An Automobile Accident Can Happen to Anyone
Lots of people think they’ll never be in a traffic accident. Odds are, they might be right. But just because the odds are in your favor doesn’t mean something won’t happen. After all, a 51:49 chance is in your favor—but not by much. It is wise to prepare for the events that are less likely to happen as well as the events that are more likely to happen. Expect the best, but plan for the worst.
That might sum up nicely an approach to traffic accidents. You are, statistically, relatively unlikely to be involved in a traffic accident on any given day, but over the course of a lifetime of driving, you are fairly likely to be in an accident. Probably not a big one. Today? Probably not. Tomorrow? Unlikely. But at some point, the chances increase. Maybe a fender-bender, maybe something more. The odds are decent it will happen at some point.
When that point comes, though, the best thing you can do is consult an attorney who can help you protect your rights. You might be entitled to compensation for any damages or injuries you might incur. The attorneys of Brauns Law, PC can help. You can contact us at (404) 348-0889, or through our online contact form.
Traffic Accidents Are a Common Occurrence
There were more than 35,000 traffic accident fatalities in the United States in 2015. That was an increase from almost 33,000 in 2014, a 7.2 percent increase in fatalities. That was the largest percentage increase in deaths since a rise of 8.1 percent from 1965 to 1966. The federal government estimates that nearly 2.5 million people suffered injuries in traffic accidents in 2015.
Think a traffic accident can’t happen to you? You might want to rethink that:
- In 2015, passenger car and truck fatalities reached their highest levels since 2009.
- Fatalities for SUV occupant 2015 rose 10.1 percent over 2014, while fatalities for van occupants were up 9.3-percent over the previous year.
- Motorcyclist fatalities were up, as well, rising 8.3 percent over 2014.
It isn’t just that raw numbers are up; that could be meaningless if more people are driving more miles with fewer deaths per mile. But that isn’t the case. Vehicle miles traveled were up 3.5 percent from 2014, the largest increase since 1992, but the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven rose to 1.12 from 1.08 in 2014.
The Roads Aren’t Getting Safer
While 2015 is the last year for which full statistics are available, the statistics don’t look better for 2016. On October 6, 2017, the Department of Transportation announced that there were more than 37,000 traffic fatalities in 2016, a 5.6 percent increase from 2015. Miles traveled increased by 2.2 percent, but that still yielded a fatality rate of 1.18 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, up 2.6 percent from 2015. Deaths related to speeding, drunk driving, and not using seat belts were up, and motorcyclist and pedestrian deaths accounted for a large portion of the increase from 2015.
Automobile accidents obviously remain a significant risk. Federal statistics deal primarily with fatalities, but there are far more injuries in traffic accidents than there are fatalities. You have a much higher chance of being injured than in an automobile accident than you do of being killed. Obviously, the best solution is to avoid traffic accidents in the first place. What are the risks that await you on the roads?
Duluth, Georgia Car Accident Facts
Millions of people have driver’s licenses from the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles (MVD). With about 490,000 people in Atlanta and nearly 30,000 people in Duluth, you may think that the chances of a car accident happening to you are slim. However, you may not realize that Gwinnett County has the third-highest number of annual traffic fatalities of any county in Georgia, and many of these fatal accidents happen in Duluth. In fact, the Gwinnett Daily Post reports on accidents and injuries in the Duluth area each and every day. The truth is that an accident and injuries can happen to you at any moment and you should know what to do.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
In the aftermath of a car accident, determining liability is key. If another party was negligent and caused your crash, that party should be fully liable for all of your injury-related losses. To identify liable parties, you must identify the cause of the accident, which can be complicated. At Brauns Law, PC, we regularly investigate accidents to determine liability, and we handle car accident claims involving different types of negligent parties.
Car Accident Statistics in Gwinnett County, GA
Injuries and Fatalities by Drunk Drivers
Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is strictly illegal under Georgia law. Unfortunately, this does not deter drivers from getting behind the wheel after drinking too much. While law enforcement officers do what they can to stop and arrest drunk drivers, they cannot catch all of them. Sadly, some impaired drivers cause crashes that result in life-changing injuries and death.
According to statistics, about 3,700 persons died in accidents with drunk drivers in one year in Georgia. Many, many additional motorists suffered serious injuries that required immediate medical attention. Alcohol impairment can cause many problems on the road, and drunk drivers may engage in the following dangerous behaviors:
- Swerving or drifting out of their lane
- Losing focus on the road
- Driving the wrong way on a highway
- Failing to turn on lights or signal
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Many dangerous decisions
- Driving too fast or too slow
Any of these and more can result in devastating crashes that can injure you and members of your family. Brauns Law believes there is no excuse for drunk driving, and we help our injured clients hold drunk drivers accountable for their actions.
Distracted Drivers Cause Crashes
Distracted driving is an epidemic. In fact, according to the Georgia Department of Public Safety House Study on Distracted Driving, distracted driving was a factor in 15 percent of all injury crashes in 2015. When a driver is distracted for even a moment, they can swerve out of their lane, hit stopped cars, run stoplights, and engage in other behaviors that can significantly increase the risk of an accident. There are three main types of distracted driving:
- Cognitive – Cognitive distractions occur when a driver thinks about something other than driving.
- Manual – Manual distractions involve a driver taking his or her hands off the wheel to accomplish some task.
- Visual – Visual distractions occur when a driver looks at something other than the road or his or her mirrors.
In recent years, many safety advocates have identified texting and driving as a particularly dangerous and pervasive type of driver distraction, and for good reason. When a driver texts, he or she is engaging in all three types of distracted driving at once. While texting and other smartphone use is certainly a relatively new and significant source of driver distraction, driver distractions can also be decidedly low-tech. Some common driver distractions include the following:
- Reading a map
- Applying makeup
- Adjusting the radio
- Using in-car infotainment
- Looking at scenery
- Tending to children
- Searching for items in the vehicle
- Talking to passengers
Fortunately for people who are hurt by distracted drivers, they can often recover compensation for their injuries and other losses. Distracted drivers are typically at fault for the accidents they cause, as distracted driving is almost invariably a negligent act. In addition, under the Hands-Free Georgia Act, motorists are prohibited from holding phones and other electronic devices when driving. As a result, under a doctrine known as negligence per se, anyone who causes an accident while holding an electronic device can be deemed negligent as a matter of law, making it much easier for victims to recover compensation.
Drowsy Driving is a Serious Problem
Driving fatigued or drowsy has serious impacts on traffic safety and, ultimately the well-being and quality of life for American drivers who encounter the hazard. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that in there were more than 72,000 accidents that involved drowsy or fatigued drivers, leading to about 41,000 injuries and more than 800 deaths. Those numbers seem serious enough on their own, but experts in traffic safety, sleep science, and public health believe the numbers are much higher. These experts believe that drowsy driving is a factor in 7 percent of all crashes and 16.5 percent of all fatal accidents. That would mean that drowsy driving resulted in about 6,000 traffic fatalities in 2015.
Road Defects Can Be a Major Cause of Traffic Accidents
The Washington Post reported in 2009 that poor road design or conditions were a factor in more than half of all fatal automobile accidents in the United States. According to that report, road defects resulted in more deaths than any other single factor. That would include such major causes as speeding, drunk driving, and not using seat belts. Even if the newspaper report overstates the impact, road defects have a dramatic impact on traffic safety, and state and local governments frequently do nothing to correct the problems or warn drivers of the hazards ahead. Such design and maintenance flaws left unrepaired and without warning signs, often result in serious traffic accidents.
Teen Drivers, Usually Inexperienced, Can be a Hazard on the Roads
While practice might make perfect, the one thing teen drivers have not had enough of is practice. Far too many teenage drivers have spent only a few months behind the wheel. Often, they don’t even drive every day—the kind of experience you would want to build driver confidence and ability. Put simply, teen drivers do not have the experience and judgment that an older driver would possess. “Older” could mean simply someone with a year or two more experience behind the wheel. No one is asking teens to have a lifetime of experience driving as soon as they get behind the wheel. On the other hand, teens are, statistically, terrible drivers. In 2014, more than 1,700 drivers 15 to 20 years old died in traffic accidents, while another 170,000 young drivers suffered injuries. Unfortunately, traffic accidents are among the leading causes of death for 15- to 20-year-olds.
Extensive Losses from Car Accidents
Determining liability is so important because it is critical to receive full compensation for your losses. Each car accident victim will have different types of losses, though one common factor is that losses can be overwhelming. You may think an injury is not a huge deal at first but after a few weeks, you can realize how extensive your losses are becoming. In other situations, you may realize the gravity of your injuries and losses from the moment after a crash, though you may not know where to turn.
At Brauns Law, PC, we seek compensation for many types of losses, including:
- Medical expenses – Medical care is extremely costly. You can incur bills for many types of treatment, including emergency room care, doctor’s visits, surgery, hospitalization, physical therapy, and more
- Lost income – If you have to miss work or cannot return to work after an injury, you deserve to recover for all past and future earnings you lost or will lose
- Pain and suffering – Injuries can cause serious physical and emotional pain and suffering for weeks, months, or indefinitely. You deserve to recover for intangible losses as well as monetary ones.
Our attorneys work to get the compensation you deserve through insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits when needed. We help you through every step of the insurance claim and litigation process, and you can trust that we will protect your rights. Often, unrepresented parties end up with much less than they deserve. With our lawyers on your side, you will know we are working to ensure that you receive the maximum value of your claim.
If You Suffered Injuries in a Traffic Accident in Duluth, Consult a Duluth Traffic Accident Lawyer
The lawyers of Brauns Law, PC routinely represent clients injured in traffic accidents in Duluth. We are ready to assist you with your situation. We can help you obtain compensation for your damages if possible. If you suffered injuries in an accident in Duluth, contact us at (404) 348-0889, or through our online contact form.
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