Determining Liability After a Car Wreck in Georgia: Obstructing an Intersection – 40-6-205
Posted by Wetherington Law Firm | Articles
Accidents That Occur in the Middle of an Intersection
Welcome back to our ongoing blog series on negligence per se and Georgia’s rules of the road!
If you’re just joining us, negligence per se is a legal principle that states that breaking a safety rule is inherently negligent behavior. This means that someone who hurts another person in the course of breaking a safety rule is automatically liable for the damage they’ve caused.
Okay, it’s a little more complicated than that, as we’ll discuss below, but one of the important things to remember about negligence per se is that traffic laws count as safety rules. There are as many ways of committing negligence per se on the road as there are different traffic statutes to break, which is why we’ve been taking a detailed look at the Georgia traffic code, to see what some of these instances of negligence per se would look like.
Last week, we talked about statute 40-6-202, which has to do with stopping vehicles on roads outside of commercial and residential areas. This week, we’ll go over 40-6-205, which covers stopping a vehicle in another inopportune spot: in the middle of an intersection.
What Are the Rules for Stopping in an Intersection?
Statute 40-6-205 is a simple one. Without exception, it forbids any driver from entering an intersection if there isn’t enough room to exit it on the other side, regardless of what any traffic lights or signs may say.
No driver shall enter an intersection unless there is sufficient space on the other side of the intersection to accommodate the vehicle he is operating without obstructing the passage of other vehicles or pedestrians, notwithstanding any traffic-control signal indication to proceed.
In other words, if there’s enough space up ahead for you to finish crossing the intersection, but you have to stop your car for some other reason, such as a complete mechanical breakdown or a pedestrian darting out into the road, 40-6-205 doesn’t apply. However, if you enter the intersection too hastily under heavy traffic conditions, and you end up stuck there blocking cross traffic, you’re in violation of 40-6-205 and very likely liable for any damages that might result.
What Damages Can You Recover from a Driver Who Obstructed an Intersection?
The one reason a driver illegally blocking an intersection might not be legally responsible for an accident — or at least not solely responsible — is that every driver on the road has a general responsibility to exercise ordinary care and avoid accidents whenever possible. Other drivers don’t have the right to deliberately or carelessly ram into a car that’s trapped in an intersection, just because it shouldn’t be there in the first place. However, liability settlements under Georgia law are determined according to percentages of fault. In this kind of scenario, the driver who obstructed the intersection is automatically at least partially at fault. If the other driver’s share of fault is found to be less than 50%, the obstructing driver is liable for the difference under negligence per se. If you’ve been in an accident caused by someone obstructing an intersection, any settlement you’re eligible for will be divided into special and general damages.
Special Damages Reimburse Financial Losses
The most common financial losses associated with car accidents are medical expenses, vehicle replacement, and lost income. Anything else with a clear dollar value that you’ve lost to the accident should also be counted under special damages. If you had your laptop with you in the car, for example, and it was damaged in the impact, that qualifies for reimbursement just as much as the damage to the vehicle itself. A fair special damages settlement should cover not just what you’ve lost or paid out so far due to the accident, but the estimated lifetime cost to you, less any percentage your share of the fault requires you to cover. If you’ll need ongoing medical treatment, time off, or a total career change because of your injuries, that should all be accounted for in determining the total special damages. To collect special damages, you’ll need to keep a careful record of every expense and then prove that these expenses were directly or proximately caused by the other driver’s obstruction of the intersection. The Wetherington Law Firm can help you with this process. Click here to learn more about how.
General Damages Compensate Emotional Losses
When you’re in an accident, you lose a lot more than the cost of your bills. You lose peace of mind and freedom from pain. You lose momentum toward your ambitions and time spent with friends and family. Depending on the severity of the accident, you might even lose a measure of your mobility and independence, and your previous plans and career goals might be gone forever. There’s no way to truly recover these kinds of losses, of course, but they do deserve acknowledgement and consideration. That’s what the general damages portion of your settlement is for. This extra sum, in addition to your financial reimbursement, is intended as recognition and compensation for the priceless losses you’ve also suffered. General damages are obviously much more difficult to put a number on than special damages, so it’s crucial to have a skilled lawyer to make sure the full impact of the accident on your life is heard and credited.
What If the Driver Obstructing the Intersection Has Caused a Death?
If you’re here in search of justice for a lost loved one, the Wetherington Law Firm offers its deepest condolences. Wrongful death suits have different rules than personal injury suits, so we recommend familiarizing yourself with them here. When you’re ready, we’d be glad to discuss your options in a free consultation.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
Having a good lawyer can make a big difference in any kind of legal proceeding. Instead of having to guess your way through a system that takes many years of study and practice to master, you have an expert to walk you through every step of the process. You also have someone to advocate for you in ways most people feel awkward doing for themselves, such as explaining the severity of your injuries and the reasons you need a certain amount of recovery time. Most importantly, however, you have someone to shield you against pushy and deceptive insurance company tactics. When pursuing a civil suit after a car accident, it’s important to realize that you’re not going up against another random driver on the road; you’re going up against a corporate legal department that won’t hesitate to take advantage of your inexperience. The professionals at the Wetherington Law Firm have seen every case-destroying trick in the book and will make sure you don’t fall prey to them.
How to Hire the Best Car Wreck Lawyers in Atlanta
The Wetherington Law Firm works on a contingency basis. That means we don’t accept a cent in payment until and unless we win.
Our job is to secure your financial future against the potential ruin that a car accident represents, and we know we can’t do that by adding to your financial burdens at one of the most difficult and precarious moments of your life. That’s why the only payment we accept is a percentage of the settlements we win. Working with us is the safest of safe bets, with no chance that you’ll end up worse off than you started, and a very high chance you’ll be better off than you would be representing yourself.
To get started talking to an attorney today, just pick up the phone or use the contact form on the right to set up a free, no-obligation consultation on your situation.
Was There More to Your Case than One Driver’s Mistake? The Wetherington Law Firm Will Get to the Bottom of It.
Many of our clients come to us wanting something more than financial compensation for a single unfortunate incident. They’ve noticed an underlying danger, and they want to address it before more people get hurt. For example, if the intersection where you were injured is frequently obstructed, it may be possible to improve safety by adjusting the timing of nearby traffic lights, or redesigning a local business’s overflowing drive-through. If you want to leverage your case to effect lasting change in your community, the Wetherington Law Firm wants to hear from you. Even if it means a longer journey and a lower monetary payoff, we’ll stand by you in your fight to make the world a better place. To learn about some of the amazing things we’ve already helped our clients achieve, just give us a call and ask!