Why do car accidents most frequently occur in Atlanta? Most of us drive daily, but getting in a car can be dangerous. Nationwide, there are about six million collisions each year, and according to the National Safety Council, car accident fatalities continue to increase as more people commute to work and school. In addition, insurance industry experts’ research indicates that the average driver will be involved in an accident about every 17.9 years. For more information, reach out to an Atlanta car accident lawyer.
In 2020, there were more than 330,000 crashes in Georgia. Of these, 1,588 were fatal. In 2020, Fulton County accounted for 9 percent of total fatalities in Georgia. Out of all the counties in Georgia, Fulton had the highest number of fatal accidents at 375. Most of these occurred along I-285 and involved speeding and drunk driving.
While accidents can happen anywhere, there are problem areas where high concentrations of fatal collisions occur. Atlanta, the largest city in Georgia and one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., had 21,478 auto accidents in 2020. Millions of people travel through Atlanta along major highways, including I-85 and I-75.
The Atlanta area includes many of the deadliest stretches of road in Georgia. Some of these are dangerous due to infrastructure and people speeding or driving under the influence.
- Moreland Avenue (Georgia 42) from South River Industrial Boulevard SE to Wylie Street SE
- A small section of Interstate 20 located northwest of the Summerhill neighborhood has the highest number of fatal crashes per mile in Atlanta
- Lee Street SW Atlanta in Atlanta
- I-85 from Exit 71 to Exit 77
- I-285 from Exit 53 to South Loop Road
- Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SW Atlanta
- Old National Highway Atlanta
- I- 75 Atlanta
- Metropolitan Parkway SW Atlanta
- State Route 14 Connector Atlanta
Dangerous Atlanta intersections
Studies show that approximately two out of every five car accidents occur at or near an intersection. These include a high percentage of fatal accidents.
In Atlanta, drivers should use extreme caution at these intersections:
- Memorial Drive and North Hairston Road
- East Park Place and Stone Mountain Highway
- Covington Highway and Panola Road
- Covington Highway and Lithonia Road
- Cobb Place Blvd and Earnest Barrett Parkway
- Jimmy Carter Blvd and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard
- Bolton Road and Marietta Road
- Collier Road and Peachtree Road
- 14th Street and Peachtree Road
- Delmar Avenue and Delmoor Court
- State Bridge Road and Medlock Bridge Road
- Howell Mill Road and Chattahoochee Road
- North Druid Hills Road and Briarcliff Road
- Piedmont Road and Peachtree Road
- Habersham Road and West Paces Ferry Road
Common causes of car accidents
Every accident involves a unique combination of factors and circumstances.
Some of the most common include:
- Distracted driving: In Georgia, distracted driving means doing anything while driving that could “distract you from safely operating your vehicle,” which includes everything from texting to changing the radio station.
- Speeding: Speeding is one of the biggest factors in car crashes. Some drivers were exceeding the speed limit. Other drivers were going too fast for the conditions.
- DUI and drug-related crashes: Impaired driving results in reduced function of the brain, impairing thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination.
- Aggressive driving: Studies show that over half of drivers surveyed admitted to aggressive driving. Acts of aggressive driving include following too closely, cutting off other drivers, weaving between lanes, cutting off other cars, or driving recklessly.
- Drowsy driving: In one study of fatigued driving, approximately 7.5 million drivers admitted that they had fallen asleep while driving within the previous thirty days. Fatigue affects cognitive skills and is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Failure to yield: Failure to deliver accidents happen when a driver does not appropriately yield the right of way to another driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian.
- Manufacturing defect: If a vehicle or vehicle component caused the crash, the manufacturer, designer, and others involved in the manufacture or sale of cars might be liable for the resulting injuries.
Common types of car crashes
Although each crash is different, many fall into one of these categories:
- Multi-vehicle pile-ups usually happen on busy highways. One crash sets off a chain reaction of accidents.
- Pedestrian accidents are increasingly common as more people walk for exercise or pleasure.
- Head-on collisions are often fatal.
- Rear-end collisions are particularly common when a driver has been following too closely and does not have enough distance to stop safely.
- Side-impact accidents often happen when one driver fails to yield while making a turn or entering an intersection.
- Single-vehicle accidents often occur when one car hits a fixed object, such as a tree or guardrail.
- T-bone collisions happen when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another, forming a T shape. These are common when one driver disregards a stop sign or red light.
Common car accident injuries
If a car accident victim is fortunate, they may walk away unharmed or with only minor injuries. However, many peoples suffer severe, life-changing injuries. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury deaths and the second leading cause of hospitalizations and ER visits in Georgia. Frequent injuries include:
Head or brain injuries
A head or brain injury, also known as a traumatic brain injury, is among the most devastating injuries. Immediate or delayed symptoms may include confusion, headaches, blurry vision, and problems with concentration. Therefore, car accident victims should receive immediate medical treatment.
Injuries to the back and spine tend to be serious. They may include anything from sprains and strains to herniated or ruptured discs, a fractured spine, a lower back injury, or paralysis.
Neck or whiplash injury
The impact of a car crash often causes a forceful forward and backward motion of the neck and head, possibly injuring the nerves, muscles, and ligaments. This injury is commonly known as whiplash. Symptoms may include pain, decreased range of motion, and tightness in the neck.
Car accidents often cause internal injuries either due to blunt force trauma or penetrating trauma when an object punctures the body. Such trauma may damage the liver, spleen, pancreas, and stomach. Broken ribs may lead to a collapsed lung. Common symptoms of an internal injury include abdominal pain and swelling, clammy skin, dizziness, weakness, or unconsciousness. As with a brain injury, the victim may not recognize the damage immediately, but delaying treatment may have serious consequences.
Car accidents often result in fractures. If the skin breaks, the wound and the bone can become infected. Without the proper treatment, the victim could end up with permanently impaired mobility.
Injuries to the knees, shoulders, or wrists
During a car accident, the impact may injure someone’s knees, shoulders, or wrists. The injured person may suffer a broken kneecap, torn meniscus, or painful tears of the ligaments. Shoulder injuries may be dislocations, or the victim may have a torn rotator cuff and damaged muscles, tendons, or ligaments. The victim may experience a limited range of motion in the shoulder. After a car crash, a person may experience pain or swelling in the wrist or numbness in the hand or fingers.
Disfigurement or scarring
Lacerations from a car crash can result in permanent scarring. In addition, severe burn injuries can be disfiguring and may require skin grafts or reconstructive surgery.
Understanding car accident law
If you have been injured in a car accident, you probably wonder who may be responsible for your injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver error caused 94 percent of crashes. Therefore, in many cases, someone’s negligence caused the accident, and you might be able to recover compensation.
Negligence means “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.”
To establish a case based on negligence, the injured person must show “the existence of a legal duty that the defendant owed to the plaintiff, defendant’s breach of that duty, plaintiff’s sufferance of an injury, proof that defendant’s breach caused the injury.”
The facts and circumstances of each case are different. Georgia law states your automobile insurance policy and the other driver’s policy or policies all play a part in your case. There may be more than one liable party. For example, in addition to other drivers, you may have claims against the company that manufactured the car or its components. If that is the case, more than one insurance company will be involved, complicating the process.
Georgia is a fault state regarding auto insurance claims.
Therefore, if a car accident injured you due to someone else’s negligence, you may pursue three options for seeking compensation for your losses:
- File a claim with your insurance company, and it will seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- File a claim with the other driver’s insurance company directly.
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in civil court.
An experienced car accident attorney can explain your legal options and guide you through the process.
How much compensation might you recover?
Some accidents result in such catastrophic losses that no amount of money can truly compensate. However, financial compensation can help accident victims rebuild their future. Compensation, also known as damages, is payment for injuries or losses caused by the accident.
Accident victims often do not know the full cost of their injuries. Some injuries develop later or have secondary complications. In addition, the accident may affect your life in other ways, such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life.
There are different types of compensation available to help compensate for your losses, such as:
- Compensation for the cost of medical bills arising from all injuries caused by the defendant
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship or loss of consortium
If a person dies in an accident, the family members or survivors may receive compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
In cases of extreme wrongdoing, the court may award punitive damages. The court awards these damages in rare cases to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from similar acts.
Steps to take after a car accident
Most people are traumatized, frightened, or confused following an accident. Never panic and drive away, as leaving the scene of an accident is against the law in every state.
Here are a few steps to take following an accident.
- Take a moment and review the situation. Are you injured? Is anyone else involved in the accident injured? If so, call for help right away. Do not try to assess their injuries yourself, as some injuries may not be obvious. If the car comes to rest in a dangerous place, move to a safe area and put on your hazard lights.
- Report the accident to the authorities. Even if it was a minor collision, report it. Sometimes the other driver may suggest not reporting the accident. They may have problems with expired insurance, license, or other issues. However, the police report is important for an insurance claim or any future legal action, especially if you are not at fault. Answer the responding officer’s questions to the best of your ability, but don’t guess or offer theories if you do not know the answer.
- Exchange contact information with others involved in the accident. Information should include as much information as possible, such as names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, and car insurance information. If possible, obtain information about the vehicles, such as makes, models, and license plate numbers.
- Collect evidence. Note the location of the accident and any video cameras on nearby buildings. If you can, take photos of all the vehicles, including the interior. Also, take pictures of the scene of the accident, such as traffic signs and signals, tire tracks, and debris. Finally, note the weather conditions and any hazards in the area.
- Be careful who you talk to. Avoid discussing the accident with others or accepting blame. Accident scenes are generally chaotic, so it is difficult or impossible to know who was at fault. Also, do not post comments or photos of the accident on social media, as these may damage your claim in the future.
- Consult a personal injury attorney. Always speak with an attorney before discussing the accident with other parties, particularly representatives of an insurance company, or signing any settlement papers or release forms. Try to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident?
In Georgia, as in other states, there is a statute of limitations or a deadline for filing a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for injuries arising from a motor vehicle accident is two years in Georgia. The clock generally starts running on the accident date that resulted in your injury.
If you fail to file the lawsuit during the window, the law bars using the court system to pursue the claim. There are a few exceptions to this rule, and there may be other deadlines for insurance claims. It is essential to consult a licensed Georgia attorney as soon as possible after your accident to avoid missing any deadlines.
After a serious accident, your life may never be the same. The financial costs, such as loss of income, mounting unpaid bills, and overwhelming medical expenses, add up quickly. A lawyer can help you seek the compensation you need to cover the losses you’ve experienced. Contact an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer for more information and to arrange a free consultation.