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Car Accidents

Atlanta Car Accident Attorney

Atlanta car accident attorney Walter Gabriel gets results for people injured in automobile crashes around the metro area and across the state of Georgia. Each year, car accidents cause thousands of deaths and permanent changes to many peoples’ lives. It is estimated that in 2019, 38,800 people lost their lives to car accidents. Accidents often cause severe and lasting impact. This occurs sometimes even if the impact is minor or if the accident victim feels pain days, or even weeks after the wreck. Common injuries that car accident victims sustain include the following:

  • Neck pain and back pain
  • Strain of muscle
  • General back pain
  • Numbness and tingling in upper and lower extremity
  • Cervicalgia
  • Paresthesia
  • Headache
  • Neck pain and neck stiffness
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Shooting pain in legs
  • Disc bulging
  • Spinal misalignment
  • Radiculopathy
  • Acromioclavicular joint separation
  • Lumbar contusion
  • Dysfunction of cervical region

Some of the most serious car accidents cause the following injuries:

Those who are unfamiliar with the litigation process often perceive car accidents as easy to handle. This is not necessarily true, however. Litigation often complicates matters as the dispute develops.

Common Scenario Involving Car Accidents

For example, let’s consider a basic distracted driving accident. Suppose that the defendant was texting when they collided into you. This case might seem simple upon first impression. But effective advocacy is not merely about “winning” a case by proving that the defendant is liable. We believe that in these cases, damage awards measure true success. There is a difference between “winning” a case with $100,000 in damages, versus obtaining a win with only $250.

Perhaps the defendant challenges the severity of your injuries. Or the defendant believes that you contributed (partially) to the accident, thus reducing your total damage recovery. If the defendant is particularly aggressive, they could complicate your dispute. As such, it’s important that you work with an attorney who will advocate aggressively on your behalf. Contact the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC for assistance.

Common Risk Factors Contributing to Car Accidents

A number of risk factors often contribute to car accidents. Examples include:

  • Mechanical defects
  • Road hazards
  • Intoxicated driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Unlicensed drivers.
  • Following too closely
  • Violation of Georgia’s “hands’-free” law

Not all disputes progress in the same manner. Accident claims can give rise to arguments brought on the basis of premises liability, product defect liability, and other theories. The damages available to an injured plaintiff may vary along a wide spectrum based on the circumstances underlying the accident.
For example, a Georgia court may award compensatory damages, and also punish the defendant with punitive damages. Georgia law allows for punitive damages under very limited circumstances. One circumstance includes drunk driving accidents where the defendant acted with a reckless disregard for the safety of others.

I Was Injured From A Car Accident – What Are My Rights?

Before you consider what you are owed, you must establish liability attributable to the other driver. This means the other party caused your motor vehicle collision. This is often disputed in cases where your vehicle was side swiped, the other driver isn’t cited by the responding police officer, or when, worse of all, no police report is made that documents the motor vehicle collision. Only then can you consider your due compensation. Once you establish fault you may receive the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical bills
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of consortium
  • Permanent physical impairment
  • Punitive damages

If you were injured, you may receive reimbursement for the cost of the medical bills that you incurred that are a result of your wreck. If any doctor gives a medical opinion that you will need future medical treatment, then you may receive payment that covers the cost of your future medical needs. Your physical pain and suffering is something that cannot be undone. In our legal system, money is the only form of redress for your injuries.

How much money you receive as a result of your pain is complicated and depends on multiple factors. If you’ve suffered emotional trauma, especially if the trauma has caused you to seek counseling from a mental health professional, you are also entitled to compensation for your emotional harm. Time missed from work is also a category of damages. If you are no longer able to perform what are referred to as “activities of daily living” such as gardening or spending time with your children, then you are entitled for this loss. Juries and courts award punitive damages to punish wrongful conduct.

What Should I Do Right After a Car Accident?

Check for the condition of other passengers in the car with you, and if safe, make sure the other driver is also physically in a stable condition. If the cars are in a safe place, then call the police. If things remain cordial between you and the other driver, exchange insurance information with one another. Also, call the police so a report can be drafted by a police officer.

Do NOT provide a recorded statement to the other person’s insurance company. Immediately seek medical attention after the responding police officer concludes their investigation of the collision scene and provides you with a police report number. Once you’re made it home, check your declarations page of your own automobile insurance policy to see if you have either medpay or personal injury protection that you may use to pay medical bills for your wreck. Be sure to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician, or another doctor within your health insurance network who customarily treats people who have been injured in car accidents.

The Insurance Company Offered Me Money Right After the Accident – Do I need An Atlanta Car Accident Attorney?

While it is always best to consult with an experienced car accident attorney, in some cases you may want to settle your car accident case on your own. For example, if you know your injuries are minor after consulting with a doctor, and the offered amount from the insurance company is enough to pay all of your medical bills and compensate your pain and suffering, then it may make sense to settle your case without an attorney. We advise that you still consult with an attorney before settling. At the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, we often provide free guidance for injury victims on whether an offer from an insurance company is fair. We are happy to do so for you as well.

What if I Can’t Afford My Own Atlanta Car Accident Attorney?

For cases involving car accidents, we never charge a client out of pocket for any attorney’s fees. This means that clients do not pay us any money before their case settles. To put it another way, when you sign up as a client with our firm, you will not pay us a single dollar. Once your case settles or reaches a jury verdict, our attorney’s fee comes from a portion of your recovery. If for whatever reason your case does not result in a settlement or jury verdict, you will still not owe any attorney’s fee. This arrangement is known as a contingency fee agreement.

What if the Officer Didn’t Cite the Other Driver?

As long as the other driver is truly at fault for your car accident, you should be able to establish your entitlement to money for your medical bills and injuries. In some cases the responding officer believed the other driver to be at fault, but via officer discretion decided not to issue a ticket. While the responding officer is vital to creating a neutral account of the causes of the motor vehicle collision, the officer is almost never an eyewitness to the collision.

What If the Other Driver’s Insurance Company Calls Me?

Regardless of whether you have your own attorney, you are under no obligation to speak to the other driver’s insurance company. And you have nothing to benefit from speaking to the other driver’s insurance representative. If you are not represented by an attorney by the time the other driver’s insurance company calls, simply tell the insurance rep that you do not wish to answer any questions about how the accident occurred or about your injuries that have resulted from the wreck. If an attorney represents you, simply inform the insurance adjuster that you are represented by counsel, and the adjuster should cease questioning you about the car wreck.

I Don’t Feel Hurt – Do I Still Need to See A Doctor?

Yes – you should always seek the attention of a doctor after a car accident. Our top goal following a car accident is to help you return your physical and emotional health to where it was before the wreck occurred. You may not know that you have sustained an injury until days, or even longer, after the accident occurred. And your late visit to a doctor may have a negative impact on your medical recovery.

Do I Have A Case If I Was Partly At Fault?

When in doubt about whether you have a car accident case, you should always consult with an attorney. Our attorney-client consultations are free, so there is no harm in speaking with an attorney to determine whether you still have a case, despite what you may think about your role in contributing to the car accident. In some cases, even if you are partly at-fault for your car accident, you may still be able to recover money from your car accident case.

How Do I Get My Car Repaired?

Once the responding officer finishes drafting the police report, which usually occurs a few days after the motor vehicle collision, you will then be able to see the insurance company and policy number of the at-fault driver. Use this information to open a property damage claim on the other driver’s insurance policy. This allows you to make a property damage claim on the at-fault driver’s policy. And this helps you avoid paying a deductible for your vehicle repair. Select a reputable body shop to repair your car.

Once you have selected a dealer, inform the insurance adjuster for the other driver. The body shop should send you an estimate for your repairs. It should also notify you of the final cost once it has completed repairs. Often, the body shop will bill the insurance company directly. In this case you will not have to worry about payment for your car repairs.

What If the Other Driver Didn’t Have Insurance?

Uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage applies when the driver who causes the wreck did not have insurance coverage. If you have an uninsured motorist policy, then you have coverage that you can apply to your claim. To see if you have uninsured motorist coverage, you should review your auto insurance declarations page.

Even if your own automobile policy shows that you do not possess uninsured motorist coverage, you still may receive coverage. Such situations include: (1) If you lived in the same household of another person who possessed UM coverage at the time of the accident, (2) if you were a permissive driver of a vehicle that had UM coverage, and (3) if you were a passenger in a vehicle where the driver possessed UM coverage.

Generally speaking, there are two types of uninsured motorist coverage. The first type is “add-on” or “excess” uninsured motorist coverage. These policies allow you to “stack” coverage on top of the liability policy. The other, and less favorable type of underinsured motorist coverage is “reduced by” coverage. This means the amount of liability coverage reduces the amount of UM available. 

Can an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney Tell Me What My Case is Worth?

The value of car accidents always depend on a number of factors, as no two cases are exactly the same. Common factors affecting the value of a case include the amount of medical bills, type of medical treatment needed, duration of medical treatment, extent of time missed from work, whether permanent bodily impairment exists, whether surgery has occurred or is recommended, the potential venue for the lawsuit, and whether the defendant is a corporate defendant. While noting these factors, understand that there is no set formula for determining the value of an accident claim. The subjectivity applies when considering what a jury might do when determining the extent of your pain and suffering, which does not have a fixed dollar amount. 

If I Hire An Atlanta Car Accident Attorney, Do I Have to go to Court?

No. Most claims for car accidents settle without ever having to file a lawsuit. Also, the vast majority of lawsuits settle before ever having a trial before a jury. In most cases, claims for car accidents settle when the insurance company offers enough money to satisfy your medical bills and adequately compensate you for your pain and suffering. Whether a case goes to trial or settles, of course, is your choice as the client. 

My Car Accident Happened While I Was Traveling Out of State – Who Do I Hire?

We have settled cases on behalf of clients who were out of state when their injury occurred in Georgia. We have also settled cases on behalf of Georgia residents whose injuries occurred outside of the State of Georgia. To put it in other words, call us if your car accident occurred outside of your home state. We are Atlanta car accident attorneys, but we frequently represent out-of-state clients through associating with attorneys in the state where the client has been injured.

Statute of Limitations in Car Accidents – Georgia

Statutes of limitations are statutes that provide for the deadline to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file a lawsuit in time, you lose the right to recover.

Georgia drivers, in most cases, have two years from the date of the collision to file a lawsuit. Claimants making claims against cities in Georgia must properly deliver an ante litem notice within six months.

Courts impose very strict guidelines as to what constitutes sufficient notice to cities in the State of Georgia. If you wish to make your own claim with the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta City Council has a claim form on its own website. Claimants must provide similar notice properly delivered to Georgia counties within 12 months, and Georgia state agencies within 12 months. In cases where the minor is the claimant, Georgia tolls the deadline until the minor becomes 18. In cases where the underlying tort is a crime, tolling provisions also apply. Tolling also applies when either the claimant or at-fault driver has died.

Statute of Limitations in Car Accidents – Louisiana

In Louisiana, Article 3492 of the Civil Code governs the statute of limitations for personal injury claims. In many other states the statute of limitations for most personal injury actions is two years. Louisiana, however, implements a one-year statute of limitations. This is a liberative prescriptive period, and it runs from the date of injury. If you fail to file your claim before deadline passes, then you will lose your right to recover. Georgia imposes a two-year deadline for most injury claims, but shorter deadlines exist for claims against Georgia government agencies.

Given the importance of filing a timely claim, we encourage you to get in touch with the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC as soon as possible. We will evaluate your car accident injury claims and — if we take you on as a client — will file a lawsuit in a Georgia or Louisiana court of law on your behalf.

Louisiana provides a number of exceptions to the statute of limitations. These exceptions allow you to extend the deadline. One example is the discovery rule. This rule suspends the running of the statute of limitations period until you discover (or reasonably should discover) your injuries.

Contact an Experienced Atlanta Car Accident Attorney for a Free and Confidential Consultation

Here at the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC, we have extensive experience handling a range of personal injury claims, including car accidents disputes. Attorney Walter Gabriel has worked as both a prosecutor and as a plaintiff’s attorney. His unique perspective on how to approach a dispute so as to secure a successful result in challenging circumstances comes from the substantial breadth and depth of his experience in litigation.

Close engagement with the client is the key to effective legal representation in a personal injury case. We have critical information on the case at-hand and how it relates to the client’s aspirations and concerns. This empowers us to be aggressive on behalf of our clients, rather than in a defensive and reactive manner.

Contact Atlanta car accident attorney Walter Gabriel to find out if you have a case. Call 404-549-6742 or submit a case evaluation form online to request a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Atlanta personal injury lawyer at the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC today.