Car accidents happen to the best of us. Even if you’re a careful driver, others on the road may not exercise the same caution—which can ultimately lead to a collision. If you were in a car accident, you might worry about how to pay for the costs of your injuries, vehicle damage, and other expenses. But if the car accident was not your fault, you have a legal right to seek financial recovery for all of your damages.
Under Georgia law, you are entitled to make an insurance claim for damages you face after a car accident you didn’t cause. Here’s what you need to know about getting that payment.
Who Is Responsible for the Costs of a Car Accident?
If you live in an at-fault state like Georgia, the person who caused the accident is responsible for all costs. Or, more accurately in most cases, that person’s auto insurance company is responsible for paying the damages. The other driver’s insurance will be legally required to pay for your expenses through a third-party claim.
This should be straightforward, but insurance companies are for-profit and will look for ways to pay you less. Even if you were clearly injured and your car was greatly damaged, the other driver’s insurance may try tactics like arguing you were partially to blame for the accident or that your damages aren’t as high as you claim.
This is where it’s priceless to have a car accident lawyer on your side. They can stand up to the insurance company and compile evidence of your damages. The lawyer can also help you calculate all your costs, including those that may be harder to quantify.
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How Much Money Can I Recover After a Car Accident?
When the insurance company covers your costs, they’ll write you a settlement check. This amount greatly varies depending on the severity of the accident and your costs.
Here are the most common damages you can usually claim after a car accident that wasn’t your fault:
You’ll need to see a doctor as soon as possible after your car accident, even if your injuries don’t seem too bad. You could have issues that worsen with time or become more painful after the adrenaline has worn off. It’s important to account for all medical costs like:
- Doctor visits
- Medical bills
- Prescription medications
If your car is damaged in the accident (which is highly likely), you can include those damages in your claim. This includes a totaled vehicle.
You probably had to miss work because of the accident and your injuries. You shouldn’t have to pay for the missed wages and are entitled to seek financial recovery for them.
Pain and Suffering Damages
These damages are harder to calculate, as they are meant to make up for non-financial losses, also known as “general damages.” The amount you should ask for pain and suffering after a car accident depends on how severe the accident and your injuries were—and how both impacted you.
Pain and suffering can include emotional damages, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of a loved one, or disfigurement from injuries.
A three-part formula is used for calculating pain and suffering:
- Hard costs like those listed above (medical costs, car repairs, etc) are calculated
- The severity of your suffering is rated on a scale of 1-5
- The total of hard costs is multiplied by the rating number
For example; if your original costs were $60,000 and your suffering was rated at a 4, your pain and suffering damages should be $240,000.
The final settlement amount also depends on whether or not the insurer agrees to the full amount of damages or claims. They may deny your initial claim and try to offer you a smaller settlement amount. In that case, you’ll want to contact an attorney who can help you negotiate a fair financial recovery. Otherwise, you’ll be left with additional expenses.
It’s also common for insurers to try offering you a lump sum upfront after the accident. Do not take this until you’ve spoken with a car accident lawyer. Also, don’t sign anything or admit any blame until you’ve had legal counsel with an attorney. Insurers may try to use whatever you say against you.
Again, the exact amount you can get paid for a car accident (that you didn’t cause) varies per accident, but car accident claims can easily get up to tens of thousands or hundreds or thousands of dollars. The goal is to get you the money that covers all of your damages and leaves you without the stress of paying anything out of pocket.
How Can I Increase My Financial Recovery After the Accident?
Evidence matters in a car accident claim. For you to recover all your damages, the other driver must be completely at fault and your injuries and other damages must be legitimate.
To protect your rights and demonstrate what you suffered, here are some important steps you can take after an accident.
You must report an accident to the police if there are injuries and/or vehicle damage. Call local police to report what happened, and give officers at the scene all the details you can remember. They will create a police report about the accident, which is an important piece of evidence for your claim.
Use your phone to take photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and your injuries. This will show the severity of the accident and what you suffered right after it. If your injuries get worse with time, take pictures to document the changes.
Take a Video of the Other Driver
If the other driver is acting strangely, such as if you suspect drunk driving, try to get a video of their behavior.
Talk to Witnesses
Talk to those who saw the accident happen, and get their names and contact information. Your lawyer will reach out to them later.
See a Doctor
As soon as possible, get medical treatment. If your injuries are severe, this should be your first step. Either way, the sooner you can get checked out by a doctor as a record of your injuries, the better.
Each of these actions will help build evidence of the accident, what you suffered, and the other driver’s liability. This can really help your case and your chance at getting paid the most for a car accident that was not your fault.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Don’t miss out on the chance to full payment for your costs after a car accident you didn’t cause. At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping car accident victims pursue full financial recovery for more than 20 years. We know how to win cases, and we never back down to pushback from insurance companies. Let us give you a FREE consultation to talk about your case and how we can help you seek recovery. Call us today at 404-400-4000, or fill out the form to the right for that free consultation.