If you have suffered property damage, injuries, or both in an Atlanta car crash, you may be eligible to receive compensatory damages. However, all car accident claims must meet various legal requirements. These requirements vary from state to state.
Georgia has its own set of car accident laws that apply to personal injury claims related to any car crashes across the state. Knowing and understanding these laws is important in that it helps you avoid any legal mistakes when filing a claim. Here is a look at these laws.
Statute of Limitations
One of the most important laws pertaining to Atlanta car crash claims is the statute of limitations. This is essentially a legal deadline. When you wish to bring a lawsuit against a liable party in a car accident, you must do so with this deadline.
Different states have varying statute of limitations. Georgia has a two-year statute for all car crash claims. This means that if you have sustained injuries in a car crash, you must file a claim within two years from the date of the accident. The statute is more relaxed if you wish to file a claim pertaining to vehicle damage only. In this case, you will have four years to file the claim.
The statue of limitations is of critical importance in a personal injury claim. This is because once the statute expires it is very difficult to seek compensatory damages in a car crash. There are some rare exceptions to the statute but you must discuss your case with a qualified attorney to see if your case qualifies as one. In general, it is always a good idea to file the claim at the earliest.
Modified Comparative Negligence
Georgia uses a modified comparative negligence rule when handling fault in a car crash. Fault is essentially the degree of negligence of a given party in a car crash. One or more parties may be held liable for a car accident. In the case of more than one parties, the fault is distributed among the parties in proportion to the percentage of their negligence.
A modified comparative negligence rule lets you recover compensatory damages even if you are partially at fault in a car accident. However, the amount you are entitled to is trimmed by the percentage of your fault.
To illustrate with an example, suppose you were speeding through an intersection nearly 5mph above the posted limit. Another driver who had run a red light collided with your vehicle. Now the other driver is clearly the main party at fault but you may also share the fault given your speeding.
A jury may decide that the other driver is 90% at fault and you are 10% at fault. If you are then entitled to $10,000 in damages, the actual amount you receive is going to be $9,000. For your share of fault, 10% of your compensation or around $1,000 in this case will be reduced from the actual amount.
However, under the modified comparative negligence rule, you are not always able to recover damages if you are at fault. If your percentage of fault is 50% or more, Georgia laws bar you from receiving any compensation whatsoever. This is why an insurer or at-fault driver may try their best to portray you as the main negligent party in order not to pay you the damages you deserve.
Fault Auto Insurance
Georgia is a state with a ‘fault’ system in the case of car accidents. This means that if you suffer losses due to the negligence of another driver, you are entitled to seek damages from that driver. A fault system has both benefits and downsides.
The key benefit of a fault system is that the money that pays for your damages actually comes out of the liable driver’s pockets. The downside is that you have to negotiate for damages with the other driver’s insurer, or seek damages through a civil lawsuit. You will need a good attorney by your side in either case.
Hiring a Reliable Car Accident Attorney in Atlanta, GA
If you have sustained injuries in a car crash in Atlanta, GA, it is important to hire an attorney at the earliest. A good attorney will help you meet the state’s legal requirements, file your claim in time and seek a fair compensation. Here at Reginald Greene, we also work with you to negotiate with the insurer and counter any unfair objections the insurer may raise to avoid paying up. Reach out to us today to discuss your case and let’s get the ball rolling.