If you are in an auto accident in the Atlanta area, it’s important that you find a lawyer with the local experience and expertise to handle your case. The accident attorneys at Marks Law Group know the laws in Georgia and the Atlanta area and can help.
No two auto accidents are the same. The circumstances, injuries, road conditions, and even the negligent driver who caused the car crash will all differ from case to case.
Our Atlanta car accident lawyers do not provide cookie-cutter legal advice. We provide expert, detailed, and personalized legal representation that fits each of our client's needs perfectly. And our work begins the moment you choose to work with us.
A lawyer plays an important role when it comes to protecting your rights during the accident claim process. Here are some of the primary reasons why you should get help from an attorney after a car accident:
It's not enough just to know how to handle an accident claim. You need to know your rights, the extent of damages, and how to calculate fair compensation when filing an insurance claim or suing for personal injuries.
The compensation you may be entitled to includes costs of medical care, disability, disfigurement, pain and suffering. and lost wages if your injuries cause you to miss work.
An attorney who specializes in personal injury law will know how much your physical injuries and emotional distress are worth. If you estimate an amount for yourself, you might be setting yourself up for failure.
The odds of knowing all of the laws regarding your specific situation are very unlikely.
With all of the experience that auto accident lawyers have, they know which laws and factors are relevant to your case, how they can impact it, and they understand how the local court system works. This way you can spend your time focusing on your recovery instead of spending it doing research and attempting to navigate the legal system.
If you end up having to sue, there is a lot of paperwork and complicated legal rules that must be met. You need to know what to file, make sure it is properly formatted, relevant legal precedents are cited, note any admissible evidence, and more. Lawsuits are very strict, and you have strict time limits to file them. You’ll want an excellent lawyer to help you navigate through this complex legal situation.
There are many ways an insurance company can deny your claim, even if you are not at fault. An attorney understands what information will increase the chances your claim will be approved in both first-party and third-party claims A lawyer is also available if your claim gets rejected. They can help you fight for your rights.
The insurance company may offer you a settlement shortly after the accident to quickly do away with your claim and avoid the potential of a lawsuit. More often than not the initial offer is not a fair amount. A lawyer has the training and experience necessary to determine when an offer is too low and how to ensure you are fairly compensated.
Filing a case can be difficult but proving it can be even more challenging. The law puts limits on questions you can ask and the evidence you can present. Proving injury liability may require extensive legal research to convince the court and jury to take your side. If your case goes to court, you'll need the competence and aggressive representation of a skilled Atlanta personal injury lawyer.
What happens if you miss the deadline for filing a lawsuit? What if you do not correctly address the defendant? What if you lose your case because of improper evidence?
If this happens you will lose your chance to recover any compensation.
If this happens, you will lose your one opportunity to recover damages and cannot sue again.
You’ll be forced to pay all the costs for an accident you didn’t cause and lose out on compensation for your damages.
A major concern for many people is how much a car accident lawyer will cost. Our firm uses a contingency fee rather than an hourly firm like other law firms. Basically, we don’t get paid unless we win your case and recover damages for you. The fee is a paid percentage of money received from any judge or jury verdict if the case makes it to the trial stage.
The contingency fee may vary based on whether a personal injury lawsuit is filed against the other driver, the defendant. The percentage may be on the low side though if the case gets settled before it goes to court.
The decisions the driver makes behind the wheel have more of an impact on traffic accidents than them actually not knowing how to drive. Human error is actually responsible for 94% of all accidents caused on the road.
Distracted driving is one of the top causes of car accidents. The human brain is incapable of focusing on more than one task at a time. That means when someone is doing things like texting while driving, talking, grooming, reading, or even eating, the brain is unable to prioritize what is going on around them while switching back and forth between tasks.
On average, drunk driving is responsible for 29 deaths per day. Fortunately, due to recent educational efforts, deaths and accidents caused by drunk driving have been reduced.
The top causes for speeding-related accidents are typically running late for work, keeping up with traffic, or unintentionally driving over the speed limit.
Around 50% of accidents take place in intersections, mostly caused by people running either a red light or a stop sign. The risk of injuring or killing yourself and others is not worth trying to avoid the extra minute or two waiting while stopped at a light or sign.
Reckless driving can be categorized in several ways. A few of the main ones include switching lanes too quickly, disregarding the safety of others, and purposely failing to abide by cautionary measures.
Any combination of traffic offenses that endanger the lives of other drivers or property is considered aggressive driving.
An extreme case of fatigue and exhaustion can also play its part in a driver’s inability to respond, react, or discern conditions on the road.
There are certain things you can do that will enable you to protect yourself in the event of an automobile accident. Here are the top ten things you should do if you are involved in a car accident:
In order to ensure you can file a claim after a car accident, you need to protect your rights. The steps you should take in order to do so include:
Be as honest as you can but do not admit fault when giving your statement to the police. You may believe the accident was entirely your fault when it actually was not. You are giving up any chance you have of collecting a fair settlement award when you admit fault. Fault can only be determined by the court.
Your doctor may order you to follow a set routine for treatment. You should always follow this. There is a risk of losing your settlement because you didn’t follow your treatment plan. Insurance adjusters are always looking for ways to deny your claim. If they get the sense that your injuries may be exaggerated, it can be detrimental to your case.
You may want to get estimates for your repairs after seeking medical attention. As you build your case, you will want to see at least 2-3 different mechanics to get a general idea of estimates of how much your damages are worth.
The other driver’s insurance company may ask you to go to a third-party company to have your damages officially inspected for your claim. However, speaking with other inspectors before all that may help your argument when negotiating the value of your damages.
You should keep a file or folder including all the notes about the accident with documents related to your damages. Keep the following in one place:
It is helpful to consider how insurance companies calculate personal injury claims in order to understand your accident claim. When insurance adjusters review your injuries they consider these factors:
For instance, an injury related to any head trauma may be worth more than that of a broken foot since it has a longer recovery time and longer-lasting effects on a person’s life.
You may be surprised to find out that you get an offer that is much less than what you owe after you have submitted your medical bills. Adjusters use a formula that determines the average of a certain type of injury and how much it should cost. The formula insurance companies generally follow is:
special damages x (multiple reflecting general damages) + lost wages = settlement amount.
Special damages are direct monetary expenses that are determined by adding together all of the plaintiff's financial losses. These losses must be specifically proven. Common examples of special damages include:
General damages compensate an individual for non-economic losses they incur in an injury claim. They are called general damages because they refer to harm that is generally caused by an injury. Almost all personal injury victims are expected to have some form of general damages. The more common forms of general damages are:
Agreeing to a settlement after a car accident means that you are no longer pursuing damages. You may be able to receive compensation in one lump sum or by a structured plan where payments are received over time.
Depending on your circumstances you’ll want to decide which settlement structure is best for you. Your attorney can consult you on which option you’ll want to go with, either the structured settlement or a total lump sum, based on your situation.
The terms cannot be changed later once an agreement on how a settlement will be paid have been established.
You have three options for seeking compensation for injuries and damages. Georgia is a “fault state”, meaning that you get hurt in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence. You can file a claim directly with the other driver’s insurance company, with your own insurance company, or to file a lawsuit in court.
Georgia abides by a fault-based system when it comes to liability and insurance coverage after an accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance policy will be looked to cover any injuries or property damages caused by the accident. Compensation can be sought in these three ways:
An experienced car accident lawyer can explain which of these options is best for you.
The other party or insurance company may claim that you are actually responsible for the accident when you try to file your lawsuit or insurance claim after sustaining an injury. Georgia’s modified comparative fault rule is implemented in these situations.
This law can eliminate or reduce the damages you are looking to have compensated if you are found to be partly or mostly at fault for causing the accident. While you still may be able to file a claim against the party that was more at fault, your compensation could be reduced by the percentage share of your portion of the liability.
Here is an example of how comparative fault can affect a claim:
If both parties are found to be at fault in a motor collision then the state of Georgia is required to apply the modified comparative fault rule. An insurance company will seek to use that in negotiations to try and reduce a settlement offer.
It must be proven to your insurance company that another vehicle was involved, the driver was unknown, and that the other driver was the reason for the accident if you wish to make an uninsured motorist claim. O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11(b)(2).
You will have to show that another vehicle made physical contact with your vehicle. This can be proven through the property damage done to your car. Taking pictures of the scene immediately after can be a big help. You will need a witness in other instances to give testimony that the unknown driver’s driving was the cause of your accident if there was no physical contact.
You can pursue compensation by making a claim against the other driver’s auto liability policy if you are lucky enough to get information that leads you and the police to the responsible driver. The driver can be found criminally liable for fleeing the scene, although you do have to prove that the driver caused the accident. If so, the driver can then be found negligent. Collecting compensation would be made much easier if this is the case.
If the responsible driver has a lower insurance policy, you can collect more compensation from your own insurance provider if you have uninsured motorist coverage.
The amount you can recover from your insurer is reduced by what is available from the negligent driver’s liability insurance policy.
If you have an "added-on" UIM policy the amount you're able to collect from your insurance company is added to the amount you receive from the negligent motorist.
If you possess uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage, you can look to your own auto liability policy for compensation in the event that the vehicle and its driver cannot be located.
You may still pursue your UIM policy even if you were a pedestrian or cyclist. Whether you’re in your car, walking, or riding a bicycle your UIM covers it. Also, you can pursue your family member’s UIM policy if you were living with them at the time of your accident.
Uninsured motorist claims typically follow the same process as other car accident cases, the key difference being they are filed against your insurer.
The statute of limitations in Georgia for motor vehicle collisions can be found in section 9-3-33 of the Georgia Code. A lawsuit for injuries caused in a car accident has to be filed within 2 years after the accident.
The accident victim’s estate can bring a wrongful death suit whenever a car accident injury causes the victim’s death. Wrongful death claims have a 2-year limitation period that applies.
Any injury victim under the age of 18 during the time of their accident will typically be able to file an injury lawsuit any time before turning 20 years old. Also, there is a longer period of time for those who are legally incompetent due to mental disability to sue if an accident has occurred to them.
For claims against state or county employees who caused an accident, the limitations period is shorter.
Typically, you cannot sue a government entity in Georgia due to “sovereign immunity”. But, there is one exception to that rule. Sovereign immunity doesn’t apply under the circumstances of being injured by a negligent government entity or employee.
There are different rules and procedures for personal injury lawsuits that involve the government. Before you can file a lawsuit against the government in civil court, you are required by law to file a special administrative claim with the government agency itself.
You’ll only have a short window of a matter of months to file your administrative claim. Depending on what type of government agency you’re claiming is responsible is what determines how long you have to file the claim. For example, for municipalities like the city of Atlanta, you have 6 months from the date you got hurt. The statutory window is just one year if you want to hold the county or state accountable.
There are a variety of ways that a car accident lawyer can help you gather evidence when attempting to prove liability. A lawyer may pull the at-fault party’s phone records to determine the location before an accident, and these records may also prove if they were distracted while driving.
The methods of a lawyers investigation may include but are not limited to:
Whatever you say could be possibly used against you by the other driver’s insurance company. Even worse, they may fake being concerned about you in order to gain your trust. Intimidation is also another tactic they may resort to, in which they may lowball you and make you believe that the offer they give is what you deserve.
The insurance companies also have teams dedicated to analyzing your injury claim. But do not worry, even though they have this intimidating factor, having an experienced lawyer at your side evens the playing field. No matter what insurers throw your way, we are here and ready to help.
Our car accident lawyer will even help you manage and talk to your own insurance company after an accident.
It isn’t a good idea to deal with your injury claim and the insurance company on your own, even though you do have the right to do so, especially if you have major injuries and vehicle damages. After an accident, insurance companies know you are vulnerable. They plan to take advantage of that. They know that they can use most injury victims' lack of knowledge in tort law as well as the stressful times to use against you.
Here are some of the main ways an experienced car accident lawyer can help you deal with insurance companies after an accident.
Talking with the other driver’s insurance company is not legally required. Your lawyer can speak on your behalf with the insurance adjuster.
You must be careful when dealing with insurance companies. They are going to be looking for any reason to pay you less for your claim. You don’t have to speak with them directly and you shouldn’t admit to any fault or give any statements until you’ve consulted your attorney. Giving them your lawyer’s number and setting up communications through there is your best option.
It’s crucial during the negotiation stage that good communication between your attorney with the insurance company is established. Your attorney will know the best method for speaking with them, leaving you secure and as stress-free as possible.
The details of your claims will be analyzed by the at-fault driver’s insurance company when you file a claim. They will either:
If you have many damages to claim, it's unlikely that an insurance company will accept your claim immediately. Their bottom line is what’s most important to them so they will always look for ways to pay as little as they possibly have to. Luckily, our car accident lawyer can help you if you experience any issues regarding small settlement offers or denied claims from your insurance company.
It’s important to us that you get the fairest settlement possible and our attorneys can and will help you with negotiating those claims. Making sure all of the damages from your car accident get compensated is our goal. This is not always as easy as it sounds so it is best to consult one of the experienced and educated members of our legal team.
In most cases, your insurance company will need you to report the car accident. There may be certain benefits available so you should always report the accident, even if the other driver is completely at fault. There is a limited time period for when most policies need to be reported so do not wait until it is too late.
Even though your insurer is biased more in your favor than the other driver’s insurer, you should still be careful. Information is important, but you don’t want to give them more information than you have to. An experienced car accident lawyer can provide you with tips for talking to insurance companies after a car accident if you’re unsure how to navigate a conversation with the insurance company.
Wrongful death is a type of case that involves someone passing away due to circumstances of someone else’s negligence. The survivors and/or family members of the deceased have the opportunity to bring that case to court and file a lawsuit against the negligent party. Georgia’s rules for wrongful death may differ from that of other states.
The family members or ones that were close to the person who passed are able to file a suit against the negligent party. The different types of damages the family member can be compensated for also depend on the rules of the state they are in for the kind of case they can file.
There are many aspects to be considered by the court that decides on what kind of damages the family of the deceased will receive during an Atlanta wrongful death case. The relationship that the person filing the claim has with the deceased will also impact the court's decision.
Here is a list of people that are most eligible to be awarded any damages in cases like wrongful death:
The spouse of a person who has passed away in a wrongful death can be given compensation for the damages, including loss of comradeship, along with the trauma caused by their partner’s death.
Minor children whose parents have been lost to wrongful death are the only ones who can be awarded any damages. These damages can include loss of that relationship with their parents, and also the support and love they were receiving.
The parents of minor children that have been lost can receive compensation for the emotional stress, damages, and grief that they’ve been forced to endure.
Additionally, the court can award punitive damages to those who were close to the person that passed away. However, the punitive damages can only be awarded after the court has considered it a situation where the person who has passed lost their life in a wrongful manner.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact our experienced Atlanta car accident lawyers at the Marks Law Group, LLC today. You can call or text (678) 251-9309 anytime! We’re here 24/7. Our unique approach to pursuing financial compensation for our clients is unequaled in the legal community.
Our proven track record speaks volumes about our success rates. Call or text us today for a free consultation where you can ask questions about your car accident claim. We can help you focus on healing from your injuries while we pursue the individual who caused them. Contact us now to get started.