One of the most common reasons for injury lawsuits is a car accident. These accidents happen every day, and people are often badly hurt. The person who caused the crash can be named in a lawsuit for damages.
Numerous parties might be to blame for a car accident. Other drivers, their employers, or government agencies are common culprits. Our team has handled various kinds of accidents, including car and truck accidents, distracted driving collisions, hit and run cases, and drunk driving accidents. The key to your claim is evidence, and our team can help you find the evidence you need to show how the defendant is responsible. Damages might involve significant financial losses and emotional distress, and your compensation should reflect the magnitude of these injuries. Talk to a lawyer about drafting a complaint to start your lawsuit. If you would rather begin with an insurance claim, an attorney can help you navigate the claims process.
For help with your case and a free, private claims review, call our Atlanta car accident attorneys at Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
People Who Might Be At Fault for Auto Accidents in Rome, GA
Numerous people might be to blame for your accident. Accidents are, by their very nature, messy affairs. Often, multiple drivers and passersby are at the scene, and it can be confusing trying to piece together who is responsible, who is a victim, and who is a witness.
Many car accidents involve only two vehicles: the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s. In such cases, determining who should be held responsible for your injuries is a bit simpler. Even so, the other driver will unlikely flat-out admit they caused the crash. We might still have to work very hard to prove to insurance companies and a court of law that the other driver is fully responsible and should have to cover the costs of your damages.
In other cases, multiple drivers are involved in the crash, and picking apart who is and is not responsible is harder. You might be in a situation where everyone is pointing fingers at each other. Perhaps more than one driver is responsible. Then again, maybe it is only one. Our car accident lawyers can talk to the other drivers, passengers, and witnesses to determine who is truly to blame.
Depending on who the defendant is in your case, we might want to consider suing their employer for the accident. Suppose the defendant was driving for their job, like a taxi driver or someone making deliveries. In that case, their employer may be held vicariously liable for the crash under the legal theory of respondeat superior.
In less typical situations, governmental entities might be liable for your accident. For example. If your accident happened because a traffic light malfunctioned, the road was full of deep potholes, or the road was poorly paved, the local or state government might be liable, depending on which authority is in charge of the road or highway where the accident happened. While these situations are a bit less common, they are worth discussing with your lawyer.
Typical Accidents and Collisions Our Car Accident Lawyers Handle in Rome, GA
Your accident is a unique occurrence. The details surrounding your case are specific to your situation and yours only. No two accidents are the same. That being said, certain general categories of accidents tend to crop up more frequently. Below are some, but not necessarily all, of the kinds of accidents our team has handled in Rome, GA.
Accidents might involve a whole host of vehicles, and cars are arguably the most common. If you were struck by a car under any circumstances, call for emergency help before calling a lawyer. Car accidents are very common, and the authorities have specific protocols and procedures to get you help as fast as possible.
Truck accidents are often severe, if not downright catastrophic. A large truck, also called an eighteen-wheeler or semi, is many times larger and heavier than the average car. If you are in an accident with a truck, your damages might be very high, and an attorney can help you get those damages paid for by the responsible parties.
Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted drivers cause lots of accidents across various types of vehicles. While distractions behind the wheel have always been a problem, it has arguably worsened in recent years. With cell phones not just more prevalent but capable of syncing with some newer vehicles, the risk of distracted driving is at an all-time high.
Hit and Runs
If the driver who struck you did not stick around, you might be dealing with a hit and run. According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270(a), all drivers are required to remain at the scene after an accident until the police arrive. If the other driver flees before the police arrive, they may be criminally charged.
Drunk Driving Collisions
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances is incredibly dangerous. Intoxicated drivers often have difficulty focusing and reacting, and they often cause very bad accidents. Under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a), drunk driving is illegal, and the other driver may face criminal charges.
Finding Evidence to Back Up Your Car Accident Claims in Rome, GA
Courts and insurance companies need more than just your word that the other driver is responsible for the accident. We need strong evidence that proves the other driver’s negligence. It is typical for drivers to take photos and record videos of the accident scene immediately after a crash. This often happens while the drivers are waiting for help to arrive. If you have any photos or videos, they might contain important details about the crash and be admitted as evidence.
If possible, our car accident attorneys can scan the area around the accident for security cameras and traffic cameras that might have recorded the crash on video. Video footage of the accident as it happened in real time can be extremely powerful and persuasive to a jury.
Witness testimony may also be incredibly important to your case. Accidents often happen during periods of heavy traffic, and there might be numerous witnesses to your collision. If we can find witnesses with clear memories of the accident who saw the defendant negligently cause the accident, your odds of success may be much greater.
After the police initially respond to an accident, they must write and file a formal crash report. The report might contain details about who was involved in the accident and how the police believed it happened. It might even contain details about who the police believe is at fault. However, crash reports are typically inadmissible in a court of law because they are considered hearsay evidence, which is categorically barred. Still, we need the report to send to an insurance company. On top of that, the report might contain details that will lead us to admissible evidence, like the names of witnesses the police spoke to.
Your Recoverable Damages in a Rome, GA Car Accident Case
The damages that are on the line in your case might be significant. Car accident victims often suffer painful injuries and incur high costs related to things like hospital bills and vehicle damage. Other damages are unrelated to actual injuries and losses. Instead, damages may be awarded to punish defendants and serve as deterrents for future wrongdoings.
It is important to keep a thorough record of your costs related to the accident. Hospital bills tend to be a major factor in damages calculations. Even when accident victims have health insurance, they might still be left with high deductibles. If plaintiffs require more extensive medical treatment (e.g., surgery, X-rays, physical therapy), the costs of care might be off the charts.
We must not overlook the cost of repairing or replacing your car. While auto insurance might help you cover some of these costs, you might still have to cover deductibles. Alternatively, the insurance policy might not cover the full extent of your vehicle damage or a complete vehicle replacement.
Injuries in car accident cases sometimes prevent plaintiffs from returning to their jobs. As a result, many plaintiffs lose valuable wages and earnings, making it even harder to keep up with things like medical bills and the various costs of living. Talk to your lawyer about how much income you have lost and might continue to lose. These damages deserve compensation and must be accounted for
Non-economic injuries can be hard to nail down because they often do not cost plaintiffs any actual money. Instead, these injuries take a significant mental or emotional toll. For example, you can claim the physical pain from your injuries as part of your damages, along with the mental and emotional suffering you endured. Many people are traumatized from their accidents, and they often live with this trauma for years.
Non-economic damages are not capped by statute in Georgia, but that does not mean they are completely without restrictions. Since these damages are so subjective, the jury has the final say on what they are worth. While juries can find for significant non-economic damages, the final award should be proportional to the overall case. The judge might reduce damages to be more reasonable if damages are too excessive.
Punitive damages are awarded to punish defendants who exhibit particularly shocking behavior. According to O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(b), punitive damages – also called exemplary damages – may be awarded when the defendant is found to have acted with fraud, malice, willful misconduct, oppression, or a wanton disregard for safety.
Generally, punitive damages are capped by statute at $250,000. However, under certain circumstances, these damages are unlimited. Unlimited punitive damages may apply in cases where the defendant was under the influence of alcohol when they caused harm to the plaintiff and in product liability cases. No matter what your punitive damages are, if they are awarded, 75% of them will be paid to the state treasury.
How to Begin a Lawsuit for a Car Accident in Rome, GA
Beginning a lawsuit for a car accident can be difficult. There is a lot more to it than simply walking down to the courthouse and demanding to begin a lawsuit. You must submit a formal complaint that contains a lot of information conveyed in a very specific way.
The complaint must contain details about you and the defendant. There must be enough information to properly identify both parties so that the courts know who they are dealing with. In hit and run cases, plaintiffs might not know who the defendant is until after a police investigation.
Next, we must include details about how the accident happened. This is where the complaint may become lengthy, as we need to include as much detail as possible. We must also include details about how the defendant caused the accident and why they should be held liable. We must also explain your damages and how much financial compensation we believe you are entitled to.
We also need evidence. This might seem premature, as we will not present evidence to the court until the trial. Even so, we need some evidence when we first file the complaint. This evidence must be enough to show that you have a valid cause of action and that your claims are not just baseless accusations. We do not need enough evidence to completely prove your claims. At least not yet.
Once the case is filed, we must serve notice of the case to the defendant so they can file an answer. How the defendant is notified is a touchy subject. If strict rules imposed by the state and the court are not adhered to, the defendant might be able to have the case thrown out. Talk to your lawyer about starting your case and serving notice.
If You Were the Victim of an Auto Collision, Call Our Rome, GA Car Accident Lawyers for Help
For help with your case and a free, private claims review, call our car accident attorneys at Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.