On the bright side, most accident claims are settled out of court.
Atlanta, GA – If you’re injured in an accident, you’ll expect the responsible party to pay for your damages. However, this is not as easy as you may think. You need to follow procedures, become fluent in legalese, understand and meet deadlines, and gather evidence to support your claim. Not exactly the kind of things you’d want to deal with if you were severely injured and your health is your top concern.
The best solution is to reach out to experienced Atlanta accident lawyers and let them worry about the legal stuff while you focus on your treatment and your recovery. And you don’t have to worry about how much the lawyers will cost you. Accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t pay anything upfront. They get their fee only if they get a settlement that meets your expectations.
Here are the main things you should know about an accident damage claim.
What is a personal injury claim?
You have the right to file a personal injury claim when you are injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
Most personal injury claims in Georgia stem from a car, motorcycle, or truck accident. You can also file a personal injury claim if you were injured in a slip and fall or any other type of accident that took place on someone else’s property. These are referred to as premises liability cases.
Other types of personal injury claims include the use of defective products, medical malpractice, or nursing home abuse.
How do I know I have a personal injury case?
To have a legal case, you must be able to prove it was the other party’s negligence that caused the accident. If for instance you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver you may think it’s obvious who’s responsible for the crash. Yet, the fact that the other driver had a blood alcohol content twice over the legal limit does not mean he was automatically at fault.
Your Georgia accident lawyers must establish four factors:
- Duty of care – show that the other party had a duty to look out for your safety
- Breach of duty – in what way the other party was negligent (what exactly caused the accident)
- Injury – you will need medical records showing your injuries were directly caused by the accident
- Damages – the monetary damages incurred by your injury as well as the pain and suffering it caused you
What is the comparative negligence rule?
Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence rule. The insurance adjuster will examine the dynamics of the accident to determine whether it was caused solely by the other driver’s negligence or if you had some responsibility as well. If you were a bit distracted or you were driving a bit over the speed limit this constitutes negligence. The adjuster may conclude that the drunk driver was at fault, but your own negligence contributed 10-20% to the crash. What happens is that your total damages will be reduced by 10-20% and this may mean a lot of money if you were severely injured.
Also, if the adjuster determines that your share of the blame was 51% or higher you lose the right to recover any damages.
If the circumstances of your accident are not crystal clear and the other driver accuses you of some type of negligence, make sure you get a good lawyer to fight for your rights.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in Georgia?
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is 2 years. Do not put off filing a claim as these things take time. Your lawyers must investigate the case, gather evidence to counter the other party’s charges, and calculate the value of your damages. Negotiations with the insurance company are also lengthy, so you don’t want to get to the point where time is running out. If you miss the 2-year deadline you won’t be able to claim damages.
On the bright side, most accident claims are settled out of court. If your lawyers build a solid case, the insurance company will prefer to settle on your terms rather than face you in court.