As soon as you’re involved in a car accident, the clock starts running on the amount of time you have to file a claim. Our Atlanta car accident attorneys can help you get everything settled correctly and on time. Here’s how you get the process started.
What should I do after a car accident?
Immediately after a car accident, you’ll need to contact the local law enforcement in your town or county. The police officer that arrives will take a statement from you. They’ll also get information from the other driver(s). They can help everybody exchange insurance information.
What if it’s not that serious?
Even if you think that it was a minor fender-bender and everybody seems to be okay, go ahead and call the police. You’ll need that police report to file your claim with the insurance companies. Some injuries may not be obvious at the time of the accident but may show up a few days later. Go ahead and make the call and get the report made immediately.
You should always get checked out by a doctor, after an accident, even if you don’t feel hurt. After you get your injuries taken care of, you’ll want to contact an Atlanta car accident attorney. It’s important to talk to them about the next steps for handling the legal matters of filing a claim. Your Atlanta car accident attorney can help you request your police report, contact the insurance companies, ensure you get the treatment you need, and gather records.
Car Accidents in Georgia
1,507 people died on Georgia roads in 2019, and 76% of those deaths were caused by unsafe driving behaviors. Fulton County and Atlanta see more than 60,500 car wrecks and 12,700 car crash-related injuries a year. Even when a car crash isn’t fatal, it can often have a devastating impact on its victims.
What causes car accidents in Atlanta?
Driving under the influence, speeding, and distracted driving top the list as the most dangerous driving behaviors in Atlanta. While these account for most of the fatalities, reckless/aggressive driving, fatigued driving, poorly maintained equipment, and hazardous driving conditions can also cause car accidents.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is when you’re not paying attention to the road. The most common cause of distracted driving is using a cell phone while driving, which is against the law in Georgia.
Distracted driving may also include:
- adjusting a radio or other in-car dials, or
- talking to passengers.
What is driving under the influence?
Driving under the influence is driving with some substance in your body that can impair your ability to drive safely. The most common cause of this is alcohol. In Georgia, driving under the influence is known as DUI, and it’s against the law. It is also illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, prescription medications, or other recreational drugs if those drugs impair your ability to drive safely. It does not matter even if the medication is prescribed by a doctor. If someone causes an accident while imparied by prescription medication, it’s still a DUI.
How does an Atlanta car accident attorney know whether I have a case?
Every case is different, so the best way to find out about your case is to contact one of our experienced Atlanta car accident attorneys for a FREE case evaluation and consultation. If you were involved in a car accident in Atlanta, your case will fall under Georgia laws.
Georgia’s comparative negligence system
Georgia uses a system called comparative negligence (or modified comparative negligence). Your Atlanta car accident attorney can explain exactly how this will impact your case.
In Georgia, a car accident might have two parties that are both at fault, even if just a little bit. Modified comparative negligence says that a victim can recover damages for their injuries as long as they are less than half (50%) at fault.
Let’s look at how this works in the real world. Let’s assume that Joe is driving a pickup and Carol is driving a car. They both approach a four-way stop sign. Carol is to Joe’s right, and she’s planning to go straight. Joe is also planning to go straight, but he has his right-hand turn signal on. Carol and Joe both move into the intersection at the same time. Joe’s pickup T-bones Carol’s car.
In this scenario, Joe was partially at fault for the accident because he left his turn signal on. But when the police come, they discover that Carol was driving under the influence of alcohol. She was impaired. Under Georgia’s comparative negligence system, a judge or a jury may find that Joe was 15% at fault because he improperly signaled a turn. They may find that Carol was 85% at fault for driving while drunk. If Joe is awarded $100,000 in damages, that amount would be reduced by 15% (the amount he was at fault).
When do I need to contact an Atlanta car accident attorney?
You should contact an Atlanta car accident attorney as soon as possible. In Georgia, you have two years from the date of a crash to start filing your case. Sometimes, it takes time to gather medical records, request police reports, and collect all the paperwork. Contact one of our experienced Atlanta car accident attorneys quickly. This ensures that we can start the process early if we need to.
What kind of damages can my Atlanta car accident attorney recover?
There are several types of damages that you may be eligible to recover in a car accident case. Your Atlanta car accident attorney will be able to advise you on your specific case. Certain damages may not be eligible for all car crash victims. Our law office can help you understand which damages you may be eligible to recover.
Economic damages are damages paid to compensate you for things that have a clear cost. Common examples of economic damages include:
• Auto repairs (i.e., repair or replacement of your vehicle)
• Loss of use of your vehicle (if it is repaired)
• Medical bills
• Lost wages for time out of work due to injury/medical care
Economic damages are the damages that already have a dollar value attached to them. You can show a receipt for the money that you’ve spent, or you can show a letter from your employer for your lost wages. Most personal injury cases will have some form of economic damages requested.
Non-economic damages are damages issued to compensate you for things that don’t have a price tag. You may have heard of someone being compensated for “pain and suffering” – this is one example of non-economic damage.
There’s no amount of money that could make up for a life-changing injury, disfigurement, trauma, or losing a loved one (wrongful death). But non-economic damages are a way for the court to compensate you for those things.
Punitive means “punishment”, so punitive damages are damages the court awards when they want to punish someone. Punitive damages are awarded when the court feels that someone has done something wrong. Some examples of the type of wrongdoing where punitive damages can be awarded are: driving under the influence, hit and run, reckless driving, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
I don’t think I’m injured; do I need an attorney?
YES! Not all injuries are apparent or visible at the time of the accident. You may also have lost wages or damage to your car that you need to seek compensation for. Some injuries only show up days, weeks, even months after the accident. It’s best to err on the side of caution and contact an Atlanta car accident lawyer and get the medical treatment you need and deserve.
The other insurance company contacted me, what do I say?
You should not talk to the other person’s insurance company. If you do talk to them, which you really shouldn’t do, under no circumstances should you give them any information about the accident. You may take down the name and number of the adjuster so you can pass their information along to your Georgia car accident attorney.
How long do I have to file a claim?
Georgia law gives you two years from the date of the car crash to file a claim.
If it was a minor accident, do I need to file a police report?
In Georgia, you need to file a police report for any crash that involved more than one vehicle. You also need to file a report if the crash was serious enough to require the involvement of an insurer. Even for minor accidents, it’s always better to file a police report.
I was using my car for my company, who pays for the damages?
If you were driving a company car, your employer probably has an insurance policy on that vehicle. If you were driving your personal car to perform work-related tasks while on the clock, your personal insurance should cover the damages. However, you may be eligible for worker’s compensation for your injuries. Your employer may have supplemental insurance policies that could be liable for additional damages. This is a complex legal situation, so we strongly advise you to consult a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.
What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
Some auto insurance policies in Georgia have an uninsured motorist rider to help protect you if you’re in a collision with someone who is uninsured. Your policy may allow you to use your own collision coverage to help pay for the damages. Understanding your policy can help you best negotiate with your own insurance company. Consult our law firm to discuss your case.
Call Our Experienced Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers Today
When you hire Georgia Trial Attorneys for your car accident case, you will receive completely personalized representation and care. Our expert team of trial attorneys has compassion along with unbridled advocacy. We will always promptly communicate with your client and are happy to answer any and all questions that arise during the claims or litigation process – from start to finish. If you live in Atlanta, Norcross or anywhere in the state of Georgia and are looking for an experienced car accident attorney, call (678) 667-8965 to schedule your free consultation today!