If you or somebody you love has been injured in a car accident caused by the actions of another party, you should be able to recover compensation for your losses. More often than not, this compensation will come through a settlement with the other driver’s insurance carrier. Here, we want to outline the basics that you need to know about car accident settlements in Georgia.
The Initial Settlement is Likely Too Low
Insurance carriers will typically try to offer a very quick settlement, sometimes within a week or two after the incident occurs, particularly if their policyholder is clearly at fault for the incident. However, even if a settlement offer comes in quickly, and even if the offer seems enticing, please understand that initial settlement offers are likely far below what you should actually receive in compensation. It is almost never advisable to take the first settlement offer.
Remember, after you sign the dotted line, there will be no way to go back and reopen the case later if your injuries or property damage are worse than you thought.
You Need to Negotiate With The Insurance Carrier
You can certainly negotiate with the insurance carrier. However, we strongly recommend that you obtain assistance from a skilled Georgia car accident lawyer who can help you with every aspect of your claim. An attorney will be the one to handle all communication and negotiations with the insurance carriers, and they will know the tactics used by insurance carriers to lower the settlement. Let your attorney negotiate with the insurance carrier to receive more compensation on your behalf.
Shared Liability Can Lower the Settlement
If more than one party is at fault for the incident, this can shift how much compensation an injury or property damage victim receives. In Georgia, this is a “modified comparative negligence” state. This means that individuals can still recover compensation so long as they are less than 51% at fault for the incident. However, the total dollar amount of compensation they receive will be reduced depending on their percentage of fault.
We strongly encourage you to work with an attorney who can navigate fault percentages on your behalf to help you secure more compensation.
It Can Take Some Time to Receive Compensation
Not every settlement for a car accident will happen right away. Sometimes, patience is a virtue in these situations.
We know that you need money for your medical bills, property damage, and lost wages right away. However, taking an early settlement offer often removes money from the table that you would otherwise be able to receive if you took some time to go through the accident claims process with your attorney. It could take months to receive a settlement or even years if the case has to go to trial. You need to work with your attorney for the best course of action moving forward for your particular situation.
You Need to Work With a Lawyer
Even though many individuals try to handle every aspect of a car accident claim in Georgia on their own, we strongly recommend working with a skilled car accident lawyer who has experience recovering major settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of their clients.