Benefits of Hiring an Attorney After a Car Accident in Riverdale
Hiring a lawyer might not be the first thing you think of when you are in a car wreck, especially if no one is killed or severely injured. However, there are many good reasons to have capable legal representation after a motor vehicle accident and no good reasons to go it alone.
A local Riverdale car accident lawyer could help ensure that the at-fault party is held accountable for all the harm they caused you. If you are partially at-fault in an accident, having a competent advocate could mean the difference between collecting damages and being held liable for damages.
Calculating Damages Requires Skill and Experience
In the weeks after a car accident, an injured driver could receive a settlement offer from the at-fault driver’s insurer. The offer might reflect the injured driver’s medical expenses and perhaps some payment for missed time at work. An unrepresented driver might be tempted to accept this offer just to put the experience behind them.
Accepting that offer would be a critical error because an injured driver is entitled to compensation for all their losses, not just out-of-pocket medical expenses and wage reimbursement. A fair calculation of all the damages available often results in a much higher sum than an insurer might offer initially.
A savvy accident attorney could help an injured driver calculate their actual damages and then send a demand letter to the insurer. The letter might demand damages that include:
- Costs of all medical care, including treatment that will be necessary in the future
- Reimbursement for lost wages and the value of any employment benefits like sick leave that the injured driver used while recovering
- Payment for lost earnings opportunities if the injury will have ongoing effects that prevent the driver from resuming their former employment or will limit employment opportunities in the future
- Incidental expenses incurred because of the injury, such as transportation costs and the expense of hiring help to perform tasks the injured driver was unable to perform due to the injury, such as housekeeping or yard work
- Compensation for the driver’s physical pain, emotional anguish, inconvenience, and diminished quality of life
Comparative Negligence Affects Damages
In Georgia, when someone who suffered losses in an accident is partially responsible for it, a court must reduce their damages by an amount proportional to their responsibility. However, a plaintiff who is 50 percent or more at fault cannot collect any damages.
Obviously, this law gives insurance adjusters and defense lawyers a strong incentive to shift blame for a crash onto others. Defendants save money for every degree of fault assessed to an injured person. If they can, they will try to establish that an injured person is at least half at-fault for the accident. That way, they eliminate the defendant’s liability entirely.
An injured person benefits from having an aggressive advocate who will push back against attempts to shift blame away from the parties who are most responsible. That effort could make the difference between collecting significant damages and collecting nothing.
Missing Deadlines Could Kill a Strong Case
Georgia allows people who have been in vehicle wrecks two years from the date of the incident to file lawsuits seeking damages for personal injuries and four years to seek reimbursement for property damage only. Someone who misses those deadlines loses their right to sue.
Sometimes Georgia or a local government within the state is potentially liable for a car accident. A unit of government might have liability in a car accident case if a government-owned vehicle is involved in the crash or one of the involved drivers was a public employee driving on official business when the accident occurred. A local government also might be liable if poor road maintenance, defective crosswalk design, malfunctioning traffic control devices, or inadequate or confusing road markings or signage contributed to the wreck.
When an injured person has a potential claim against a government in Georgia they must serve an ante litem notice informing the target government of the claim. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 36-11-1 establishes very specific requirements about the information the notice must contain and how it must be delivered.
A plaintiff must serve the ante litem notice on the state of Georgia or a county within twelve months of their injury. If the claim is against a city, the plaintiff must file the ante litem notice within six months. An injured person with a knowledgeable attorney could be confident that they will not miss important deadlines and their right to sue all potentially responsible parties will be preserved.
Count on a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer to Get Results
If you have been in a car wreck, there will be a team of professionals working to minimize the liability of other parties at your expense. You need your own team to protect your rights and make your case for compensation.
The sooner a Riverdale car accident lawyer can begin working on your case, the stronger it is likely to be. Call today to schedule a case review.