additional hazards. Because of their size, other motorists may not see cyclists who are driving safely, resulting in close calls or collisions. And when collisions do occur, motorcyclists are more susceptible to injuries because they are far more exposed than a typical automobile driver or passenger. According to the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety, in 2015 there were more than 150 motorcycle fatalities on Georgia roads, a number that has increased over the past few years. That year, one in four motorcyclists killed was over the legal blood alcohol concentration limit. We have successfully reached substantial recoveries for innocent Georgia motorcycle accident victims seriously injured by negligent and reckless drivers. Because of the severity of the injuries, uninsured motorist coverage and medical payment coverage can be critical in obtaining full compensation, especially where an at-fault driver has no insurance.
Tractor Trailer and Other Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Finally, tractor-trailer motor carriers can weigh 80,000 lbs. or more and can cause catastrophic injuries or death due to their large size and weight. Tractor trailer cases involve additional laws and regulations that are not applicable to ordinary motorists but apply to commercial and interstate motor carriers. Aside from 18-wheeler and other "big rig" vehicles, smaller trucks and trailers, including standard pickup trucks with trailers and other equipment in some cases, may qualify as commercial vehicles and be subject to additional state and federal rules governing these vehicles. Our firm is experienced in handling tractor trailer accident cases. For further information on tractor trailer cases, please click here