Car Accident Attorney Gwinnett County

Safe driving is a primary key to ensuring that drivers can 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 highly 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 being 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 get any extra 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 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 a Gwinnett County car accident attorney will handle your car accident case, 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 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 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 to assign blame and seek compensation.

Texting or Other Distractions While Driving

According to a 2019 CDC report, approximately nine people are killed every day, and more than 1,000 are injured in a car accident reported involving a distracted driver. At the same time, not every one of these instances requires someone texting while driving, cell phones are a prevalent 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. Distracted driving can either be physical (by taking eyes off the road) or mental (by allowing your thoughts to wander while driving).

Speeding

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 to control their vehicle safely. Inexperience or bravado are just two different reasons that someone believes that they can ignore these limits.

Drunk Driving

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a significant 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 following 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 they offer you, which is understandable because an insurance company’s primary 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 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. To determine the actual damages you deserve, your attorney will consider both the economic and the non-economic impacts on your life.

Economic Damages

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 significant 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

Non-economic damages are much more complicated to calculate than economic damages simply because they do not have set dollar values appended to them. Instead, 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 bear as a result of this terrifying situation. While these factors are harder to quantify, they are no less important; however, you must 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

What are some of the common minor injuries from a car accident?

No matter how minor the car accident, most people will feel the bodily reaction from the impact. The most common minor injury is whiplash, which is caused when the muscles in the neck are suddenly flung backward or to the side, thus over-extending them and straining them. Whiplash usually does not lead to permanent injuries, but severe whiplash may occur along with other neck injuries.

It’s very common for people to feel sore after a car accident, particularly in their joints and around the soft tissue where they may have hit the inside of the door, center console, other people, or objects in the car during the crash. While these injuries may temporarily impair the individual, they do not lead to long-term disability or complications.

Some of the more severe injuries from minor car accidents include cuts and lacerations, migraines, bruised ribs, and broken bones.

Who is at fault for my accident?

To determine fault, we will need to examine the police report, gather eyewitness accounts, and take your account into consideration. Once our attorneys have established the auto accident details, we will determine who is at fault and what percentage everyone involved must be responsible for. Georgia uses a modified comparative negligence system called modified comparative negligence, meaning that as long as a driver is less than 50% responsible for the crash, they can seek compensation.

How much is my car accident case worth?

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 better understand your case’s overall value.

What is a reasonable settlement for a car accident?

There are two different types of damages that you may be entitled to after your personal injury. The first is called economic damages, and they include all of your expenses that have an exact dollar amount attached to them. This amount is calculated using the documents that you provide attesting to how much you have paid in medical bills, how much your insurance has covered, what your salary or hourly wages are, what your diagnosis and prognosis are, whether you had any property damage (such as your car), and other documents relevant to your case.

Pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages and compensate the victim for suffering negative emotions due to enduring the pain and trauma of the accident. Examples of pain and suffering include emotional distress, mental anguish, fear, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, shock, and loss of companionship if the personal injury also involved a wrongful death.

How are settlements calculated for accident victims after a car crash?

Although no insurance adjuster will tell you the exact formula they used to develop what they believe is fair compensation for accident victims, there are some general guidelines for how a settlement may be calculated. First, all of your losses are calculated using sources such as:

  • Your medical bills
  • Your proof of salary or wage information
  • The cost of repairing your damaged property, if applicable
  • Other expenses related to your injuries

After all of these are added together, they are multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5 to calculate your non-economic damages. The multiplier depends on the severity of your accident and resulting injuries. If you sustained minor injuries such as minor whiplash or superficial cuts, then your multiplier might be on the lower end. If you sustained life-threatening injuries and are expected to be permanently or temporarily disabled, your multiplier could be as high as five or even 10 in cases of wrongful death.

For example, suppose a Gwinnett County resident got into a fender-bender in a neighborhood when they were not driving very fast and was diagnosed with whiplash. In that case, their multiplier could be 1.5. Therefore, if their total medical expenses came to $500, then they would receive $750.

Conversely, if a person were involved in a more serious car crash resulting in broken bones, their multiplier could be as high as three or four. If they were riding with a child in the car at the time of the accident and the child died, then the parent can sue the reckless driver for wrongful death, in which case the multiplier could be as high as 10.

Because personal injury cases can vary so much, your best bet is to speak directly with the car accident lawyers at The Pendergrass Law Firm about your case. We will explain what damages you are eligible for, what evidence will need to be provided, and how soon it will be filed with your case. Call now to schedule your free consultation.

Motor Vehicle Traffic Deaths By State

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 insurance companies’ first offer. This first offer is much less than you are entitled to, and we will aggressively negotiate to reach a better agreement regarding your Gwinnett County car accident.

What should I do after a car accident?

What you say and do after an accident is essential to your case and could have an impact on how much you receive in your settlement. These are some general guidelines, but you will have to make the best decision for your safety at the time of the accident.

First, you must check on the other driver and any other victims involved in the crash, from passengers in the vehicles to pedestrians. Then, immediately call the police and inform the dispatcher of the victims’ condition so that they can help.

If you’re blocking traffic, you will need to move your vehicle out of the way if it is safe. If you’re on a highway, then you need to get to safety. Otherwise, you should wait for the police to arrive and not disturb the vehicles.

Get photographic and video evidence of the accident scene, the cars involved, and the injuries. Most people these days have a cell phone that can capture both still images and moving pictures with audio. Make sure that you get wide shots as well as close-up shots. Often, people only get close-up shots, yet there’s so much that is happening off-screen that is missed. Or they get too many wide shots and don’t include images with details of dents, injuries, and damages. This is why it’s a good idea to get a few pictures, including the surroundings and the license plates of each vehicle so it’s easy for insurance adjusters and attorneys to identify each driver.

There is essential information that you are supposed to exchange with the other driver include:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your phone number
  • Your email address
  • The name of your auto insurer, as well as the policy number and the contact information for the insurance company
  • If the other driver requests, you are obligated to show them a valid driver’s license

It’s best not to discuss the accident with the other driver while tensions are on the side of the road. Instead, leave it up to us at The Pendergrass Law Firm to represent you in your personal injury case. The less you say on the side of the road, the better. Never apologize for the accident, admit fault, or speculate aloud regarding how you think the accident happened. Instead, leave it up to us to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the crash and to speak to the insurance companies on your behalf.

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?

Several critical factors 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 and the time requirements for these legal processes. 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, you must get your injuries checked out and, if medical treatment is required, you follow your doctor’s instructions and take every action possible to recover your health. If possible, take pictures of your vehicle from every angle and 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 most 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.

Can you sue for negligence in a car accident?

Anytime a person has an opportunity to cause harm to someone else by participating in a particular activity, they are legally obligated to conduct themselves safely so that they don’t harm others. When they sign their driver’s license, they agree to abide by all Georgia traffic laws. This is called a duty of care. It means that when you get behind the wheel, you owe it to yourself and to others to be sober, alert, and focused.

There are many different examples of a duty of care: a doctor has a duty of care to their patients, for example. All drivers have a duty of care as well. They are obligated to wear seat belts, not text while driving, use caution when driving in bad weather, and not drink while driving. Even if a drunk driver hits you, if you were not wearing your seatbelt, then you were not exercising a reasonable degree of care to prevent injury.

In the state of Georgia, the contributory negligence law is outlined in Georgia Code Section 51-12-33. This statute states that if the plaintiff is partially responsible for the personal accident, the court will determine what percentage of fault the plaintiff shares. That means even if you are found to be partially at fault, you may still be able to recover compensation under Georgia’s modified comparative negligence rule.

Is it worth getting an attorney for a car accident?

You need a fresh set of eyes investigating your accident, gathering evidence to prove fault and liability, handling all communication with the insurance company, and retaining expert witnesses to assist in your case. A personal injury attorney knows how much the maximum value of your case could be and will be able to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. Even if your accident was minor, it is always worth getting an attorney because there may be essential deadlines, municipal laws specific to Gwinnett County, and costs associated with your case that may take you by surprise if you are not familiar with the process.

A personal injury attorney also knows what you should and should not say at any point during your case or investigation. Avoiding such mistakes can help you get the compensation that you deserve. For example, suppose you apologized to the other driver or were belligerent toward them after a car accident. In that case, those can be factors that the insurance company considers when negotiating your settlement. When your attorney guides you, you are less likely to accidentally make a mistake in your case.

What are some resources that a personal injury attorney can dedicate to my case?

Your Gwinnett County personal injury lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into your case to prove that you deserve the settlement amount you asked for. One resource especially helpful in personal injury cases is calling on expert witnesses; they may be medical professionals, accident reconstructionists, surgeons, physical therapists, civil engineers, and others. They can provide testimony or deposition on your behalf to explain your injuries, how the accident happened, or even explain why you deserve your settlement.

Is it worth getting a lawyer for a minor car accident?

It is worth hiring a personal attorney, even if you were involved in a minor accident. To start with, a licensed personal injury attorney can advise you of what rights you have in Gwinnett County and which state or municipal laws relate to your case.

The insurance claim company may try to deny your claim without giving you a good reason, delay deciding on your claim, offer less money than your personal injury claim is worth, or fail to complete an investigation promptly. These are examples of bad faith insurance practices you can protect yourself from by hiring the right Gwinnett County law firm for your personal injury case.

Every state has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases, and generally, they are two years from the date of the accident. But there are other deadlines that you need to know about when filing your personal injury claim. There are deadlines and timelines within a personal injury case, some being as short as 30 days. Your personal injury attorney will know exactly when the statute of limitations is up on your case and all of the requirements you need to complete on time for your case to progress.

Lastly, to receive fair compensation for your injuries, even minor ones, you will want to speak with a car accident lawyer who understands what types of damages you are entitled to and what dollar amount would be reasonable to assign to your damages.

HOW MUCH WILL I HAVE TO PAY MY LAWYER?

Your lawyer will likely be working with you on a contingency basis. This means that no upfront fees will be 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 discuss your Georgia car accident in greater detail and start developing a strategy designed for your case and getting you the compensation you deserve.

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