The moments in life when you most need to hire a lawyer are often the moments when that’s the last thing you want to think about. In the case of a car accident, you’re probably coping with physical pain, missing out on plans, worrying about the impact on your career, or, in the most serious instances, mourning a lost loved one.
As inconvenient as it can feel to add a lawsuit to your to-do list, consulting with a car accident lawyer really can make it easier to put your life back together in the long run.
Below, we’ll go into detail on how traffic accidents affect Johns Creek residents, and how a good car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. If you’d prefer to speak directly with a lawyer about your case, please feel free to reach out by phone or chat at any time.
Johns Creek’s Most Publicized Hit-and-Run Case Is One of Many
In June of 2021, a man reportedly pulled over on McGinnis Ferry Road, near the Chattahoochee River, to help his girlfriend with a mattress on the roof of her car. The two of them were part of a caravan of vehicles helping a friend move. While he was adjusting the mattress’s fastenings, a passing BMW swerved into him, killing him. According to the victim’s mother, who was also present in the caravan, the BMW driver turned around to view the scene and looked directly at her, before fleeing.
The victim was Richard Bartlett III, brother of Stephon Tuitt of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and his mother, Tamara Bartlett, is a Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Deputy.
The family has been pushing hard to hold the driver of the BMW accountable, renting billboards and offering a substantial reward for any information, but as of this posting, the driver has not been found.
While the Bartlett family’s campaign for answers has been more public than the aftermath of most traffic accidents, the tragedy they’re facing will be familiar to all too many Georgia families. Georgia has historically had the fourth most hit-and-run fatalities in the country by volume, outstripped only by states with much higher populations.
No Georgia neighborhoods are truly safe. In January of 2017, another young man was struck in Johns Creek, on State Bridge Road. The driver left him bleeding heavily from the arm. In search of help, he walked half a mile by himself, before a passerby finally noticed him in front of the Whole Foods and called 911. He was then brought to North Fulton Hospital soon enough to save his life, but again, the hit-and-run driver disappeared.
Hit-and-run accidents can obviously be challenging to translate into lawsuits, simply because of the difficulty of locating the perpetrators and proving their identities. When hit-and-run drivers are caught, however, survivors and families who sue can typically expect large settlements. Fleeing an accident is negligent and illegal, and drivers who do this are often ordered to pay punitive damages, regardless of the details of the accident itself.
Criminal Activity Makes Johns Creek Roads Less Safe
Hit-and-run accidents aren’t the only overlap between crime and road tragedies in Johns Creek.
People tend to feel secure and separated from others while in a car, but that feeling is largely an illusion. Just as one person may attack or rob another in a home or business, or on the sidewalk, the same happens between drivers on the road.
In October of 2020, a man reportedly crashed his own car on Old Alabama Road, abandoned it, and then proceeded to try to carjack two other people, breaking one of their windows. He also injured one of the firefighters who intervened and detained him.
In addition to incidents like these, there’s the simple fact that most people in Metro Atlanta use cars to get where they’re going, and that includes the criminals. People who are already engaged in some other manner of criminal activity often behave recklessly or aggressively toward others on the road, especially while attempting escape.
This phenomenon had fatal results in January of 2016, when a suspect led Johns Creek police on a chase along the GA-141, ending in a crash at Jay Bird Alley. The fleeing vehicle collided with an elderly couple’s car, killing them both. The driver was charged with DUI and vehicular homicide, along with charges for injuring his 18-year-old son, who was in the car with him. Both father and son also faced assorted drug charges, including trafficking meth and morphine.
Much like hit-and-run, the fact that a traffic incident is part of a larger crime spree can make an at-fault driver’s negligence more obvious, and help a victim’s case in civil court.
As Johns Creek Residents Know, Flawed Infrastructure Contributes to Accidents
On the other end of the scale, some accidents are caused, or at least partially caused, by factors beyond the control of any of the drivers involved.
Road design and upkeep plays a key role in safety. Things like blind corners and poorly timed traffic lights can greatly increase the risk of injuries and deaths, no matter how attentive and responsible drivers may be.
Johns Creek is currently in the process of making some major updates to improve safety on the road, as well as comfort and efficiency. In particular, the city just accepted $200,000 of federal funding to update a stretch of Abbott’s Bridge Road.
The changes may be too little too late for many accident victims, however. For example, Johns Creek residents have been trying for years to reduce the speed limit on parts of the GA-141, particularly a spot just over a mile long that has reportedly seen over 500 accidents in one decade.
While changing a speed limit is a tricky thing — there are federal regulations that don’t always take local factors into account — the city does have an obligation to address problems like these in some way. An excessive accident rate in a concentrated space isn’t usually caused by high speed limits alone. The intersections along this stretch may need redesigning, or there may be businesses nearby that encourage risky driving.
When a traffic accident has extra causes like these, it’s sometimes possible for the victim to collect compensation from the city, instead of, or in addition to, the other driver’s insurance.
Traffic Accidents Can Affect Anyone in Johns Creek
While crime and poor road design make getting around more dangerous for everyone, plenty of traffic accidents also happen on relatively safe roads, among otherwise law-abiding people. Many times, the difference between a normal drive and a horrifying car wreck is a single, momentary, catastrophic mistake.
Some of the most dangerous driving errors include:
- Right-of-way errors at intersections — This is where the majority of accidents happen. In 2016, a motorcyclist was trying to turn left from Jones Bridge Road onto Douglas Road and was struck by an oncoming vehicle. In 2020, a similar accident happened at the intersection of McGinnis Ferry Road and River Walk Landing, when a turning vehicle collided with two other cars. Both accidents had fatalities.
- Crossing the median — This happens surprisingly often, resulting in head-on collisions. Head-on collisions are extra deadly, because the full momentum of both vehicles is directed into the crash. According to witness reports, that’s exactly what happened in 2017 at the intersection of Barnwell Road and Rivermont Parkway. The driver who remained in her lane was killed, and the one who crossed the center suffered injuries and apparent memory loss.
- Mishandling of large commercial vehicles — Even professional drivers can cause serious accidents, especially if they’re exhausted or under pressure from their employers to work too quickly. In November of 2015, a truck ran a red light at Jones Bridge Road and Douglas Road, causing a T-bone collision with an elementary school bus. Four students and the bus driver suffered injuries.
- Failure to avoid an existing crash site — Once an individual car accident has happened, the danger of further injury actually increases, for those involved and everyone around them. This is when traffic pileups and chain reactions can occur, like the one that killed a man on the GA-141 in March of 2022. The man had stopped to offer assistance to someone who had crashed into the median near Granite Lane, when he was struck by a passing SUV. Another person who had stopped to help was also struck but survived. Apparently, the door of the crashed vehicle hid the two of them from oncoming traffic.
As varied as car accident scenarios can be, the one constant is the need, and the struggle, for survivors and families to receive adequate compensation.
Survivors of Serious Car Accidents Almost Always Need Legal Representation
There are lots of reasons why a car accident survivor might feel uncertain about pursuing a lawsuit. Some worry about the hassle, or how others will perceive them, or the effect they might have on the other driver’s life. Others assume they will be paid what they are owed automatically.
The fact is, the systems currently in place to help car accident victims and their families do not work unless the victim has legal representation. Most of the financial responsibility for a car accident lies with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, but these companies know that accident survivors can’t force them to pay without taking legal action. To maximize their profits, they give most unrepresented victims a fraction of what they’re owed, taking advantage of their misgivings about suing.
Thankfully, the fear of ruining another driver’s finances by suing after a car accident is generally unfounded. Insurance companies are often willing to settle cases for a reasonable sum, with nothing out of their customers’ pockets, once they find out the victim is professionally represented.
The Stoddard Firm Has Highly Qualified Lawyers for Johns Creek Car Accidents
While the simple presence of a car accident lawyer in your corner can go a long way toward getting you fair compensation for your injuries and losses, it’s important to find someone who can handle every possible turn your case might take.
As well as expertise in traffic law and personal injury/wrongful death, it’s a good idea to look for knowledge of the area where the accident happened. Particularly in cases where the fault is contested, or flawed infrastructure plays a role, your lawyer will need to be able to speak knowledgeably about local traffic patterns, speed limits, and trouble spots.
At The Stoddard Firm, we also harness our local knowledge to make sure our clients get the benefit of all available evidence. For example, we’ll coordinate with local tow companies, like Johns Creek Towing Service, to verify where a client’s vehicle was hit, or with Emory Johns Creek Hospital to establish the severity of the injuries.
To get started with a free consultation on your case, just give us a call at 678-RESULT, or reach out through our online chat function any time.