Fayetteville Auto Accidents Lawyer
Auto Accident lawyers…can they make a difference? Yes! Contacting an experienced professional is necessary if you’ve recently been involved in a collision.
Fayetteville Car Wreck Lawyer Explains – Basics of a Georgia Car Wreck Lawsuit
A car wreck lawsuit is typically filed weeks or months after a car wreck occurs. Many times a case can be resolved by settlement without ever filing a lawsuit, but in these situations, it can help to seek out the advice of an experienced car accident attorney in Fayetteville, GA.
However, there are situations where it makes sense to file a suit. For instance, there may not be adequate insurance coverage due to multiple auto accident claims. It may alternatively be a case where the insurance company denies that their insured was at fault in the wreck. Yet another situation where immediately filing suit makes sense is where the person who caused the wreck may disappear if suit is not filed quickly so that they can be served with the lawsuit.
Fayetteville Auto Accident Lawyer Jonathan Wade has been filing suit to protect victims against at-fault drivers for 30 years. Jon will advise you when and if it is in your best interests to file suit. Keep in mind that disputes can be settled at any time before or even during trial. Finally, we always need to keep the statute of limitation (generally 2 years from the time of the wreck) in mind. Jon will always file a lawsuit to protect your legal rights from expiring if the statute is looming even while settlement negotiations are ongoing so that your injury rights are protected.
An auto accident lawsuit is a type of personal injury lawsuit and requires you as the injured party to prove certain things by introducing evidence pursuant to the law. You must present enough evidence to prove that all of those factual elements are more likely than not true (preponderance of the evidence). In the past 30 years, Fayetteville GA Car Wreck Lawyer Jonathan Wade has tried hundreds of lawsuits before juries and judges throughout Georgia. Jon is thus at home in the courtroom and knows the evidentiary rules to prove your case properly. Call Jon now to make sure that your case is handled properly in the courtroom. The four propositions or elements that you must prove as the injured party are that:
- The other driver owed you a “duty of care”: The “duty of care” is a legal responsibility to act or behave in a particular manner. In the context of auto accidents, every driver owes every other driver on the road a “duty of care” and must drive in a reasonably careful and prudent manner.
- The other driver breached the duty of care: A “breach” means that the other driver failed to behave as he or she ought to have. By engaging in careless or reckless conduct that tends to cause injury to others, a driver breaches the duty of care he or she owes to other motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and anyone else who may be using that particular roadway.
- The other driver’s breach caused your injuries: There must be a causal link between your injuries and the behavior and actions of the other driver. If your injuries cannot be causally linked to the behavior of the other driver, you will not be able to recover compensation from that driver no matter how unreasonable his or her behavior might have been.
Sometimes the issue of causation in an auto accident is clear: a driver runs a red light and strikes you perpendicularly, causing you to sustain bruising and head trauma. Other times causation can be challenging to prove and may require the expertise of engineers, wreck reconstruction experts, and/or medical experts in order to sufficiently demonstrate causation. Fayetteville GA Automobile Accident Lawyer Jonathan Wade has many years of experience evaluating cases and working with experts like those. If your case requires such outside experts, Jon knows them and will obtain their assistance to prove your case. Call Jon now to get him started working your auto accident case up the right way.
DEALING WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES
Insurance companies are increasingly forcing injured victims to jury trials in the auto accident arena. Lawyers for well-known nationwide auto insurance companies quietly acknowledge that defendants, for the most part, currently have the upper hand in front of juries in automobile accident litigation. Juries, on an average basis, are giving awards that very often are less in dollar amount than the victim was offered to resolve the matter prior to trial. Statistics compiled by various jury research projects seem to support these observations.
Injured victims should be mindful of a number of issues that affect the outcome of such trials. Veteran auto accident lawyers have long acknowledged that credibility or “believeability” is the absolute foundation of a successful trial. In short, if the twelve jurors believe that the plaintiff/victim is injured and the alleged tort (i.e. accident) was the cause of that injury then a favorable award may be forthcoming. Victims of auto accidents should remember to NEVER appear to be exaggerating the severity of any injury. Furthermore, such victims should not forget that juries generally “like” or are more receptive to people who appear to be trying their absolute best to recover from their injuries and get well.
Many other factors, of course, impact the results in an auto accident trial. There is little doubt, however, that the critical issue for any plaintiff in an auto accident suit is credibility. There is nothing more difficult for a lawyer representing a victim to deal with than a client who appears to be exaggerating auto accident injuries or feigning illness/sickness in hopes of “helping” the value of a lawsuit. Such actions are lethal to a case and easily detected by the collective wisdom of twelve jurors.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN A LAWSUIT
Litigation is defined as a lawsuit, or a legal action, including all proceedings therein. To litigate a case means to settle a dispute or seek relief in a court of law. It is a judicial contest, hence, any controversy that must be decided upon evidence in a court of law. It means to prosecute or defend by pleadings, evidence, and debate in a court. However, because you hire an auto accident lawyer to help you settle a dispute does not mean you have entered into a lawsuit.
Typically an individual contacts a lawyer when they are unable to resolve a dispute themselves. Once an auto accident lawyer has been hired there are numerous avenues that can be used to settle the dispute without the need for litigation. Typically, lawyers are able to settle disputes through settlement negotiations. This is true for all types of disputes including, but not limited to, personal injury, domestic relations, business law, contract disputes, debt collection and many others. Auto Accident Lawyers are often able to remove the emotions from a situation that cause individuals involved personally to hit unpassable obstacles in solving disputes themselves. Settlement negotiations can continue for various periods of time, depending a certain factors including the statute of limitations set for your type of dispute. Most actions are governed by some sort of fixed time period in which litigation must commence. These time limits are set by the legislature. It is important to remember that a case can still settle without the need for a court hearing after the case has been filed.
To initiate a lawsuit a document called a complaint is filed with the Clerk of the Court in the appropriate jursidiction. At this point the person filing the lawsuit becomes known as the Plaintiff or Petitioner. The individual being sued becomes known as the Defendant or Respondent. It is the Plaintiffs responsibility to ensure that the Defendant is served with the lawsuit. This can be accomplished through the Sheriffs office, the County Marshall, or by individual process servers who have been appointed by the court. Once served, the Defendant files an answer, responding to the allegations in the complaint. A period of discovery commences in which both sides are afforded the opportunity to develop their case by gathering relevant information that was not accessible to them prior to the lawsuit being filed. Once discovery has ended the case is placed on a trial calendar and the parties wait for a trial date to be set. Throughout all of this, a settlement can still occur and the need to go to court can be avoided.
During this period there are several alternatives that can be considered for settling the dispute including mediation and arbitration. Because of the backlog in the court system today it is often more expedient to have your case resolved through one of these avenues. An auto accident lawyer can help you understand the different ways to resolve your dispute, as well as give you advice on what they believe is the best choice for your individual situation. If litigation, mediation, or arbitration is necessary to resolve your dispute, a lawyer is able to help you get the best possible result.
As anyone who has been in a wreck involving a large truck or tractor trailer can tell you, wrecks involving trucks are different. More property damage, more injuries or deaths, and more fear. The carnage suffered by people who have been mowed down by these “highway missiles” is unspeakable.
However, that is not all that is different. The laws are different when a commercial vehicle is involved. Tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles have special rules that apply to them, some involving federal and state regulations. This is not like a typical car wreck case. If you or a loved one have been involved in a wreck with a truck, you need an auto accident attorney who has experience handling truck cases successfully.
For example, truck drivers and their companies are required to maintain certain records that are often critical to proving that the truck driver and/or the trucking company were negligent, or to increase the value of the damages. (For example, the driver’s log books and hours of operation). However, these records are only required to kept for a limited period of time. An experienced trucking attorney knows what to request, when to ask for it, and how to interpret the data contained in those records.
Further, truck cases often involve investigations by other regulatory and law enforcement agencies that simply the local police department. This information can make or break your case, and if you don’t know about it, the value of the case can be negatively effected, or can even make the case worthless if it is helpful to the trucking industry. Again, an experience truck wreck attorney knows where to go to ask about such investigations, which likewise often involve both federal and state regulatory authorities.
An additional factor in deciding on an auto accident attorney when you or a loved one has been in a collision with a truck is knowing who to sue. Did you know that unlike in a normal car wreck, sometimes the trucking company’s insurance company can be named as a party? Likewise, sometimes the truck company, the driver and the insurance company live or are based in different states. Deciding where to sue the case in this situation is a critical decision, because it effects the value of the case, whether the case can even be won, and whether a judgment against one or more of these potential defendants can even be enforced. (A judgment is nothing but a piece of paper if you cannot collect on it.) Only an experienced truck wreck attorney can successfully lead your case through these potential disasters.
As a final matter, an experienced trucking attorney has the financial ability to hire the multiple experts that are often necessary to prove and present the case in its best light to a jury, such as reconstruction engineers, trucking industry compliance specialists, life care planners, economists, and medical experts. Keep in mind the trucking industry and its insurers have unlimited resources to fight the case, and will “bully” an inexperienced lawyer into accepting a settlement that is not the true value of the case, or will present evidence and witnesses to convince a jury to return a verdict in the truck driver or companies favor. Again, only an experience truck wreck attorney has the knowledge, financial backing, and expertise to maximize your chance of recovering the true value of your case.
DO’S AND DONT’S AFTER A GEORGIA CAR WRECK
The moments immediately after an auto accident can be difficult to navigate: unless you have been in a car wreck before, you likely do not know what you need to do or what you should avoid doing. Here are some helpful tips:
- Do check on others involved in the wreck if you are physically able to do so and summon law enforcement and medical help.
- Do NOT discuss the wreck with any other driver or say that you are sorry to any other driver.
- Do NOT tell anyone that the wreck was your fault; sometimes even if you privately believe you were at fault, investigation will prove otherwise.
- Do take down the names and contact information of any witnesses who say they saw the wreck happen or who helped you after the wreck. I cannot tell you how many times witnesses do not wait to speak to the police, or the police do not bother to interview the witnesses. These individuals may need to be subpoenaed if your case goes to trial.
- Do NOT ignore others who are present at the wreck scene or fail to identify those individuals who provide you with first aid or other information about your wreck. Again, get their contact information.
- Do write down your recollection of the wreck in as much detail as you can remember as soon as possible after the wreck. Try to avoid any outside influences or descriptions of the wreck when you write down what you remember.
- Do NOT trust your own memory to be able to later recall important facts about your case. Your case may not be resolved for several months. By that time, your recollection of your wreck will have faded and you will be less credible as a witness.
- Do seek prompt medical evaluation and treatment, even if you feel okay.
- Do NOT put off seeing a doctor or medical professional for any pain you experience after an auto accident, no matter how minimal the pain appears to be. It is possible to have suffered serious internal injuries and to manifest very few outward symptoms. Prompt treatment of these injuries is important in minimizing any negative consequences that might develop
- Do NOT speak with the other parties’ insurance companies, but only if you feel comfortable doing so.
- Do NOT sign any statement or provide any recorded statement to any insurance company without first reviewing your statement or the statement provided with your attorney.
- Do seek out the assistance of an auto accident attorney quickly as you only have a limited time to file your lawsuit.
- Do NOT delay in seeking an attorney: the longer you wait to hire an auto accident attorney, the more difficult it will be for you to obtain all of the compensation you are entitled.
These dos and don’ts not only help you have an easier time pursuing compensation, but they also help ensure that you do not inadvertently make statements or take actions that can damage your chances of success. Call Auto Accident Lawyer Jonathan Wade now, so that none of your rights are diminished due to the time that passes.