People often run red traffic lights when they are in a hurry and do not want to stop and wait for the traffic light to change. However, running a red traffic light at an intersection is a surefire way to bring about a collision with another vehicle. In fact, failing to stop at a stop sign or red traffic light in Georgia can lead to serious physical and mental costs.
When intersection accidents happen, the driver and passengers in the vehicle could suffer serious and traumatic injuries, including traumatic head and brain injuries, back and spinal cord injuries (including but not limited to the various forms of paralysis), fractures, and various types of sprains and soft tissue injuries. In some of the more serious red-light car accident cases, the accident victim could pass away due to the injuries they suffered in the accident.
If you or a person you love has suffered an injury in a red-light car accident that occurred at a traffic intersection, an experienced Georgia red light car accident lawyer near you could help you pursue the monetary compensation and other damages that you deserve for your injuries.
Your lawyer could then file a claim with the at-fault driver’s motor vehicle insurance company on your behalf. They could then pursue fair and reasonable compensation for your injuries and other damages. If the insurance company does not offer you the fair and full compensation that you deserve, your attorney could file a lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your case in the state court system for the state of Georgia.
The Costs of Failing to Stop at a Red Light or Stop Sign in Georgia
Some red-light accidents occur when an overzealous driver negligently speeds through a traffic intersection during a red light and rear-ends another vehicle. At other times, red light accidents occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle. In that instance, the vehicles are usually on different roads, and the vehicle with the red light collides with a vehicle that has the green light.
Stop sign accidents can occur at a two-way stop intersection when one driver fails to observe a stop sign and collides with another vehicle. These accidents can also happen at four-way stops, when one driver fails to stop at the intersection before proceeding forward, or when one vehicle improperly fails to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle.
Failing to stop at a stop sign or red light in Georgia can bring about serious physical, mental, and economic costs and other burdens for accident victims. Accident victims may suffer injuries in an accident when they strike something in the vehicle, such as the steering wheel, console, headrest, or window, or when their bodies twist and turn in the vehicle at the point of impact.
When accident victims suffer serious injuries in red-light accidents, they may have to go to the hospital and seek other types of medical treatment, including follow-up visits with primary care doctors, orthopedists, and other specialists. They might also have to undergo various medical procedures, including surgeries and injections.
Moreover, accident victims may have to miss time away from work while they heal and recover from their injuries. They may have to attend medical appointments, including physical therapy, requiring them to miss time from work and lose considerable income. Finally, accident victims often have to endure large amounts of pain, suffering, and inconvenience while treating for their injuries (and sometimes for long after) in the event they suffer a permanent injury in their car accident.
The cost of failing to stop at a stop sign or red traffic light in Georgia can be extreme for accident victims. A Georgia car accident lawyer located near you could help you file your claim or lawsuit and pursue the compensation that you deserve from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
The Burden of Proof in a Georgia Red Light Traffic Accident Case
In red light traffic accident cases, the accident victim has the burden of proving all of the elements of the negligence claim. Specifically, the accident victim must demonstrate that the at-fault driver violated the law by running a red light or stop sign at a traffic intersection. In cases when fault is clear, such as where a police officer issued the at-fault driver a citation for a traffic violation, the at-fault driver’s insurance company might concede or even stipulate to liability in the case. In other cases, the accident victim could prove fault by calling a police officer to authenticate a report that places a particular driver at fault for the accident.
In addition to proving fault or liability for the accident, the accident victim plaintiff must show that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident, that the accident victim suffered injuries and damages in the accident, and that all of the damages specifically resulted from the accident.
An experienced Georgia car accident lawyer near you could help you prove the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit, putting you in a position to pursue and recover the monetary damages that you need.
Filing a Claim Against a Georgia Driver Who Ran a Red Light or Stop Sign
When it comes to red-light traffic accident cases (and motor vehicle accidents in general), the state of Georgia is a fault state, meaning that accident victims can file a claim or lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver or the driver’s insurance company, seeking monetary compensation and damages for the injuries they suffered in a traffic accident. Therefore, after suffering injuries in a red-light accident caused by another person’s negligence, the accident victim could file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
The process of filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company begins by submitting a demand package to the insurance company’s adjuster assigned to the case. The demand package typically contains a letter that includes a monetary demand for settlement. The amount of the opening demand usually depends upon the limits of the insurance policy for the at-fault driver. In cases where the accident victim suffered a particularly serious injury or injuries, the opening settlement demand might very well be the limits of the applicable insurance policy.
In addition to submitting a demand letter, the accident victim’s lawyer will typically include copies of all pertinent medical records and bills, police and other investigation reports, photographs of injuries sustained, and photographs of the property damage as part of the settlement demand package. Finally, the accident victim’s lawyer might include a victim impact statement that the car accident victim prepares. The victim impact statement describes the accident, the injuries, and the impact that both had on the life of the accident victim.
Once the insurance company’s adjuster receives this demand package, they will take some time to review it thoroughly. If the at-fault driver’s insurance company has accepted liability for the case, the adjuster might go ahead and make an initial settlement offer to resolve the case. In almost all instances, these initial settlement offers are extremely low, and you should not accept such an offer. Insurance companies make these offers low to try and see if they can entice the accident victim to settle their case in a hurry. Very frequently, these opening offers are far below the true settlement or verdict value of the car accident case.
The better option when the insurance company makes an offer is for the accident victim’s lawyer to continue negotiating with the adjuster in an attempt to reach a full and fair resolution of the case. It often takes several rounds of negotiations before the parties will get to a number on which they can both agree. If the parties reach an impasse and cannot come to an agreement regarding the settlement amount, then the accident victim’s lawyer could file a lawsuit in the Georgia state court system seeking monetary compensation and damages on behalf of the accident victim.
An experienced Georgia car accident attorney could assist you with all aspects of filing your claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Specifically, your lawyer could assist you with preparing and assembling the settlement demand package, as well as with negotiating a full and fair settlement on your behalf. Your attorney can let you know whether they would accept a particular settlement offer, and if you decide to pursue litigation, could file a lawsuit in the court system on your behalf.
When to File a Lawsuit Against a Negligent Motor Vehicle Operator
When the parties reach a stalemate when it comes to settlement negotiations in a red-light car accident case, the accident victim’s lawyer could file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in the state court system. However, just because an individual files a lawsuit in the case does not necessarily mean that the case will proceed all the way to a jury trial. In fact, many car accident cases settle out of court long before the parties ever get near the trial date.
Filing a lawsuit in the case, otherwise known as litigation, merely starts the ball rolling. Once the at-fault driver’s attorney files a formal answer to the complaint, the court will most likely issue a scheduling order. Scheduling orders establish various dates and deadlines when a person or entity must complete certain milestones in the case. The scheduling order, for example, might establish a date for a settlement conference, as well as a trial date, in the event the case does not settle beforehand.
If you decide to litigate your case in the court system, the parties typically engage in written discovery, including interrogatories and requests for the production of documents. In addition, the at-fault driver’s lawyer will likely take your deposition. A deposition is an out-of-court oral discovery proceeding. The accident victim answers questions about how the accident occurred, their injuries, medical treatment, pain and suffering, and any potential permanency.
During the litigation stage of a red-light car accident case, the parties can still negotiate a favorable settlement offer. In addition, many courts will try to facilitate a favorable and amicable resolution of the case through mediation or settlement negotiations. If the parties still cannot resolve the car accident case, they could take the case to a jury trial, where the jury decides what, if any, damages the plaintiff will receive from the accident and their injuries.
As an alternative to a jury trial, the parties may wish to consider alternative dispute resolution proceedings, such as mediation or arbitration. Mediators and arbitrators are experienced judges and lawyers who can help the parties facilitate a resolution of the case. In the case of arbitration, the arbitrator decides the outcome without the parties having to take the case to a jury trial.
A knowledgeable Georgia red-light car accident lawyer near you could help you decide whether settling or litigating your case is the right move under your circumstances. If you decide to file a lawsuit in the state court system, your attorney will be by your side every step of the way. In addition to continuing to negotiate a full and favorable settlement offer, your lawyer can assist you with all of the steps involved in litigating your case. Finally, if your case has to go to trial or alternative dispute resolution, your attorney will represent you at all of these legal proceedings.
Potential Damages That You Could Potentially Recover in a Georgia Car Accident Case
A negligent driver’s failure to stop at a stop sign or red traffic light in Georgia often comes at a significant cost to the accident victim.
If the accident victim can successfully prove the legal elements of their case, the accident victim could potentially recover monetary compensation for:
- Medical treatment costs
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of the ability to use a specific body part
- Loss of spousal support, companionship, and intimacy
An experienced Georgia red-light car accident attorney can pursue all of the monetary compensation and damages that you deserve in your case. Contact Brauns Law, PC for a free consultation today.