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Sandy Springs Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents can happen to anyone at any time. You can be driving safely and doing all the right things, when another driver runs into you unexpectedly. Your vehicle can be totaled and suddenly your life changes. Dangerous road conditions, traffic, or just careless drivers can happen on the road at any time. Terrible car accidents can often cause long-term damage to you and your property, so it’s best to find a car accident lawyer that knows and understands the laws in Georgia.
If you’ve been in an auto accident, find your medical bills piling up, and are having a difficult time with the insurance companies, you need the Sandy Springs car accident attorneys at Ashenden & Associates. We will advocate on your behalf and negotiate to help you recover the maximum compensation for physical and emotional damages that resulted from your accident. Call our attorneys at 770-394-8909 to schedule your free consultation.
First Thing’s First
It is important to remain calm and collected so that you can focus on calling the right people and talking with the police when they arrive. Your emotions can get in the way of your ability to think clearly.
The most important thing you should never do is leave the scene of the accident. You can face hit-and-run charges and possibly end up serving time in jail. In Georgia, you could also lose your license for fleeing the scene of the accident. The other drivers and/or passengers could potentially be hurt, so it’s important to remain at the scene of the accident.
What Should I Do After I’ve Been in a Car Accident?
Georgia law mandates that you call the police any time there are accidents that result in bodily injury or property damage over $500. Accidents should be reported to the police or sheriff’s office within the district the accident occurred.
When the officer arrives, you will be asked to present your license and proof of registration and insurance. It would be beneficial to get the names and badge numbers of every officer on the scene in case you have questions later. Police reports will be filed after being signed by the officers completing the report, and usually the investigating officers will give you a case number and website that will allow you to download the report.
If you have been injured, make sure you tell the officer investigating so he or she can note it on the report.
To ensure that you make an accurate claim right after the accident takes place, it is important to make sure you do everything on your end. You need to ask the officer for a copy of the police report so that you have it for your insurance company. The report is the first and most important piece of evidence in helping you make your insurance claim.
What Other Car Accident Evidence Can I Gather?
The police reports and eye witness statements are often not enough proof of what occurred during the accident. The next best thing to do is use your cellphone or other electronic device because words that are either spoken or written can only do so much when you’re trying to use the evidence in your case.
Taking photos of all damage done is crucial to helping your car accident or personal injury claim. Your photos need to be extensive and thorough of not only your car but the other driver’s car as well. They need to be taken right away, before the vehicles are towed away. If possible, the photos should show the position of both vehicles at the accident scene and the damage done to both the interior and exterior.
The photos of your vehicle can play a role in determining how much compensation your insurance will pay to have your car repaired and how much should be paid directly to you by the other driver. It is important to keep copies of the photos for your own records and your insurance company.
What Information Do I Need to Gather After a Car Accident?
When it comes to filing a car accident claim and receiving a settlement, it is important for you and the other driver to exchange license and contact information. You’ll also need to get the numbers of each other’s license plates, along with the year, make, and model of each vehicle involved.
All of this information helps when you need to hire an attorney for your case. This will also help hold anyone that is at-fault accountable. Insurance information such as carrier, agent, policyholder’s name, and the policy number are great for making accurate car accident claims to your insurance agent.
Determining Fault in a Car Accident
It is important in any car accident case to determine fault. Fault in a car accident case will determine who is responsible for paying damages to the injured persons. Insurance adjusters and police rely on the fault being determined to assign payouts and punishments.
What is an At-Fault State?
An at-fault state works to determine who is to blame from the moment the car accident happens. In at-fault states, the negligent party is liable for the other driver’s damages. Meanwhile, in no fault states, an injured driver is liable for their own damages through their own insurance company. The at-fault party may be responsible for any damages, such as:
- Medical bills
- Car repairs
- Damages to other driver(s)
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional damage
Your auto insurance will reflect these in your coverage. If you don’t have insurance, you will still be responsible for paying the damages you caused in a car accident.
Is Georgia an At-Fault State?
Yes, Georgia is recognized as an at-fault state. This can have major consequences if you’ve been in a car accident. Under the state law, if you’re more than 50% liable for an accident, you’ll be responsible for all of the damages related to the car accident. If you’re less than 50% at fault for an accident, the amount of damages you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if accident reconstructionists determine that you were 30% at fault in an accident, your total amount of damages will be reduced by 30%.
If you’ve been in an accident, it is important to have an experienced car accident lawyer at Ashenden & Associates to help gather evidence, prove liability, and calculate the types and amounts of damages.
Types of Car Accidents
Car accidents are very common in the U.S. with more than five million crashes occurring per year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There are many different types of events that could fall under the “car accident” category. These different types of accidents describe how the accident occurred, which is helpful for both insurance adjusters and car accident lawyers. The following are examples of different types of accidents:
- Rear-End Collisions: This is when one car collides front-end to back-end with another car.
- Head-On Collisions: This is when one car collides front-end to front-end with another car.
- Sideswipe Accidents: This is when two cars collide side-by-side.
- Single Vehicle Accidents: Single vehicle crashes happen when only one car is involved. Meaning, only one vehicle has received damage, not that there weren’t other drivers involved.
- Multiple Vehicle Accidents: Multi-vehicle crashes happen when there are more than two drivers involved and have received damage in a single accident.
- Rollover Accidents: Rollover accidents occur when at least one driver is rolled in their vehicle. These can be serious because of the force needed to cause them and can lead drivers or passengers to be fatally injured.
Insurance companies will cover car crashes differently depending on the type of accident, injuries, and damages.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Injuries from car accidents can range from minor to potentially life-threatening. These are some of the most common car accident injuries:
- Soft tissue injuries such as bruises, sprains, strains, etc.
- Traumatic brain injury such as a concussion
- Spinal cord injuries
- Skull and facial fractures
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Burns, road rash, and lacerations
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Wrongful death
If you have suffered a major personal injury or wrongful death as a result of a car accident in the Atlanta metropolitan area, call us and we will help you set up a free case evaluation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys. We can help you receive a fair settlement through your insurance company or through the at-fault driver.
Can I Sue a Driver for Hitting Me?
Car accident victims can sue another driver for damages following the accident whether it is an at-fault state or not. Most of the time, people will sue the at-fault party for negligence. Negligence, legally, is when a lack of attention, care, or awareness causes injury or damage to one’s property. There are 4 elements of negligence that can help determine whether you have a strong car accident case. They are:
- Duty of Care: When any driver gets behind the wheel they have the responsibility to operate their car safely. There is a reason why there are traffic laws and drivers are expected to obey all traffic laws.
- Breach of Duty: To prove that the driver was being negligent, you must show that the driver breached the duty of care. Questions that your attorney will ask to help determine whether the driver should be held responsible may include: Were they driving recklessly? Were they driving over the speed limit? Did they run a red light? Were they driving drunk?
- Causation: Even if the driver is proved to have breached the duty of care, the attorney will have to show how that breach of duty caused your injuries. For instance, the only way for you to have a concussion was due to the impact of the car accident and there is no other logical explanation. Medical professionals can help show that the accident directly caused your injuries.
- Damages: Most of the time, car accident cases are settled with the insurance company before they ever go to court. Your attorney will advocate on your behalf to make sure that you get the maximum compensation that will cover lost wages from being injured, future lost wages from your injury, medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and loss of life enjoyment, among others.
If you feel that you’ve been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence and feel that you have the right to compensation, contact a Sandy Springs car accident lawyer.
Georgia Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
The Georgia statute of limitations for car accidents is two years. That is, if you were hurt in a car accident, you have up to two years to take legal action against the other driver. The statute of limitations prevents you from pressing charges after two years have passed, so it is best to act fast.
Do All Georgia Drivers Need to Have Car Insurance?
Yes, every driver in Georgia is required to have car insurance coverage. Drivers must carry minimum amounts of liability coverage. The minimum amount of liability coverage for injuries and property damage is:
- $25,000 for the injury or death of one person
- $50,000 for the injury or death of more than one person in a single accident
- $25,000 for property damage
The cost of a car accident often exceeds these limits. That’s why it’s a good idea to buy additional coverage on your insurance policy.
Car Accident Damages
When car accidents happen, “damages” are filed in certain ways for car insurance companies to evaluate and disburse payouts. For personal injuries, most insurance companies will not pay any part of your damages until the entire case is settled. The most common damage payments in a car accident settlement are:
- Lost Wages: This is a very common damage you may file for if you have to take time off work because of the accident. With this damage, you will receive a settlement for the amount of work you had to miss that will be equivalent to the amount of wages you would have generated during that time.
- Medical Expenses: Car accident injuries are some of the simplest damages to receive compensation for, and they’re usually confirmed by a doctor’s medical records. Medical bills, including treatment, physical therapy, and assistive devices like a walker or cane, are all things that can be covered by damage payments to the crash victim.
- Pain and Suffering and Emotional Distress: These damages are a little harder to receive compensation for. Yes, a car crash can be traumatic, it gets a little tricky trying to assign a dollar amount to someone’s trauma, and insurance companies typically try to avoid it. It’s not completely impossible to receive compensation for emotional damage, especially one resulting in the death of a family member or a permanent disability.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you seek compensation for any accident-related expenses, including property damage, medical/hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, wrongful death damages, and more.
Call a Sandy Springs Car Accident Lawyer at Ashenden & Associates Today
Have you been injured in a car accident? As a victim, you may be entitled to compensation and our car accident/personal injury lawyers can help you collect compensation. Any accident can be traumatic and costly, and in some circumstances, insurance agents and adjusters might not treat you fairly. Ashenden & Associates can walk you through the entire legal process, advocate for your legal rights, and help you pursue compensation for both physical and emotional pain. Call our office today at 770-394-8909 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney.