Frequently Asked Car Accident Questions
Car Accident FAQ’s
What do I need to do after a car accident in Atlanta?
If you are injured in a car crash, the first and most important thing to do is seek medical attention. If you don’t need to go to the emergency room right away, you should stay at the scene of the accident and do the following:
Get contact and insurance details from the other driver or drivers
Get contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident to help support your claim
Document the scene of the accident by taking pictures (you can use your phone for this)
Seek medical attention
Even if you haven’t sustained any visible injuries requiring immediate care, you should seek medical attention upon leaving the scene of the accident. Many car accident injuries, such as whiplash, don’t manifest right away. Failing to have injuries diagnosed and documented by a medical professional can negatively impact your personal injury claim.
How do I know who was at fault for the accident?
In many cases, fault for an accident can be determined using common sense and witness testimony. For example, if a driver ran a red light and caused a collision, they will likely be considered at fault. However, in other instances determining fault is not so straightforward and you’ll have to look elsewhere for guidance.
If there are disputes over fault, you should reach out to a personal injury attorney who is well-versed in state traffic laws and will know which specific laws apply to your accident. Car crash attorneys frequently work with accident reconstruction experts and know how to gather additional evidence to determine who caused the crash.
What if I was partially at fault for the accident?
Under Georgia’s modified comparative negligence rule, you can receive compensation for your injuries as long as the court or jury finds you no more than 49 percent at fault for the accident. Your compensation will likely be reduced by the percentage of your fault in the accident. For example, if you’re awarded $100,000 in damages but were 20 percent at fault, you will end up receiving $80,000.
Comparative negligence is considered a defense strategy. It’s in the insurance company’s best interest to prove you were at least partially responsible for the accident. Doing so allows them to pay you less for your injuries, lost wages and pain and suffering.
How will the insurance company settle my claim?
After submitting your claim, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case. They will carefully evaluate your demand letter and any attached documents, such as medical bills. If your claim is approved, the insurance company will likely offer you a settlement.
Their initial offer may be well below your needs. Keep in mind insurance companies exist mainly to make a profit and they will always try to pay out as little as possible. If you believe the settlement you’re being offered isn’t enough, you may attempt to negotiate a better offer or hire a personal injury lawyer to do the bargaining on your behalf and offer legal representation if you decide to file a civil lawsuit.
What types of damages can I claim?
There are several types of damages you can claim after you’ve been injured in a car crash. They are generally divided into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are verifiable, concrete losses, such as current and future medical bills, lost wages and property damage. Non-economic damages pertain to non-monetary losses that can be difficult to calculate, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship and disability or disfigurement.
Sometimes car accident victims are awarded punitive damages, which are meant to punish the at-fault party for their negligence or criminal activity that caused an accident. People injured in drunk driving accidents are often awarded punitive damages.
Do I need to hire a lawyer after my car accident?
You aren’t required to hire a lawyer if you’ve been injured in a wreck, but being represented by a skilled personal injury attorney may increase your chances of getting the compensation you need to recover from your injury.
If you feel you’re being shortchanged by the insurance company or your claim is being contested, an experienced personal injury attorney can successfully negotiate a better settlement on your behalf. Your attorney can also help you gather necessary evidence and handle all communication with the insurance carrier, making it easier for you to focus on your recovery.
What if the at-fault driver did not have insurance at the time of the accident?
If the driver who caused your accident was not insured, you can use uninsured motorist coverage (UM) as long as it’s included in your auto insurance policy. When you file a claim with your own insurance carrier, the process is usually the same as with the other driver’s insurance company. You will have to prove the negligent driver’s actions caused the accident and your injuries. You’ll also need to gather and submit evidence to support your claim.
How long do I have to file a personal injury case in Georgia?
According to Georgia’s personal injury statute of limitations, you have two years to file a civil lawsuit for your car accident case. The clock starts ticking from the day the accident occurred, as that’s also when you would have suffered personal injuries.
It’s important to file a personal injury claim as soon as possible, while evidence and memories of the accident are still fresh in people’s minds.
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