Should I Get an Attorney After a Car Accident?
Every year thousands of drivers are involved in car accidents across Atlanta and its surrounding areas.
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Each day, there are many car accidents in Georgia. Some car accidents are very serious, and some are quite minor. It’s very possible that you’ll find yourself asking, “should I get an attorney after a car accident?” Many of us prefer to handle things on our own, especially with all of the resources that are available on the internet these days. You might be concerned about legal expenses, and you might even have a settlement offer made to you by the other party’s insurance company before you even hire a lawyer. As car accident lawyers with over 33 years of experience, we would never advise you to accept a settlement offer without first discussing your case with an attorney.
We have litigated thousands of cases. We know that insurance companies want to resolve each case as quickly as possible while paying as little as possible. If you hire our firm, you and your family will benefit from our lengthy experience investigating cases, negotiating with insurance companies, and recovering maximum financial compensation for our clients.
An Understanding of Georgia Law Is Essential
Sometimes, it is pretty clear from the accident scene who was at fault for causing the accident. However, even in those cases, you must still demonstrate that the other person was negligent or reckless. Our legal team has helped many victims of car accidents, and we know how to satisfy each legal requirement to obtain personal injury damages recovery.
- Demonstrate that it is more likely than not that the other party was negligent
- Show that the other party’s negligence caused the accident
- Show that the accident caused your injury, rather than another factor, such as the natural aging process.
- Demonstrate the specific costs that you have sustained due to your injuries
Georgia’s comparative negligence laws mean that the party that injured you is allowed to argue that you share fault for the accident, such that your compensation should be reduced by your share of responsibility. You may not be able to recover at all if you were at least 50 percent liable for causing the accident. A skilled personal injury lawyer will understand how to quash, or at least diminish the strength of, the opposing party’s comparative negligence argument.
Accurately Calculating Your Damages
Even when it is absolutely clear who caused the collision, you still must prove that you suffered measurable damages as a result of the collision. A bad accident will generate a mountain of medical bills and significant future medical expenses. Knowing how to get the most money from a car accident requires appropriately calculating the exact damages that the accident caused. That means more than simply adding your car repair bills and out of pocket medical expenses. You must demonstrate that the costs are related to your wreck and not something else. Furthermore, you have the right to seek damages for your ongoing expenses, but you must be able to accurately demonstrate their value. Our accident lawyers know that you must recover everything that you need to make you whole after a serious accident, and we can help you obtain compensation for:
- Past, present, and future medical and therapy needs
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning potential
- Travel costs to and from legal and medical appointments regarding your accident
- Modifications for your home or car after the accident
- Job training needed for changed employment due to the accident
- Temporary or permanent disability needs
Negotiating with the Insurance Companies
Sooner or later in your case, you will have to negotiate with the at fault party’s insurance carrier. Insurance companies are just like other businesses – they exist to earn a profit. They do not make money by paying insurance claims. They make money by investing the money we all pay them for our insurance premiums. They lose money by paying insurance claims. That means that their goal is to always pay you as little as possible. That includes your own insurance company, who probably led you to believe that they’re going to protect you. You should never accept an insurance settlement offer without an attorney fully advising you about the potential value of your claim. In our experience, early settlement offers are always dramatically lower than offers made after your case has been fully developed. Early settlement offers are made with one goal: to make you go away.
Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC has represented thousands of clients. We know how to maximize the value of every car accident settlement. We have negotiated successfully against hundreds of insurance companies. Any seasoned lawyer knows how important it is to build a strong case for damages before ever agreeing to negotiate. A strong case conveys that you are ready to take the case to trial if you do not get an acceptable settlement.
The many pieces of evidence that we will gather and analyze before agreeing to negotiate include:
- Police and first responder reports
- Medical records
- Photos and video of the wreck or accident scene immediately after the crash
- Tire markings and debris at the scene of the accident
- Vehicle maintenance records
- Driver background records and driving logs
- Witness statements
- Cell phone records
- Accident reconstruction data
- Toxicology reports
Winning Your Case at Trial
Over 95% of auto accident cases settle prior to trial. Many cases settle on the eve of trial. If your case is going to have any chance of settling on the eve of trial, the threat of trial must weigh heavily upon the other party. The insurance carrier doesn’t want to go to trial unless the outcome is certain. If the outcome isn’t certain, the insurance company wants to avoid the time and expense of paying a defense attorney to prepare for and participate in trial. A sizeable settlement (one that the insurer might not have even contemplated at the beginning of your case) is usually preferable from the insurance carrier’s perspective. If you don’t have a skilled trial attorney that has built a formidable case for you, the insurance carrier won’t think you’re serious about going to trial. If the insurance company doesn’t think you’re prepared for trial, they will give you a low-ball offer. Our legal team has decades of successful trial experience including a $15 million dollar verdict in 2015. We always build a strong case for our clients because we know that a strong case will almost always generate a great settlement offer or a large court verdict.
As experienced trial attorneys, we are very knowledgeable about the complex court process, and we understand how to pick the best juries for our clients’ cases. We are also keenly aware of the applicable statutes of limitations that govern how much time you have to file your case before risking dismissal. You only have two years to file a personal injury action in Georgia. Although there are some exceptions to this rule, you should always work with your attorney to get your case filed as soon as possible.
Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC Can Help You
Car accidents can have a great impact on your life, even if you don’t immediately appreciate it in the immediate aftermath of your collision. You might initially feel as though you don’t need a lawyer to successfully resolve your case. Quick money from the insurance company might tempt you. Don’t fall prey to that temptation. It’s simple for the insurance company to wait you out until you accept their low ball offer. An experienced car accident lawyer understands how to build a strong case for you so that you never have to settle your case for pennies. Given the complexity of proving liability and damages in most car crash cases, and the state’s short statute of limitations law, do not delay in calling your lawyer.