Being in a motor vehicle accident is extremely stressful. Not only are you dealing with pain and discomfort from your injuries, but now you are dealing with the financial aftermath and the mental stress that comes with it.
If you have never been in a car accident before, you might be unsure where to start. You will have plenty of questions, so it is best that you speak to a local attorney regarding your case. However, while you wait you can review some of these common questions.
10 Common Questions about Car Accident Cases in Savannah
The purpose of these questions and answers is to provide you with some basic information about car accident injury cases – but it is by no means meant to replace actual legal advice directed towards your specific situation.
1. Is a Car Accident Claim the Same as a Car Accident Lawsuit?
A personal injury claim and personal injury lawsuit are two separate entities that can occur after a car accident. Some cases only go through the claims process, which involves filling an accident claim with the at-fault party’s insurance and receiving a settlement. Other times, a case can move to the lawsuit phase, which is when an attorney files an official complaint with the courts to seek damages.
Both are not mutually exclusive, and a case might start as an insurance claim then quickly escalate to the lawsuit stage.
2. What Damages Can I Recover?
Damages in a personal injury case depend on the severity of the accident and your losses. Some damages you could receive for your accident include:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Companionship
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Future Earnings
- Property Damage
- Funeral and Burial Expenses (Wrongful Death)
3. Do You Need an Attorney for a Car Accident Case?
The law does not require that you have an attorney to handle a claim or lawsuit, but it is in your best interest to hire an attorney. An attorney has the resources and experience to expedite the process, and insurance companies are more likely to settle for a fair amount when an attorney is involved.
4. What Should I Do After an Accident?
As a victim, you must mitigate damages. Therefore, you should seek medical attention as quickly as possible after your accident. The law requires that you do what you can to minimize further losses. That includes following up with your physician, continuing your treatment plan, and not engaging in activities that would worsen your injuries and increase your claim.
5. How Are Attorneys Paid for Car Accident Cases?
Car accident attorneys typically work on a contingency fee basis. Contingency fees use a percentage of your settlement to pay legal costs. Every attorney has their set fee; so you should ask your attorney what they charge for injury cases. Your attorney may even be able to negotiate legal fees into the settlement to ensure that you wouldn’t lose much of your settlement to legal costs.
6. How Much Is My Case Worth?
There is no set way to determine how much a personal injury claim is worth. An insurance claims adjuster uses the multiplier method to decide how much to offer. However, the actual value comes down to the experience of your attorney, the power of the evidence, and the severity of the injuries. Naturally, a permanent injury would result in a higher value than one you could recover from.
7. When Do I Receive My Funds after Settling?
Receiving your settlement takes time, but your attorney will do what he or she can to expedite the process. Once you have settled, the insurance company will write a check to your attorney for the negotiated amount.
Next, your attorney must take the amount and pay any pending liens against your case. Then, your attorney takes their contingency fee and writes a check to you for the remaining balance.
8. What Are the Stages of a Car Accident Case?
Car accident cases go through various stages, and every case is unique. Some cases go through all phases, while others only experience one or two before settling.
Typically, a car accident case will go through the following stages:
- Insurance Claim
- Filing a Lawsuit
9. Will My Case Go to Trial?
Most injury cases settle out of court during negotiations. Some cases do go through litigation, and factors that may increase the chances of your case going to trial include:
- The insurance company refuses to settle.
- The insurance company does not believe that your injuries occurred in the accident and disputes them.
- The liability (determining who is at-fault) is not readily proven even with the evidence.
10. How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
While you must file an insurance claim as quickly as possible after the accident, you have more time to file an official lawsuit. Every state has a statute of limitations. In Georgia, you have up to two years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit. The two-year statute starts counting down from the day of the accident.
While you have up to two years, you should not wait to file. The sooner you file your lawsuit, the easier it will be for your attorney to locate the evidence he or she needs for the claim.
Injured in an Accident? Contact a Savannah Personal Injury Attorney Today
After a severe car accident, you need an attorney who will advocate for your right to compensation. Your first phone call should be to your insurance company, but afterward, contact attorney Clarke Nash.
Clarke has years of experience helping victims just like you receive compensation for car accident injuries.
To explore your options, meet with him for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling 912-200-5292. You can also request your consultation appointment by submitting an online contact form.