Personal Injury Lawsuit & Claims Process in Georgia

The injury claims and lawsuit process should not be undertaken alone.

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Georgia Personal Injury Claims

After being injured, you will likely have several types of expenses, including medical bills, lost wages, and various others. Depending on the law and other factors involved, you may need to file a claim with the at-fault person’s insurance company. Here are the steps you should take:

Get Medical Treatment

Always get immediate medical treatment after an injury-causing accident. This establishes a base level for the severity of your injuries.

Your emergency medical treatment records will be used as the basis for your insurance claim. You should also continue seeing your doctor as recommended.

If your doctor refers you to a specialist, physical therapist, or other ongoing treatment, you need to attend that as well.

Contact an Attorney

Before calling the other person’s insurance company, talk to a personal injury lawyer near you. The insurance company will want a statement from you, and they will use anything you say against you.

Your personal injury lawyer can help you develop a statement that protects you and adequately conveys precisely what happened in the accident and the nature and extent of your injuries.

Gather the Evidence

Collect as much information as possible about the incident that caused your injuries. That should include any available police report, photographs and videos taken at the scene, eyewitness statements, and anything else that helps prove exactly what happened.

You should also keep all your medical bills, employment records, property repair receipts, and anything else that proves your damages. Take photographs of any visible injuries. You will need evidence supporting your claim to determine precisely how much your case is worth.

You should keep a post-accident diary that tracks your healing process and how the injuries impact your life. You can also write down the names of medical treatment facilities and doctors you see. This journal can be used as a basis for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

Contact Your Insurance Company

If you were involved in a car accident, you would also need to contact your own insurance company. Your attorney can usually handle this on your behalf.

Your insurance company may cover some of your damages while waiting for the at-fault driver’s insurance company to pay you what you deserve.

File an Insurance Claim

You can also let your personal injury attorney file a claim with the appropriate insurance company. This process is usually available online or via phone. Your attorney will also present your evidence regarding fault and damages to the insurance company.

Send a Demand Letter

A demand letter is a document to the at-fault person’s insurance company specifying how much you want for your damages. It is unlikely that the insurance company will accept your initial demand. They may respond with a lowball settlement offer.

You should never accept the insurance company’s initial offer or sign anything without talking to your attorney first.

Negotiate a Settlement

It will usually take some back and forth to secure fair compensation for the losses associated with your injuries. More than 95% of all personal injury claims are settled before trial.

The negotiation process is usually successful. However, if the insurance company refuses to make an acceptable settlement offer, you may have to file a lawsuit. This tells the insurance company that you mean business.

Georgia Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you have to file a lawsuit and eventually go to a personal injury trial, you should always work closely with an attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure you get what you deserve.

File a Complaint and Serve the Defendant

To initiate a personal injury lawsuit, you must draft a “Complaint.” Your Complaint describes your injuries and explains how the other person or company is at fault.

You (the injured person) are called the “Plaintiff.” The person who is at fault is called the “Defendant.”

Once you file the Complaint with the court, you must serve it on the Defendant. That usually requires physically delivering it to their home or serving them personally wherever they may be found.

In Georgia, lawsuits are generally filed where the Defendant “resides.” The determination of a Defendant’s residence varies depending on the type of Defendant. For example, there are very specific rules on where corporations and other entities are deemed to reside.

If there are multiple options for the venue, an experienced personal injury attorney can select the best venue to file the lawsuit.

The Defendant Files an Answer

In response to the claims you made in your Complaint, Defendant will file an Answer. The Answer will deny or admit the allegations you made about what happened during the accident.

The Discovery Process

Pre-trial discovery involves both parties sending information about the case to the other side. All evidence that the parties have must be disclosed. Even if evidence does not support their claim, they must send it to the other party.

Depositions are also held during the discovery process. Depositions are interviews with eyewitnesses and parties to find out exactly what happened. Depositions take place in an office in the presence of a court reporter, who creates a transcript of the testimony.

Deposition transcripts are often used in court to avoid calling all witnesses to the trial to testify. The transcripts can also be used to contradict (or impeach) a witness’s testimony.

Pre-Trial Motions

Your personal injury lawyer will likely file many pre-trial motions ahead of your final court date. These motions will attempt to exclude specific evidence or achieve a summary judgment in your favor. A summary judgment occurs when there are enough facts for one party to win on an issue without submitting it to a jury.

Going to Trial

If you do go to trial, you need an attorney by your side. The defendant and their insurance company will likely have a team of attorneys next to them. Most trials take several days to complete and involve statements from attorneys, the testimony of witnesses, and the introduction of evidence.

After the Trial

If you don’t get the result you want at trial, you may be able to appeal to a higher-level court. The appeals process can take months to several years. If you recover compensation, the jury will decide how much your case is worth, and the Defendant and their insurance company will be ordered to pay you.

Personal Injury Process FAQ

How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take?

Depending on whether you settle your claim or go to trial, a personal injury case can take anywhere from several months to multiple years to resolve.

Is There a Deadline to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Yes. In Georgia, you generally have two years after the accident or the date when you discovered your injuries to file a lawsuit. This deadline is called a “statute of limitations.”

Certain circumstances may extend this deadline, and some cases may have other deadlines shorter than the two-year period. This is why it is important to talk to a top-rated personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Should I Talk to the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company?

No. Even seemingly innocent statements to insurance adjusters can be used against you. They may be used to diminish the severity of your injuries, cast doubt on their policy holder’s degree of fault, or otherwise reduce what they owe.

It’s always wise to consult a lawyer and have your attorney handle the communications between you and any insurance company regarding your claim or lawsuit.

Will You Automatically Have to Go to Court if You File a Lawsuit in Georgia?

A frequent question that I get from clients is, will they have to go to court if they file a lawsuit? The answer to that question is no. Most cases settle. Some settle before a lawsuit. Some settle after it. Some even settle after a trial. But the best way to put your case in the best position possible for settlement is to actually be willing to file a lawsuit and go to court.

If the insurance company and their lawyers know that, that your attorney is willing to fight for you, you’re going to get a much better result. We do file a lot of lawsuits at this law firm because we don’t take what their offer is, because a lot of times it’s not fair. In order to get the best possible result, we will file a suit, and sometimes we will have to go to court.

What Our Clients Have to Say

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"From the beginning to the very end, they made me feel as though there was not a step they couldn't handle. The attorneys at The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. made it very easy for me. They made me feel like family."

Dajaneshia   |   Car Accident

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“When I talked to Morgyn, she [said], ‘we need you to worry about making sure you feel better. I’ve got everything else handled. If I come [across] someone that has an accident, I absolutely will refer The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C.."

Michael   |   Car Accident

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“From the get go, walking into The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C., I was very welcomed and everyone was very attentive to everything that had happened to me - There was never a time I had to question anything.”

Natalia   |   Premises Liability

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I literally do not think we would have made it through this process if it had not been for the Champion Firm. They literally changed our life."

Robyn   |   Slip and Fall

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"A family member recommended the Champion Firm. I got the attorney on the phone immediately who walked me through my entire case."

Jake   |   Car Accident

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“For me, that personal relationship is very important. And I felt that with everyone [at the firm]. I absolutely would recommend The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. without hesitation.”

Sue   |   Slip and Fall

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“We felt like nobody cared about our situation [so] this firm felt like a blessing to us. I would refer anybody to come to this firm.”

Judith   |   Medical Malpractice

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"I would definitely recommend the Champion Firm. Until they took over [my case], there was no movement. And as soon as they did things happened like [snaps] that!"

Champion Firm Client   |   Motor Vehicle Accidents

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"I have never experienced that much warmth from people that have come to my aid. To me in a situation such as this. When I come in here, [Darl] makes me feel like family."

Wanda   |   Wrongful Death

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"The first time I met Darl, he came to my house because I was unable to drive. He made sure I was confident and comfortable the entire process [and the firm] wants to make sure that every client is taken care of."

Champion Firm Client   |   Motor Vehicle Accident

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Darl Champion is the man. He just made everything happen and made it real easy [for me]. And the whole firm is nice. Every time I come here I’m always treated like one of the lawyers.”

Walter   |   Motor Vehicle Accident

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I will refer anyone to Darl Champion. He is a good man, and he'll take care of you."

Michael   |   Slip & Fall

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"Darl's not an ambulance chaser. He is a person who is out to help you."

Brent   |   Motorcycle Accident

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"You're looking for people that you can trust with your life."

Sandra   |   Car Accident

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"They are more than just attorneys, they are friends."

Julie   |   Wrongful Death

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I would recommend the Champion firm because of the care and the compassion that I received during my 5 year relationship with them after my car wreck."

Cynthia   |   Car Accident

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I would definitely recommend The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C., they will always make time for you."

Christy   |   Car Accident

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I really felt like the extra mile that you want somebody to go for you, The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C.'s going to go."

Andy   |   Wrongful Death

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. did more for me in the first 6 months than my previous attorney did for me in a year and a half."

Justin   |   Truck Accident

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I would definitely recommend The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C.. They handle everything."

Chad   |   Truck Accident

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I felt like just a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Darl and Andrienne, they really do their due diligence."

Khadijah   |   Car Crash

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Call The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C.

If you have been injured and aren’t sure what to do next, call The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C.. Our legal team, located in Marietta, Georgia, will explain the personal injury claims process and help you decide if a lawsuit is necessary. Our focus will be on helping you recover and get your life back to normal.

Schedule your free, no-risk, no-obligation consultation at 404-596-8044 or complete our contact form. There’s no fee unless you win.