Clayton County, GA Auto Accident Attorney
If you’ve been in a car accident in Clayton County, GA, you will benefit from seeking a free consultation with a Clayton County auto accident attorney. You are facing a complicated and confusing process, and it is a mistake to face it without the guidance of an experienced professional.
Car Accident Lawyers & Statutes
Many auto accident cases can be settled without ever needing to file a lawsuit. Others may require a lawsuit to be filed within the weeks or months that follow the accident with close attention paid to the statutes of limitations that apply to car accident lawsuits in Clayton County, GA. Some examples of cases that necessitate lawsuits are those where one or more drivers have inadequate insurance, cases where the at-fault driver denies being at fault, and cases that involve multiple claims. In some situations, a lawsuit may be filed simply to avoid running out the statute of limitations, though this does not necessarily mean that the case is going to go to trial.
It can be challenging to decide on your own if you need to file a lawsuit and to take the necessary steps without the experience of a qualified attorney. The statute of limitations is typically two years from the date of the accident, which means that after the two year deadline passes, you no longer have the right to file a lawsuit. For this reason, many lawsuits are filed without ever going to trial because negotiations are still ongoing to settle the claim outside of the courtroom.
Auto Accident Attorney in Clayton County, GA – How We Help
If you do file a lawsuit for the car accident, then you will be filing a personal injury suit which requires you to prove that the other driver owed a duty of care to yourself and others on the road, that he or she breached that duty of care with unlawful or inappropriate behavior, and that injuries did in fact occur through that breach of duty. To avoid damaging your case and to prove your case, there are certain things that you should do and avoid doing after the accident. An auto accidents attorney would advise you of the following guidelines for presenting a solid case without damaging it in the process:
- If you can, check on the other people in the accident and contact emergency medical services.
- Contact law enforcement right away.
- Exchange information with those involved and request contact information from witnesses.
- Write down what you remember of the accident while your memory is fresh.
- Contact an attorney as soon as you can.
- Seek medical care, regardless of how you’re feeling.
- Avoid apologizing to anyone at the scene of the accident or elsewhere.
- Avoid discussing the accident and do not admit fault.
- Never give the insurance company a statement without your attorney.
It may be very clear who is at fault in the accident, or it may be more complicated. It is important to work with an attorney to ensure that fault is clearly established and proven. Clayton County, GA auto accident attorneys are there to help you make the right decisions, avoid the pitfalls of litigation, and ensure that your rights are protected. The sooner you contact an attorney the better off you’ll be.
Litigation in Clayton County Auto Accident Cases
Litigation refers to the legal action that you take (or lawsuit that you file) to resolve your claim. The first step that you and your attorney will take in litigation is to file a complaint with the Clerk of the Court in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. Filing this complaint makes you the Petitioner (Plaintiff), and the person you file the complaint against becomes the Respondent (Defendant). It is your responsibility to serve the defendant with the lawsuit, which you can do through the Sherriff’s office or the County Marshall. You can also use a court appointed process server to handle this step. The next step in litigation is to await the response from the defendant, then build your case during the period of discovery, during which the defendant will also be building his or her case. Throughout this time, negotiations for settlement outside of the courtroom can continue.
Both sides will benefit from avoiding a costly and time consuming trial, so there is a good chance of reaching an agreement. Options to negotiate an agreeable settlement out of court include mediation and arbitration in addition to the ongoing communication between both sides of the case. The process of reaching a settlement can take time, with various factors affecting exactly how long it takes. Having an attorney on your side will make the process simpler, smoother, and faster. You can seek a free consultation from a Clayton County GA auto accident attorney to review your case and proceed with the steps necessary to resolve the case or file a lawsuit. Most of the time, your case won’t need to be litigated in court, but will be negotiated into a fair settlement by your attorney.
One benefit of having an attorney is that he or she will not have the emotional involvement that you may have in the case that may serve as an obstacle to your goals. Your attorney will know which steps to take and how to negotiate the case so that you have a favorable outcome. You will also have the benefit of professional advice from someone who has experience in car accident cases in Clayton County.
Commercial Vehicle Accident Considerations
Commercial vehicle accidents are quite a bit different from your standard car crash, and it’s important to work with an attorney in Clayton County, GA who understands the differences and unique needs of the case. If you’ve been in an accident with a large commercial vehicle, you’ll find that the damage and destruction are infinitely worse than ordinary accident. The property damage, injuries, expense, and potential for loss of life are much more serious. Some people even call these large trucks “highway missiles” because they cause so much destruction for their victims.
It’s also important to understand the different laws that apply to commercial vehicles. For example, large commercial trucks and tractors have special rules and regulations that apply on the federal and state level, which do not apply to the average driver. Commercial drivers have to maintain certain records, including hours of operation and other log books. These can make the difference in your case, so you need to have an attorney who understands what the special rules are, what documents can impact the case, and how to collect and interpret all of the additional evidence. If your attorney is able to obtain and interpret the records kept by the commercial driver, then you may find that the driver was clearly negligent by not following the laws and rules that apply to commercial vehicles.
There are also different law enforcement and regulatory agencies that are involved in commercial vehicle accidents. If you try to take on the case alone or work with a Clayton County, GA car accident lawyer who doesn’t understand the intricacies of commercial truck and tractor collisions, then you are unlikely to be as successful in your case as you might otherwise be. Other details that can be difficult for inexperienced attorneys and drivers including knowing who to file your lawsuit against and where to file it. You have to consider the fact that when commercial vehicles are involved in accidents, there may be multiple defendants. You need to establish who you’re filing the suit against, whether there is more than one defendant, and where to file based on where the company is and where the accident occurred.
The commercial driver and the company that he or she works for may be in different states. It may be that you have a claim against the driver, the company, or both. Then, there’s the fact that the company may have plenty of resources to help them argue their case. You’ll want an auto accident attorney in Clayton County, GA who has access to their own resources, like expert witnesses, accident reconstructionists, and medical professionals. You’ll also want to work with a lawyer who has the experience and confidence to take on the case and not be bullied by the commercial company. If you’re lawyer isn’t confident in this area, then he or she may be inclined to accept a low ball settlement offer or may not be as effective at presenting your case as a more experienced and knowledgeable attorney with an understanding of commercial vehicle accident laws would be.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
When it comes to dealing with insurance companies after an accident, you should never give a statement without first speaking to an attorney. You will probably hear from the insurance company pretty quickly, and they may offer a fast settlement or they may request a recorded statement. Politely decline to speak with them and explain that you will need to talk to your attorney before accepting a settlement or speaking about the accident.
Some car insurance companies, particularly the larger ones that are nationwide, will want to push the case to a jury trial because they know that they can win it with their excellent resources. They also know that even if they lose, they are likely to at least be able to reduce the recovery amount.
You’ll need to be a credible witness for your own case. You want to be believable when explaining the accident and the extent of your injuries, and avoid exaggerating. Anything that appears to be an exaggeration is going to harm your case. You should also make every effort to show that you are doing your best to recover and get back on your feet. A jury is much more sympathetic to someone who seems like an honest person and a hard worker, rather than embodying the persona of a helpless victim who will say anything to maximize the value of the case.
Though there are plenty of other factors to think about, your credibility is going to be the most important thing. You need a good attorney and a genuine personality to help you convince the jury that you deserve the compensation that you seek from the driver or insurance company that you file your lawsuit against. If you follow this advice and work with a reputable Clayton County, GA auto accident attorney, you’ll have a much better chance of recovering a fair amount for your damages.