When to Sue After a Car Accident

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Key Points:

  • If you’ve been in a car accident, you typically have two years to file a claim in Georgia.
  • The timing of your claim is important; filing too early or too late can affect your level of compensation.
  • An insurance company may attempt to get you to settle quickly because you may be less likely to know the extent of your injuries or expenses shortly after your accident.
  • It is best to consult with an experienced attorney soon after your accident so you can devise the appropriate plan for moving forward with your claim.

When someone files a legal claim for a car accident, they are making a claim for damages from an insurance company. Your timing matters when filing an insurance claim because it can significantly impact your recovery.

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If a claim is filed too early, you risk not having all the evidence required to prove your case and request a full settlement amount. If a claim is filed too late, then you could miss your window for claim submission, which is typically two years from when the accident occurs. Filing past this window, known as the statute of limitations, can mean you’ll be unable to recover any money for your claim.

It is smart to hire a law firm that knows how to time your case properly, so you can receive the settlement amount you deserve.

Insurance companies will often attempt to make a quick settlement offer in hopes that you will accept without giving it a thought or seeking legal representation. While it may be tempting to accept this compensation right away, it is advised that you wait until after speaking with a lawyer to do so. Oftentimes, this initial offer will not account for all the evidence of your case, which can mean you’re leaving money on the table.

A personal injury lawyer can review any offers submitted from the insurance company and know how to balance moving quickly while ensuring all the facts of your accident are known before making any demands. For example, if you are still recovering from your injuries, your lawyer will typically advise waiting until you know if you’ll need additional surgeries or physical therapy before submitting for compensation. All the expenses you incur because of your accident should be considered in your settlement amount.

The Advantages of Filing a Claim Quickly

Filing a claim sooner rather than later comes with the opportunity to be compensated more quickly. If your main interest is to resolve the case so you can be compensated and move on, then it might be in your best interests to file your claim right away.

Bills and expenses add up quickly, and it’s understandable that you would want to receive compensation to pay for these costs. However, it’s important to know that once you settle with the insurance company, you typically waive your right to additional compensation in the future—even if your injuries or expenses wind up more expensive than your settlement amount.

The Disadvantages of Filing a Claim Too Early

Filing a claim too soon can mean that evidence and expenses may be unaccounted for or not yet known. Some costs may not be immediately apparent, which means you could accept a claim that does not cover all your treatments and expenses.

For example, say you believe your injuries are relatively minor and that you’ll have a quick recovery. However, after a few weeks, your injury doesn’t seem to be healing, and you need additional testing, which confirms that you’ll need surgery to repair the damage fully. If you were to have already settled, then you would be on the hook for covering the bills that occur after the fact. This is because once you settle your claim, you typically waive your rights to additional compensation for the same accident in the future.

If you file your claim too quickly, you may be missing out on higher potential damages.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait Too Long to File Your Claim

In the state of Georgia, there is a two-year statute of limitations on car accident cases. Any attempts to file a claim or lawsuit after two years have passed since the accident will be denied unless you qualify for an exception.

You should also avoid waiting too long to file a claim because some evidence has a shelf life. For instance, eyewitnesses typically remember things most vividly the closer it is to an occurrence. If you wait too long, then eyewitnesses might forget their testimony or statements made to the police and the details of the accident. Delaying more than necessary can also put added financial stress on you from the expenses incurred because of the accident.

Why Insurance Companies Want You to Settle Quickly

Insurance companies typically prefer that you file and resolve your claim as soon as possible. This is because the quicker you settle, the less likely you will have legal representation or know the full extent of your injuries. Insurance adjusters may seem like they are trying to cover your costs quickly because it’s in your best interest. However, it’s important to understand they will do whatever they can to minimize the amount their company must payout.

If you accept a claim before fully understanding how much your case should be worth, then you could end up with a substantially lower settlement offer or be denied coverage entirely.

On the other hand, insurance companies may try to delay your claim to frustrate you into settling on their terms; don’t let this happen. An experienced personal injury attorney can ensure an insurance company does not play games with your claim or deny you rightful coverage.

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Challenges With Bigger Law Firms

Choosing your legal representation for a car accident claim is a difficult and important decision. While you may be tempted to select a big-name law firm, understand that the larger the firm, typically the higher volume of cases they handle. A big law firm may be less likely to offer a personal approach toward your representation, which could lead to potential delays or overlooked details.

It takes time and effort to build a case properly. Make sure you are working with a law firm that makes time for you and your claim, no matter the size.

The Millar Law Firm Acts Fast

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a car accident, then make sure you seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.

The Millar Law Firm has been helping Georgia accident victims receive compensation for their injuries for nearly three decades. We know how to balance the proper timing of personal injury cases and will do what it takes to ensure you receive a full and fair settlement for your claim.  Call The Millar Law Firm today at (770) 400-0000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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