Civil Liability for Performing Car Tricks on Georgia Roads
Have you ever watched someone drive like a maniac in an empty parking lot and wondered if they were technically breaking any laws? Well, the law to consult is statute 40-6-251, which is what we’ll be discussing in detail today.
First, let’s review why traffic statutes are so important for determining civil liability. Ordinarily, proving negligence means proving not only that someone’s actions have caused harm, but also that those actions were outside of what a “reasonable person” would do. However, a “reasonable person” is expected to follow all safety rules at all times, so if the actions in question included breaking a safety rule, that’s automatically considered unreasonable and negligent behavior.
This concept is called negligence per se, and it can be applied to any kind of safety rule, including the rules of the road. Last week, we talked about how it might apply to cases of inadequately secured cargo, as governed by statutes 40-6-248.1 and 40-6-254.
Now, let’s have a look at what negligence per se looks like in cases of “laying drags.”
What Qualifies as “Laying Drags?”
“Laying drags,” not to be confused with drag racing, is the general term for driving in zigzags or tight circles (also known as “donuts”). As casual as the term sounds, “laying drags” is a legal charge and can appear on tickets in those exact words.
(b) The offenses described in this Code section shall be sufficiently identified on any traffic ticket, warrant, accusation, or indictment when referred to as “laying drags.”
Unless a zigzag or circle is coincidentally necessary to avoid an accident, driving in these patterns is illegal on streets, driveways, parking lots, runways, and almost any other public or private place.
(a) No driver of any motor vehicle shall operate the vehicle upon the public streets, highways, public or private driveways, airport runways, or parking lots in such a manner as to create a danger to persons or property by intentionally and unnecessarily causing the vehicle to move in a zigzag or circular course or to gyrate or spin around, except to avoid a collision or injury or damage.
Laying drags makes it very easy for the driver to lose control of the vehicle, posing a danger to passengers, bystanders, and property, which is why it’s forbidden outside of designated areas.
Where Is It Legal to Lay Drags?
Laying drags is only permitted in places that are specifically designed to accommodate trick driving.
(c) This Code section shall not apply to drivers operating vehicles in or on any raceway, drag strip, or similar place customarily and lawfully used for such purposes.
Unless you have access to a racetrack or training course, it’s best to use cars only for their intended purpose of moving people safely from point A to point B.
What Are the Consequences of Laying Drags?
Laying drags is a misdemeanor in Georgia, which means it becomes part of the perpetrator’s criminal record.
(d) Any person violating subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
This can affect future employment and housing opportunities. If the driver laying drags causes property damage, injury, or death, that driver is also civilly liable for the damages under negligence per se.
What Damages Can You Recover After an Accident with a Driver Who Was Laying Drags?
If you were obeying the law, either as a driver or a pedestrian, and were struck by a driver who was laying drags, you’re entitled to compensation for your special and general damages. Read on to learn more about special and general damages and the differences between them.
Special Damages Are the Damages You Could Put on an Expense Report
Anything with a dollar value, like your car, your medical bills, or the antique vinyl collection you were transporting on your backseat, will fall under “special damages.” The purpose of this part of your settlement is to prevent the accident from negatively affecting your finances in the long run. This includes reimbursing likely future expenses stemming from the accident, including any lost income and ongoing care. Expenses after an accident can often balloon beyond what the survivor expects, so it’s important to have an expert help you assess the full present and future damage. The Wetherington Law Firm can help you with this and with the next step: proving that your expenses were directly or proximately caused by the drag-laying driver. To learn more about how we do this, click here.
General Damages Are the Damages That Run Deeper Than Money
Your finances play a huge role in your quality of life, determining where you live, the standard of care you receive, and how you spend your time, but there are other determining factors that exist independent of money. For example, no amount of money can undo the pain or psychological trauma of the accident, or give you back the days you’ve had to spend in a hospital instead of with your family. Even though these kinds of damages can’t be fixed, they deserve to be acknowledged and compensated to whatever degree possible. That’s what the “general damages” portion of a settlement is for. Because there are no obvious numbers on which to base a general damages settlement, the total you receive depends greatly on your lawyer’s skill at making your losses understood.
What If I’ve Lost a Loved One?
Human life is the most tragically irreplaceable kind of loss an accident can cause. If you’ve lost someone to a drag-laying driver, your case moves beyond personal injury and into wrongful death. The rules for wrongful death are a bit different, so we encourage you to learn more about your options here.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
Accident survivors who seek professional representation typically receive much more comprehensive settlements than those who pursue compensation alone. This is partly because a good lawyer can more thoroughly and convincingly explain their losses to the court, but it’s also because insurance companies are experts at taking advantage of vulnerable survivors who don’t have extensive legal knowledge. Having a lawyer to mediate contact with your opponent’s insurance representatives can protect you from being tricked, bullied, or persuaded to settle for less than you need to cover your losses.
How to Hire the Best Car Wreck Lawyers in Atlanta
One of the reasons so many people miss the opportunity to pursue a fair settlement, and end up with less than they deserve, is because the period immediately following an accident is one of the most financially difficult times in their lives. It’s the worst possible time to have to think about covering legal fees.
When you work with the Wetherington Law Firm, this isn’t an issue. We work on contingency, which means we don’t get paid until and unless we win for you. You pay nothing up front, nothing by the hour, nothing at all except for a percentage of your settlement, which will, in almost all cases, leave you far better off than you would have been without representation.
To talk to a lawyer about your case, just pick up the phone or send us a message through the contact form on the right.
The Wetherington Law Firm Welcomes Clients Who Want to Change the World
Nothing makes us happier than getting to help a client help other people. If you’re looking for more than just compensation, if you want to solve a problem at its roots to prevent others from being hurt in the future, we want to help. For example, if you were hit in a parking lot that you’ve noticed is popular with joyriders, adding bumpers to the parking spaces may help deter dangerous behavior. If a certain company’s delivery drivers are often involved in this sort of accident, a review of that company’s hiring and training policies may be in order. With your permission, we’ll leverage your case to push for solutions that go beyond compensating a single incident. To learn about the positive changes we’ve already helped our clients make in their communities, just ask!