Like many accident victims, you may wonder when to hire an attorney after a car accident in Atlanta. However, if your accident involved property damage, injuries, or loss of life, reach out to a law firm as soon as possible. You may want to call a car accident lawyer's team before even leaving the collision scene.
Why Hire a Lawyer After an Atlanta Car Accident?
In many cases, hiring a car accident lawyer immediately after a car accident provides you with extra protection and prompt legal guidance so you understand what steps to take from the moment your accident occurs.
A car accident attorney can:
Guide You After an Accident
Many drivers worry they won’t know what to do following a car accident. You may feel concerned that you will miss an important step and inadvertently weaken your claim.
Generally, car accident lawyers recommend that you:
- Report your accident to the police
- Secure contact information from other drivers and witnesses
- Seek medical care for your injuries
- Inform your insurance company about the accident
You may also need to file specific legal forms to begin the process of seeking compensation. You can get answers to any questions you have by reaching out to an Atlanta lawyer’s team promptly.
Help With Insurance Adjusters
Insurance adjusters will assess your claim for most car accidents. Consult with a lawyer’s team before talking to any representative of an insurance company, including the claims adjuster especially the insurance company that covers the other driver.
These insurance representatives want to protect their company’s bottom line. Therefore, they may try to absolve the other driver of fault for the accident by blaming you for the collision. They can also use anything you say against you.
Do not agree to a recorded interview or answer questions about your health or well-being after a collision until you speak with a lawyer’s team. Taking this step can help protect your claim.
Investigate What Happened
Atlanta car accident lawyers assess fault for an accident, which can prove a crucial service. Generally, you can only secure compensation for your losses if someone else caused the collision.
Your lawyer can:
- Investigate the scene of the collision
- Obtain a copy of your police report
- Speak with witnesses
- Work with car accident experts
- Review surveillance footage from the accident
Lawyers use their experience and understanding of the legal system in Georgia to thoroughly assess the cause of your accident.
Track Your Losses
Car accidents in Atlanta can leave you facing significant financial losses, such as medical expenses, lost income, and vehicle damage. A lawyer can track all these costs on your behalf as they build a claim to help you secure financial compensation.
Review Your Legal Options
You likely have several legal options for securing compensation after a car accident in Atlanta. Many drivers choose to settle with the insurance company, allowing them to avoid going to court. However, you also have the option to file a lawsuit in some situations.
How Long Can You Wait to Seek Compensation After an Accident?
Under Georgia law, you generally only have two years to begin your case after a car accident. After this period, the state’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims expires, making it much harder if not impossible for you to secure damages for your accident.
You may have even less time in some situations. For example, Georgia law reduces the statute of limitations if your accident involves a government vehicle or employee.
Hiring an Atlanta car accident lawyer immediately after your accident can help you avoid missing important deadlines for your claim. Your lawyer can file all documents related to your claim on time.
Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer for a Minor Accident in Atlanta?
Some drivers wait to hire a lawyer because they consider their accident minor. However, even minor accidents can lead to considerable costs and legal concerns. For example, some minor accidents end up causing hidden injuries.
While many car accidents result in noticeable injuries, like broken bones, some collisions result in issues that aren’t immediately visible, like whiplash or brain injuries. These injuries may not be obvious for hours, days, or even weeks after a seemingly minor accident
If you or someone else involved in the accident end up discovering serious injuries after a minor accident, you may face a more complicated legal situation. If you already hired a lawyer, they can step right in to assist you.
What Kind of Compensation Can a Lawyer Help You Secure?
Car accident lawyers focus on helping you secure compensation for all your losses.
Depending on the facts of your accident, you could receive compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Vehicle damage
- Pain and suffering
- And more
Disclose all losses associated with your accident to your lawyer. They can track your losses, assess a fair monetary value, and work to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Do You Have to Pay a Lawyer When You Hire Them?
Drivers may hesitate to hire a lawyer after an accident in Atlanta because they worry about the expenses associated with working with a legal professional. However, most car accident lawyers in our area work on a contingency basis.
Law firms that use a contingency system only charge you for legal fees after they successfully resolve your claim. Therefore, you must receive some form of compensation for your losses before you have to worry about covering any legal expenses.
In fact, in most cases, your legal fees will come directly out of the settlement or court decision related to your claim.
Why Hire a Lawyer if You Didn’t Cause the Accident?
Many drivers believe they only need to hire a lawyer if they cause a collision. While lawyers can provide you with support and assistance if you bore fault for the crash, they can also help with accidents caused by another driver.
Other drivers and their insurance representatives will likely try to claim you caused or partially bear fault for an accident, even if you’re certain you carry no responsibility for the collision. Your lawyer can take steps to investigate the accident thoroughly, gathering evidence that supports your story of events.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 2.2 million people sustained injuries in car accidents in 2020 alone.
Collisions often occur when drivers:
- Exceed the posted speed limit or drive too fast for conditions
- Ignore stop signs or red lights
- Tailgate other drivers
- Cut in and out of lanes of traffic
- Drive the wrong way up a oneway road
Based on the circumstances of your case, your lawyer can work to establish the other driver’s liability.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?
Lawyers generally look for the underlying causes of a wreck to determine fault, which may include:
Distracted drivers have higher odds of causing a collision.
Drivers may experience distraction when they:
- Text or email while driving
- Eat or drink in the car
- Adjust their radio
- Reach for another object in the car
While a lawyer cannot prove all forms of distraction, they can request cell phone records to determine if the other driver was misusing an electronic device at the time of your collision.
Driving after drinking alcohol or using illicit drugs is against the law in Georgia. However, some drivers still get behind the wheel while impaired. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), police arrest more than one million drivers for drunk driving each year.
Drivers impaired by alcohol often have slower reaction times and reflexes. They also have less awareness of the road as well as impaired judgment. All these factors work together to increase the likelihood of an accident.
If you suspect alcohol impairment on the other driver's part, tell the police at the scene of the collision. They can perform blood alcohol content (BAC) testing, and your lawyer may use the test results to support your claim.
Driving while fatigued can impair drivers just as much as driving under the influence of alcohol. Fatigued drivers have difficulty paying attention and slower reaction times on the road. They may also fall asleep behind the wheel.
Commercial drivers including tractor-trailer drivers often end up driving while fatigued in an attempt to finish long delivery runs. However, anyone can get behind the wheel while tired.
Actions to Avoid Before Hiring Your Accident Lawyer
Again, we recommend that you contact a lawyer’s team as quickly as possible after a car accident in Atlanta. However, you may decide to hold off until you get medical care and process what happened. While you wait, you want to avoid certain actions to protect your claim.
Make sure that you:
Do Not Admit Fault
We understand that the urge to apologize after an accident may feel automatic. However, insurance representatives often take apologies as an acknowledgment of fault. We recommend that you speak about your accident as little as possible, especially to other involved drivers.
You should also avoid discussing the accident on social media. Anything you post could be used against you later by insurance companies.
Do Not Take the First Settlement Offer
Insurance companies often offer a fast settlement after a collision. They hope you will take this offer before discovering the full extent of your losses. Once you accept a settlement, it becomes much more difficult to seek additional compensation.
Allow an Atlanta car accident lawyer to assess any offer before you accept it. Your lawyer can ensure the settlement covers all your losses and may suggest that you refuse any offers until you fully recover from your injuries.
Do Not Try to Settle Your Own Claim
Insurance companies frequently negotiate after an accident, eventually arriving at a settlement offer that suits both parties. However, if you negotiate without a lawyer, you can put yourself at a major disadvantage.
Lawyers have extensive experience in negotiating with insurance companies. They know the average settlements in your area and what you should expect to receive after a collision. They also know how to handle the different tactics used by insurance companies to lower your settlement.
When Can You Handle an Accident Without a Lawyer?
In some cases, you may choose to handle an accident in Atlanta on your own. If the collision involved minor property damage and no injuries, with no disagreements about who caused the impact, you could resolve the claim without hiring a lawyer.
In this situation, simply contact your insurance company and tell them what happened.
However, even accidents like these can become complicated if you discover more serious injuries or the other driver tries to blame you. Many car accident lawyers offer free consultations, so you can get advice about how to move forward.
Get Help From a Lawyer After a Car Accident
Wondering when to hire an attorney after a car accident? The faster you reach out to a lawyer’s team, the faster they can start working on your claim and providing you with legal guidance. You can make the call as soon as your accident occurs.
A lawyer can fight for you and give you the best legal advice possible. To learn more and get a free consultation, contact a law firm near you today.