Being in a car accident is a very stressful and frustrating situation—especially if you were not at fault for the crash. One moment can leave you with tons of medical bills, vehicle damage, and lost wages from the time you’ll have to miss work. Most of the time, you can file an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance company for damages—but if that doesn’t work, you may need to file a lawsuit after your car accident.
Before suing the at-fault driver, you will need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer who can help you build a strong case and make sure a lawsuit is the best decision for your situation.
How Long You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit
The amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after a car accident depends on the state where your accident happened. The Georgia statute of limitations to file a lawsuit is typically two years from the date of your accident. If you try to bring a case outside of that time limit, you will probably not be able to recover anything at all.
To avoid missing your chance of recovering the money you need for your damages, it’s very important that you take action as soon as possible. Two years can go extremely fast in the legal world because there are many, many steps involved in suing another driver for your accident.
If you’re not sure exactly how long you have left, contact a car accident lawyer in your state right away to discuss the details. Schedule a free legal consultation to find out what your options are and how your case may do if it goes to trial.
How to Strengthen Your Car Accident Case
If you decide to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in your car accident, you will need to have a very strong case against them. Lawsuits are expensive and lengthy, so you will want to make sure it’s worth it. Here are some of the ways you can build up your evidence.
Keep track of every record regarding your damages from the accident. You can begin gathering evidence right away by:
- Calling the police after your accident and making sure they create an accident report. You will need this for your claim.
- Taking pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and your vehicle damage.
- Talking to any witnesses and getting their names and contact information. Your lawyer will reach out to them later for statements.
- Exchanging information with the other driver in the crash, including their name, address, license plate number, driver’s license number, and insurance policy information.
- Seeing a doctor as soon as possible after the accident, even for minor aches or pains.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Whether you are still trying to file an insurance claim for your damages or have decided to sue the other driver, it’s always best to consult with a car accident lawyer. Experienced lawyers can look at a case and know the best steps to take. It’s a bad idea to try taking on a lawsuit without the expertise of a good car accident lawyer.
Many car accident victims worry about hiring a lawyer because they are afraid of having to make large payments. However, most car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they don’t get paid at all unless they win you money. Then, if they win you a settlement or an award in court, their pay is taken as a percentage of what they win you—not out of your own pocket.
Comparative Fault Laws in Car Accident Cases
Car accident cases are often more complicated than they initially seem, which can stretch out how long it takes to actually file your lawsuit. For example, the other driver or their insurance company may try to blame you for some or all of the car accident.
Chances are, the other driver is just trying to reduce their liability in the accident. However, sometimes both drivers do hold a degree of fault. Thankfully, you may still be able to seek damages for what you’ve suffered.
In Georgia, there is something called a modified comparative fault rule that allows you to still recover damages as long as you are less than 50% at fault for the accident (Georgia Code section 51-12-33):
- Under modified comparative fault, your damages would be reduced by the percentage of fault you hold in the accident.
- For example, if your damages totaled $10,000 and you were found to be 10% at fault, the other driver would still be responsible for $9,000 of your damages.
- You would then only be responsible for the remaining $1,000 (which is 10% of your damages).
Don’t be surprised if the insurance companies bring up comparative fault as you can seeking compensation, especially if you have a lot of damages.
Pursuing a Lawsuit is a Big Decision
Filing a lawsuit after a car accident is not a decision to make lightly. You will need to talk through the pros and cons with your lawyer before moving forward. Consider the number of damages you have, the strength of your evidence, and how likely the insurance company is to settle before you actually go to trial.
A lawsuit is a big ordeal to take on, but it can be worth it if you have a high chance of winning. If the insurance company is not willing to offer you a settlement that will come close to covering your medical bills, vehicle damage, lost wages, and more, taking the at-fault driver to court might be your best option.
Talk to a Georgia Car Accident Lawyer for Free
If you were hurt in a car accident and are concerned about getting compensation for the damages you suffered, contact John Foy & Associates right away. We can help you work towards the recovery you need and deserve to cover all your costs.
Call us today to (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to schedule a FREE consultation and case evaluation. We’ll discuss the details of your case and what your best options are—including whether or not it’s a good idea to file a lawsuit. Contact us today to get started with your FREE consultation.