According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, unsafe driving behavior caused 70 percent of the fatalities in vehicle crashes in 2018. Of these, 17 percent were pedestrians. This means that in 2018, 1,514 deaths could have been prevented. In many cases, when someone’s driving behavior is unsafe, you could prevent getting into an accident if you are quick to notice the unsafe behavior and get away from the unsafe driver as soon as possible.
Increasing Fatalities Due to Unsafe Driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that Georgia had 1,554 motor vehicle accident fatalities in just one year, a significant increase after fatalities had continuously decreased. It found that of those fatalities, 266 were speeding-related, which was an increase of 2.7 percent from the previous year. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety stated that preliminary numbers for a subsequent showed that fatalities might decline again.
However, the decline was only 4 percent – much less than what the state expected. The total number of fatalities for that year was 1,540. The following year saw 1,443 fatalities, but Georgia implemented several new laws, including a hands-free law, in 2018.
Top Unsafe Driving Practices
The top unsafe driving behavior is improper speed, according to the U.S. General Services Administration. The Administration states that every 10 miles per hour over 50 mph that you drive, you double the risk of wrecking. You could avoid an accident by driving the speed limit, and if you see someone else speeding, try to stay away from that person. If you are in front of someone who is speeding and tailgating, let that person pass you. If you are behind someone speeding, don’t increase your speed to keep up.
If you leave with plenty of time to reach your destination, including allowing time for traffic issues, you should not have to speed. If you are driving on a highway, stay in the right lane where it’s possible.
After speeding, the next four unsafe driving practices include violating the right of way, driving left of center, making an improper turn, and passing improperly. Driving isn’t always making sure you obey the rules of the road. Even if you are careful, you can’t control what others do, so you must look out for the other person in addition to yourself.
If you see someone driving erratically or in an unsafe manner, try to keep as far away from that vehicle as possible. Granted, you can’t always avoid a wreck—no matter how much you watch, someone could still take you by surprise, such as someone driving excessive speeds while you come around a blind corner.
Car Crash Injuries
Depending on the severity of the wreck, your injuries could range from minor bumps, bruises, and scratches to traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injuries. Even with minor injuries, you should see your doctor and call a car crash attorney. Some injuries won’t manifest for hours or even days after the accident. And, insurance companies are in business to make money—they care more about their bottom lines than about making sure they fully compensate you for your injuries.
- Bumps, cuts, scrapes, and bruises;
- Strains and sprains;
- Pulled and torn muscles;
- Simple and compound fractures;
- Head, shoulder, and neck injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Internal injuries;
- Back and spinal cord injuries;
- Paralysis; and
Open wounds that seem minor could become serious, especially if you have an underlying condition that increases your risk for infection due to slow healing. Diabetics, those on chemo regimens that reduce white cell count, and those with immunodeficiency diseases are more likely to heal slower.
While the original disease is not the fault of the person who caused the accident, the resulting infection or slow-to-heal open wounds are, and the at-fault driver and/or his insurance should compensate you for the extra medical bills and other damages; you wouldn’t have the additional issues if it weren’t for the actions of the at-fault driver.
Recovering Car Wreck Damages
After a vehicle accident, you could recover three types of damages, depending on the severity of your injuries and the at-fault driver’s actions. The court could award punitive damages as a punishment for the at-fault driver if his or her actions were grossly negligent or intentional. Georgia also has two types of compensatory damages to “make you whole,” although no amount of money will take away the pain of your injuries or of losing a loved one.
Special damages, or economic damages, are those you have to come out of pocket for, even if your insurance company pays some of them. They include:
- Past and future medical expenses, including physical, cognitive, and psychological therapy;
- Past and future lost wages;
- Replacement or repair of personal property; and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
If your injuries prevent you from working at your regular job and you must work in a different occupation for less money, you could get future lost wages for the difference in pay. Also, if the accident was severe, you could suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which often requires expensive psychological therapy.
Additionally, some people fall into a depression when they sustain long-term or permanent injurie, because they cannot contribute as much to their families as they once did. Seeing a mental health professional helps with these feelings and issues.
General damages, or non-economic damages, are those that do not have a price tag. You generally collect non-economic damages when your injuries are severe, long-term, and/or permanent. General damages include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of companionship;
- Loss of consortium;
- Inconvenience; and
- Loss of use of a body part or function.
If you are suffering from injuries because of a car accident, or if you lost a loved one in a car accident, an experienced car accident attorney can help.
Brauns Law, P.C.
3175 Satellite Boulevard, Bldg 600
Duluth, GA 30096