If you were injured in an Atlanta car wreck, you might seek compensation if the other party is at fault for the accident. Working within Georgia’s at-fault system, there are three ways to pursue compensation. You could:
- File a claim with your own insurance who will then seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance if applicable
- File a claim directly with the other party’s insurance
- File a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party in court. An Atlanta car accident attorney can help guide you through any of these three paths
Who’s At-Fault in Atlanta Car Wrecks?
First, we need to understand the at-fault system itself. Georgia is a traditional tort insurance state, also called an at-fault state. What this means is that the driver who caused the accident is responsible for paying. Following an accident, the victim files a claim with the at-fault party’s liability insurance. However, before receiving compensation, you have to prove the accident was the other driver’s fault. If the parties involved in an Atlanta car accident cannot reach a settlement, they can file a lawsuit in civil court.
Even after filing a lawsuit or insurance claim, the other party or their insurance company may respond by saying you were at fault in the accident. Georgia has modified comparative fault rules that take effect in these situations. The law lessens compensation if you are partly or entirely at fault for the wreck. For example, if the courts determine you were 10 percent at fault for the collision, your receive 10 percent less than the amount equal to your damages. Courts in Georgia apply this modified comparative fault rule in car accidents where both drivers are at fault. This issue can affect insurance payments. An Atlanta car accident attorney can guide you through Georgia’s modified comparative fault rules and help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.
Collecting Evidence for At-Fault Collisions in Georgia
In order to succeed in winning your auto accident claim, you must provide enough evidence to prove the other driver caused the crash. In doing so, you hold the other driver’s insurance company liable for damages. To prove your case, you may need to collect evidence. For the average person who doesn’t work in injury law or insurance, the process of collection is daunting especially if you have never filed a claim before. In serious or complex cases, you may enlist the help of an Atlanta car accident lawyer to assist with the evidence and legal processes.
When possible, collect as much information as you can from the scene of the crash. Get the other drivers name, phone number, insurance information, and license number. Take photos of damage to vehicles at the scene. Ask for eyewitness statements and get the names and contact information of people who witnessed the auto accident. This extremely helpful information for your Atlanta car accident lawyer who may contact the witnesses for testimony.
Atlanta Car Crash Police Report
If there is injury, death, or if property damage that exceeds $500, Georgia law requires you report the accidents immediately to local law enforcement. You also have to exchange name, contact information, license number, and insurance information to the other drivers involved in the crash. You must remain at the scene until you fulfill all obligations.
To pursue compensation, you will need a copy of the police report from the accident. The officers may have provided such a copy to you at the scene of the collision. If they did not, or you need a new copy, you can request one from the Atlanta Police Department’s Central Records Unit.
Compensation from Atlanta Car Accident
There are three ways you can receive compensation following an Atlanta car crash. First, you can file a claim with your own insurance company and let them sort it out with the other company. Or you can directly file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance. Alternatively, you can open a personal injury lawsuit against the other party. Let’s look at each of these options in-depth.
First, you can file a claim with your own Atlanta car insurance. Once you have submitted your claim, a claims adjuster who works for the insurance company will contact you. He or she takes a look at your policy and figures out what type of coverage, deductibles, and limits apply to your case. Sometimes, you can recover your deductible later. If you are not at fault, your insurance company will attempt to seek compensation from the at-fault driver.
You can pursue a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance company directly. Third-party coverage is also called liability coverage, and it pays for damage and injury the at-fault party caused to others. If the other driver is at-fault and was carrying liability coverage at the time of the accident, you may get compensation for injury and repairs though the other party’s insurance.
Lastly, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Most suits never go to trial. Typically, parties agree to a settlement and drop the pending lawsuit. Georgia doesn’t require settlement conferences prior to trial, but many courts do provide the option for neutral mediation. In order to reach a settlement, the parties and their lawyers with consider insurance policy limits, medical payments, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Time Limits on Georgia Lawsuits
The state of Georgia has statute of limitation laws that dictate the time frame in which someone can bring a civil lawsuit to court. Different types of harm have varying deadlines. In cases involving Atlanta car crashes, you have two years after the accident to file a personal injury suit and four years to file for property damage. Keep in mind; these time limits only apply to filing lawsuits, not insurance claims. It’s important to get the insurance claim processes started as soon as possible to ensure that you have time later to file a lawsuit if necessary.
Reach Out to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for a Consultation
We want to ensure you have the best possible chance of getting maximum compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates assist individuals and families in getting fair treatment from insurance companies and the legal system. Schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with our skilled lawyers today at 844-409-0999.