Getting involved in a car accident can be a devastating and frightening experience, especially if there are injuries involved. If you or a loved one was involved in a tragic car accident, our hearts go out to you. We understand how the focus right now is being there for the injured victim or comforting your family, not hiring an attorney. The last thing you probably want to think about during this time is recovering compensation from the insurance company.
We also know that a car accident can have a tremendous impact on the quality of your life. From the ever-increasing medical bills to the pain and suffering from physical injuries to the inability to go to work, the losses can add up. And while it might seem stressful to think about it, several questions might be running through your head. How will I pay for all these medical bills? Will the car be salvaged? What about my lost earnings?
The Decatur personal injury lawyers at SHElaw firm® are here to answer your questions. If you or a loved one was injured in a car crash, we are ready to fight for you today. Let an experienced car accident lawyer in Decatur, Georgia take this heavy load off your shoulders so that you can focus more on healing and making a full recovery. Call us today at 470-378-1162 to schedule your free consultation.
Car Accident Statistics
Traffic accidents happen daily on Georgia roads. While most of the accidents are simple fender benders, some result in life-changing injuries.
In 2020, there were over 330,000 crashes. Of these, 1,588 were fatal, with 1,730 people losing their lives. About 125,000 people were reported as injured in auto accidents. This deadly trend kept going in 2021.
- Dekalb County saw a total of 30,410 total accidents in 2020. 97 of these were fatal, and 475 of them occurred in Decatur.
- 26 more people lost their lives in auto accidents in Dekalb County in 2020, which represents a 36% rise from 2019.
- Dekalb county was ranked the 2nd deadliest county for car crashes in 2020 behind Futon County which came first with 38,409 total crashes and 199 fatal accidents in 2020.
How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer in Decatur Cost?
Most personal injury lawyers, including car accident lawyers, work on a contingency fee basis. This is a payment arrangement where you only pay your lawyer for their services if they win your case. This is quite reassuring by itself, making this arrangement popular with clients.
It’s worth noting that the fee isn’t exactly standard. The amount you’re charged will depend on the law firm, their track record, and case duration. Still, the general norm is between 33.3% and 40% of the settlement amount.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Here’s what to do immediately after the accident to give your case the best chances of success:
Contact the Police
Whether the accident resulted in injuries or not, it’s always wise to call the police to the scene of the accident. The police officer who comes to the scene will prepare an official report, which will come in handy later on in the case.
Check on Other Involved Parties (Do Not Leave!)
While at the scene, try to stay calm and carefully assess the situation. Make sure everyone in your vehicle is safe. If anyone needs medical attention, call an ambulance immediately. Provide basic first aid to those who need it as you wait for the paramedics to arrive.
Be sure to record the relevant information from other drivers. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, license information, and insurance information. In case there are any eyewitnesses, try to obtain a short statement from them. At least try to get their contact information so that you obtain a statement from them later on if necessary.
Record the Scene
If possible, take photos and videos of the scene of the accident, and capture the position of the vehicles, skid marks, condition of the road, any road signs, obstacles, etc. Photographs will help document the damage to the vehicles, driving conditions, the extent of injuries, and factors that might have contributed to the crash.
Never Admit Fault
Following the accident, you might find yourself feeling bad for the other driver, especially if they seem distraught and frazzled. You may even start replaying the accident in your head and think you had something to do with the crash. Don’t do this. This isn’t the right time for sympathy. Don’t apologize for the accident to anyone and don’t offer any statements admitting fault.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you’re feeling fine and perhaps even declined medical treatment at the scene of the accident, you should make an effort to see your physician so that they can document and diagnose your injuries. Being slow to seek medical treatment may give the other party reason to claim that you were not seriously injured or that your injuries were pre-existing.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer!
Once you’re in a position to, you should contact an attorney as soon as you can. There’s no need to bear the burden of paying for all the medical bills or lost earnings from the time spent away from work, all due to the carelessness of someone else. Talk to an experienced Decatur auto accident lawyer today.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?
Looking at the data from the auto insurance industry, specifically with the Insurance Information Institute, the average compensation for bodily harm and injuries in auto accidents is $18,417. For property damage, the amount is $4,525.
However, the actual settlement figure you receive will vary a lot based on the circumstances surrounding your case, and whether or not you’ve sought the help of an experienced legal professional. Working with an attorney gives you a much better chance of getting a favorable settlement amount compared to working without one.
When Should I Get a Lawyer for My Auto Accident?
It’s all up to you if you hire a car accident lawyer. However, if you do decide that working with a lawyer is the right choice, then it’s best to hire one as quickly as possible, preferably on the day of the collision, or a day or two afterward.
If you were hurt or suffered financially in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you should get an attorney. At the very least, you should consult with a lawyer to discuss your case, your legal options, possible outcomes, and the timeline. Plus, since most lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, you have nothing to lose.
Why Do I Need a Decatur Car Accident Lawyer?
Here are some of the ways a car accident lawyer in Decatur, GA can help you.
When you get a car accident lawyer, they immediately get to work to assess and evaluate your case to establish the cause of the accident. They will also look at witness statements, interview them, hire experts such as accident reconstructionist, file the necessary paperwork, and build a solid case on your behalf.
When settlement negotiations start, the insurance company will likely make a low-ball offer. This will probably not be enough to cover medical bills, not to mention the pain and suffering and lost wages. You shouldn’t accept an offer without talking to a lawyer. Your auto accident attorney will use their specialized knowledge to negotiate with the insurance company and win you a favorable settlement.
Trial Preparation & Representation
Most car accident cases settle during the negotiations phase. However, the insurance company may sometimes try to get off too cheap. Your car accident attorney will advise you on the best course of action. If a lawsuit is the next step, then your lawyer will proceed to represent you in court.
How Much Can I Expect to Receive for My Damages?
The settlement amount you receive will largely depend on the negotiations between your attorney and the insurance company and the other parties that have been named as liable in the victim’s claim. The insurance companies will often use a settlement formula when determining the value of a car accident claim.
For instance, back and neck injuries are given a value of 1.5 to 3 times the cost of medical treatment. The value will depend on factors like:
- Both drivers’ insurance policies and amounts available
- The victim’s degree of fault in the accident
- The severity of the accident injuries
- Whether the injuries are temporary, permanent, or long-term
- How quickly the victim sought medical treatment
- The kind of medical treatments the victim needs
- The amount of evidence proving your injuries and damages
- Whether the victim had filed prior claims or has had similar injuries
Depending on the extent of the plaintiff’s damages and the willingness of the insurance company to pay, a Georgia car accident settlement may range from hundreds of dollars to millions of dollars.
In case the insurance company refuses to reach an acceptable settlement amount, your attorney may choose to proceed to trial where they will work to convince the courts and jury that you are legally entitled to receive the requested amount of compensation.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover?
Your car accident lawyer in Decatur will fight to maximize your compensation. There are three categories of possible damages in a Georgia auto accident case.
These are damages that are reasonably easy to identify and prove objectively. They include things like medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and reimbursement of future wages lost as a result of the accident.
These are typically much harder to calculate as they are meant to account for how the accident and the injuries you sustained have impacted your life. They include pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, physical impairment, lowered quality of life, mental anguish, anxiety and depression, and loss of companionship (if you lost a loved one in the accident).
If the at-fault driver is found to have shown malice or extreme negligence, the court may award you punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to be paid as punishment for the extremely reckless behavior on the at-fault driver’s part or for breaking the law, such as drunk driving.
How Is Fault Determined?
To show fault, you have to prove four main elements as outlined below:
- Duty of Care: All drivers have a duty of care towards everyone on the road. The duty of care is to above traffic laws and act as a reasonable person would.
- Breach of Duty of Care: Breaching the duty of care may be something as simple as driving while intoxicated or not looking before you back out.
- Causation: You also have to demonstrate that the damages you suffered were a direct result of the breach of the duty of care and that the injuries were not pre-existing.
- Damages: You have to show that you suffered damages, for which you are seeking compensation. The damages should be actual damages and not speculative ones.
It’s worth noting that Georgia’s negligence law follows what is referred to as the comparative negligence standard. This means that drivers’ negligence will be compared against each other to establish what, if anything, you can recover as compensation.
For example, if the other driver is 75% responsible for the accident and you were 25% at fault, your settlement award would be reduced by 25% due to your negligence. The main caveat in Georgia’s negligence law is that if you are found to be 50% or more at fault for the accident, you would not be entitled to any compensation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
Car accident claims usually have strict filing deadlines. You have to file a car accident claim within two years of the date of the accident. If you violate this statute of limitations, your claim will be dismissed as a matter of state law. In other words, you will not have the right to seek justice and compensation for your damages.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me File My Insurance Claim?
Recovering financial compensation in Georgia following a car accident usually means filing a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. This requires extensive knowledge of Georgia’s personal injury laws along with experience negotiating with insurance companies. As such, instead of filing the claim yourself, you are far better off letting a skilled lawyer do it for you.
The following are some of the ways an experienced Decatur car accident lawyer can help with your insurance claim:
- Organizing and reviewing the relevant evidence and records, including medical records and the police report
- Collaborating with experts like investigators and accident reconstructionists to help strengthen your claim
- Communicating with your healthcare provider to get the necessary medical information required to prove damages in your insurance claim
- Handling communication with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Ensuring you do not share inaccurate or damaging information
- Guiding you on when and how you can resolve your insurance claim
- Negotiating for a fair settlement on your behalf
- Calculating your financial losses
What Can I Do if Insurance Denies My Claim?
If your car insurance claim was denied, don’t panic. Just talk to a lawyer. The SHElaw firm® in Decatur, GA helps car accident victims around Decatur to fight insurance companies and get the compensation they deserve.
If a claim is denied, you have options, including disputing and appealing the decision, lodging a complaint with the Insurance Commission, or filing a lawsuit.
Do I Have a Case?
It’s normal to wonder whether you do have a case, especially if the circumstances surrounding it are complicated. If a car accident has affected your life in any of the ways listed below, you should reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible:
- You suffered injuries
- Your quality of life has been reduced following the accident
- You sought medical treatment
- You’re unable to go to work as a result of the accident, including attending doctor’s appointments and repeat hospital visits
What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If the at-fault driver was underinsured or uninsured, you might recover compensation from your own insurance company if you had a policy that specifically covers underinsured or uninsured motorists.
Alternatively, you could sue the driver to get compensation directly from them. But this usually isn’t the best strategy.
How Can I Obtain an Accident Report?
You can obtain your accident report in Decatur, Dekalb County using the following ways:
- Online: Requesting it through the city of Decatur’s website
- In-person: Decatur Police Department at 420 West Trinity Place Decatur, GA 30030
- Phone: Call 404-373-6551
Talk to a Decatur Car Accident Attorney Today to Find Out if You Have a Case
Getting in an accident can be a stressful and frightening experience, especially if you are a loved one is injured. But before you contact the insurance company for compensation, you should talk to a personal injury attorney at SHElaw firm®. A car accident lawyer in Decatur will guide you through the process and help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries.
Don’t forget that cost is no object when hiring a top auto accident attorney at our firm – we don’t collect any fees unless we recover compensation for you. Call us today at 470-378-1162 or use the form on this page to schedule your free consultation.