What To Do After A Car Accident Checklist?
If you were involved in an Atlanta car accident, getting your accident report is one of the first things you should do once you leave the scene of the crime. Your police reports will help you to prove fault and subsequently receive compensation for any injuries. Almost immediately after the police have arrived on the scene and completed the report you should be able to get a copy. The report will include things such as the conditions when the accident took place, any witness statements and contact information, observations from the officers, and other key facts.
You have to request a copy from your Atlanta Police Department by providing your name alongside information pertaining to your vehicle. You can contact them by phone or email them directly.
Or, you can go to buycrash.com and download the report, so long as the police department participates, which most Georgia police departments do.
Do I need to go to court to get a settlement?
Going to court is the absolute last line of defense if you are trying to get a recovery after an Atlanta car accident. Much the same as every other state, most Georgia car accident cases are settled outside of court with only an average of 1 in 20 making it to trial.
Before you face the decision to go to court your Atlanta car accident lawyer will complete every step possible to get a settlement that is fair. This starts with the demand letter that is sent to the person, the company, or the insurance agent responsible. If another driver was responsible for the car accident and they were negligent, the demand letter might be sent to their insurance provider in which case the insurance company can decide whether or not to settle immediately.
If a settlement is not reached out of the gate, there are only 2 options: give up and take what the insurance company is offering, even when they aren’t offering a fair amount (which isn’t a great option!) or file a lawsuit.
The first step in a lawsuit is filing the “Complaint”—it is the lawsuit. Then, you have to “serve” the lawsuit (or personally hand it to) the defendant—you may have seen something like this on TV or in a movie, where someone is “served.” Once the lawsuit is served, then the defendant has 30 days to “answer” or respond to the lawsuit.
After the defendant answers, Georgia law requires there to be 6 months of “discovery.” Discovery is when the 2 sides share information about the crash, the injuries, and everything else that could matter. The idea is that if both sides have the same information (and are reasonable!) then the case should be able to settle without having a trial.
If the two sides can’t settle the case, then there will need to be a trial.
Every case is different based on who was at fault and to what degree—your car accident lawyer in Atlanta will advise you as to the best strategy for your situation.
What if I was partially at fault?
Georgia is an at-fault state which means that you can be partially at fault and still recover damages. In the state of Georgia, a qualified Atlanta car accident lawyer can help you review the details of your case to help determine what percentage at fault you might be found. If you are less than 50% at fault you can still receive compensation, however, the percentage at fault you are found directly reduces the total amount of the settlement you are awarded.
For example: if you are found to be 20% at fault for the accident but the other driver is found 80% at fault, and you are entitled to a settlement of $10,000 in damages, you will only receive 80% of that total settlement amount reflective upon the 80% at fault for the other driver. So instead of receiving $10,000, you would receive $8,000.
Who pays for my medical care while my case is pending?
When your case is pending you still need to undergo any medical treatment prescribed by the doctor. If you fail to care for your injuries in a manner that is prescribed, it can increase the amount you are found at fault because you have a reasonable duty to make sure your injuries don’t get worse by failing treatment. While your case is pending you or your health insurance company still have to pay for your medical bills. If you do not have health insurance or cannot pay out of pocket, then there are other options like treating on a lien or using a medical funding company to still help you get the treatment you need. In the event that your Atlanta car accident lawyer settles your case for you, all past and future medical bills are typically covered as part of that settlement.
How long does it take to settle my case?
Every case is different so the amount of time it takes to settle is really based on the circumstances of your situation. If the other driver was very clearly 100% at fault, the insurance company or the other driver might settle immediately to avoid having to pay out more money.
On average you can take anywhere from a couple of months to several years to reach a settlement, depending on the complexity of your case.
How much will a car accident lawyer in Atlanta cost?
You should pay your car accident lawyer nothing until they win your case. Car accidents work on contingency fee agreement, which means they only get paid after they win your case. If a car accident lawyer ever tries to get you to pay them upfront—run! And fast!
What is the deadline for filing a lawsuit?
You generally have 2 years from the date of your crash (this is called the statute of limitations). But, if there was a citation issued at the scene, then you have extra time: you have 2 years from when that citation was resolved. The best advice we can give you, though, is don’t risk it by waiting to the last minute—hire a lawyer immediately to help you win your case.