Late last fall, a deadly crash occurred involving a Gwinnett Transit bus and a FedEx vehicle. At the time of the accident, which tragically resulted in the death of the FedEx driver, it was determined by Atlanta authorities that the crash was caused by the bus as it went through a red light. The bus driver was seriously injured in the crash as well. The other devastating factor in this crash was that the impact of the two vehicles included the corner of what once was a church and had been renovated to house an upscale and architecturally interesting bar. The building’s foundation was damaged in the incident so severely that it has now been condemned and will be demolished in the near future. Until the building can be taken down, traffic is being diverted around the area due to its instability and the potential for falling debris.
We have all heard of vehicles crashing into homes and other structures due to a driver’s negligence, speeding, a medical condition or other situation in which the vehicle leaves the road and hits a home, business or other structure. In this crash, the vehicles collided in such a way as to hit the corner of the recently-remodeled historic building and the structure simply could not withstand the damage. The impact of these large vehicles created a situation that has now become so dangerous, the building must come down.
Often we do not consider the property damage that can occur after an accident in which one or more drivers failed to obey the traffic lights or rules. So what should drivers do if they are involved in an accident that involves damage to real property? If the driver is not injured in a way that requires medical treatment, the right thing to do is to ensure that the building owner or home owner is apprised of the situation, just as would be required after a crash involving property damage to another vehicle.
As noted, unless you are injured or the other driver is injured (if there is another vehicle involved) and medical attention is required that is the most important first step and it is required under Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-270. But if there are no injuries or serious injuries needing attention, do not leave the scene without making efforts to stop at the scene and take steps to provide information regarding your name and address, the identification of the motor vehicle that you were driving at the time of the damage and your driver’s license information. Another way to manage this situation if the property owner is not in the vicinity is to notify police that you have been involved in an accident in which real property or a structure has been damaged and provide the details to authorities.
In any event, after a car crash or truck crash, it is very important to protect your rights. You might be stunned or in shock, you might have a concussion and you might not know that you do. Sometimes in situations like this, accident victims say things that might not be factual and might even take responsibility for something that was not their fault because they are dazed. The best thing to do is to contact a legal expert for advice as to how to proceed. Please feel free to contact me personally at the Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, P.C. for a consultation at no cost to you or your family.