It’s never a good idea to attempt to handle your car accident claim on your own, for a variety of reasons. Accident claims are not as simple as they may seem, and there are certain defenses that any insurance company can employ in order to deny a claim. Georgia accident law is established in favor of insurance companies in some regards, especially when it comes to comparative fault, and cases must meet a specific standard in order for compensation to be available for injured parties.
Even a “simple” 2-car accident producing minor to moderate injuries can be complicated, and the claim can potentially be denied based on technicalities. When insurance providers think they have a case, it will almost always necessitate going to court to settle the matter. This means it is essential to have experienced and effective legal counsel from an aggressive Atlanta car accident attorney. Details matter, and your attorney can point those details out on your behalf.
Dealing with insurance companies
Insurance company claims adjusters are highly trained professional negotiators who look for any details they can find to reduce or deny your accident claim. This includes physical property damage as well as personal injuries. They will often apply 1 of 2 methods, if not both.
The first method comes in a case where they must pay some amount of benefits. They will commonly make a quick settlement offer that will assuredly come with a full release for future medical coverage after the settlement is accepted. This will protect them from having to deal with an attorney who knows the actual value of your claim.
A quick settlement offer is always a red flag that your claim is more valuable than you realize, and it could also be an automatic claim approval. If you refuse the offer, they will then become difficult in processing the claim while looking for any details they can find to deny certain benefits, such as appropriate general damages for pain and suffering.
Because insurance claim adjusters are so good at what they do, and the layman generally doesn’t understand the full legal ramifications, it is in your best interests to hire a lawyer. They can walk you through the negotiation process and get you the best available outcome, rather than walking blindly through this process alone.
Comparative negligence defense
Comparative negligence is the concept that a claimant driver could have been largely responsible for causing their own injuries. This can be a significant defense for insurance companies in denying your claim in Georgia because of the modified comparative fault law employed by the state.
Georgia is one of the most restrictive states in the nation when it comes to car crash liability, and it bars any claimant from being financially compensated for injuries if they are at least 50 percent at fault for the accident. Even for approved claims, the settlement is reduced by the percentage of personal fault for a claimant driver. Passengers are typically not assessed for fault. This means that neither driver in a 50-50 2-car accident will be eligible for an insurance claim, and insurance companies in Georgia understand that this law works in their favor.
The extent of injury to the claimant is not as important to the insurance carrier as possibly establishing a defense that allows a claim denial, and they always use it regularly. They have a team of attorneys to attempt swaying the court in that direction.
Your attorney works hardest in this area of representation when proving claim validity. Novice injured claimants are no match in court against insurance company attorneys.
Another issue in an auto accident claim is obtaining appropriate financial compensation for claimed damages. Damages are categorized in 3 particular types:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
Economic compensatory damages are defined by distinct dollar amounts and include items such as medical bills, lost wages when they apply, physical property damage and associated expenses with meeting medical or rehab appointments or vehicle rental.
Non-economic compensatory damages are the general damages for pain and suffering associated with the extent of injury and ongoing difficulties in life following the injury, including limited rehabilitation prognosis and possible disability as a result of the accident.
Punitive damages can only be awarded by a jury, and they are intended as punishment in egregious cases of gross negligence when your accident attorney can prove to the court the excessive damages are warranted.
Lawyers are skilled in calculating these damages and determining how much compensation you deserve. If you file a claim without a lawyer’s expertise, you could be walking away with money left on the table. Why take that risk?
When do you need a Georgia car crash attorney?
As you can see, being properly compensated for catastrophic accident injuries in Georgia almost always requires the expertise of an experienced and aggressive car accident attorney who knows what to expect from the respondents and their insurance providers.
An attorney from Scholle Law can conduct a thorough investigation into your accident and craft a solid case on your behalf for minimal personal fault and maximum damage payout when demanding justice in court. If you have been injured in a Georgia auto accident, do not delay.