There are many laws that govern the way vehicle accident claims are handled in Georgia. The law provides guidelines and rules that you must follow when filing and proceeding with a claim. An experienced Atlanta car accident attorney understands personal injury cases and will always work to get you the best possible settlement in accordance with the law.
Time Limit to File a Claim
Georgia law requires that you file a lawsuit for a personal injury claim within two years from when the cause of action occurs. This generally means that you must file a lawsuit no later than two years from the date of the injury. In wrongful death cases, you have two years from the date of the person’s death to file a claim. This date could be different than the date of the accident.
If you fail to file a lawsuit within the statutory time limits, the other party will file a motion showing that the deadline has passed. The judge will dismiss the case and you won’t be able to take the matter any further. In wrongful death lawsuits, the law allows up to four years to file a claim in some instances.
Modified Comparative Negligence
Some states have “no-fault” laws in place; however, Georgia is not one of them. In Georgia, a portion of responsibility will be ascribed to each driver involved in an accident. If the other driver was completely at fault they will be 100 percent negligent and you will be zero percent negligent. Not all accidents are that simple; sometimes both parties are partly to blame for the accident.
Georgia modified comparative negligence law allows a person to collect on a personal injury claim as long as they are less than 50 percent responsible for the accident. Your claim settlement will be reduced by the percentage of fault in the crash. For example, if you had medical expenses of $100,000 but were found to be 10 percent at fault, you will be entitled to no more than $90,000. A portion of negligence is typically determined by the insurance companies or by the judge if the case goes to court.
If you were injured in a vehicle accident, it is common to get medical treatment under your own personal insurance policy. If the other driver is found to be at fault for the accident, you should be reimbursed for your medical expenses. However, the law allows insurance companies to receive reimbursement for medical costs that they paid on your behalf. Therefore, if you get compensation for your medical expenses you will need to repay the insurance company for the portion of the costs that they paid for your treatment.
Damages in an Atlanta Personal Injury Case
There are a number of damages that you may receive in a personal injury case in Georgia. Damages may be economic or non-economic. Damages include such things as:
- Reimbursement for medical expenses
- Reimbursement for property damages
- Money for pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (income, companionship, child support)
- Punitive damages
Punitive damages are ordered as punishment when the negligent behavior was willful, malicious, or fraudulent. Punitive damages are capped in Georgia at $250,000, with few exceptions.
The laws regarding personal injury claims can be complex and they may change from time to time. It is best to discuss the details of your Atlanta car accident claim with our legal team at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers to learn the options available in your case.
Seth Bader is an Auto accident, Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Atlanta, Rome, Savannah, Norcross, Carrollton, Georgia. He graduated from Florida State University College of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years. Seth Bader believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.