Factors that Could Affect a Riverdale Car Accident Settlement
When you have been involved in a motor vehicle crash, you are probably hoping to get a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurer as quickly as possible. You could have unpaid medical bills and might have missed some work, and you need the compensation the insurer owes you.
Numerous factors that could affect a Riverdale car accident settlement and the time it takes to reach an agreement. A local attorney could guide you through the process and help you get a fair and appropriate settlement as quickly as possible.
What Determines the Size of the Settlement?
There are several variables that determine how much an insurer might be willing to offer to settle a car accident case and how much a claimant should be willing to accept.
People who suffer injuries because of others’ negligence have a right to compensation for all their losses that are attributable to the other person’s conduct. Damages could include:
- Reimbursement for medical expenses
- Lost income
- Future medical costs if the injuries will require ongoing treatment
- Reduced earnings opportunities if the injuries will prevent the claimant from returning to their former employment
- Payments for physical pain, emotional suffering, and reduced quality of life
Whether the claimant might receive full compensation for all of these losses is dependent on the facts of the case and the two parties’ eagerness to come to an agreement out of court. Other circumstances that influence the size of a car accident settlement are described below.
Severity of Injuries
The severity of injuries and any ongoing effect they have on the injured person’s lifestyle and employment are critical factors in determining the size of a settlement. A minor injury that heals completely is worth less than a severe injury that leaves a person permanently disabled.
Proof of Losses
A person seeking a settlement after a car accident must show proof of their damages. These could be receipts for medical care received, paycheck stubs or other documentation of missed time at work, and evidence of pain, suffering, inconvenience, and other intangible losses. An experienced vehicle accident attorney could help a claimant compile the evidence necessary to prove damages.
Certainty of Fault
In Georgia, the driver who is at-fault in a crash pays for the losses anyone suffers as a result. If it is not clear that the other driver was 100 percent at fault in a crash, it may take longer to settle, and the insurer might not be willing to pay all of the injured person’s damages.
Georgia follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, which is set forth in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 51-12-33. This law bars anyone who bears at least 50 percent of the responsibility for an accident from claiming damages from other parties. A claimant with lesser responsibility could make a claim, but their damages must be reduced by a percentage that reflects their degree of responsibility.
When a claimant has some responsibility for an accident, the other driver’s insurer could exploit the situation by inflating the claimant’s culpability to minimize the amount they have to pay. A savvy car accident attorney could present evidence to establish the claimant’s actual degree of fault and insist that any settlement reflect an accurate apportionment of responsibility.
Unfortunately, the amount of insurance coverage the at-fault driver has is determinative when it comes to a settlement. Insurers will not offer more than the at-fault driver’s coverage. In Georgia, the minimum coverage allowable is $25,000 of liability coverage for one person’s injuries.
If the at-fault driver’s coverage is inadequate to reimburse the injured person’s medical expenses, and the injured person has personal injury protection (PIP) coverage or uninsured motorist coverage, the injured person could file a claim with their own insurer.
What if There is No Settlement Agreement?
When negotiations do not produce an acceptable settlement offer, going to court could be an alternative as long as the statute of limitations has not run. In Georgia, the statute of limitations in personal injury cases is two years from the date of the injury.
Bringing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver is time-consuming but could result in a larger settlement than might be possible through negotiations. However, the at-fault driver would need to have sufficient assets to cover the injured person’s damages to make that endeavor worthwhile. A seasoned trial lawyer could advise an injured person about whether pursuing a claim in court is a viable option in their particular case.
Depend on a Capable Attorney After Your Vehicle Crash
Getting a fair settlement for your losses after an injury should not be a complicated process, but it often is. A skilled Riverdale car accident lawyer could assist you through every twist and turn until you receive adequate compensation from the responsible parties.
The odds are against anyone who tries to navigate the settlement process alone. Schedule a consultation to begin reviewing the factors that could affect a Riverdale car accident settlement.