Voted Best Personal Injury Law Firm by Georgia Lawyers in 2022 and 2023
Georgia Car Accident Lawyers
Matt, from Wetherington Law Firm, has been extremely helpful, professional, and communicative. For months, he has updated us all by email on the class-action lawsuit, with many details. I appreciate his efficiency and his desire to help people who have been wronged by companies, no matter how long it takes.
– Lauren S
They were very professional and took very good care of me. I trust them to do what’s right and best for me and my family. Everyone I had contact with was very polite, patient and understanding.
Matt Wetherington is by far the most patient, compassionate and hard working attorney I’ve ever met.
– Kristen Rose
Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Georgia? We’re Here to Help
Car accidents often lead to personal injury cases, and finding the right car accident lawyer is crucial. In the U.S., many law firms claim they can help with vehicle accident cases. Some of these firms focus on minor injuries like whiplash. You might have seen their ads on TV, billboards, or buses. These firms, known as “volume” law firms, usually have caseworkers, not lawyers, handling the cases. But, at our firm, experienced car accident lawyers and legal professionals will work with you directly.
Handling serious car accident cases, especially those with severe injuries or complex details, needs special attention. These cases can be costly, involve tough legal questions, and require understanding federal rules. Injuries might include amputations, paralysis, brain injuries, or multiple fractures. Despite the clear injuries, winning full compensation in these cases is challenging. Wetherington Law Firm specializes in these severe injury cases. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we cover all case costs upfront. You only pay us if we win your case. Even better, our contingency fee is the same as a volume firm charges, meaning you get a higher quality service without being charged more.
What Types of Car Accident Cases Do We Handle?
Automobile accident cases fall into some broad categories. Because each of these categories has unique legal and practical considerations. Our personal injury lawyers handle the following types of claims:
- Car and Truck Accidents – cases involving ordinary passenger vehicles crashing into each other;
- Commercial Vehicle Accidents – cases involving vehicles used for commercial purposes, including large tractor-trailers;
- Motorcycle Accidents – cases involving road hazards or other vehicles striking motorcycle drivers and their passengers;
- Bicycle Accidents – cases involving road hazards, sidewalk hazards, or other vehicles striking cyclists;
- Defective Vehicles – cases where a vehicle component, like a tire, airbag, or seatbelt fails to perform as expected;
- Pedestrian Injuries – cases where a vehicle strikes a pedestrian;
- Road Hazards – cases where the design or maintenance of a roadway causes an accident; and
- Off-road Vehicle Crashes – cases involving four-wheelers, dirt bikes, golf carts, and similar off-road vehicles.
- Rear-End Collisions – While this may be a type of auto accident, these accidents are some of the most commonly seen across our nation.
Even within these categories, there are some unique types of cases that are treated differently and require specialized knowledge and experience. These include the following types of cases, which you can learn more about by clicking the links below:
- Accidents involving Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare vehicles;
- Civil Lawsuits from Drunk Driving; and
- Crashes involving Electric Scooters, like Lime or Bird.
Click here for a detailed comparison
Which Areas of Georgia Do We Handle Car Accidents In?
At Wetherington Law Firm, we’re committed to providing exceptional legal support to car accident victims throughout Georgia. Our team understands the complexities of car accident cases, and we’re here to help you navigate these challenges, no matter where you are in the state.
Our Georgia Office Locations:
No matter which office you visit, you can expect the same level of expertise, dedication, and personalized care that Wetherington Law Firm is known for. We’re proud to serve clients across Georgia, ensuring everyone has access to the legal support they need after a car accident.
Getting Money After a Car Accident in Georgia
If you’re in a car accident in Georgia, it can be tough, both emotionally and financially. The Wetherington Law Firm knows this well. They are experts in helping you get money for your losses. The main idea in Georgia is that the person who caused the accident should pay. But, figuring out who’s to blame isn’t easy. That’s where the law firm’s skills are valuable. They look at everything – police reports, talk to experts, and more. They try hard to get you as much money as possible. Here are some people you might get money from:
The At-Fault Driver: If you’re in a crash with another car, you can ask for money from the driver who caused it. In Georgia, drivers must have insurance by law (O.C.G.A. 33-7-11). The least insurance they should have is:
- 25,000 for hurting or causing the death of one person in one crash.
- $50,000 for hurting or causing the death of more than one person in one crash.
- $25,000 for damaging someone else’s property in a crash.
These are just the lowest amounts they need. Sometimes there is more insurance. If what you lose is more than their insurance, the driver who caused the crash might have to pay the extra, but that rarely happens. Other times, the insurance company might have to pay for all your injuries.
The Owner of the At-Fault Vehicle: In Georgia and other states, if you’re hurt, you might get money from the person who owns the car that caused the crash, even if they weren’t driving. This is because of a rule called ‘negligent entrustment.’ It means the owner was careless in letting someone bad or dangerous drive their car. This often happens in drunk driving cases or if the company knew the driver was bad.
The Resident Relatives of the At-Fault Driver: Some insurance covers all family members who live together. This isn’t always the case, but it’s important to check all insurance papers to make sure. It is not recommended that you try investigating this claim yourself. Let a car accident lawyer handle it for you.
The Employer of the At-Fault Driver: If the person who caused the crash was working, their company might have to pay. This is true even if they were driving their own car. If they were using their boss’s car, people usually think they were working. But, the boss can say they weren’t. When a crash involves a driver from Uber or Lyft, it’s more complicated.
The Manufacturer of the Vehicle: If something wrong with the car caused the crash, like a sudden speed up, you might be able to sue the car’s maker. This is called a ‘defective vehicle claim.’ We handle a lot of cases involving defective cars and trucks. Even if the crash was because of a bad driver, if the car parts made your injury worse, like a weak roof or a bad seatbelt, you might still sue the car maker. In Georgia, there’s usually no limit to how much money you can get from a car maker.
The Manufacturer of the Vehicle’s Tires: If a tire problem caused the crash, the tire maker might be responsible. The law firm knows a lot about problems with tires. Tires can fail for many reasons, like not having safe design parts. There’s usually no limit to the money you can get from a tire maker in Georgia.
The Repair Shops That Serviced the Vehicle and Tires: After buying a car, it needs regular check-ups. As cars and tires get more complicated, people rely on service centers to keep them safe. But sometimes, these places don’t do their job right, putting people at risk. If they agreed to check your car and didn’t tell you about dangers or did a bad job, they might owe you money.
The Contractor Responsible for the Road Design or Upkeep: If the crash was because of a bad road, like a big hole, the company in charge of the road might be to blame. Also, if the road design makes crashes or serious hurts more likely, like not having a guardrail on a sharp turn, the company, or even the government, might have to pay.
Your Insurance Carrier – Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: If the person who caused the crash doesn’t have insurance or not enough to cover your hurt, your own insurance might help.
Your Resident Relative’s Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: In Georgia, all insurance for underinsured or uninsured drivers covers all family members living in the same house. If you and a family member live together but have different car insurance, you might get some benefits from your relative’s insurance after using all of yours.
Your Employer – Worker’s Compensation: If you get hurt in a crash while working, you might get worker’s comp. It doesn’t matter who caused the crash. If you can get worker’s comp, it will help cover you. You might be able to get both worker’s comp and insurance money.
Click here for a detailed comparison
Winning a Car Accident Case in Georgia: What You Need to Know
To win a car accident case in Georgia, you need to understand some key legal rules. All car accident cases are based on these rules, even though each case is different. To get money for injuries from a car accident, you must show four main things
- Duty of the Other Driver: This means the other driver had a responsibility to act safely.
- Failure to Follow That Duty: The driver didn’t act safely.
- Actual injuries; and
- Proof that the Driver’s Negligence Caused Your Injuries: The driver’s unsafe actions caused your injuries
These parts might sound complicated. That’s why detailed articles about each part are written, which you can read here. The first part, duty or responsibility, is very important. In Georgia, every driver must drive safely and not harm others. “Driving safely” usually means doing what a careful person would do in the same situation.
Usually, a careful driver will:
- Drive at a safe speed.
- Watch out for dangers and people walking.
- Give way to others when needed.
- Stop or slow down when it’s right to do so.
- Keep their car safe.
If someone doesn’t drive carefully, they are called “negligent.” Just driving carelessly without hurting anyone doesn’t mean you can sue them. For example, if a big truck is speeding and almost hits several cars but doesn’t, the owners of the cars can’t sue. Here’s a real video showing this:
But, if a careless truck driver causes a crash, they must pay for damages and injuries they caused. Usually, a jury decides if a driver was careless.
Besides the general rule of driving safely, there are specific road rules every driver must follow. When a driver breaks these rules and causes a crash, their actions are automatically seen as careless. In Georgia, these rules include things like speed limits, yielding rules, and safe vehicle maintenance. Breaking these rules can lead directly to being responsible for an accident.
Driving While Intoxicated
OCGA 40-6-253 and OCGA 40-6-391
Using a Phone While Driving
Failing to Yield to Pedestrians
OCGA 40-6-91, OCGA 40-6-92, OCGA 40-6-93, and OCGA 40-6-96
Failing to Obey a Traffic Official
Conducting a Police Chase in a Reckless Manner
Failing to Change Lanes to Give Space for Parked Emergency Vehicles and Construction Workers
OCGA 40-6-16 and OCGA 40-6-75
Tampering with or Stealing Road Signs
Failing to Maintain One Lane
OCGA 40-6-40 and OCGA 40-6-48
Going the Wrong Way on a One-Way Road
OCGA 40-6-47 and OCGA 40-6-240
Driving a Tractor-Trailer or Bus in the Far-Left Lane(s)
Failing to Yield to Emergency Vehicles
Making an Improper U-Turn
Failing to Exercise Due Caution Near Railroad Crossings
OCGA 40-6-140 and OCGA 40-6-142
Driving Too Slow in the Fast Lane
Failing to Slow and Exercise Caution in Construction Zones
Obstructing an Intersection
Failing to Secure all Loads
OCGA 40-6-248.1 and OCGA 40-6-254
Causing Serious Injury by Vehicle
Running a Red or Yellow Traffic Light
OCGA 40-6-20, OCGA 40-6-21, and OCGA 40-6-23
Traveling Too Close to Other Vehicles
Running Stop and Yield Signs
Failing to Yield to Other Vehicles
OCGA 40-6-70 and OCGA 40-6-73
Driving on the Shoulder, Gore, or Other Prohibited Areas
Fleeing Police Officers
Tampering with Traffic Signals
OCGA 40-6-25, OCGA 40-6-17, and OCGA 40-6-396
Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road
OCGA 40-6-40 and OCGA 40-6-45
Passing Another Vehicle Improperly
OCGA 40-6-42, OCGA 40-6-43, OCGA 40-6-44, and OCGA 40-6-46
Going the Wrong Way in a Roundabout
Turning the Wrong Way at an Intersection
OCGA 40-6-71 and OCGA 40-6-120
Failing to Yield to Funeral Processions
Failing to Use Turn Signals
Failing to Stop First Before Exiting a Parking Lot
Parking a Vehicle in an Unsafe Place
Driving a Vehicle with an Obstructed View
Laying Drags or Intentionally Making Skid Marks
Intentionally Striking and Killing a Person with a Vehicle
Failing to Follow Pedestrian Traffic Signals
Failing to Drive Motorcycles Safely
OCGA 40-6-310 and OCGA 40-6-311
If there is evidence that an at-fault driver committed one of the above violations, the jury will likely be read the following law at trial:
The plaintiff contends that the defendant violated certain laws or ordinances. Such violation is called negligence per se, which means negligence as a matter of law. It is your duty to decide whether such violation took place or not.”
This means that if you successfully prove that the alleged violation took place, then negligence is established and you only have to prove that your injuries were caused by the negligent act.
Losing a Car Accident Case in Georgia: What Could Go Wrong?
Getting money after a car accident case in Georgia isn’t automatic, even if you’re hurt. Sometimes, people don’t get the money they should. Here are common reasons why car accident claims might fail:
Missing the Deadline for Your Claim: In Georgia, you have two years to start a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident (Georgia’s statute of limitations). If you wait too long, you can’t sue at all. This rule is there because over time, evidence can get lost, people forget things, and witnesses might move or pass away. That’s why it’s key to start your claim quickly.
Contributory Negligence and Comparative Fault Rules: In some places, if you did anything to cause the accident, you can’t win any money (this is called contributory negligence). But in Georgia, we use “comparative negligence.” Here, a jury looks at how much each person is to blame. In Georgia, if you’re 50% or more at fault, you can’t get any money. If you’re less at fault, like 40%, you can still get some money, but less (60% in this case).
Example: Imagine two famous Atlanta rappers, Ludacris and Usher, both want the same parking spot and crash into each other. If Ludacris sues Usher but the jury thinks Ludacris is 50% to blame, he gets nothing. But if they think he’s only 40% to blame, he can still get 60% of his damages.
Where an action is brought against one or more persons for injury to person or property and the plaintiff is to some degree responsible for the injury or damages claimed, the trier of fact, in its determination of the total amount of damages to be awarded, if any, shall determine the percentage of fault of the plaintiff and the judge shall reduce the amount of damages otherwise awarded to the plaintiff in proportion to his or her percentage of fault. … The plaintiff shall not be entitled to receive any damages if the plaintiff is 50 percent or more responsible for the injury or damages claimed. -O.C.G.A. 51-12-33
Assuming the Risk: This means if you knew something was dangerous but did it anyway, you might not get money. The law says you need to know about the danger, understand it, and choose to face it. This can be hard to prove.
Example: Let’s say Wilson knows her neighbor’s dog, Baby, is dangerous because it bit someone before. Wilson tries to break up a fight between Baby and her own dog and gets bitten. The court might say Wilson knew the risk and can’t get money for her injuries.
Government Immunity in Some Cases: Sometimes, if a government worker or part of the government caused the accident, special rules apply. There are different deadlines and limits on who you can sue. This area of law is complex and varies a lot.
What Money Can You Get After a Car Accident?
The main goal of tort law, which deals with harm caused by others, is to give money to make up for losses. This money is called “compensatory damages,” and it tries to put you in the position you were in before the accident. These damages are split into two types: general damages and special damages.
Getting “General” Damages After a Car Accident
General damages are for losses that don’t have a set price. This includes pain and suffering, scars, or mental distress. The amount you get for these is decided by the jury and can vary a lot. For example, a broken ankle might get $10,000 in one case or $100,000 in another. We tried a case in Fulton County where a broken ankle led to a $2.8 million verdict. But remember, the amount changes a lot based on different things, like the person injured, the jury, and how good the lawyer is.
Getting “Special” Damages After a Car Accident
Special damages are for specific costs, like doctor bills, lost pay, or paying someone to do housework. These have exact costs and are easier to figure out. But, you can only get money for medical costs that are directly caused by the accident. “Proximate cause” is often argued about in these cases.
Punitive Damages for Reckless or Intentional Harm
Sometimes, if the person who caused the accident was really careless or meant to cause harm, you might get “punitive damages.” This money isn’t for paying you back; it’s to punish the person who caused the accident. To get this, you must show that the driver’s actions were really bad, like on purpose or not caring at all about others.
Spouses Can Get Money Too
If you’re married and get hurt in an accident, your spouse can get money too. This is for “loss of consortium.” It means they get money for the loss of things you do in the marriage, like chores, fixing things, being together, and all that comes with being married.
If the Accident Causes a Death
When a car accident leads to someone dying, it becomes a “wrongful death” case. This is different from a personal injury case. Wrongful death cases have their own rules. To learn more about wrongful death claims, click here.
For more information on these types of damages and how they apply in Georgia, you might find these resources helpful:
- Georgia’s State Courts
- Georgia Legal Code
- Georgia Bar Association for detailed legal information and resources.
Georgia Car Accident FAQ
What Do I Do After A Car Accident?
Your first priority after a car accident is to check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If any injuries are found, seek medical attention before anything else. It’s important to stay at the scene and collect all the information if you are uninjured or only have minor injuries. Focus on getting insurance and contact information from the other driver. If there were witnesses to the accident, get their information as well. Take as many photos of the scene and damage to the vehicles. CONTINUE READING
How Long Do I Have To Report an Accident in Georgia?
In the state of Georgia you have 2 years to report the accident to your insurance, and file a lawsuit for injuries. In most cases, you have 4 years to file for damage to property. This would allow you to sue for personal items destroyed in the accident along with the cost of car repairs. CONTINUE READING
In Rear-End Collisions Are The Rear Drivers Always At Fault?
In the state of Georgia, the rear driver is presumed to be at fault unless adequate evidence is presented to prove otherwise. The logic is that the rear driver is responsible for maintaining an appropriate following distance. With that said, if evidence can be provided to prove the lead driver was at fault or that the accident was unavoidable and not due to anyone’s individual negligence fault may be shifted or shared between both parties. CONTINUE READING
What Do I Do If The Other Motorist’s Insurance Adjuster Asks For A Statement?
You do not have any obligation to give a statement to their insurance company, and should not. It’s possible that you may accidentally make a comment that puts your claim in jeopardy. If you mention that you don’t remember details of the event clearly or feel injured at the time, those comments may be used against you to limit the compensation you may be entitled to. CONTINUE READING