Atlanta Car Accident FAQs
Trying to figure out what your next step is after a car wreck in Atlanta can be confusing, to say the least. Suddenly, you’re dealing with a damaged car, medical expenses, and more. You may have quite a few questions, and we’re here to help. Call us today at (404) 869-1580 to schedule a free consultation. In the meantime, here are some of the most frequently-asked questions regarding car accidents in Atlanta:
What Do I Do Right After a Car Accident?
After you leave the scene of your car accident, seek medical attention for your injury as soon as possible. Even seemingly minor injuries need to be evaluated by a trained medical professional. If you plan to file a personal injury claim, you will need to submit evidence with your claim to demonstrate that you suffered an injury because of the negligent party’s actions. Documentation showing that you sought medical care soon after the accident will support your claim.
Who Can Be Held Liable for My Injuries?
If another party caused or contributed to your car accident, you have the right to hold them liable for the losses you incur due to your injuries and vehicle damage. Unless the party voluntarily admits fault, you will need to show that the party acted in a negligent manner in order to obtain compensation. Negligence can come in many forms and different parties can be negligent. The following are some examples of parties that are commonly held liable in Atlanta car accident cases:
Other drivers. The majority of car accident claims are filed against other drivers for negligent actions and inactions on the roads. Drivers are negligent when they fail to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner based upon the roadway and weather conditions. Examples of negligent driving include: drunk driving, distracted driving, fatigued driving, violating traffic laws, aggressive driving, and other dangerous behaviors.
Car manufacturers. Auto companies have the duty to make cars that will be safe for consumers to drive. However, cars often make it onto the market with defective brakes, airbags, accelerators, ignition switches, tires, and other faulty components. When these defective parts malfunction, drivers can lose control of their vehicles and crash. In this situation, the car manufacturer that sold the defective car can be held liable.
Businesses. Employers, both large and small, are responsible for the conduct of their employees, including drivers. Our law firm has recovered millions of dollars for seriously injured clients as a result of pursuing claims against corporations, partnerships, companies, and other business entities when their drivers cause car accidents. Georgia law holds that when someone is doing an errand for a business, or otherwise driving within the course and scope of his or her employment, the business can be held liable for any accidents that occur during this time. Most businesses carry a substantial amount of liability insurance which covers negligence by their employees.
Municipalities. Roads should be properly inspected and maintained by the local or state government, depending on the particular road or highway. If the government, or a contractor hired by the government to perform road work, does not adequately take care of the roads and allows hazards to persist without properly warning drivers, such hazards can lead to collisions. If you crashed because of a pothole, uneven pavement, dangerous intersection or turn, malfunctioning traffic signal, or another roady defect-related reason, the government or a contractor may be at fault.
An attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement if possible, or pursue claims through trial, if necessary. If an insurance settlement offer will not cover your damages, you have the right to seek recovery by filing a claim for personal injury in civil court. This is a complex process and it is important to have the guidance of an experienced attorney throughout your car accident case.
What Damages Can Be Awarded After a Car Accident?
When a person is involved in a car accident, they usually experience a myriad of losses. Of course, the more serious the car accident is – usually a result of a combination of vehicle positioning and speed – the more serious the losses. Some of the most common damages that car accident victims incur include:
Painful injuries and disability. The injuries that a person sustains in a car accident are often serious, painful, and result in a long-term disability or impairment. Even an injury such as a broken leg – which is far less serious than, for example, a spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis – can take months to heal, and even years for a person to be able to fully return to the things that they were once able to do.
Medical bills. In order to treat injuries, professional medical care is a necessity. However, medical care in Atlanta is expensive; a person may incur hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medicals bills from hospital stays, medications, doctors’ appointments, surgery, consultations with specialists, physical therapy, and more.
Lost wages. If a person is injured and she cannot return to work, she will have to cope with the fact that she will also be unable to earn a salary. While some people may be able to return to work in a few days time or a few weeks time, other people may miss work for months or years, and some people will be permanently unable to earn an income again.
Psychological injuries. Being in a car accident doesn’t just take a toll on a body physically; it can also cause psychological injuries as well. The emotional anguish associated with injuries, immobility, and the inability to earn an income is very real, and may lead to anxiety, depression, or posttraumatic stress disorder.
What Are My Rights and Responsibilities After a Car Accident?
After a car accident, you have a number of rights and responsibilities. Your responsibilities include:
- The responsibility to seek medical care for your injuries;
- The responsibility to report the car accident to the police; and,
- The responsibility to report the car accident to your insurance company.
All three of these things are very important; if you do not do them, you may jeopardize your chances of recovering compensation. Your rights include:
- The right to refrain from giving your insurance company a recorded statement;
- The right to seek damages by filing a car insurance claim or a car accident lawsuit; and
- Your right to reject a first settlement offer and negotiate for a higher amount.
You also have the right to work with a competent Atlanta personal injury attorney who can guide you through the claims process and advocate for you every step of the way.
How Do I Seek Compensation After a Car Accident?
If you suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a car accident, you need to demonstrate the following in order to recover compensation for your damages related to the injury or death:
The specific damages that you suffered. These could be your medical bills, your lost wages, your psychological damages, or the loss of the deceased victim’s earnings, benefits, and contributions to your household. These damages should be itemized and supported alongside the other pieces of evidence to support your claim;
The cause of the injury or death. In the case of an injury or death caused by a car accident, you will need to demonstrate how the accident occurred and how it directly caused the injury that eventually led to the death. Evidence to support this portion of your claim may include video surveillance that captured the accident, photographs of the accident, and the official police report for the accident. If the accident was due to a vehicular malfunction, documentation showing the faulty or defective part is an important piece of supporting evidence;
The connection between the accident and your damages. Simply showing that you were in an accident and that you are now facing high medical bills is not enough to show the causation between the two events. You must have evidence to show that the specific injury caused you to face the expenses you are now paying, such as the need for physical therapy due to a broken leg that you would not have had if you had not been in an accident.
Your doctor’s diagnosis, treatment plan, and specific testimony about the injury and your prognosis can support this part of your claim. If you cannot work or if you can only perform limited job duties and thus cannot earn your full wage because of your injury, documentation showing the difference in your earnings or earning capacity must be submitted alongside a claim for compensation for lost wages.
The at-fault party’s negligence. You must show that if the at-fault party was negligent in order to connect the resulting accident to your damages. Evidence to demonstrate his or her negligence can include phone records showing that he or she was distracted when the accident occurred, the results of a Breathalyzer showing that he or she was intoxicated when the accident occurred, the police report showing that he or she violated a traffic law when the accident occurred, and even the photographic, video, and testimonial evidence to support your claim that he or she violated his or her duty to others when the accident occurred.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in a car wreck in or around Atlanta, you have legal rights. Contact Andrew E. Goldner today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll review the details of your case together, and figure out the next step for your unique situation. Call today at (404) 869-1580 or contact us online today.