How Should I Handle a Car Accident in Georgia?
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Car Accident in Georgia
How you handle a Georgia car accident can have consequences for your health and well-being as well as your legal case. Knowing what to do at the accident scene and in the days after the crash can be challenging. Immediately after an accident, remaining at the scene, calling 911, and helping any injured individuals, can all be excellent first steps.
If another driver caused your accident and injuries in Georgia, you could be entitled to compensation. Therefore, it can be essential to speak with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash, especially if you or a loved one suffered significant injuries. An experienced injury lawyer at Morgan & Morgan can help you understand your legal options and the next best steps after an accident. Contact us now to find out how we could help you recover compensation.
What to Do at the Accident Scene
When experiencing a car accident in Georgia, staying at the accident scene until the police and emergency medical help arrives can be your best first step. Driving away from a crash could result in a criminal charge. Other important steps include:
If the accident involves anything more than just a bump on the car, make sure to dial 911 for police and medical assistance. Calling 911 is crucial if there are any injuries. If you or others are hurt, make sure to ask for medical help when calling. After placing a call, a police officer will attend the accident scene and make a police report. This report is a crucial piece of evidence which you might need later.
Gather Contact Information
An essential step that is easily missed in the chaos of an accident is gathering the contact details and insurance information of all drivers involved. Let law enforcement know if the other drivers are belligerent and resist providing you with their details. You could also ask the police for this information later on. The police report should include all parties’ names and contact details.
Note Down Witness Contact Information
Witnesses may not stay until the police attend the accident. Therefore, it can be vital to ask anyone who saw the accident to provide their contact details. Witness statements can be essential for proving another’s fault for the accident.
Do Not Argue With Other Drivers
Emotions typically run high after a car crash. However, it is best to reduce any verbal exchanges with other involved drivers to the bare minimum required for exchanging names, contact details, and insurance information. Do not be tempted to apologize. Saying “I am sorry this happened” or “I did not see you coming” could later be interpreted as admitting fault for the accident. Moreover, arguing with a belligerent or aggressive driver could put your safety at risk.
Gather Evidence at the Accident Scene
Gathering evidence at the accident scene is important and valuable. Snapping a few pictures with your phone camera can later provide vital evidence if you intend to hold the responsible party to account. Make sure to take photographs of your car and other driver’s vehicles. Try to capture the accident scene from several angles. Photos can also document bad weather, dangerous driving conditions, and other important accident facts.
Remove Valuables From the Vehicle
Being involved in an accident can be scary and overwhelming. However, do not forget to remove your possessions, especially valuables, from the car before leaving. If you are in the ambulance, ask someone else to help with gathering your belongings, such as your phone, purse, laptop, and others. Your car may get towed, and you may not see it again for a long time.
Your Best Steps in the Days After the Accident
A car accident scene can be chaotic. You may not be able to take all the essential steps for protecting your legal rights, especially if you suffered injuries. However, you can take action in the days after the accident.
Contact Your Car Insurance Agent
If you have not already done so, now is the time to contact your car insurer and find out about filing a claim with your insurance or the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Georgia is a fault state. Therefore, if another driver caused your accident, their insurance company is generally responsible for paying you. Starting the claims process as soon as possible can be critical for getting what you deserve.
Collect Evidence of Your Damages
If you incurred expenses such as healthcare costs, transportation expenses, car repair, and others, you should document these damages meticulously. Make sure to keep all bills and statements. Do not forget to keep the receipts for miscellaneous expenses such as medications and sundries required for your injuries. You can only claim damages if you can provide proof.
Refrain From Posting on Social Media
Make sure not to mention the accident on social media, especially if you plan to file an insurance claim with another driver’s insurance or intend to file a lawsuit. Even if your profiles are set to private, information can get out. It is important to note that a court can request social media evidence and reinstatement of deleted accounts. Refrain from posting photographs showing you on vacation or during physical activities if you claim damages such as lost income due to your injuries.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
If you got hurt in an accident, getting in touch with us and speaking to one of our experienced car accident attorneys can be a good step in the days after an accident.
First consultations are free and invaluable in providing you with guidance and information. Moreover, an injury lawyer can protect your legal rights and move forward with a claim or lawsuit, so you do not lose valuable time.
You Could Be Entitled to Compensation
Figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that most accidents occur due to driver-related reasons, such as speeding, driving intoxicated, or driving distracted. A significant car accident can result in catastrophic injuries and lifelong medical expenses. If another’s negligence or recklessness caused your accident, you could be entitled to the following damages and others:
- Lost wages and future lost earning capacity
- Medical costs and rehabilitation expenses
- Future healthcare expenses
- Transportation costs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of a limb
- Reduced life quality
Wrongful Death Car Accident in Georgia
If your loved one died in a car accident that was no fault of their own, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit. While no compensation can help with the pain and grief of losing a loved one, you could qualify for damages helping to avert financial hardship. Compensation in wrongful death car accident lawsuits can include:
- Medical costs of the decedent before death
- Awards for loss of companionship and parental guidance
- Loss of financial support and benefits from the deceased
- Funeral and burial expenses
Consider seeking legal advice when your loved one passes away in a car accident. Our compassionate and determined attorneys can walk you through your legal options and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
Handling the Car Insurance Company
Knowing how to deal with a car insurance claim can be essential when handling a car accident in Georgia. If you have significant damages and injuries, a car accident attorney can handle communication and settlement negotiations with the responsible driver’s insurance company. Unfortunately, insurance companies tend to look out for their own best interests. Therefore, your claim might get delayed, denied, or minimized by an insurer.
Also, discussing any settlement offers with a car accident lawyer can be critical before agreeing to a settlement verbally or in writing. An attorney will have your best interests at heart and determine the worth of your claim. It is crucial to remember that you are typically barred from seeking legal recourse once you agree to a settlement offer, even if the payout proves inadequate later.
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How Can Your Car Accident Lawyers Help Me?
Victims often underestimate how long and frustrating the process of recovering compensation can turn out. Getting justice can involve:
- Dealing with stacks of legal documents
- Gathering evidence to prove the fault of the other party
- Organizing medical records and other proof of damages.
Moreover, there will be an insurance claim to file and track, and you might face a vigorous fight with the insurer to get what you deserve. A car accident attorney can help with all these tasks and more. Morgan & Morgan can handle your accident case from beginning to end, leaving you free to recover and heal.
Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
Seeking legal advice after a car accident is always a good idea. While you may not necessarily need the help of a car accident attorney, particularly if you did not suffer any injuries, we strongly advise getting legal help if any of the following circumstances apply to you:
- You suffered significant or life-changing injuries
- Fault for the accident is unclear
- Your loved one died in a car accident
- Your medical expenses are high
- Your insurance claim was already delayed, reduced, or denied
- You have lost a considerable amount of income due to the accident
- The accident resulted in a temporary or permanent disability
Our tenacious and motivated car accident attorneys can be by your side and leave no stone unturned in fighting for the compensation you need to move on with your life.
What Is My Car Accident Case Worth?
Car accident settlements can differ hugely. Assessing what your case is worth requires looking at all the accident facts, the extent of your injuries, and the financial losses. The worth of your case can depend on:
- Your medical costs and estimated future treatment expenses
- The severity of your injuries
- The at-fault party’s insurance coverage
- The amount of your wage loss and other financial damages
- Any pain and suffering you endured
- Whether your life quality is severely reduced after the accident
When Should I File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Georgia?
When to file a lawsuit will depend on your recovery process and the time limit determined by the state of Georgia. According to the Georgia Statute of Limitations 9-3-33, you can generally file a lawsuit within two years of your crash. The clock starts ticking on the day of your accident and injury. However, time frames can vary depending on your case. For example, your timeline could be much shorter if you have a case against a local government entity. Missing the filing deadline could leave you unable to recover compensation.
However, avoid filing a lawsuit too soon. Generally, only fully recovered claimants or those who have reached maximum medical improvement should file a lawsuit. Estimating your future medical needs can be tricky if you are still in the middle of recovery. Settling too early could mean leaving money on the table. An experienced attorney could prevent this. Seeking legal advice as soon as possible can help determine the best timing for your lawsuit and preserve your chances of recovering full and fair compensation.
Morgan & Morgan Can Fight for You
Recovering what you need and deserve after a car accident can be a frustrating and overwhelming struggle. Dealing with an insurance company dragging its heels can further complicate getting a fair settlement. However, you do not need to do this on your own. Morgan & Morgan can be here for you and fight vigorously for adequate compensation on your behalf.
We have been helping the injured for more than three decades, recovering over $15 billion in damages. Our dedicated attorneys, legal teams, medical experts, and accident investigators are ready to build your case and fight for you. You pay nothing unless and until we win and you recover damages. Contact us today for free legal advice and to find out how we could help you.