Tailgating Causes Accidents

“Tailgating”, which is a term for when a person drives too close to the vehicle in front of him or her, is a common cause of traffic accidents. It happens all too frequently on the highways, and it creates a dangerous situation if the car in front has to slow down or stop suddenly. Tailgating can be caused by distracted driving, as when drivers do not pay attention because they’re texting or talking on their cell phones, or it can be a result of driver impairment due to substance abuse, or it can even occur because of a road rage situation, where the tailgating driver is narrowing the distance between cars in order to harass the driver in front. It is a problem that is on the rise, and statistics show that drivers in certain types of vehicles are the worst offenders. Almost 23 percent of drivers in sport utility vehicles (SUV) tailgate, for example. You should never tailgate another driver, and one good reason is that if you are responsible for a collision due to tailgating, you can be liable for damage and injury claims. If you are the victim of tailgating, it is important to establish that the driver behind you was driving in a reckless or negligent manner, and you may need to have supporting evidence in the form of medical reports, witness testimony, and police reports. If you or someone in your family have been a victim of a tailgating accident in Georgia, contact Michael W. McElroy, P.C., for a free...

Establishing Who is at Fault

If you get into a car accident that involves serious injury and/or property damage, there’s a good possibility that a police officer will show up on the scene. The officer will have immediate responsibilities (determining if anyone needs medical attention, getting the damaged cars out of the way of traffic, etc.), but afterward he or she will file a report about the accident to establish who is in fault. These reports can be a critical factor in deciding who is at fault for the accident, and they are used by insurance companies and the legal system in making financial awards. The police report will have the officer’s best determination as to how the accident happened and who was at fault. Police officers will usually take statements from the people involved, so it’s important to be careful about what you say. Unfortunately, most of us are somewhat upset and traumatized after a serious accident, and we may not be thinking clearly when we talk to the officer. People will often say things that can be taken the wrong way, even admitting fault for the accident, and will regret what they said later. If you are in this situation it can seem bleak, because the other driver’s insurance company may use the police report as leverage to get you or your insurance company to pay for any medical costs or damages. All is not lost, however, even if the police report says that the accident was caused by you. With the help of a personal injury attorney who is experienced in dealing with unfavorable police reports, you can get a much...

Can You Sue for Wrongful Death?

When a loved one dies it is a time of great emotion, and the survivors need time to process what has happened, to grieve, and to pull their lives back together. With all that’s going on, it is easy to forget about the circumstances of the loved one’s death, and whether it could have been avoided. Sometimes there are people or organizations who have at least some responsibility for the death, because of recklessness or negligence. These are called wrongful death cases. Wrongful death can be caused by health care malpractice, product deficiencies, a crime (homicide), intoxication, unsafe work conditions, and various issues connected to vehicle accidents, to name some common ones. If it can be proven that recklessness or negligence played a part in a death, the victim’s family can sue for wrongful death and the estate of the deceased may be able to sue for other damages. However, Georgia law specifies who may sue and the nature of damages that may be recovered. There are many factors to consider before you start a wrongful death legal action, and the best course is to get expert advice from an attorney who is experienced in dealing with wrongful death cases. In Georgia, that means contacting Michael W. McElroy, P.C., for a free...

Phone Apps Are Deadly for Drivers

There are thousands of smartphone apps available these days, and they range from entertainment oriented ones to apps that serve serious purposes like dieting, exercise, budgeting, maps and directions, news, and much more. People rave about their apps, and with good reason, but apps can also be quite deadly, if they’re used in the wrong place at the wrong time. One of those wrong places is inside a car if you’re the driver. The New York Times recently reported that there has been a significant spike in car accidents in the past few years, and experts are blaming phone apps for that trend. In the first half of 2016, alarmingly, there were 17,775 collisions. This is a 10.4 percent increase over the same period in 2015. It’s understandable. Operating a vehicle that weighs several thousand pounds while you’re traveling at speeds of 45 mph or more and negotiating all the ins and outs of traffic demands full attention, but a phone app can split your attention in ways that are deadly. Young drivers, who are especially at risk anyway, are increasing their chances of getting into an accident by using apps like Pokemon Go, in which they use their phones to search for virtual creatures while they’re out driving. If drivers cause an accident while using a phone app, they can be held legally responsible for damages. If you or someone in your family have been a victim of a distracted driving crash in Georgia, contact Michael W. McElroy, P.C., for a free...

The Distracted Driving Debate Heats Up

The national debate about distracted driving has moved into another phase with the announcement of a lawsuit by a Texas family against the Apple computer company, holding them liable for the death of their daughter from a crash involving a driver who was using Apple’s FaceTime application when the crash occurred. The family claims that Apple has already patented software that could disable the FaceTime app when the iPhone detects that a user is driving a car, and that Apple should have installed that software on all its iPhones to prevent distracted driving. Whatever happens with this lawsuit, it’s an indication that technology companies are going to be held more accountable for the growing problem of distracted driving. And it is a problem that is growing sharply. In Georgia alone, estimates are that in 2015, about 1,125 fatal accidents were caused by distracted drivers, which is nearly 75 percent of the total traffic fatalities that year. There are already strict laws on the books in regard to texting — it is not permitted in Georgia while driving — and cell phone use in a moving vehicle is forbidden for drivers under 18. Whatever happens with the Apple lawsuit, it’s important that parents tell their young drivers — who are most at risk for distracted driving — not to use their phones while they drive. There is too much at stake for a teenage driver, or any driver, for that matter, to try to split their attention between the road and their phone. If you or someone in your family have been a victim of a distracted driving crash in...