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How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury Settlements In Atlanta?

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury Settlements In Atlanta?

You have two years from the date of injury to file a personal claim that recovers medical expenses or other damages caused by a car accident in Atlanta. However, a lot of variables affect the timeline of filing a claim, making adequate compensation challenging for victims.

Hire an experienced car accident lawyer in Atlanta to learn about the laws related to car accident personal injury compensation for a fair, successful outcome.

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Statute of Limitation for a Personal Injury Claim In Georgia

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury Settlements In Atlanta?

The two-year statute is the hard deadline that plaintiffs must meet to file a personal injury claim in Georgia. If you fail to meet this deadline, the court will dismiss your case, and you will lose out on recovering any medical expenses the at-fault party would otherwise owe you.

This two-year statute applies to all types of personal injury claims, including those related to car, motorcycle, and truck accidents.

However, a few exceptions can significantly increase or decrease the timeline for filing a claim:

  • Accidents involving county/city-owned vehicles: You will have 6 months to file a claim if a local government agency owns the at-fault vehicle.
  • Accidents involving state-owned vehicles: You will have one year to file a claim if the state of Georgia owns the at-fault vehicle.
  • Accidents involving property damage (no medical claims): You will have four years to file a claim for property damage only.
  • Accidents involving minors: Claims involving a minor can be put on hold until their 18th birthday. At that point they have two years to file a claim on their own behalf.

Though all of these examples provide ample time to file a personal injury claim with the court, they don't apply to the statute or response from the insurance companies.

If you want your lawyers to provide the best possible outcome for your case, filing a claim with your insurance company within 15 days of the accident is best.

According to Georgia law, your insurance company must respond to your claim within 15 days and let you know whether they will pay, investigate, or deny it.

If an unfavorable outcome after this initial thirty days happens, a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta is instrumental in helping negotiate and build a case for personal injury claims.

Should I Wait to File a Personal Injury Claim?

In many instances a victim may wait to file a personal injury claim.

While experienced lawyers will often recommend doing so as soon as possible, factors that could force you to wait include:

  • Severity of damages. Car accidents are a brutal experience that result in a wide range of physical, emotional and financial damages. It may take time to fully assess the extent of these damages and determine the appropriate amount for compensation.
  • Gathering evidence. Gathering all the necessary evidence to build a strong case for your personal injury claim takes time. This can include medical records, witness statements, and other vital documents that can support your claim.
  • Negotiations with the insurance company. The insurance company may make a settlement offer before you have reached the two-year statute of limitations. If this happens, carefully consider the offer and negotiate for a fair amount that covers all of your damages.

Ideally, you should not wait to file a claim, as the longer you wait, the harder you make it to gather evidence and build a strong case. However, you must wait for any reason, stay within the two-year statute of limitations to receive compensation for your injuries.

Consult an experienced personal injury lawyer who can protect your rights. With their help, you can navigate the complex legal system in Atlanta and receive fair monetary compensation to cover mental and physical injuries after the accident. 

What Compensation Do I Deserve in a Personal Injury Claim?

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses account for a large portion of compensation in personal injury claims after a car accident.

Common medical expenses after a car accident and their average costs include:

  • Ambulance/Paramedic Care: $900 to $1,300-plus, not including mileage fees
  • Emergency Room Visit: $3300-plus excluding CT scans, X-rays, medications
  • In-Patient Care: $4000-plus per day
  • Surgeries: $15,000 to $170,000-plus depending on severity of injuries
  • Medications: $500 to $3000-plus
  • Rehabilitation: $350-plus per hour
  • Follow-Up Visits: $150 to $600-plus per visit
  • Medical Equipment: $300 to $25,000-plus
  • Mental Health Services: $75 to $300-plus per hour

These expenses add up quickly, with many bills not arriving until several weeks or months after the accident. Keep track of all medical expenses and have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side to recover adequate compensation for these costs.

Lost Income

If your injuries from a car accident caused you to miss work, you may recover compensation for lost income. This includes past and future income you would have earned if not for the accident.

The best ways to claim lost income after a car accident in Atlanta include:

  • W2s and tax returns to demonstrate past earnings vs. post-accident earnings
  • Documentation from your doctor stating that your injuries prevented you from working
  • A letter from your employer stating the amount of work you missed and its effect on your wages

Georgia has no limit on economic or non-economic damages in personal injury claims, meaning you can potentially receive compensation for the total wages lost due to accident injuries.

Pain and Suffering

Punitive damages include compensation for any physical pain, emotional distress, or mental anguish you experienced because of the car accident. You need a car accident lawyer to calculate them for you.

In cases where the at-fault driver drove under the influence, the court may award punitive damages to punish the at-fault driver and discourage other drivers from making the same mistakes. The state caps punitive damages at $250,000.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help calculate these damages and ensure fair compensation for your suffering.

How Do I File a Personal Injury Claim After a Car Accident?

Filing a Personal Injury Claim After a Car Accident

After seeking medical treatment, immediately consult an experienced personal injury lawyer who can guide you through the process of filing a claim.

Let your lawyer contact the at-fault driver's insurance company to report the accident and begin the claims process. Never admit fault or discuss any details of the accident with the insurance adjuster without consulting your lawyer first.

Contact your own insurance company to learn more about your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which can provide additional compensation in cases where the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover your damages.

Once you and your lawyer have gathered all necessary evidence and documentation, your lawyer can send a demand letter to the insurance company outlining your injuries, damages, and desired compensation.

The insurance company can take time to review the demand letter and make a settlement offer, but if negotiations fail, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf. As long as you file within the two-year statute of limitations, you have the opportunity to receive compensation for your injuries.

Keep a journal, notebook or other organized portfolio of all costs, bills and records related to the accident and your recovery process. This can help you stay organized and gather all necessary information for your case. 

Should I Take The First Settlement an Insurance Company Offers?

Insurance companies are a business, and they may not accept the initial claim, let alone pay the amount you deserve.

More often than not, insurance companies will offer a lower settlement than you deserve, hoping you will accept it and they can save money. This settlement typically includes initial medical expenses and lost wages but may not consider long-term effects or non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.

For this reason, it is crucial to have a lawyer who can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and ensure you receive fair compensation.

Your lawyer will evaluate any settlement offers and advise whether or not to accept them based on their experience and knowledge of personal injury claims in Atlanta.

Ultimately, the total settlement varies based on the severity of injuries and other factors.

While a personal injury lawyer can't guarantee you receive any amount, they can advocate for you and ensure you receive the best possible settlement for your case.

The best personal injury lawyers in Atlanta offer free consultations to explain your rights and options after a car accident, so take advantage of these resources and seek legal representation right after the accident to ensure the insurer handles your claim properly and fairly.

Car Accident Personal Injury Claim FAQs

1. Why should I hire a personal injury lawyer after a car accident?

Beyond their knowledge of the law, a personal injury lawyer can offer support during this stressful time and advocate for your rights to ensure you receive fair compensation. This allows you to focus on your recovery, reducing stress and potential mistakes in the claims process.  

2. What happens if the at-fault driver is uninsured?

If the at-fault driver has insufficient or no insurance to cover their share of damages, you may be able to file a claim through your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage is optional in most states, but it can protect you after an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. 

3. Are drivers required to carry car insurance in Atlanta?

Yes, all drivers must carry minimum liability coverage in Georgia. Minimum liability coverage is set at $50,000 per person, $25,000 per accident for property damage, and $100,000 per accident for bodily injury. 

4. What injuries take longer to appear after a car accident?

Whiplash or soft tissue injuries may not appear immediately after a car accident and can take days or even weeks to fully manifest. Additionally, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues may not appear until later on, so seek medical attention and document all injuries after a car accident to ensure you receive proper compensation for all treatments needed to fully recover mentally and physically from the accident.

Don't Wait to File a Personal Injury Claim After a Car Accident

Two years seems like a lot of time, but the truth is you should never wait to file a personal injury claim after a car accident. The longer you wait, gathering evidence, establishing causation, and receiving fair compensation for your injuries grows harder.

For the best chances at fair compensation after a car accident, begin the claim process as soon as possible with the help of experienced personal injury lawyers in Atlanta. With their help, you can focus more on your recovery and ensure a fair resolution to your personal injury claim.

Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert - Owner & Attorney

Attorney Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert was seriously injured in a collision and experienced firsthand dealing with uncooperative insurance companies. She knows what it is like to feel overwhelmed and under-educated about your rights after a collision. That is why she has dedicated this firm to fighting for accident victims and their loved ones. The goal of The Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group – Gore LLC is to provide you with excellent legal advice, based on our experience in representing injured automobile drivers and passengers from all across the State of Georgia.

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