Car Accident Attorney in Morrow, GA
When you’ve been in an accident in Morrow, GA, you want to work with an experienced car wreck attorney who can help you through every step of settlement negotiations and litigation if necessary. It is not always necessary to file a lawsuit to recover your damages, but a good attorney will be prepared to take the case to trial if you are unable to settle out of court.
Negotiation, Settlement, and Litigation – Auto Accident Attorney
When you hire an auto accident attorney in Morrow, GA, you’ll be hiring someone to deal with the negotiation process, seek a fair settlement, and litigate the case where appropriate. Negotiation is where your attorney and the attorney of the at-fault driver work to reach a settlement amount that is agreeable to both sides. If a settlement is reached, then the case is resolved outside of court, you recover the amount indicated in the settlement and agree not to pursue the case further. Once you settle, you no longer have the option of litigation. Litigation refers to filing a lawsuit (and all related legal actions) against the at-fault driver/insurance company.
A common misconception is that hiring a lawyer means you’re going to file a lawsuit. In reality, a lawyer can help you with everything that occurs before, during, and after litigation begins. In some cases, you may file a lawsuit, but still settle without going to court. Because you have to think about the statute of limitations (two years to file a lawsuit from the date of the accident), there are situations where filing a lawsuit is necessary just to protect your right to do so, but negotiations will continue; so, the case can still be settled out of court.
A common mistake that people make is attempting to handle the case on their own. When you do this, you will be affected by your emotional ties to the situation and your inexperience in the laws and ordinary procedures that are involved in Morrow, GA auto accidents. You may be tempted to accept a low settlement, or you may make mistakes that will harm your case. Regardless of whether your case involves debt collection, business law, personal injuries, domestic issues, ordinary auto accidents, or accidents that involve commercial vehicles, you need a qualified attorney on your side.
Litigation Steps for Car Accident Lawyers
The first step is to file the complaint document with the Clerk of the Court in Atlanta, GA. Once this is done, you are officially the Plaintiff or Petitioner. The person you are filing the complaint against becomes the Defendant or Responder. It is your responsibility to ensure that the defendant is served with the lawsuit. You can use the County Marshall, the Sherriff’s Office or a court appointed process server to do this. If you have questions about this process, an attorney will help.
If and when it is time to litigate the case, you will start by filing a complaint with your Clerk of the Court. This action makes you the petitioner and makes the other party the respondent. You will be the plaintiff and the respondent will be the defendant. The defendant can respond to your allegations, and then there will a period of discovery where both sides attempt to build a case based on the evidence. However, you can continue to negotiate for a settlement throughout this time.
After the period of discovery, a trial date will be set. Yet, the time consuming and expensive nature of trials give both sides ample motivation to settle outside of the court room.
Auto Accident Attorneys and Lawsuits
Hiring a car accident attorney in Morrow, GA does not mean that you are definitely going to file a lawsuit; and filing a lawsuit does not mean that you are definitely going to trial. Rather, your attorney is going to help you through each step of the process from negotiation through trial, which will only occur if a settlement cannot be reached. You’ll be able to make the wisest decisions with the guidance of a lawyer so that you can recover a fair amount for your damages and injuries. You will benefit from hiring an attorney at the earliest opportunity because your case will be stronger from the moment that you seek the assistance of a lawyer.
Your case can be resolved outside of the courtroom before or during litigation. You can negotiate a fair settlement amount before filing the lawsuit or at any time after the lawsuit has been filed up to and including the day of the scheduled trial. Your lawyer should be able to help you understand the various laws and rights that apply to your case, improving your chances of successfully obtaining compensation for your injuries and losses. The most important thing is to avoid the common mistakes that victims of car accidents often make and end up damaging their cases. For example, you don’t want to mistakenly run out the statute of limitations or make statements that could harm your credibility.
To file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, you have to be able to prove that the other driver was truly at fault. You will have to establish that he or she owed a duty of care to you, that he or she breached that duty of care, and that this is what caused your injuries. If you have no injuries or cannot prove a causal link between the behavior of the other driver and your injuries, then you do not have a case.
While some cases are simple and straightforward, others are not. An example of a straightforward case would be an accident where the defendant ran a red light and struck the vehicle of the plaintiff, causing immediately apparent injuries, like broken bones. A case that may not be as clear would be a rear end accident where the rear driver is not at fault. It is typically assumed in such cases that the rear driver is at fault, unless it can be proven that the front driver was behaving irresponsibly. Another case that might not be as clear would be one that involves an injury that could have been caused in another way, or an injury that exacerbated a pre-existing condition. In these cases, it is even more important to work with an experienced Marrow, GA auto accident attorney.
Many people make the mistake of evaluating their own injuries (or apparent lack thereof) without seeking medical attention. For example, you may have hit your head, but don’t think your headache or neck pain is abnormal. Without an immediate medical evaluation, you may discover too late that you have a concussion or whiplash. If you don’t find out about these issues right away, then the defense can argue that you sustained these injuries sometime after the incident in some other way.
For this reason and other reasons that will impact your case, follow these steps after an accident:
- Begin by assessing your injuries and checking on others if you are able to.
- When checking on others, do not apologize, admit fault, or discuss the accident.
- Contact law enforcement and emergency medical help if you are able to.
- If you are not in a state to help others or contact help, instruct any witnesses to do so.
- Collect the contact information of any witnesses and the insurance information of drivers.
- As soon as you can, write down everything you remember of the accident.
- Never assume that you’ll remember everything – the case could take months or years.
- If you walk away from the accident with minimal injuries or no injuries, seek a full medical evaluation anyway, and do so as quickly as possible.
- Contact an attorney at the earliest opportunity and do not speak to insurance companies.
If you wait to contact an attorney, you can end up damaging your case. The sooner you contact an auto accident attorney in Morrow, GA, the better off you will be. If you choose not to seek medical attention because you think your injuries are minor or that you are not injured at all, then you can miss important health concerns or discover them so late in the game that is hard to prove the cause. The right attorney will be able to help you establish your case with medical experts, accident reconstructionists, and other expert witnesses; and the timing and cost of your medical care will be relevant.
Resources of Auto Insurance Companies
Many drivers have auto insurance policies with large companies that operate nationwide. Unfortunately for the plaintiff in a car accident case, these companies often have infinite resources to defend themselves. In fact, they may want to take the case to trial just because they are confident in their ability to win the case or reduce your recovery amount. If you find yourself facing the unlimited resources of a large insurance company, you have to ensure that you’re working with an experienced attorney who is confident in his or her own resources and ability to represent you. You don’t want an attorney who will easily be pushed into taking a low settlement or who is afraid to stand up to large companies with ample resources. You also need to take note of your own behavior. You need to appear credible when you are a witness for your claim. Don’t exaggerate and avoid presenting yourself as a helpless victim. Rather, be completely honest and demonstrate that you’re doing your best to recover from your injuries and continue with your life. This is what will make your case seem more credible to a jury, and your credibility will be the most important thing in a claim that goes to trial.
Resources of Commercial Vehicle Companies
When it comes to commercial vehicle accidents, the company that the driver works for is also likely to have ample resources to defend themselves. However, there are plenty of ways to establish liability and pursue the case to a successful outcome. It is essential here to work with a car accident attorney in Morrow, GA who has experience with commercial vehicle accidents. This is because an inexperienced attorney may not know all of the intricacies of commercial driver accidents. For example, commercial drivers are subject to special regulations and laws at the federal level and at the state level, and other law enforcement agencies may be involved as well. A commercial driver must keep records, log books, and information about their hours and maintenance tasks. All of these things can help your lawyer to prove that the commercial driver or the company that the driver works for (or both) hold liability in the car accident that occurred. If a driver fails to maintain these logs, or if the logs demonstrate a lapse in maintenance or an extended period without sleep, then these things can be essential to your case.
Yet, none of this will matter if you’re working with an attorney who doesn’t have the knowledge, experience, skills, and confidence to handle a commercial vehicle accident claim. Your attorney should know where to find the evidence, how to interpret it, and how to present your case to the defense and/or to the jury if the case goes to trial.
Your attorney will also be able to help you to determine who you’re filing the suit against (the driver, the company he or she works for, or both), where you need to file the suit (where is the company located and where did the accident occur?), and how to combat the resources of the company with resources of their own. The defendant will have access to expert witnesses like accident reconstructionists, medical experts, and more. A good attorney will have these resources too.
In any kind of car accident, remember to follow this advice and seek out an attorney as soon as you can. This is the best way to improve your odds of receiving a fair recovery after an accident.