If you or a loved one was the victim a of a serious car accident in Georgia, you may need to hire an attorney. It may be tempting to just settle with the insurance company, but you could be entitled to more financial compensation than you realize. Though fender benders rarely require an attorney, any car wreck with significant harm to either you, your passenger or even your car would benefit from a consultation with an experienced car accident attorney.
Many car accident victims don’t realize that they have the right to start a lawsuit in Georgia. You may worry that you don’t know who was at fault. You also may question how much your car was worth or how much you are entitled to receive for your injuries.
It’s important to remember that you only need to satisfy two criteria to have a personal injury cause of action in Georgia:
1. You sustained injuries; a loved one was killed in a car accident; or your car sustained significant damage.
2. The other party was at least 51% at fault for the accident.
Though these are easy criteria to meet, accidents are confusing and overwhelming. Experienced personal injury attorneys will review your case and help you make sense of your situation. Don’t be discouraged if you are told you don’t have a claim. Sometimes, the settlement from the insurance company really is the best option.
With so many Atlanta commuters and vacation seekers along the coast, Georgia roads are busier than many other states. Unfortunately, more drivers equals more accidents. Georgia ranks 4th in the country for traffic fatalities. The Department of Transportation reported 1,549 deaths in 2017 alone. Many of these fatalities occur on high risk stretches of highway throughout the state, such as the I-20 and I-75 corridors.
Common causes of auto accidents include:
Because Georgia is a modified comparative fault state, you may still recover damages if you committed any of the above driving offenses, with the exception of dangerous practices such as drinking and driving. A judge or jury panel will decide if your actions were less than 50% to blame for the car wreck. As long as you fall below 50%, you will still be eligible to recover damages. A personal injury attorney is the best person to speak with if you aren’t sure who will be blamed for the accident.
How serious a car accident appears often has little to do with the injuries involved. A car may be totaled yet the driver can walk away with only a broken bone. On the other hand, a fender bender may result in death if injuries aren’t treated properly or quickly enough. Whiplash and concussions may not have noticeable symptoms, for example, but can result in severe health consequences.
This is why it’s critical that you visit the emergency room or make an appointment with your primary care doctor immediately after a car accident.
Other common injuries include:
Medical bills are typically part of accident compensation as well as any time you may have needed to take off from work due to doctor appointments or simply not feeling well. In order to keep track of all your bills, use our expenses worksheet in order to help calculate all of your potential damages:
It’s easy to be rattled after a car accident. Your primary concern is to check on the well-being of yourself and your passengers. You may have undetectable injuries, so move slowly and don’t do anything that’s too painful. Wait for authorities to arrive if you or your passenger can’t move.
Assuming your injuries aren’t life threatening, follow these steps:
Government employees have a duty to drive in a safe and reasonable manner. Though common carriers like buses must use “extraordinary care” in order to avoid liability, the area is more gray when it comes to police cars, fire trucks and ambulances. As these are rescue vehicle, they’re allowed to speed and weave in and out of traffic when responding to an emergency, though safety is still important.
Whenever a car accident involves government property, such as a collision with public transportation or government service vehicles, such as garbage trucks or school buses, there are special regulations in place. This is true if the accident occurs on government property as well. In most cases, the legal principle of “sovereign immunity” will take effect.
Sovereign immunity means that a person will only win damages from the government in a very limited set of circumstances. More often than not, the government won’t be responsible for providing any compensation—especially when government employees were responding to an emergency. Only in situations of gross negligence or criminal behavior will a plaintiff be awarded financial compensation from the government.
If you were involved in an accident with a government vehicle in Georgia, we strongly recommend that you contact a personal injury attorney.
To receive compensation for any damages, your claim must be filed against the responsible party on time and in the right manner.
The timeframe for a claim against the government is shorter than other statute of limitations.
In Georgia, you must follow your personal injury claim according to these deadlines:
As time isn’t on your side with these claims, the sooner you can schedule a consultation with a qualified attorney, the better.
Many people are nervous at their first meeting with a personal injury attorney. A lawsuit may seem intimidating, and if you’re recovering from an accident, you may not be feeling well. To make the first meeting easier for you, it’s best to gather all of the necessary materials in advance. Your car accident attorney may ask you to bring:
1. Your driver’s license
2. Your insurance information
3. Any medical bills and documents you have connected to the accident
4. Salary information including your current wages, how much time you missed from work, if you used any paid leave, etc.
5. A copy of the police report
6. Any receipts from an auto repair shop or rental car company
7. The contact information from the other driver and witnesses
8. Any legal documents you already completed or received from the other party
9. Any photographs you may have of the scene of the accident, your injuries or of your car
10. A list of questions
To help you keep track of all this information, we recommend downloading and printing the following free resources:
Not all of these items are necessary for a first meeting, but the more you have, the better the attorney will be able to evaluate your case.
When you’re ready to take legal action, read our guide for how to pick a personal injury attorney and browse our list of Georgia personal injury attorneys to find the legal expert for is the right fit for your case.
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