Extreme Caution Should Be Exercised on Icy Roads in Georgia

Georgia residents will soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief as the winter weather slows down and roads return to normal. The nation recently witnessed commuters’ struggles with the last round of icy weather; and as a driver in Georgia, it is important to keep in mind what to do in severe winter weather. The Georgia Department of Public Safety and Department of Transportation first urges people not to drive for your own safety and the safety of emergency personnel unless it is absolutely necessary. Motorists were also advised to travel in the treated lanes on the right.

highwayOne of the greater dangers while traveling on any road at any speed in icy weather is sliding into other cars or pedestrians. Stories of multi-vehicle accidents often pepper the news, but slick and frozen roads exacerbate the conditions that lead to such catastrophic accidents. The Georgia state Court of Appeals case, Harrison v. Jenkins, provides an example of a case involving multiple cars. In this case, there were three cars involved and the occupants of the second car appealed the directed verdict against them that absolved the first car’s driver of any liability.

The driver of the first car slowed down like she was looking for an address and came to a complete stop. This was done without any brake lights, emergency lights, or turn signal. The injured occupants of the second car stopped without striking the first car, and had functioning brake lights, but the driver of the third car slammed into the back of their car. The third driver was uninsured and admitted fault, acknowledging that she was tailgating, or following too closely. The third driver also noted that the first car had no brake lights on when stopped.

The Court of Appeals went over the basic premise in tort law that there is only liability when the negligence caused the injury sustained.  The Court also reiterated that the question of who is responsible for the injury is generally for the jury, and the court determines issues that are a matter of law.  The lower court relied on previous decisions centered around multi-car accidents, but the Court of Appeals distinguished the case in front of it from the facts of the older cases.  The Court of Appeals focused on whether the accident involving the second and third car could have been reasonably foreseen as a consequence of the first driver’s negligence.  The Court determined that because the first driver was not following traffic laws, a jury could find that the failure to follow laws caused the accident.  The lower court’s decision against the injured was reversed, and the injured parties were allowed to pursue a claim against the first driver.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, contact the experienced Georgia auto accident attorneys at the Angell Law Firm.  Our attorneys understand the stress an injured driver or passenger can experience due to lost wages and medical bills, and are here to help maximize the damages you deserve.  For a free, confidential consultation contact our office at (770) 217-4954.

Recent Blog Posts:

11th Circuit Court of Appeals Issues Decision Reinforces Protection for the Injured, Atlanta Accident Attorney Blog, February 5th, 2014

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Publishes 2014 Roadmap of State Highways and Safety Laws, Atlanta Accident Attorney Blog, January 29th, 2014