How Do You Bring a Car Accident Lawsuit In Georgia?
In Georgia, a party who is injured in a car accident has the right to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver who caused the collision. The process can be relatively complex, time-consuming, stressful, and costly. Before you file suit, you’ll need to be prepared with information about the value of your case, the liability of the other driver, whether any witnesses saw the wreck, and evidence of your injury and its costs. You’ll need this information in order to accurately and fully present your claim to a jury; or, if you do not end up filing a lawsuit, you will have sufficient information to provide an insurance company to fairly settle your claim. A Georgia personal injury attorney will normally take the following steps in initiating your claim and preparing it for trial.
In order to gather evidence for a Georgia automobile accident claim, your personal injury attorney initiates an investigation immediately. In order to determine whether the other party acted negligently and is at fault, your attorney may:
- obtain and review the police/accident report;
- obtain and review any video footage of the accident;
- contact and interview witnesses of the collision;
- contact and interview the report police officer;
- visit the scene of the collision;
- obtain the disposition of the traffic ticket to the other driver, if any; and,
- obtain and review photographs of the accident.
Setting Up A Claim & Determining What Type of Insurance Coverage is Available
One of the first things your Atlanta personal injury lawyer will do when initiating your claim for injuries is determine the type and amount of insurance coverage available and notifying the insurance companies about your claim. Unfortunately, suing an uninsured individual may not be economical, unless that individual has assets that you can collect upon obtaining a judgment in court. Thus, the availability of automobile, umbrella, or other types of insurance would be ideal for your Georgia automobile accident claim. In order to determine whether the at-fault driver has insurance, your attorney will likely:
- call the insurance company shown on the police report to set up a claim;
- send a letter to the insurance company for the at-fault driver requesting insurance coverage and limits information (pursuant to a specific Georgia law requiring disclosure of such information);
- send a letter to the at-fault driver requesting insurance coverage information; and,
- send a letter to your insurance company requesting insurance coverage information.
Evaluating the Value of Your Case
Your Georgia injury attorney will also look at your case to determine its value. The legal term for the amount of your claim is often referred to as “damages.” Some of the following factors come into play when looking at how much your Georgia accident case is worth:
- the clarity of the other driver’s liability;
- your present and future medical expenses;
- the severity/type of your injury;
- the severity of property damage caused to your car;
- whether the at-fault driver was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other illegal substances;
- whether the at-fault driver was distracted by his/her cell phone or other factors;
- the amount of your lost wages or loss of future earnings; and,
- whether the accident caused your injuries.
Negotiating Settlement With Insurance Companies
After evaluating the viability and value of your claim, your Georgia personal injury attorney will contact the insurance companies to talk about possibly settling your claim. Sometimes, this part of the process is sufficient to obtain fair or acceptable compensation for your claim. If the insurance companies refuse to fairly settle your claim, then you will have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit In Georgia
After your Atlanta automobile accident attorney has gone through the steps to set up your claim and cannot settle it, you should be ready to file a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit starts with the filing of a complaint and summons in the county where the at-fault driver lives or where the Georgia accident occurred. The complaint outlines the facts of the case and your theories as to why the at-fault driver is responsible for your injuries. The at-fault driver must answer the suit, and then both parties engage in “discovery,” which is the legal process for exchanging evidence relating to the case. The final step is trial, where you present your case to a jury, and the jury determines the outcome of your case.
Our Georgia Auto Accident Attorneys
The Davis Injury Firm competently handles Georgia automobile accident cases by thoroughly investigating your claim, finding available insurance coverage, and maximizing your recovery in a personal injury case. For a consultation with an Atlanta personal injury attorney, call (404) 647-0722.