A car wreck lawyer in Fayette County, GA can absolutely make the difference in your claim. If you’ve been involved in any kind of collision, you need to contact an experienced car wreck lawyer for guidance through the steps ahead of you.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS IN CAR ACCIDENT LAWSUITS
Not all cases involving car accidents in Fayette County, GA, will result in a lawsuit. Many can be settled out of court. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In some situations, like when there is inadequate insurance, multiple accident claims, or denied fault, it makes more sense to file a lawsuit. Most lawsuits are filed weeks or months after the accident occurs unless there is a reason to believe that the at-fault driver may disappear if quick action is not taken.
An experienced car wreck lawyer can advise you on if and when it is best to file a lawsuit for your case, though disputes can still be settled at any time before or during a trial. Having said that, if you aren’t aware of the statute of limitations, you can end up losing the opportunity to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations is generally two years from the time of the accident. In situations where the statute of limitations deadline is near, it is better to file a lawsuit even if you are still working towards negotiating a settlement. A car wreck lawyer will protect your legal rights.
Auto accident lawsuits are personal injury lawsuits where you must prove your case. You have to present evidence to prove fault, to prove injuries, to prove the extent of your injuries, and the effect of those injuries and damages on your quality of life. This is where an auto accident attorney in Fayette, GA can make a tremendous difference. Experienced legal professionals know how to gather, organize, and present your evidence in the courtroom; and they can help you prove the following:
- The other driver owed a “duty of care” to you and others on the road, meaning that he had a legal responsibility to behave appropriately by driving carefully and attentively.
- The “duty of care” was breached by the other driver, meaning that he or she failed to behave appropriately. This includes careless and reckless conduct on roadways where every motorist, cyclist, or pedestrian is owed a “duty of care” by every driver.
- Your injuries were caused by the other driver breaching his or her “duty of care,” meaning you can only recover compensation from the driver is there is a causal link from his or her behavior to your injuries. You cannot recover damages for reckless and unreasonable behavior if there is no causal link to your injuries.
In some cases, it is very clear who is at fault for an accident and what caused the accident. For example, if a driver runs a red light and causes a collision that results in head trauma, the at-fault driver is apparent and the link to your injuries is clear. Then, there are situations where causation is not as apparent and must be proven by expert witnesses. An experienced car wreck lawyer in Fayette County, GA can work with engineers, accident reconstruction experts, and even medical experts to support and prove your claims.
INSURANCE COMPANY COMMUNICATION
Many auto insurance companies will attempt to force you into taking your case to a jury trial. This is because when it comes to large national insurance companies, the defendants often end up having a good chance of winning in front of a jury. Juries will also often award lesser amounts to the injured party than he or she might seek during settlement.
There are many issues that can affect a trial like this, including the credibility of those involved. You are more likely to receive a favorable outcome if you are believable and can convince the jury that you were injured by the negligent at-fault driver. You don’t want it to seem like you’re exaggerating in any way, regarding the details of the accident or the severity of the injury. It’s also helpful to know that a victim who is doing their best to recover is more likable in front of the jury.
Other factors will also impact the outcome of a trial, though the most important one is your credibility. If you appear to be exaggerating your injuries or faking your suffering to improve the value of your suit, then your car wreck lawyer will have a tough time representing you and convincing the jury that you truly deserve the compensation that you are seeking from the at-fault driver and his or her insurance.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING LITIGATION?
Any legal action or lawsuit, along with all associated proceedings, is defined as litigation. If you settle a dispute or seek compensation at trial, then you are litigating the case. Whether you are prosecuting or defending yourself with pleadings, evidence, and court debate, you are deciding a controversy based on evidence in court. Keep in mind that hiring a lawyer to assist you in your claim is not the same thing as entering into a lawsuit. Rather, you contact a lawyer when you need assistance in resolving any dispute, whether the case goes to court or not.
When you contact a Fayette County, car wreck lawyer, you can usually get a free consultation. Then, once you hire the attorney, he or she will take steps to settle the dispute without having to follow through with litigation, which is the most common outcome. It all begins with negotiation, whether the dispute involves a personal injury, a domestic issue, a business law issue, a contract dispute, or debt collections claim. Your car wreck lawyer will be able to resolve the situation without the complication of emotional ties to the case. Often, when someone tries to resolve a dispute on their own, there are emotional factors that can create insurmountable obstacles.
The settlement negotiation process will take time, though exactly how long will be determined by various factors, such as the statute of limitations. This is a time limit set by legislature regarding the fixed period of time in which you are able to file a lawsuit. However, even if you do file a lawsuit to avoid running out the statute of limitations, this does not mean that the case will go to trial. It is still possible to settle out of court at this stage.
The first step in filing a lawsuit is to file a complaint document with the Clerk of the Court in the jurisdiction that is appropriate for your case. You will then become the Petitioner or the Plaintiff. The person you’re filing the suit against becomes the Respondent, or the Defendant. You will have to ensure that the defendant is served with your lawsuit, which you can do through the Sherriff’s office, the County Marshall, or by a court-appointed process server. The next step is for the defendant to file his or her response to your allegations. Then, there will be a period of discovery. At this time, both sides are able to build a case through relevant evidence and information that may not have been available before. At the end of the discovery phase, the case is set and scheduled for trial. Both sides can continue to work towards a settlement and attempt to avoid going to trial.
Mediation and arbitration are both options to settle the dispute during this stage of the lawsuit. There are a significant number of cases to be scheduled for trial, so it is generally in everyone’s best interests to settle through one of these avenues instead. A Fayette County, GA car wreck lawyer will be able to advise you on pursuing these options and choosing the best route for your case. He or she will also be able to assist you in achieving the best possible outcome.
ACCIDENTS INVOLVING LARGE TRUCKS
An accident that involves a large truck involves more property damage, injuries/deaths, fear, expense, and loss. Because they cause such a significant and unspeakable amount of damage in accidents, trucks are commonly known as “highway missiles” by victims of their destruction.
There are also different laws that apply when a commercial vehicle is involved in an auto accident. Any kind of tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle has to follow a special set of rules and regulations on the federal and state level. Things are much different from truck accidents, so it’s important to have an experienced car wreck lawyer on your side who has been successful in such cases.
An example of a special rule that applies to truck drivers and their companies is that they must maintain records that could make all the difference in your case. The driver’s logbooks and hours of operation can be essential to proving the negligence of the driver or company. You want to work with a car wreck lawyer who knows what documents to look for, where and when to get them, and how to understand and apply the information that is provided in those documents.
If you don’t know the intricacies of truck accident cases and how different law enforcement agencies and regulatory agencies are involved, then you may end up losing your case or receiving less compensation than you deserve. Your case may require contact with these federal and state regulatory authorities and law enforcement agencies, so your car wreck lawyer should know who to contact and how to receive the necessary documents.
Unlike ordinary car accidents, when a large truck is involved, it may not be as clear who you should be filing a lawsuit against. The company of the driver may be held accountable, and it may be that the driver and the company are from two different states. Thus, it takes experience and an understanding of the law as it pertains to large truck auto accidents to ensure that the suit is filed in the right place, at the right time. This can tremendously impact the value of your claim and whether or not your case can even be won. There may be one defendant or there may be multiple defendants. Plus, a judgment is no more than a piece of paper if you are unable to collect, so this is also an important factor that an experienced car wreck lawyer in Fayette County, GA can help you with.
It is equally important to note that in cases involving large trucks and trucking companies, the defendant may have unlimited resources to attempt to prove their case. They can afford the best experts to present their case in the most favorable light. They will work with reconstruction engineers, trucking industry compliance specialists, economists, medical experts, life care planners, and more. An inexperienced lawyer may be easily bullied into accepting a lower settlement or may be ineffective at presenting your case against the case of the large company. Always work with an attorney who has the experience, knowledge, and confidence to maximize your recovery.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO (AND AVOID DOING) AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
An auto accident is often devastating and confusing in the moments that follow. If you’ve been in an accident before, you may have some idea of what you should do or avoid doing. However, if you have not, there are some important pointers to keep in mind to keep from damaging your case.
If you are physically able to do so, you should check on other people who were involved in the wreck and contact law enforcement and emergency medical assistance right away.
You should not discuss the accident with any other drivers, and you should avoid apologizing to anyone, as this can later be used to imply that you are the at-fault driver.
You should also avoid telling anyone that you think you may be at fault for the accident. You may think that you are at fault, but an investigation may show that you are not. Either way, acknowledging that you believe you are at fault will harm your case down the road.
Exchange information with the other drivers, and take down the contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Witnesses usually will not wait around to talk to the police, and in many cases, the police won’t even bother to interview witnesses who do wait around. If your case goes to trial, then these witnesses may be subpoenaed to testify about the accident.
Make a point of knowing who is present at the scene of the accident and identify anyone who provided first aid or details of the accident. Get contact information from everyone who is present.
As soon as you can, write down everything that you remember about the accident in detail. Write only what you remember, without the benefit of outside descriptions and influence.
Never assume that you’ll be able to remember it all. Your case could be open for several months, and your memory will fade. This will make you a less believable witness.
Even if you think you are uninjured, seek out a full medical evaluation as soon as possible.
No matter how minimal your injuries may seem, ensure that you seek out medical attention right away. In some cases, you may have minor symptoms but may learn that your injuries are more severe than you thought. Prompt medical attention will ensure that your injuries don’t grow worse over time and will also be important in proving your case, later.
Avoid speaking to the insurance companies of the other drivers. Do not give a recorded or signed statement or offer any details if and when they contact you. Politely explain that you are not prepared to offer a statement without first speaking to your attorney.
Seek out a free consultation with a Fayette County, GA car wreck lawyer right away, keeping in mind that you need to work within the statute of limitations for your claim. The longer you wait to contact an attorney, the more difficult your case will be.
If you stick to these guidelines, you should have a much easier experience with your case, and you will be better prepared to seek out the compensation that you deserve. Always avoid making statements and taking actions that may prevent you from reaching a successful settlement or verdict. Contact a Fayette County car wreck lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected from the start.