The aftermath of a car accident can be traumatic. When another driver causes your injuries, you have the right to be compensated for your losses. With help from an experienced Georgia car accident attorney, you can better navigate the settlement process and maximize your claim.
The Champion Firm is here to help you through the process and ensure all parties are held accountable. Contact our personal injury team for a free consultation today. Call 404-596-8044 to learn how to settle your car accident claim in your favor.
Georgia Car Accident Settlements
After an accident, you can file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver for your damages and losses. A settlement is an agreement between the parties involved to resolve the issue for specific conditions. If you accept a payout for your losses, you are settling the dispute between yourself and the at-fault party.
Settlements are not required under Georgia law, but the courts encourage parties to find common ground for an insurance claim instead of finding a resolution with a lawsuit.
Insurance Companies & Car Accident Settlements
After an auto accident, you’ll file a report with your insurer and file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Then, they will start working on your claim. Both sides will investigate the crash and examine other specific details, such as your injuries, damages, and any evidence that might explain what happened.
Insurance companies are for-profit entities. They want to keep as much money as they can. Even if they act like they’re on your side after a car accident, they want to reduce the money they owe you. That’s why an experienced personal injury lawyer can give you an advantage as you pursue compensation.
How Do You Get a Car Accident Settlement?
You should work with your lawyer to properly file your claim for a settlement after an auto collision. They will find all the parties who share liability for your accident, and they’ll help you through the settlement process.
After you get treatment for any injuries and report the accident to the insurance company, follow these steps to obtain maximum compensation.
Hire a Lawyer: Once you start recovering from the crash, consider finding a personal injury attorney sooner rather than later. Georgia’s personal injury statute of limitations is two years. That might feel like a long time to file a lawsuit, but evidence around your case can be challenging to find the longer you wait.
Investigate the Crash: Like the insurance company, your attorney will investigate the crash. They’re looking to find anyone liable for the accident that hurt you. There could be more than one party responsible. Your attorney is also looking to close any gaps in your defense.
Send a Demand Letter: After their investigation, if your attorney thinks you have a compensation claim, they will send a letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company outlining your injuries, damages, and any other money you’re owed in a settlement. Your attorney will attach evidence to support your claim.
Negotiate Your Settlement: The insurance company will have time to respond to the letter. They might deny your claim or offer you a lowball settlement. Both sides will have a chance to negotiate towards a settlement. During this step, your attorney will need to defend your claim, showing that the other driver’s negligence caused your injuries.
Reaching a Settlement: If both sides can agree on how much the at-fault party owes you, you can accept the settlement offer, and the payout process can begin. In some cases, the insurance company will not agree with your claim. You may need to pursue a lawsuit to get your compensation.
The settlement process in Georgia can get complicated. The specific details of your case will affect how long it takes to reach an agreement. With the help of an effective lawyer and solid evidence, you can show the at-fault driver was responsible. If they accept liability, your settlement could be over in months. If the case must go to trial, an agreement could take longer.
What Can Affect Your Settlement?
Georgia uses a comparative negligence rule which can reduce your settlement. The law states that your settlement amount will be adjusted depending on how much you were at fault for the accident. Anyone can pursue compensation for an accident they share liability for, provided they are 49% or less responsible.
So, if a drunk driver hits you, they will likely hold most responsibility for the crash. However, if you used your cell phone before the accident, the court may assign 15% liability to you. If you were awarded $1 million in a settlement, your payout would be $850,000 because you were 15% responsible for the crash.
What Might Delay a Settlement?
It isn’t uncommon for an insurance company to delay a settlement. Remember, they’re trying to make money, not help you. They may try to stall your case so you get frustrated and accept any payment they offer.
Their business model usually means they invest their policyholders’ premiums. If they don’t have to pay you immediately, they could secure revenue through the return on their investments.
Will Your Settlement Cover Everything?
Most insurance companies would rather not pay any money if their policyholders cause an accident. However, they might make a show of cooperating with you and your attorney. A common tactic they use to force a resolution is offering a lowball settlement.
Lowball settlements are offers that won’t cover all your expenses after an accident. The insurance company is trying to do the bare minimum required by the law. They know you are probably suffering after the crash and that any offer might seem better than no offer.
A Georgia injury lawyer can recognize a lowball offer and steer you away from accepting it. Once you accept a settlement, you cannot pursue any more payments. Your lawyer can fight for the total compensation you deserve. You can learn more about other Georgia motor vehicle laws here.
The Champion Firm Can Help With Your Settlement
If you are overwhelmed by the settlement process, believe the insurance company is lowballing you, or need direction to start your case, we can help. The Champion Firm’s dedicated Georgia car accident attorneys will guide you through the settlement negotiation process and help secure maximum compensation for all you endured. Contact us today for a no-cost, risk-free consultation.
Call 404-596-8044 or contact us online to start your car accident insurance and civil claims.
About the Author
The Champion Firm is a full-service personal injury law firm serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. Our award-winning team of attorneys specializes in car accidents, wrongful death, premises liability, and slip-and-fall cases. Learn more about our team here.