Over 10 million car crashes occur every year throughout the U.S. And the odds are high that a driver will be involved in at least a minor accident by the time they are 34, at the latest. But the car insurance industry estimates that vehicle owners will file a claim, on average, once every 17.9 years.
While most of those accidents are minor, some are not. Auto wrecks can be very serious and come with life-altering complications. In those situations, it’s a good idea to involve a Hampton car accident attorney for help with your legal claim. John Foy & Associates has been helping car accident victims throughout Georgia for over two decades.
Is It Worth Getting a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
Yes, it’s almost always worth at least contacting a lawyer about your car accident, especially when those lawyers don’t get paid unless you do. There’s no risk to hiring a Hampton car accident attorney who works on a contingency-fee basis. That means their payment comes if, and only if, you win the compensation you deserve.
However, people who try to file a claim in the Hampton municipal court on their own without the help of a lawyer have far slimmer chances of getting the compensation they need. Without an attorney by your side, the other party’s lawyer and the insurance company will do everything in their power to trick you and take advantage of your inexperience.
That’s why, if you’re even considering pursuing a claim, you should talk to a personal injury lawyer. At your free initial consultation, your attorney will listen to your story and assess your situation. They will tell you if you have a valid claim and what steps they can take to get you compensation.
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What Can a Car Accident Lawyer Do for You?
The job of a car accident lawyer is not simple – your attorney will have to do a range of things in order to prove that you were the victim of someone else’s negligence. Those can include:
- Investigating your case and gathering evidence
- Calculating your damages
- Negotiating with the insurance company
- Fighting for you in court if necessary
In most cases, car accident claims are settled outside of court. However, in some rare instances, negotiations break down and the claim goes to trial. In the unlikely event of that happening, your car accident attorney in Hampton will fight to make sure you get the results you deserve.
What Type of Compensation Can You Get After a Car Accident?
In any personal injury case, your compensation is based on specific damages. In order to show how much you’re owed for your accident, your lawyer will have to calculate your damages based on medical bills, diagnoses, and other documents. These damages can be either financial costs (economic damages) or costs to your quality of life (non-economic damages).
Damages that you could collect for a car accident in Georgia include:
- Medical expenses
- Therapy or other ongoing treatments
- Accessibility accommodations
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Wrongful death
When your personal injury attorney calculates your damages, they will take into account both expenses that you have paid, as well as those that you’re likely to pay in the future. That way, you can have enough to not have to worry about how you’re going to pay for your treatment.
How does Fault or Liability Work in a Car Accident Case?
To recover money damages for your car accident, you must prove that another driver or person was at least partially at fault for the incident. In some situations, this process is straightforward while in others, it can be very complicated.
Your car accident lawyer in Hampton must be able to show that a driver was negligent as part of your car accident. Proving a driver is at fault is part of demonstrating they are legally liable for your injuries and damages. If you can prove fault, you are well on your way to being able to collect money damages to account for your losses.
Proving negligence requires that you show the following four facts:
- The other driver had a duty to you
- The driver violated that duty
- The violation caused harm or damages
- You actually suffered harm or damages
Proving these four facts is necessary to recover damages in your car accident case. Fault, by contrast, only applies to the violation of the duty of care that another driver has to others on the road. Their wrongdoing will often lead to damages, but it isn’t technically required to show fault.
Here are some examples of situations where the driver is at fault for an accident:
- Running a stoplight and t-boning another vehicle
- Taking a corner too close and striking a car at the intersection
- Following too closely to safely stop when the vehicle in front of them stops
- Texting while driving and failing to notice the car in front of them stopping
In these situations, it’s easy to see how closely related negligence and fault really are. But just because these drivers are at fault doesn’t always mean that there are damages. For example, if a driver was following too closely but was able to stop in time to avoid a crash, no damages would likely result.
What Happens If More than One Person Is at Fault for the Crash?
It’s actually fairly common for more than one person to hold blame for an accident. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean a driver can’t file a car accident claim in Hampton municipal court, according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-12-33.
Georgia is known as a modified comparative fault state. That means you can be partially at fault for the accident and still recover a portion of your losses from the crash. The total money damages that you can receive is just reduced for whatever portion of the fault that is attributed to you.
Example: Someone runs a red light and hits you as you are going through an intersection. They are clearly at fault, but you were also speeding slightly. The accident wouldn’t have occurred if you weren’t driving over the speed limit. That might mean that you are at fault, too.
The jury will consider all these facts and assign a percentage of fault to each person. The other driver might be 95% at fault, and you are 5% at fault. That means whatever money damages you are awarded will be reduced by 5% to account for your portion of the fault.
Many people make the mistake of thinking they don’t have any legal options if they are even remotely to blame for the accident. This often just isn’t true. Talking to an attorney about the unique facts of your situation will help you determine your legal options and whether or not you can still seek damages.
How Long do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?
Every legal case in Hampton has a time limitation. For car accidents, you must start your claim within two years of the date of the accident. There are a few exceptions to this general rule, but they rarely apply. This might seem like plenty of time, but there are a lot of steps in the car accident claim process—and the sooner you can get started, the better.
It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer as soon as you can after a car accident so that you avoid any problems with this limitation. Your attorney can also start the investigation process right away. The insurance company starts investigating virtually immediately after a crash—and you should too.
Talk to a Hampton Car Accident Attorney for Free
Car accidents can be overwhelming in a lot of ways, from the accident itself to getting the right medical care and determining how you are going to get back to work. Having the Hampton car accident lawyers at John Foy & Associates on your side helps take some of these pressures off your plate.
We have seen everything from run-of-the-mill crashes to some extremely unique circumstances. We put all our knowledge and experience to work for you the second you walk into our office, and we never work for insurance companies because we are passionate about getting accident victims back on their feet after such a traumatic experience.
Let us give you a FREE consultation to discuss your options and how we can help. Call us at (404) 400-4000, or fill out the form to your right and get your free consultation today.