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I am a
car accident injury lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, and I have been blogging about the
2011 report put out by the American Automobile Association (the “AAA”). The report, called
AAA report 2011.pdf, discusses all of the costs of traffic and congestion. While we typically
think of costs like lost time and wasted gasoline when we think of traffic,
the AAA report reminds us that traffic has a much greater cost –
the car accidents that occur when our roads are clogged with cars and
trucks on their way to a place that remains totally blocked by the long
column of traffic ahead of them.

AAA discussed the numerous costs that a car accident inflicts on the victim,
the victim’s family, and society. As a
car wreck lawyer, I spent the last three blogs discussing the types of damages that are
placed directly on the shoulders of the victim and his family. These costs
include: medical bills (regardless of whether they are paid by medical
insurance, someone pays them; and if an insurance company has paid the
bills, it expects reimbursement from the person who has been injured,
if they recover any car insurance money as a result of the car accident),
property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, vocational rehabilitation,
and lost contribution to the household. These types of damages are recoverable
as part of the damages in a
car accident lawsuit that is the result of a car crash that resulted in injuries to the people
who were in the cars or trucks involved in the car wreck.

But AAA also pointed out a number of damages that fall on the shoulders
of all of us, as taxpayers and as members of society. These damages cannot
be listed in a lawsuit, but they are surely borne by all of us as members
of society every time a car accident occurs.

* Emergency services. When a person is injured in a car accident, a host of emergency services
mobilize (and thank goodness for that). The paramedics and the fire truck
typically show up first. If the injuries in the car wreck are serious,
the ambulance is not far behind. If the car accident occurs in the country,
the MedEvac Helicopter swings into motion, and the medical personnel at
the hospital ready themselves to deal with the incoming injuries from
the car accident. The police or the sheriff’s officers show up to
direct traffic, and to investigate the wreck and assess the injuries and
the causes of the accident. All of these services are absolutely critical
– and all of them cost money. Some of the costs of these services
may be borne by private insurance (like the ambulance, the helicopter
or the medical personnel at the hospital), but many of these costs fall
directly on the shoulders of taxpayers (like the police, the sheriff’s
officers, and often the hospital, the helicopter and the ambulance).

* Travel delay. Here in the Atlanta metro area, we have all felt the impact of the traffic
and congestion created by car accidents. The radio stations do reports
every 5 to 15 minutes, talking about the wrecks, the roadway shutdowns,
and the general delay all of us experience as we try to move about the
city. “Rush hour” in Atlanta has expanded to the point that
it is almost “Rush day.” The delays we experience affect everything
from relationships (because we are late getting home, to the soccer game
or to the piano recital) to our employment (because we are late to work,
a meeting, or even worse – at least I think so! – to court).

As a
car wreck attorney, I see the damages that individuals and their families face, but as an
individual driving around Atlanta, I see the costs all of us incur even
if we are not directly involved in the car crash.


Lee’s peers have named her a Georgia SuperLawyer every year for two decades.