Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

niklas-rhose-14302-copy-300x225Most people have probably heard the term, “statute of limitations,” and it is likely that there is a vague understanding of what it means in the general public. In most instances, when people refer to a statute of limitations, they are talking about a crime and how the state cannot prosecute someone if it waits too long before filing suit. The legal term, “statute of limitations” applies more than just criminal law, however. If you have questions about the statute of limitation in your case, contact an Atlanta personal injury lawyer today.

The civil side of the law also has statutes of limitations. This means that there are limits on how long a person can take to make a claim for something like a personal injury, breached contract, property loss, and other types of claims. Each of these claims has a statute in the Georgia code limiting when a claim can be brought, which a personal injury attorney in Atlanta can help you understand further.

Personal Injury

nabeel-syed-2856-copy-300x200Many car accident personal injury cases involve multiple potential defendants and whenever a lawsuit has multiple potential defendants, liability issues can get complicated pretty quickly. The first issue in cases involving multiple potential defendants is determining the legal basis for liability of each potential defendant. The second issue is determining the proportion of liability for which each defendant is responsible. Anyone who has been involved in a multi-vehicle accident needs to speak with an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer as soon as possible about his or her particular circumstances.

Multi-Car Accidents

The most frequently encountered car accident situation involving multiple potential defendants is a multi-car accident. Multi-vehicle accidents occur every single day in Atlanta. In these cases, multiple vehicles end up in a collision together. The genesis of the accident might be a single negligent driver whose actions produce a chain reaction of other cars colliding into one another, or several vehicles could be involved in an accident together. Whatever the circumstances of the multi-vehicle wreck are, it will be critical to determine each vehicle’s comparative fault in causing the accident.

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.

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.

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?

Ridesharing companies such as Uber and LYFT have changed many people’s ideas about driving or renting a car, while providing stiff competition for taxi drivers and cab companies throughout the country.  Through a simple request via the internet, Uber and companies like it offer fast and affordable service when you need it, without having to have cash on hand. Recently, Uber unveiled the news that it would begin featuring driverless cars in some markets, a technology that has been in the works, yet not likely to impact regular consumers at any time in the near future. The company’s announcement raises ongoing concerns about car accidents or injuries and how they are handled by ridesharing companies. Whether you rely on ridesharing on a regular basis or just on certain occasions, you will want to be aware of these concerns, as well as when Ubers new self-driving cars may hit the Florida area.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Uber’s Self Driving Car

According to an August 2016 report in Scientific American, Uber chose to introduce its driverless car in Pittsburgh, PA, where the company’s technology center is located. One of several companies, including Tesla and Google, to put its resources to work in developing self-driving technologies, the unveiling will serve as a pilot program, allowing the company’s drivers to monitor the system while engineers collect data and take notes. Using a modified Volvo SUV, the self-driving vehicle is equipped with a passenger side steering and brake system, allowing a human driver to take over if needed, and plans are in place to modify several Ford Fusions to accommodate passengers during the project as well. According to the report, Uber is not the only ride sharing company looking to eliminate the need for drivers. General Motors recently invested a half million dollars in Lyft, Uber’s competitor, to begin testing self-driving technology on the Chevrolet Bolt.

We’ve all seen them on the road, or maybe even been stuck behind someone who’s got a cellphone plastered to an ear, blabbing away, and not paying attention to traffic or nearby pedestrians. Cell phones are distracting. Drivers who talk or text while driving are involved in 10 percent of car accidents where there is a fatality and in 18 percent of crashes that results in an injury, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Distraction.gov, the official federal government website on distracted driving, reports that a driver’s eyes are on average off the road five seconds while texting. A lot of mayhem can occur in those few seconds, and it too often does. Recognizing the dangers of using cell phones while driving, every state has enacted laws limiting or prohibiting cell phone use and texting while on the road.

A New Jersey court in 2014 heard a case where not only was the driver sued when he caused an accident while texting and driving, but his girlfriend, who had texted him shortly before the crash, was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Because the plaintiff could not show the girlfriend had known her boyfriend was driving at the time she texted him, she was not found liable. Thus far no state has passed a law extending liability to those who text drivers, but that case indicates that drivers distracted by texting regardless of whether they’re sending or receiving will be held liable for injuries and other damages that result.

Who's driving your Lyft and Uber rides?
Uber and Lyft have been described as two of the most lucrative and prominent ride hailing companies to exists in the United States over recent years. The ease of booking a ride to your destination with one touch of your Smartphone, coupled with competitive costs that has resulted in a decline of taxi use, has allowed these companies to profit tremendously and their popularity to soar. The issue of public safety has begun to create a nationwide buzz and those asserting the dismay are concerned that the screening process utilized for drivers is less than adequate to say the least. Political leaders suggest that the screening process of the tens of thousands of drivers that are employed by Uber and Lyft, have simply “slipped through the cracks.”

Lyft declares that their screening process usually varies depending upon the individual, but the average processing time is about 10 to 14 days. The screening process consists of a driving record check, criminal history background check, and employment history verification. Lyft has a unique process because they have implemented a “Mentoring” program that allows new drivers to engage in an apprentice-like experience before actually accepting ride appointments. Before participating in the program, about one hour prior to meeting your mentor, your driving record is entered into a system that will automatically let the company whether you are qualified to drive or not. Lyft prides themselves in providing a quick turnaround for the hiring process and some applicants have even been able to accept appointments within two days! Lyft urges applicants to contact them if they have not heard a response in 3 to 4 weeks.

Uber suggests that their employee screening process is surefire due to the use of social security verification. With this information, Uber is able to determine all addresses associated with the social security number, which as a result allows Uber to compare and search criminal records that exists within the past seven years. Uber gains access to the National Sex Offender Registry and databases that flag terrorists. Uber suggests that they are detailed and thorough in their investigation, so much so, that if criminal activity is flagged the record is pulled in person or via the internet.

Insurance Coverage With Lyft and Uber
Have you ever taken a ride with Uber and Lyft? From the booking, to the pick-up, to the drop-off, effortless right? Chances are you probably haven’t thought of getting in an accident and in the event that this did happen, whose insurer would carry the costs? Another key point to mention is that those who are employed with these ride-hailing companies are limited in their coverage as well. As you know personal vehicles are used and any damage suffered to your personal car is attributed to your personal insurance. Further, in the event that you are involved in an accident with another vehicle, liability insurance and not collision exists.

Many states are looking to reform the insurance regulations that are mandated for ride-hailing companies due to the influx in vehicular accidents, one specifically was the death of the six year old San Francisco girl who was hit by an Uber driver on New Year’s Eve of 2013. This accident made headlines because of Uber’s refusal to pay out on their $1 million insurance policy. Their refusal was justified because the driver was not on the way to, from, or transporting a client.

The State of Georgia recently passed House Bill 190, which will place more strict requirements on ride-hailing companies regarding insurance. Lawmakers have great concerns that Uber and Lyft have been able to benefit as a commercial entity, but they have not been held to commercial standards. If you take a close look at the agreement or also noted as “Terms of Agreement,” those utilizing this service are in a way indemnifying Uber and Lyft of all responsibility. House Bill 190, introduced by Rich Golick, will not only allocate protect to drivers and passengers, but it will require that Uber/Lyft register with the Georgia Department of Public Safety. Before the introduction of the new law, Uber/Lyft were not required to cover their drivers under their insurance and dropping coverage would not cause a violation of state law, not it carries a very high, costly penalty. To date, there are about 5,000 Uber drivers who currently serve the state of Georgia.

Uber and Lyft Liability in Car Sharing Accidents
Real-time ridesharing is a service that provides transportation at a short notice. This service requires GPS navigation capability, a Smartphone, and access to one’s debit card. The major difference between real-time ridesharing services and ordinary taxicab services is the employee/employer relationship. If a passenger were to be involved in an accident the liability would be attributed to the taxicab company under the theory of vicarious liability. Conversely, a passenger using a ridesharing service will be limited in collecting only from the driver due to his role as an independent contractor.

Uber, a new traveling craze that has become popular in the most recent years, provides convenience and efficiency to its customers. Customers have the ability to not only request a ride, but they are able to pay for the ride via their Smartphone. Uber drivers use their own vehicle to transport passengers. One might say that Uber is a “go-between” or 3rd party whom offers a service. Uber has received criticisms in regard to their screening process and failure to properly train their drivers. Additionally, issues of liability is accidents have arisen.

Lyft, a competitor of Uber, is privately-owned and offers the identical service of peer-to-peer ridesharing. The major difference between the service providers is the fact that Uber exists in more major cities than the smaller company, Lyft.