Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
We recommend that, if possible, you collect certain information at the scene. Obtain all you can from the at-fault driver, such as name address and home and cellular phone numbers. Get the license plate number and the driver’s automobile or commercial truck insurance policy information and number. Get the contact information of all witnesses. Take cell phone pictures of the vehicles and the scene.
If you have been hurt at all, seek medical care at the ER or your primary doctor immediately or shortly following the accident, no more than a few days. Taking each of these steps will help ensure that if you do need or choose to hire an attorney, your case is off to the best possible start. If you have any questions, call the Atlanta car and truck accident lawyers of The Millar Law Firm, our telephone consultations are free. 770-400-0000 (770-“4 Million”).
- Good law firms specialize. You want lawyers who are experts in traffic accident injury law.
- Local attorneys who know and understand your area and the local metro-Atlanta court system can give you an advantage.
- Don’t hire a “discount fee” injury lawyer. Some lawyers advertise cheap or discounted rates (25% contingency fees, or even less). This often means they are high volume firms, or are inexperienced lawyers with few staff or resources. Unfortunately, you often will get exactly what you pay for.
- A Georgia law firm that handles only injury cases (like ours) is a firm you can trust because we are experts in car, truck and motorcycle accident claims.
- Experience. When deciding which law firm to hire, be sure to ask how many trials the firm has had recently. Most strong personal injury firms go to trial several times each year.
Once we have spoken about your case, either by telephone or in person, and we have decided we are a good fit to work together, you will sign our new client forms. We can do this electronically through email, or in person. It is very easy and convenient. Once we receive your signed forms, we will immediately start working on your case so that you can focus on feeling better.
The answer to this question may depend on a number of factors, but also largely upon what kind of injury you have, the quality and ability of your personal injury attorney, and the amount of insurance available.
In Georgia, an injury victim is entitled to be compensated for the harms and losses suffered. This usually means your past and future medical expenses, your lost pay, and your pain and suffering – including future limitation caused by your injury.
“Fair” may also depend on your expectations and the conduct of the at-fault driver. If you are seeking a huge amount of money in “revenge” for a small negligent act, you are likely to be disappointed (and you would not be a good fit for our law firm). The law does not usually entitle you to punish and at fault driver unless he or she did something outrageous, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, hit and run, or reckless driving.
Our firm will discuss with your what other injury victims have received for similar injuries and under similar circumstances. If the insurance company is making you an offer below that range, we will discuss your options of making a counter-offer and continuing to negotiate, or filling a lawsuit. Insurance adjusters often make better and larger settlement offers to attorney and law firms that have a reputation for filing suit against low-ball offers.
In the end, the insurance company for the driver who caused your injury usually pays for your past and future medical bills and expenses. While your are treating, your own health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare most often pays the bills. Those insurers are then repaid at the conclusion of your case.
If you have no medical insurance and are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, many medical providers will give you medical care on a lien basis, meaning that the doctor, chiropractor or therapist is paid when your case settles or resolves. In Georgia, clients and attorneys can sign letters of protection, indicating, on your behalf, that our office will repay the medical bills when the case settles or a verdict is paid.
Most claims against drivers from other states can be handled through and settled with that driver’s insurance company, even if the driver and insurer are from another state. Georgia also has a non-resident motorist act, allowing you to bring a claim against an at-fault driver from another state. If a lawsuit needs to be brought against that driver, it can be served upon the Georgia Secretary of State under O.C.G.A. 40-12-1(a), and 40-12-2. The lawsuit is filed in the county where the car accident happened, or in the county where you live, your choice. O.C.G.A. 40-12-3. Under the Georgia long-arm statute the lawsuit can also be served directly to the out of state driver and may be filed in the County where the wreck happened. O.C.G.A. 9-10-93.
If the insurance company still does not offer a fair settlement or some other factor means that a lawsuit must be filed, it is often filed in the County in Georgia where the at-fault driver lives. Georgia Constitution, Article Six, Section two, Paragraph Seven.
Usually the best time to settle a car accident injury case is when you have completed your medical care. At that point, your injury attorney will evaluate your case and make a demand for payment to the insurance company.
How much is demanded usually depends on the amount of your medical bills or the severity of your injury. The settlement negotiation process usually takes place after you have completed your medical treatment and all of the records and reports have been received from your doctors.
Although every case is different, we recommend doing at least the following things:
- Get Medical Care Quickly – Going to the ER or ED (emergency department) is the first step to proving your car, motorcycle or truck accident case.
- Protect Your Evidence – take photographs of your car, the at-fault driver’s vehicle, the scene of the incident and your injuries.
- Do Not Talk to Insurance Adjusters – until you have spoken to an experienced car accident lawyer, don’t talk to the insurance adjuster.
- Do Not Post to Facebook or Instagram – Anything you post online can be used against you by the Insurance Company. Don’t do it!
- Get a Free Consultation – Ask “Do I owe it to myself to speak to a personal injury attorney, near me?” – If you have read this far the answer is probably, Yes.
In the State of Georgia a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within two years of the time that your injury happened. This is known as the Georgia personal injury statute of limitations. Georgia laws: O.C.G.A. 9-3-33. And, in personal (bodily) injury claims or cases, the two year period begins on the day of the crash and usually ends on the day before the two year anniversary.
We are asked this question a lot. The value of your case is determined by how serious your injuries are and, to some degree, what the at-fault driver did to harm you. As you may imagine, a sprain or strain is worth far less than a devastating injury caused by a drunk driver.
Each case is different. Once we learn the details of what happened, how serious your injuries are and what your condition may be like after you are medically stable, we can start to determine the value of your injury claim.
We will work fast to get you a fair settlement but unlike some lawyers you may have heard about, we will never put ourselves ahead of you to make a quick legal fee. Most cases do settle without a lawsuit being filed. We will work together to decide whether a lawsuit should be filed or a settlement accepted.
We don’t let the insurance company get away with making you a low-ball or unfair offer. Our interest and passion is helping all of our clients receive fair compensation, whether through settlement or trial.
Our Georgia lawyers specialize in motor vehicle traffic accident cases, like car, truck and motorcycle collisions. We are trained to help clients recover as much in damages (money) as possible.
The process begins with a telephone or in person consultation during which the personal injury case is evaluated. If we decide we can and should work on the case, the next steps include advising you about how to deal with the insurance company, working together to ensure your medical care is obtained and paid for, collecting and gathering the right evidence, preparing a detailed demand package, negotiating with the insurance company, and consulting with you at each step.
There are many lawyers advertising in Atlanta (and around Georgia) for your injury case. So, this is a good question.
Personal Injury is not a “general” area of law: it is very specialized. It requires knowing and understanding insurance law, how to effectively interact and negotiate with adjusters, how to discover all of the available insurance coverage information, and how to collect all of the damages you are entitled to. Personal Injury Law also involves knowing how to try this type of case and actually bring it to court.
Before hiring a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, be sure to check out their online reviews (we have dozens of 5 star reviews), AVVO rating (ours is a Perfect 10), and Better Business Bureau rating (The Millar Law Firm is rated “A+”).
When your car is damaged by an at-fault negligent driver, in a hit-and-run, or in another type of incident, even if you are not hurt you must report the accident (damage) to your insurance company, or you risk losing your insurance coverage. The driver who caused the collision’s insurance policy should cover your damage, but if that driver is not insured, under your policy, if you have collision coverage, you may be entitled to repairs, diminished value or total loss. Review your insurance policy to see if you have collision coverage.
For even more legal information, read our handy Georgia property damage guide.
Georgia Legal FAQ: The at-fault driver crashed into me while applying makeup, she crossed into my traffic lane. Is she responsible for my damages?
Yes. Because the at-fault driver caused the accident while failing to pay attention was negligent, if not reckless driving. Putting on makeup is a form of distracted driving — as using a mobile phone, driving while texting, and drowsy or drunk driving. Our car wreck attorneys work closely with investigators and experts such as accident reconstruction specialists, medical doctors and mechanical professionals to prove each form of distracted driving in your injury case.
Car Accident Legal Question: My wife and I were hit by a truck. I was not injured, but my wife suffered severe life-threatening injuries. Is she entitled to relief?
It does not matter if everyone in your car was hurt. If the other driver caused the wreck, each passenger is still legally entitled to their own full claim. Sadly, sometimes a person in a serious wreck is killed, while others survive. The survivors may have a wrongful death case, and may also have a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress if they were physically impacted in the crash. A surviving spouse may also have a loss of consortium claim.
Georgia Comparative Negligence Question: A taxi ran a red light and hit my daughter, but she was also speeding and talking on her cell phone. Does she still have a case?
Georgia Comparative Negligence Question and Answer: In our State, when an accident victim’s negligence partly contributed to accident and or to their own injuries, this may affect the amount of money that is awarded or can be recovered from a personal injury or wrongful death claim, case or lawsuit. Georgia is known as a modified comparative fault, or negligence, state. Under this legal doctrine, when the victim of any type of accident is partly to blame for their injury, a court or jury may determine how much (by percentage) that the person is at-fault, and may reduce amount of the award proportionally. If the victim is 50% or more at fault, recovery may be completely barred.
Ga. Car Accident Legal Question: We were rear-ended at a stoplight. I haven’t been able to work for months and will need surgery. What can I recover from the other driver?
Ga. Car Accident Answer: If another driver is proven to be at-fault, your damages are likely to include the following: mental and physical damages, economic (special) and punitive damages. Special damages usually means your financial harms, such as medical bills, final expenses (funeral ), and pay – future and past. General damages are mental and physical in nature and may include pain and trauma, scars, distress, or even the loss of the comfort and companionship of your spouse. Punitive or exemplary damages are possible in certain cases such as reckless driving, racing, or intoxicated (drunk or drugged) driving incidents. Such damages are, under Georgia’s public policy, meant as a punishment or to deter others, including the defendant, from doing the same thing again.
Georgia Uninsured Motorists: The vehicle that hit me did not have insurance. I have medical expenses and pain and suffering. What can I do?
Georgia Uninsured Motorist Coverage, legal advice: This is a complicated situation, but one that unfortunately is common in Georgia. First, you do have the right and the option to file a legal action (lawsuit) versus the owner and driver of the uninsured car or truck for your medical bills, pay you have lost (past and future), for you mental and physical pain, and possibly for exemplary damages. However, because the at-fault driver had no insurance, the chance of collecting your damages may be small. Therefore, it is advisable to also make a claim with your own automobile insurance policy for your UIM or uninsured motorist benefits. A UM policy protects you and allows you to recover your damages when the at-fault driver has no liability or bodily-injury or collision insurance or has insurance limits that are not large enough to cover your losses, and you have the appropriate UIM coverage. It is advisable to have your UM policy reviewed by a Georgia car accident attorney, because many insurance policies are difficult to understand or even misleading. And, just because your insurance sales person was friendly when he or she sold you the policy, the company might not be so friendly as you try to collect UM benefits.
Georgia Law – Respondeat Superior: I was hit by a commercial van making a delivery. Can we sue the company the driver worked for?
Georgia allows you to bring a claim through the doctrine of respondeat superior, also known as vicarious liability. These rules mean that a driver’s employer may be responsible for the injuries if the driver was operating the company (or even a personal) truck or car or other motor vehicle within their duties of employment – known as the scope of employment. Potentially a company might also have responsibility or liability for what is called negligent hiring or negligent retention if it were proven that company hired an unqualified driver, or knew he or she had a tendency to drive recklessly or negligently. In some instance, a company might have also contributed to the wreck by unsafe practices like unrealistic delivery schedules (encouraging speeding and reckless driving) or failure to properly maintain a company vehicle.
I was hurt in a car accident. Now, my medical or health insurance wants to take part of my settlement. Can they do that?
If you have been hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident and your medical treatment was paid for by your health insurance, or workers’ compensation insurance, these insurance carriers, or possibly even your hospital or doctor’s office, may place a lien on your recovery. These medical providers may have a full or a limited claim to reimbursement from your award or settlement. The only way to know how strong a health insurance plan reimbursement (subrogation) right is, often is to obtain and review the policy language. This is one of the services The Millar Law Firm’s Georgia attorneys provide at no additional charge to our representation. Other liens, such as hospital, physician and ERISA liens are often highly negotiable, and should never be paid in full without first having an attorney assess the strength of the lien and negotiate it to a lower amount.
Georgia Statute of Limitation Question: A drunk driver just pled guilty to DUI-DWI after 18 months. Is it too late to file a claim or lawsuit?
As in many personal injury cases, a victim hit by a drunk, drugged or otherwise intoxicated driver in Georgia usually has just 2 years (24 months) from the time of the injury to file his or her lawsuit. However, based on a new Georgia appellate case, it has been ruled that the two-year statutory limit time period may not start to run while the charges — including a DUI (DWI) or even a traffic ticket — are still pending and have not become finalized. This means that you may actually have more than two years to file your lawsuit. But, you must be careful. But if you do not correctly calculate the time remaining, you could lose your rights. Always contact a Georgia personal injury lawyer well before two years after any crash or accident where you have gotten hurt.
In a case involving an at-fault and DUI driver, you should include a punitive damages claim along with your claims for special and general damages. Here in Georgia, the purpose behind an award of punitive damages is to punish and deter “willful misconduct, wantonness and entire want of care.” Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol clearly fits into this category. And a guilty plea in this type of case is also very helpful, because it establishes a legal admission to driving under the influence. Punitive damages are usually limited (capped) at $250,000 in Georgia. However, because impaired or drunk driving is an intentional and dangerous act, there is an exception to the limit on punitive damages, and there is no cap on punitive damages for these cases.
Because there is a two-year statute of limitations in Georgia, meaning you have to take legal action within two years from the date of the accident, you should contact a skilled, experienced and aggressive car accident attorney at The Millar Law Firm right away. Our Atlanta drunk driving accident lawyers have obtained punitive damages in numerous cases involving DUI and drugged drivers.
We help automobile accident victims and their families throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area and the state of Georgia, including Jonesboro, East Point, North Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Forest Park, College Park, Decatur, Roswell, Marietta, Peachtree City, Fayetteville and Riverdale. For a free case evaluation with our car accident lawyers, call us today at 770-400-0000 or reach us online.
Contact Millar Law Firm After a GA Car Accident
Contact the Millar Law Firm today to learn how our skilled auto accident attorneys can help you get your life back on track. We offer free initial consultations, and we do not charge attorney fees unless and until we secure compensation for you.
Not ready to chat? Use these free resources to help you get the information you need:
- Car Accident Lawyer Atlanta GA
- Atlanta Car Accident FAQs
- Georgia Car Accident Checklist
- Bad Faith Insurance Company in Atlanta, GA
- Distracted Driving in Georgia
- Types of Car Accidents in Atlanta, GA
- Why Call Millar Law Firm?
- What Evidence Do I Need For A GA Car Accident?
For more information, the team at the Millar Law Firm are here to help. With years of experience helping victims of car accidents get the compensation they deserve, the team of attorneys at the Millar Law Firm can help you too. Call today!
Car Accident Resources: After a Georgia Car Wreck
- Can You Get Blue Book Value For Your Car After a Car Accident?
- Should I call a Lawyer the Day of the Car Accident?
- What if there are conflicting stories after the car accident happened?
- When is the best time to sue after a car wreck in Georgia?
- Do I even have a car accident lawsuit?
- What if the person that hit me was drinking?
- How do I get money to pay my medical bills and car repair after an accident?
- How long does it take to get compensation after a car accident?
- How much should I expect to get compensation for my car accident lawsuit?