If you have been injured in an automobile accident in Georgia through someone else’s negligence, you can collect damages for the full value of your injuries.
The typical statute of limitations in a personal injury case in Georgia is two years. This means you have two years from the date of the incident to file suit against the negligent party(ies). Typically speaking, the larger your damages, the more likely it is your case will involve filing suit. If your damages are not that big, it is possible you will be able to resolve your claim without filing suit, by reaching a settlement with the insurance company.
The most important step after being involved in an accident is to get the proper medical treatment. This is obviously because regardless of any injury claim you might have, the most important thing is to get back to full health. However, the value of the claim is certainly dependent on the injured party’s treatment and recovery.
While part of your personal injury claim will revolve around your treatment, the other big part of the puzzle is the amount of available insurance. Insurance can come from a variety of sources, particularly when there are multiple negligent parties or the negligent party was performing a task for his employer at the time of the wreck. In a typical case however, the insurance companies involved are the ones for the liable party who is responsible for your injuries, and your own carrier.
The reason your own carrier is important is because you can collect benefits through your own uninsured/underinsured auto policy if the at fault party does not have sufficient insurance coverage to compensate you in full for your loss.
Your damages are typically only compensatory, in that they usually are only to fully compensate you for your losses. Compensatory damages consist of special damages and general damages. Special damages are the specific amount of past and future medical expenses, as well as past and future lost earnings. General damages is the arbitrary amount of your “pain and suffering.”
In certain instances, the injured party can collect punitive damages against the at fault party. This is where the at fault party’s conduct is so egregious that the defendant should be punished for his conduct. The most typical example is when the defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Should you file suit on your case, you can expect around a 9-18 month process of litigation before your case will go in front of a jury. This is where the parties use discovery to uncover evidence involving the case. You will almost certainly have to sit for a deposition if you file suit. Eventually, you will either settle the case or try it in front of a jury.
If the at fault party concedes that he is entirely at fault for your injuries, the only issue in front of the jury will be the amount of your damages. If however, the at fault party argues that you were some percent at fault for your injuries or that your alleged injuries are not the result of the car wreck (i.e., a pre-existing condition), the jury will have a more complicated deliberation.
The following tips may be useful if you are involved in a car, truck, or motorcycle crash:
- Seek immediate medical attention if it’s required. If you develop crash-related pain or symptoms after you leave the scene, go to the doctor or an emergency room.
- Summon police to the scene of the crash. A police investigation and the resulting crash report are invaluable in determining the at-fault parties.
- Do not sign any waivers. Sometimes insurance companies will send adjusters or attorneys to the scene of a crash—particularly when the at-fault vehicle is a commercial truck.
- Do not make any statements admitting fault. Crash investigations are complex and fault is not always clear. Even if you feel partially responsible, you are entitled to legal representation before making any statement to an insurer.
- Contact an attorney who deals with personal injury cases in Georgia.
Should have been involved in an automobile accident, protect your legal rights. Schedule an appointment with Peter Bricks at (770) 696-4577.