In failure to yield cases, the settlement value of an injury claim is determined by key evidence. This legal resource is provided to help you understand how car accident injury claims are investigated and won in the Atlanta area and all across the State of Georgia by people like you and by accident lawyers.
- Most Georgia failure to yield car and truck accidents and injuries happen as a result of distracted driving when an at-fault driver fails to see a stop sign, traffic light or your oncoming car or motorcycle.
- Evidence that can help you prove and win your car accident case can be found using police reports, body cams, patrol car cameras, witness statements and electronic data from the vehicles.
- You can choose to handle your own injury case, or hire a Georgia personal injury car accident Lawyer.
- You are entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical bills and lost pay if the other driver is at fault in a failure to yield crash.
Questions Answered in This Article:
- In Georgia, what evidence can be obtained and used to win your failure to yield collision case?
- How do you find the evidence you need to win a failure to yield crash case?
- How certain injuries are caused by right-of-way collisions, and how to prove your injuries.
- How can you get medical care paid for if you do not have health insurance?
- What are the best ways to recover maximum value in your car accident claim?
- How do insurance adjusters, lawyers, juries, and judges value failure to yield car or truck accident cases?
Introduction to Failure to Yield the Right of Way Injury Claims
Many car accidents in Georgia happen at intersections or as the result of an improper turn. This guide is provided to tell you how failure to yield the right of way accidents with injuries are won in the State of Georgia, so that you may know how to handle the case yourself or whether you may want to hire an Atlanta car accident injury lawyer.
Georgia’s failure to yield laws are straightforward and are found in O.C.G.A. 40-6-72 and 40-67-73. Georgia law states that the driver of a vehicle that is about to enter or cross a roadway from any place other than another roadway shall yield the right of way to vehicles approaching on the roadway to be entered or crossed. This means that a driver crossing an intersection or making a left turn must yield the right of way (meaning wait) for any approaching vehicle to pass by safely.
If a driver cannot safely clear the turn or intersection, they must yield. This law applies also to motorcycles and to bicycles, which must also yield appropriately to oncoming traffic.
Where Do Failure to Yield Accidents Happen?
By definition, these accidents are caused when one driver does not give way to the driver who has the right-of-way in the immediate situation. Here are a few situations in which failure to yield can cause a serious accident:
- While entering a highway or street from any parking place or driveway, another street or highway.
- At four-way stops.
- Intersections whether marked with a stop sign or traffic light, or unmarked.
- When turning left.
- Rear-end collisions.
- Stopped or stop and go traffic.
- When arriving at an unmarked intersection at the same time as another driver.
- In construction zones.
- When pedestrians are in the crosswalk.
- As school buses stop to pick up or drop children off.
- Driving while distracted.
- Frustration or road rage.
The Primary Causes of Failure to Yield Accidents
Negligent driving is the main cause of the failure to yield accidents. The at-fault driver is usually distracted and not paying attention to the road ahead. These accidents happen, as a rule, because of behaviors such as these:
- Distracted driving
- Not paying attention
- Using a hand-held cell phone
- Sending text messages while driving
- Using hand-held electronic devices
- Drunk driving, buzzed driving or any form of drinking and driving
- Exceeding the speed limit
- Traffic bottlenecks and delays
- Frustration leading to aggressive driving
- Tire or Brake Failure
- Inclement weather – wet or icy conditions
Proving Your Failure to Yield Case with Documents, Pictures, and Eyewitness Testimony
An Atlanta failure to yield accident attorney can help you win your injury case. However, you also have the legal right to handle an accident case on your own. This can be challenging because insurance adjusters and defense lawyers may try to blame you fully or partly for causing the crash. If you want to know more about how to investigate and win (or settle) your case, this may help.
Failures to yield can be caused by any number of things, but distractions are often the main reason these serious accidents occur. Distracted driving can be talking on a cell phone and missing a stop sign, eating, fiddling with the radio, or simply talking to other passengers. When a driver is not totally focused on the road and its rules – accidents happen. The end result can be a simple fender-bender or a high speed T-Bone crash in which lives are lost.
After an accident, the other driver and his/her insurance company may try hard to avoid paying your claim. They might say things like ‘the visibility was poor’ or that ‘you were speeding.’ You should always anticipate that the insurance company of the other driver could try to blame the accident on you.
If possible, begin immediately to gather the evidence you will need to demonstrate that the other driver’s negligent driving behavior was the cause of the accident. The police report will contain much information, but other evidence is available to you, if you know how to find it. Here are a few things you may wish to obtain:
- Mobile Phone Call Logs: These records can tell you when calls are made or answered as well showing how long each call lasted. When one compares these records to 911 calls and/or the records of the officers who responded to the call it can sometimes show that the other driver was talking on the phone immediately before the crash instead of watching the road.
- Cell phone data use records: It may be difficult to imagine but other drivers are sometimes watching videos, reading emails, and/or gaming. The data records can reveal this if it was the reason the other driver was distracted when he/she failed to yield the right-of-way.
- On-Board Electronic Data: Onboard data recorders similar to the “black box” used in commercial aircraft can reveal lots of information. This data will reveal the speed at which the vehicle was traveling prior to the crash, at what point the brakes were engaged, and the precise moment that the airbags deployed. This data can also tell whether or not the seatbelts were in use at the time the other driver’s failure to yield caused the accident or your injuries.
- Post-Collision Inspection: Sometimes maintenance issues can be the cause of an accident because the brakes and/or the tires did not function as they are meant to. A post-accident inspection can help determine if your accident was made worse by negligent maintenance. This sort of evidence will be useful in proving your claim.
- Pictures/Video: Taking pictures of the scene of the accident and the damage following the accident is an excellent way to preserve the evidence of what happened. This includes pictures of the injuries to yourself and others if it’s possible to take them. If you can, taking pictures of the vehicles, the road, and structures at the scene can help to determine how quickly the other driver recognized there was a problem, his reaction time, and his vehicle’s speed.
- Historical Weather Records: Weather conditions can be an important factor in any accident including those involving failure to yield. This is especially true if the other driver says that the visibility was poor or the roads were slick.
Wet or icy roads make stopping or changing lanes safely more difficult. Documenting the weather conditions at the time of the accident can be extremely useful in proving your claim. Past weather records are also available online for most locations.
Evidence You will Need to Prove your Failure to Yield Case and How to Obtain It
After a right-of-way related accident, you may need some of the following information or tools to get the evidence you need to prove your injury claim.
Speak to Eyewitnesses and Get All Written and Recorded Statements
- People who saw your failure to yield accident may know details that you don’t. This can include facts such as what the other driver was doing immediately before he ran the red light or turned in front of you.
- Contact information for all passengers in any involved vehicles and from passers-by is extremely helpful. Get names and contact information if you can so you can call the person for a statement or as a witness in your case later on.
- The police report may contain witness statements and contact information as well.
- Police dispatchers may have the names and phone numbers of people who might have seen your failure to yield accident and called 911 to report the accident.
- Body cams worn by the responding police officer(s).
- Patrol car cameras. These are usually recording whenever a police car has its emergency lights turned on.
- Ambulance and EMT reports often contain statements about how the accident happened. Statements written down by first responders at the scene of an accident are often considered strong evidence of what happened.
- Security Cameras in mall or shopping center parking lots or at intersections can also be important witnesses to your accident. These devices may have captured the entire failure to yield on film. Requesting such footage may help you maximize your claim.
Collect the Police Reports and 911 Audio
In Georgia, you may obtain these reports and records through the Georgia Open Records Act. Using this law, you can obtain documents and evidence such as these:
- Body-cam footage from first responders. The statements people make in the aftermath of an accident such as those caused by failure to yield can be very telling.
- Intersection-cam images where they are available
- 911 Audio – This can give you witnesses statements you might not otherwise get
Subpoena Cell Phone Records and Data Plan Information:
When you file a civil suit against the at-fault driver, the court can supply you with a blank subpoena form that, once completed, can compel the defendant to turn these important records over to you.
Get Weather Information:
If road conditions or poor visibility caused by weather could have been a factor in the failure to yield that led to your accident, it’s helpful to know that the Federal Government’s weather department keeps track of these things. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, provides these records according to date and zip code.
Vehicle Electronic Data and Accident Reconstruction
While police officers or state troopers sometimes download the electronic data from crashed cars and trucks, they do not do so in every case, or even very often. However, you or a car accident lawyer may hire an expert witness, known as an accident reconstruction expert, to locate and download data from a vehicle’s electronic control module.
If you can prove the other car did not hit its brakes or was moving or turning at the time of the collision, this may help you win your accident case and receive a fair injury settlement.
How Certain Injuries are Caused When Someone Fails to Yield
Depending upon the direction from which the other car is coming, the size and weight of the vehicle, and the speed at which they are moving, the severity of the injuries can vary significantly. The laws of physics always apply in collisions – the energy from the other car is transferred to yours at the moment of impact. The faster and heavier the vehicle is, the more violent the forces of the impact are. Here are a few of the injuries that we commonly see in failure to yield accidents.
Whiplash Caused in Failure to Yield Collisions
This type of injury is caused by the force of inertia. When your car is hit, the energy from the moving other car is transferred to your car, it can cause your head (The human head weighs approximately 10-11 pounds) to be violently thrust forward and backward again in a whip-like motion. Your neck was never meant to be subjected to such intense forces, so injury is likely. In cases of whiplash, or neck sprain, the injury can feel well again after a few weeks of medical treatment. There are cases, though, when victims will have lasting pain and discomfort in their neck, shoulders, and upper body.
This violent forward and backward movement of the head and neck can also lead to other soft-tissues injuries as well as fractures elsewhere in your body. The muscles, tendons and ligaments in your shoulders, back, arms, elbows, wrists, hands, ankles, knees, hips and thighs can all suffer. Traumatic forces like these can cause even more serious injuries including spinal cord damage. Some of these injuries will rely upon your doctor’s examination and treatment records.
Spinal Disk Damage as the Result of a Violent Impact
In a violent collision, your body and those of your passengers can be tossed around inside the cab of your vehicle like rag dolls. These powerful forces that can cause whiplash and back strains can also inflict serious damage to spinal discs and vertebra. Spinal discs are structures that act as “cushions” between the spinal vertebras. In any forceful impact, these little shock absorbers can be jarred out of place or mashed so violently that the disk bursts, squeezing the inner “jelly” out through tears in the rubbery outer structure. This is known as a ruptured or herniated disc.
Commonly Seen Wrist, Shoulder, Hands and Arms Injuries Caused by Powerful Failure to Yield Collisions
If your hands are holding the steering wheel at the moment of the collision, sprains and fractures to the bones in your wrist, hands or arms happen frequently. Rotator Cuff or other painful injuries to the shoulder can also happen as a result of the impact. This is especially true if you see the other car coming and instinctively brace yourself for the impact.
Knee and Ankle Injuries Common to Failure to Yield Accidents
When the energy in a moving vehicle is transferred upon impact to another vehicle and the human beings inside, terrible injuries can be the result. The forces behind the impact depend upon the speed and the weight of the car or truck that hits you. This can result in chain reaction impacts to feet, knees, hips, and back. Collisions can also cause knees to hit the dashboard or an ankle to strike or be jammed into the pedals or floorboard, resulting in injury.
Traumatic Brain Injury as a Result of Impact to the Head
Too often a person’s head forcibly hits the steering wheel, the dashboard, the windshield, door posts, or side windows in a violent impact. Concussions and/or serious brain trauma can be the immediate result to blows to the head.
The brain itself, which floats in fluid inside the skull, can be banged around sufficiently in an accident to cause the organ to crash against the inner walls of the skull. Collisions in failure to yield accidents and the intense jolting movement associated with them can easily cause head Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI, which could be significant enough to cause permanent disability.
Receiving Treatment after an Accident caused by Another Driver’s Failure to Yield
Your vehicle liability insurance doesn’t cover injuries to you and your passengers. You may wonder how you will manage to pay for your medical care after you’ve been in a collision such as a failure to yield can cause.
Using Your Health Insurance After a Car Accident
In Georgia, you are responsible for your immediate medical care after you’ve been injured. Initially, personal or health insurance through your employer works for this if you have it.
Medical Payment Insurance
Med-Pay, also called Medical Payments Coverage is an insurance policy that is meant to cover medical treatment for you and your passengers after an accident where injuries occur. This type of insurance coverage takes care of these expenses no matter who is at –fault or has been negligent.
Whether or not you have health insurance, we stress that getting a medical examination after an accident is extremely important. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will probably argue that you were not injured at all and even may refuse to pay for your damages if you do not get medical help soon after an accident of any kind.
Your best option is to get your own care as soon as possible.
If Necessary Pay at Each Visit
If you are financially able to pay the medical bills after each visit following your failure to yield accident, the bills won’t mount up. However, this is usually the most expensive way to get medical care after your crash since it represents a big out-of-pocket expenditure.
Medical Treatment on a Lien
A medical treatment lien is one solution if you have no health insurance to cover your post-accident expenses. A growing number of doctors will agree to a lien against your eventual accident compensation. Not only does the doctor feel more confident treating you with a lien in place, you can stop worrying about the bills when you should be healing.
Some lending companies will make loans for expenses due to an accident if you promise to pay when your settlement is complete. Legal loans are becoming popular and are an increasingly common way to pay for accident-related expenses and medical bills
Much like legal loans, some lending companies are prepared to advance money on the strength of your case with your promise to pay when your settlement comes in. It may even be possible to find a company that won’t require collateral. Medical Financing can be found and secured online or with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Agree to Make Monthly Payments to Health Care Providers
Medical practitioners are known also accept regular payment arrangements for those who have no other health or Med-Pay insurance available.
Your Options For Medical Care for Accident Injuries When Another Driver Fails to Yield the Right of Way
Hospital Emergency Room
The hospital emergency room is equipped for treatment after an accident. Treatment is provided for your injuries whether the collision just happened or occurred previously, but the sooner you get treatment, the better.
If you are experiencing neck, back, or shoulder pain hospital staff may provide imaging tests such as x-rays or CT scans, and perhaps medication for pain or infection at the emergency room.
After diagnosis and treatment of serious, urgent injuries including broken bones or internal injuries, you will either be admitted to the hospital or released with recommendations for a check-up with a doctor or clinic later.
See the Family Doctor
Immediately after the failure to yield accident, if are not badly injured or in acute pain, you might be able to avoid the emergency room and, as an alternative make an appointment with your family doctor. Nevertheless, you should do so as soon as possible after your accident. Your physician will document your injuries and suggest treatment options. A primary care physician will sometimes prescribe physical therapy or other treatment for soft tissue injuries including whiplash. If you are in acute pain or have tense, bruised muscles after the collision your doctor might send you home with prescription medication to alleviate the symptoms.
Emergent Care Facilities for Non-life-threatening Injuries
These clinics are geared for emergency care. Following a failure to yield collision they can be handy as an alternative to the ER if your injuries are not life-threatening. No appointment is necessary and they are able to provide simple care after you’ve been hit by another car that did not yield the right of way. Some of these facilities even offer imaging services like MRIs and X-rays to document injuries.
Orthopedists and Other Specialists
If bone, joint or ligament damage is diagnosed present following an accident caused by someone’s failure to yield, you may be referred to an orthopedic doctor or other specialist for evaluation or treatment. Don’t forget, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter. Even if you don’t have health care insurance, you should do whatever is necessary including physical therapy or other treatment in order to properly treat and heal your injuries.
A chiropractic doctor is another health-care option following an accident. Your chiropractor can provide you with the necessary physical examination and documentation of your injuries. Chiropractic care offers therapeutic options for stiff, sore bodies. Particularly if you see a chiropractor regularly, this continuity of treatment has benefit.
Your Medical Care and Your Compensation for Common Failure to Yield Accident Injuries
What is your claim worth? After a failure to yield accident, you will eventually want to know the answer to this question. Each accident case is different and there are no exact answers but, as a rule these cases have a foundation based upon the severity of injury and the amount of time it will take for your life to resume some normalcy.
Muscle Strains and Sprains
If you have a whiplash diagnosis, or suffering from a sprain or strain elsewhere in your body, but are expected to recover in a few weeks with little or no subsequent treatment, your case will have a smaller monetary value than a more debilitating injury that would require treatment for months, or even years.
Most sprain-strain cases have a settlement value that includes medical bills, and lost pay, with a supplemental award for short-term pain and suffering.
Chiropractic treatment can help to restore motion and minimize swelling in just about any area of the body impacted by a violent collision. It is especially helpful for the neck, back, shoulders, and hips. The manipulation your chiropractor does increases the circulation to the injured areas generally helps you to heal more thoroughly. Again, the severity of the injury and the length of time you must have treatment by chiropractic doctors will factor into your settlement amount.
Physician and Physical Therapy
If your injuries can be successfully resolved by a doctor using physical therapy, the length of time the treatment will take will bear heavily upon your compensation. Physical therapy, depending upon the nature of the injury, may take weeks or months to be effective. Because your injuries and your treatment may cause you to lose work, these lost wages will also be added to your compensation package when the failure to yield accident settles.
Injections with Permanent Issues
Steroid injections for a permanent injury that will not resolve itself are quite common. Following accident-caused injuries to joints including vertebrae, as well as shoulders, knees, ankles, and wrists, injections can be necessary for pain relief. Your lawyer will include the cost for ongoing injections as he calculates the worth of your injuries as brought about by the failure of someone to yield the right-of-way.
Surgical Intervention with a Permanent Impairment
You may expect your case to have a larger value in accidents where injuries require surgery or will not heal over time. When it’s determined that future injections or radiofrequency ablation, (RFA) are required to treat pain, for example, the value of the case will be greater. Cases like this will not only include your current medical bills, but may also include compensation for future expenses associated with expected follow-up care, diminished mobility and radical changes to your ability to earn money. In accidents where the other driver failed to yield as required by law, the compensation grows with the severity of the injuries.
Best Ways to Recover Maximum Value in an Accident Claims Involving Failure to Yield
In order to obtain full and fair compensation for your losses when failure to yield factors into your injuries, there are certain steps you should take to protect your claim.
It is counterproductive to exaggerate your injuries or try to make them seem worse than they really are. Nevertheless, you should always guard against making your claim look less severe by skipping doctor appointments or treatments. Also, beware of talking about your accident on social media, or engaging in activities not approved by your medical care team as such activities can diminish your claim.
First, See a Doctor
If you are injured, don’t delay in going to the doctor or hospital. Delay in seeking medical help can make winning your case more difficult. Insurance companies like to claim that you were not badly injured. If you delay going to the doctor, you should be prepared for the insurance adjuster to claim that your injuries were minimal or were caused by something other than the failure to yield collision.
Meeting or Speaking with Insurance Adjusters
Insurance company representatives will attempt to question you about your injuries. You may want to ease your mother’s worries after an accident by telling you are “fine” after your crash, but if you say such things in public, on social media or to an adjuster, it will appear to diminish the severity of your injuries, making a full and fair settlement offer more difficult.
Adjusters, Lawyers, Judges and Juries Value Crash Cases Involving Failure to Yield in Different Ways
If there is minimal damage to your vehicle, insurance adjusters will use that fact to argue you were not badly injured. We know that this is not always true, as car bumpers are manufactured to withstand much of accident impact. People sustain damage more easily than cars do. However, when the visible damage is minimal, expect the insurance company to put up a fight.
Insurance companies also look for any possible pre-existing condition you might have. In order to minimize your claim they frequently claim that your age and your lifestyle are to blame for your injuries. You may hear arguments that you are injured because you are older, because you participated in college football, or enlisted in the armed forces. Such tactics are employed in order to make your injuries look less valuable. You may derail these tactics by producing detailed medical records and testimony from doctors.
For accident cases caused by failure to yield, motor vehicle accident lawyers usually begin by looking at previously settled similar cases from the past. In this way, lawyers find what claims like yours have settled for and what Jury Verdicts for similar injury cases have been and will use this as a starting place for settlement negotiations.
Similarly, judges look to previous cases for a ‘ballpark’ value. They look at similar circumstances and injuries in order to gauge the value of your claim.
Jurors take their jobs very seriously. However, in recent years Jurors are also usually cautious and skeptical. They want to know that you have been injured, and will expect you to prove it to them. Although it is possible to win a Jury Trial when the damage to your vehicle is barely visible, in general Juries appreciate graphic photos that depict plenty of damage and obvious injuries.
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You Can Win Your Georgia Failure to Yield Injury Claim
Knowing how most failure to yield cases involving collisions are handled in Georgia can help. Understanding the steps you can take to protect your claim can help you ultimately receive the justice to which you are entitled. We hope this Georgia legal guide has been a valuable resource to help in your Atlanta or Georgia car accident injury case.