What to do when you or a loved one were hurt in a car crash
If you or a loved one were involved in a serious car accident in Atlanta, Georgia, take just a few minutes to determine whether or not you are able to hold someone responsible for your injuries. Contact Scholle Law to schedule your one-on-one FREE consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney near you. We’ve helped many Atlanta residents with their car accident claim. Let us help you, too.Whatever or whoever is responsible for your car accident, experienced Atlanta car crash lawyer Charles Scholle wants to make sure you fully understand your legal rights. No obligation, no cost. Just answers.
Consult with a local car accident lawyer who knows the Atlanta legal system and who is able to manage the fact-finding process to determine who is at fault for your injury. This is the first step in getting the help you need.
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What an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney can do for you
We understand that a car accident can be stressful and life-changing in a number of ways — financially, physically and emotionally. Aside from receiving medical treatment immediately, the best thing you can do after a crash is contact an experienced car accident lawyer near you to learn about your legal rights.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a car accident near Atlanta, Georgia or in Fulton County, don’t hesitate to contact Charles Scholle — a widely respected attorney who has helped Atlanta residents secure the compensation they need for two decades. He’ll take away as much stress as possible and allow you to focus on your recovery by performing vital services, including:
- Investigating the accident scene and evidence to determine fault
- Calculating your full damages for economic losses (medical treatment, lost wages, property damage, etc.) and non-economic losses (pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, etc.)
- File all the necessary paperwork to get your benefits sooner
- Negotiate with insurers to ensure you get a full and fair settlement offer
- Represent you in court (if necessary)
During your initial consultation with Scholle Law, there is no fee and no commitment required. We’ll simply look at the details of your case and inform you of your legal options so that you can make the best decision for you and your family. If you decide to proceed with your claim, we’ll start working on your Atlanta car accident claim immediately. We’ll fight tooth and nail to secure the best possible outcome in your case.We serve clients throughout Metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia.
Avoid these common car accident claim mistakes
In the panic and shock following a car accident, people often make mistakes. While some of these slip-ups are harmless, others can completely derail an injury compensation claim. Here are a few of the most common mistakes we see car accident victims make and how you can avoid them:
- Admitting fault. Liability is the keystone of your car accident claim, which is why you should never admit guilt to police, insurance agents, the other driver or bystanders. Even saying “I’m sorry” can be construed as admitting fault for a collision, which might hurt your accident claim. Never apologize, and let your lawyer do all the talking.
- Failing to call police. Some people try to resolve accidents without involving law enforcement in order to avoid the hassle and keep their insurance premiums low. However, this is not a wise decision. The role of police is to collect valuable evidence and determine fault for an accident. They will assemble this important information into a police report, which can be an essential component of your car accident claim. If you don’t contact police and report the crash, then none of this will happen and your chances of recovering financial damages from the other driver go down drastically.
- Leaving the accident scene. It’s understandable why you may feel like leaving a stressful accident scene as soon as possible, but you should always contact local authorities and wait for them to arrive. Not only is leaving an accident scene a crime in Georgia, but it also makes it difficult (if not impossible) for you to recover compensation for your injuries and property damage.
- Not getting medical treatment right away. In the chaos and shock following a car crash, it’s easy for accident victims to think they’re not hurt — only to start experiencing pain in the days or weeks after the collision. For this reason, you should immediately see a doctor. If you wait to get medical treatment and file an insurance claim, this is a red flag for insurers and they will most likely deny your claim. They will argue that your injuries must not have been serious if you waited to receive treatment.
- Thinking your insurance adjuster is your friend. When you contact your insurance company to notify them about the accident, they will assign you an adjuster. This adjuster is professionally trained to solicit as much information from you as possible with the goal of finding a reason to deny your claim. Remember that the adjuster is not on your side, no matter how friendly and empathetic to your situation they may seem. Insurance companies make money by denying claims, and that’s exactly what they’ll do to you if they find a loophole in your claim. Provide as little information as you can and only answer the questions they ask — do not supply more detail than is requested.
Car accident FAQs: questions and answers
What’s the statute of limitations on auto accidents in Georgia?
In Atlanta and throughout Georgia, car accident victims typically have just 2 years after their crash to file an injury claim. There are few exceptions to this deadline, and if you miss it then your chances of ever getting financial compensation for your injuries are basically zero.
Two years may seem like a long time away, but you’d be surprised how fast this deadline will come and go. Memories fade, witnesses move away, and important evidence can be lost. The longer you wait to file a car accident claim, the harder it becomes to accurately represent your case. Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to get your claim started.
Is Georgia a no-fault accident state?
No, Georgia is an “at-fault” state. This means that unlike no-fault states, all drivers in Georgia are liable for their share of injuries, property damage and other costs resulting from a car accident. Typically, the money owed comes from each driver’s insurance company.
For this reason, determining fault in an Atlanta car accident is extremely important, yet often complex and highly contested. As a victim, you must be able to prove that the other driver was responsible for the accident and your injuries.
When do I need to get an attorney for a car accident?
If you or a loved one were involved in an Atlanta car crash that resulted in serious injury and/or property damage, we strongly recommend that you contact our law firm immediately. The reason is simple:
Insurance companies have teams of lawyers at their disposal who are evaluating your accident claim right now, looking for a reason to deny you compensation. Facing these billion-dollar companies on your own is unwise.
In order to level the playing field, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney who can go head-to-head against the insurance company to represent your best interests. Since Georgia is an at-fault state, determining fault is an important step. Your lawyer can make sure you get a fair offer from the insurer and protect you from being taken advantage of.
How long does an insurance company have to settle an accident claim in Georgia?
Insurance companies have strict deadlines regarding how soon they must respond to car accident claims in Georgia. Generally speaking, they have 15 days to acknowledge receipt of your claim and provide the proper claimant proof of loss forms.
After receiving your completed forms, the insurer has 15 more days to accept or deny the claim. The insurer may request additional time to process your claim, but the maximum amount of time they have to either accept or deny your claim is 60 days.
Lastly, if the insurance company accepts your claim, they have only 10 days from the date of giving notification of acceptance to pay the claimant benefits.
If the insurer fails to meet any of these deadlines, it may constitute “bad faith” under Georgia law and additional penalties or fines may be owed. Talk to one of our Atlanta car accident lawyers if you have questions about your insurance settlement timeline.
What’s the average settlement for a car accident claim?
Every car accident is different. The same goes for car accident claims and settlements. Ultimately, the settlement amount you may be entitled to depends on many factors — including the type and severity of your injuries, damages you suffered (like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.), insurance policy limits and if you have legal representation, to name a few.
Here at Scholle Law, we’ve been able to secure verdicts and settlements for car crash victims ranging from $100,000 (policy limit settlement) for a driver who suffered a back injury after being hit by an intoxicated driver, to $5.5 million for a Gwinnett County resident who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a T-bone accident — and everywhere in between. During your free consultation with Scholle Law, our experienced personal injury attorneys can calculate your damages and give you an estimate of how much your case is worth.
What to do after a car accident in Atlanta, GA
In the moments immediately following a car crash, you may experience a wave of shock and adrenaline that makes it difficult to think clearly and make rational decisions. By focusing on the following 6 post-accident steps in the aftermath of a collision, you can ensure that your health, safety and legal rights are protected.
If you’ve been in a car accident — whether someone hit your vehicle or you collided with another car, person or object — the first thing you should do is dial 911. If you’re too injured to make the call yourself, ask someone else to do so. Let dispatchers know where you are and if you or anyone else appears to be hurt. In minutes, local police, EMTs (ambulance) and possibly firefighters should be at the accident scene. If you’re hurt, don’t worry about doing anything else. Wait for help to arrive and follow the instructions of first responders.
As you wait for local authorities to arrive, be sure to stay at the scene of the accident. Fleeing an accident scene, known as a “hit and run,” is against the law in Georgia. You may move your vehicle off to the side of the road if you are able to do so safely, but do not go far. Once the police arrive, answer any questions they ask as honestly as you can, without admitting fault. Never say, “I’m sorry.”
Before leaving the accident scene, be sure to get the name, contact information and insurance information of the other driver and anyone else involved in the collision. At this time, you should also try to take pictures and video of the accident scene to preserve the evidence for later. Using your phone camera is fine. Ask a bystander or passenger in your vehicle to take pictures if you’re too injured or in shock to do so yourself. Be sure to snap photos or video of all vehicles involved (including your own) from multiple angles, as well as pictures of the surrounding environment and weather conditions.
Once you leave the accident scene, notify your auto insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. This step is essential in order to obtain compensation for your car accident damages, such as property damage and personal injury. If you fail to tell your insurer about the accident, or you wait too long, they may have grounds to refuse your claim and deny payment. During your initial call with the insurance company, they may ask you some preliminary questions and assign an adjuster to your case. Again, avoid admitting fault. Stick to the facts and keep your answers brief.
Following a car accident, you should schedule a checkup with your doctor as soon as possible, even if you were able to walk away from the accident and don’t think you were seriously harmed. Some injuries, such as whiplash and head trauma, don’t always have immediate symptoms; but they show up in the days, weeks and months after a collision. What’s more, the adrenaline and shock you experienced after the accident may be concealing certain injuries. A medical professional will be able to give you a clean bill of health and diagnose any internal injuries before they get worse.
While some minor car accidents with no injuries and little property damage can often be handled between two drivers, or between their insurance companies, victims of serious car crashes involving catastrophic injuries and major property damage should meet with a legal professional as soon as possible. An experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer can help make sure you get full and fair compensation for your injuries by providing skilled representation and negotiating with insurance adjusters, the other driver and, if necessary, a judge.
Contact us to speak with a lawyer about your accident.We’re available 24/7 and your first consultation is free.
Call 866-972-5287 or send us a message online
Common types of car accidents in Atlanta
Car accidents come in all shapes and sizes. A few of the most common types of collisions in Atlanta include:
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on crashes
- T-bone (side impact) accidents
- Sideswipe collisions
- Multi-vehicle pileups
- Single vehicle car accidents
- Vehicle rollovers
- Hit and runs
- Fatal crashes
At Scholle Law, we specialize in all types of auto accidents, including the examples listed above. We can inform you about your rights and advise you on the next best steps. If you or a loved one were involved in any one of these types of accidents, and it was the fault of the other driver, then you might be eligible for financial compensation.
Most common car crash injuries
Injuries resulting from an auto accident can range from minor to severe. In the worst-case scenario, a collision is so bad that it causes the death of one or more vehicle occupants. Here’s a list of car crash injuries we see most often in Atlanta cases:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Head trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones (ribs, arms, legs, etc.)
- Organ damage (internal bleeding)
- Scrapes and cuts
- Knee injuries
- Post-traumatic stress (PTSD)
- Abdominal injuries
Many of these injuries require extensive and costly medical treatment, sometimes for the remainder of a person’s life. An Atlanta car accident lawyer can make sure you get compensation to cover all of your accident-related medical expenses (current and future treatment).
Common causes of car accidents
While there are many causes of car crashes, the common thread underlying all of them is negligence. Though commonly used, the word “accident” is actually deceiving because most crashes are preventable. Here are some common examples of negligence that result in vehicle collisions in Atlanta:
- Distraction. In 2018, Georgia enacted a sweeping hands-free cell phone law that now makes it illegal to hold your phone while driving in the state. And while the number of fatal auto accidents has declined slightly in recent years, texting behind the wheel and other forms of distracted driving continue to be a major cause of crashes in and around Atlanta. Drivers can be distracted by any number of objects, from their cell phones and GPS devices, to eating/drinking while behind the wheel and other passengers. Teens and young drivers (age 16-24) are most likely to be distracted, though drivers of all ages are vulnerable to distraction.
- Intoxicated driving. Even though drunk and drugged driving is against the law, accidents involving impaired drivers continues to be one of the most prevalent reasons for serious injuries and fatalities on Atlanta roads. In fact, the state’s DUI death rates are highest among urban areas near restaurants and bars, such as Atlanta. In 2018 alone, there were 3,290 DUI cases in Fulton County reported to DDS.
- Reckless driving. Impatient and irresponsible driving is the cause of many car accidents in the Atlanta metro area. Reckless behavior behind the wheel can include speeding, tailgating, switching lanes quickly or without using a blinker, running red lights, illegal passing, racing and overall aggressive driving.
- Bad weather. While the Atlanta area doesn’t see as much snow and ice as other parts of the country, dense fog, heavy rain, high winds and hail do occasionally impact Georgia drivers. Nighttime driving, even on a clear night, also increases the risk of crashes. Young and inexperienced drivers are particularly vulnerable to these hazards as they tend to not slow down and drive more cautiously when poor weather conditions reduce visibility.
- Vehicle defects. Tire blowouts, brake failure and other vehicle defects can cause a driver to swerve unexpectedly or crash into another car. While sometimes unforeseen design defects may be the culprit, accidents caused by a vehicle defect can often be prevented by paying attention to recalls and keeping up with regular vehicle maintenance.
- Road obstacles. Any unexpected roadway hazard can cause an accident if it makes the driver lose control of their vehicle or swerve unexpectedly. Animal crossings such as deer and racoons are a common example of roadway hazards in rural areas, though Atlanta drivers are more likely to encounter obstacles such as potholes, pedestrians and construction zones.
Atlanta car accident statistics
The nearly 500,000 residents who call Atlanta home and the many thousands of visitors who travel here on an annual basis all depend on the major roads and highways that traverse the city. With such major thoroughfares cutting through neighborhoods, business districts and communities — not to mention Interstates 75 and 85 which tie Midtown Atlanta with Downtown to the south and Buckhead to the north — it’s no surprise that car and truck accidents are a part of daily life in Atlanta. In many of these violent collisions, drivers and passengers are seriously injured — a handful even tragically lose their lives.
If you think Atlanta traffic has gotten much worse in recent years, you’re not imagining things. In fact, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has cited Atlanta roads as among the most dangerous in the U.S. In 2013, Georgia had the 7th highest fatal car accident rates in the country — in large part, no doubt, to Atlanta crashes. In addition, the number of deadly pedestrian-vehicle collisions increased in 2018 for the third straight year, and pedestrian fatalities in Georgia as a whole has jumped by 60 percent in the last 5 years.
A number of factors have led to the rise in motor vehicle accidents in and around the Atlanta area in recent years. The massive growth of the suburbs and local investment into downtown Atlanta as a center of business, residential and cultural activity are at least partly responsible for increasing the traffic woes residents experience on a regular basis.