If you have been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, you are entitled to recover money for 100% of your costs and damages. These costs may include medical expenses, the pay you lost if you were unable to work, and damage to your vehicle, among others. You can also recover additional money for offset the impact of severe pain and other serious losses. The money is usually paid through a car insurance policy.
Georgia is known as a “fault state” when it comes to liability for car accidents. The party who is “at fault” was usually negligent in failing to follow traffic laws or basic safe driving behavior. That driver (or their driver’s insurance company) pays all the resulting damages. You are entitled to this money even if they have no insurance.
What are the typical costs that an accident victim can recover?
The costs and damages you recover will depend on the way your accident happened and the kind of injuries you have. In general, more serious injuries mean greater costs and therefore a higher dollar amount. But there are certain types of damages that most accident victims are eligible for. These include:
- Medical expenses, including the emergency room, doctor visits, surgery, hospitalization and tests
- Rehabilitation, including physical therapy
- Car repairs, or replacing a totaled car
- Lost pay, if you had to miss time from work because of the accident
These are fixed costs from the accident and they are always covered. But some accident victims recover far more. This can come from:
- Punitive damages if the driver was drunk or driving on drugs. This is extra money paid to the victim of the crime as a form of punishment for the drunk driver.
- Special damages like pain and suffering, mental anguish or suffering a permanent disability. These are major life-impacting events that may not have a hard “cost” in dollars but undoubtedly decrease your quality of life. The normal damages you would be paid may be multiplied by a number so that you get far more as a way to try to offset the impact of these losses.
- Wrongful death.And if you lost a loved one, you may be eligible for additional damages in a wrongful death claim. This money can never compensate you for your loss, but it can can relieve financial strain, freeing you to focus on healing and rebuilding your life.
Will I have to file a lawsuit?
Most car accident claims are resolved through negotiation with the responsible party’s insurance company, without the need for a lawsuit. In a typical case, your personal injury lawyer will investigate your claim, developing solid evidence about the way the accident happened and the full extent of your injuries. A lawyer will especially look at what your injuries will cost over time in medical expenses and lost earnings, and will present these findings to the insurance company. Faced with a strong claim, the insurance company usually will be willing to resolve the matter out of court.
Sometimes, though, this is not possible, and an accident victim can choose to file a lawsuit. You are never forced to take a case to court—as the accident victim, it is always your choice to accept a settlement or go to a judge and jury.
How can I recover money If the other party doesn’t have insurance?
A startling number of Georgians don’t have car insurance, and many others carry only the bare minimum coverage, which isn’t nearly enough to cover the cost of a major accident. If you were in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you still have a right to recover ALL of your damages. There are several ways this might be accomplished:
- Making a claim under the uninsured motorist coverage of your own policy
- Finding other insurance policies that might cover your claim
- Forcing the other driver to pay you directly, out of pocket
- Placing a lien on the other driver’s assets. The lien remains until you are paid, either directly or through the sale of the house, car or other asset.
Uninsured motorist claims are much more complicated than ordinary accident claims where there’s adequate insurance. If you are in an accident with someone who is uninsured or who only has minimal coverage, it’s very important to have legal representation. Talk to our Atlanta Georgia car accident lawyers as soon as possible.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Our firm has built its reputation on helping accident victims recover the money they are entitled to. We keep our fees fair, never charging you money unless we recover money for you. Let us give you a FREE consultation to help you understand the right next steps for your case—with no obligation. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.