If you are involved in a car accident, are not at fault, you can get compensation through a civil suit. A car accident lawsuit is the way most victims follow through. Most car accidents happen as a result of negligence. In such cases, you can get compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The compensation usually covers medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering that resulted from the injuries sustained in the accident.
However, in some cases, the offending driver’s insurance provider may not offer enough compensation to cover the damages, or there may be disagreements over the party that was at fault. In that case, a car accident lawsuit may be a viable option. Before filing a car accident lawsuit, it is essential to consult a lawyer that has experience with car accident cases.
The lawyer will review your case to determine whether it is strong enough and will consider the unique details to help you decide. You must provide the necessary information to get suitable advice. Depending on the severity of the accident, there may be long-term and short-term losses involved.
Key Steps to Take
You must follow these steps as you plan to file a car accident lawsuit in Albany, Georgia.
- Report the Accident
State laws require that the parties involved in an accident must report the event to local law enforcement in a situation where there are injuries or death, or if property damage that is over $500 happens due to the accident. The parties involved must supply other details such as name, license, insurance information, and contact information.
- Gather Evidence
You should gather timely evidence immediately after the accident occurs. The evidence should include photographs of the accident scene, the official report, medical bills, auto repair bills, and payslips to show the lost wages resulting from the accident.
- Talk to an Attorney
Apart from filing a lawsuit, an experienced attorney can also help with an insurance claim after a car accident. The attorney will help ensure that you get adequate compensation. An attorney can also offer you advice that will help you decide whether to accept the settlement or go to court. In Georgia, drivers are required to carry minimum liability coverage of $25,000 for a single individual (passenger, driver, or pedestrian.), $50,000 for injuries or deaths of more than a person in an accident, $25,000 for damaged property.
- Make Your Decision
After consulting with an attorney, they will help you decide whether to accept the compensation, abandon the case, or go to court.
The Statute of Limitations in Georgia
The statute of limitations is a time limit during which you must file a car accident lawsuit. For a personal injury claim, the statute of limitations in Georgia is two years, starting from the accident’s specific date. For a property damage claim, the statute of limitations is four years. The statute of limitations applies even with a pending insurance claim. It is crucial to ensure you meet the deadline for filing a car accident lawsuit.
Car Accident Rules
Georgia is one of the states that employ the At-fault rule/modified comparative negligence. The At-fault rule means the party seeking compensation from another driver must be able to prove that the other party was at fault. In a case where both parties have a degree of fault in the accident, the party seeking compensation must have less fault than the other party.
If the claim doesn’t end with a settlement, then the judge or jury will calculate the fault percentages. A party with a fault of more than 50% is not eligible to receive compensation. Also, the damages can be reduced by the percentage of the fault. For example, a party with a 30% fault would only recover 70% of their damages. The damages may include medical costs, lost wages, repair costs, and rehabilitation costs. In a car accident case, there are no limits on the damages a party can recover.
Stages of the Lawsuit
The first stage is to file a complaint containing your claims and the evidence. The next stage is the pre-trial motion stage. The other party will have enough time to file some motions, including a change of judge, venue, case removal, or dismissal. After the pre-trial, the court date would be set, and the judge may set a mediation for both sides to negotiate. The next stage is to gather and share the evidence from both parties. If a settlement isn’t reached, then the case will go to trial.
Get Help with Car Accident Compensation
Do you need help with a car accident lawsuit in Albany, Georgia? Our lawyers are available to assist you to obtain the due compensation you deserve after a car accident. Contact us at Calvin Smith Law today to book a free consultation.