Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents
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What do I do if the insurance company claims I'm at fault for my injuries?
You should contact an Atlanta personal injury attorney immediately if the insurance company has made claims that you are at fault for the injuries you sustained. Pursuing an insurance claim sometimes can be a frustrating experience, especially when you are blamed for injuries that were caused by someone else’s careless or reckless actions.
Proving fault is the basis of any claim, so having adequate evidence is important. You can improve the chance of being successful with your insurance claim when you have the help of an Atlanta personal injury attorney.
The nature of your accident and the injuries you sustained will determine the types of evidence necessary for your case. For instance, if you were injured in a car accident, but the insurance company is trying to put the blame on you, having certain types of evidence handy can make a difference.
Evidence can help establish the other driver’s fault, including:
- a copy of the police report;
- statements from witnesses; and
Or, if you were injured while undergoing surgery, medical records could be used as evidence. Let’s say a surgeon left a surgical sponge inside of you; x-rays could be entered as evidence.
No matter what type of case you pursue, you will need to have ample evidence showing that someone else is negligent. An attorney can help gather this kind of information.
Contacting an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney
Don’t let the insurance company try to intimidate you. Learn what legal options may be available by speaking to an Atlanta personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Jason Schultz. You can learn more about protecting your rights by ordering our free injury guide. Call us at 404-474-0804 to schedule your no-cost consultation.
Does my Georgia car insurance cover my passengers if they are injured in my vehicle?
If you’re in an auto accident, a Clayton County car accident attorney can go over your car insurance policy and evaluate your liability. Your insurance will cover the other passengers in your vehicle, to an extent.
What does my liability insurance cover?
You may be familiar with liability insurance, which is part of the car insurance required by Georgia state law. Passengers in your vehicle are one of the parties covered by liability insurance.
If you cause a car accident in Georgia, your auto liability insurance will help pay for the injuries of those involved in the accident, including passengers in your vehicle.
Three things covered by liability insurance are:
- coverage for bodily injury of one person in any vehicle involved in the accident (Georgia minimum: $25,000);
- coverage for bodily injury of more than one person in any vehicle involved in the accident (Georgia minimum: $50,000); and
- coverage for property damage caused by the crash (Georgia minimum: $25,000).
In reference to passengers in your vehicle, “bodily injury” liability refers to your passengers’ medical bills and lost wages. Your insurer will pay for those things as long as the cost does not exceed the maximum stated on your plan.
For instance, if two passengers were injured in your vehicle, your car insurance plan will cover up to $50,000 in medical bills and lost wages. However, if their bills amount to $65,000, you might be personally responsible for paying the remaining $15,000. For this reason, if you have the option to purchase more than the minimum liability insurance, it may be a good idea to do so.
At The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, our attorneys are experts in the field of car accidents and auto injury. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case. Call us at 404-474-0804.
Who is at fault for the car accident if my car stalled in the middle of the road and another car hit me from behind in Clayton County, Georgia?
If your car stalled in the middle of the road and another car hit you from behind, the driver who hit you is found typically at fault. This is because of the “assured clear distance ahead” rule, which states that you must keep a certain amount of distance between your vehicle and anything in front of you so that you can be able to brake suddenly without hitting anything. If this can be proven in your accident, it’s best to get in touch with a Clayton County injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
You must also be traveling at a speed where if you need to stop suddenly, you can do so safely without causing a car accident; however, depending on the state you live in, different rules may apply. You may be found partially at fault because your stalled vehicle created a road hazard. Although the rule of thumb is that you must keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, the other driver can try to prove that they acted reasonably under the circumstances and had no choice but to rear end you.
If the stall happened suddenly in traffic, was caused by inexperienced driving and no warning signals were used, the other driver may have a solid case to prove that you were the one at fault for the car accident.
If your car stalled in the middle of the road and caused a car accident, you need a Clayton County injury attorney on your side.An injury attorney can review the details surrounding your accident claim and review police reports to determine who is at fault. Rated one of the top trial lawyers in Georgia, Jason R. Schultz has the experience to win your case. Contact him today at 404-474-0804.
How is fault determined after a car accident in Georgia?
To determine who was at fault in a car accident in Georgia, you’ll need to understand “proportional comparative fault.” Under Georgia law, proportional comparative fault – also known in Georgia as the modified comparative negligence 50% bar rule – is used to calculate how much each party is compensated for injuries caused by the car accident.
Car accident lawyers in Georgia and insurance adjusters will typically evaluate the facts in the case to determine fault. If one party broke a law, such as speeding or failing to stop at an intersection, and the other driver was obeying driving laws, the first driver will more than likely be assigned a higher degree of fault in the accident.
In other car accidents, both drivers may have broken the law, which makes determining fault more complicated. A Villa Rica car accident lawyer should evaluate this type of case for help in determining fault. These types of cases often end up in court. The court will determine, based on the details of the accident – and specifically, using any evidence or witness testimony available – the percentage of fault assigned to each driver.
Your car accident attorney can help you to determine whether both drivers were equally at fault, or if one party is more at fault than the other, which could mean that the other driver may be eligible for a settlement to pay for vehicle repairs or medical bills associated with injuries sustained in the car accident.
Contacting A Peachtree City Car Accident Lawyer For More Information On Accident Fault
As the victim of a car accident in Georgia, you have rights that the insurance companies cannot ignore. While they have a team of lawyers working on their side, shouldn’t you have experienced legal representation fighting for your best interests? Before accepting any settlement offer, contact the Law Offices of Jason Schultz to schedule a FREE consultation (404) 474-0804.
How does uninsured motorist coverage in Georgia work?
Being in a car accident is a scary experience no matter what the circumstances. You may have mounting medical bills with no way to pay for them, especially if your injuries keep you out of work for any period of time. It can be even worse if the at-fault driver is uninsured. Normally, the at-fault driver's liability insurance is responsible for bodily injury damages and property damage the policyholder caused to others. Uninsured motorist coverage in Georgia works by replacing the liability insurance of an uninsured at-fault driver.
Are there different types of uninsured motorist coverage?
There are two types of uninsured motorist (UM) coverage:
- Bodily injury: This can cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages for you and your passengers.
- Property damage: This covers damages to your vehicle, but may also cover your house, fence, and personal items (cell phone, laptop).
Each policy has limits to UM coverage. Insurers must offer at least $25,000 in bodily injury to one person, $50,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident. Drivers may be able to choose higher coverage, so if you were in an accident, make sure you review your policy so you know exactly what coverage is on your policy. If drivers do not want UM coverage, they must reject it in writing.
When can uninsured motorist coverage help me?
Uninsured motorist coverage can help in a number of circumstances, beyond simply being in an accident with someone who does not carry insurance.
- The other driver is uninsured: If you get into an accident with an uninsured driver, there would be no liability insurance from which to recover damages. If you have UM coverage, your insurance will pay for your medical bills and vehicle repairs.
- The driver is underinsured: In addition to uninsured motorist coverage, your policy may also contain underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. If the at-fault driver's liability coverage does not fully cover your damages, your UIM coverage may cover the difference.
- You are in a pedestrian accident: If you are hit by a vehicle driven by an uninsured motorist, you can claim compensation for lost wages and medical bills through your UM coverage.
- You are a passenger in another car: Your UM coverage covers you and your family members if you are a passenger in another car during an accident, and the at-fault driver is uninsured.
- You are the victim of a hit and run: If you are the victim of a hit and run, your UM coverage will cover you in place of the hit and run driver's liability insurance.
Will my health insurance cover me after an accident?
Some drivers assume that their health insurance will cover all of their medical-related damages after a wreck, though this is not always the case. Your health insurance can cover your medical bills after an accident, though you are still responsible for your co-pays and deductible. Depending on your coverage, this can create thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Further, health insurance does not cover lost wages and property damage, while UM coverage does. Thus, filing a claim with your own uninsured motorist coverage can cover medical bills you accumulate, help replace your lost wages, compensate you for property damage, and provide other coverage that your health insurance does not.
Get Help after an Accident with an Uninsured Motorist in Georgia
Consulting with a personal injury attorney in Atlanta should be your next step if you have been injured in an accident and plan to pursue compensation, whether the other driver is insured or not. Contact the Law Office of Jason Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804 to schedule a FREE consultation on your case.
The Insurance Adjuster Keeps Calling Me for a Recorded Statement. What Do I Do?
If you file a personal injury claim, you are likely to get phone calls from the insurance adjuster asking you to give a recorded statement. You should NOT provide the insurance adjuster a recorded statement without first talking with a lawyer.
Why Should I Not Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Adjuster?
The insurance company may cherry pick from your recorded statement to twist your words or take them out of context so they can use your own words against you. The adjuster’s job is to find ways to minimize the amount of money the insurance company has to pay you for your injuries. If you give a recorded statement, you may give the adjuster ammunition to justify reducing or denying your claim.
What Should I Say When an Insurance Adjuster Calls Asking for a Recorded Statement?
Politely refuse to give permission for the adjuster to record the phone call. Do not provide any information over the phone. Be professional and stay calm, no matter how insistent the adjuster becomes. Just decline the recorded statement with one of the comments below, then disconnect the call. Here are some things you can say to the adjuster:
- “No, I do not give my permission for you to record this phone call.”
- “I decline to give any statement at this time.”
- “Please give me your name and contact information so I may return you call after I speak with my lawyer.”
Please also see our post on what not to say to the adjuster.
Can the Insurance Adjuster Deny My Claim If I Do Not Give a Recorded Statement?
No, but the insurance company does need to investigate the accident. The adjuster may be entitled to certain evidence and documents, but before you provide any statements or documents to the insurer, please check with your lawyer first.
What Are My Options When It Comes to Talking with an Insurance Adjuster?
The best option is to consult your lawyer prior to giving a statement or turning over documents. Your lawyer can guide you prior to giving the statement, and even handle communications with the insurance company for you.
So if the insurance company is calling you and asking for a recorded statement or other information, speak with a lawyer. Only talk with the adjuster or anyone else from the insurance company if your lawyer clears it. You have nothing to gain and everything to lose if you give the insurance adjuster a recorded statement.
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC will evaluate your personal injury claim at no cost to you. Call us at 404-474-0804 to set up your free consultation.
I know the statute of limitations for a car accident is 2 years from the date of the wreck. It has been over two years and the insurance company is telling me I missed the statute and there is nothing they can do. Is there any way around the 2 year limitation?
Possibly. If the at fault driver was given a traffic citation, you may be in luck. The Supreme Court of Georgia in the case of Beneke v. Parker held that the statute of limitations is tolled until final disposition of the citation. In other words, until the citation is paid or otherwise disposed of in court, the 2 year statute of limitations does not being to run on your personal injury claim.
Comparative Negligence in Georgia: How Does the Law Affect Personal Injury Settlements?
In any personal injury case, two major factors in the final outcome are proving negligence and causation. These comprise two of the four elements of personal injury cases. Negligence refers to a party’s failure to take reasonable care owed to another party. Causation refers to proving that this negligence is what led to an accident and the claimant’s injuries. If a party was negligent and caused the accident, that party is liable for another party’s injuries. But what happens if both parties involved were negligent and contributed to the accident?
Comparative negligence in Georgia allows injured parties to recover damages even if they were partially to blame for the accident. But the law can significantly affect your personal injury claim settlement. Therefore, collecting the right evidence to establish negligence and causation is vital. Attorney Jason Schultz helps automobile accident victims in Atlanta and nearby communities collect evidence, build their case, and recover a full and fair settlement, even if they were partially at fault.
Georgia Is a Modified Comparative Negligence State
In some states, being one percent at fault for an accident bars you from recovering any damages at all. These states follow contributory negligence laws. But most states allow you to recover damages even if you were partially negligent. These are comparative negligence states, of which there are sub-classes.
Some states say that you can recover damages even if you were 99 percent liable for the accident. These are pure comparative negligence states. But Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state. Georgia lets people recover damages even if they were partially at fault, but parties who are 50 percent or more at fault cannot recover any damages.
If you were 49 percent at fault for a car accident, you are eligible to recover damages. However, if you were one percent more at fault (50 percent at fault), you cannot recover any damages. This example illustrates the importance of building an effective case that demonstrates the other party is more than half responsible for the wreck.
The other party may argue that you contributed to the accident by failing to use a turn signal or neglecting to repair or maintain your vehicle. The insurer may look for small details like these as a means of increasing your percentage of fault, even if you believe the other party is fully to blame
Proving negligence is not just a game of pointing fingers. To establish the other party’s negligence, attorney Jason Schultz investigates your accident, compiles police reports and eyewitness statements, works with expert witnesses as needed, and takes other actions necessary to establish fault.
Your Percentage of Fault Affects How Much You Can Recover
But even if you were 49 percent or less at fault, it still affects the final settlement or judgment. In Georgia, your percentage of fault proportionally reduces the amount you can recover. So, if you were 40 percent at fault, it reduces your recovery by 40 percent. In such a case, you can only recover 60 percent of your damages.
This again demonstrates the impact establishing fault and minimizing your own comparative negligence can have on your case. If your damages total $10,000 and the other party can prove you were 40 percent at fault, then you can only recover $6,000 instead of the full $10,000. The $4,000 difference can be significant if you are dealing with medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Of course, if you suffered $10,000 in damages and were 50 percent at fault for the accident, you could not recover anything under Georgia law.
Need help proving negligence and liability?
The law surrounding comparative negligence is complex. Insurers and judges consider many factors when determining which party is negligent and what percentage of fault they hold for the accident. That is why your case needs to thoroughly present evidence of another party’s negligence and make strong legal arguments regarding negligence and causation.
Jason Schultz can help you do that and can help you with every stage of the personal injury process. If you’re in the Atlanta area, call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804 for help with your personal injury claim after a serious accident. You can also fill out our online contact form to set up a consultation.
The insurance company has declared my truck a total loss. Can I keep it and get it repaired?
Yes. The truck is still your property. If you want to retain the truck, the insurance company will pay you the value of the truck at the time of the automobile accident minus its "salvage value", the amount it could sell it to a junk yard for parts. You will have to get it repaired and deal with getting it inspected and having a salvage title issued to you by the state of Georgia.
I didn't see a doctor for five months after the accident. Now, the insurance company is saying there is a time limit to see a doctor and they won't pay me. Is this true? Is there a time limit to see a doctor?
There is no official time limit to see a doctor. What the insurance company is saying is that they do not believe that your doctor visit, five months after the accident, was caused by the accident. They are saying that you won't be able to convince a jury of that. So, while there is no official time limit, they are betting that you won't be able to prove the connection. Each case is different, but in the vast majority of car accident cases, waiting five months to see any doctor, and then trying to blame the car accident for that care, won't get you very far. The insurance company will probably win that battle.