The driver who caused your accident is liable for all your costs and damages. This means that your insurance settlement should pay for your medical bills, vehicle damage, and the time you were out of work. You may also be entitled to additional money. In general, the more serious your accident, the larger the settlement you can expect to receive.
However, you should understand that the insurance company will try to minimize the amount it has to pay you. The first settlement offer you receive may be much less than your claim is really worth. If you were injured in an accident, always talk to a personal injury lawyer before you accept a settlement.
What kinds of things affect the amount of my personal injury settlement?
There are several types of costs that almost all injured people are entitled to recover:
- Medical bills, including hospitals, doctors, outpatient centers and tests
- The cost of prescription medication
- The cost of physical therapy or other rehabilitation
- Lost wages, if you had to miss time from work because of your accident.
If your accident was serious, you may have other losses that should also factor into your settlement. You may recover money for “pain and suffering,” which includes both physical pain and the way the accident has affected your everyday life. Or your accident may prevent you from working in the future. Someone who lost a close family member in an accident might recover “wrongful death” damages, or the value of the person’s life.
Your medical costs and lost pay up until now are easy to calculate, but other types of damages are not. There’s no receipt to show what it feels like to live with chronic pain. Insurance companies have formulas for calculating these things, but as you might expect, the formulas usually favor the insurance company. A good car accident attorney near Atlanta Georgia can collect evidence and bring in experts who understand your suffering and know how to show the insurance company what it has really cost you.
How does a property damage settlement work?
A settlement for the damage to your car is more straightforward than a personal injury claim. The insurance adjuster may have you take the car to an approved body shop, or you may be able to take it anywhere you want. The body shop will repair the damage and be paid by the insurance company. Or in some cases you may get an insurance check and then you can decide whether to fix the damage or not.
Once your car has been repaired, you can make an additional claim for diminished value, as long as you have not already signed away all your rights. Diminished value is the difference between the value of your car before the accident and its value after it has been repaired. No matter how well the repairs were done, a car that has been in an accident is not worth as much as an accident-free car. The insurance company will probably not tell you that you can make a diminished value claim, so you will need to be proactive and ask about it.
What if I was partly at fault?
Car accident settlements in Georgia are based on fault, so if you were partly to blame, it will affect your settlement. Under Georgia’s comparative negligence rules, if you were 50 percent or more to blame, you cannot recover any settlement from the other driver’s insurance company. If your percentage of fault was less than 50 percent, then you can still get a settlement, but the amount will be decreased by your percentage of fault.
Assigning percentages of fault is a subjective process, and not surprisingly, insurance companies are happy to place some of the blame on you if it means they won’t have to pay as much. If you might be partly at fault, it is important to talk to a good personal injury lawyer. The percentage of your fault can make a big difference in your settlement.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Our lawyers have just one mission: to get you the money you deserve after an accident. We are easy to afford because we never charge you anything unless we win you money. Let us give you a FREE, no obligation consultation to explain your rights and tell you how we can help. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.