In Georgia, most car accident cases are solved through an insurance claim process. However, drivers have the right to sue for the compensation they are owed. If this happens to you, there are ways to fight it—and to potentially use your insurance policy to cover the matter.
One of the best tools you can have in your arsenal is an experienced attorney like those on the team at John Foy & Associates. An attorney can review the lawsuit filed against you and fight back against anything that may be unfair. Your attorney will protect your legal rights and ensure you are not being taken advantage of.
The 3 Most Common Reasons for a Car Accident Lawsuit in Georgia
Georgia requires all drivers to carry insurance on their vehicles. This law is designed to do away with the need for expensive lawsuits. Because of this, if you caused an accident, the other driver should seek compensation from your insurance policy. (If the accident wasn’t your fault, and the other driver caused it, then it’s the other way around: you have a right to recover money from their insurance.) Most of the time, people only file a lawsuit if this system fails.
This leads to three common circumstances where we see one driver sue another:
- You don’t have insurance. If you don’t have car insurance or didn’t at the time of the accident, then the other driver has no way to recover their costs without suing you. This is a very common cause of a car accident lawsuit.
- Your insurance isn’t enough. Georgia only requires that you carry $50,000 in bodily injury insurance (with at least $25,000 per victim), and $25,000 in property insurance. The property damages to a vehicle rarely go over the $25,000 mark, but the medical cost of injuries can easily sail over the $50,000 limit. If this happens, your insurance won’t pay the other driver the full amount they need, and they may choose to sue you.
- The process took too long. Many drivers will try the insurance claim process first, but if it doesn’t get results, they will turn to a lawsuit. This is especially true if a legal deadline is looming. In Georgia, car accident victims only have 2 years to sue in most cases, so as the two-year mark approaches they may choose to file a lawsuit “just in case.” A lawsuit is also a way to get your attention, and they might be hoping it will convince you to put pressure on your insurance company to act faster.
Of course, these aren’t the only reasons people sue. Sometimes people are vindictive after an accident, or they may have hired a very aggressive attorney who urged them to sue to maximize the pressure on you. You can still defend yourself.
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What should you do if you are being sued for a car accident?
Be calm. These lawsuits are common and they are often resolved through insurance or with a settlement you can live with. Just because you are being sued doesn’t mean you’ll have to pay.
At the same time, you need to take it seriously. Lawsuits move quickly, and if you do not respond to the lawsuit, or put together a poor defense, you could end up losing a lot of money. If you are being sued, it is imperative that you speak to a lawyer. You should not face this kind of threat without professional legal guidance.
A good lawyer will explore several options for resolving the lawsuit:
- Pressuring your insurer to pay. Your insurer has a legal duty to you. If they are stalling or refusing to pay, it gives the other party no other option but to sue. By putting legal pressure on the insurer, you could end up with a win-win for both you and the driver suing you.
- Exploring uninsured motorist insurance. If you don’t have car insurance, the other driver may still be covered under their own uninsured motorist insurance or a medical payment insurance plan. Your lawyer can explore other options for getting them their money.
- Fighting the case. Just because the other driver says you’re at fault doesn’t mean you are. Your lawyer will reconstruct the case and find out exactly who was at fault—or if fault was shared. If the other driver is even partly at fault for the accident, you will owe them a lot less money. And if they were at least 50% at fault, you don’t owe them anything.
Do you need an attorney to help you if you’re being sued?
Retaining an attorney is one of the best ways to protect your rights if the other driver in your accident is suing you. An experienced attorney like those at John Foy knows the law and can tell you right away if the other driver is looking to take advantage of you and sue you for more than they are entitled to.
And, in some cases, you may not be at fault at all! Have an attorney review the lawsuit against you immediately so you can get to work on building a strong defense.
Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation toward expert representation
Have you been in a car accident? John Foy & Associates offers a free consultation with some of the most experienced and respected personal injury lawyers in Georgia. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 today.