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Avoid car accidents, tips for bad weather driving in Georgia

The winter months are officially upon us here in Georgia so we thought we would share some great tips on how to avoid car accidents out on the roadways.

Start with the condition of your car:

According to the American Safety Council, you should "Schedule a maintenance check-up for your vehicle's tires and tire pressure, battery, belts and hoses, radiator, oil, lights, brakes, exhaust system, heater/defroster, wipers and ignition system."

Tire pressure typically will be lower in the winter and higher in the summer. Check your tire pressure consistently throughout the winter season to insure they are at recommended levels for your make and model of tire.

While you are driving:

Slow Down - This goes without saying, but it is vitally important not to speed when the road is wet or even icy. This will allow you enough time to slow down and stop. Even if you are in a hurry, take caution and drive slower than normal. It is also advised to not use cruise control when in these conditions.

Understand Your Brakes - If you find yourself stopping on the ice, you should know what type of brakes are on your car. If the car has standard brakes, you should lightly pump the brakes until the car stops. If you have anti-lock brakes, you should not pump the brakes, but rather, apply steady pressure on the brake as you come to a stop.

Lights On - Even if it is the middle of the day, you should keep your lights on if there is inclement weather, especially if it is raining or snowing.

Low Gears - If you keep your car in low gear you will be able to handle the car with more control and have better traction on the ground.

Skidding - If you start skidding you will want to take your foot off the gas. If your back wheels are skidding, turn the wheel of the car in the direction you want the car to go. Alternately, if the front wheels skid, put the car in neutral and don't move the wheel until the car gains traction, then you can steer the direction you want to go and put the car back in drive.

We hope these tips can help you avoid having a bad car accident during the winter months around Atlanta, Georgia. Please also be aware that many car wrecks out on the roads will be due to negligence, distracted driving, drunk driving or drug related driving scenarios.

We hope you never have to deal with being involved in a car wreck of this nature, but if you do, please do not hesitate to call Gary Martin Hays, Personal Injury Lawyer.

If you've been injured, call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates. Call 1-800-898-HAYS for a free consultation.

Georgia Courts Lower Auto Accident Damage Award Based on… Twitter?

On December 30, 2012, TMZ published an article about a Georgia car accident case that had been impacted by, of all things, tweets from a Twitter account. According to TMZ, tweets from the plaintiff had a major impact on the case. The plaintiff had originally asked for $1.1 million in damages but was awarded $237,000 by a jury. However, this award was subsequently lowered to $142,000 because of some things that the plaintiff posted to her Twitter account.

Our Atlanta auto accident attorneys believe that this is an important lesson for anyone involved in auto accident litigation. Information that you post on social media networking sites is public record and it can be used against you. As in this example, something that you post online could have significant consequences for your claim.

The Tweets That Started The Trouble
The Georgia woman whose tweets got her into trouble had suffered a broken arm and cuts on her forehead after the crash. The cuts to her forehead left her with a scar on her face. When she sued for damages, she indicated that she experienced pain and suffering as a result of her injuries. As a hairstylist who does braiding and weaving, she also indicated that her injuries would make it difficult for her to perform her job.

Based on the evidence and information she provided, the jury awarded her $237,000. However, she then went on a vacation weekend to New Orleans and she posted some details on Twitter about her experience there.

According to her Twitter posts, she indicated that the weekend was "epic," and expressed that she and her friends were having a great time She also tweeted that she was starting to love her scar and she posted a picture of herself carrying a hand bag in the arm that was allegedly broken and impaired as a result of the crash.

The evidence from these tweets was subsequently presented in court. The jury determined based on the evidence that she was living a full life and that her pain and suffering damages should be reduced since obviously she wasn't in so much pain that it was interfering with her lifestyle. The jury did allow her to keep some damages because she did, after all, suffer an injury and her ability to do her job had been impacted. However, she received significantly less than she would have had she not shared details of her party weekend on Twitter.

Many people use Twitter, Facebook and other networking sites as a means of connecting with family and friends and with those who share interests. While these online social networking sites can serve an important social function, it is very important that everyone understand the information posted may fall into the wrong hands and be read or reviewed by people you don't expect. What you post on Twitter or anywhere online can, therefore, have a significant impact if you are involved in a personal injury claim.

If you have been injured in an Atlanta car accident, contact Gary Martin Hays & Associates at 1-800-898-HAYS.

New DUI Laws Go Into Effect in GA

Starting January 1, 2013

As the New Year kicks off, partygoers busted for DUI may find that they have a few more options for places they are allowed to drive while using a limited permit and a slight reduction on their "hard suspension" times.

The Facts About The Law:

First time offenders over the age of 21 or "first in five years" offenders will be eligible for hardship permits that extend the types of locations they are allowed to drive.

As the law stated before Jan. 1, these limited permits allowed certain DUI offenders the ability to drive to school, work, doctors offices, support group meetings and DUI courses.

This new broadened license allows them to drive to their probation officer, attend court, and do work for community service.

Furthermore, drivers on this new expanded permit will be allowed to drive their family members who do not have a drivers license to school, work and/or to receive medical services and aid.

Beginning on Jan. 1, if a DUI offender has been arrested twice in the last 5 years, they will automatically serve a 120 day hard suspension for driving, and then will be allowed to apply for an ignition interlock limited permit.

Before receiving their limited permit, they must show the following:

1.      Certificate of eligibility for an ignition interlock limited driving permit from the court that sentenced the person

2.      Clinical evaluation completion and enrollment in substance abuse program approved by the Department of Human Services

3.      Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction program

4.      Installation of an ignition interlock device in any vehicle that shall be used by the DUI offender

Were you hurt by a drunk driver?

While these new laws could potentially benefit drunk drivers, our law offices actively fight to protect those who may have been hurt in a drunk driver accident.

Gary Martin Hays & Associates actively supports Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), encouraging the Georgia legislature to take a tough stance against drinking and driving.

It is important to maintain your right to full compensation from all sources by filing certain claims and notices in a timely manner. It is also imperative that a thorough investigation be undertaken as soon as possible to fully document the contributing factors.

The drunk driver put you in a tough position. Our experience can help you recover. Call today.

Every drunk driver accident victim has the right to see that the law is applied fairly to all, not just to big corporations and insurance companies. At Gary Martin Hays & Associates, we provide aggressive legal representation for personal injury victims. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation: 1-800-898-HAYS.