Atlanta is known for pretty brutal traffic, and unfortunately, sometimes that can mean accidents.
The three most common causes of car accidents in Fulton County are speeding, driving under the influence, and distracted driving. Around 25% of yearly traffic deaths in Fulton County involve one or more drunk drivers. In 2018, there were more than 472,000 crashes in Georgia, and 98,267 involved injuries.
If you are ever in an Atlanta car accident, and especially if you’re seriously hurt, it’s important that you get help from a personal injury lawyer.
The following are 6 ways a personal injury attorney can help you if you’ve been in an accident in Atlanta.
Recovering Damages for Your Injuries
The number one reason in general that you would hire a personal injury attorney would be if you were seriously hurt in an accident, and it was the result of someone else’s negligence. In that case, you might have medical bills, as well as other expenses related to your injuries and your pain and suffering.
You shouldn’t be left footing the bill for these, so a personal injury attorney could help you recover damages for these costs.
Additionally, you might have to take time off work or face other areas of financial stress, and a personal injury attorney can help you with these situations.
It should be noted that Georgia is not a no-fault state as it relates to car insurance claims.
That means that before a car insurance company is going to pay for the damages to your vehicle, your medical bills, or for other expenses and costs related to your pain and suffering, you will have to show that another driver caused the crash that led to these injuries.
One of the biggest things that a personal injury attorney is going to do for you as part of your case is work to determine fault in an accident.
As was touched on, since Georgia is a fault state, you have to determine the driver who was at-fault before you can recover damages.
Then, once you determine fault, you decide whether to file a claim with your insurance company or the other driver’s company.
If another driver is at-fault, you can seek full damages from their car insurance company. These damages can include property damage, lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Insurance companies are typically going to deny that their client was at-fault initially to avoid paying a claim. An experienced personal injury attorney can do the research to figure out how to prove another person truly was at-fault.
Also, if you were in an accident and fault isn’t clear, you should consider talking to a personal injury attorney.
An attorney will know what is needed and how to gather evidence, including medical bills, police reports, witness statements, and surveillance footage.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Car insurance companies are massive corporations, and they have a team of people in place specifically to avoid paying claims.
Insurance companies also know that hardly anyone understands the laws and procedures surrounding personal injury claims. As such, they take advantage of this lack of understanding.
In addition to flat-out denying claims, insurance companies will try delay tactics. They will also try to get you to accept less money than what your claim is worth.
A personal injury attorney is an expert at dealing with insurance companies, and that’s perhaps the most important reason to consider hiring someone to represent you.
Understanding Procedures and Timelines
If you attempt to handle a personal injury claim on your own, there are state laws and also deadlines that if you miss them, your case is over.
There are a lot of procedural details that are difficult to keep up with too.
A personal injury lawyer knows not just the laws but the procedures.
A personal injury attorney will work through each step, starting with filing a complaint and from there providing support of your legal arguments. They’ll also send a demand letter, which is really the starting point of your claim.
Once you file a complaint, it has to be served on the defendant, and you receive a response.
From there is discovery. This is when both sides exchange information that could ultimately be used as evidence during a trial. Discovery might include request for documents, depositions, and interrogatories.
After discovery, your attorney will file different pre-trial motions.
It may sound counterintuitive, but something else a personal injury attorney is going to work to do is avoid trial.
No one wants your case to end up in a trial on either side.
The goal is to settle the case out-of-court with the insurance company.
This requires back-and-forth negotiations until you reach an amount you both agree with.
Your attorney will handle these negotiations and try to get the maximum amount for you based on your injuries.
You don’t have to do anything during this time other than speaking with your attorney when necessary and keep them updated on your medical treatment.
Getting Your Money
Finally, something else your lawyer will do for you that would be challenging to do otherwise is making the necessary arrangements to get the money owed to you by the defendant. That could mean having a check sent to their office or filing a post-trial motion for collection of the judgment.
Your lawyer will go over any release forms if you settle your case and then explain them to you have you sign them.
A lawyer won’t let you sign anything until it’s appropriate for you to do so.
If you were in an Atlanta car accident, a personal injury attorney will be on your side and help you recover damages. You’re already going to have a lot you’re going through if an accident affects your life, so a lawyer can take some of the worry, stress, and general anxiety off your plate and handle the legal and financial side of your accident.