Duluth is a wonderful place to live and work. There are some wonderful shopping experiences in the area, and it’s an easy commute to Atlanta. Because of all of its advantages, the population of Gwinnett County is booming, and plenty of people come to the city to shop, eat and spend the day. Unfortunately, that means car accidents are common.
After your wreck, you may receive a settlement offer from your insurance company. Chances are, that offer is less than what you deserve. Before you accept that offer, speak with an experienced attorney about all of your legal offers. Since 1988, the Duluth car accident lawyers at Andersen, Tate & Carr have helped members of our community get the compensation they deserve after a collision.
Call us at (770)-822-0900 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Car Accident Statistics for Duluth, GA
Duluth, situated in Gwinnett County, is a highly popular location. There are many local businesses in the area, and about 30,000 people live in the area. Between residents and visitors, there are thousands and thousands of cars on Duluth’s roads every day. Naturally, that means car accidents are all too common.
In 2017, there were a total of 39,970 car accidents, resulting in 13,535 injuries and 66 fatalities. Alcohol was a contributing factor in 24 of these fatal accidents, and speeding was a factor in 16 of them. In 21 of these fatal accidents, the passenger who was killed wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, while 15 were.
At Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., our Duluth car accident lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve after a wreck. We know that this time can be incredibly stressful, so we’ve made a list of a few commonly asked questions from our clients:
What should I do if I was involved in a hit and run accident?
The most important thing to do after a hit and run is to stay put. Do not chase after the other driver. Not only is it dangerous, but it’s illegal. Your emotions may be running high, and your car may not be in good enough condition to drive. Plus, Georgia law makes it illegal to leave the scene of an accident.
Instead, call the police and wait for them to arrive. Tell the responding officer what happened and let law enforcement evaluate the damage to your car. This evaluation will help the police determine what kind of damage to look for on the other vehicle. You should also contact an experienced Duluth car accident lawyer to learn about your legal options after a hit and run.
Who is responsible for paying my medical bills if I wasn’t at fault for the accident?
Under Georgia law, you can receive compensation even if you are partially at fault for the accident. However, you must be no more than 49 percent at fault. If this is the case, the person responsible for paying your medical bills is the person who caused the wreck. In most cases, this will mean the other person’s insurance company will be responsible for paying your bills.
However, if the other driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough coverage, the driver may be held financially responsible for paying your bills. If they don’t have the money, you could be out of luck — unless you carry uninsured/underinsured insurance. In that case, your own insurance company will pay the bills.
Because insurance companies don’t like paying out more than they have to, you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer in Duluth to determine all of your legal options.
What is negligence, and how does it affect my car accident case?
Legally speaking, negligence means that a person acted in a way that a reasonable person wouldn’t, and therefore caused injury. When it comes to car accidents, you can only get compensation if you can prove that the other driver intentionally caused the wreck, or that they acted negligently (which is much more likely).
To show the other driver was negligent, you must be able to prove that:
- The other driver had a duty of care to you; all drivers have a duty of care not to cause accidents.
- The other driver breached their duty of care, meaning the cause of the accident was foreseeable and therefore avoidable
- You suffered direct injuries due to the accident
- You suffered real damages such as property damage, medical bills, and other losses
Types of Compensation You May Receive After a Car Accident in Duluth
After a car accident in Gwinnett County, you may be left unable to work, you might have medical bills piling up, and you may be left without transportation. While your insurance company may cover some of these expenses, the simple truth is that they will try to give you the lowest offer possible settlement to pad their profit margins.
If the insurance company won’t budge on the settlement offer they sent you, you can take legal action to make it right. You may be entitled to further compensation or damages. Damages are generally divided into two categories: economic and noneconomic.
Economic damages are those that help you recover the real expenses you’ve incurred. For instance, you may be compensated for medical bills (past and future), property damage, rehabilitation costs, and more. Because you can assign a real dollar value to economic damages, they are typically the easiest to recover.
Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, are much more subjective. They are not intended to help you recover from financial loss, but rather to compensate you for pain and suffering, mental anguish and more. Your attorney will have to prove you deserve this type of damages through the severity of your injuries and other elements.
Proving Negligence After a Car Accident
The only way to get compensation after a car accident is to either prove the other driver intentionally caused the accident, or they acted negligently. Legally speaking, if a person acts in a way that a reasonable person wouldn’t, and they cause injury, they were negligent. There are four elements of negligence:
- Duty of Care
- Breach of Duty
- Injury Caused by Breach of Duty
- Real Damages Caused by Injury
When a person is driving on the road, they have an obligation to operate their vehicle safely and follow all traffic laws, and to avoid causing harm to others on the road. This obligation is called a duty of care. If this duty of care is not followed, and someone gets injured as a result, that driver is said to have breached their duty of care.
However, duty of care is not breached every time a law or rule of the road is broken. Essentially, if a person acted in a way a “reasonably prudent” person wouldn’t, such as texting and driving, it’s considered negligent behavior. But if they were reacting to an unseeable incident, such as a branch falling in the road, it may be difficult to prove they breached their duty of care.
Next, you must be able to prove your injury was caused by the other driver’s duty of care. For example, if you already had a broken leg, you can’t say the wreck caused the leg to break. But if you sustained new injuries that were directly caused by you being involved in the wreck, causation exists.
Finally, you must have real damages that can be monetarily compensated. This is generally easy to prove. For instance, if you went to the hospital and incurred medical bills, those bills can be compensated. Even if you just suffered property damage, such as your car being totaled, those damages can be monetarily compensated.
Comparative Negligence in Georgia
Very few states still follow “contributory negligence” laws. These laws state that if you are even a little bit at fault for your injuries, you cannot receive compensation. Instead, Georgia and most other states have adopted comparative negligence laws.
Under Georgia law, if you were 49% or less at fault for the accident and your injuries, you can receive compensation. However, that compensation will be reduced by the amount at which you were at fault.
For example, say you were at a stop light at night, and one of your brake lights wasn’t working. Another driver comes and rear-ends your car, causing broken bones and other injuries. Because your brake light wasn’t working, you’re found 10% at fault for the accident. At the end of the trial, you’re awarded $100,000 in compensation. But, because you were 10% at fault, you would only receive $90,000.
Speak to a Duluth Car Accident Attorney Today
If you were injured in a car accident, you have legal rights. At Andersen, Tate & Carr, we have recovered millions of dollars for car accident victims, and we’re dedicated to helping you get the compensation you need. We know the tricks insurance companies try to use to get out of paying you the full amount you deserve, and we know how to fight for your rights both in and out of court.
To speak with an experienced Duluth car accident lawyer, call our offices today at (770)-822-0900 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.
Duluth Car Accident Statistics
- Total Crashes
- Total Injuries
- Total Crashes
- Total Injuries