The roads of Newnan Georgia are a complex web of ground-level highways, where local commuters and long-haul trucks are funneled together, right alongside residential neighborhoods and commercial districts with high foot traffic.
Adding in the frequent threat of reckless drivers and highspeed chases cutting through the city, Newnan residents have a lot to be nervous about on the road.
Below, we’ll go into detail on some of the most serious and pervasive traffic hazards in Newnan, and what accident survivors can do to protect themselves. If at any point you would prefer to speak directly with a Newnan car accident lawyer about your case, feel free to reach out by phone or chat.
Large Vehicles and Unfit Drivers Are a Deadly Combination
Every vehicle used on public streets increases the risk of death for pedestrians and people using smaller vehicles. The larger the vehicle, the greater the risk it creates, simply by existing.
This is because when two objects collide on the road, the less massive one will usually take the worst of the damage.
Often, the deaths and injuries that surround larger vehicles happen through no fault of the driver. For example, this year in Newnan:
- In April, a motorcycle ran into the back of an SUV that was stopped at an intersection on Poplar Road, near Piedmont Newnan Hospital.
- In September, a car drifted out of its lane on the I-85 and hit the back of a tractor-trailer that was stopped on the shoulder.
- In October, a car struck a pedestrian who was apparently walking in the middle of Franklin Highway near Ishman Ballard Road in the dark.
In all three cases, the person with the smaller vehicle, or no vehicle, was killed (the motorcyclist, the car driver, and the pedestrian respectively). The survivors were not charged with any wrongdoing.
Obviously, larger vehicles are sometimes the best transportation option available, and it is possible to operate them responsibly. The important thing is never to underestimate the destructive power of mass combined with velocity.
Sadly, many companies that control dozens or hundreds of huge commercial vehicles don’t prioritize safety when they can prioritize speed instead. Commercial truck drivers are often subjected to exhausting schedules and constant instructions to hurry, making attentive and defensive driving impossible.
Even more dangerously, large vehicles occasionally end up in the hands of people who don’t have the qualifications to drive them at all.
Companies like U-Haul will rent sizeable trucks to essentially any adult with a basic driver’s license. While legal, this practice puts untrained people on the road in vehicles that may be very different from the ones they’re used to. Questionable maintenance on rental trucks may also make them more challenging and unpredictable to handle.
In May, a woman was hospitalized after losing control of a U-Haul on the GA-134, near Pete Davis Road. She struck a utility pole and was not wearing a seatbelt. Thankfully, no one else was hurt.
In a more intense case of a dangerous amateur truck driver, in February, police shot a man who was allegedly driving a stolen tractor-trailer down the I-85, weaving and striking other cars. The Coweta County Sheriff’s Office argued that deadly force was necessary to end the chase, due to the immediate threat the driver posed to others.
If the accident that harmed you involved a larger truck or bus, it’s always worth questioning whether it was being maintained and operated with the extra care these vehicles require.
Crime and Traffic Accidents Go Hand in Hand in Newnan
While the chase involving the tractor-trailer was especially extreme, it’s common for crime to translate to unsafe driving.
In 2022 alone, Newnan has seen at least three other highspeed police chases through its streets:
- In March, police stopped a fleeing vehicle with a PIT maneuver at Posey Place and Jackson Street, sending it crashing into Christy’s Café. The porches of both the café and a neighboring building were damaged.
- In June, a 14-year-old boy, too young even for a learner’s permit, drove at speeds of up to 130 miles per hour while fleeing police, before crashing into a house and killing the woman inside.
- In September, a chase that started in South Fulton County ended up cutting through Newnan, causing a minor accident at Clark Street and Jackson Street. The driver was eventually cornered in a residential yard.
Regardless of how police approach situations like these, people fleeing legal consequences using a vehicle are always dangerous to the public.
This is true even when there are no police actively present. People who have recently committed crimes like assault or robbery are more likely to drive recklessly while putting distance between themselves and the scene of the crime, for example.
Thankfully, courts tend to side more firmly with car accident victims when the accident was the result of someone else’s crime spree.
Victims of DUI or Hit-and-Run May Be Able to Collect Larger Settlements
In addition to the dangerous driving behaviors that tend to accompany crime, some acts of negligence on the road are also crimes in their own right.
Driving under the influence of intoxicating substances (DUI), and leaving the scene of an accident without offering help or insurance information (hit-and-run), are two of the most common examples in Georgia. Newnan has certainly had its share of these incidents.
- In November of 2022, a Georgia State Patrol officer was arrested and fired on suspicion of DUI, after crashing his patrol car on the GA-54, on his way to work here in Newnan.
- The previous May, there was an incident involving both DUI and hit-and-run, in which the victim followed the hit-and-run driver and eventually found him stuck on top of a curb, after running over a chain link fence near the Newnan High School soccer fields. Both drivers were arrested in that case, because the hit-and-run victim also had outstanding warrants.
- In December of 2021, a driver fled after hitting a bicyclist at the corner of Sewell Road and Greenville Street. The driver was caught, which is often the hardest part of addressing a hit-and-run accident, but unfortunately, the bicyclist did not survive.
Like traffic accidents caused by other types of crime, road crimes like DUI and hit-and-run tend to nullify most disputes over who was at fault for an accident. Assuming the culprit can be located, the victim can typically sue for significant compensation, and sometimes an additional sum categorized as punitive damages.
Fair Compensation Almost Always Requires Professional Representation
While crime and large vehicles certainly make the roads more dangerous, plenty of traffic accidents happen when people in ordinary personal vehicles make seemingly small mistakes. Unfortunately, small mistakes do not always translate to small consequences.
For example, a few days after Christmas of 2021, a car drifted across the center line on the GA-29, causing a head-on collision with a pickup truck travelling in the opposite direction. The pickup truck driver was killed, and the car driver had to be transported from the scene to the Atlanta Medical Center for treatment. She was ultimately charged with homicide by vehicle and failure to maintain lane, but no intentional criminal acts, such as drinking before driving, were ever reported.
Families harmed by accidents like these are sometimes hesitant to take legal action, because they do not want to make the situation more difficult for someone who might just have had an honest and rare lapse in judgement.
This is where it’s important to understand the role of insurance.
Even the most basic car insurance policy covers the policyholder’s liability toward others, up to a certain amount. That’s what drivers pay these companies for every month. The point is to make sure that if the driver does make a mistake, the damages to others will be covered, without the driver personally having to pay for a sudden, large expense.
However, insurance is a for-profit industry. So, when a traffic accident actually happens, the insurance companies have one primary goal: minimizing their own expenses.
If representatives for an insurance company believe they can deflect blame from their customer and pay nothing, they will try. If they know the customer is liable, they will offer the smallest settlement they believe the victim might accept.
The at-fault driver has no say in this process, and does not benefit at all from any savings the insurance company gets from lowballing victims.
Accident victims and their families have a right to insist upon the full compensation they’re owed under the law — compensation the at-fault driver has already helped pay for with their insurance premiums. The most effective way to get an insurance company to fulfill its responsibilities is to filter all interaction with the company through a qualified car accident lawyer.
What to Do If You’ve Been Harmed in a Newnan Traffic Accident
To best protect yourself physically, legally, and financially after a traffic accident in Newnan, follow these steps as closely as you can, to the extent that they apply to you:
- Immediately after the accident, move out of traffic if possible, and then stop as close to the accident site as you safely can.
- Exchange insurance and contact information with all other drivers involved in the accident. Also make your information available to any pedestrians or passengers who may have been hurt. Do not comment on fault at this time.
- Call 911 to report the accident and request any necessary emergency services. This call is legally required for all but the most minor property-damage-only accidents.
- If there are any injuries severe and obvious enough to require a response by paramedics, allow them to examine you and follow their advice.
- Take pictures of the accident, if possible, or ask someone to do it for you.
- Once you are certain everyone has received your information and whatever medical care they will accept, make your arrangements to leave, and call a tow service for your vehicle.
- If you did not receive a medical exam at the scene, schedule one for yourself at your earliest convenience. In either case, follow through on all recommended care.
- Keep a thorough record of all accident-related expenses, including lost income, and write down what you can remember of the accident itself for your own reference.
- When ready, reach out to a qualified lawyer who represents car accident victims in Newnan. Do not attempt to reach out to the at-fault driver’s insurance company by yourself, or accept any calls from them.
The lawyers at The Stoddard Firm are experienced in traffic law, personal injury law, and wrongful death law, and we know the Newnan area. This enables us to speak knowledgeably on local traffic patterns, and coordinate effectively with local businesses and organizations, including Piedmont Newnan Hospital and tow companies like Southside Wrecker and KRD Towing and Recovery. We’ll coordinate directly with any entity we need to collect evidence from, to make your experience as smooth and simple as possible.
For a free consultation with a car accident lawyer, just reach out at 678-RESULTS or through our online chat function.