Archive for category: Auto Accident Lawyer Atlanta

Steps To Take After A Car Accident

The moments following a car accident can be confusing and rushed. You have no idea what’s happening while it’s happening. Sometimes we are just eager to get to the side of the road so that we aren’t holding up other cars. Other times, we are in a more serious predicament and we can only think about how we are going to get out of the car. Either way there are things that, as long as you’re conscious, you need to before leaving the crash site.

Step 1 – Stay calm

It is important that you keep your cool after an accident because if you don’t then you may forget to get important information or do a critical task.

Step 2 – Check for injuries

If you are able to move, get out of the car and move around. Move your neck and joints checking for tightness or soreness. If you have doubts call an ambulance before leaving so that you can have documentation for later if you need it.

Step 3 – Move

If you are able to, move your cars to the side of the road but only if the accident is minor. If it is bigger than a simple fender bender, you shouldn’t move the vehicles in case the police need to investigate.

Step 4 – Safety

It is always a good idea to put your hazard lights on so that others know to use caution. If you have them, use cones, flares or any other safety devices.

Step 5 – Call the police

Even if the accident is minor, you should get the police involved. It is helpful if you end up having to hire a lawyer like James A. Rice for assistance.

We want to help you get money to pay for medical bills or to pay for the damage to your car when the other party is not cooperating. Call the personal injury lawyers at James A. Rice today.

10 Causes Of Car Accidents



What The World Would Be Like If Car Accidents Didn’t Exist?

Can you imagine it? Everyone following all traffic laws and going the speed limit. No one screaming at the driver in front of them. No one cutting off another car causing said car to veer off into the ravine. What would police officers do with their days? They would have a whole lot of time to solve other crimes, that’s for sure. OH! And the traffic. Freeways wouldn’t be so backed up because drivers are slowing down and looking at accidents. On the other side, emergency rooms may be used less because there wouldn’t be any car accident victims to tend to. There are just too many things in our daily lives that would change if there weren’t any car accidents.

At James A. Rice, we want to provide you with some tips to help avoid accidents when you are out on the roads in your car.

Don’t Be On Your Phone. Period.

We know how hard it is to be away from your phone, even if it’s sitting on the seat beside you. Many states, including Georgia, have laws put in place where it is illegal to be on your phone, texting or surfing the web, while you are driving. In other states, it is illegal to be on your phone at all, even to make a phone call. This was done for your safety, not for politicians’ amusement. Statistics prove that more and more people are admitting to texting and driving and more accidents are occurring because of it (See our blog with the stats, here)

Obey The Rules Of The Road

It seems obvious, but it needs to be said. Remember that oncoming traffic has the right of way when you are trying to turn left, unless you have a green arrow. If you are not passing anyone, you need to be in the farthest lane to the right, not hanging out in the middle lane. Also, always pass on the left. Under no circumstances should you be passing on the right. You never know what could be in your path.

Be Mindful Of Other Drivers

You could be the best driver in the whole world, but if you encounter a bad driver on the road, you could be in serious trouble. It is good practice to know where everything is around you. Knowing where other cars are on the road makes it easier for you if you are looking to switch lanes or want to turn. Also, if you are not going the speed limit, be aware that other drivers want to get around you. If this is the case, there is always a place to pull off to the right for just a moment and let those drivers pass or you can simply just move to the right lane.

If for whatever reason you are still in an auto accident, we encourage you to call us at James A. Rice immediately. We want to be sure that we get all of the evidence as soon as possible so it’s integrity is not lost. We want to help you get on the road to recovery as fast as possible whether it is just getting your car repaired or having to undergo surgery, you will need all of the help you can get.

Child Car Seat Safety: LATCH & Upgrades To The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard

Latch Guidelines

In light of the new LATCH Guidelines, which take effect in February, and the recent NHTSA proposal, I thought it important to alert parents to the upcoming changes affecting their existing car seats or future car seat purchase. Child car seat safety is the goal of all parents and in an accident, it is nice to know that organizations like the NHTSA are continuously looking to improve car seat safety guidelines.

Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children or “LATCH” anchors, were mandated in the United States in 2002 to more easily and safely secure a child in a car seat without the use of a vehicle’s seat belt. These anchors, or loop shaped rings in the back seat of your vehicle where the seat back and seat bottom meet, are the universal way to safely install your child’s car seat. However, many parents don’t realize that the LATCH anchors are designed for a limited amount of weight – 65 pounds.

Currently, the maximum weight limit of your child for LATCH use is 40 pounds but the problem with this standard is that it fails to take into account the varying weights of car seats. Next month, new guidelines take effect changing the maximum rated weight limit of your child and car seat combined, from 40 pounds to 65 pounds. If the combined weight of your child and the car seat is in excess of 65 pounds, you should install your child’s car seat using your vehicle’s seat belt rather than LATCH anchors.

Additionally, new labeling requirements will help clarify the limits of LATCH use for each car seat.

NOTE that it is always acceptable to utilize the top tether for forward facing car seats whether you install the car seat with the LATCH anchors or seat belt as it will help limit the child in a car seat in the event of a sudden stop or crash.

On January 22, 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) proposed new regulations on Child Car Seats to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard which, for the first time, would protect children from death and injury in side-impact crashes.

The proposed regulations would include impact tests wherein a car seat designed for children weighing up to forty pounds would be placed in a specially designed sled to create a “T-bone” crash. The impact test is the first of its type; it will simulate both the acceleration of the vehicle being struck and the door of the offending vehicle crushing toward the car seat. The testing simulates the front of a vehicle traveling approximately 30 mph strikes the side of a small passenger vehicle carrying a car seat and traveling approximately 15 mph. Further, the test will use a 12 month-old child test dummy and a newly developed 3 year-old child test dummy developed specifically for the side-impact testing. The side impact testing will require that car seats demonstrate the safe restraint of a child by preventing head and chest contact with an intruding vehicle door.

The NHTSA proposal allows car seat manufacturers 3 years to make the changes necessary to meet the new regulations upon final publication.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident in or around Atlanta, you should contact James Rice Law as soon as possible to understand your rights; contact us or call 404-255-4448 to learn more

“5 To Drive” Campaign To Keep Teen Drivers Alive

Data compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) shows that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in teenagers 14-18 years of age.

In an effort to keep our most inexperienced drivers safe, the NHTSA launched its “5 To Drive” in October. The campaign challenges the parents of teenage drivers to discuss the five critical driving practices that can have the greatest benefits in the event of a crash.

The “5 To Drive” Campaign topics for discussion with your teenage driver are:

  1. No cell phone use or texting while driving. Talking on a cell phone reduces your reaction time. Texting involves manual, visual and cognitive distraction.
  2. No extra passengers. Peer pressure encourages risky behavior in teen drivers.
  3. No speeding. Speeding, including showing off, racing, etc., is a major factor in teen crash fatalities.
  4. No alcohol. Although illegal to purchase alcohol as a teenager, drivers 15-20 years old are at greater risk of death in crashes involving alcohol.
  5. No driving or riding without a seatbelt. Wearing a seat belt is the best way for a teen driver to protect themselves and their passengers in the event of a crash.

In a recent NHTSA study, it was found that teens were over two times more likely to engage in potentially risky behavior when driving with a teenage peer than driving alone and this was three times more likely when driving with multiple teenage peers.

A parent is the biggest influence on a teen driver. In self-reported surveys, teens typically engage in less risky driving and are involved in fewer accidents if their parents impose driving restrictions upon them.

Atlanta Car Safety: Minicars Fail New Small Overlap Frontal Crash Test

Many people have opted to downsize their personal or family vehicles in an effort to save money on fuel bills and decrease their monthly car payments. But now, after the release of the crashworthiness evaluations, those same people are wondering if they’ve traded their safety and the safety of their families for economy. Particularly in Atlanta, where there are approximately 1700 car accidents a day.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“IIHS”) is an independent, nonprofit organization funded primarily by auto insurers and insurance associations and dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries and property damage as a result of vehicle crashes. In 2012, the IIHS introduced the small overlap frontal crash test. This test simulates a collision wherein a front corner of the vehicle traveling at 40 mph, strikes another vehicle or an object, such as a utility pole.

This test is more difficult than both the head-on collision testing long performed by the government and the moderate overlap test performed by the IIHS. The difficulty is created because the impact of the collision bypasses most of the vehicle’s front-end crush zone. This prevents the vehicle from absorbing the crash energy before it reaches the occupant compartment and as a result, causes the collapse of the occupant compartment.

The structure and restraints (safety belts and airbags) of a vehicle are the fundamental elements of occupant protection. Good vehicle structure translates into a) a strong occupant compartment; b) crush zones which absorb the crash energy; c) side structure that can handle the force of a striking vehicle or object; and d) a strong roof structure that doesn’t collapse in a rollover. When the structure of your vehicle collapses in a collision, the risk of injury to the occupants is high.

While eleven minicars were tested by the IIHS, only one received an acceptable rating for structure leaving the remaining ten with only marginal or poor ratings for structure. Only marginal or poor ratings were earned by all eleven vehicles for restraints and kinematics (motion). Seven of the tested vehicles allowed too much forward motion of the occupant in a collision, indicating that the seat belt was not sufficient to hold the occupant in place or the occupant’s head missed or slid off of the front airbag. In eight of the minicars the side curtain airbags, which play a vital role in small overlap frontal crashes, were not sufficient and the side curtain airbag in one vehicle failed to deploy.

Complete minicar crash worthiness evaluations and ratings can be reviewed at When you purchase any vehicle, be informed.

In the event of an accident, seek the advice of a knowledgeable attorney. At the Rice Firm, we are always available to assist and guide you through obtaining a reasonable settlement.

Atlanta Road Emergency

If you become stalled or stranded in your vehicle in an Atlanta Road Emergency, the most important thing you can do for yourself, and your passengers, is to REMAIN CALM. STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE unless help is within 100 yards of your location. Your vehicle is a good shelter during any weather, but especially in inclement weather.

Attempting to reposition your vehicle by pushing it in any weather or shoveling snow and ice in storm conditions takes a great deal of effort. Avoid overexertion – cold weather puts added strain on the heart and you risk heart attack, injury or making other medical conditions worse. In cold, winter weather, wet clothing loses its insulation value, putting you at risk of hypothermia. Be safe.

If you are stuck during daylight hours, tie a brightly colored cloth to your vehicle’s antennae to alert rescuers to your situation. If you are stuck during night hours, remove the cover from your dome light and turn the light on. Road crews and rescue personnel can see a small glow from a considerable distance. To reduce the risk of draining your vehicle’s battery, use emergency flashers only if you hear approaching vehicles.

If your vehicle is stuck in the snow, keep its exhaust pipe clear of any snow and ice to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Better to be cold and awake than warm and sleepy. Run your vehicle with a downwind window open slightly for ventilation. Run your vehicle only long enough to keep warm – approximately ten minutes every hour. Run the heat while the car is running.

During winter months, cover exposed skin. Watch for signs of frostbite or hypothermia. Do minor exercises to circulation flowing. Try not to stay in one position for too long – clap your hands and occasionally move your arms and legs. For warmth, huddle together. In additional to blankets, you can use maps or newspapers or even car mats for added insulation. If more than one person is in the vehicle, keep one person on watch; don’t allow all vehicle occupants to sleep at the same time.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident in or around Atlanta, you should contact James Rice Law as soon as possible to understand your rights; contact us or call 404-255-4448 to learn more.

Atlanta Winter Driving

Given the winter weather we have all experienced in Atlanta this week, and could still experience – it’s only late January, I thought it prudent to share some of the Atlanta winter driving tips I’ve picked up from our local law enforcement troopers and officers. Even a safe driver can benefit from the advice of people in the position to deal with the best and worst of drivers.

Before setting out in your vehicle in wintry conditions, check the roads along your planned route. There are a number of phone apps that will allow you to do this, many of which are free. Also, you can access, which is a good resource on any day to find traffic conditions in Atlanta. In addition to roadway conditions, it provides locations of construction and accidents and current traveling speeds.

Next, remove snow and ice from your vehicle. Frosted windows reduce your visibility. Chunks of snow and ice flying off your vehicle are potential hazards to the drivers around you.

Turn your headlights on – make certain you can see and be seen. Winter conditions require a different kind of driving than normal weather so BE ALERT and do not utilize your vehicle’s cruise control. When placing a child in a car seat, the added thickness of outerwear can interfere with proper harness fit so instead of overdoing outerwear, place blankets around your child after the harness is safely secured.

During your drive, SLOW DOWN. Driving at a lower speed will more likely allow you to maintain control of your vehicle. INCREASE YOUR FOLLOWING DISTANCE to at least three times the normal distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you, allowing you plenty of room to stop. It takes a greater distance to stop on snow and ice. AVOID ABRUPT MANEUVERS to lessen the chance of losing control of your vehicle. Heavily traveled intersections can become “polished” and slick so make your turns gradually and slowly. When accelerating, accelerate slowly and when braking, brake gently. If you have anti-lock brakes (“ABS”) press the pedal firmly and hold it. If you don’t have anti-lock brakes, gently pump your brake pedal. If your vehicle starts to skid, COUNTER STEER by steering into the direction you want your vehicle to go – if the rear of your vehicle is sliding left, steer left into the skid. If it’s sliding right, steer right. Expect a second skid as your vehicle straightens out and be prepared to counter this action.

Slippery spots scattered on the surface of the roadway can cause a loss of steering control. Do not use your brake when you encounter an icy spot. Rather, take your foot off the accelerator and steer as straight as possible until the car slows to a safe speed. Brake as you approach a curve and not while you are in it. In an emergency, you can intentionally steer your vehicle into a snow bank to avoid a crash and keep you and your passengers safe. Being stuck in a snow bank is a better alternative than a collision causing injury and/or property damage.

Although we wish you safe travels as you commute our Georgia roadways, the personal injury attorneys at the Rice Firm are here for you in the event of an accident.

Atlanta Winter Driving Survival Kit

In the past week, as a result of the wintry mix of snow and ice delivered by Winter Storm Leon, we’ve all heard stories about drivers stuck in their vehicles for hours on end or having to abandon their vehicles. I recently posted an article containing tips for WINTER DRIVING but the stories have prompted me to pack an Atlanta Winter Driving Survival Kit to carry in my car during the winter months. Most of the items fit easily into a gym bag or plastic container that I can store in the trunk but slip into the backseat when a winter storm threatens. The other items will just remain in my trunk, readily accessible in an emergency situation.

Any survival kit, regardless of season, should include your cellular phone and an adaptable charger for your vehicle.

Your winter driving survival kit should include the following:

  • Cellular Phone and Charger
  • Bottled Water and Food (suggested food items: food bars, small packets of raisins, miniature candy bars or semi-sweet chocolate pieces, nuts, chewing gum, wrapped hard candies, etc.)
  • Medicine (for longer trips or for driving in less populated areas)
  • Red Bandana or brightly colored cloth to tie to your antennae to alert others in the event of a emergency
  • Ice Scraper
  • Flashlight with spare batteries (check batteries periodically)
  • First Aid Kit including a small, sharp knife
  • Large Garbage Bag and Plastic Bags
  • Warning Devices, such as flares or emergency markers
  • Blankets for protection from the cold
  • Jumper Cables
  • Snow Shovel or Broom
  • Abrasive Material, such as sand or kitty litter, to generate traction under wheels in case your vehicle gets stuck.

Consider reversing the batteries in the flashlight to prevent it being switched on accidentally and draining the batteries.

The main thing, in the event of any emergency, is to REMAIN CALM. Please check out our other articles for information we hope contributes to your safety and the safety of your loved ones.

Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving is a deadly behavior and despite Georgia’s prohibition from texting while driving, it continues to be a serious problem. In every State, people are dying as a result of driver distraction. The next time you are sitting at a red light, look at the drivers around you. You may be surprised to see how many drivers are texting or reviewing emails or even web surfing as they sit at the same light. All of these activities are illegal in Georgia, even while sitting at a red light. **

In 2010, Georgia enacted laws making it illegal for any driver under the age of 18 to use a cell phone for any purpose while driving (HB 23) and illegal for a driver of any age to text while driving (SB 360). The texting ban isn’t limited to texting, it includes emails, internet “Surfing” and even use of your cell phone’s navigation system. Georgia law allows a driver’s use of a GPS-only device (i.e. Garmin) and not a communication device.

According to research by Virginia Tech transportation Institute, a driver takes his eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds to read or send a text message. At 55 mph, a driver will travel the length of a football field in that 4.6 seconds.

Today’s smartphones allow the user to send/receive texts, send/receive emails, access social media websites, and even surf the web. Obviously, the smartphone provides more opportunity for driver distraction than the earlier cell phones. The number of drivers reporting that they use their smartphones to access the internet while driving is rising and this is a deadly practice.

In 2009 State Farm began a survey of drivers, asking whether they went online while driving. The percentage of drivers who responded that they do so rose from 13% to 24% this year. Further, the percentage increased from 29% to 49% in drivers 18-29 years of age. State Farm’s Director of Technology, Chris Mullen, states that “It’s not just a youthful problem”. In the past three years, smartphone ownership has risen among older drivers. The percentage of drivers ages 40-49 that own smartphones rose from 47% in 2011 to 82% in 2013, drivers ages 50-64 the percentage rose from 44% in 2011 to 64% in 2013 and in drivers ages 65 and older the percentage rose from 23% in 2011 to 39% in 2013. Although the problem of driver’s texting while driving has continued to slowly rise from 31% to 35% in the past five years, the number has decreased from 71% to 69% in drivers 18-29 years of age.

Perhaps the dangers of distracted driving warrant our lawmakers pushing for a ban on the use of handheld devices while driving. Although no such bill has been passed to date, efforts of lawmakers continue while insurance companies and community organizations push to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving.

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