An Automobile Accident Can Happen to Anyone in Duluth
Situated in the northern part of the state, Duluth is a thriving community of about 30,000 residents, and it’s growing all the time. Locals and visitors alike enjoy its many attractions, including seasonal farmers’ markets, restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, the Southeastern Railway Museum, and Shorty Howell Park. There are also sporting events, including hockey, as well as concerts, trade shows, and conventions at the Infinite Energy Center. Because of the bustling activity of the city, it often results in a lot of traffic on the local roads and highways.
Unfortunately, many drivers get behind the wheel after they have had too much to drink, become distracted by talking to passengers or texting, or choose to drive tired and start to doze off on the road. As a result, Duluth has seen its share of car accidents over the years, from rush-hour crashes on Duluth Highway to speeding-related collisions on SR316.
If you have suffered an injury in a Duluth car accident caused by another motorist, the Duluth car accident lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages that you have incurred. You can contact us at (404) 418-8244, or through our online contact form.
Some of the Results We Have Obtained For Our Clients in Duluth
Since the formation of Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm in February 2008, our experienced professionals have secured millions of dollars in compensation for our motor vehicle accident clients through both jury awards and settlements. Some of our representative successful cases include a $3.5 million jury verdict for a client who was rear-ended by an ambulance and a settlement of nearly $400,000 in another accident involving a rear-end collision at a traffic light.
We focus our practice exclusively on personal injury and wrongful death litigation, and that is all that we do. We are devoted to helping people get the help that they need after they were harmed through no fault of their own and who are now stuck dealing with insurance companies who are trying to take advantage of the situation.
We pride ourselves on furnishing the best customer service to our clients. We take care of all of it. You need to focus on healing from your injuries and taking care of your loved ones. You shouldn’t feel alone, and you shouldn’t have to deal with adjusters who are trained to handle your claim to the insurance companies’ advantage. Let us help you. Call us or contact us online today to set up your free consultation.
How Our Duluth Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
At Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm, we take the harm that you have suffered because of the negligence or recklessness of other parties personally. Located in Duluth, we care too much about your future to think of your case as just one of many that we have to work on. We take pride in the fact that we are a relatively small law firm because it allows us to work efficiently and dedicate ourselves to every one of our clients. We know what you have gone through, and we pledge to diligently work on your behalf to not only help you obtain the compensation you need but also give you the attention and service that you deserve.
Before devoting his practice exclusively to the representation of people who have suffered injuries, David Brauns, the founder of our law firm, spent several years as an insurance defense attorney, and this experience allows him to anticipate the tactics that his trial opponents might raise in the courtroom.
Suffering an injury in an accident is usually traumatic, and trying to decide the best way to proceed with a case can cause significant stress. At Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm, we focus on providing you the resources and assistance you need to make the right decisions on how to move forward. Consultations are always free, and if we don’t think we can help, we will be the first to tell you. Call us today or contact us online so that we can discuss your situation and determine whether we can make things easier for you as you focus on your recovery.
Traffic Accidents Are a Common Occurrence in Duluth
More than 35,000 traffic accident fatalities took place in the United States in one recent year—an increase from almost 33,000 the previous year, 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:
- Passenger car and truck fatalities recently reached their highest levels in six years.
- Fatalities for SUV occupants rose 10.1 percent over the previous year, 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 the previous year.
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 the previous year, the largest increase since 1992, but the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven rose to 1.12 from 1.08 in the previous year.
Duluth Roads Aren’t Getting Safer
The statistics don’t look better in subsequent years, with a Department of Transportation announcement that more than 37,000 traffic fatalities took place, a 5.6 percent increase. 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. 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.
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 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 the Duluth area has the third-highest number of annual traffic fatalities of any county in Georgia. In fact, the Gwinnett Daily Post reports on accidents and injuries in the Duluth area every day. The truth is that an accident and injuries can happen to you at any moment and you should know what to do.
Duluth Car Accident Statistics
Fatal Traffic Accidents in and Around Duluth
Unfortunately, many motor vehicle accidents, including those involving pedestrians, result in fatal injuries. In fact, according to the most recently reported statistics from the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of pedestrian deaths around the country increased by approximately 5 percent over the previous year, and it has seen a steady increase since 2009.
The reasons for this include the far greater number of light trucks and sports utility vehicles on the road, and these vehicles have demonstrated that they are more likely to cause pedestrian fatalities because they are heavier and higher off of the ground than smaller passenger vehicles. The GHSA report noted that Georgia was one of five states that collectively accounted for 47 percent of those fatalities in that year, even though those states comprise only one-third of the nation’s population.
In Duluth and its surrounding areas, dozens of reported traffic fatalities take place each year, many of them attributed to speeding, alcohol, or drugs. While it is not easy to prove, distracted drivers may cause many others, although the technology in many newer vehicles can often show whether a driver braked or slowed down immediately before the crash. Areas like Pleasant Hill Road and Duluth Highway experience high numbers of fatal crashes, especially during rush hour. If you have lost a loved one in such an accident, we can help you file a lawsuit under the state’s wrongful death statute.
Common Causes of Duluth 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 Accident Injury Firm, we regularly investigate accidents to determine liability, and we handle car accident claims involving different types of negligent parties.
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
- Duluth distracted driving
- 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. The Duluth drunk driving accident lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm 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.
The three main types of distracted driving include:
- 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:
- 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 more than 72,000 accidents 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 just one year.
Road Defects Can Cause Traffic Accidents
The Washington Post reported 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 Create Road Hazards
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 one year alone, 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.
Duluth Car Accident FAQ
Car accidents that take place in and around Duluth vary significantly in terms of their scale and severity. While some car accidents are relatively minor fender benders with little to no property damage, other accidents can leave victims in wheelchairs or even dead.
When it comes to car accidents, Georgia is a fault state.
Suppose you sustained injuries in a motor vehicle collision that someone else caused in a fault state. In that case, you might file a claim or lawsuit against that individual (and indirectly against the at-fault driver’s insurance company) for monetary compensation and damages. If the insurance company is unwilling to offer you the full and fair compensation that you deserve for your injuries, you may file a lawsuit against the driver who caused your accident.
The experienced Duluth car accident lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can assist you with making a claim for monetary compensation against an at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the insurance company puts its own interests first and refuses to compensate you appropriately, our experienced lawyers can litigate your case to a satisfactory conclusion in the Georgia state court system.
What are some of the most common causes of Duluth car accidents?
Car accidents in and around Duluth take place because of many reasons. In many cases, these accidents occur due to an error on the part of a motor vehicle driver. Driver negligence, however, is not the only cause of a Duluth car accident.
Some of the most common causes of these accidents include:
- Distracted driving – Motor vehicle operators owe a duty of care to other drivers. More to the point, they must operate their vehicle in a careful, safe, and prudent manner at all times. This duty of care includes refraining from distracted driving. Distracted driving usually involves paying attention to some electronic devices, such as cell phones or tablets, while driving. The driver may be trying to send a text message or email, for example. At other times, young children in the car (who might be engaging in horseplay, for instance) or loud music from the car stereo may distract the driver. According to statistics provided by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving accounted for approximately 2,841 deaths nationwide back in 2018. Therefore, when drivers operate their vehicles with not all of their attention on the road, they significantly increase the likelihood that they will bring about a collision with another vehicle.
- Negligent motor vehicle operation – Just as motor vehicle drivers owe a duty to refrain from distracted driving, they also have a responsibility to follow all Georgia state traffic laws and regulations. Specifically, they must watch their speeds, obey traffic control devices (including traffic lights, stop signs, and yield signs), and make safe lane changes (for example, by giving other drivers advanced warning of a lane change by using a turn signal properly). When drivers disregard traffic laws, they put other drivers in serious danger. In cases where driver negligence led to an accident, the at-fault driver (and indirectly that driver’s insurance company) can be held accountable.
- Negligent repair work – Motor vehicle accidents can occur even when drivers are operating their vehicles safely and carefully. When motor vehicle owners take their vehicles in for maintenance or repair, the repair facility owes the owner a duty to perform the repair work in a safe, careful, and professional manner at all times. When poorly performed repair work leads to a serious motor vehicle accident, the repair facility may be held accountable.
- Defective motor vehicle parts – Just like with repair work, motor vehicle owners and drivers expect that replacement parts for their vehicle will function the way they are supposed to operate while the vehicle is in operation. When motor vehicle parts, such as steering or braking mechanisms, are defective and lead to an accident while the vehicle is in operation, the manufacturer or distributor of the parts may be on the line for negligence.
An experienced Duluth car accident attorney at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident, to determine if negligence likely played a part. If it did, our legal team could help you pursue the monetary compensation you deserve for the injuries that you sustained in the accident.
Who can I hold accountable for my Duluth car accident?
Since Georgia is an at-fault state, any person or entity can be liable if they caused or contributed to the accident that led to your personal injuries and damages. In cases that involved irresponsible or distracted driving, you can file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver of the vehicle. If, at the time the accident occurred, the driver was on the job or was otherwise acting within the scope of their employment (such as driving a delivery truck), you may also bring a personal injury claim against the driver’s employer on an agency theory of recovery.
If you allege that defective repair work was a factor in causing your accident, you may file a claim against the repair facility that performed the most recent work on your vehicle. On the other hand, if a defective motor vehicle part contributed to your accident, you may file a claim against the product manufacturer, distributor, or another person or entity in the chain of product distribution.
The knowledgeable Duluth car accident lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can investigate your accident and determine all potential causes. We can then file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf against all individuals or entities that were potentially responsible for the accident.
What types of injuries are common following a Duluth car accident?
The type of injury an accident victim sustains in a car accident depends upon many different factors. These factors include the type of impact (such as rear-end, side, or head-on), the force of the impact (including the speeds of the vehicle), and the accident victim’s movement inside the vehicle (such as whether the accident victim struck their head, neck, shoulder, or back on something in the vehicle). Cases involving vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed tend to produce more serious injuries than in accidents involving low-speed collisions.
While significant property damage is sometimes indicative of substantial injuries, it is not always the case. Even in relatively low-impact cases (such as in a rear-end collision), the accident victim can still receive painful injuries, including soft tissue contusions, as well as serious head and brain injuries.
Injuries sustained in a car accident can lead to lengthy and expensive medical treatment. The accident victim may need to go to the emergency room, attend doctor visits and physical therapy sessions, or undergo various procedures, such as injections or surgeries. All of the medical treatment and care costs money. An accident victim can file a claim for medical damages as part of the personal injury claim or lawsuit that the accident victim files against the at-fault driver.
The experienced Duluth car accident attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can assist you in pursuing the monetary compensation for the injuries that you sustained in a serious car accident.
How often do Duluth car accident cases settle?
The good news about car accident cases is that many of them settle long before their scheduled date in court. The negotiation process typically begins when the accident victim’s lawyer prepares and submits a settlement demand. The demand package includes copies of all of the accident victim’s medical records and bills. Also included in the demand package are relevant documentation, including the police report, photographs of property damage, and photographs of the personal injuries the accident victim received.
Once the insurance company adjuster reviews the settlement demand package, and provided the insurance company accepts liability, the adjuster will likely make an introductory settlement offer on the case. In most instances, these introductory settlement offers are low and do not represent the case’s full value.
Your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to see if the adjuster will offer up a reasonable settlement number. Suppose the adjuster is dragging their feet or refusing to offer you the compensation that you deserve. In that case, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf in the court system and work to litigate your car accident case to a successful conclusion.
What if I don’t like the settlement offer the insurance company makes in my Duluth car accident case?
As stated above, insurance companies will, at times, refuse to offer full and fair monetary compensation to settle a personal injury car accident case. After all, it is in the insurance company’s own interest to try to settle an accident case as cheaply as possible. By doing so, the insurance company can keep more of the money it collects from customer premiums in-house.
However, if you and your attorney decide that filing suit is the best option, your lawyer can file a lawsuit against the at-fault person or entity in the state court. Just because your attorney files a lawsuit, however, does not necessarily mean that your case will go all the way to trial. In fact, many cases settle at some point along the way. Should a settlement take place, a case is effectively over.
It would be best if you kept in mind that when it comes to personal injury claims, the state of Georgia has a short, two-year statute of limitations. Absent exceptional circumstances, that statute states that you only have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit arising out of your injuries. If you do not file your lawsuit within that time period, you will likely waive your ability to do so at any point in the future. Similarly, you can’t then file a claim for monetary damages at any point in the future.
You can count on the experienced Duluth car accident lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm to promptly file a lawsuit on your behalf against all potentially responsible individuals or entities. Your lawyer can then continue to negotiate a settlement offer on your behalf or litigate your case to a satisfactory conclusion.
What types of damages are compensable following a Duluth car accident?
If you have been in a Duluth car accident that resulted from another person’s negligence, you may bring a claim for monetary compensation and damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
The amount of damages for which you are eligible depends upon a variety of factors, including the extent of your injuries and the amount of medical treatment that you underwent for your injuries. Moreover, if you sustained a permanent injury in your accident, you may be eligible to recover monetary compensation for permanency.
Monetary damages following a Duluth car accident can include compensation for:
- Medical treatment, medical procedures, and physical and occupational therapy costs
- Lost earnings from missed work time
- Pain and suffering due to the injuries you sustained in the accident
- Lost earning capacity from the inability to work at the same job or in the same position due to injuries sustained in the accident
- Future medical treatment and procedures, such as surgeries or injections
- Loss of spousal or family support
- Emotional distress and mental anguish resulting from the accident, including conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
If you received injuries in a Duluth car accident that was not your fault, the experienced Duluth car accident attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm could help you pursue the economic recovery that you deserve, either by a successful settlement in your case or litigating your case to a successful conclusion.
Extensive Losses from Duluth 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 Accident Injury Firm, 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 Accident Injury Firm 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) 418-8244, or through our online contact form.
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