Why hiring a car crash lawyer can help following a serious accident
Whether you live or work in Macon, or are just visiting, you may know that the city known as the "The Heart of Georgia" has a rich history. In addition to miles of hiking trails and rivers, there are many neighborhoods with classic Victorian-style, Greek revival, and original southern antebellum homes.
If admiring the architecture isn't your cup of tea, Macon is also one of the birthplaces of soul and southern rock, and is the childhood home of Little Richard and Otis Redding. It's also where James Brown recorded his first single. You can also visit museums and galleries that highlight a variety of artists' works, or the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
But you don't want to get so caught up in all of the fun things that you forget that accidents still happen (everywhere, of course). In fact, there are several dangerous intersections in Macon and some unsettling local data about traffic accident fatalities in recent years.
Unfortunately, the number of fatal car crashes in Macon has increased during the past several years, though most related statistics have remained steady over time.
Macon pedestrian fatality study
A study published in 2020 indicates that Macon ranks 10th in the nation for pedestrian fatalities among the 200 largest U.S. cities. The ranking is based on Macon's pedestrian fatality rate in 2017, which was 4.4 per 100,000 people. The nationwide average was 1.7 per 100,000 people. (source)
There were 34 pedestrian deaths in Macon from 2013-2017, and more than ¾ of those were in low-light conditions. In addition, the study shows that in nearly half of the pedestrian fatalities, either the driver or the pedestrian had consumed alcohol prior to the accident.
Most dangerous counties in Southwest Georgia
More traffic usually equals more accidents.
We analyzed data from the Georgia Electronic Accident Reporting System (GEARS) on the number of crashes in each of the southwest counties in 2019.
According to GEARS, this was the total number of crashes in each county that reported data.*
|County||Total number of accidents reported to GEARS in 2019|
|Chattahoochee Hills PD||70|
*Note that not every county has data reported into the system.
10 worst intersections in Macon, GA
According to WGXA News, the top 10 most dangerous intersections in Macon are:
|Intersection||Number of collisions||Number of injuries|
|1||Gray Highway and Shurling Drive||59||28|
|2||Riverside Drive and Northside Drive||47||15|
|3||Mercer University and Log Cabin Drive||45||5|
|4||Gray Highway and Clinton Road||44||25|
|5||Eisenhower Parkway and Log Cabin Drive||42||19|
|6||Pio Nono Avenue and Rocky Creek Road||41||13|
|7||Mercer University and Bloomfield Road||39||37|
|8||Riverside Drive and Spring Street||36||15|
|9||Riverside Drive and Pierce Avenue||36||10|
|10||Zebulon Road and Peake Road||29||16|
Source: WGXA News
Most dangerous highways in Macon
Macon is crisscrossed by several major interstates: I-75, I-16 and I-475. As a transportation hub, the city has seen some truly horrific high-speed crashes, truck wrecks and multi-vehicle pileups in recent decades.
For example, I-75 in Macon had 5 fatalities near mile 122.5 from 2013-2015. Even so, I-75 still didn't have the highest number of fatal crashes per mile compared to other roads in the city.
|Macon road/highway||Number of fatal crashes per mile from 2013-2015|
|Pio Nono Avenue||2.40|
Common causes of car accidents
Many car accidents are preventable.
These are the most common causes of car accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Dangerous lane changes or swerves
- Failure to yield
- Careless driving
- Failure to obey traffic signs and signals
- Bad weather
- Drowsy driving
How to recover compensation following your Macon crash
Sometimes, following a car crash, you can simply work with your insurance company and the other driver's insurance company, and everyone gets the settlement they need.
But that's not always the case.
Even a minor injury can cost a lot of money, and a serious injury can cost tens of thousands of dollars (or more). If the insurance companies aren't cooperative, or if insurance doesn't cover the full extent of your accident-related costs, you might be faced with filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit in Macon, Georgia
If you've been hurt, you have 2 years to file a personal injury lawsuit. If your claim isn't filed in that time, it will likely be dismissed by the court.
Here's what you should do after an accident:
1. Obtain medical treatment.
It's important to seek an immediate medical exam even if you think you're not injured. Some car accident injury symptoms don't appear for days, weeks, or even months. If you have whiplash, a concussion, or another injury that doesn't appear right away, it will be difficult to prove that it was related to the crash.
If you've been in an accident, go straight to a hospital, urgent care center, or your primary doctor right away for an assessment of your condition.
2. Call local law enforcement.
A police report is an important piece of evidence after a crash. Whether you're at fault or the other driver caused the accident, the police report is considered an unbiased, accurate accounting of key factors that led to the wreck, such as weather conditions, traffic signals, any obstructions or road conditions that might be relevant, damages, and witnesses.
Even if you're the at-fault driver, a police report can protect you if the other driver later attempts to overstate the amount of damage to their car. For instance, if the police report indicates that the damage appeared to be a dent in a bumper, it would be hard for the other driver to claim many thousands of dollars worth of expenses.
3. Gather information and evidence.
If you're uninjured and able to gather some evidence, that can be helpful. But only do this if it's safe to do so and if you don't require immediate medical treatment.
It can be helpful to take photos of the scene with your phone or a camera. Photos and videos can show important details like the position of cars, weather conditions, signs or signals, the extent of damage, and other relevant information.
You should also obtain information from each person involved in the crash, including their:
- Driver's license number
- Name (first and last)
- Phone number
- License plate number and state
- Insurance company and policy number
If there are witnesses, take their names and contact information so you can provide it to your lawyer later. Act quickly because some well-meaning passersby might wait at the scene until first responders show up and then leave, thinking there's nothing more they can do to help.
4. Notify your insurance company.
Many insurance companies require their policyholder (you) to file a report within a certain period of time — and often, that's a short time after the accident. A report is not the same as a claim. You might be unsure of whether you want to involve the insurance company or pay out of pocket. Making a report just lets the insurer know the accident happened; it doesn't trigger a claims process yet. It does, however, preserve your ability to file a claim later should you need to.
You can make a report to the insurance company without making a statement about who was at fault. You're also not required to communicate with the insurance company — especially not the other driver's insurance adjuster. If there are questions about liability, it's best to call a personal injury lawyer who can communicate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Your insurance adjuster isn't your ally.
In other words, they're not necessarily on your side.
The insurance company makes money by charging premiums and paying out less than it takes in. That's their profit. Therefore, even your own insurance company isn't always motivated to make sure that you're getting the best possible settlement. The adjuster's job is to provide the least possible amount in a settlement that you will accept in order to close the claim.
By contrast, your lawyer's role is to minimize your liability and maximize the payout.
Your lawyer knows the "tricks" the insurance adjuster will use to try to get you to say something that would give them a reason to reduce the amount of your settlement. Your lawyer also knows when it's time to file a personal injury lawsuit — either because you won't reach a settlement, the offer is too low, or because the amount of compensation you deserve is more than the insurance policy maximum.
You can — and should — let your lawyer communicate with the insurance company on your behalf.
5. Keep a diary.
This kind of diary isn't the one you might picture with a lock and key under a teenager's mattress. It's an accounting of your expenses, treatment, repairs, and medical conditions related to the accident.
When you begin treatment after an accident, you'll realize that there's more to keep track of than just your bills. If your claim becomes a lawsuit, the best evidence can be the records you maintain yourself.
It will be helpful for you to keep accurate records that include:
- Medical treatment (Dates, providers, type of treatment, diagnosis, etc.)
- Medical expenses (Any costs related to the accident, including medication, hospital stays, surgical costs, assistive equipment or devices, doctor visits, etc.)
- Property damage costs
- Lost wages
In addition to dollar amounts, you should keep records of your personal condition following the accident. If the accident results in an ongoing condition or disability, this can be important. For instance, if your claim includes pain and suffering, those records can help provide documentation of your condition.
For instance, keep a diary of your condition morning and night. How do you feel when you wake up? When you go to bed? Or does anything change during the day? If you have specific symptoms, write them down with dates, times of day, and if you sought treatment (including whether you took medication).
6. Consult a Macon car accident lawyer.
If you're out of work for more than a couple of days, if you have a broken bone or more serious injury, or if your medical bills are more than your policy limits, you should meet with a Macon-area personal injury lawyer.
Typically, your first consultation is free, so it costs you nothing but your time to better understand your rights and calculate the value of your case.
How to find the best car accident lawyer in Macon, GA
Here are several resources to help you find the best lawyer near you:
Read our complete guide to finding the right injury attorney for your case. Read insights from Enjuris attorneys and lawyers across the USA on when and why you need to hire a car accident attorney. Learn more
A personal injury lawyer helps individuals who have sustained injuries in accidents to recover financial compensation. These funds are often needed to pay for medical treatment, make up for lost wages and provide compensation for injuries suffered. Sometimes a case that seems simple at first may become more complicated. In these cases, consider hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. Read more