The injuries sustained in a car crash can be permanent and, in the worst cases, fatal. And even if your injury looks minor, the costs may end up being far higher than you anticipate, and the insurance provider will do everything in their power to pay out as little as possible. Oftentimes, victims of vehicle accidents are left carrying the bill for thousands of dollars in hospital bills after their insurer believes they’ve fulfilled their obligation.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident in Gainesville, GA, because of someone else’s negligence, learning your legal options is vital. This is especially crucial if you want to sue the other party.
The team at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines can help. When you choose one of our Gainesville GA car accident lawyers to represent you, we will investigate every aspect of your financial losses. Your lawyer will collect evidence to help you negotiate a fair settlement or win a judgment in court.
Common Causes Of Gainesville GA Car Accidents
Every year, thousands of Americans are injured or killed in motor vehicle collisions. In 2021, there were 2,058 total car accidents reported in Gainesville, GA, alone.
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, you may be able to seek compensation for your suffering by filing a claim for personal injury. However, the cause of the collision has an important role to play. A car accident claim is generally possible if it can be proven that the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence or failure to carry out reasonable care.
Here are some of the most common causes of car accidents in Gainesville, GA:
The purpose of establishing speed limits is to ensure the safe arrival of motorists at their destinations. It’s a well-known reality that drivers’ accident risks skyrocket when they opt to ignore posted speed limits. Driving at high speeds makes it more difficult to navigate twists and bends safely. Drivers also have less time to respond to sudden lane changes or other hazards.
Violation of a Traffic Signal
Accidents can happen if drivers don’t obey traffic signals and yield completely at stop signs. When in the right of way and moving quickly, a motorist may not anticipate another car running the stoplight or the signal. Driving past a four-way stop sign could cause a collision on the side of the vehicle. Those inside a passenger vehicle are more vulnerable to severe injuries or death in a side-impact collision.
Texting While Driving
Every day, nine people in the United States lose their lives because they are texting and driving. According to the National Safety Council, there are 1.6 million car accidents caused by drivers using their mobile phones, and about 330,000 people are injured in these incidents each year due to drivers texting while driving.
Eating or drinking, conversing with passengers, messing with the car’s sound, entertainment, or GPS system, and any other activity that diverts your focus from the job of driving safely increases the risk of an accident.
Driving Under the Influence
It’s against the law to operate a motor vehicle when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but many people do it, nonetheless. People who have been drinking or using substances are less able to focus on the road and multiple tasks at once. Intoxicated motorists, for instance, are less able to maintain control of their vehicle, such as by keeping their speed in check and staying in their lane. The annual death toll due to drunk driving in the United States is estimated at 10,000.
Inclement Weather Conditions
It’s not uncommon for Georgia roads to be dangerous due to heavy rain, wet pavement, or even a hurricane. High-speed winds can cause motorists to lose control of their vehicles, which can lead to an accident. When a driver isn’t prepared for a car to respond in a way it wouldn’t ordinarily do due to the weather, it can set off a domino effect.
Fatigue or Exhaustion
One report estimates that up to 6,000 people lose their lives in car accidents caused by drowsy drivers every year. Not all drivers have the luxury of a full night’s rest before hitting the road. Some spend their days driving long distances for a living. A motorist who hasn’t gotten enough rest won’t be as alert or quick to react. Tired drivers can’t respond as quickly and pay as much attention on the road as their well-rested counterparts.
To become a better driver, all it takes is time behind the wheel and some experience with the unforeseen. Those who haven’t got as much practice on the road may not be able to spot hazards in time to avoid collisions. Young drivers in general, but especially teenagers, are unsafe on the road due to their lack of experience.
Common Car Accident Injuries in Gainesville, GA
Every car wreck is different, with various factors affecting how badly people are injured and how much damage is incurred. It’s possible to sustain severe injuries to just about any part of your body from the impact of the collision. However, the most typical injuries sustained in automobile accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Joint damage
- Internal injuries and bleeding
- Deep cuts, bruising, and scarring
Things To Do Following a Car Accident
If you have been involved in a car accident in Gainesville, here are some of the steps you should take:
- Get medical attention: Try to move your car to a safe area away from oncoming traffic, keep an eye on your surroundings, and then dial 911. Examine yourself and any other passengers for injuries; if someone is injured, you should either provide first aid or try to find witnesses who can assist you.
- Report the accident to the police: It is not necessary to report every accident. This will be determined by the extent of the damage and injuries. If someone is injured or killed, or when their property is damaged to the amount of at least $500, the driver of the vehicle at fault is legally obliged to report the incident to the appropriate authorities as early as possible.
- Document the scene: Take a picture of the other vehicle that clearly shows the license plate number right after you phone the police to report an accident. If you or your property were injured or damaged in the accident, having evidence of what happened is essential. For the insurance company to pay out on your claim, you’ll need proof that the other driver was at fault. Get their name and phone number as well.
- Get in touch with your attorney right away: Lastly, after you’ve finished taking pictures and gathering information at the accident site, it’s time to contact your Gainesville GA car accident attorney. With the information you’ve collected, we’ll be able to look into all possible insurance policies and determine which ones apply to your situation.
How Much Money Can You Claim in a Car Accident Case?
There is a great chance that you are now dealing with emotional anguish, time off work due to injuries, and astronomical medical expenses. Based on the specifics of your case, we will determine how much your losses are worth. Our legal team can pursue compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
Financial losses are known as “economic damages” directly resulting from an accident. There may be paperwork or documents you have previously collected that itemize the monetary losses you’ve incurred, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Transportation expenses
- Medical equipment
In contrast to economic damages, which may be more easily calculated, non-economic damages are vaguer and more difficult to pin down in monetary values. In a personal injury lawsuit, non-economic damages can include things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological and emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
To help determine the value of your non-economic damages, the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines may consult with medical or vocational specialists. Nevertheless, you may be entitled to damages for losses not enumerated here.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are only given when the other party’s actions are willful, malicious, or extremely reckless. Therefore, this type of compensation is unavailable in most cases involving car accidents. Our team will investigate your claim thoroughly to determine whether you are eligible for punitive compensation.
How Much Is Your Car Accident Case Worth?
In the aftermath of a car accident, one of the first things you may be wondering is how much compensation you stand to receive from filing a personal injury claim. It would be difficult to provide a reliable estimate without first thoroughly examining the many variables that go into calculating your potential compensation.
Your settlement amount can be estimated by totaling the costs you have incurred because of the accident, such as medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses. You might ask for a larger compensation if you can prove that the accident negatively impacted your personal life.
In the case of vehicle accident victims, for instance, it is not uncommon for them to experience a significant decline in their quality of life because of long-term physical pain and emotional anguish. Vehicle collisions can also have an impact on interpersonal relationships. The sum you ultimately receive from your settlement will depend on how drastically your life has been affected.
The other driver’s behavior and motives could also have an influence on how much your compensation is worth. The settlement amount may increase if gross negligence or deliberate intent is a factor.
How To Get a Fair Settlement Based on Your Damages
Having an experienced car accident attorney on your side is your best option for fair injury compensation following a car accident in Georgia. An experienced attorney can defend your legal interests, look into the accident, deal with the insurance provider, and go to court if necessary. As seasoned Gainesville GA car accident lawyers we understand how insurance companies work. We have dealt with more than our share of problematic insurance providers and the employees they hire.
What Can You Expect If You Also Contributed to a Car Accident in Gainesville?
Even if you contributed to what caused the accident, you could still seek financial compensation for your injuries. This is due to Georgia’s modified comparative negligence system. If you are found to be partially at fault, you may still be able to collect on your injury settlement, but the amount will be reduced in accordance with your degree of blame.
A jury may find you 10% at fault for your injuries if, for instance, you were not wearing a seatbelt in the vehicle crash. The jury has decided to give you $100,000 in damages. Their judgment of comparative negligence means that your award will be lowered by 10% (to $90,000) to reflect your share of the responsibility for the accident. State law prevents you from claiming damages if you were more than half to blame for the accident.
The insurance adjuster will try to make you seem more at fault than you actually are. This is because insurance companies save money by finding new ways to hold you partially responsible for an accident. If you don’t fight back against these strategies, you may never get the compensation you deserve.
As you can see, having an experienced lawyer on your side is crucial to ensuring that the insurance company or jury in your car accident case assigns fault where it is due. When you hire our Gainesville GA car accident lawyers, you can rest assured that the insurance company won’t take advantage of you. We’ll stand up for you no matter what, doing all in our power to shift as much blame away from you as possible.
Options for Pursuing Compensation as an Injured Passenger
There are several ways that injured passengers can seek compensation. What you do next could be affected by what led to your accident. Here are some of your options:
Claiming Damages From the Insurance of the Vehicle’s Driver or Owner
In some cases, only one car is involved in a collision. A speeding, distracted, or otherwise careless driver might easily lose control of their vehicle and create an accident involving only their vehicle. There’s a chance that the driver you were with was at fault for the accident. It doesn’t matter who was at fault; you can make a claim on the insurance of the car you were riding in. But if you are the driver’s relative or live with them, you will likely be deemed covered under that policy and excluded from filing a negligence claim.
Claiming Damages From the Other Vehicle’s Driver or Owner
If you were a rider in a car involved in a crash and the other motorist was at fault, you may be able to make a claim on their insurance. If the policy limits of the driver whose car you were in are insufficient to pay for your medical costs, you may need to make a claim against the other driver. By doing so, you can see if they’ll pay the remaining amount of your medical bills.
Using Med Pay To Cover Your Medical Costs
Since Med Pay benefits are independent of responsibility and claims, they are typically paid out more quickly. Take advantage of your Med Pay benefits if you have unexpected and urgent medical expenses. Although Med Pay will pay your medical costs up to the policy limitations, it will not address pain and suffering, lost income, or similar losses. Nevertheless, you can still pursue a claim for these damages against the negligent party’s insurance provider.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits in Georgia?
When faced with the prospect of a time-consuming and costly lawsuit, insurance firms can file a lawsuit in support of a settlement agreement. Injuries sustained in a car accident in Georgia typically have a statute of limitations of two years. The aforementioned timeframe of two years will commence on the accident date. You risk having your lawsuit dismissed as “untimely” if you wait more than two years to submit it after the deadline in question. After that time, you forfeit any right to monetary compensation. However, there are situations when you may only have a few weeks to act before your window of opportunity closes forever because of unforeseen circumstances.
That’s why you need to speak with an attorney without delay. If we’re going to build the strongest case possible for you, we have to get started on it right away. The sooner you take action, the higher your likelihood of receiving the compensation you deserve
Common Hurdles Passengers Need to Overcome When Trying to Get Fair Compensation After an Accident
Although Georgia law provides injured passengers with explicit protections, it may be difficult to win fair compensation. Some potential problems you may face are listed below:
- Claims that your injuries are your own fault: Insurance companies will likely try to pin the blame on you so they can get out of paying for your injury. They might say you were the one who caused the accident by, say, fiddling with the radio or failing to wear your seatbelt. Our Gainesville GA car accident lawyers are familiar with these common insurance defense strategies and can handle them on your behalf.
- Insurance providers pointing fingers at each other: While the insurance providers may not hold you liable for your injuries, they may try to push the responsibility on each other. If the insurance companies for either driver contest responsibility, you’ll need evidence to show how much compensation is owed by each.
- Claims That Injuries Occurred Before or After the Accident: Visiting a medical professional as early as possible following a car accident is crucial if you plan on pursuing compensation for injuries. Insurance providers may try to claim that your injuries are not related to the accident if you don’t have medical records showing that they were sustained due to the collision.
- Substantiating the Economic and Non-economic Losses Caused by the Accident: The difficulty of proving the financial and intangible consequences of injuries sustained in a car collision is a major challenge for injured passengers and drivers. Insurance companies won’t do the math for you and may even try to reduce the amount you recover if you file a claim. You should choose a seasoned lawyer to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
The Role of a Car Accident Attorney in a Passenger’s Injury Claim
Because of Georgia’s insurance laws, it can be challenging to pursue additional compensation by yourself. You should get some professional advice. When you choose the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines to represent you after a car accident-related injury, an experienced attorney will do the following on your behalf:
- Look into your car accident: We will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, gathering information from all sources, such as medical records, police reports, interviews with any potential witnesses, and expert testimony.
- Build a strong case: Next, we will help you file a claim to show that the accident was the result of the other party’s negligence and that your injuries are severe. Our proposed financial settlement will be included in the claim as well.
- Pursue just compensation: We will negotiate for the highest possible settlement or take your case to trial if we believe the other side’s settlement is too low to ensure you receive justice and the compensation you are due.
Find a Gainesville GA Car Accident Lawyer Near You
One moment your life is normal, and the next, everything has changed because of a car crash. To put the pieces of your life back together, you need a reasonable settlement amount from the at-fault party. The passionate lawyers at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines have the knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your car accident claim. If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, please call our office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Gainesville GA car accident lawyers.