Common Asked Questions
- Call the police or local law enforcement before anyone has left the scene of the accident and if possible do not move anything until the police have arrived. Georgia and Alabama law require each driver to notify law enforcement before leaving the scene of the collision.
- Seek immediate medical attention—it is better to be safe than sorry and many people do not realize how severely they have been injured until hours later.
- Collect Names of all persons involved. Make sure you have the name, address, and contact information of all parties involved including the drivers and any witnesses.
- Obtain insurance information on all vehicles/drivers involved in the collision.
- Never admit fault for the collision. Let the police or your attorney investigate the accident. Oftentimes, the other driver’s conduct played a role in the collision which may or may not be readily apparent to you particularly if you are injured, excited or adrenaline pumping.
- Seek qualified legal counsel—you need a lawyer who has experience in this area, and remember, not every lawyer is the right lawyer for your situation. At TED MORGAN LAW your initial consultation and case evaluations are free of charge and require no commitment from you. Make sure your rights are protected and seek legal counsel immediately following your collision, ideally within 24-72 hours after your accident.
- Do not volunteer statements to insurance company reps. Remember, you are not required to give a statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company before obtaining qualified legal counsel. Rest assured, they seek to minimize your claim, maximize their profits, and will not represent your best interests.
Do you need an attorney? TED MORGAN LAW knows those tactics and knows how to protect your rights, and is your lifeline to recovery.
Typically insurance claim representatives for the at fault driver receive notice immediately following the accident and begin their investigation of the collision and your injuries right away. The insurance company’s goal is to minimize your recovery of money damages. These representatives are directed and coached by attorneys or other experienced claim reps, and their goal is to delay, deny and defend, none of which serve your interests. Protecting your rights as soon as possible is vital to your case. A person-to-person consultation and evaluation of your accident from TED MORGAN LAW is free and you are under no obligation to hire us. You should know that the faster you hire a qualified accident attorney, the quicker you can begin your recovery process. If you choose TED MORGAN LAW to represent you we will fight to protect your rights and seek to obtain the best result for you. TED MORGAN LAW will guide you throughout the process by dealing with the insurance companies, managing your medical bills, and where appropriate, we will assign a professional (expert) to perform an accident investigation and help you find proper medical treatment when you don’t know where to turn.
Georgia “at fault” rules often refer to “comparative negligence”, meaning driver error for the accident may be partially assigned to more than one driver and therefore you should never give up on your claim simply because you (or your driver) received a citation or because an insurance company claim rep says you caused the accident. Here are a few examples of driver error and examples of the type cases we have handled:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Texting while Driving
- Failure to obey traffic control devices (think, red lights, stop signs, etc.)
- Following too closely (rear-end collisions)
- Failure to yield the right-of-way (e.g. oncoming driver turns left in front of you)
- Failure to yield entering and/or crossing a roadway (e.g. driver comes out of a private drive into your lane of traffic)
- Failure to yield at an intersection (Georgia & Alabama have rules that tell us who has the right of way at an intersection without red lights and/or stop signs)
- Driver hits a Pedestrian
- Failure to turn on Headlights (You hit another vehicle with no headlights)
- Reckless Driving (racing, weaving and total disregard for there traffic)
- Improper lane change
- Myth No.1: YOU DO NOT NEED AN ATTORNEY—the insurance company will tell you that you do not need representation and that they will handle your claim in a fair and efficient manner, this is simply not true. Our firm will help you assemble a clear and convincing demand package to support your personal injury claim, and we know how to make the insurance company pay without a lawsuit and if it becomes necessary we know how to bring your case to trial. The bottom line is, the claim rep wants to keep you out of my office.
- Myth No. 2: YOU MUST GIVE A RECORDED STATEMENT REGARDING THE DETAILS OF YOUR ACCIDENT—you do not have to give a statement to the at fault drivers insurance company. Insurance reps are trained to obtain statements harmful to your claim.
- Myth No. 3: THERE IS NOT ENOUGH MONEY FOR YOUR CLAIM—both Georgia and Alabama require that every automobile operated on the highways of the states be insured with liability coverage. The minimum required coverage in Georgia is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident (for 2 or more claimants). Alabama mandates coverage of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. Don’t let the claim rep tell you there is not enough money to go around.
- Myth No. 4: YOU HAVE TO SIGN A MEDICAL AUTHORIZATION SO THE CLAIM REP CAN OBTAIN ALL OF YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS, EVEN RECORDS NOT RELATED TO YOUR CLAIM. This is simply not true. We settle thousands of claims without ever providing any medical authorizations to the claims rep, and we show them only the medical records you say we can disclose. DON’T RELY ON THE CLAIM REP FOR LEGAL ADVICE.
- Myth No. 4: THERE IS ONLY ONE SOURCE OF PAYMENT FOR YOUR CLAIM—The insurance claim rep may tell you that there is only one policy for the vehicle involved in the crash but, for example, if the at-fault driver is married there may be additional coverage, and maybe a second liability insurance carrier, and this coverage may “stack” giving additional and higher insurance coverage to pay for your damages. Likewise, other policies covering different vehicles in the same household may provide coverage for your injury.
- Myth No. 5: YOU CANNOT RECEIVE COMPENSATION IF YOU USE COVERAGE FROM YOUR OWN INSURANCE COMPANY—You may be able to receive compensation through your own insurance coverage as a portion of your medical payments coverage or uninsured motorist policies and this can often be combined with the available recovery from the at-fault drivers insurance.
- Myth No. 6: YOUR DAMAGES, EXPENSES & BILLS ARE NOT COVERED UNDER THE AT FAULT PARTY’S INSURANCE POLICY. The insurance claim rep may contend your “peculiar” damages are not covered under their policy of insurance, or the law does not allow you to recover your specific damages. Hire an attorney, and DON’T RELY ON THE CLAIM REP FOR LEGAL ADVICE.
- Myth No. 7: YOU MUST RESOLVE YOUR CLAIM & ACCEPT THEIR OFFER WITHIN DAYS. Often the insurance claim rep will rush you to settle, even before you have a chance to see a medical specialist you really know the seriousness or extent of your injury. Georgia and Alabama give the injured party 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
- Myth No. 8: YOU GET TO KEEP ALL OF THIS MONEY. Actually, if any of your medical expenses were paid by health insurance, you may not be entitled to keep all of the proceeds from your claim. Your health insurance will seek reimbursement. Ted Morgan Law can show you how to maximize your take-home and minimize the pay-back to your health insurance. The claim rep will never mention it.
Money damages, can be broken down into into several types and categories:
- Physical mental human pain and suffering, including mental & psychological injuries
- Medical expenses and bills, both current and future (not limited to co-pays & deductibles)
- Lost wages or earnings, both current and future
- Impairment of earning capacity, where you have a permanent injury or limitation on work you can perform
- Loss of enjoyment of life, maybe because you can no longer exercise, play golf, tennis, do aerobics, jog, garden, lift weights, go fishing or play with your children or grandchildren … the list is endless and peculiar to your injury.
- Loss of intimacy with your spouse or partner (aka loss of consortium)
- Properly damages to your vehicle or other property damaged in the accident. Automobile and other motorized vehicle accidents are one the leading causes of injury and death in Georgia, Alabama and throughout the United States.
<liOther out-of-pocket expenses, such as paying someone to clean your house, mow your grass, take care of your kids, while you are unable to do so.
The following are some of the Uniform Rules of the Road that may apply.
- Failure to obey traffic control devices (O.C.G.A. §40-6-20)
- Following too closely (O.C.G.A. §40-6-49 the driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic and the condition of the highway)
- Failure to yield (O.C.G.A. §40-6-72 a driver of a vehicle when approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop sign or before entering the crosswalk…and after coming to a complete stop, the driver is required to yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching on another roadway so close as to create an immediate hazard. Police officers often generically refer to “failure to yield” when a driver has failed to yield the legal right-of-way to another vehicle causing an accident).
- Speeding (O.C.G.A. §40-6-181 provides various violations for driving at a speed in excess of legal limits)
- Failure to yield entering and crossing roadways (O.C.G.A. §40-6-73 provides that a vehicle about to enter or cross a roadway (other than at an intersection) is required to yield the right-of-way to any vehicles approaching on the roadway to be entered or crossed. In other words the duty is upon the driver about to enter the roadway not to proceed if doing so would be unsafe or create a hazard of collision between the vehicles.)
- Failure to yield at an intersection (O.C.G.A. §40-6-70 provides rules governing automobile approaching an intersection at approximately the same time as another automobile, generally providing that the driver to the left is required to yield the right-of-way to the driver of the vehicle on the right. Rarely do two vehicles approach an intersection at exactly the same time, but this law contemplates and places a duty upon the driver on the left to yield the right-of-way to the driver on the right where two vehicles are approaching an intersection at a speed and which would cause the driver of the vehicle on the left to reasonably apprehend or appreciate that a collision would occur unless he or she stops and yields the right-of-way.)
- DUI (O.C.G.A. §40-6-391 generally provides it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive, or alternatively if the person’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more within three hours of driving or operating a vehicle, also known as BAC (blood alcohol content). TED MORGAN LAW specializes in the representation of drivers arrested for DUI and therefore when handling personal injury claims arising from injuries caused by a drunk or DUI driver, TED MORGAN LAW brings expertise to maximize the underlying DUI charges for the benefit of your personal injury claim.
- Texting while driving (O.C.G.A. §40-6-241.2 prohibits the use of mobile phones and other telecommunication devices for texting, e-mail and other similar uses by anyone 18 years of age or older with a Class C Driver’s License.)
- Motorist injury to pedestrian (O.C.G.A. §40-6-93 provides the standard that every driver shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway, shall give warning by sounding his horn when necessary, and shall exercise proper precautions upon observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated, or intoxicated person in the roadway). Where the driver had an opportunity to observe the pedestrian and take evasive action before the collision occurred, these specific duties to avoid collision, blow the horn, and exercise other precautions may form the basis of a legal claim by the pedestrian when struck by a vehicle in the roadway.
- Failure to Turn On Headlights (O.C.G.A. §40-8-20 provides that every vehicle on the highway at anytime from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise and at anytime when it is raining or when there is not sufficient visibility to see at a distance of 500 feet ahead, shall display headlights and illuminating devices. The failure to illuminate a vehicles headlights during the times required by this law may form the basis of a legal claim against the driver if the absence of headlights was the cause of a collision resulting in injuries.
- Use of Cellphone by Drivers under 18 years old (O.C.G.A. §40-6-241.1 makes it unlawful for a driver under 18 years of age to use certain wireless communication devices, including mobile telephones, while operating a motor vehicle on the public highways).
- Head-on collisions (O.C.G.A. §40-6-40(a) provides that all vehicles shall drive on the right side of the roadway except (1) when passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction; (2) when an obstruction makes it necessary to drive on the left side of the road; (3) when driving on a three-lane highway; or (4) when driving on a road restricted to one-way traffic. Therefore, driving on the left side of the roadway without showing that one of the statutory exceptions existed may form the basis of a claim for an automobile collision causing personal injury.
- Reckless driving (O.C.G.A. §40-6-390) prohibits the driving of any vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property. The offense of reckless driving therefore may be committed in a variety of ways. If you are involved in a traffic accident involving an intoxicated or drunk driver, often times the charges against the other driver are reduced to “Reckless Driving” when the State cannot satisfy its burden of proof in the criminal case. TED MORGAN LAW specializes in DUI representation and therefore brings expertise to your personal injury claim involving a DUI and/or reckless driver.
TED MORGAN LAW will use expertise gained from years working on criminal cases involving DUI, reckless driving, and misdemeanor cases, to advance your claim for injury when the other driver receives a citation.
As a victim of premises liability, you are most likely entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, lost earnings, and compensation for human pain and suffering related to physical and/or mental injury.