Is There a Perfect Time to Sue After a Car Accident?
Taking legal action after being involved in a car accident is a big decision. It is not unusual to have questions about whether to file a lawsuit and when to file a lawsuit. The timing is important when it comes to pursuing a civil action after a car accident in Georgia. The following considers what you need to know about filing a lawsuit, including everything you need to know about car accident lawsuit timing.
The First Steps: Right After Your Car Accident
The first step after your car accident should be to notify your car insurance company immediately. In the vast majority of cases, trying to resolve your claim through the insurance system without filing a lawsuit is preferable and quicker. This does not mean that you do not need an attorney. An attorney who has experience with car accidents can negotiate your car insurance claim. The sooner that you notify the insurance company about your accident, the better. It’s a good idea to notify the insurance company by phone within 24 hours and then follow-up with a written notification. Most insurance companies have strict rules regarding how much time you have to notify them after an accident.
Assuming that you were not the driver who caused the accident, your insurance company will only be responsible for paying your claim if the other driver was uninsured or underinsured and you have carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, or if you carry medical payments coverage. Otherwise, the insurance company of the other driver should offer a settlement under the driver’s bodily injury policy. Georgia insurance laws are explained on the website of the Georgia Office of Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner.
As a point of clarification, remember that there is a difference between a car accident claim and a civil suit. A car accident claim can be filed directly with the insurance company, and the insurance company is then responsible for making a determination about how much to pay and what an appropriate settlement amount is. This amount is negotiable and an attorney can advocate on your behalf to ensure that the final settlement is fair. A civil suit is a lawsuit filed in civil court against the at-fault driver or other responsible party.
Contacting an Attorney from the Get-Go
As mentioned above, settling your car accident out of court is often preferable for multiple reasons, including the fact that doing so is often cheaper and more time efficient. That being said, you should not disregard the importance of an attorney even if you do not file a lawsuit.
Because the other driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying for your injuries, you may experience pushback from the insurer when it comes to paying the full amount of your damages. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to lowball claims in order to save the company money. Your attorney can represent you right off the bat by gathering evidence to prove that the other driver was at fault, to substantiate the fact that you have incurred injuries for which you should be compensated, and by negotiating a fair settlement.
Is It Too Early to File a Lawsuit?
Filing a lawsuit immediately is often ill advised. It is important to speak with an accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident so the attorney can start gathering evidence or secure evidence before it disappears. If your injuries are serious, you will want to receive all the medical care necessary or have a clear understanding of the scope of the care that you will need before reaching a settlement. Once you sign a settlement with an insurance company, you cannot go back to the insurance company for more money if your injuries require additional treatment.
For the vast majority of claims, however, trying to resolve things without litigation is usually best.
Car Accident Lawsuit Timing – When Is It Too Late?
Having an attorney on your side can be very helpful for determining when filing a lawsuit early on is a good decision. At the least, you should start gathering everything that you may need to file a civil suit as soon as possible after your car accident. Eventually, you will hit a filing deadline, also known as a statute of limitations for filing your lawsuit. Once the statute of limitations has expired in Georgia, you will be barred from filing a civil action for the accident. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for filing your car accident lawsuit is two years from the date that your accident occurred, according to Georgia Code Section 9-3-33.
Why Timing Matters
The timing of your car accident lawsuit matters for a variety of reasons. By holding off on filing a lawsuit, you may be able to recover a settlement, especially if you have a skilled attorney advocating for you – without the hassle of filing a civil action. If you cannot recover a settlement amount and the process is delayed for too long, you may miss your opportunity to file your civil action and be stuck without any recovery. In addition to filing the right paperwork, a lawsuit takes a time to prepare. You will need to gather evidence, track down witnesses, gather testimony from medical experts, and in some cases, hire accident reconstruction experts, .
Do Not Wait a Moment Longer to Contact an Experienced Georgia Car Accident Attorney
Do not wait to contact an experienced Georgia car accident attorney near you! At the Millar & Mixon, LLC, an initial consultation with an attorney to learn more about the process of filing a claim is completely free. Further, after your consultation, you have no obligation to work with us. If you decide to hire our law firm, we will never charge you unless your case is successful.
What are you waiting for? Your future dpends on the decisions that you make right now. Pick up the phone and all our offices today to schedule your free case consultation now, or use our online contact form.
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For more information, the team at the Millar and Mixon Law Firm, LLC are here to help. With years of experience helping victims of car accidents get the compensation they deserve, the team of attorneys at Millar and Mixon can help you too. Call today!
Car Accident Resources: After a Georgia Car Wreck