If you or your loved one was involved in a serious car accident, you likely have many questions. What do you do next? How will you pay for your medical bills? Who is responsible?
Here at Monge & Associates, we believe in keeping our clients informed and up to date throughout the legal process. With that being said, we have provided answers to some of the most common car accident questions. Browse our car accident FAQs to find the answers you need or, if you want to know more about your specific case, reach out to our firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our Atlanta, GA car accident attorneys. We can even come to you, if necessary.
We can be reached online or by phone at (800) 860-8021. Call us today to find out if you have a case and how much it’s worth.
I was injured in a car accident. Do I have a case?
Whether or not you have grounds to file a personal injury claim depends on the circumstances involved in your case, namely, who was at fault for the accident? Georgia is an at-fault state, meaning that the driver who caused the accident is liable for any resulting injuries/losses. Georgia follows the rule of “proportional comparative fault” which states that, in any accident, either party may be partially responsible. The percentage of fault attributed to each party is important; the driver who is found to be more than 50% at-fault will be liable for the accident. In other words, if you are less than 50% at-fault for the accident, yes, you will most likely have a case.
What should I do after an auto accident?
Car accidents are frightening experiences, no matter how large or small they may be. Immediately after an accident, take a moment to collect yourself and calm down as much as possible. Do not panic and do not leave the scene. Assess yourself and anyone else in your car or the other vehicle for injuries.
- If anyone is seriously injured, call an ambulance immediately.
- Next, contact the local police to report the accident.
- Once the police have arrived on the scene, tell them how the accident occurred.
- Request a copy of the police report.
- If possible, take pictures of the scene of the accident and any injuries you have.
- If there are witnesses, write down their contact information and/or take their statement.
- Be sure to get the contact and insurance information of anyone else involved in the accident.
- Seek medical attention soon after the accident, even if you believe you were not seriously injured. Some injuries may take time to appear, and it is always best to have a medical professional rule out any serious injuries or complications.
- Report the accident to your own insurance company.
Lastly, contact an attorney who has experience handling car accident cases. Do this before talking to any insurance adjustors from the other party. An Atlanta lawyer will be able to determine if you are entitled to receive compensation for your losses and if so, can help you pursue your claim.
What happens if I realize that I accidentally said something inaccurate to the police officer at the scene?
Car crashes are scary, and the shock can rattle your memory. Your case is not ruined if you later realize you misstated a fact about your wreck. But it is important to speak with your attorney to learn about how that inaccuracy could impact your claim and what strategies might work to bolster your case.
What If I Am Partly to Blame for the Crash?
Georgia operates under what is called the “modified comparative fault” system, which means that if you are found less than 50 percent responsible for your accident, you may still be able to recover a portion of the damages. If you are deemed 50 percent or more liable, no recovery is possible.
Insurance Companies Are Calling Me. Should I Talk to Them?
Talk with Monge & Associates first. Insurance companies have one priority – to offer you as small a settlement as possible. In the immediate days following your accident, insurance adjusters and investigators will call, ask to see your motorcycle and will want to get a recorded statement from you about the accident. Don’t agree to that until you can speak with a lawyer who can make sure that you don’t lose your rights to compensation that you deserve.
How long do I have to file a car accident claim?
Georgia has a two-year deadline, called a statute of limitations, in which you must file most personal injury and wrongful death claims. For car accidents, that statute of limitations begins on the date of the crash. However, there are some exceptions.
If the person injured in the crash is a minor, then the statute of limitations is extended (or “tolled”) until two years after the minor turns 18 or is married. The personal injury statute of limitations can also be tolled in other specific circumstances, so it is best to speak with a vehicle accident attorney who knows Georgia’s personal injury laws well.
Who is at fault for a rear-end accident?
In most cases, the driver that hits someone in front of them is responsible for a rear-end accident. This is because they have likely caused the accident due to inattention, distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, tailgating, or another form of negligence.
In rare circumstances, the front driver may be responsible for a rear-end accident. This may be true if the front driver stopped suddenly, unexpectedly, or illegally. The front driver may also be responsible if his/her vehicle’s brake lights are not working or if he/she changed lanes suddenly in front of the other driver. However, it is very rare for the front driver to be at fault for a rear-end accident.
I was hit by a driver who didn't stop while he was turning left. Am I responsible for the accident?
That will depend on your own driving behavior and other circumstances that may have contributed to the accident. Generally speaking, left-turning drivers are considered responsible for collisions that result from a left-hand turn. That’s because the left-turning driver is legally required to yield to oncoming traffic until it is considered safe and reasonable to turn. These types of accidents typically happen when left-turning drivers fail to yield or misjudge the speed of an oncoming car, particularly in intersections.
If a failure-to-yield for a left turn is disputed by the driver, there are many strategies that your lawyer can employ to support your claim. One of the best resources is the hiring of an accident reconstructionist who will examine the vehicles, visit the accident scene, evaluate the police report and compile other relevant information to provide an assessment of how the accident really happened.
Is drunk driving considered negligence?
Yes, because it is illegal—not to mention exceedingly unwise—driving while intoxicated is a form of gross negligence. If a drunk driver causes an accident that injures or kills another person, he or she can be held responsible for economic and non-economic losses, such as medical expenses, lost income/wages, pain and suffering, lost earning ability, emotional distress, plus punitive damages. We concentrate in helping victims hurt by reckless actions of drunk drivers.
Is texting while driving illegal in Georgia?
Yes, as of July 1, 2018, texting while driving is not permitted in Georgia. The new law prohibits drivers from holding or using any part of their body to balance/hold/touch a cellphone, personal communication device, or similar electronic device, such as an iPod. In addition to banning texting while driving, the law bans drivers from watching or recording video, reading or writing an email, or changing the music on a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle. The law extends to any time a car is stopped or parked, though it does make an exception for looking at a GPS or mapping/direction application.
If you are hit by someone who is texting or using a cellphone while driving, you may be able to hold them liable for your injuries and resulting damages. Contact the Atlanta lawyers at Monge & Associates for a free case evaluation.
Why should I file a personal injury claim?
While many people do not wish to file an injury claim after a car accident, thinking it is too much of a hassle or too expensive, it is almost always in your best interests to at least discuss your case with an attorney.
You should not have to worry about how you are going to pay for your medical bills, especially if you have had to take time off work to receive treatment. If your injuries are so severe they temporarily or permanently prevent you from returning to work, your financial worries will increase dramatically. A personal injury claim can help you recover the full, fair compensation you are owed for both economic and pain and suffering. Contact our Atlanta attorneys to learn more.
If I file a claim, will I have to go to court?
Not necessarily; many personal injury claims are resolved in out of court settlements. At Monge & Associates, we work to recover swift and favorable settlements for our clients. If, however, the liable party refuses to settle for the full amount you are owed, we are prepared to take your case to trial. As our client, you have the right to make decisions about your case.
If you do not wish to go to court, we will respect this. However, we may strongly advise litigation when we believe that we can help you achieve a big verdict. Regardless of how we pursue your claim, our team can handle every aspect of your case so that you can simply focus on healing.
How much is my car accident claim worth?
The amount of money you can obtain from a personal injury case will depend on a variety of factors such as the severity of your injuries and what the long-term prognosis will be. However, you may be entitled to a various forms of compensation, including:
- Medical expenses (past, current and future);
- Permanent disability benefits;
- Lost wages;
- Future lost income;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering.
In wrongful death actions, your family may be entitled to receive similar compensation for their losses. Our team looks at a variety of factors, including the percentage of fault of each party, the extent of your injuries and the cost of required treatment, your ability to return to work, and the effect of the accident on your overall life and wellbeing. In every instance, we fight for the maximum compensation our clients deserve.
What if the at-fault driver doesn't have car insurance?
A recent study from the Insurance Research Council found that around 1 in 7 motorists have no car insurance. Georgia law requires everyone to have auto insurance, but inevitably some people don’t comply. That’s why it is worthwhile to pay for uninsured (UM)/underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage under your own insurance policy.
Having UM/UIM coverage will pay for your injuries, your passengers’ injuries and any property damage that occurs as a result of your car accident. Learn more about this topic on our Uninsured Motorist Claims page.
Should I speak to the at-fault insurance company?
As much as possible, you should avoid speaking with any adjustors or representatives from the at-fault insurance company. These companies will often do everything they can to minimize your settlement and maximize their profit. Speaking to the liable insurance party can work against you later if you accidentally admit fault or agree to a low-ball settlement amount.
Before speaking with anyone from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, contact a lawyer in Atlanta who can help you determine the total cost of your losses. Monge & Associates can help you fight for the full compensation you deserve.
Why should I hire an attorney?
Personal injury claims, including those involving car accidents, can be very complex. Attempting to pursue such a claim on your own can be complicated and you may end up receiving much less than you are owed. It is always in your best interests to speak with an experienced attorney. At Monge & Associates, we offer free initial consultations and we provide all of our services on a contingency-fee basis. This means there is no upfront cost for you; you do not owe any attorneys’ fees until we recover compensation on your behalf at which time, attorneys’ fees are paid via an agreed-upon percentage of the recovery.
You will receive clear, concise paperwork outlining this percentage before we begin working on your case. Plus, we guarantee your complete satisfaction with how you are treated at our firm. If you are not satisfied within the first 30 days of hiring us, you can take your file, no questions asked and no fees owed. We also guarantee you a bigger settlement offer than you had before hiring us or you pay us nothing.
Do DUI cases involve only alcohol?
No. A driver can be charged with DUI in Georgia for being under the influence of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medications as well.
There’s nothing to lose when you hire Monge & Associates. Let our team fight for you today.