dont-do-it-yourselfReported motor vehicle accidents resulting in death have increased for the second year in a row.  Currently the number of fatalities caused by motor vehicle accidents in Georgia is more than twice the national average.  Distracted driving, speeding, and alcohol have all been linked to this increase and currently the statistics show no indication that the numbers will decrease.  Even though thousands of motor vehicle accidents take place each year most people are ill-prepared when they find themselves involved in a fender bender.  After an accident occurs many people are tempted to handle insurance claims without legal assistance, and while it is possible to settle a claim without help there are dangers associated with do it yourself accident claims negotiations.

Friendly Claims Adjusters

It is not unusual for claims adjusters to present themselves as caring and concerned individuals who are eager to help you move forward with the claim.  In reality the claims adjusters are the employees of a company that expects them to spend as little money to settle a claim as possible.  They want to protect their company and ultimately want to look out for the other driver who pays their company for coverage.  Often people handling their own insurance claims are lulled into a false sense of comradery that is used to get them to make statements that ultimately hurt their claim.

Denied-Stamp-Resized-300x300The time immediately following a personal injury is often stressful and extremely hectic.  Securing new transportation, coping with lost wages, and recovering from an injury make it difficult to focus on properly filing a personal injury claim with an insurance company.  Once a claim is filed most people assume that the insurer will quickly approve their request, but it is not unusual for an insurance company to deny injury claims.  Being aware of common reasons for personal injury claim denial may aid you if you find yourself in the difficult situation of fighting a potentially unjust coverage denial.

Lack of Coverage

Not having a valid insurance policy is one of the most common reasons for a claim to be denied.  In some instances, the policyholder failed to renew the policy, or they changed the policy excluding certain types of injuries.  It is also possible that the insurance company suspended the policy for another violation such as allowing an unlicensed or uninsured person operate your vehicle.  Policyholders who have recently moved or only receive email updates may be unaware of their lack of coverage until after a claim is filed.

keep-calm-and-shhhhhThe period immediately following an accident often sets the tone for the insurance claim process.  Though the claims adjuster representing the other party’s insurance company may seem friendly, their primary concern is saving their company money while protecting the individual they insure.  During the claims process the adjuster can use your statements, actions, and behavior against you making it difficult to receive compensation.  Being aware of what not to say after an accident may reduce your chances of doing something that compromises your case.

Avoid Apologizing for the Accident

Immediately following a vehicle accident it is not unusual for drivers to apologize to the owner of the other vehicle.  Even if the other driver is at fault, it is considered common courtesy apologize especially when speaking to someone who is physically injured.  Unfortunately, telling the other driver or the individuals occupying their vehicle that you are sorry may be construed as an admission of fault.  While you will need to talk to the other party in order to exchange insurance information and other details, do not apologize for the accident even if you secretly believe that you were partly responsible.

emergency-medicine-ER-vermont-find-a-doctorImmediately following an accident most injured parties seek emergency medical care.  Unfortunately, it is not unusual for an injured person to avoid scheduling follow-up treatment.  Either a person without medical insurance is concerned about accumulating additional medical bills, or they are afraid to miss work.  Regardless of the reason, not getting treatment in the days or weeks following an accident can negatively affect your case.  The importance of receiving post-accident follow-up medical care cannot be stressed enough.

Following Medical Advice

Instructions regarding follow-up medical care are usually provided at the end of an emergency room visit.  The attending physician or the nurse responsible for your care will explain what type of specialist should be seen or provide instructions for seeing a primary care physician.  These instructions are also included on any discharge notes and become part of your medical record.

According to an article in the Norcross Patch, just last week a Gwinnett police officer seriously injured two pedestrians when the officer’s car left the roadway, drove up on the curb, and struck the pedestrians who has been walking on the sidewalk. One pedestrian suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center, while the other pedestrian’s injuries are reported as not life-threatening. This pedestrian accident is a strange one because there is currently no explanation as to why the accident occurred. How and why the officer left the roadway is currently under investigation, the outcome of which will likely have a big impact on the pedestrians’ personal injury lawsuit, should they choose to sue.

At first glance, one might assume that the police officer who was driving will automatically be held legally liable if there is a resulting lawsuit. But is this always the case? In automobile-pedestrian accidents is the driver always at fault? Can the pedestrian ever be liable? This article provides a brief overview of the laws in Georgia that generally apply in pedestrian accidents and seeks to explain how pedestrians in Georgia can in fact be legally liable, either partially or wholly, in automobile-pedestrian accidents.

How is Fault Determined in an Automobile-Pedestrian Accident?

The injury of a child is frightening and emotionally draining for both the child involved and their parents.  Though all parents work hard to protect their children, sometimes accidents still occur.  Common situations that lead to the injury of a minor child include:

  •         Premises slip and falls
  •         Defective items

atv-accidentAll-terrain vehicles or ATVs are popular in Georgia, particular in rural areas where these vehicles are used on farms, for hunting, or are sometimes just ridden for fun. Many individuals fail to appreciate that ATVs are dangerous and easy to crash. Statistics indicate that more than 130,000 injuries were caused by ATV accidents in 2012 with more than 550 adults and 140 children dying as the result of ATV accidents that same year. Individuals who are injured in an ATV accident frequently find it essential to retain the services of a skilled attorney who is experienced in helping individuals who have been injured in similar ways. If you have been injured in an ATV accidents due to the negligence of another party, a skilled attorney will be able to make sure that you receive the financial compensation that you deserve.

The Danger Presented by ATVs

The National Trauma Data Bank reports that ATVs are more dangerous than dirt bikes and are often just as dangerous on motorcycles. Many ATVs are intended for use by a single operator and are not designed to carry passengers. ATVs are also not designed to travel on paved roads. ATVs in Georgia are also dangerous due to lack of regulations and safety precautions and there is no state agency tasked with regulating ATV use. Also, because nearly all ATVs lack a cab or cage, ATV rollovers are more likely to cause serious injuries and even fatalities. Individuals should also be aware that three wheel ATVs are particularly dangerous. Due to the risk of three wheel ATVs rolling overs, these vehicles were removed from the market and manufacturers stopped producing three wheel ATVs. Statistics still suggest, however, that an estimated 2.4 million three-wheelers still remain in use today.

On Tuesday January 3, 2th017 a five-year-old girl was attacked by a neighbor’s three pit bulls after the dogs escaped through an opening in their owner’s fence.  The child received emergency treatment for bites to her face, shoulders, and legs.  Two weeks later another five-year-old girl was seriously injured and listed in critical condition after being attacked by three dogs.  During that same attack a six-year-old boy was killed.  These recent dog attacks raise concerns regarding Georgia dog owner liability and what can be done to protect small children from similar attacks.

Dog Bite Statistics

Unfortunately, dog attacks are not rare and the majority of the time these attacks involve young children.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believe approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur annually.  It is estimated that 1,000 people are bitten by dogs each day.  Children between the ages of five and nine are at the greatest risk of receiving serious injuries related to dog bites.  Approximately 81 percent of all dog attacks involve children, 86 percent of all dog attacks cause bodily harm or maiming, and 76 percent of dog attacks result in fatalities.

As we are beginning to understand through frequent news coverage and popular true-life films such as “Concussion,” serious brain injuries are more common than we think and can have long-term life-altering effects.

A brain injury is an injury caused by a blow or other traumatic impact to the head or body. If you have ever lost consciousness after suffering a blow to the head or even felt dizzy or nauseous after such a blow, you have experienced a brain injury. Injuries can manifest different degrees of damage, depending the force and source of impact and other circumstances. Brain injury severity can range from a brief change in consciousness to an extended period of severe unconsciousness or memory loss.

The Centers for Disease Control report that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) contribute to about 30% of all injury deaths in the United States. Those who survive a TBI can suffer effects lasting a few days to disabilities that can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, vision or hearing, or emotional stability.