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At Morgan & Morgan, our Atlanta attorneys understand car crash victims may have questions about their legal rights following a wreck. We are committed to helping injured drivers, passengers, and pedestrians understand these rights and how they may be able to obtain compensation to cover damages such as medical bills and lost wages.
Depending on the details of your accident, you may be able to seek compensation through insurance claims or a lawsuit against a negligent driver.
Georgia Car Accident Lawsuit Process: An Initial Investigation
The at-fault party’s insurance company will immediately launch an investigation into the wreck in an attempt to reduce the amount they may have to pay out. While this investigation proceeds, it is important for your lawyer to complete a thorough investigation of his or her own.
In the investigation, it must be determined the defendant:
- Failed to pay attention to their surroundings
- Drove while distracted
- Drove under the influence
- Violated traffic laws
- Drove without a license
Your lawyer’s investigation to determine fault may include:
- Reviewing Atlanta police reports and photographs
- Interviewing witness statements
- Reviewing video footage of the accident, if available
- Researching the history of both parties’ driving records
- Analyzing your medical reports with experts to determine the most likely scenario of how you sustained your injury and
- Recreating the scene of the accident
Evaluating Your Damages
To determine the amount of compensation you will request, and for which expenses, your attorney will work with experts to pinpoint your injuries and project your crash-related expenses. Damages to which you may be entitled include, but are not limited to:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of intimacy and support
Creating a Claim
Your attorney will review the information obtained during his or her investigation to create a claim, which will serve as the basis for your lawsuit. It will state your injury and damages, the alleged negligent behavior of the other driver, and request compensation for your damages.
Typically, both parties will attempt to negotiate for a settlement while preparing their cases for trial to keep the case from proceeding to court. If negotiations are still unsuccessful, your lawsuit will proceed to court where your lawyer will present your case. The judge or jury will then determine the amount of compensation to which you are entitled if any.
Handling Discussions With Insurance Companies
Georgia is a “fault” car insurance state, which means that automobile wrewck victims are allowed to seek compensation directly from the at-fault party, the at-fault party’s insurance company or their own insurance company. Typically, claimants will first seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
If you are involved in a crash, it is important to remember that these insurance companies are for-profit businesses and may attempt to confuse you or compel you into to agreeing to a settlement that is insufficient to cover your losses.
It is also imperative that you do not discuss the or disclose any details any party—except for your attorney and treating physician. Any statements or comments you make can potentially harm your pursuit of compensation during negotiations or at trial.
Proving Distracted Driving in Atlanta
Negligence refers to an individual or entity’s failure to meet the standard level of acceptable behavior which includes paying proper attention while operating a vehicle to ensure the safety of others. In recent years, with an increase in the use of technology, the number of distracted drivers is on the rise.
Distracted driving may refer to eating or drinking while driving, using the car’s electronic system, attempting to program a GPS device, talking on the phone, texting while driving, and checking other electronic media. If you are injured in a car wreck and believe it was caused by a distracted driver, your attorney can launch an investigation into the crash to identify any indications of negligence.
Your lawyerr may be able to prove distracted driving by:
- Reviewing traffic camera and video footage
- Requesting official cell phone records
- Examining the time of phone usage
- Analyzing past tickets the driver may have been issued
- Determining where (and if possible, when) a GPS was used
- Retracing the driver’s steps to determine whether food or a beverage was purchased