Here at Calvin Smith Law, we have helped many clients with their vehicle accident claims in Atlanta, Georgia over the many years we have been around. We have gone head-on with some of the major car insurance companies and ensured they got justice and compensation they deserved. We are experienced in handling different types of accidents, from catastrophic pileups to fender benders. Talk to us no matter the type of crash you were involved in. Some of the accidents we have dealt with include;
- Single-car accidents
- Multi-car collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- T-bone accidents
- Hit-and runs
- Head-on collisions
- Sideswipe accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- School zone collisions
- Distracted driving accidents
- Fatal car accidents
It does not matter the type of vehicle accident. The thing that matters is whether you want to get compensated. If the negligent party caused the accident, even partially, then you should consider pursuing a personal injury claim. The process is simple when you work with the right attorney. We are going to be the ones dealing with the paperwork, navigating the red tape, and getting your case started without delay. The sooner you get to talk to an Atlanta auto accident lawyer at Calvin Smith Law, the sooner you are going to start the process of getting your compensation.
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How Much will Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
After the accident, you will have a lot of questions running through your head. The best way to get answers to the questions is by talking to an attorney, but people tend to hesitate to reach out to a lawyer because they fear it is going to cost them a lot of money. What many don’t know is the fact that Calvin Smith Law lawyers use the contingency method. This is where you don’t pay anything in upfront costs, and the lawyers are only going to get paid if you win the case.
Operating on contingency is good because it means that the lawyers are going to be fully invested in the case, and they will only get their pay when there is a settlement or if compensation is awarded by the court. This far varies, but you can expect it to be between 25-40% of the settlement you get. The attorney is going to get a bigger percentage when the case goes to trial when compared to those that are settled before.
What Should I do After a Car Accident?
There are car accidents that are minor and might not involve the police, but there are some that are serious and will need the police, ambulances, and even fire trucks to rescue and transport people injured to the hospital or trauma center. If the collision ends up in catastrophic injuries, airlifting is needed. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, the injured can follow these steps after the car accident.
If you were involved in a car accident recently and did not follow these steps, do not panic because these are just guidelines. These suggestions will help you or a loved one make sure that their legal rights are protected. Depending on the severity of the injuries, seeing immediate medical care is way more important after the accident. You should do the following steps if you are in a position to do so because they help in preserving your legal rights if you decide that you are going to seek justice and compensation.
(do this even if there is no one with serious injuries as a result of the car accident) – it is a good idea to get a police report because it is going to document the accident, which will prove to be very important when pursuing the claim and dealing with the insurance companies.
Seek Medical Attention
Some injuries can seem minor but start to become serious after a couple of days, weeks, or even months. A back or neck injury might not result in pain immediately, but symptoms can start developing with time. When you get medical care, the injuries will be documented, and even more importantly, you will be treated so you can feel better.
Identifying witness when possible can help you when proving your case. You should note down anyone who witnesses the accident, then direct them to the police officer at the scene of the accident. You will also need to give this information to your attorney because they will use it when following up with your claim.
Preserve the Accident Scene
You should leave the accident scene the way it is because it is important for the police to look at it to know how it looks, which makes it easier for them to know what went wrong. Unless it is a minor accident (like a fender bender that doesn’t result in serious injuries or substantial property damage), just wait for the police to arrive, evaluate the scene of the accident, then give the go-ahead to clear debris. Take photos of both vehicles if possible.
Contact Our Attorneys
We are on standby ready for your call, so we can review the circumstance and facts of the accident and then tell you the options at your disposal.
The steps might be a little different depending on how serious the collision was and if there was anyone who ended up with serious injuries. The list above doesn’t exhaust all the steps, there are some things you can do that will end up helping your case. Our attorneys are going to advise you on what you need to do to make sure your legal rights have been protected.
What Are Some Common Causes of Car Accidents?
Most car accidents can be prevented. A driver on the road has a duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians using the roads. When this duty is breached by an individual or company by failing to obey the traffic laws, and there is an accident, they can be held liable for the damages sustained by the victim. Some of the common causes often involve negligent behavior, and it includes;
- Failure to signal
- Failure to yield
- Unsafe lane changes
- Improper turns
- Driving while intoxicated (alcohol and drugs, which includes prescription drugs)
- Following too closely
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving and/or falling asleep when driving
- Striking a pedestrian
- Running a stop sign, red light, or any traffic control device
There is a rise in distracted driving because of texting and talking on the phone without a hands-free device, despite the awareness campaigns that have been done. Using the phone when driving is dangerous. Many accidents were caused by the driver focusing on the phone when driving. In the past year, 3,166 died as a result of crashes caused by distracted driving.
There are newer car models that come with hands-free technology that allows the driver to communicate, and the application appears on the navigation screen of the car, which helps the driver in avoiding distraction. While there is no doubt that such systems are safer, there have been concerns that the driver will still get distracted when looking at the navigation screen when they receive/make a call or receive a text.
What are the Most Common Injuries After a Car Accident?
Any type of injury can be sustained from a car accident, but there are some that we have noticed in most of the case:
- Whiplash Accident Injuries
- Other types of back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Head and Brain injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
Whether the injury is very serious or minor, you should make sure you have visited the doctor to check the injuries. Even if you don’t feel anything, you should still visit a doctor. The body produces adrenaline after getting involved in an accident, which can make you not feel the injuries until hours or even days after the accident.
If the injuries sustained from the accident require ongoing treatment after the case has been closed, it is important to get sufficient compensation that is going to take care of these costs. An Atlanta auto accident lawyer is important because they will help you determine the right amount to pursue as compensation for the injuries you sustained.
Georgia Car Accident Laws
The process of pursuing claims is different from one state to another, and even city to city. In Atlanta, GA, you will be required to contact the police when the damage from the accident is more than $500, resulting in injury, or death to parties involved. Stop at the scene and exchange contact information with the driver, although it is not a must to call the police.
If you want to file a lawsuit, go to the Start Court of Fulton County because it has jurisdiction for all civil cases. You can file the suit in three locations. If the claim is less than $15,000, then do it with the Magistrate Court. Georgia state laws are going to be followed. These laws include;
Car Insurance Requirements
It is a must for vehicle operators to have car insurance policies meeting the minimum requirements. The minimum requirements are $25,000 in property damage, $25,000 for bodily injury to a single person, and $50,000 for more than one person.
Georgia is considered a “fault” car accident state, which means that the insurance company is going to determine liability and fault after the crash before it supplies the coverage. The driver at fault is going to take responsibility for the property damage and injuries resulting from the accident.
Modified Comparative Negligence Laws
The rule is obeyed in Georgia, and this means that the part injured can get damaged even if they are partially at fault for the accident. If the plaintiff is 50% or more at fault, they will not be eligible for any damages.
There isn’t a statewide cap when it comes to compensatory damage, but there is a limit on punitive damage, $250,000. Punitive damages are a type of damages awarded by the court to punish the defendant for their negligent actions or intent to harm.
Deadlines for filing.
You will have two years for filing the claim in Atlanta. Once the statute of limitations has passed, the court is not going to hear your case.
Statistics on Georgia Car Accidents
Traffic-related car accidents are not something new in Atlanta. There was a report published by the Governor’s office in 2015, and it had the biggest number of crashes spanning seven years. The number of crashes in 2015 was 385,221, which was higher than 306,342 which was recorded in 2008. The number also rose and reached 19,405.
This has made Georgia to be known as the most hazardous when it comes to vehicle accidents. The state ranked as the seventh deadliest state for drivers. The I-285 interstate circling Atlanta was the most dangerous interstate in the country.
The main causes of car accidents in Georgia include speeding, distracted driving, negligent driving, drunk driving, and other factors like slippery roads.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, then you need to talk to an Atlanta car accident lawyer who is going to help you with case by discussing accident laws and how they are going to affect the case.
What Does The Georgia Car Accident Lawsuit Process Entail?
The insurance company of the party at fault will launch an investigation into the accident to try and low the possible payout amount. As they do this, our team of lawyers and investigators will also be doing their investigations which are geared towards determining that defendant:
- Was distracted while driving
- Violated traffic laws
- Drove while intoxicated
- Did not have a license
- Was not attentive of his or her surroundings
The things that our lawyers at Calvin Smith Law Firm review during their investigation that can help prove fault might include:
- Interviewing witness and reviewing their statements
- Reviewing the police reports and photos
- Recreating the accident scene
- Going through any available video footage of the collision
- Researching the driving records and history of all parties that were behind the wheel
- Scrutinizing medical reports with the aid of experts to determine how you might have sustained your injuries
Evaluating Your Damages
Our attorneys work closely with experts to grasp the nature and extent of your injuries and project the current and future treatment and medical expenses. The amount helps us determine the compensation you are duly owed. You are entitled to seek compensation for the following damages:
- Pain and suffering attributed to the injuries
- Your medical expenses (current and future)
- Damage to your car
- Lost wages
- Loss of your ability to enjoy life normally
- Lost capacity to earn a living in future
- Loss of intimacy and social support
- Creating A Claim
Our team of lawyers assigned to your case will analyze all the information obtained during the investigations into the accident so that they can create a claim. The claim will set the grounds for the lawsuit. In the lawsuit, we shall state your losses (injuries and damages), and the reckless or negligent conduct of the other driver at fault, and request full compensation for your losses.
In most situations, both parties will try to settle the matter out of court; they will have their legal representatives overseeing the negotiations. If the negotiations are unsuccessful, then the matter will proceed to court. Calvin Smith Law will present your case before the judge or jury, who will then determine the compensation you are entitled to receive.
Handling Discussions With Insurance Companies
All victims in an automobile collision are entitled to seek compensation from the party at fault because Georgia is a state that follows ‘at-fault’ car insurance laws. That means the insurance company of the party responsible for the accident will have to compensate the victim for their injuries and damages. As such, most claimants are quick to seek compensation from the insurer of the drive at fault.
Keep in mind that every insurance company out there is keen on making a profit. That is why insurers will do all they can to manage to trick, confuse, or compel you to accept their settlement offer, which might be insufficient to cover your injuries and damages.
Avoid discussing the details of your lawsuit to the other parties involved in the case. Reserve any questions or issues that you want to be cleared about your injuries and damages to be discussed with our expert attorney and your doctor. Your comments or statements can potentially harm your efforts in seeking compensation and the outcome of the trial.
Proving Distracted Driving In Atlanta
Negligence is when an individual behind the driver’s wheel fails to meet the acceptable standards of conduct, which includes being attentive when operating the vehicle and ensure the safety of all road users. However, the number of distracted drivers has risen in recent years because of the increased use and dependence on technology.
Drivers can also be distracted when drinking or eating, try to program their GPS, or tuning the car radio or checking or using other electronic devices such as their phones. If you are a victim of a road crash, and you believe it was due to the recklessness of the other driver, our attorneys can investigate the accident and determine any signs of negligence.
The lawyers can prove the driver was distracted by doing the following:
- Determining if, when and where the GPS was used
- Reviewing video footage from the traffic cameras
- Analyzing the driver’s steps (like if food or beverages were bought) that might have attributed to the accident
- Probing to determine if and when the driver used his or her phone
- Looking into the driver’s past traffic offenses
What Type Of Damages Can Be Recovered From a Car Accident?
Every claim is unique because the compensation amount each client gets depends on various variables related to facts surrounding the accident. Things like the robust the liability is, where the lawsuit was filed (the state and venue), the evidence present in the trial, and the credibility/likeability of the witnesses to the judge or jury.
Other factors that can influence the outcomes of your lawsuit include:
- The severity of your injuries or damages
- Your medical expenses
- The prevailing weather conditions at the time of the crash
- The extent of your pain and suffering
- How the injuries change your way of life
- The state of the roads
The team of lawyers assigned to your case will pursue every monetary compensation you are entitled to receive depending on facts surrounding the case and what’s applicable as per the law. The payment can cover any or all the following damages:
- Lost income
- Past and future medical bills
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of your capacity to earn for living
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages like if the defend behavior was egregious such as driving when under the influence of alcohol or drug.
In a situation where there was a loss of a family member in a road accident caused by the negligence o another person, our lawyers here at Calvin Smith Law Firm will pursue a wrongful death claim. Keep in mind that the claim is subject to the applicable state law. Moreover, the types of losses or damages recovered can vary significantly from one state to the next.
For instance, some states allow some types of damages or a combination of a few of them for wrongful death claims, which can include loss of companionship, full non-economic and economic life value of the victim, punitive damages, as well as the value of support and services. The bereaved are also entitled to compensation for funeral and burial costs, medical expenses, and the pain and suffering the deceased endured. The parties that can bring forward such a claim or a few of them can vary significantly depending on the state in which the traffic collision occurred.
Contact us for a free consultation and learn more about your rights and options when you are suing a party at fault of a road accident that led to the death of a loved one. Our lawyers will guide and assist you during this difficult time as you seek answers and fight for your rights and that of your dead family member.
The facts and circumstances surrounding the case influence the amount of damages a victim can recover. Therefore, this makes every claim a unique case. Predicting the compensation to be award to you or your family is often hard to do at the early stages of the case. However, our experienced attorneys will advise you accordingly regarding the potential value of your case based on the evidence gathered. That is why the lawyers will investigate the short and long-term impact of the injury, medical and treatment expenses, and evaluate the applicable law as per the evidence gathered.
We shall put up a strong case as we fight for your rights and make sure you are awarded the maximum compensation as per the law. In some special circumstances, our lawyers will advise you and request your consent to file a lawsuit on your behalf against the responsible parts and do what we can to take your case to trial.
How Much Is My Atlanta Car Accident Claim Worth?
Having an experienced lawyer on your side when dealing with an automobile collision lawsuit has its advantages. For starts, you will be confident that you have everything regarding legalities of the case handled, and you are likely to reach a settlement if you do not want to go to court. But if the matter must proceed to trial, then you also will have legal experts representing your interests. It is a win-win situation.
At Calvin Smith Law, we know and appreciate the fact that you are within your rights when representing yourself. However, which legal experts will be on your side to speak on your behalf and face off with the opposing side’s counsel when you are in court? Never be quick to believe or be fooled into thinking that you have an “open and shut” case. You should consider the guidance and assistance of experienced attorneys that have handled many personal injury lawsuits so that you can level the playing field when facing the opposing side in court.
Do not leave the outcomes of your case to chance by not have the right legal advocacy on your side. Your experience in issues that touch on law might be mediocre, thus placing you at a disadvantage when negotiating a settlement or fight for your interests in the court. You face a high probability of losing everything, more so if the matter sees its day in court. You could be left shouldering the blame and burden of the accident and resulting injuries or damages, and not the party at fault.
But when you decide to retain our accident lawyer, you will be making the right choice. Our attorneys are legal experts, highly experienced in dealing with insurance companies and their counsel. Therefore, we guarantee that we will protect your rights and interests, whether your case goes to trial or not. Our objective is to ensure you get justice and are compensated for your losses.
How Long Do I Have To File My Claim After The Accident?
In Georgia, you are expected to file your claim within two years from the date of the vehicle collision, or within four years if you are pursuing a property damage claim.
The process of filing the lawsuit will require that your attorney review all the relevant documents to determine the compensation amount that will cover your treatment, medications, rehabilitation expensive, now and in the future. The claim amount will also be enough to cover the losses you incurred, such as non-economic damages, lost wages, and damage to your property.
How will you handle all these things when you decide to represent yourself, more so when you are also trying to recover from your injuries? At Calvin Smith Law, we are glad to give you the assistance you need. We shall guide you through the process and ensure you are up to date every step of the way. That way, you can focus on healing and let us handle the legal aspects of your case so that you are fully compensated for your losses.
How Will You Assist To Determine Liability?
The number of defendants in an automobile crash can vary depending on the circumstances of the accident. For example, a public bus collision may see the bus company or the municipality that operates the transit system liable for the accident. For a train accident, blame can be placed on a work that left tools on the track, a negligent conductor, or the train company. In cases that involve Uber services, the company might be held responsible, or the driver can be at fault. The possible defendants in a road accident cases will thus vary.
To build a strong case worth taking to trial and maximize the odds or winning, you should consider retaining a competent and experienced personal injury lawyer near Atlanta. With such legal representation, you can effectively identify the defendants, prove recklessness or negligence, and be awarded the compensation you rightly deserve. The attorney will aid in the investigation, gathering evidence like medical documents, eyewitness statements, and videos as well as photos of the incident. The lawyer will also help you come up with expert testimony.
Our team of attorneys here at Calvin Smith Law firm has years of experience, and we have helped many clients get justice for their injuries and damages. We are confident that we have the resources needed to handle any case, no matter how complex it might be.
What If I Am Partially At Fault For The Accident?
Contributory negligence might be present in some road crashes, in which case the plaintiff shoulders some blame for the accident. In Georgia, you can recover your losses even if you are found to be partly responsible. However, the compensation awarded to you will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of blame you shoulder. For instance, if you are found to be 25% at fault, and the compensation amount is $100,000, then you are to receive $75,000.
Can I File A Claim For A Hit-And-Run Car Accident?
If your insurance coverage is underinsured or uninsured, it only protects you against potential damages during a hit-and-run accident. If you did not take such coverage, then an investigation that will help identify the driver will be in effect. The police can review traffic surveillance footage and consider eyewitness statements to find the party at fault. You, however, might not recover compensation if none of these options bear fruit.
Should I Get An Accident Attorney After The Car Crash?
Clients get in touch with our law offices because of several reasons. For instance, our attorneys can help calculate reasonable compensation to cover for the damages. They can as well assist the client get more money through negotiations with the insurance providers for the driver who is at fault. Moreover, they are aware of various angles of the law and what damages to request for when putting together a strong case. At Calvin Smith Law, we understand what it takes to ensure you win your claim case. We are aware of the right range from which to start calculating a damage claim and its potential of winning.
Different clients can present different figures during the settlement negotiations. The quoted amount can be:
In which case, you are potentially robbing yourself of a would-be lucrative compensation that can cover all your damages. A sign that lets you know your figure was too low is when the opposing side accepts the offer with haste and without posing any opposition. We have seen many clients that have learned this the hard way, since a confirmed settlement amount cannot be reversed, more so once signatures are appended on the dotted line.
A high settlement figure can jeopardize the entire case. It is an unreasonable gamble that can ruin your chances of getting fair compensation for your losses. The opposing side will not accept the offer and might view it as something they can uses in the arguments in court for shooting down the case. Keep in mind that judges are quick to noting frivolous claims and will not hesitate to throw out such lawsuits without any major considerations.
Never assume that the hospital receipts, discharge papers, and other documents will suffice when determining the compensation amount. The opposing side will not accept these blindly. Their insurance company and its counsel will be quick to contest the figures you present. They will poke holes in whatever is brought to the table, and this applies to the bank statement, treatment receipts, pay stubs, and punitive damages.
Contact a Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured by another person’s negligence in an auto accident in Atlanta, Georgia, contact a lawyer at Calvin Smith Law. We offer a free consultation to review the details of your accident and assess your claim. Contact us today at (404) 383-7552 to learn how we can help.