What Is The Process For A Car Accident Settlement?
If you have been in a car accident in the Macon, Georgia, you need a lawyer who has a comprehensive understanding of the laws applicable personal injury claims and automobile insurance. Here at The Law Office of George O. Haskell, IV, we have the experience necessary to help you through this difficult process and to get the compensation you deserve. If you have found yourself injured in an accident, you may be wondering how the car accident settlement process works? Keep reading below to find out.
Breaking Down The Car Accident Settlement Process
In Georgia, the law requires you to report an automotive accident immediately if there are property damages over $500 or an injury/death. In these situations, there is a significant chance you will need legal representation. If you are injured or your vehicle has been damaged, the first thing you will need to do is contact law enforcement so that the collision can be investigated and documented. You will also need to obtain the other driver’s contact information, their vehicle information and insurance information. Additionally, you will want to take pictures to document the damages to your car as soon as you can. If you are injured or experiencing any pain, request an ambulance and/or seek medical attention as soon as possible so that you can be medically evaluated and your injuries can be documented.
Once you have done this you can reach out to an attorney to discuss your claim and/or lawsuit options to make sure your legal rights are adequately protected. Review your own automobile insurance policy to determine whether you have coverage that might be applicable to the loss such as medical payments or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Most auto policies will require you to notify them of all accidents, so even if the wreck was not your fault, you are probably contractually obligated to report it to them. If you fail to do so, you may potentially lose out on valuable coverage you have already paid for because of failure to provide your insurance company of timely notice.
You generally have two years from the time of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit and four years to file a property claim. However, shorter limitations and ante-litem notice requirements may apply if the incident involves a government employee. It may also be possible to extend the statute of limitations if the at-fault driver received a traffic citation as a result of the incident. Every situation is unique, so it is important to contact a qualified personal injury lawyer regarding the specifics of your case.
The statute of limitations for the personal injury claims of minor children does not begin to run until they reach the age of eighteen. However, the parent’s claim for the medical expenses incurred on the injured child’s behalf will generally expire within the initial two year statute of limitations applicable to most injury claims. This is because the child’s medical bills are incurred by the parents and are only recoverable by the parent(s).
Once you start the claims process and/or a lawsuit, the timeline can vary on how long it takes to resolve the case. An insurance claim can potentially be settled outside of court if the parties can agree on fault as well as the value of the case. Alternatively, the case can go through litigation and ultimately a trial if an agreement cannot be reached with the driver’s insurance company and/or your own auto insurance company.
If you opt for a settlement, you can guarantee you will receive a certain sum of money from the at fault party and/or their car insurance company. If you decide to go to court, the decision as to whether the other driver is at fault and the amount of damages awarded will likely be determined by a jury of twelve people. Of course, there is never a guarantee that you will win or that you will recover all of the damages that you are claiming when a case goes to trial. We will work with you to assess your case and discuss all possible options before making any recommendation. If you decide to take your case to trial, the case would likely have to be brought in the home county of the defendant if they are a Georgia resident. If the at-fault driver is from out of state, you may be able to bring your lawsuit in your home county or the county where the accident occurred.
Been In A Car Accident? We Can Help.
If you have been in a car accident, our experienced lawyers will help you prepare your case for a lawsuit if the at-fault driver’s insurance refuses to make a fair settlement offer. Call now for free consultation or contact us online today. We only require a payment if we recover compensation for you.