Suing An Out of State Driver

What if an out of state driver gets into an accident while here in Georgia? For many families, the holiday season means road trips to visit family and friends. While the state of Georgia puts on its winter splendor and works its holiday magic on holiday travelers, it can be very disconcerting if you’re involved in an auto accident with an out of state driver. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself if that happens. Start by assessing any injuries and calling for emergency medical aid, if needed. Also, call the police and complete a comprehensive police report. Do not skip this step. You should also report the accident to your insurance company and allow them to negotiate with the out-of- state driver’s insurance company. Most major insurance companies operate in multiple states and are easily able to handle claims with out of state drivers. If the other driver’s insurance company is uncooperative, or you simply cannot reach a fair settlement, you may need to file a lawsuit against them. Should you need to file suit for financial recovery or for personal injury, you should do so in Georgia, since that’s where the accident occurred. Also, when an out of state driver is involved in an accident, two Georgia laws protect you – the Georgia Long-Arm Statute and the Georgia Non-Resident Motorist Act. The Georgia Long-Arm Statute maintains that your home state exercises personal jurisdiction over a nonresident driver. When suing an out-of- state driver using this law, though, you do have to serve them at their home address. The Georgia Non-Resident Motorist Act maintains that you,...

Who Is Liable If My Car Is Involved In An Accident But I Was Not Driving?

If you own a car, you’ve probably loaned it to a friend or family member on occasion. Most of the time, your car is returned to you in good condition. What happens, though, when your car is involved in an accident while it was being driven by another person? That can become a somewhat complicated situation depending on your insurance and the at-fault party in the accident. The onus of legal and financial responsibility falls to the at-fault driver’s or vehicle owner’s insurance. That means if the person to whom you loaned your car caused the accident, you (as the vehicle owner) might be forced to bear some responsibility for property damage and injuries caused in the accident. Depending on your insurance policy, it may cover the costs of the accident because the insurance typically, although, not always, follows the vehicle. Be sure to verify the coverage your insurer affords you before you purchase a new policy. The insurance policy you purchase must meet the state of Georgia’s accepted requirements for liability. While you cannot completely eliminate the risk of an accident when your car is on loan, you can minimize the risk by fully examining and understanding the terms of your policy, and by setting certain rules of behavior for anyone borrowing your car, such as not drinking and driving and ensuring they are in possession of a valid driver’s license before allowing anyone not listed on your insurance policy to borrow your vehicle. You should only lend your car to trustworthy, responsible drivers. Maintaining constant insurance coverage, understanding the terms of your policy, and only lending your...

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Car accidents happen every day, and sadly, many of them are avoidable. You can help safeguard yourself, your family, and your vehicle by being aware of the most common causes of car accidents and knowing how you can avoid them. The leading cause of most car accidents today is distracted driving. It can be hard to focus on the road when your phone is ringing, text messages are signaling their arrival, or kids are arguing in the back seat. Avoid those distractions by putting your phone on silent while you’re driving and instituting a quiet zone the kids know they have to respect. Due to the bright lights from approaching cars and the change in your viewpoint after the sun sets, driving at night increases the risk of a car accident. Make sure your headlights are in working order and your vision is not impaired before venturing out to drive at night. Also, make sure your turn signals are fully functional. This helps other drivers anticipate your maneuvers. Drive defensively, especially at night, maintain a safe driving distance, and be aware of all the drivers on the road. Sadly, drunk driving is also a large contributor to many collisions. It causes car accidents every day, even though they are easily avoidable by simply limiting alcohol consumption, assigning a designated driver, or using a shared ride service like Uber or Lyft. Finally, manufacturer defects can lead to many design and functionality flaws that can contribute to car accidents. Today’s cars have hundreds of moving mechanical and electronic parts. A single working part out of sync can alter the way your...

There Are No Minor Auto Accidents

Not all auto accidents are the tragic ones where someone dies or is seriously injured. There are far more minor auto accidents, where a driver or passenger sustains injuries that are not life-threatening, than the kind that make the evening news. However, even minor auto accidents can have a significant monetary impact, which is why you should look into your legal options if you have been involved in an auto accident. If you’re in a minor auto accident, it’s not a good idea to just shrug it off as a “fender-bender”. Here are a few of the costs you may incur as a result of your accident: medical bills (including therapy, rehab, and counseling); medication; transportation costs involved in your medical care; pain and suffering; in-home medical care; and costs for emergency or at-the-scene care. Plus, of course, there could be damage to your vehicle. These costs add up, and you should be paid for them. If you or someone you love has been in a traffic accident in Georgia, contact Michael W. McElroy, P.C., for a free legal...

Pedestrians Rules of the Road

Pedestrians and drivers often share the roadway, and it doesn’t always work out well for the pedestrian. According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration statistics, over 4,000 people die every year as a result of a pedestrian accident. Even though pedestrians are the victims in these accidents, they are not always in the right legally. Georgia has very specific laws about pedestrians and drivers, and here are some responsibilities that pedestrians have. Pedestrians must exercise care not to make sudden movements or try to run in front of a car that does not have sufficient time to stop. Pedestrians are required to use the sidewalk whenever there is one available. If there is no sidewalk the pedestrian should walk facing traffic on the shoulder of the road. Pedestrians always have the right of way in a marked crosswalk. If there is no crosswalk, pedestrians must yield to cars unless they are already in the roadway. If you or someone you love has been in a pedestrian accident in Georgia, contact Michael W. McElroy, for a free legal...

Left-Hand Turns – Who is Liable?

One of the trickiest situations for a driver is making a left-hand turn at a busy intersection. Drivers must not only be alert to the traffic signal, but also to cars approaching from the cross street, as well as to oncoming traffic. Because of all these factors, it’s no wonder that there are many accidents involving left-hand turns, especially in the metro Atlanta area. Who’s to blame in these situations? In legal terms, it’s almost always the fault of the motorist who’s making the left-hand turn, although there are some exceptions to the rule. Here are four situations where the motorist who is turning left is not at fault. If the traffic signal showed a green arrow, which allowed the driver to make the turn. If the other vehicle drove through a red light or stop sign. If the traffic signal was not working properly. If the driver making the turn was hit from behind by another vehicle, which pushed them into oncoming traffic. Obviously, all of these situations involve circumstances that need to be proven through some type of investigation. That’s why it is important to have police reports from the scene of the accident, as well as witness statements, photographs, and other evidence. You should also use the services of an attorney who has experience in cases like this. If you or someone in your family have been involved in a traffic accident in Georgia resulting from a left-hand turn, contact Michael W. McElroy, P.C., for a free...