If you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you have a right to recover money—sometimes a substantial amount of money. But the exact amount you can get is different with each car accident case.
To estimate the amount you can win, it helps to understand why the law allows you to get money in the first place. The idea is to “make you whole” for your losses. In other words, the money is supposed to balance out any damages, injuries and losses you’ve suffered. This isn’t always possible, but the law tries. For example, you can recover money for:
- The full cost of all of your medical bills (including treatment, medication and ongoing therapy)
- The total cost of any car repairs or other lost or damaged property
- Money to offset any wages you missed because your accident kept you from working
These are all hard financial costs, with an exact dollar amount attached. But some losses can’t be measured in money, such as the loss of full use of a limb, a permanent disability, or living with chronic pain. In these cases the law does allow you to recover extra money, which can never truly replace what you lost but helps offset its financial impact. The amount of extra money involved depends on how serious your pain and losses were. It could be a few thousand dollars for a minor injury, or hundreds of thousands for a life-changing trauma
So, the short answer to how much money you can win is:
- Add up all of your actual bills from the accident
- Add the total amount of money you lost from missing work
- Assume that your settlement could be at least that amount, and possibly much higher
How do I get the most money possible?
In a perfect world, if you were the victim of the accident then you would get the full amount allowed by the law. But our world is run by insurance companies, and they will try to reduce how much they have to pay you—or refuse to pay altogether. Here are some of the most common ways they will fight your claim:
- By claiming that you are the one at fault. Blaming you is the easiest way for the insurance company to get out of paying. If you are the one who caused the accident, they don’t have to pay you at all.
- By claiming that you’re partly at fault. Georgia allows both drivers involved in an accident to be considered partly at fault. The insurance company will do anything possible to drive up how much of the fault you share. If you are 40% at fault, for example, then they can pay you 40% less. If they can claim that you are 50% at fault or more, they don’t have to pay you at all.
- Arguing your injuries. Sometimes insurers will dispute whether your injuries are as bad as you say they are, whether the treatment you got was appropriate, or even whether the injury was related to the car crash at all. This is an underhanded approach that’s hard to fight if you don’t have a professional on your side.
- Delaying tactics. Insurers may drag on your claim for months, or even a year or more, hoping you will cave in and accept a lower amount.
The way to fight these tactics is to have good legal representation. Insurers come armed with whole teams of lawyers, and they know how to poke holes in your claim and cut down your payment as much as possible. There simply is no way to fight on a level playing field unless you have a lawyer of your own representing you. A good lawyer will not only know how to build up evidence for your claim, they will also have experience driving a hard bargain. They will pressure the insurer to pay you the full amount.
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How can I find out exactly how much money I deserve?
You need to see a good doctor and talk to a good lawyer. Some car accident lawyers will give you a free consultation to help you understand your case and how much money may be at stake. They can draw on their experience with hundreds of cases and give you a much more accurate idea of how much money to expect.
Many lawyers can also help you see talented doctors who understand your specific kind of injury, helping you get better relief right away and the most appropriate diagnosis to use in your claim. In many cases, these doctors will defer payment until your car accident settlement is paid.
Have you been injured? 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 to get your FREE consultation today.