Who Is Responsible For Your Costs After a Car Accident in Georgia?
If you have been injured by someone else's negligence and reckless driving, making sure you are fairly paid for the car accident, and all of your expenses is- naturally- a top priority. While most people think they can simply call their insurance and everything will be quickly and fairly taken care of, that is not always the case. A small fender bender or accident with only property damage is one thing, but if you have experienced any injuries, pain, lost days at work, and similar costs of an accident- your situation needs to be handled with care and experience.
2019 Georgia traffic data published by NHTSA doesn’t paint a pretty picture. Although the 1,491 fatalities on Georgia roads represent a slight decline from former years, tell that “good news” to the families of those who died in those accidents. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, car accidents across our state were the leading cause of injury deaths and the second leading cause of hospitalizations and emergency room visits in Georgia.
Being involved in a car accident, whether it is here in the north Atlanta area or anywhere else in the state is upsetting, even if it is a fender bender. But if you have been injured, it can be emotionally and financially overwhelming. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could be looking at devastating medical costs. Maybe you aren’t able to work because of your injuries. Who will take care of your family? Who will pay your bills?
Who Determines “Fault” in a Georgia Car Accident?
Most of us are relieved that we can rely on insurance after a car accident. But can we? And under what conditions?
In Georgia, a driver must carry a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person and $50,000 per event. But Georgia insurance laws operate under a modified comparative negligence model. This means that 1.) who was at fault for the accident must be established, and 2.) if you are found more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you will not be entitled to compensation for any of your costs or damages from the other party’s insurance. If you are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you can recover damages in proportion to the percentage of fault attributed to the other driver.
This may seem straightforward, but who determines this fault? You may find it concerning that the insurance adjuster does, an employee of the very same company that is responsible for paying your claim.
Then How Can You Know if You Are Getting a Fair Settlement?
Insurance companies are extremely profitable, and, as any profitable company, they strive to keep their costs and expenses low. Although insurance companies are required to act “in good faith” when deciding accident settlements, they have an obvious financial incentive to keep their settlement exposure as low as possible.
Insurance companies often play on the fear and vulnerability of an injured party. If you are lying in a hospital bed, wondering when you will be able to go back to work, a quick settlement from the insurance company may seem like an incredible stroke of fortune.
Unfortunately, this is one way insurance companies keep settlements low. Before you know the full extent of your injuries and costs, they are waving a check in your direction. Not until you come to terms with the full costs of your injuries and damages will you realize that your settlement check may have been woefully inadequate. At this point, you have already signed off any further responsibility of the insurance company.
Should You Hire a Lawyer for a Traffic Accident?
Most people don’t consider hiring a lawyer after a car accident. They trust that the system works correctly and that their insurance claim will be fairly processed and settled. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Georgia personal injury lawyers understand the nature of the industry when it comes to car accidents. We see it on a daily basis. Although you don’t need legal representation after an injury, you should at least understand what you are entitled to under the law and make decisions based on that knowledge.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Get Paid.
Personal injury claims aren’t resolved quickly. A Georgia personal injury lawyer will do a thorough investigation and take the time to ensure that the full spectrum and costs of your injuries have come to light, as well as the potential effect that it may have on your future. Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company based on this comprehensive set of facts. If the insurance company is unwilling to negotiate your settlement fairly, your lawyer can file a civil suit against the insurance company or the at fault driver in court.
Your lawyer will also be able to advise you on how to pay your bills to get reimbursed by insurance or work on your behalf with healthcare entities and other creditors to work out a financial plan or pause your payments until your matter has been resolved. Most Georgia personal injury lawyers work on contingency so you will not owe any attorney fees until your matter is fully resolved and compensation has been recovered.
Why Zeliff | Watson is your Team for Traffic Accidents
At Zeliff | Watson, our team prides themselves on being courtroom and trial lawyers. We have an abundance of quality connections in our industry, both with experts to help prepare your case and attorneys who work well on a team in a serious traffic accident case. We have over 35 combined years of experience and bring a passion to each and every case we decide to fight. If you'd like to discuss how we will approach your case and get you fairly paid for your accident, give us a call 24/7 at 770 887 3720, or use the contact form in this website to learn more.