You cannot control the actions of other motorists on Georgia roads and highways. However, you can still take charge of the situation following an accident by making the right decisions, such as hiring a skilled car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The Milledgeville car accident lawyers at The Herro Law Firm have extensive experience in handling car accident cases in Georgia.
When you hire us, we immediately start working to thoroughly investigate the accident, collect the essential evidence, interview witnesses and experts, and work to help make sure that you get the most favorable outcome possible. We do all this on your behalf so that you can focus on making a full recovery and getting your life back on track.
Georgia Car Accident Statistics
There were over 330,000 crashes in 2020, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Car crashes still are the leading cause of injury deaths and rank as the second leading cause of visits to the emergency room in Georgia.
Of the total crashes in 2020, 1588 were fatal, with more than 1730 people losing their lives. The total number of injuries recorded stands at about 125,000.
How Much Does a Milledgeville Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
Some lawyers, such as criminal defense lawyers, charge fixed or hourly fees when they start working with a client. However, personal injury lawyers are different. They work on what is referred to as a contingency fee arrangement.
This means that the payment for legal services is contingent on recovery. This way, it’s in the best interest of your attorney to win the maximum amount of compensation, resulting in a win-win scenario. If they lose the case, you don’t pay anything.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Here are the steps you need to take after a car wreck in Milledgeville, Georgia.
Contact the Police
You should call the authorities when you get into an accident in Georgia, even if there are no serious injuries. The responding officer will create an official police record and document key observations that could assist in your claim.
Check on Other Involved Parties. Do Not Leave!
As you wait for the police to arrive, be sure to identify and help anyone who’s injured in the crash. This is more of a humanitarian and common-sense step than anything to do with your case. Don’t leave the scene of the crash as it could be termed a hit-and-run.
You need to collect some essential information from the other driver including their name, insurance information, driver’s license number, and other relevant details. Take notes and pictures to avoid forgetting important details.
Record the Scene
This is one of the most critical steps to take in an accident. Take photos and/or videos of the scene to capture any injuries, property damage, the position of the vehicles, skid marks, road conditions, weather conditions, and other relevant details. Your lawyer can use these to document fault on the other driver’s part.
Never Admit Fault
Other than checking on the other people involved, don’t make any statements about the facts of the accident. In case they say anything to you, note it down as it could come in handy later on in the case.
Seek Medical Attention
You should ideally see a doctor as soon as possible for the injuries you sustained, even if you feel okay. It won’t hurt to get checked out by your physician, even if you don’t want to go to the Emergency Room. Be sure to also follow up on any recommended treatment.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer!
Filing your car accident claim without involving a lawyer could put your rights and the possible compensation at risk. A lawyer will have the necessary resources, skills, and experience to provide effective legal representation. With a Milledgeville car accident lawyer on your side, you can focus on making a full recovery while they fight for your best interests.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?
It’s not common for car accident cases to go to trial or in court. Almost all cases are settled out of court. This makes it hard to find a settlement claim that would reflect your case. Settlement amounts will vary greatly depending on the damages suffered.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average auto accident injury claim in 2019 settled for $18,417. For the same year, the average property damage claim was settled for $4,525.
When Should I Get a Lawyer for My Auto Accident?
Not every accident will require the services of a car accident lawyer. However, if you’re involved in an accident that was complex or severe, it’s necessary to call a lawyer as soon as possible, so that they can start building your case. In case any of the following apply to your case, contact a lawyer as soon as possible:
- The accident caused significant injury to another person
- It’s not established who is responsible for the accident
- The accident occurred in a school zone or construction zone
- The crash involved other motorists, including trucks, pedestrians, cyclists, or other cars
- The crash involves an uninsured or underinsured driver
- The insurance company is sending mixed messages or confusing answers to liability concerns
Why Do I Need a Milledgeville Car Accident Lawyer?
It’s always wise to hire a lawyer if you’ve been involved in a car accident for the following reasons:
Filing a Lawsuit and Case Preparation
It can be quite overwhelming to shuffle between court appearances, hospital visits, and insurance company offices. Working with a lawyer lets you focus on your recovery as your lawyer will be handling all of the paperwork. They will file the compensation claim on your behalf, as well as draft the pre-trial and trial documents.
You may be surprised to know that most personal injury claims are resolved in settlement negotiations. Only about 4% of cases ever reach the trial phase. Your attorney will represent you in the mediation, negotiation, and arbitration processes and ensure you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Trial Preparation and Representation
If the settlement negotiations with the insurance companies are not fruitful, you could choose to file a civil lawsuit against them or the party at fault. Your lawyer can help you with this and represent you in court. Your lawyer will also build a strong case on your behalf and argue in front of the judge and jury to maximize the chances of a fair verdict, and in turn full compensation for your damages and injuries.
How Much Can I Expect to Receive for My Damages?
Determining the number of damages in a car accident case is usually not a straightforward process. Every case is unique, there’s no universal number for personal injury cases. The amount you can expect to receive for your damages will be we’ll depend on several factors, such as:
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Past and future medical bills from your serious injury
- Pain and suffering
- Lost earning capacity if you’re unable to return to your old job
- Lost quality of life as a result of disability, disfigurement, or inability to engage in activities you enjoyed before the accident
What Type of Damages Can I Recover?
Car accident victims usually sustain significant damages following the collision. The following are the kind of damages that you can be awarded in a car accident claim:
These are the damages that are reasonably easy to calculate and prove objectively. They include things like property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and reimbursement for future lost wages as a result of the accident.
Unlike economic damages, these are much harder to quantify and are meant to account for how the accident impacted your life in non-financial ways. They include pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, anxiety and depression, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship.
These are not compensatory damages, rather, they are meant to serve as extra punishment to the defendant. Punitive damages are quite rare and are only awarded in cases where the behavior of the defendant is deemed too reckless, malicious, or of willful intent, meriting some form of additional punishment besides compensating for the damages caused by the accident.
How Is Fault Determined in a Georgia Car Accident?
To establish fault in a Georgia car accident claim, you have to prove that the other driver was negligent in their actions. This typically involves proving the following:
- The other motorist (defendant) owed you a duty of care. all drivers owe other motorists a duty of care, to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe way.
- The defendant was in breach of their duty of care
- This breach of duty of care caused your injuries and damages
- The injuries and damages you sustained are compensable under the law
It’s also worth pointing out that Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence rule. This means that you can still recover compensation for your damages even if you were partially responsible for the crash. However, the compensation award you receive will be adjusted to account for your percentage of fault. You cannot recover compensation if you are 50% or more at fault.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
The statute of limitations for car accident cases in Georgia is 2 years from the date the accident occurred. If you intend to file a property damage lawsuit, you must do so within four years of the accident. Failure to meet these deadlines means that you will be unable to file a claim in the future.
What Is the Car Accident Claims Process?
For your claim to be successful, you should understand the process it will follow so that you can be diligent in every step. Below is the typical claims process:
File Your Insurance Claim
The first step is submitting a claim for all the injuries and damages you sustained to the at-fault party’s insurance company.
You then wait for the insurance company to confirm they received the claim and have initiated their investigation into the matter.
Investigation and Approval or Denial
Once the insurance company has confirmed they received the claim, the due investigation process begins. The insurance company will give out a full report for their investigation, and either approve or deny your claim.
If the insurance company decides to approve the claim, they will give out a settlement offer. You can opt to accept it, reject it, or even negotiate for a greater sum, ideally with the help of an experienced Milledgeville car accident lawyer.
Filing a Lawsuit
In case the negotiations aren’t successful and the insurance company doesn’t want to reach a fair settlement, you can file a lawsuit in a Georgia court to have the claim settled in front of a judge or jury.
What Can I Do If Insurance Denies My Claim?
No matter how valid you feel your claim is, the insurance company can still deny it. Fortunately, this is not the end— you can fight this decision with the help of an experienced attorney. Your lawyer can draft a demand letter and appeal the decision in higher courts to seek justice. They can even file a lawsuit against the insurance company as a last resort.
Do I Have a Case?
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you might be wondering whether you have a case. Your best bet is consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer in Milledgeville, GA. A lawyer can assess your case for free and answer any questions you might have.
What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
In case the other driver didn’t have insurance (uninsured) or was underinsured, you can still recover compensation from your insurer if your policy covers these kinds of motorists. Alternatively, you might be able to sue the driver to get compensation from them.
How Can I Obtain a Copy of the Accident Report?
You can obtain a car accident report from the Milledgeville Police Department website. You can also pick it up in person or obtain it from BuyCrash.com, a site that contracts with the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Let an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Milledgeville Help You!
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a Georgia car accident, you might be facing a lot of challenges. At The Herro Law Firm, we understand what you might be going through, and we want to help you seek justice and compensation for the ordeal. Our team has experience with countless cases similar to yours.
Contact the Herro Law Firm at (404) 433-6876 to schedule a free consultation with our car accident attorneys in Milledgeville, Georgia. We can discuss your case with no obligations attached, and explore what you might be able to recover.