Experienced Valdosta Car Accident Lawyers
Injured in an Auto Accident? Fight for Relief with Studstill Firm, LLP.
Motor vehicle accidents occur in a split second, changing lives forever. Sometimes car accidents are truly an accident—where nobody is at fault in causing the collision.
However, most of the time, the crash is the result of someone else’s carelessness, wrongful conduct, or negligence.
Georgia law provides an injured person, or the family of a deceased individual, with the right to recover compensation from the party responsible for the crash.
Although a monetary recovery cannot completely repair the harm done to an individual or family, it does help to ease some of the financial burdens, such as providing money for future medical care and recovering lost income.
Common Types of Car Accidents
Our Valdosta car accident attorneys have successfully represented clients in all types of motor vehicle accident cases. Whether the auto accident was caused by a drunk driver, a distracted driver on a cell phone, a defective car part, road construction defects, carelessness, or any other reason, we're ready to protect your legal rights and help you obtain the full cash value for your damages.
We've successfully represented clients involved in:
- Tractor-trailer, semi-truck, 18-wheeler, and commercial vehicles
- Drunk driving accidents
- Single car accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Collisions with pedestrians and bicycle riders
- Railroad crossing accidents
- Bus accidents
- Hit-and-run accidents
Determining the cause of an accident is key to proving liability and recovering full compensation. If you've been seriously injured in an accident, don't wait to contact experienced legal representation.
With the help of an attorney, you can start pursuing maximum compensation today!
Car Accidents & Negligence
Does every car accident call for legal action? Not necessarily-- in some cases, neither driver is at fault. However, when one driver's negligent actions contribute to a collision, they can be held accountable for any resulting damages.
Common forms of driver negligence include:
- Distracted driving (smartphone, radio, devices, etc.)
- Impaired driving (alcohol and drugs)
- Reckless driving
- Failure to heed traffic signage or lights
- Failure to check blind spots before turn/lane change
You should not be left paying for another person's negligence or recklessness. Again, if you've been seriously injured in an auto accident, contact an experienced Valdosta car accident lawyer today.
Top Causes of Car Accidents in Valdosta, GA
Even the most defensive and careful drivers can fall victim to car accidents. The sad reality is that car accidents are commonplace, although they are often avoidable if all drivers take necessary precautions and drive with the vigilance that is required when they are behind the wheel.
Sometimes, we might walk away unscathed, but other car accidents can result in serious injury and even death. Unfortunately, even the most cautious drivers can get into accidents due to someone else's negligence, in which case you will want to contact a seasoned Valdosta car accident lawyer.
Below are five of the most common causes of car accidents in Valdosta, GA and how drivers can avoid them.
1. Merging into traffic - Look and think before you merge! Always look both ways, and be aware of your blind spots. You can be seriously hurt, even if you are merging carefully and the other driver is not paying attention. You can help reduce the risk of getting into an accident by looking and listening, and not driving too slow or too fast into traffic.
2. Speeding or driving too slow - Pay attention to the posted speed limits, and don't drive faster than it allows. There's a reason for minimum and maximum speed limits--and driving within those limits could save your life. Of course, you should always be aware of other drivers who might be driving outside the speed limits as well.
3. Driving while distracted - Any activity that causes you to take your eyes--and attention--off the road can lead to a car accident. Some examples include: talking on your phone, texting, and eating. Be aware of other drivers who might be doing these things and could potentially cause a collision.
4. Driving in inclement weather - Rain, snow, fog, and ice can create bad driving conditions. Unfortunately, you can't do much about bad weather besides avoiding driving during these times. If you must drive in bad weather, then drive defensively. Take it slow and always be aware of other cars on the road.
5. Driving while tired - Fatigue can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. If you haven't gotten enough sleep, don't drive. If you're driving and find yourself getting sleepy, take a break and get out of the car. Stretch your legs, get some fresh air, or even find someplace safe to sleep so you can safely finish the drive.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to someone else's negligence, it’s important to remember that you absolutely have legal options. A personal injury attorney can help protect your rights to fair compensation so you can focus on healing emotionally and physically.
Most Common Injuries After a Motor Vehicle Collision
When a car accident happens, adrenaline kicks in immediately and can mask painful symptoms. The commotion at the scene, dealing with police officers, and sometimes being in shock can cause people not to realize the full extent of their injuries right away.
The pain may be masked by the adrenaline and shock, and painful symptoms may not be felt until hours later.
After a car accident, symptoms that seem like normal aches and pains may be signaling hidden or more severe injuries.
Based on our experience of helping people in the weeks and months following a car accident, we have put together a list of the 5 most common injuries we see:
1. NECK OR BACK PAIN
During a car crash, significant forces are applied to the muscles and ligaments and soft tissues in our necks and backs, depending on the angles and velocities of the vehicles involved. Our neck and back tissues and structures are designed to absorb SOME of these forces, but sometimes they are more than our spine can handle.
Sometimes it takes a few days before the pain becomes so severe that a person who thought they were okay at the scene or just sore for a day or two after a crash suddenly finds him or herself unable to stand the pain.
It’s almost as if the neck and spine structures and tissues work really hard to bring things back into alignment after a collision, and either they are successful, and the person gets better, or they give up, and the personal all of a sudden becomes much worse.
Oftentimes, neck and back pain can be referred pain or radiating pain, making it more difficult to identify where the injury is. For example, we have seen several clients who thought they had a shoulder injury, but in reality, it was a neck injury with pain radiating out and down from the neck into the shoulder.
The same thing may occur with a low back injury – the pain can radiate out and down into the hips and legs making the person think they have a hip injury and masking a low back injury.
Either way, if your pain does not improve over the hours and days following a collision, pay attention to the symptoms and seek medical attention.
Although whiplash injuries are often dismissed in movies and television, the injuries that may be lurking are all too real and are more common than people who have not been in a wreck might realize.
2. ABDOMINAL PAIN
Following a car crash, pain around the chest and stomach may signal organ damage or internal bleeding from a seatbelt. Seatbelts are designed to stop your body from moving out of the seat when a crash occurs.
Depending on the forces involved in the crash, the seat belt may apply significant pressure to your shoulder, chest, hip, thighs, and abdomen. If you experience abnormal abdominal pain after an auto accident, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Georgia law requires seatbelt usage, so please remember that the potential harm that comes from wearing a seatbelt is usually greatly outweighed by the risk of much greater harm if you don’t wear one.
Please follow the law when it comes to seatbelt usage for adults and children.
3. KNEE PAIN
Depending on the circumstances, a car crash can cause damage to the knees and legs. A rear-impact collision most commonly results in larger passengers or those sitting fairly close to the steering wheel to strike their bent knee on the dash itself. This blunt trauma can cause injury to the knee(s).
The most common knee injury is a torn meniscus. This means the soft tissues that cushion the knee are torn when they strike an object like a dash. Usually, these injuries manifest as pain when walking, going up or downstairs, or bending the knee.
Sometimes, a torn meniscus feels like it’s okay, and all of a sudden it “catches” and the person feels a sharp shooting pain. No matter how long the pain lasts, please see an orthopedic surgeon to have your knee examined. A torn meniscus cannot repair itself and must be repaired surgically.
If you did not experience regular headaches before a car accident, you should seek a doctor immediately. Headaches can signal several trauma-induced conditions, including whiplash, a concussion, and brain damage. Even if the crash wasn’t especially severe, the force of a deploying airbag could cause mild concussions.
Sometimes trauma-induced headaches are accompanied by ringing in the ears. This is a condition called tinnitus that needs to be treated by a neurologist or neurosurgeon as it can be a sign of a brain injury or damage to the inner ear from the explosion of the airbags or other loud concussive noises that occur during a crash.
5. DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
Not all auto injuries are physical. The vast majority of our clients experience feelings of anxiety, fear, flashbacks, and other symptoms after a collision. Some have a fear of riding with others, some have a fear of driving through the same location where the wreck occurred, and for some it can be a paralyzing fear.
The symptoms they experience are akin to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and therapy can help.
Even just a few sessions with a therapist that is trained to help car accident victims can make a big difference and help drivers regain their confidence to get back out on the road.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
It’s very important to understand that the primary goal of insurance companies after an accident is to limit the amount of compensation they have to pay to injured parties. Therefore, dealing with them can be very difficult for a person not trained in handling these types of issues.
The insurance company for the individual who caused the wreck will start an investigation immediately after they are notified about the wreck. They will have an entire team of professionals—adjusters, lawyers, and others—working to help their case immediately after the crash.
They will contact accident victims to get statements as quickly as possible and, often, they will use those statements against the injured persons later to limit the amount of money they receive.
If you are being contacted by an insurance adjuster, it’s very important that you speak with an experienced car accident lawyer in Valdosta at the Studstill Firm, LLP before making any statements.
We know how to deal with insurance companies and protect your rights after a car accident. Rarely will an individual maximize their recovery by negotiating with an insurance company on their own.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
The statute of limitations is the time limit that an injured plaintiff has to file a lawsuit after a car accident. In the state of Georgia, like many other states, the deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit is two years after the accident occurred. In addition, the victims have up to four years to sue for property damage.
In Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court removed any limits from compensatory damages. These damages are often based on physical calculations for the cost of damage incurred to the body, property, or emotional well-being of the accident victims.
The support for such damages can come in the form of medical bills, property replacement or repair, and the perceived emotional toll of pain and suffering that the tragic events incurred.
MODIFIED COMPARATIVE FAULT
Georgia recognizes that many accidents occur from multiple proximate causes. This means that many factors can lead up to an accident and the severity of the injuries that result. Recognizing comparative fault means that drivers have an obligation to drive defensively and mitigate the damages instead of contributing.
In Georgia, it is very common for plaintiffs to have their damages reduced by 10, 20, 30, or even 90 percent if they are less than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
Therefore, accident victims should always seek immediate medical attention to remove any doubt that they contributed to the progression of their injuries. They should also drive defensively to remove any doubt that they were distracted, speeding, or negligent.
Contingent Fees for Auto Accident Cases
Initial consultations at our law firm are always free, and all of our motor vehicle accident cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. This means there are no legal fees or expenses paid until and unless there is a recovery for you through settlement or verdict. Our clients do not pay us a retainer, and we don’t ever send them a bill for our services.
If you have been involved in a serious automobile accident on one of Georgia’s busy roads, including I-95, I-75, I-16, Highway 82, Highway 41, Highway 341, Highway 441 or others, we're ready to hear from you. Our team has decades of personal injury experience and handles injury claims throughout the state of Georgia.
Your insurance provider does not have to have the final say in this matter. Contact us today to request a free case evaluation.
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