The days after a car accident are never easy. You might be recovering from serious physical injuries, or in shock from the loss of a loved one. You might be experiencing flashbacks or trouble sleeping. You might be wondering if you’ll get to keep your career, or even your home.
You also probably have some questions about your legal rights, and what your next move should be. And as much as you need time to process and grieve, the truth is that a timely response on your part does make a big difference in terms of what legal and financial outcome you can expect.
Below, we’ll discuss common types of South Fulton traffic accidents, what causes them, and how civil litigation may be able to help you. If at any time you’re prefer to speak directly with a lawyer, feel free to reach out by phone or chat.
South Fulton Struggles with Reckless Drivers
Recklessness is disregard for the safety of others. Or, in more practical usage, it’s behavior that indicates disregard for the safety of others. For an individual’s actions to qualify as reckless, it’s generally not necessary to prove that the individual took the time to consider the risks to others and then chose to ignore them. As long as a reasonable person would notice the danger, that’s enough in most cases.
On the road, recklessness can come in the form of driving drunk, excessive speeding, ignoring stop signs and lights, or swerving across lanes without looking, to name a few common examples.
Recently, South Fulton has had a particular problem with street racing. Racing on public streets is extremely dangerous, both to the participants and to innocent bystanders anywhere nearby. The motivation to win encourages many of the reckless acts mentioned above. Even racers who believe that they’ll prioritize lives over winning if they see anyone in immediate danger can have trouble shifting quickly from a racing mentality to a responsible driving mentality. Or, they may not see the bystanders in time to react at all.
People often assume that street races arise out of personal rivalries, friendly or otherwise, among small groups of teenagers who haven’t fully grasped the responsibility of driving. While this can happen, the phenomenon that South Fulton is facing is much bigger and more organized than that. In December of 2021, the South Fulton Police Department performed a street racing sting on Purdue Drive. They ended up making 33 arrests, as well as confiscating four vehicles and a stolen gun.
If you’ve been injured by street racing or other reckless driving, you have the right to sue.
Hit-and-Run Adds Extra Negligence to Any Accident
After an accident occurs, every involved driver is required to stop in the nearest safe place, exchange accurate insurance and contact information, and help anyone in need of medical attention to access it.
Even in extreme situations where one driver threatens or attacks another, forcing them to flee to protect their life, the fleeing driver must at least call the police immediately, identify themselves, and make a full report. Fleeing an accident site to avoid responsibility is hit-and-run, and if there are serious injuries, it’s also a felony.
Unfortunately, South Fulton residents fall victim to hit-and-run fairly often. In August of 2021, a driver reportedly crossed the double yellow line on Cascade Palmetto Highway to illegally pass a big rig. He struck another car head on, killing the other driver. The suspect fled the scene on foot, and police have not been able to locate him.
Most hit-and-run incidents follow this pattern, with the fault for the accident falling fairly clearly on the hit-and-run driver, who then runs from the seemingly inevitable legal consequences. However, there are also cases where the hit-and-run driver was not originally at fault, or the fault is vague. Even then, the act of running away from the damage is criminal and negligent.
For example, in February of 2022, a pedestrian attempted to cross the I-85 near Old National Highway in the middle of the night, was struck by multiple vehicles, and ultimately died at the scene. Only one vehicle stopped.
That stretch of freeway ranges from 16-22 lanes across, and obviously, it’s not open to pedestrians. These drivers would not have expected to see someone crossing their paths, and may have had very little chance of avoiding the accident. Yet if every driver who struck the pedestrian had stopped, it’s possible they might have been able to help, or alert other drivers to the unusual situation, before it was too late. That’s how their negligence may have killed this person, and why stopping after an accident, every single time, is so important.
If you’ve been hurt or lost a loved one to a hit-and-run driver, the biggest obstacle to your lawsuit will simply be finding them. Hit-and-run drivers get away with disheartening frequency. If the driver is apprehended, however, the fact that they fled will greatly help your case against them.
Unsafe Roads Can Cause as Much Harm as Careless Drivers
Establishing fault after a traffic accident usually means dividing it up among the drivers and pedestrians involved. The percentage of fault assigned to each person then helps determine whose insurance company owes what compensation.
This process doesn’t always tell the whole story, because drivers and pedestrians aren’t the only entities who can contribute to traffic accidents.
When one location seems particularly prone to accidents, poor city planning may play a role. Residents have suggested that this may be the case with Campbellton-Fairburn Road, for example. In February of 2022, a man was found dead by the side of this road from yet another apparent hit-and-run.
Nothing excuses the unknown driver for leaving him there without stopping, but the design of the road may have been a factor in the collision itself. Cambellton-Fairburn Road is a busy thoroughfare, better known as Highway 92, and it’s the main or sole connecting road for some nearby residential areas. Residents who wish to go just about anywhere on foot must use Cambellton-Fairburn, and as the neighbor who discovered the body notes, the city has not installed regular crosswalks or even lights.
If you believe unsafe roads may have been a contributing factor in your accident, it’s worth consulting a lawyer about city, county, or state liability.
High Density of Commercial Vehicles in South Fulton Puts Residents at Risk
Private companies can also make roads more dangerous. When a company puts vehicles on the road, it is responsible for making sure those vehicles are in good condition, and that the drivers are competent and committed to safety. This includes giving those drivers the support they need to follow traffic laws and safety best practices, instead of incentivizing them to speed, take dangerous shortcuts, and drive while fatigued.
The SFPD has been fighting an ongoing battle with trucking companies, over trucks cutting illegally through residential areas, including the Cascade Road Corridor. Although truckers are statistically quite safe drivers, their presence still makes roads less safe. An accident that might be minor if it happened between two cars will often be deadly if it involves a 20-ton big rig. The danger is worse on roads that are not designed to accommodate larger trucks.
If you’ve been injured by an on-duty commercial vehicle, you likely have a case against the company that controls it.
Any Kind of Traffic Accident Can Happen in South Fulton
So far, we’ve touched on some of the most consistent, recent, and ongoing tragedies South Fulton residents have faced on the road. These are not the only types of traffic accidents that happen here, around the country, or around the world, and they’re not the only types we handle at the Stoddard Firm.
We fight for fair compensation for the victims of all types of negligent traffic accidents, including but not limited to:
- Failure to stop
- Failure to yield
- Lane-change collisions
- Driveway collisions
- Wrong-way accidents
- Car versus motorcycle
- Car versus bicycle
- Car versus pedestrian
- Multi-car pileups
In short, if you were injured or lost a loved one due to someone else’s lawbreaking, recklessness, or carelessness on South Fulton roads, we’re here to listen and talk you through your options.
A Civil Car Accident Lawyer Can Get You Justice Criminal Courts Can’t Deliver
When the consequences of a car wreck are particularly devastating, and person at fault has behaved particularly egregiously, survivors and families often place their focus on getting a criminal conviction.
At Fulton County Superior Court, this has been a long and frustrating process of late, due to the backlog of cases left by the COVID-19 pandemic. Case in point, in April of 2020, a car reportedly crossed the center of West Road while speeding and struck a motorcycle head-on, killing the rider. Nearly two years later, the victim’s family says there has been no progress on the criminal trial, not even an estimated future date.
Hopefully, the court will eventually get to this case, but when it does, the best the family can hope for is a sense of closure. There won’t be any compensation, any assistance with the victim’s final expenses or the loss of his income, because that’s not what criminal law does.
A civil lawsuit, on the other hand, can help ease the financial burden on a grieving family or injured survivor. Although civil cases currently face backlogs as well, plaintiffs in civil cases can benefit from having a lawyer in their corner, handling communication with the courthouse for them. Survivors who file a suit are much less likely to end up feeling alone, uncertain, and shut out of the process.
Civil law has even greater advantages in situations where car wreck survivors aren’t interested in punishing anyone — either due to personal convictions or because the accident was an honest mistake — but still need help covering their expenses.
Auto insurance companies assume financial responsibility for their customers’ liability while on the road. This means most car accident lawsuits are less about the at-fault driver themselves, and more about making sure their insurance company pays the victim the full amount owed. (This almost never happens without a lawsuit.)
Criminal and civil law operate separately, so filing a car accident lawsuit does not affect any criminal proceedings against the at-fault driver, one way or the other.
The Stoddard Firm Has Qualified Attorneys for South Fulton Car Accidents
At The Stoddard Firm, we know car accidents, and we know South Fulton.
From charting problem spots on the 70 and the 154, to tracking ruined vehicles with South Fulton GA Towing, to establishing medical records with Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center South, and, in the worst of cases, working with Forest Lawn Funeral Home or Southern Cremations and Funerals to make sure all necessary examinations have been done, we’re familiar with the places and people likely to come up in the course of your case.
We’ll help you prove exactly what happened, and what led to it. We’ll make sure the full extent of your injuries and losses are recognized, so that your settlement reflects them appropriately. We’ll represent you in interactions with the insurance companies, as well as the court, so you have room to focus on yourself. And we’ll do it all with the knowledgeability that only comes from being local.
To discuss your situation with a South Fulton car accident lawyer in a free consultation, just call us at 678-RESULTS, or reach out through our online chat function.