How Can I Avoid a Car Accident on St. Patrick’s Day?

On St. Patrick’s Day, people demonstrate their appreciation of all things Irish by wearing green, decorating their homes, and preparing a feast. It is also known as one of the most popular drinking holidays in the United States. Unfortunately, this leads to many motorists making irresponsible decisions, including drunk driving.

It should come as no surprise that there is an uptick in drunk driving car accidents on St. Patrick’s Day. According to data from WalletHub, over half of Americans celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in 2020. Over 60 percent of fatal St. Patrick’s Day accidents involve a drunk driver, and close to 70 percent of fatal St. Patrick’s Day car accidents occur between midnight and 6:00 a.m.

Like New Year’s Eve, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day, St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday where copious amounts of alcohol is readily available. People have a tendency to overdo it and then get behind the wheel of their car. While you cannot control how other people celebrate the holiday or the choices they make after they have had too many drinks, you can take proactive steps to make safety a priority and avoid a serious car accident. The following safety tips will help keep you safe on St. Patrick’s Day.

Contact a Rideshare Service

If you plan on going to a restaurant or bar on St. Patrick’s Day, it is highly recommended that you leave your car and your keys at home and get a ride with a rideshare service, like Uber or Lyft. That way, even if you do have a bit too much to drink, you will not need to worry about driving home drunk. In addition, the Uber or Lyft driver will be better able to minimize the risk of a car accident because they are sober and will have the coordination and reflexes necessary to avoid a car accident.

Use Public Transportation

If you live in a city, consider taking public transportation home after a night of celebratory drinking. This is often a much cheaper option than calling a rideshare service or taxi cab. In addition, it may be safer than Uber or Lyft, considering the increased number of drunk drivers on the roads.

Assign a Designated Driver

If you are going out with a group of friends, see if anyone in the group would be willing to stay sober and drive everyone home at the end of the night.

Go Out Early

Consider going to an early dinner or a happy hour instead of staying out until well past midnight, which is when the majority of drunk driving car accidents occur on St. Patrick’s Day. In addition to avoiding many of the intoxicated drivers, driving while it is still light outside also reduces the risk of getting into an accident.

Host a Party

Instead of going out to a crowded bar, consider hosting a party at your house. You can control the number of people who are invited and the amount of alcohol that is served. As the host, it is highly recommended that you hold on to the guests’ car keys. If anyone has had too much to drink, do not give them their keys. Encourage any guests who have had too much to drink to stay the night or help them arrange for a safe ride home by calling a rideshare service.

What Are Examples of Common Drunk Driving Injuries?

Car accidents that are caused by drunk driving often result in very serious, often fatal injuries for a number of reasons. When a motorist is drunk, they are more likely to speed, veer in and out of the lane, tailgate, or engage in other unsafe driving behaviors. This can cause very serious injuries, particularly if the motorist is traveling at a high speed at the time of the accident. The following are examples of the types of injuries that drunk driving car accidents can cause:

  • Broken bones, including wrists, arms, legs, and ribs.
  • Cuts, bruises, and lacerations.
  • Whiplash.
  • Chest and torso injuries.
  • Back and neck injuries.
  • Loss of limb.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

What Should I Do if I am in a Car Accident on St. Patrick’s Day?

Like any other car accident, it is crucial that you call 911 and report the accident, particularly if there are injuries involved. If you are physically able to do so, it is also very important that you collect as much evidence as possible, including pictures of the accident scene, the damage to your vehicle, your injuries, and any debris on the road. Exchange information with the other motorist and contact your insurance company. Keep in mind, however, that insurance companies are in the business of making money so they will try to avoid a costly settlement. Finally, you are urged to contact an experienced car accident lawyer who can walk you through the claims process. In addition, a car accident lawyer will make sure that your claim is filed within the state’s statute of limitations.

In the state of Georgia, there is a two-year deadline for filing a personal injury claim after a car accident, and a four-year deadline for property damage claims. If a claim is filed two years and one day after the date of the accident, the claim will most likely be denied. The process of filing a claim and collecting all of the necessary evidence can take time. Even if an initial settlement offer is made shortly after you file a claim, it may be a lowball offer, in which case your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to obtain the best possible offer.

It is also important to keep in mind that Georgia is a comparative negligence state. When it comes to collecting damages, the amount you will be able to collect will be reduced by the percentage that corresponds to your share of liability. For example, if you are hit by a drunk driver who had too much to drink after celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with friends but you were driving 40 miles per hour in a 25 miles per hour zone at the time of the accident, you may be liable for a percentage of the damages. In other words, if the damages totaled $10,000 and you are liable for 20 percent, you would be eligible for $8,000 in damages. However, if you share 50 percent or more of the fault, Georgia’s modified comparative negligence rule states that you will not be able to recover any damages.

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Drivers Injured in St. Patrick’s Day Car Accidents

Make sure to take safety precautions this St. Patrick’s Day, especially if you plan to go out for the night. Remember, other drivers may not be as responsible as you. If you have been seriously injured in a drunk driving car accident, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the details of the accident and ensure that the negligent party is held liable for their actions. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

How Do I Spot a Distracted Driver?

Despite the ongoing efforts to discourage drivers from engaging in distracted driving, far too many motorists do not think twice before making a phone call, reading a text, reaching for something in the back seat, or programming the navigation system while driving. Even if you make every effort to avoid distractions while driving, you cannot control other motorists’ behaviors. On any given day, you may see other drivers talking on the phone or sending texts when they should be paying attention to the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, there were 3,142 fatal distracted driving car accidents. If you know how to spot a distracted driver, you can take proactive steps to prevent a serious accident.

Certain types of unsafe driving behaviors are easy to spot. For example, you know a driver is speeding if the car whizzes past you and you are driving the speed limit. Tailgating is also easy to spot. Distracted driving is not always obvious at first. However, if you know some of the common signs to look for, you can take steps to avoid an accident. The following are behaviors that may indicate distracted driving:

  • Driving too fast or slow: Motorists who are distracted by a phone may not be paying enough attention to their speed and whether they are staying within the flow of traffic.
  • Unexpected speed changes: Slowing down or speeding up intermittently are also signs of distracted driving.
  • Weaving in and out of lanes: When a motorist is distracted, they are more likely to drift out of the lane.
  • Longer stops: When stopped at a red light, a distracted driver may not react promptly when the light turns green.
  • Running a red light or stop sign: Drivers who are particularly distracted may not notice that a traffic light has turned red or that they drove right through a stop sign. If another vehicle is coming from the other direction when the distracted driver runs a red light, this can cause a very serious car accident.
  • Seeing the driver’s eyes focused on something other than the road: If a motorist is looking down at their phone, this is an obvious example of distracted driving.

What Should I Do if I See a Distracted Driver?

If another motorist is showing any of the common signs of distracted driving, you are strongly urged to keep your distance and assume that the other driver does not see you. While you may be tempted to get their attention by pulling up next to the distracted driver’s car, it is not a good idea to engage with the other motorist.

If it appears that the driver’s behavior is particularly erratic or is endangering the lives of other motorists on the road, pull over to a safe spot and call 911 to report the driver. Take note of the license plate number, or if there is another passenger in your car, have them take a picture of the license plate or write it down on a piece of paper so that you can provide that information to dispatch.

How Serious Is Distracted Driving in Georgia?

Each year, there are approximately 344,000 car accidents in Georgia, most of which are distracted driving accidents that could have been prevented if the motorists were focusing on the road. The following statistics highlight how serious this problem is in Georgia:

  • Within the first three months after instituting the hand-free cell phone requirement, police officers wrote over 8,000 citations for using handheld devices and over 7,000 more citations in the three months that followed.
  • According to a study by TrueMotion, prior to Georgia’s hands-free law, motorists texted or used apps close to 20 percent of the time that they were driving.
  • Shortly after the law was passed, the incidence of talking on the phone while driving dropped by over 20 percent to 15.4 percent of total driving time.
  • A Constitution survey found that 45 percent of respondents said that they always obey the distracted driving law, and 40 percent said that they obeyed the law most of the time.

What Are the Three Categories of Distracted Driving?

The NHTSA defines distracted driving as any activity that takes a motor’s attention away from the road. There are three categories of distracted driving:

  • Manual distractions: These are distractions that cause you to take one or both hands off the steering wheel. Examples of this type of distraction include eating, adjusting the radio or the temperature in the car, or reaching for something in your purse or in the back seat.
  • Visual distractions: These are distractions that cause you to look away from the road. Common examples include reading or sending a text message, making a phone call, or programming the vehicle’s navigation system.
  • Cognitive distractions: While these distractions do not involve taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road, they do cause your attention to drift off of the task of driving. Using a hands-free device, listening to the radio, or daydreaming are all examples of cognitive distractions.

What If I am Injured in a Distracted Driving Car Accident?

All motorists have a responsibility to make safety a top priority when they are behind the wheel. If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to seek compensation through a personal injury claim.

In order to reach a successful outcome, you will need to prove that the other driver was distracted. Unlike drunk driving, distracted driving is more difficult to prove because there is no test to determine whether the motorist was distracted at the time of the accident. However, a skilled car accident lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation, including obtaining copies of police reports, witness testimonies, and hiring an accident reconstructionist if necessary to demonstrate the other motorist’s unsafe driving behavior at the time of the crash. If you are able to take a picture of the accident scene, this also provides valuable evidence that can be used to help your case.

What Can I Do to Prevent Distracted Driving?

While you cannot control how other people drive, you can take proactive steps to avoid common distractions and keep your attention focused on the road. The following tips can help you avoid a distracted driving accident:

  • Put the phone away. If your phone is within reach, you may be tempted to answer a call or read a text message while you are driving. Your phone should only be used for emergencies, so it should be put away either in your purse or in the glove compartment. If you must make or accept a call, pull over to a safe spot. Even hands-free devices can be distracting.
  • Limit the number of passengers in the car. This is particularly true for newly licensed drivers who are more easily distracted when there are more people in the car.
  • Do not eat while driving. Oftentimes, people do not realize how distracting it is to eat while driving. However, since you are holding your food with one hand, eating is a manual distraction, and if you are looking down at your food before taking a bite, this is a visual distraction.
  • Avoid multitasking while driving. Even if you spend a significant amount of time in your car, you should not use that as an excuse to make phone calls, send or read text messages, or check social media. Take care of important business before you start driving and keep your attention focused on the road and the other motorists in the vicinity.

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Motorists Injured in Distracted Driving Accidents

If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident, do not hesitate to contact one of our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law. These accidents are largely preventable if motorists keep their attention focused on the road. However, too many motorists are easily distracted. Our skilled legal team will determine who is responsible for your accident. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

In Georgia, you cannot refuse a breathalyzer test without facing legal penalties. Georgia is an implied consent law state. This means that anyone driving on a Georgia road has given implied consent to follow the orders and requests of police officers if the police officer has reasonable cause to believe you have been drinking.

However, this does not mean that you have no rights. It just means that if you refuse a breathalyzer test, you will be arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). If you have been charged with DUI, whether you took a breathalyzer test or not, you have rights worth protecting. To help you, speak with a lawyer right away.

What Is Implied Consent?

 If you have a Georgia driver’s license or a valid license from any other state and you are driving in Georgia, you have given the state implied consent that you will submit to a breathalyzer test if a police officer has reasonable cause to believe you have been drinking. Can you refuse? Yes, but you will face consequences. If the police officer believes they have a strong reasonable suspicion that you are above the legal limit, they can arrest you and charge you with DUI, even though you have not taken a breathalyzer test.

Under Georgia law, you also do not have a right to consult with a lawyer until after you have been arrested. Since you are not under arrest and because Georgia courts have held that the decision to take a breathalyzer test is not a critical stage of the criminal process, you do not have the right to a lawyer. Only after you have been arrested do you have the absolute right to legal counsel.

What Are the Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test?

If you refuse the breathalyzer test, you can be arrested and charged with DUI. This is one of the mandatory penalties under Georgia law that you will face if you do not follow the officer’s request.

You will also lose your driver’s license. You will receive a thirty-day permit allowing you to drive. During that time, you must request a hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license. If you do not, you will lose your license for one year. The length of this suspension grows with every subsequent DUI charge.

When you get pulled over for suspected impaired driving, the police officer may request that you take a breathalyzer test. If you refuse, before arresting you and charging you with a DUI, the police officer must inform you of the penalties for refusing to take a breathalyzer. Georgia law requires officers to inform people because most are not aware of the penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test.

If the police officer does not inform you of the penalties under Georgia law, you may have a valid reason to challenge the penalties that happened after you refused a breathalyzer. This could mean that the DUI charge and arrest could be thrown out and your driver’s license could be reinstated at the hearing.

However, to ensure your rights are protected, you must have a trusted legal advocate working with you. Going through this process is not simple and requires deep knowledge of the legal system and relevant Georgia laws.

A Changing Standard

Recently, the Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that a driver’s refusal to take a breathalyzer test cannot be used against them. Prior to this ruling, if you refused to take a breathalyzer test, that fact could be used against you in court to add to the evidence showing that you were driving drunk. Today, however, that can no longer happen.

This does not mean that if you refuse a breathalyzer test after a police officer pulls you over that you suddenly get to drive away. In many cases, a breathalyzer test is the final step a police officer takes before making an arrest. Prior to that, the police officer will probably ask a driver to walk a straight line, count backwards, say the alphabet, and do other field sobriety tests approved by law enforcement.

Similarly, this new standard does not remove Georgia’s implied consent law. By driving on Georgia roads, all drivers give their implied consent to being pulled over and questioned, including the use of field sobriety tests. These measures help to keep everyone on Georgia roadways safe. However, your refusal to take a breathalyzer test will not prevent you from getting arrested and charged with DUI if the police officer has reasonable cause. If you do not voluntarily consent to a breathalyzer test, you can still be arrested and charged with DUI under Georgia law.

Independent Testing

You have the right to request an independent test at your own expense, but you can only request an independent test if you did not refuse the test from the police officer. In other words, there has to be a test comparison, but the tests do not have to be identical. You can submit to a breathalyzer test at the scene but can have a blood test done at your expense.

The arresting police officer must allow you to get an independent test. Your request must be reasonable. A request for an independent test may be reasonable if:

  • You have the ability to pay for the independent test.
  • The location of the facility you selected for your test was nearby.
  • The police did not delay giving you access to an independent test.

Since alcohol runs through the body fairly quickly, time is of the essence so any blocking by the officer could give you additional support to toss out your DUI arrest. If the police officer did not allow you the ability to have an independent test done in a reasonable amount of time, your lawyer may be able to get the breathalyzer test removed from evidence.

It is critical to have a lawyer if you have been arrested for DUI. Navigating the legal process requires a keen eye for detail and an intimate understanding of Georgia’s DUI laws. This is not something to handle on your own, especially when you could lose your right to drive for a minimum of one year.

A skilled Georgia lawyer will be able to tell quickly if the laws and processes were followed. If not, that can be a quick route to reducing or eliminating the charges against you. Not only does this save you the hassle and embarrassment of a DUI charge, but it also ensures that your driver’s license remains intact, and you have the ability to drive to and from work and all your other important life events.

There are many ways the police could have violated your rights during the field sobriety test and DUI arrest. The only way to know for sure what rights have been violated and how to take action to protect yourself is by partnering with a trusted lawyer.

Effingham County DUI Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Will Protect Your Rights After a DUI Arrest

A DUI charge can lead to a possible license suspension, leaving you without a way to get to work. To make sure your rights are protected, speak with our Effingham County DUI lawyers at Kicklighter Law. To learn more about how we can help you, call us at 912-754-6003 or contact us online for a consultation. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

Why Do Car Accidents Increase Over Thanksgiving Break?

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with friends and family to enjoy a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings. However, it is also one of the most heavily traveled holidays of the year. People who did not see friends and family last Thanksgiving due to COVID-19 travel restrictions are very much looking forward to the holiday this year, despite having to deal with heavy traffic.

Each year, approximately 50 million people travel for Thanksgiving, mostly by car. The increased number of motorists on the roads, combined with a number of other factors, cause car accidents to spike during the Thanksgiving holiday break.

What Are the Main Causes of Thanksgiving Car Accidents?

More motorists on the road means more accidents. However, that is just one of the factors that causes a spike in car accidents over Thanksgiving break. The following are some of the most common causes of car accidents on and around Thanksgiving:

  • Increased traffic: Millions of Americans will be traveling by car this Thanksgiving. Some people only have to drive a few miles to get to the destination, while others may have to travel several hundred miles. Either way, there are significantly more cars on the roadways, which leads to more accidents.
  • Inclement weather: As fall progresses, the weather can be unpredictable. It can also change quickly from rain to freezing rain and snow. Black ice is also extremely dangerous because motorists usually do not see it until they hit the ice with their vehicle and start to skid. Inclement weather can cause road conditions to become unsafe, particularly at night when visibility is also a concern.
  • Drunk driving: Alcohol is often served at Thanksgiving dinner celebrations. In addition, people often gather at restaurants and bars over the course of the week and weekend to see friends who are home from college or to spend time with family who are visiting. Too often, people get behind the wheel of a car after consuming too much alcohol. Drunk drivers have slower reaction times, less coordination, and impaired judgment, which significantly increases car accidents.
  • Drowsy driving: Eating a large meal can leave you feeling tired and sluggish. If you also traveled earlier in the day, you may be exhausted by the end of the day. Driving is one of the top causes of car accidents throughout the year, particularly during Thanksgiving break. The more tired you are, the more likely it is that you could cause a serious car accident.
  • Drivers who are unfamiliar with the area: If you are constantly checking the navigation app on your phone or calling a friend for directions, you will be more likely to be involved in an accident. In addition, if you are not familiar with the area, you may not be aware of sharp curves in the road or other hazards that may cause you to swerve into another lane or slam on your brakes.

How Can I Avoid a Car Accident on Thanksgiving?

You cannot control the way other motorists drive, but you can make safety a top priority and take proactive steps to ensure that you and your passengers arrive at your destination safely. As you prepare for the holiday weekend, keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Anticipate heavy traffic. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination, and try to avoid peak travel times.
  • Be patient. Getting stuck in traffic can be frustrating, but do not take it out on other drivers by tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, slamming on your brakes, or cutting off other motorists. This will not get you to your destination any sooner.
  • Make sure that your vehicle is in good working order. Have a skilled mechanic check the tire pressure, brakes, the engine, headlights and taillights, and turn signals. Refill any fluids that are running low, and have any repairs done before your trip.
  • Get plenty of rest before driving a long distance. Take plenty of breaks along the way to get out of the car, stretch, and get some fresh air. If possible, share the driving responsibilities with another adult driver.
  • Plan your route. Map out your route before you hit the road so that you have a good idea of where you are going and how long it will take to get there.
  • If you have consumed alcohol, do not drive. Either stay the night where you are, get a ride home with someone who has not been drinking, or call a rideshare service.
  • Wear a seat belt. This may not prevent an accident, but wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways you can prevent serious injuries. Make sure that all passengers are buckled up as well.

What Should I Do After a Thanksgiving Car Accident?

Nothing derails a holiday weekend like getting into a car accident. However, knowing what steps to take immediately following the accident can make the ordeal less stressful and overwhelming:

  • Report the accident. Call 911 immediately so that dispatch can send police to the accident scene. They will also send emergency medical technicians if there are injuries. When police arrive at the scene, they will talk to both parties, ask questions about the accident, and write a police report.
  • Seek immediate medical care. Even if you did not suffer a serious injury, it is important that you are examined by a skilled medical professional after an accident. Some injuries do not show up right away, or the adrenaline rush can mask certain symptoms. Failing to seek medical care also sends a message to the other driver and your insurance company that your injury must not be very serious.
  • Take pictures. If you are physically able to do so, take pictures of the accident scene, including the damage to your vehicle, the position of the other vehicle compared to yours, your injuries, any skid marks or debris on the road, and the current weather conditions.
  • Talk to witnesses. If there were people who saw the accident happen, ask if they would be willing to provide an official statement. Ask for their contact information as well.
  • Exchange information with the other driver. You and the other driver should exchange contact information, as well as your driver’s license number, license plate, and insurance information. Keep the conversation with the other driver brief, and avoid saying anything that can be interpreted as an apology, as this can be used against you by the other driver’s insurance company.
  • Contact your insurance company. Notify your insurance company that you were involved in an accident.
  • Call a lawyer. A lawyer will assist you with the claims process and protect your rights.

Possible Damages

If you were injured in a car accident over Thanksgiving break and the other driver was at fault, you may have legal options. Whether the motorist was drunk, drowsy, or failed to use extra caution during inclement weather, you may be able to recover the following damages:

  • All related medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

Speak to a lawyer to determine if you are eligible to pursue damages.

Effingham County Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Advocate for Clients Injured Over the Thanksgiving Holiday Break

Thanksgiving is a great time to gather with friends and family, but it is also a dangerous holiday for motorists. If you have been injured in a Thanksgiving collision, our Effingham County car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law can help. Call us at 912-754-6003 or contact us online for a consultation. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

Deadly Houston Stampede Spurs Security Concerns

Police continue to investigate the cause of a crowd stampede at NRG Park in Houston on Friday, Nov. 5 that caused the death of eight people and injured hundreds more. Among those killed at the Travis Scott concert was a 14-year-old boy. A 10-year-old boy was among those who were injured. Those who lost their lives at the concert were between 14 and 27 years old. It is unknown what made the crowd surge forward.

With the headline performer, Travis Scott, starting at 9:00 p.m. the crowd became so dangerous that an ambulance entered the concert at 9:30 p.m. Concertgoers were lifting up the injured and surfing them over the crowd, hoping to get them to safety.

A security officer trying to restrain a concertgoer was jabbed with a needle and passed out. The officer was brought back to consciousness via Narcan, which counters the effects of opioid drugs. People were pleading for the concert to stop and seeking CPR for injured people.

Travis Scott, while at times appearing to urge on the crowd, also paused to say that something seemed wrong, but he continued to play until 10:10 p.m. The concert promotion company, Live Nation, ended the concert 30 minutes earlier than scheduled.

It is unknown how much the performers could tell was going on from the stage. Houston’s police chief said that concert organizers were concerned that cutting off the concert would possibly incite riots.

The city fire department saw no problems or obstacles at the exits. The fire department is looking into reports that the crowd was much bigger than the event planned to host, which was 50,000. NRG Park can hold up to 200,000 people, and there are reports that many were rushing in right before the concert started.

Families of those who have died due to negligence have the right to seek justice. The Savannah wrongful death attorneys at Kicklighter Law have decades of experience helping families with wrongful death claims. Call 912-754-6003 or fill out an online form to schedule a consultation. Located in Springfield, Georgia, the firm serves clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

Are There More Car Accidents After the End of Daylight Saving Time?

On Sunday, Nov. 7, the clocks turn back an hour in the early morning hours to mark the end of daylight saving time (DST). While many people relish the idea of getting an extra hour of sleep, it also means that darkness falls much earlier. It can take some time for your mind and body to adjust to the disruption in your sleep cycle, even if the disruption means that you are getting one extra hour of sleep.

When the body’s internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm, is disrupted, it can leave you feeling a bit tired and sluggish. This, combined with the fact that it is suddenly dark around 5:00 p.m., is just one reason why there is an increase in car accidents immediately following the time change. Reduced daylight, inclement weather, wet leaves, debris on the road, and foggy conditions can all increase the risk of a serious accident following DST.

What Are the Dangers of Drowsy Driving?

According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 60 percent of adult drivers said that they had driven while drowsy in the past year. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a survey which found that one in 25 adult drivers had fallen asleep behind the wheel over the course of a one-month period. This is a troubling statistic for a couple of reasons. First, the actual number of motorists who drive drowsy is likely much higher because drowsy driving is largely underreported. In addition, it is difficult to determine whether drowsy driving caused an accident.

Studies also show that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. In fact, when a motorist is awake for at least 18 hours straight, it can have the same effect on the body as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.05 percent. Being awake for 24 hours or more is like having a BAC of 0.10 percent, which is higher than the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Like alcohol, extreme fatigue can impact your ability to focus and concentrate on the road, as well as your coordination and ability to react to another driver or an unexpected traffic event. Fatigue can also affect your mood, causing you to become irritable or short-tempered while driving. As a result, you may be more likely to tailgate if you are running late, cut off other drivers, swerve in and out of lanes, or make rude gestures at another motorist. Drowsiness can also increase the effects of alcohol, even if the driver only had one or two drinks.

How Do I Reset My Internal Clock After the Time Change?

In anticipation of the time change, there are some steps you can do to minimize the disruption to your circadian rhythm and reset your internal clock, including the following:

  • Stick to a routine each day, particularly during the days leading up to and following the time change.
  • When possible, spend time outdoors while it is still light outside.
  • Get regular exercise, including at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise each day.
  • Make sure that your sleep environment promotes sleep. Adjust the temperature to a cooler setting, turn the lights off, and avoid looking at your phone or any other type of screen, as the blue light can prevent your brain from “shutting down.”
  • Avoid drinking any caffeinated beverages, alcohol, or nicotine before going to bed.
  • Read a book or meditate before going to bed.
  • Even though you may feel tired during the late afternoon or early evening hours following the time change, avoid taking a nap, as this can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep at bedtime.

What Safety Tips Should I Keep in Mind After the Time Change?

Fatigue, sluggishness, and lack of concentration are more often associated with losing an hour of sleep when we spring ahead in March. However, anytime there is a disruption in the body’s natural sleep cycle, it is going to affect you physically, mentally, and emotionally. This also means that you are more likely to get into a car accident in the days following the time change. To prevent this from happening, keep the following tips in mind.

Be Aware That it Takes Time to Adjust

Changing the clocks means that it is suddenly dark by 5:00 p.m. the very next day. It takes some time to get used to driving in the dark, particularly during rush hour when traffic is heaviest.

Follow Nighttime Driving Safety Tips

Some nighttime driving safety tips include:

  • Make sure that your windshield is clean. Dust on the inside or outside of the glass can create a glare and impact visibility.
  • Make sure that your headlights, taillights, and turn signals are working properly. Turn your headlights on at least one hour before sunset.
  • Watch out for wet leaves and other debris in the road. The leaves that have started to fall can be very slippery. They can also cover potholes and cracks in the road. If you hit a large pothole, you could lose control of your vehicle and get into a serious accident.
  • Do not look directly at the headlights from oncoming cars. Look down and to the right to avoid being blinded by the other vehicle’s headlights.
  • Pay attention to reflections that you see, as this could be an animal’s eyes. Slow down to avoid hitting the animal.
  • Avoid driving if you start to feel drowsy. If you have to drive, open your window, and for longer trips, take breaks, or pull over and take a short nap.

Get Enough Sleep

You may be surprised at how long it takes the body to adjust to an added hour of sleep, but the body’s internal clock takes some time to reset itself. In fact, for people who work a traditional job, it can take several days to fully adjust to the time change. Make sure that you are getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night, particularly during the nights leading up to the time change and for several nights after the time change.

Make Sure That Your Vehicle Is in Good Working Order

As the seasons change, it is always a good time to bring your vehicle in to have it inspected. A skilled mechanic will make sure that your tires are properly inflated, the brakes are in good condition, and the headlights and taillights are all working. In addition, they will check all of the vehicle’s fluid levels and replenish those that need to be refilled.

Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Car

While this will not prevent an accident, it will ensure that you are prepared for an emergency situation. An emergency kit should include the following:

  • Warm blanket
  • Extra clothing
  • Bottled water
  • Ice scraper
  • Shovel
  • Sand or kitty litter
  • Cellphone charger
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Basic tool kit
  • First-aid kit

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Injured in Car Accidents Related to the Time Change

It is important that all drivers prepare for the time change, but you should not expect that every motorist will drive safely. If you were injured by a drowsy driver, you are urged to contact our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law as soon as possible. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. We are located in Springfield, Georgia, and we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

Chatham County Personal Injury FAQs

A personal injury can come in all shapes and sizes, from a dog bite to a slip and fall accident. However, they all have one element in common – the event alters the victim’s life. A personal injury lawyer will help you during this trying time and make sure you are well compensated. Discover frequently asked questions about personal injuries and how our seasoned Chatham County Personal Injury lawyers can help:

What constitutes as a personal injury?

A personal injury is any event that a person is injured due to someone’s else negligence or intentional actions. A very common personal injury caused by negligence is a slip and fall accident. These accidents are normally caused by an employee’s negligence – spilling water and not cleaning it up or mopping the floor and failing to leave a “wet floor” sign. Personal injuries can also occur due to someone’s intentional actions such as mugging, pushing, or driving under the influence.

How much compensation will I receive?

The amount of compensation that is awarded depends on the specifics of the case. There is no one size fits all to determine exactly how much you will receive. To determine the amount, the judge will consider different factors such as medical bills, lost wages (present and future), emotional and mental suffering, and more.

What should I do immediately following a personal injury?

The most important action you can take after suffering an injury is to seek medical attention. Remember to keep all medical bills, documents, receipts, and any information related to your case. After you’ve been stabilized or cleared to go home, contact a personal injury attorney right away to discuss your case.

Why do I need a personal injury lawyer in Chatham County?

A Chatham County personal injury lawyer, like Mickey Kicklighter, has extensive experience fighting for victims of injuries. He knows exactly what to present to the court, how much compensation is appropriate, and what evidence is required to solidify your case. During your recovery journey, you should not have to worry about finances! He will help you receive an adequate amount of compensation so you can focus on getting better.

Contact the Kicklighter Law team at 912-754-6003 
to schedule a consultation!

Do you have questions about your personal injury case? Contact us today.

When Does a Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

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There are many factors that determine whether a personal injury case will go to trial or be settled out of court. A settlement is a way to formally resolve a lawsuit before the matter goes to court for a trial. According to U.S. Government statistics, most cases reach an out-of-court settlement, with less than five percent of all personal injury cases ever making it to trial. Every case is governed by its own unique circumstances, however, there are some common elements to be aware of that may decide what happens in a personal injury case.

Trials are expensive, so insurance companies can save money by settling instead of leaving the matter to a jury. A person suing for damages may want to settle their case rather than take the chance that they may lose in a trial. An experienced lawyer can evaluate the myriad facets of a case to determine the course of action with the most successful outcome. Some factors to consider include:

  • Time: A trial can go on for a long time, from the time the complaint is filed to when the verdict is issued can take over a year. Some trials drag on for multiple years, and after the verdict, the defendant can appeal, which would extend the time it takes before the case is over and damages are paid.
  • Expenses: Going to trial involves preparing pleadings, gathering evidence, analyzing evidence presented in discovery, reviewing documents, preparing witnesses, and appearing in court. This can all add up to large lawyer fees. Expert testimony may be required for a personal injury lawsuit, which is very expensive as well. Most experts are paid for their preparation and travel time in addition to their time providing testimony. Multiple experts may be needed to support and explain evidence being presented by the legal team. All types of expenses must be weighed against the risk of possibly losing the trial.
  • Damages: Damages sought by the client, including for injuries, medical treatment, future medical expenses, property and other damages, the client’s income, earning capacity, and lost wages.
  • Other factors: Age of the client and if they have a family, jurisdiction for the case, precedence, and how sympathetic the client will appear before a judge or jury.

What Should I Consider Before Accepting a Settlement?

Accepting a settlement means the amount may be smaller than the damages awarded in a trial. This is something that must be weighed against the time and expense of going to court.

If the settlement is reached before the complaint is filed, it keeps the matter much more private, something that may be in the interest of both parties. A settlement can be reached at any point in time, including before the lawsuit is filed, after the case has gone to trial, or during jury deliberations. However, the most important factor to know is that a settlement is permanent. It cannot be renegotiated, even if the plaintiff discovers new injuries or the original injuries develop into more severe ones.

What Should I Consider Before Pursuing a Trial?

It is entirely possible to lose a case at trial and not recover any money after having spent a huge amount of time and money. On the other hand, winning a case delivers a sense of justice that cannot be achieved in a settlement, where the defendant does not have to admit guilt for anything. When a plaintiff wins their case, the defendant is found guilty and then damages are awarded, which could be much higher than a settlement amount if the judge or jury takes pain and suffering into account. Punitive damages are also sometimes given in particularly egregious cases.

Due to the time, effort, and risk involved in going to trial, the process is much more stressful than reaching a settlement. Some of the uncertainty in a trial comes from factors outside the control of the lawyer, such as the performance of witnesses who may buckle under pressure on the witness stand. The discovery process where both sides present the evidence they will use in court may also bring unplanned surprises that must be handled.

Once the trial begins, there is no privacy. The courts are public, and in most proceedings, anyone can observe what goes on. All the personal details the lawyers for the defendant think are relevant for the judge or jury to know will be brought out into the courtroom. The defense may also hire a private investigator to confirm the details of a personal injury claim. Plaintiffs who value their privacy or who are unwilling to relive the trauma of the car accident, truck accident, or another traumatic event that caused their injuries may think twice about the trial process.

What Types of Compensation are Available in Personal Injury Cases?

A successful personal injury claim has the potential to recover more compensation than a settlement reached out of court. This is especially true if the plaintiff appears sympathetic to the judge or jury or if the type of negligence exhibited by the defendant is a problem in the jurisdiction where the case is being tried. Compensation awarded in a personal injury case may include some or all of the following:

  • Medical expenses, present and future
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium

In wrongful death cases where loved ones have lost a family member, damages may be awarded for emotional distress, loss of income, loss of companionship, medical expenses before the death, and funeral and burial expenses.

How Do I Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer to Handle My Case?

A personal injury lawyer should always be ready to go to trial for their client if the settlement amount they are being offered is unfair. Not every lawyer is experienced in the courtroom, and there are lawyers who settle cases expressly to avoid having to go to trial.

When choosing a lawyer, be sure to ask their personal percentage of cases gone to trial and record of success for cases that were tried in front of a judge or jury. Their average should be close to the national average. The insurance company will no doubt examine who is filing a claim against them, and if they see a lawyer has a track record of settling before trial, they will likely offer a lower settlement amount.

In some personal injury cases, the insurance company will refuse to pay proper compensation or anything at all to the victim, and under those circumstances, the case must go to court to prove the defendant’s negligence. Then, it will be crucial that the plaintiff’s lawyer is experienced in presenting evidence in a convincing way that leaves no doubt that the injuries were directly caused by the defendant.

A good personal injury lawyer will have excellent negotiating skills and enough experience to calculate what a case is worth by assessing the client, the client’s story, and the total damages. Only then can a settlement offer be evaluated and the best course of legal action decided.

Springfield Personal Injury Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Help Clients Decide if They Should Settle or Go to Trial

If you have a personal injury case, you can trust the Springfield personal injury lawyers at Kicklighter Law to guide you in the right direction. We use our decades of experience to provide personalized representation to each one of our clients. Call us at 912-754-6003 or contact us online for a consultation. Based in Springfield, Georgia, we proudly serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer in Savannah, Georgia Help With My Case?

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A severe personal injury alters your life and demands your immediate attention. You should have the opportunity to put all your focus and strength toward therapy and rehabilitation, but who will handle the legal side, pursue compensation, and demand justice for your case? Choosing a personal injury law firm that comes alongside you amid the hardest time of your life is essential for your recovery.

At Kicklighter Law, we promise to be a zealous advocate and compassionate friend – you know, that one who is willing to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly – who pursues the best possible result for your case. This is what you can expect from our team:

1. Personal Injury Trial Experience

In Mickey’s 35+ years of practicing law, he has tried over 1,000 cases, including nearly 100 jury trials. These noteworthy numbers strengthen Mickey’s reputation in personal injury law. He is not interested in settling for pennies on the dollar for his client. He will fearlessly pursue trial for your case if that means his client will receive the best possible result.

2. Quality Over Quantity

In every area of life, if you are spread too thin, your quality of work suffers. In law, when an attorney’s quality of work suffers, the client pays the price. Mickey cares more about providing quality work and personal attention with his clients over the number of cases he handles.

3. Deeply Knowledgeable About State Laws

Rules and laws vary from state to state. It is crucial that your personal injury attorney has an in-depth knowledge about your case and the state laws related to your case. This knowledge is a driving force behind every recommendation Mickey gives to his clients and strategic approach he takes with the opposition.

4. Compassionate, Personal Attention to Your Case

Your personal injury attorney should zealously pursue compensation for your injury with no fear of the opposition. Simultaneously, he should provide compassionate, personal attention to his clients, as this is likely the most difficult time of their life. Kicklighter Law is a boutique firm with a big heart that has passion for its clients, as they are valued and remain our top priority.

Contact the Kicklighter Law team at 912-754-6003 
to schedule a consultation!

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help With My Case? Call to schedule a consultation with our personal injury attorney, Mickey Kicklighter at 912-754-6003.

Kicklighter Law

Common Types of Personal Injuries in Savannah, Georgia

Car accidents are among the most common personal injuries cases in America. But did you know that slip and fall accidents and medical malpractice account for many personal injury lawsuits each year? Keep reading to discover different types of personal injuries and how Mickey Kicklighter, your personal injury lawyer, can help.

Car Collisions

With millions of vehicles on Georgia roads, it’s no surprise that roughly 2,000 car collisions happen every day in our southern state! Whether the car accident results in a fender bender or the totaling of a vehicle, it can severely affect your physical, emotional, financial, and mental state.

Medical Malpractice

Although not at the forefront of news articles, medical malpractice is a leading cause of death in the United States. It may feel daunting to take a healthcare professional to court if you’ve been injured due to their negligence. However, by pursuing justice for yourself, you are also helping others stay safe.

Premises Liability

Premises liability encompasses hazardous conditions that take place in or around a person’s property. For example, many people have been injured due to faulty stairs, wet floors, cracked sidewalks, animal bites, and building code violations. A property owner must take the appropriate steps to keep his property safe.

Product Liability

Product liability cases are the result of someone being injured due to a fault in the product. This fault may take place in the design, manufacturing process, poor instructions, or other scenarios. You can increase your safety by reading the manual and only using the product for its intended use.

Contact the Kicklighter Law team at 912-754-6003 
to schedule a consultation!

Your Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Mickey Kicklighter has extensive experience helping people who have suffered a personal injury. We understand that an injury can turn your life upside down! We’re here to help you get back on track and bring justice to the situation. Call us with your questions: 912-754-6003.

Kicklighter Law

CONTACT US

Call Us: 912-754-6003

412 North Laurel Street
Springfield, GA 31329

Telephone: 912-754-6003
Fax: 912-754-6336

Email: [email protected]

Providing Superior Representation All Across Georgia.