You might be on the road in your car every day for one reason or another. As such, it is not unusual for people to be involved in a car accident at some point or another. If this is the case, call an attorney and discuss how you can obtain compensation for your losses caused by the other driver.
After a collision, document the scene as much as you can, however you can. Have your vehicle assessed for damage and see a doctor about your injuries. You should also contact a lawyer quickly. Typical factors in car accidents include distracted drivers, intoxication, and various violations of the traffic code. You might sue one or several people, like other drivers, their employer, or even the vehicle manufacturer. You might get compensation through insurance, a settlement, or a lawsuit. Damages might be substantial, and we need to find the strongest evidence to back up your claims. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the sooner you can start your case, and the sooner you might get compensation.
Contact us at Howe Law by calling (844) 876-4357 to set up a free evaluation of your claims with our Atlanta car accident attorneys.
Protecting Yourself After a Vehicle Crash in Hinesville, GA
The aftermath of a car accident can be hectic and overwhelming. Even so, it is imperative that you keep a calm head and take certain steps to protect your legal rights.
Your first step should be to document the scene. If you have a camera, take pictures or record videos. If you do not, try to write down important information, even if you are unsure it is helpful. If you cannot do this, try to make detailed mental notes of what you see around you. What color was the other car? What did they say to you? Were others present at the scene? Remembering things like this might help you in unexpected ways.
Next, get to a hospital immediately. Even if you feel like your injuries are minor and a trip to the hospital is probably not necessary, you should go anyway. Not only can your doctor help you get treatment for your injuries, but they should also make a thorough record of them. These records are important when we need evidence of your injuries.
You should also have your damaged vehicle assessed, if possible. Some people are able to drive their car away from the accident scene. If this is the case, go to a reputable mechanic at some point and have the damage assessed. Our car accident lawyers need this information for when we claim damages related to your vehicle. If your vehicle was totaled and destroyed beyond repair, it might have been towed away from the accident. We still need records of the damage and the value of the destroyed car.
Finally, call a lawyer sooner rather than later. You might need some time to address your injuries and various other losses, which is understandable. Even so, the sooner you contact a lawyer, the better. They can help you assess your options, what kind of compensation you deserve, and the best way to get it.
Typical Factors Behind Hinesville, GA Car Accidents
Car accidents happen for all kinds of reasons. The factors surrounding your crash are unique to your accident, and your attorney should try to tailor their legal tactics to your individual needs. Even so, some factors are more common than others, and they are definitely worth talking about with your lawyer if you are unsure of what caused the collision.
Distractions on the road are an increasingly common problem. From cell phones to tablets to the radio, numerous distractions take away a driver’s focus from the road. It only takes a moment or two of inattention for an accident to occur. If the other driver was on their phone or just not paying attention, they might be responsible for the crash.
Intoxication and driving absolutely do not mix. Unfortunately, this does not stop some drivers from consuming drugs or alcohol before getting in their vehicles. Driving under the influence is not just incredibly dangerous but a criminal offense. The police may investigate and pursue criminal charges against the other driver if drugs or alcohol are suspected.
Ordinary traffic violations like speeding or running a stop sign are so common that they are often disregarded when they happen. People get a ticket, and that is it. However, many serious accidents are the result of common traffic violations.
People We Should Consider Suing for Damages After Your Car Accident in Hinesville, GA
After an accident, talk to your attorney about who should be held responsible. You might have a good idea of who is to blame, but we should examine as much of the evidence as possible to see if others might be responsible instead of or in addition to the person you have in mind. The police often investigate accidents where fault is less clear, and we can work with law enforcement to figure out who we should sue.
Often, we try to pin accidents on only one other driver. Sometimes, this is true. For example, if you were involved in a crash involving only one other vehicle, the driver of that other vehicle is likely the person responsible. However, when multiple vehicles and drivers are involved, it becomes harder to distinguish negligent drivers from victims like you. We might end up pursuing a case against several drivers.
Depending on what the defendant or defendants were doing when the accident happened, we might be able to sue their employers, too. If the defendant was in furtherance of their normal job functions when they caused the accident, we can also sue their employer. This is typical in cases involving negligent delivery drivers, taxi drivers, or people in similar professions.
Not all accidents are caused by drivers. Sometimes, vehicles malfunction and people end up crashing. When manufacturers realize that some vehicles might have been improperly produced, they often issue a recall. If they do not catch their mistakes soon enough, people might get hurt, and they can sue the manufacturer for damages.
Ways in Which You Might Get Fair Compensation for a Car Accident in Hinesville, GA
There might be a few different choices for you when it comes to legal action for damages. The best course of action depends on what is available to you and what kind of evidence we have to support your claims for damages. Talk to our car accident lawyers for help deciding your next steps.
All drivers in Georgia are required by law to be insured. As such, many accidents result in insurance claims. For many, a successful insurance claim means they get the compensation they need without any need for additional legal action. For others, this is not the case.
The insurance process in Georgia is based on fault. You must file a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance. Then, you have to present evidence showing how the other driver is at fault. If you convince the insurance company of the other driver’s fault, they may pay for your damages.
The thing about insurance claims is that they can be limited. Even if you are 100% successful in proving your claims, you might only be paid up to the limits of the other driver’s insurance policy. In cases where accident victims have severe injuries, the policy limit might not be enough to pay for everything. Insurance policies also tend to exclude non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
If an insurance claim is unavailable because the other driver is uninsured or the insurance company denied your claim, you might want to consider filing a lawsuit. Even if your claim is not denied, the insurance company might be limited in how much they can pay, and you might need greater compensation than they can provide.
You should speak to an attorney about a potential lawsuit as soon as possible. Even if you are already filing an insurance claim, you should still consult with an attorney to be prepared if insurance does not pan out.
Lawsuits tend to take time, and evidentiary rules are far stricter. For example, insurance companies often want to see a copy of the police report from the accident. Meanwhile, police reports are typically inadmissible in a courtroom because they are considered hearsay.
The great thing about lawsuits is the range of damages that plaintiffs can claim. Not only can you claim things like medical costs and vehicle damage, but you can also claim damages often excluded by insurance, like pain and suffering. Additionally, you are not restricted by any policy limits.
For some, a private settlement with the defendant might be a better way to go. Whether or not a settlement is even possible depends on your case and whether the defendant is willing to negotiate an agreement. In a private settlement, the defendant agrees to pay compensation to the plaintiff, but the amount of compensation is up for negotiation.
Private settlements might be worth considering if the defendant is uninsured and wants to avoid an expensive court verdict. It might also be worthwhile if you would rather get compensation quickly than wait for a lawsuit to be completed. Either way, talk to your lawyer about whether a settlement is a good idea. If your case is particularly strong, it might be better to take a trial and get a possibly larger payout.
Recoverable Damages in Many Car Accident Cases in Hinesville, GA
Damages in car accidents are often higher than accident victims first think. Of course, you should be compensated for all the money you have spent since the accident on things like medical treatment or replacing your car. You should also be compensated for deeply painful physical and emotional anguish. Depending on the defendant’s behavior, the court might also award you punitive damages as a sort of punishment for the defendant.
When talking about damages, people initially bring up compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are designed to make plaintiffs “whole” again after being injured. Since courts cannot undo the damage from the accident, they make plaintiffs whole again financially and have defendants reimburse plaintiffs for monetary costs and losses.
Chief among your monetary costs are your medical bills. These can be quite substantial in a serious car accident case. If you expect to continue receiving treatment for a long time, we can help you claim estimated future medical costs.
In our calculations, we should also include your property costs, like your damaged car or lost personal items. If you cannot work after the accident, we should account for any lost income.
Non-economic damages like pain and suffering also fall under the category of compensatory damages. Although these experiences are not connected to money, juries might still award significant damages for them. Since these damages are so subjective, we need strong evidence showing the jury how much you suffered.
Punitive or Exemplary Damages
Another category of damages that is less common is punitive or exemplary damages. These damages are not intended to make up for anything the plaintiff has spent, lost, or endured. Instead, these damages are awarded to plaintiffs to punish defendants. These damages are rare because they may be awarded only under very specific circumstances.
According to O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(b), punitive damages are assessed only if plaintiffs can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant caused the accident in a way that shows willful misconduct, wanton disregard for safety, oppression, malice, or fraud. This is a difficult burden to meet, and punitive damages tend to be rare.
You may only get punitive damages if we ask for them specifically when we file the complaint. The court will not consider them automatically. According to O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(g), most awards for punitive damages are capped at $250,000. However, punitive damages might be unlimited if the case involves product liability (e.g., faulty car brakes) or intoxication (e.g., drunk driving).
Even if the punitive damages award is significant, you might not receive all of it. Under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(e)(2), 75% of punitive damages are paid to the state treasury.
Speak to Our Hinesville, GA Car Accident Attorneys About Beginning a Claim for Damages
Contact us at Howe Law by calling (844) 876-4357 to set up a free assessment of your accident claims with our car accident attorneys.