With more people on the road than ever before and driver distractions increasing by the day, car accidents have become an everyday occurrence in Georgia. While new laws are being enacted to help prevent car crashes, people are still driving aggressively, while distracted, and even under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
When a careless or negligent individual (or business) causes an accident that ends up injuring you or a loved one, it’s well within your legal rights to demand that they compensate you for your injuries and other damages. Unfortunately, the legal process of pursuing compensation from the at-fault party is often easier aid than done.
If you or a loved one was recently involved in an auto accident, don’t delay in contacting a car accident lawyer in Marietta at Diaz & Gaeta. Our team of personal injury lawyers will fight to protect and enforce your legal rights. We won’t hesitate to file a lawsuit if the other side doesn’t make a fair settlement offer.
Call us at 678-329-9084 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation with a Marietta auto accident lawyer.
Car Accident Statistics for Georgia
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, motor vehicle crashes remain to be the leading cause of injury deaths, and the second leading cause of emergency room visits in Georgia.
There were 331,796 auto crashes in 2020 in Georgia. Of these 1,588 were fatal, and 1,730 people lose their lives. About 125,000 people were recorded as injured in traffic accidents. This deadly trend continued in 2021, with early estimates showing a total of 1,776 traffic fatalities in Georgia.
The uptick in fatal crashes starting at the onset of the pandemic has yet to slow down. 2022 might be yet another year where the deadly accidents increase from the previous year.
How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer in Marietta Cost?
Most personal injury lawyers, including car accident lawyers, work on what is referred to as a contingency fee basis. This is a payment arrangement where you don’t pay for legal services up front; instead, you only pay once your lawyer wins the case, and the fees are taken out of the settlement award.
Most clients are happy with the contingency fee arrangement, as it lets them access quality legal services without having to pay anything out of pocket. If you lose the case and don’t win any settlement, you don’t have to pay your lawyers anything.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
If you have been involved in a car accident in Marietta, Georgia, the steps you follow next will have a huge impact on the success of your claim. Here is what you should do immediately after the accident:
Contact the Police
If you get into an accident that results in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $500, Georgia law requires that you call the authorities. When the police arrive, you should answer their questions and describe your injuries in detail.
Check on Others
You should not leave the scene of the accident unless staying poses a serious risk to your safety. Check on other passengers and drivers involved in the crash and help where you can.
Exchange information such as insurance details, license and registration details, contact information, and any other relevant information with the other drivers involved in the accident. If there are any witnesses present, politely ask for their contact information, including names, addresses, phone numbers, and other relevant details.
Record the Scene
Where possible, take photos and videos of the scene of the accident, and be sure to capture the damage done to the vehicles, the injuries you sustained, any skid marks on the road, traffic controls close to the scene, the road conditions, weather conditions, and other important details.
Never Admit Fault
It’s understandable why anyone would want to apologize following a car crash; your natural empathy may even create a false narrative in your head. However, it’s crucial to never admit fault, even if you think you’re partially responsible. Avoid saying statements such as “I’m sorry I didn’t see you” as they could be taken as an admission of guilt.
Seek Medical Attention
You should ideally seek medical attention immediately after the accident, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. Some injuries from car accidents usually won’t manifest themselves immediately. Going to the ER or seeing a doctor will start a permanent record of possible injuries related to the crash, and this will be useful when negotiating a settlement with the insurance company.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer in Marietta!
A car accident attorney can help you protect your rights and your future by advising and guiding you on how to handle the claims process. We will relentlessly fight to ensure the best possible outcome for you so that you can get the compensation you need to make a full recovery.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?
In the US, the average settlement for car accident cases it’s about $19,000. Unfortunately, this amount does not tell you how much you can expect to receive in your case. Settlement amounts depend on a number of factors, including the circumstances surrounding your case, the nature and severity of injuries you sustained, whether these injuries are temporary or permanent, and how they impact your life.
Our team can review your case for free and give you a fair estimate of how much it’s worth.
When Should I Get a Lawyer for My Auto Accident?
For minor accidents, you likely won’t need the services of an attorney. However, accidents involving serious injury or damage will warrant the help of a lawyer. If any of the following apply to your case, consider calling a lawyer immediately:
- The accident resulted in significant injury to yourself or another person.
- Fault is not clearly established in your accident.
- The accident happened in a school zone.
- You disagree with the police reports.
- The accident involved an uninsured or underinsured driver.
- The accident occurred in a construction zone.
- The accident involved another motorist.
- The insurance company is sending mixed messages or confusing answers to liability concerns.
It’s also wise to consider legal counsel if you get into an accident involving a public service vehicle, government vehicle, or a government employee. This is because accidents involving government agencies are generally more complicated and will need you to meet tight deadlines when filing your claim.
In addition, you really have nothing to lose by talking to an experienced auto accident attorney, no matter the nature of the accident. We can provide you with a free initial consultation and guide you on whether or not you should pursue compensation.
Why Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Marietta?
Following a car accident, you should consider hiring a lawyer for the following reasons:
Once you hire a car accident lawyer, you will effectively have a legal team by your side that will take on the task of handling the legal aspects of your case.
At Diaz & Gaeta, we will get to work following our initial consultation with you, essentially collecting evidence, preparing and processing the necessary paperwork, staying in touch with the relevant parties, and making sure you’re always up to date on the progress of your case.
We will be handling all the communications with the insurance company so that you don’t have to. We are skilled negotiators who can fight for justice in your case. If the insurance company denies your claim or gives you a low-ball offer, we will be prepared to fight them in court.
Trial Preparation & Representation
If the insurance company doesn’t agree to reach a fair compensation award, your attorney will proceed to bring your case to trial, where it’s up to the jury to establish whether or not you are eligible for compensation. Your attorney will work to present the strongest case possible backed by compelling evidence to raise your chances of getting a favorable outcome.
How Much Can I Expect to Receive for My Damages?
Calculating the amount of damages in a car accident case is not exactly a straightforward process. Keep in mind that every car accident is unique, and there’s no universal number for car accident cases. There are lots of variables involved in each case, and the amount you can expect as a settlement will depend on them.
These factors include:
- The amount of time spent at the hospital and rehabilitation centers.
- Time required to make a full recovery.
- Presence of permanent scarring, disfigurement, or disability, and how these affect your life.
- The extent of interference injuries had on your capacity to work.
- The emotional and psychological impact of the injuries.
- The kind of therapy required.
- The effectiveness of the negotiations between your lawyers and the insurance companies.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover?
Car accident victims usually incur significant expenses after the collision. Aside from the medical bills and the property damage, you may be worried about lost income or wages as a result of spending time away from work. Fortunately, you can take legal action to recover the damages you sustained.
The kind of damages that may be awarded to car accident victims include the following:
These are the out-of-pocket expenses that you incur as a direct result of the accident. The following are some examples of such damages:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses.
- Property damage.
- Lost wages and/or income.
- Loss of earning capacity.
- Travel expenses (to and from doctor’s appointments).
- Rehabilitation costs.
- Costs to modify the home or car to accommodate a disability.
These refer to the intangible losses that the victim incurred but cannot be calculated objectively. They typically include the following:
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Loss of companionship or consortium.
- Disfigurement or disability.
Punitive damages are not compensatory damages, they are supposed to serve as an additional punishment to the defendant. Punitive damages are quite rare, and are only given in cases where the behavior of the defendant is deemed malicious, reckless, or grossly negligent and therefore merits some form of punishment above the recovery of the damages caused by the accident.
Examples of reckless acts that may warrant punitive damages include excessive speeding, driving while intoxicated, and knowingly driving an unsafe vehicle.
How Is Fault Determined in a Georgia Car Accident?
In order to establish fault in an accident, you have to demonstrate negligence on the defendant’s part. Generally speaking, you and your lawyer will have to prove all of the elements of negligence or legal violation. These are as follows:
Duty of Care
The defendant must have had a duty of care toward the plaintiff. For car accident cases, the duty of care affects all motorists – every motorist has a duty of care towards other road users. This entails operating their vehicle safely and obeying all traffic laws.
Breach of Duty of Care
The next step is to demonstrate how the defendant breached their duty of care towards you as the plaintiff. This is what proves that the defendant’s actions were negligent. Disobeying traffic laws, running a red light, speeding, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are considered breaches of duty of care.
Next, you need to show that your injuries and losses were a direct result of the accident – from the defendant’s negligence. This step is often tricky, and you need to work with an experienced car accident attorney to demonstrate how the at-fault party’s negligence caused you damages.
You then need to show that you suffered damages as a direct result of the accident. These damages can be economic or non-economic, as outlined above.
It’s worth pointing out that Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state. As such, you can still recover compensation even if you’re partially responsible for the accident. The settlement award you receive will be adjusted to account for the percentage of fault you’re liable for.
For example, if the court finds you 20% at fault in the accident, your award will be reduced by 20% to reflect this. Your car accident lawyer in Marietta can help you determine how this rule applies in your case.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases, which include car accident cases, is two years from the date of the accident. For property damage claims, the deadline is 4 years from the date of the accident.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me File My Insurance Claim?
For your claim to be successful, it’s important to understand the process and ensure that you are diligent in every step. Here’s the typical claims process:
- Filing a claim: Your first step will be submitting a claim for your injuries and damages in total to the at-fault party’s insurance company.
- Confirmation: The insurance company will confirm that they received the claim and are investigating the matter.
- Investigation: When the insurance company confirms receiving the claim, the accident investigation process commences.
- Claim approval or denial: The insurance company will give out an investigation report, and your claim can either be approved or denied.
- Settlement negotiation: if the insurance company approves your claim, they will make you a settlement offer. You can accept it, reject it, or negotiate for a better sum preferably with the help of an experienced attorney.
- Filing a lawsuit: If the negotiations don’t yield and the insurance company fails to reach a fair sum, you can proceed to file a lawsuit in a Georgia court and have the matter settled in front of a judge or jury.
What Can I Do if Insurance Denied My Claim?
No matter how valid you think your claim is, the insurance company can deny your claim. Fortunately, your can fight this with the help of a lawyer. Your lawyer can draft a demand letter, which is a formal claim requesting compensation. Your lawyer will also appeal the decision in higher courts or file a lawsuit against the insurance company as a final recourse.
Do I Have a Case?
It’s normal to wonder whether you actually have a case, especially if it’s your first time. Your best bet to really know if you have a case is to talk to an experienced auto accident lawyer in Marietta, GA at Diaz & Gaeta. Our lawyers will evaluate your case for free and answer any other questions you may have regarding your case.
What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If the other driver was uninsured or underinsured, you can recover compensation from your own insurance company, but only if your policy specifically covers uninsured and underinsured motorists. Alternatively, you can sue the driver to help get compensation from them.
How Can I Obtain a Copy of the Accident Report in Marietta, GA?
To get a copy of your accident report, you can obtain it from the Marietta police reports website. Having a case number can help make the search easier. You can also pick it up in person or get it online from BuyCrash.com, which contracts with the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Contact an Experienced Marietta Car Accident Lawyer Today!
If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident in Georgia, you may be eligible for compensation to help with the medical bills, rehabilitation, lost income, and other losses you suffered. You don’t have to go through the claims process alone. Call Diaz & Gaeta Law today at 678-329-9084 for a free case evaluation with an experienced car accident lawyer in Marietta.