Being involved in a car accident is scary and knowing where to turn, especially if you are injured, can be confusing. You may be faced with medical bills, property damage, and other unexpected costs. If the accident was caused by the negligence of another individual, however, you may be entitled to compensation, or damages, from that individual or his or her insurer. If you or a loved one have been injured in an automobile accident, it is important to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help to ensure you receive the compensation and support you need during this difficult time.
Car accidents are common and can be very serious. The first thing you should always do if you are involved in an accident is seek proper medical treatment right away. If necessary, call 911. Once you are medically able, it is important to take the following steps:
Obtain a Police Report for Your Car Accident
Even if you don’t believe it is necessary to call 911, the police should always be called to the accident scene. Be sure to request a copy of the police report.
Document Your Car Accident Carefully
Write down where the accident occurred, what the scene looked like, and the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. If possible, obtain witness names, addresses, and contact information. If you’re able, take photos of the scene and your injuries.
Contact Your Insurance Company After Consulting With an Attorney
It is important to inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. However, you should always consult with an attorney before making any statements, written or verbal, to an insurance company. Insurance companies are not on your side, and any statements made may be used against you in subsequent litigation.
Georgia is a “Fault” State
Georgia is a “fault” state” (as opposed to a “no-fault” state). This means that if you or a loved one are injured in a car accident caused by another, you can seek damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This can be accomplished by filing a claim with your own insurance company who will then seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer, by filing a claim directly with the at-fault party’s insurance company or by filing a lawsuit.
Modified Comparative Negligence
In addition to being a fault state, Georgia is also a modified comparative negligence state. Modified comparative negligence is a doctrine providing that, in the event of an accident, an at-fault party is only responsible for that portion of negligence attributable to them.
Even if you believe you are not the at-fault driver, the court will determine if any of your actions or inactions contributed to the accident. If the court determines that you were negligent and that your negligence contributed to the accident, it will determine your percentage of fault. In Georgia, you are only entitled to recover damages if you were less than 50% at fault. At the conclusion of the case, any damages awarded to you will be reduced by your predetermined percentage of fault.
Recoverable Damages in Georgia
Being injured in a car accident means you may face several unexpected costs. You may have medical bills and lost wages in addition to other types of damages such as pain and suffering. Depending on the facts of the case, you may be entitled to recover three different types of damages in Georgia:
- Economic Damages – These damages include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and loss of future earnings.
- Non-economic Damages – These damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.
- Punitive Damages – Punitive damages are reserved for cases where the at-fault party acted willfully or recklessly and are awarded to punish the at-fault party.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help Protect Your Rights
You very likely feel overwhelmed if you or a loved one were injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another. You may be faced with unexpected costs and confusion over the insurance and legal processes. In order to ensure your rights are fully protected and you receive the compensation that is rightfully owed to you, it is imperative to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney. Contact the attorneys at Ghiaasiaan & Briceno to schedule a consultation and to discuss the unique facts of your case.