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Dalton’s Car Accident Settlement Process: What to Expect

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2023 | Firm News

What Happens After a Car Accident?

If a negligent driver injures you in a car accident, Georgia state law entitles you to compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and other damages, but settling a personal injury claim is never easy. You’ll need to have the services and advice of a Dalton car accident attorney.

If you’re involved in a crash but you’re not injured, you may not need an attorney’s help. Most auto damage claims are settled quickly and smoothly in Georgia. Unless an insurance company entirely fails its responsibility, it’s usually more expedient to handle your own car damage claim.

However, if you are injured in an auto accident in Georgia because the other motorist was reckless or negligent, and if you file a personal injury claim to recover compensation, fault for the crash must be determined and liability must be assigned. You’ll need legal counsel.

Can You Prove That the Other Driver Was Negligent?

Generally speaking, the law in Georgia requires the at-fault party in a car accident to compensate any injury victims for their medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. But how can you prove that the other motorist was responsible for an accident and for your personal injury or injuries?

The first step is putting yourself in the best legal position for making a personal injury claim. When an accident happens, call for medical assistance for yourself and anyone else who is injured, and call the local police. Swap personal contact and insurance information with the other driver, and take plenty of photos. If there were witnesses, ask for their names and contact details.

The written police accident report will be key evidence, and if your case goes to trial, one of the police officers may even testify about the accident. Photos and eyewitness statements can be powerful evidence in personal injury disputes and may in some cases lead to a quick settlement.

Why is a Medical Exam Imperative After an Accident?

The importance of having a medical exam after a car crash cannot be overstated. If you aren’t taken to a hospital or treated at the accident scene, have a medical examination within 24 hours if possible – even if you feel perfectly healthy.

That medical exam should discover any latent or hard-to-detect injuries, and you’ll need the medical documentation if you file a personal injury claim. Having an immediate medical exam protects you both medically and legally.

In or near the Dalton area, contact a Dalton car accident lawyer immediately after you’ve been treated by a medical provider for your personal injury or injuries. A lawyer can discuss your rights and provide the personalized legal advice that applies to your specific car accident case.

What is Modified Comparative Negligence?

While Georgia requires the liable driver in an accident to compensate anyone who is injured, if both drivers have partial liability for a car accident, the legal doctrine of “modified comparative negligence” applies. What is modified comparative negligence?

If a negligent driver injures you and you file a personal injury claim seeking compensation, you and your Dalton car accident attorney must prove that the other driver was more than fifty percent at fault – and that you had less than fifty percent of the fault – for the collision.

Under modified comparative negligence, a driver’s liability for an accident is based on that driver’s percentage of fault, but if an injury victim has more than fifty percent of the fault for a collision, that victim cannot recover compensation.

How Does Modified Comparative Negligence Work?

An example may be helpful. Let’s say that you are speeding ten or eleven miles per hour over the posted speed limit when your vehicle is struck – and you’re seriously injured – by a driver who breezed through a stop sign while speeding at thirty miles per hour over the limit.

A jury might determine that the other driver was eighty-five percent at fault for the accident, but because you were speeding ten or eleven miles per hour over the limit, you were fifteen percent at fault.

If your damages total $100,000, for example, you’ll only be allowed to recover $85,000. But if you are fifty percent or more at fault for an accident, you won’t be allowed to recover even one dollar of compensation.

How Are Car Accident Injury Claims Resolved?

Most personal injury claims in Georgia, including claims arising from car accidents, are settled privately when the lawyers for both parties meet to negotiate an out-of-court settlement. Most car accident injury victims never even have to make an appearance in court.

But if liability for the crash is in dispute, or if no acceptable settlement offer is forthcoming in the out-of-court negotiations, your Dalton car accident lawyer will take your personal injury claim to trial.

If a trial is required, your lawyer will tell the jury how – and how seriously – you were injured, and your lawyer will then ask that jury to find in your favor and order the payment of your compensation.

When Will You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Even though most personal injury cases are resolved privately, your attorney must be prepared to go to trial. Georgia’s statute of limitations provides two years from the date of a collision to bring an injury claim, but don’t wait two years before speaking to an attorney.

Over time, the evidence in your case could deteriorate, become contaminated, or disappear. The memories of witnesses fade quickly, and after enough time, witnesses can become difficult or impossible to locate.

That’s why you must act quickly and contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible if you are injured by a negligent or reckless driver in or near the Dalton area.

Cowan Law Firm Fights for the Injured Victims of Negligence

An attorney at Cowan Law Firm will identify the party or parties responsible for your injury, and we will hold that party or parties accountable. We have more than thirty years of experience fighting for – and prevailing on behalf of – the injured victims of negligence in North Georgia.

If you’ve been injured by recklessness or negligence in a car accident, call Cowan Law Firm to schedule a free, in-depth case evaluation with no obligation. You will pay no attorney’s fee to Cowan Law Firm until and unless we recover the compensation you need and deserve.

If you’re injured in North Georgia because a driver was reckless or negligent – now or in the future – once you’ve been examined and treated, call the offices of Cowan Law Firm at 706-420-2949, and let us go to work for you.