There are generally two parts to an insurance claim that results from a car accident that is not your fault: 1. the property damage claim or the claim that deals with repairing the vehicle; and, 2. the bodily injury claim or the claim that deals with compensating you for your medical bills and pain and suffering.
Personal injury attorneys normally do not handle property damage claims to your vehicle because it is difficult to charge attorneys’ fees on a contingency basis for that type of work. For example, if your car is worth $10,000.00 and the insurance company agrees to pay that amount, 1/3 of that settlement to an attorney would only put $6,667.00 in your pocket, which would not enable you to buy a comparable vehicle.
However, you can probably handle the settlement of your claim for automobile repairs yourself. If the car accident is not your fault, you can still call your own insurance company to assist you with the claim, and your insurance company can obtain reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurer. In order to determine whether the insurance company is paying fair compensation for your loss, you should pull up the blue book or NADA value of your vehicle. If it is a total loss, you’ll want to be paid the value of your vehicle. If the vehicle is not a total loss, then you will have to obtain repair estimates and ensure that your vehicle is repaired and the insurer pays for the cost. In Georgia, you are allowed to make a claim for diminution in value, but that is a difficult task, absent persistence, or even a lawsuit.
While you can handle your own property damage claim, you may not be able to handle a bodily injury or medical claim without the assistance of an attorney. If your medical bills are less than $5,000.00, then you may benefit from handling the claim yourself. However, if you suffered from any injuries that are more serious than a soft tissue/whiplash injury requiring only chiropractic care (or if the at-fault driver was acting egregiously by drinking and driving), then it is advisable that you seek help from an attorney.
Even though we do not handle property damage claims, we are happy to answer any questions you may have about getting your vehicle repaired or replaced as a result of a car accident in Georgia.
About the Author Betty Nguyen Davis is an Atlanta attorney who solely focuses her practice on plaintiff’s personal injury work. Betty is consistently recognized by her peers as a top attorney in Georgia by Super Lawyers and Georgia Trend and is highly recommended by her clients as a aggressive and persistent, yet caring and accessible attorney.