Can You Be Held Liable For Someone Else’s Driving?

If you accidentally collide with another vehicle because you ran through a stop sign or made an illegal turn, you will probably be held liable for the other driver’s injuries. But did you know you can also be held liable in car accidents where you aren’t even the one driving?

Who does your car insurance cover?

Most car insurance policies will cover anyone who permanently lives in your home and who has been identified to the insurer as a potential driver of the car. This means if you allow your spouse or child over the age of 16 to drive your vehicle, he or she will probably be covered by your insurance in the event of a car accident.

What is a “Family Purpose” vehicle?

Under the “Family Purpose Doctrine”, you may be personally liable for the negligent driving of immediate members of your household (spouse, children, and even otherwise unrelated adults) if you provided the vehicle they were driving for their “pleasure, comfort or convenience”, and they were using the car for a “family purpose” when they caused an accident. This can be an important consideration in a personal injury case. For instance, in a situation where a minor driving a “family purpose car” has caused an accident, and the available insurance is insufficient to cover all the damages, an injured party is not limited to pursuing the minor (who will likely have few assets). The injured party can also sue the parent who provided the car to minor; and that parent is far more likely to have significant assets.

What is the “Permissive User” rule?

If you choose to allow your close friends or family members who don’t live in your house to borrow your car on occasion, these individuals may also be covered if your insurance policy has a “permissive use” clause. This provision states that the policy will apply to any person who drives the vehicle with the permission of the owner.

In some cases, this may mean that two different insurance policies may both apply: the one on the car, and also any separate policy which the permissive driver may have obtained . This is called “stacking.” Sometimes the insurers may not agree on which policy is primarily responsible, and which one is secondary. In such a situation, the injured person needs an experienced attorney to be sure that ALL the insurers are identified, and that they all pay their fair share.

When may you be held liable?

Sometimes, policyholders choose to purposely exclude certain members of the family from their insurance coverage. This is usually done when one person has a bad driving record that will increase the policyholder’s insurance rates. These individuals are known as excluded drivers, and they should NOT be driving your vehicle. If you knowingly allow an excluded driver to operate your vehicle, you may be held liable if they cause an accident.

If your vehicle was taken without your permission, you shouldn’t be held liable if the driver gets into an accident. However it can be very difficult to prove that you never gave the driver permission to use your vehicle. This often becomes a case of “he said, she said” where it is your word against the driver’s. Car owners may be held liable even when they are adamant they never gave the driver permission to use the vehicle.

Individuals can also be held liable when they allow someone to operate their vehicle who is intoxicated, or under the legal driving age, or whom they otherwise know to be incompetent to drive.

To protect yourself, it’s best to limit the number of people who have access to your car. Even if you believe you can fully trust someone, you never know when their poor judgment will cost you.

If you have been injured in a car accident by a negligent driver, contact Frank Harris. Mr. Harris and his team can review the details of your case, help you determine who is liable, and then begin negotiations with the insurance company. Contact Frank Harris today by email at info@FrankHarrisLaw.com or by calling 678-483-8655. You can also submit your information using the online form on his website, www.FrankHarrisLaw.com.

Do Ride-Sharing Apps Make the Streets Safer?

Ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft have completely transformed the way people get around town. It’s no longer as inconvenient or expensive to call for a ride home, which has led many people to conclude that the presence of these services may lead to fewer drunk drivers on the road. But is there any proof that ride-sharing services actually do make the roads safer?

In 2014, Uber issued a press release that declared DUI rates were on the decline in cities that offered Uber services. The company studied Seattle to determine whether DUI arrests decreased after they began offering rides in the city. Looking at arrest rates before and after Uber entered the city, the company concluded they were responsible for a 10% reduction in DUI arrests.

The press release was met with a lot of criticism from people who did not believe ride-sharing apps could be responsible for that much of a difference in DUI rates. In 2016, another study on the same topic was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. These researchers looked at data from the 100 most populated areas in the U.S. and found no connection between Uber’s entry into a market and a decline in DUI arrests.

Some critics have argued that these studies should focus more on smaller markets instead of those that are densely populated. Why? There are a number of transportation options for people in larger cities, but Uber may be the only option for people in smaller markets. This means the ride-sharing service could have a more meaningful impact in these areas.

If the American Journal of Epidemiology study is accurate, why aren’t more drunk drivers choosing to use Uber instead of putting every driver on the road at risk? Researchers believe Uber is used as an alternative to other forms of public transportation such as a bus or taxi. Therefore, it is not used by intoxicated drivers as an alternative to driving their own car home. These drivers are much less likely to think rationally, so the thought of paying for a ride home to avoid putting others in danger may seem ludicrous to those who have consumed alcohol.

It is estimated that over 4 million people get behind the wheel while intoxicated every month, yet there are only around 160,000 Uber drivers. Therefore, even if ride-sharing apps do make the streets slightly safer, the risk of getting into an accident with a drunk driver will not be eliminated by a long shot.

If you have been injured by a negligent driver, don’t wait to seek legal representation from Frank Harris. Mr. Harris will give your case the undivided attention it deserves, and provide you with the aggressive legal representation you need to recover compensation. Contact Frank Harris by email at info@FrankHarrisLaw.com or by calling 678-483-8655 today. You can also learn more about the firm by visiting our website, www.FrankHarrisLaw.com.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim? Stay Off Social Media

People often turn to social media to vent about their day, express their frustrations, or share pictures from a night out with friends. But if you’ve filed a personal injury claim, it’s best to avoid updating your social media profiles until the case has come to an end.

Why does it matter if you’re on social media? After you file a personal injury claim, the defendant’s insurance company (and eventually their attorneys, if the case goes into litigation) will begin to dig up as much evidence to use against you as possible. One of the first places they turn to is social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

The adjusters and/or defense attorneys will look for any signs that your injury is not as serious as you have claimed. For example, if you are pursuing compensation for chronic back pain, uploading pictures of you rock climbing with your friend over the weekend is a bad idea. These photos will be printed and brought into court as evidence that you have not been honest about your injuries and are not deserving of compensation.

Defense adjusters and attorneys can also use social media to argue that you are not experiencing emotional distress as a result of your injuries. This can be proven by showing pictures of you out with your friends, or screenshots of conversations you’ve engaged in on social media. They may even track down your personal blog to analyze your posts and determine whether you are showing signs of deep emotional distress.

Some victims make the mistake of thinking they are completely protected because of their restrictive privacy settings. Even if your profile is private, it’s best to stay off of these sites until the case is over. Why? Adjusters and attorneys will often go to great lengths to gain access to your profile. Some may even create fake profiles and send you a friend request in order to see what you’re posting. Avoid falling into this trap by staying quiet on social media.

They may even try to find your immediate family members’ profiles to see if anyone else is posting information about you. It’s best to advise all of your family members to change their privacy settings and refrain from accepting any new friend requests until the case is over.

It may seem ridiculous to censor yourself on social media just because of your ongoing personal injury lawsuit, but it’s absolutely necessary.

If you have been injured and are considering filing a personal injury claim, seek legal advice from personal injury attorney Frank Harris. When you work with Frank Harris, he will stand by your side throughout every step of the process to ensure you receive the best legal representation possible. Reach out to Frank Harris via email at info@FrankHarrisLaw.com or submit your information using the online form on his website, www.FrankHarrisLaw.com. You can also speak to someone in our office by calling 678-483-8655 today.

Safe Driving Tips For Super Bowl Sunday

Where will you watch this year’s Super Bowl? Whether you’re going to watch the game from your friend’s house or a barstool at your favorite restaurant, it’s important to stay safe while out on the roads. Many people drink alcohol as they watch the game and then make the mistake of getting behind the wheel to drive home. These drivers put everyone on the roads—including you—at risk. To stay safe this Super Bowl Sunday, follow these safe driving tips:

Buckle up.

A seatbelt can be the difference between life and death for people who are involved in high-impact car accidents, so buckle up this Super Bowl Sunday. If you plan on driving other people to or from the event, don’t start the car until you have ensured everyone has fastened their seatbelts. You should never transport more people than your car is designed to carry. If you do, some of your passengers will not have a seatbelt and will be injured if you get into an accident.

Learn how to spot a drunk driver.

Keep your eyes peeled for drivers who could be intoxicated. Look for cars that are swerving in and out of a lane, stopping suddenly for no reason, quickly speeding up and then slowing back down, making wide turns, and striking curbs. These are all signs that the driver behind the wheel is under the influence. Stay as far away from these drivers as possible and contact the authorities to report your suspicions.

Always play it safe.

If you had a few beers at your friend’s Super Bowl party, you may think you’re still sober enough to make the drive home. Don’t do it. It’s always best to find another way home if you’ve had anything to drink. Call an Uber or taxi or ask a sober friend for a ride home. It may be a pain having to arrange to pick up your car the next morning, but the inconvenience is a small price to pay for your safety.

Check your lights.

Before you head out for the night, do a quick test to ensure your headlights, taillights, turning signals, and brake lights are functioning. Remember, there will be a lot of drunk drivers on the road who may not be able to see your car if one of your lights is out. Protect yourself by ensuring you will be fully visible to other drivers on the road.

Regardless of the final score, as long as you stay safe on the roads, everyone’s a winner!

If you are injured by a drunk or reckless driver on Super Bowl Sunday, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney to fight on your behalf. Frank Harris is the right attorney to handle this job. Contact him today by sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com or filling out the online form on his website www.FrankHarrisLaw.com. You can also call our offices at 678-483-8655 to speak with a member of our team about your case today.

Wearing a Seatbelt During Pregnancy

Pregnant women have to take certain precautions during the nine months that they are carrying a child. This can include avoiding certain foods, modifying their exercise routines, and closely monitoring their health, but should pregnant women also skip wearing a seatbelt to protect their bellies? The short answer is “No”. It’s perfectly safe for pregnant women to wear a seatbelt during pregnancy as long as they follow these important tips:

Wear the lap belt and shoulder strap.

It’s important to buckle yourself into the seat using both the lap belt and shoulder strap of the seatbelt. Using one without the other will put you at a greater risk of suffering injuries in the event of a car accident. It may feel slightly uncomfortable at first, but don’t loosen the straps to make it more comfortable. Both the lap belt and shoulder strap should fit snugly against your body to offer you the most protection.

Check the placement.

As your belly continues to grow, the seatbelt will fit you a bit differently than it did before you were pregnant. Make sure the lap belt is positioned underneath your belly pressed against your hip bones. If you place the lap belt across your belly, your unborn baby could be injured if you are involved in a car accident. The shoulder belt should come across your body and fall between your breasts. If you find that the shoulder belt is digging into your neck, do not pull on it to loosen it. Instead, focus on readjusting your seat so you are in a better position to wear the seatbelt properly.

Take your coat off.

If you’re wearing a thick coat or jacket, take it off prior to fastening your seatbelt. Outerwear can cause the seatbelt to ride up across your belly as you drive so it’s recommended that you remove it prior to getting into the car.

Some pregnant women also fear what will happen to their unborn baby if the airbags are deployed during an accident. But studies have shown that airbags do not put your baby in harm’s way if they are deployed when you are also wearing your seatbelt.

Even if you are wearing your seatbelt, it’s possible you could suffer serious injuries if you are involved in a car accident. If you are injured as a result of a negligent driver, speak with Frank Harris, an experienced personal injury attorney in Georgia. Contact him today by sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com or calling his offices at 678-483-8655. You can also learn more about his law firm by visiting www.FrankHarrisLaw.com.

What if You’re Injured in a Hit and Run Accident?

Being injured in a car accident is every driver’s nightmare, but it’s a reality that many people will eventually have to face. What makes matters worse is if the driver who caused the accident flees the scene before you have time to exchange information or contact the authorities. Leaving the scene of a car accident is a criminal offense known as a hit and run. If you are ever injured by a driver who decides to commit this crime instead of taking responsibility for his negligence, make sure you follow these tips:

Do not chase after him.

When you see the at fault driver begin to drive away from the scene of the accident, it can be tempting to put the pedal to the metal and chase him down. But getting into a high speed car chase with someone who is willing to commit a crime is better left to law enforcement officers. Whatever you do, do not chase after the car. Remain in your vehicle and contact the authorities to report the crime and the accident.

File a police report.

It can be difficult to jot down the driver’s license plate information if you are still reeling from being involved in a car accident. Some drivers assume they shouldn’t file a police report if they don’t have any information on who the driver was or what his car looked like. Don’t make this mistake. You will always need to file a police report so you have official documentation that the accident did happen.

Contact an attorney.

It’s entirely possible the police will never track down the person who hit your vehicle and caused your injuries. How will you pay for your medical expenses and property damages if you can’t file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company? In Georgia, drivers who have uninsured motorist coverage are protected in hit and run accidents. If you have this coverage, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company immediately following the accident.

But you should never deal with an insurance company—even your own—without first contacting an attorney. Before you talk to your insurance company about the accident, get in touch with a personal injury attorney who can provide you with legal advice and representation every step of the way.

Regardless of what type of traffic accident you were in, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries if a negligent driver was to blame. You will need the help of a skilled attorney if you want to ensure you receive a fair settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company. Don’t wait another minute to contact the best attorney for the job—Frank Harris. Get in touch with Frank Harris today by sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com or visiting his law firm’s website at www.FrankHarrisLaw.com. You can also call our offices at 678-483-8655.

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

The media often places a lot of attention on the dangers of distracted or drunk driving, but these aren’t the only careless behaviors that can lead to car accidents. According to estimates made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 100,000 car accidents per year can be attributed to drowsy driving. As if that wasn’t enough proof, a new AAA study shows just how dangerous fatigued drivers can be on the roads.

The AAA Study on Drowsy Driving

AAA researched how drowsiness affects a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. The results were astounding—AAA found that people who only slept for five or six hours the night before were twice as likely to be involved in an accident. But that’s not all. The study also looked at people who slept for fewer than five hours a night. According to this study, drivers who have slept four to five hours are more than four times as likely to be involved in an accident, and drivers who have slept less than four hours are 12 times more likely to be involved in a crash.

The results of this study may come as a surprise to many, especially because AAA concluded that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, but it shouldn’t. Most people are well aware that fatigue can lead to slower thought processing, impaired judgment, and blurry vision. All of these effects of sleepiness can make it very difficult to safely operate a motor vehicle. Yet many people still continue to get behind the wheel when they are struggling to stay awake. In fact, it has been reported that about one-third of drivers admit to driving when they could barely keep their eyes open.

Preventing Drowsy Driving Accidents

This study shows the importance of a good night’s sleep when it comes to keeping our roads safe. How many hours of sleep should drivers get before they have to hit the road? The more, the better, but it’s recommended that you never get behind the wheel if you have slept for less than seven hours.

If you plan on taking a long road trip, it’s best to bring someone along with you so you can take turns driving and prevent fatigue. Don’t rely on caffeinated products to keep you alert at the wheel. These products are designed to give you a quick boost of energy, but the effects will not last long and you will soon find yourself struggling to stay awake once again.

If you have been injured because of a drowsy driver, discuss your case with a Georgia attorney who is well versed in personal injury law. Frank Harris and his team of legal professionals will fight tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Schedule a consultation with Frank Harris by sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com or visiting the website www.FrankHarrisLaw.com. You can also call our offices at 678-483-8655.

How Long Does it Take to Reach a Personal Injury Settlement?

People who have been injured because of another person’s negligence may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages by filing a personal injury lawsuit. But some people who may be entitled to this compensation choose not to pursue legal action against the negligent party. Why? Because of the belief that personal injury cases will drag on and on. But how long does it really take to reach a personal injury settlement? Well, it depends.

What factors can delay your case?

An attorney will not know the total value of your personal injury claim until you have either fully recovered from your injuries or reached the point of maximum medical improvement, which means that while you are not back to the state you were in prior to the injury, no further improvements are expected. Personal injury cases are often delayed as the attorney waits for you to complete treatment so he can accurately estimate how much compensation you should ask for to cover your current and future medical expenses.

If your attorney has asked for a large settlement, the case will likely take longer to complete. Insurance companies will not simply sign a check for the full amount you request. They will have to do their due diligence to confirm who is liable for the injuries, investigate the extent of your injuries, and look into your credibility. This can take months to complete, and many insurance companies will purposely try to draw out this part of the case in an attempt to get you to give up and accept a lower offer.

Personal injury cases can also be delayed if the insurance company is questioning whether their policyholder is truly at fault. Attorneys will often have to call upon reliable witnesses, accident reconstruction specialists, and subject-matter experts to prove liability in these situations.

How can you speed up the process?

Attorneys can drastically shorten the time it takes to reach a personal injury settlement, but it means accepting a lower settlement than what you may be able to get if you continue the negotiations. It’s never recommended that you agree to a low settlement just to close the book on your case, so try to be patient as your attorney continues to fight on your behalf.

Every case is unique, so it’s difficult to put a timeframe on when you will be able to reach a settlement. It’s important to note that you should never trust a law firm that promises you a case will be settled in a certain number of days. These law firms are only interested in settling quickly and moving on to the next client, so they should not be trusted with your case.

Don’t let your fear of a drawn out personal injury case stop you from pursuing the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, speak at once with an experienced personal injury attorney in Georgia. Contact Frank Harris today by sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com or visiting our website at www.FrankHarrisLaw.com. If you’d prefer to speak to someone over the phone, call our offices at 678-483-8655.

What is Whiplash?

If you are involved in a car crash, it’s possible you could leave the scene of the accident without any bumps or bruises. But many people are not so lucky. Whiplash is one of the most common injuries associated with car accidents. What is it? How can it be treated? Here’s what you need to know:

How does whiplash occur?

The impact of a car accident can often cause your neck to jerk forward and backward suddenly. When this happens, the muscles in your neck may stretch too far and tear. Whiplash is often associated with being rear-ended by another vehicle, but you can sustain this injury in any type of collision.

What are the symptoms?

Most whiplash victims will immediately begin to feel pain in their neck, shoulders, and upper back. But if you don’t experience pain right away, that doesn’t rule out the possibility you have whiplash. Sometimes it can take a few hours or days for the pain of whiplash to set in. It will become difficult for you to move this part of your body without experiencing pain and stiffness. The entire area may be tender to the touch, but this is not true of all whiplash cases. Some victims may also have pounding headaches that feel as if they are stemming from the back of the neck and moving towards the forehead.

Can it be treated?

Seek medical attention right away if you believe you could have whiplash. A doctor can diagnose this condition by asking you about your symptoms, performing a physical examination, and examining X-rays or CT scans.

Doctors usually recommend applying ice packs to the affected area to reduce inflammation and numb the pain. Anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medications can also be taken to stop the swelling so the muscles can properly heal. A doctor will probably suggest that you wear a brace to support your head and neck until the pain has subsided.

If you are experiencing serious pain or if you have a history of prior injuries, the doctor may advise you to try physical therapy. Physical therapists can teach you stretching exercises that will help reduce the pain and promote healing.

Treating whiplash can be expensive and may cause you to miss work while you recover. But if your injury was caused by a negligent driver, you could be entitled to compensation to cover these expenses and lost wages.

If you have been diagnosed with whiplash after a car accident, reach out to experienced personal injury attorney Frank Harris right away. Whiplash can lead to long-term aches and pains, and you shouldn’t have to suffer with this injury in silence. Contact his office today by sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com or visiting us online at www.FrankHarrisLaw.com. You can also place a call to our offices at 678-483-8655.

What Evidence Should You Document After An Accident?

Ask any personal injury attorney what you should do after a car accident, and you will likely be advised to contact authorities, seek medical treatment, and, of course, gather evidence. But what evidence do you need to collect at the accident scene?

Property Damage

You may be entitled to compensation for property damage, but you have to be able to prove it exists with documentation. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles involved in the crash. Not only will this help you recover compensation for your damages, but it can also help an attorney reconstruct the accident to prove liability if necessary.

Injuries

Do you have any visible injuries? Make sure they are documented by taking pictures at the scene of the accident. It would also be helpful if you took more pictures in the days following the accident to show how your injuries have healed or worsened. This can be especially important with respect to bruises and swelling, which may not become visible until hours or even days after the accident. The next step is to keep an injury diary that details how your injuries are progressing and how you feel on a daily basis. Documenting your injuries in this way may be able to help you recover compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of the accident.

Medical Records

If you had to seek medical attention because of the injuries you sustained in a car accident, make sure to hold on to all of your medical records. Documents such as bills, lab results, and X-rays will strengthen your personal injury claim and should be handed over to your attorney as soon as possible following the accident.

Traffic Signs and Lights

Many accidents occur when a negligent driver fails to pay attention to a traffic sign or light. For example, a driver who does not stop at a red light could collide with another vehicle that is crossing the intersection. Try to take pictures of any traffic signs or lights that could have played a role in your accident. This will help paint a picture of the scene for your attorney, the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and the jury if your case ends up going to trial.

Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and catch you completely off-guard. You may be in shock immediately after a collision, but try to regain your composure and gather as much evidence as possible to ensure you have a fair chance at recovering the compensation you deserve.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact Georgia personal injury attorney Frank Harris as soon as possible. Frank Harris is committed to helping clients recover the compensation they deserve to cover medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact his office today by calling 678-483-8655 or sending an email to info@FrankHarrisLaw.com. You can also visit us online at www.FrankHarrisLaw.com.