Getting into a Lawrenceville car accident can be scary and frustrating. You’re just going about your business when someone smashes into you. You don’t see it coming. You just want to get home to your family. The last thing you expected was to have someone plow into you out of nowhere. Although the accident can happen in a matter of seconds, the consequence may last months or even years. Depending on the severity of the accident, you could be recovering for quite some time and might need the help of one of our Lawrenceville car accident lawyers.
When something like this happens, you want to hold someone responsible. And that makes sense. If someone else caused the accident, they should compensate you for your injuries. There is no good reason why you should pay out of pocket for something that was not your fault. If you or your loved one has been injured in a car accident in Lawrenceville, Georgia, you need to contact experienced personal injury lawyers in Georgia. Your case is going to be complicated. It’s not something you should be handling yourself. You need to focus on getting well. Let your Lawrenceville car accident lawyer take care of the legal side of things.
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Things You Need to Do Immediately After a Car Accident
There are a few things you need to do after your car accident. Not only is it important for your health, but it’ll help your lawyer prove your case down the road.
Always seek medical treatment immediately following your accident
Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, it’s important that you do this. You could have internal injuries that you can’t see. Or, you may have suffered an injury that won’t appear for a few hours. The doctors at the hospital can do the tests necessary to see if you’re okay. You also need to document your injuries for your car accident claim. If you wait too long to get treatment, the defendant will claim that something other than the accident caused your injuries.
Get a police report
No matter how much the other driver begs you not to call the police, it’s something you have to do. First of all, you’re going to need a police report. It contains too much valuable information for you to ignore. Your lawyer will rely heavily on the police report in proving your case. You also need to have an officer check out the scene. For all you know, the other driver could be drunk or under the influence of drugs. You need to make sure a police officer examines the entire scene before you leave.
Always exchange insurance information
When there is minimal damage to the vehicles, people involved in a car accident sometimes choose not to exchange insurance information. They figure it’s cheaper to just get their car fixed rather than pay a large deductible. This is a big mistake. Even if for some reason you decide not to file an insurance claim, you need to get the driver’s insurance information. You need to make sure he actually has valid insurance. And, you may not be able to find the driver later if you need to get this information.
As long as you’re physically able, take pictures of the accident scene. You want pictures of the vehicles and the road. This is important for a few reasons. Your lawyer may need to hire experts to recreate the accident scene later on. The pictures will enable him to do that. Pictures also document the road conditions at the time of the accident. It also provides your car accident lawyer with license plate information for potential witnesses and involved parties.
Once you get treated for your injuries, make sure you call an experienced car accident attorney in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Georgia Car Accident Statistics
Car accidents are more common than you may think. Whether they happen on the side of a busy highway or on a town road, they’re all over the place. The car accident statistics in Georgia are quite staggering. According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, the following statistics represent the number of car accidents in Georgia:
- Georgia suffered 1,554 car accident fatalities in 2016
- This was an 8.5% increase over 2015
- 368 of these deaths were caused by impaired driving
- 266 deaths were due to speeding
- 476 motor vehicle accident deaths were due to not wearing a seatbelt
These numbers are pretty similar to those in other states. Although accident rates are still lower than they were in 2007, they have gone up steadily over the last few years. Experts are hoping that they will start to decrease again soon, but there is no sign of that as of yet.
Keep in mind, these numbers don’t include all the people who were injured – only killed. Thousands of people get injured in car accidents every year. Many of these accidents cause serious and permanent injuries.
How Does a Lawrenceville Car Accident Lawsuit Work?
Most car accident lawsuits are based on negligence. Negligence is just another way of saying that the other driver wasn’t behaving the way they should at the time of the accident. The elements of negligence are the same no matter where you live. In order to prove negligence, your Lawrenceville car accident attorney will have to demonstrate the following:
- The other driver had a duty of care – Basically, every driver on the road owes a duty to the other drivers and pedestrians. They’re expected to drive carefully and pay attention to the road.
- This duty was breached – Showing that at duty was breached is a lot harder than proving a duty exists. Your Lawrenceville car accident lawyer has to prove that the defendant did something to jeopardize the safety of other people on the road.
- You were injured – In order to file a car accident claim, you have to actually suffer an injury. Your injuries may be minor or quite serious. It depends on the type of accident.
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach – If you’re injured in a car accident, it usually isn’t that hard to prove that they were caused by the accident. The only common problem you may run into issues is if you have a pre-existing condition.
In order to win your case, you have to prove all four elements. It’s not enough that you were hurt. You have to prove that the defendant caused your injuries. It’s also not enough that the defendant caused the accident. If you weren’t injured, you have no claim.
You have to remember, it’s your lawyer’s job to make you whole. It’s not his job to make you rich. You can only receive compensation for damages you actually suffered.
After your accident, you’ll file an insurance claim against the other driver’s policy. Ideally, it’ll be paid right away. If it isn’t your lawyer will contact the insurance adjuster. He’ll try to get your claim approved or settled. If he isn’t able to do this, he’ll have no choice but to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Your Lawrenceville car accident lawyer will file suit against all responsible parties. This could include:
- The other driver
- His insurance company
- The manufacturer of either vehicle
- The company responsible for maintaining the roads (if the road conditions caused the accident)
- Third parties who contributed to the accident
- A restaurant or bar who overserved the defendant in a drunk driving accident
It’s important that your lawyer name all potential parties at the beginning of your suit. You can’t go back and add parties later on. Thankfully, your lawyer knows how the court rules work. He’ll make sure everything is done properly the first time around.
How You Can Prove Your Injuries After a Car Accident?
As mentioned earlier, it’s critical that you go to the hospital immediately following an accident. Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, you have to go. You need to have a doctor examine you and make sure you’re okay. He’ll run certain tests to see if you suffered any injuries. Some of these tests will include:
- Cat Scans
The results of any of these tests can be used as evidence in court. Your Lawrenceville car accident lawyer will submit copies of your medical records to prove your injuries.
Some injuries can’t be detected using these tests. There are some injuries that a doctor can diagnose without the benefit of tests. This includes:
- Bruises and lacerations
- Facial disfigurement
Your doctor will make a note of these apparent injuries in your chart. Copies of your chart can be introduced as evidence in your lawsuit. Both parties will have access to these records through discovery. Once the defendant’s lawyer sees how serious your injuries are, he may be more willing to settle your case.
The defendant may claim that your injuries weren’t caused by the car accident. This is why it’s important that you seek treatment immediately following your accident. If even a few hours go by between the accident and your hospital visit, the defendant can argue your injuries were caused by something else.
Your lawyer can hire experts to testify that your injuries were caused by the accident. But you don’t want to do this if you don’t have to. Experts become expensive. Also, your goal is to settle the case before you have to go to trial. Trials are expensive and time-consuming.
Related: How To Handle A Truck Accident in Lawrenceville
How to Deal With the Insurance Adjuster?
Most car accident insurance claims are paid right away. This is because most cases are pretty straight forward and aren’t for all that much money. Insurance companies don’t pay every claim though. If they did, they’d go out of business.
The insurance company may deny your claim. They could do this for any number of reasons:
- The policy was not valid
- The policy had lapsed for non-payment
- The driver was not listed on the policy
- They think you caused the accident
- They don’t believe you were injuries
- Laos, they think you had a pre-existing condition
- You have a history of filing frivolous insurance claims
- You didn’t file your claim in a timely fashion
For the most part, your car accident lawyer can appeal to these issues. Aside from the policy not being valid. There’s nothing he can do about that. No insurance company is going to pay a claim against an invalid or canceled policy.
If you get a denial letter, call an attorney right away. The insurance adjuster is not going to take you seriously. Whether that’s fair or not, it’s the truth. Insurance companies always take lawyers more seriously than they do individuals.
Your lawyer can call the insurance adjuster and try to get your claim approved. He may even be able to settle your claim. Lawrenceville car accident lawyers have relationships with most of the major insurance companies. They know what they’re willing to settle for. They also know their bottom lines.
When your lawyer calls the insurance adjuster, chances are he’ll get a return call pretty quickly. If the adjuster refuses to pay your claim, your lawyer will let him know he intends to file a lawsuit. This may be all the motivation the insurance adjuster needs to pay your claim.
What if I’m Hit by an Uninsured Driver?
Sadly, there are times when we get hit by people who don’t carry insurance. Even though all drivers are legally required to carry auto insurance, not everyone does. In cases like this, your situation can be very difficult.
Because there is no other policy to pursue, you’ll have to file a claim under your own policy. Most people pay extra for uninsured motorists’ coverage. The amount covered under this policy isn’t all that much. It’s usually only about $10,000. However, it will cover a good part of your expenses.
The other thing you can do is have your personal medical insurance cover your medical treatment. You will have to pay your co-pays and deductibles, but it’s better than having no coverage at all.
For whatever isn’t covered, you can certainly file a lawsuit against the other driver. Just keep in mind that the judgment may not be worth any more than the paper it’s printed on. Just because you get a judgment doesn’t mean it’ll ever get paid.
Most uninsured drivers are judgment proof. This means that they have nothing for you to take. They have no home, no bank accounts, and no assets. This means that you can’t really do anything to get your judgment paid.
Do I Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Lawrenceville, Georgia?
There’s no rule stating that you have to hire a car accident lawyer in Lawrenceville. You are certainly allowed to handle your claim yourself. You can even file your own lawsuit. Now, whether or not you’ll win your case is another story.
Lawyers go to school for many years. They train under other, more experienced lawyers so they know exactly how to handle a car accident claim. They spend decades developing relationships with the insurance companies, other attorneys and the courts.
Quite simply, a car accident lawyer knows what he’s doing. He has handled dozens of cases just like yours. You do not. However, you are certainly allowed to handle your own case.
The thing about having a car accident lawyer is it costs you nothing unless you win your case. Why take the risk of having your claim dismissed? If you don’t follow the court rules perfectly, your entire case may be dismissed. You may not know how to submit evidence to prove your case.
Rather than take the chance of having your case dismissed, you’re better off hiring an experienced Lawrenceville car accident lawyer.
What Kind of Damages Can My Car Accident Attorney Demand?
Like we said earlier, you can only claim damages for injuries you actually suffered. Your Lawrenceville car accident lawyer will do everything he can to get you the compensation you deserve.
Most car accidents involve similar kinds of damages. Your lawyer will demand that you be paid for the following types of damages:
You are entitled to be reimbursed for all medical bills. This includes past, current, and future medical bills. It’s not hard to prove past and current medical bills. Your lawyer will submit receipts and records for any bills received. As for future medical bills, your lawyer will have a medical expert testify to what future treatment you may need. He’ll then get an approximate cost for this treatment and account for any inflation.
Chances are, you’ll miss weeks or even months from work due to your injuries. Your lawyer will submit proof of time missed to the court. He can do this using timesheet, payroll records, and past tax returns. He’ll demonstrate the difference between what you earned before the accident versus what you’ll earn after the accident.
If your injuries leave you permanently disabled, you are entitled to compensation. You can prove how much income you’ll lose due to your disability. Your lawyer will argue that you are entitled to this difference for the number of years left before you would’ve retired.
If you had to get your vehicle repaired or replaced, your lawyer will demand that you be reimbursed for these expenses. He’ll also make sure you get compensation for any out of pocket expenses associated with the accident.
Pain and Suffering
Georgia does allow for pain and suffering in a car accident lawsuit. Pain and suffering represent the physical, mental and emotion anguish caused by the accident. In some cases, the money awarded for pain and suffering can be quite high.
Your lawyer will work hard to make sure you receive the maximum amount of compensation. More than likely, he’ll settle your case. This means you’ll get a lump sum amount to cover all of your damages. You may settle for less than what you would have gotten in court. However, a settlement saves you the costs and time required by a trial. A settlement is usually in the best interests for all parties.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Car Accident in Georgia?
Every state puts a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit. Georgia is unique when it comes to the statute of limitations. When it comes to injuries from a car accident, the statute of limitations for a car accident is two (2) years. The two years starts on the day of the crash. If you don’t file within the statute of limitations, your claim will be barred forever.
When it comes to property damage caused by a car accident, the statute of limitations is four (4) years. However, there is no reason to file your claims separately. Your car accident lawyer in Lawrenceville is going to file for both injuries and property damage at the same time. Therefore, the 2-year statute will apply.
If you don’t have an attorney, you risk missing the filing deadline. If you don’t file your claim properly, you may end up missing the statute of limitations. Also, if this happens, the court is not going to grant you an extension. The law is pretty strict when it comes to this rule.
Can I Sue if I’m a Passenger in a Car Accident?
Anyone who is hurt in a car accident is allowed to file a claim. Who you file your claim against depends on who is at fault. If you’re the passenger in the car and your driver is at fault, you’ll file a claim against his insurance company. If, however, the other driver is at fault, you’ll file a claim against his policy instead.
As a passenger, your claim will be limited to your injuries. It is very rare that you would have a claim for property damage as a passenger. You’ll be treated like any other plaintiff in a car accident case. You’ll want to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer to discuss your claim.
Keep in mind, the 2-year statute of limitations applies to passengers as well as drivers. It’s important that you contact a lawyer right away so you don’t miss any filing deadlines.
Who is at Fault in a Rear-End Collision?
Rear end accidents are probably the most common type of traffic accident. The general rule is that the rear driver is always at fault in a rear end collision. This is because the rear driver has the last chance to avoid the accident.
Most rear-end accidents are caused by the following reasons:
- The rear driver was driving too fast and couldn’t stop in time
- The rear driver was distracted and didn’t notice the car in front of him stopped
- Also, the rear driver underestimated how long it would take to stop
In any of these cases, the rear driver will be deemed at fault.
There are times, however when the front driver is found to be at fault. Examples of this may be:
- The front driver slammed on his brakes
- The front driver stopped for no legitimate reason
- Lastly, the front driver’s brake lights weren’t working properly
If you’re the front driver in this type of accident, chances are, you’ll be entitled to compensation. Your lawyer will prove that the rear driver was at fault. He can rely on damage caused to the two vehicles to demonstrate this. He may have to use eye witness testimony to prove fault.
The Dangers of Drunk Driving Accidents
Despite very strict drunk driving laws, there are still way too many drunk driving accidents in Georgia. These can be some of the most dangerous accidents because of how they happen. Drunk drivers tend to drive too fast and reckless. They aren’t able to control their car. They end up crashing into innocent people on the road.
When it comes to drunk driving accidents, it’s more important than ever that you call the police. The police will check to see if any of the drivers involved in your accident were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If anyone is found to be DUI, they’ll be arrested and charged with drunk driving. Their court date will be scheduled for just a couple weeks later. Your Lawrenceville car accident attorney will have access to these records. He can submit evidence of a DUI conviction as proof of fault in your car accident case.
It’s very hard to avoid legal responsibility if you’re found guilty of a DUI. A DUI is per se proof of negligence. Your lawyer will insist that the defendant be held liable for your injuries. He’ll make sure you get the maximum amount of damages for your claim.
Should I Just Settle My Case?
Most car accident cases in Georgia settle out of court. This is in the best interests of all parties. Trials are expensive and time-consuming. They can drag on for months or even years. By the time the trial is over, the money you spent could be more than the money you receive.
Even if they won’t admit it at first, the insurance companies prefer to settle. Your car accident lawyer knows this. They may deny your claim at first. But when push comes to shove, they want to settle as bad as you do.
Your settlement will cover your injuries, economic damages as well as pain and suffering. Once you agree to a settlement and receive your money, you can’t go after the defendant for more money. This is the risk when it comes to a settlement.
If you settle your case today and find out that your injuries were worse than you thought, you’re out of luck. The benefit of a settlement for the defendant is that you can’t come after him later for more money. Your lawyer knows this. He will make sure he accounts for future medical treatment when he negotiates your settlement.
Should I Provide the Insurance Company with a Recorded Statement?
Shortly after your accident, the defendant’s insurance company may ask you for a recorded statement. Never agree to this. Call and speak with your attorney before you do anything. Refer the insurance adjuster to your Lawrenceville car accident lawyer’s office.
Your lawyer will communicate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf. You don’t want to say something that will jeopardize your claim. Anything you say in a recorded statement can be used as evidence in court.
It’s important to refer all correspondence received from the insurance company to your attorney right away. He needs to be kept abreast of any new information or issues.
How Much Does it Cost to Retain a Car Accident Lawyer in Lawrenceville, Georgia?
It’s always best to have an experienced Lawrenceville personal injury lawyer to handle your claim. You don’t want to do this on your own. The insurance company has a lawyer working for them. You want them to take you seriously. Otherwise, they’ll take advantage of you at every turn.
It costs nothing to have an initial consultation with a Lawrenceville car accident attorney. The consultation is free. It gives you a chance to have an experienced lawyer to review your case. He can also tell you what it may be worth.
The Law Office of John B. Jackson doesn’t charge you anything upfront for your case. He handles it on a contingency basis. This means that he gets nothing until you win or settle your case. Once you do settle, your lawyer will take a percentage of your settlement. You’ll have the remainder to cover your medical bills and expenses.
Contact us and schedule your free initial consultation today. The insurance company has lawyers working for them and you should too!