Safe driving is a central key to ensuring that drivers are able to get from one place to another without serious risk of harm or death. This safety relies on the responsibility and duty of all drivers on the road to work. Unfortunately, even the most defensive and professional driver is at risk of a car accident, and all too often these vehicle accidents are caused by someone who has failed to uphold their duty as a responsible citizen by driving according to the rules, regulations, and guidelines set forth by Georgia municipalities and the federal government.
According to the 2018 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the Fatal Accident Report System, car accident deaths in Georgia have decreased for two years in a row now, which is extremely encouraging news. However, this does not mean that people who head out onto the Georgia roads each day are safe or immune from being involved in a car accident, or even killed in a collision.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Gwinnett or the surrounding areas that someone else caused, whether due to recklessness or negligence, then you may be entitled to seek additional compensation beyond what their insurance company will initially offer you. While many people believe that they will not be able to get any additional money for damages without filing a lawsuit and going to trial, roughly 95% of all personal injury car accident claims are settled before trial, which will be our goal for your case as well. Talk to a car accident lawyer to get a better understanding of the strength of your claim.
Read more below to get a better general idea of how your car accident case will be handled by a Gwinnett County car accident attorney, and contact The Pendergrass Law Firm as soon as possible to request a free initial consultation and case evaluation. We will gladly do a free case evaluation of your motor vehicle accident. Our experience working with clients who have been hurt in a wide range of car accidents will be a significant benefit to your own case.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Georgia
The following examples are common car accident causes that are handled through personal injury cases and settlements. Whether or not you see an example of a car accident that is similar to your own, we will be happy to speak with you during your consultation with an injury lawyer and get a better understanding of how we can help. The key to your case will be determining the degree of fault that both you and the other driver (or drivers) have for the rear end collision or whichever type of accident you were involved in, in order to assign blame and seek compensation.
Texting or Other Distractions While Driving
According to a 2019 CDC report, every day, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in a car accident that is reported to involve a distracted driver. While not every one of these instances involves someone texting while driving, cell phones are an extremely common distraction. Other ways that another driver could cause an auto accident while distracted include adjusting their GPS, changing radio stations, eating while driving, and more. In fact, distracted driving can either be physical (by taking eyes off of the road) or mental (by allowing your thoughts to wander while driving).
Speeding is another serious factor when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. In 2018, speeding killed 9,378 people, a contributing factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities. Speed limits are designed to give a driver a clear indication of the speed that the government has determined to be the maximum speed that they can safely maintain control of their vehicle. Inexperience or bravado are just two different reasons that someone believes that they can ignore these limits.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a major problem in the United States. According to the NHTSA, “almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 50 minutes. These deaths have fallen by a third in the last three decades; however, drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year. In 2010, the most recent year for which cost data is available, these deaths and damages contributed to a cost of $44 billion that year.”
How much should a settlement be for a car accident?
Here are some steps lawyers take to calculate the damages after a car accident:
When you first contact the other driver’s insurance company after an accident, you will have a claims adjuster assigned to your case. This claims adjuster will spend the next days or weeks investigating your accident and all of the relevant details of the case before returning with an initial settlement offer. You will likely be quite surprised by the amount that they offer you, which is understandable because an insurance company’s main goal is to limit how much money victims get from claims. If they paid what victims were truly owed, the insurance companies would go out of business.
That said, this offer is simply the starting point for a series of negotiations that are intended to reach an agreement on an amount that truly represents the impacts that this car wreck has had on your life. The most effective way to handle these negotiations is through personal injury attorneys, who can use their experience with these situations as leverage to get you what you deserve for the collision. In order to determine the actual damages you deserve, your attorney will consider both the economic and the non-economic impacts on your life.
These damages are the foundation of a personal injury case and account for all of the financial impacts that your accident has had. For example, a major part of your economic damages will be your medical bills, including major things like hospital bills and ambulances, but down to details like prescription costs and copayments as well. In addition, these damages will seek compensation for any income-related impacts that you suffer, such as the missed time at work and any decreased earning ability that you may incur as a result of your injuries.
Non-economic damages are much more complicated to calculate than economic damages, simply because they do not have set dollar values appended to them. Non-economic damages seek to place a value on things like the actual pain and suffering that you have endured, as well as things like sadness, fear, trauma, and depression that you must endure as a result of this terrifying situation. While these factors are harder to quantify, they are no less important; however, it is important that you work with a professional car accident lawyer to calculate these damages so that you have strong bargaining power during negotiations.
Frequently Asked Questions about a Gwinnett County Car Accident
Who is at fault for my accident?
In order to determine fault, we will need to examine the police report, gather eyewitness accounts, and take your own personal account into consideration. Once our attorneys have established the details of the auto accident, we will be able to determine who is at fault, and what percentage that everyone involved must be held responsible for. Georgia uses a system called modified comparative negligence, meaning that as long as a driver is less than 50% responsible for the crash, they are able to seek compensation.
How much is my car accident case worth?
In order to determine the value of your case, our car accident lawyers will first need to calculate all of your economic damages. From there, we will use any number of methods to quantify your non-economic damages, at which point we will have a better understanding of the overall value of your case.
Should I settle with the insurance companies?
Most personal injury cases are settled before trial, but this does not mean that they are settled with the first offer that the insurance companies make. This first offer is much less than you are entitled to, and we will aggressively negotiate with your insurance company or any other defendant to reach a better agreement regarding your Gwinnett County car accident.
What questions should I ask an attorney for a car accident?
At this point, you may be full of questions as to what can happen and what to expect. Here is a list of some questions you may want to ask:
How long will it take to settle my case?
There are several critical factors that affect the length of a case. To begin with the type of injury you suffered. This means that the more severe and complicated the injuries, the longer it will take. Other factors that play a role are how well the legal evidence is documented and presented as well as the time requirements that these legal processes take. However, you should know that, on average, it can take between a few weeks to a year or more to settle a personal injury accident claim.
What should I do right after the incident takes place?
You should always make sure to call your local law enforcement and get a report of what happened. Also, it is vital that you get your injuries checked out and, if medical treatment is required, that you follow your doctor’s instructions and take every action possible to recover your health. If it’s possible, take pictures of your vehicle from every angle as well as from the road and any other identifying marks or signs that could have contributed to what happened.
What information will I need to provide you with?
After the initial consultation and when your lawyer understands what happened and what has been done so far, you need to provide them with all photographs, eyewitness accounts, any evidence you might have gathered, medical records and bills, and anything that might contribute to clarify the situation and strengthen your case.
Is there a time limit to file my lawsuit?
There is. Every state has established a statute of limitations for personal injury cases but, in general terms, they are two years from the date the incident took place. Keep track of the date it happened and don’t wait too long to get started.
Should I consider settling or should I aim to go to court?
Be aware that the majority of cases do settle out of court. Many without even filing a lawsuit. Your case could go either way and your lawyer may be able to advise you as to the best course of action. But, if you settle, you should know you will no longer be able to sue for these injuries.
How much will I have to pay my lawyer?
It is likely that your lawyer will be working with you on a contingency basis. What this means is that there will be no upfront fees required and once the case is settled or damages are won, a portion of those funds will be collected as payment. Your lawyer should inform you precisely what percentage of those funds will be the contingency fee.
Contact Our Attorneys Now
Contact The Pendergrass Law Firm as soon as possible for a free initial consultation. Our attorneys will be able to discuss your Georgia car accident in greater detail, and start to develop a strategy designed for your case and getting you the compensation you deserve.