Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents sometimes can’t be avoided, but that doesn’t make them any less devastating.
When you’re involved in a car accident, your life often comes to a screeching halt. Medical expenses pile up, car repairs are needed, and lost wages worsen financial matters. If you’ve experienced damages in a car accident in Atlanta due to the other driver’s negligence—whether it’s damage to your vehicle or physical injuries—you deserve fair compensation. An Atlanta car accident lawyer can help you get the fair settlement you deserve from the insurance company.
Atlanta Car Accident Statistics
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, 1,507 people lost their lives on Georgia roads in 2019. An overwhelming majority of these deaths were attributed to unsafe driving behaviors, such as distracted driving, drowsy or impaired (drunk) driving, and speeding (driving faster than the speed limit or too fast for the current road conditions). The Georgia Department of Public Health lists motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of injury deaths and the second leading cause of hospitalizations and visits to the emergency room in the state.
An alarming fact is that Georgia recorded the fourth-highest number of traffic deaths nationwide in 2017 and 2018, despite being only the eighth largest state in terms of population. Aside from fatal car crashes, auto accidents in Georgia in 2018 sent 115,909 people to the ER, and 7,608 had to be hospitalized. Around 25,000 Georgians suffered severe injuries from car accident cases that year. These facts show that traffic collisions are serious, deadly, and preventable. Most crashes happen because a driver is not paying enough attention or choosing to drive safely.
How Do Car Accident Claims Work in Georgia?
The first step for the person who suffered injuries from the accident is to seek medical attention. You want to be sure you’ve arrived at maximum medical improvement before you seek compensation, or you risk your settlement not covering all of your medical bills. The next step is to file a car accident injury claim, and who you file a claim with will depend on a few factors, including who was at fault for the collision and what type of insurance coverage they have.
Minimum Coverage Limits According to Georgia Law
Drivers in Georgia must carry liability insurance if they cause an accident with another vehicle. The minimum amounts required by law are $25,000 per person injured, up to $50,000 per accident, plus $25,000 for property damage. If you get hurt in a crash, you’ll file a claim with your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance provider. The insurance company will determine who the at-fault party is and how much the personal injury claim is worth. An insurance claims adjuster will examine the vehicle’s damage and collect documentation regarding your injuries—doctor’s notes, medical bills, the official accident report, etc. If the other driver is found at fault, their liability insurance should cover your damages up to their policy limits.
Despite liability insurance being required by law, over 12% of Georgia drivers don’t carry coverage, according to the latest estimates of the Insurance Information Institute. If the negligent driver who hits you is uninsured, you would file a claim with your insurance company under your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Insurance companies must offer UM coverage up to at least the minimum required amounts, so unless you reject it, you should have UM coverage of at least $25,000 per person and $25,000 per accident.
Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Car Insurance Claim?
Whether you are dealing with your coverage or the other driver’s insurance company, insurers are motivated to pay as little on car accident lawsuits as they can. Expect an argument with the insurance company over which driver was at fault, the amount of damages, or both.
Lawyers Can Speak with Insurance Adjusters on Your Behalf
Insurance adjusters are experts at diverting fault away from their covered driver. Suppose you don’t have a car accident attorney representing you. In that case, you’ll most likely be no match against experienced insurance professionals who do nothing all day except adjust and settle insurance claims. Sometimes liability is clear, and the insurer won’t dispute the driver was at fault. Still, suppose there is any hint that you might have been partly responsible for the car crash. In that case, the insurance adjuster will seize the opportunity to assign a portion of the fault to you to reduce your settlement amount.
This is why the insurance company will try to get you to make a recorded statement over the phone. They will use any information they can get out of this phone call to allege you share in some of the fault. Atlanta car accident lawyers can represent you in all matters regarding your car accident, including speaking with the insurance adjuster on your behalf. This way, the adjuster will meet their match when it comes to legal expertise.
Experienced Atlanta Car Accident Attorneys Can Reduce Your “Fault”
Georgia uses the Comparative Fault Model to determine who is liable for damages in a motor vehicle accident or personal injury case. Fault is assigned to each party involved, and there’s not always a clear distinction. So long as you are less than 50% to blame for a crash, you can still recover financial compensation from the other party, but your award is reduced to the amount of negligence assigned to you. When you hire an experienced car accident lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will gather the facts in your case, apply the relevant law, and prove the other driver’s responsibility without letting you take the blame for an accident that wasn’t your fault.
You’ll Get a Bigger Settlement When You Have a Lawyer on Your Side
Insurers will also “adjust” your claim and tell you your damages (or what your claim is worth). It is a fact that if you are not represented by an attorney, the insurance company’s settlement offer for your car accident case will be far less than what an experienced car accident attorney can recover. Car accident attorneys can increase your recovered damages through settlement negotiations or by taking your personal injury lawsuit to trial. With an experienced lawyer working for you, you’ll know how much to reasonably expect in your personal injury case and whether any offer from the insurance company is worth accepting.
Get the Help You Need with an Experienced Atlanta Car Accident Attorney
Getting advice and representation on your car accident lawsuit from an experienced and successful auto accident attorney is critical to ensuring you are taken care of and ultimately receive every penny you are entitled to for minor or serious injuries. If your costs are high or you have experienced severe injuries, you’ll need a law firm with a high level of experience to get the maximum compensation you deserve.
Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers FAQs
How long after an accident can you sue in Georgia?
Georgia Law’s statute of limitations requires personal injury lawsuits to be filed within two years of the injuring event, such as a car wreck. Once two years have passed, you can no longer file a car accident claim, and you will not be able to recover compensation for your injuries.
How long does an insurance company have to settle a claim in Georgia?
In Georgia, car insurance companies must settle an injury claim within 40 days of the claim being filed. There are also stipulations regarding the timely acknowledgment of personal injury claims and settlement payments being issued.