Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Lakeland, Georgia?
Auto accidents can change your life and the lives of loved ones. The emotional trauma, physical injuries, and financial hardships can be crippling without the proper legal guidance. At The Mabra Firm, our Lakeland car accident lawyers provide compassionate and dedicated legal services to everyone injured in an accident around metro Lakeland. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that about 40 million people experience personal injuries every year that require medical assistance. Of those incidents, about 5.5 million resulted in car accidents.
That is because motor vehicle crashes are some of the most common injuries people face. It is common for victims of negligence to contact a personal injury law firm and file a claim. When they do, a vast amount of questions surface about the legal system and how things work.
No doubt, filing a claim comes with many twists and turns. If you have questions about your accident, look no further. Our car accident law firm has the answers to your most frequently asked questions here. Let’s get started with learning exactly what you need to do after an auto accident.
What Do You Do After a Car Accident in Lakeland?
The events immediately following a car crash are some of the most important steps you can take. Understandably, an accident can leave you in a daze or panicked. Our car accident lawyers in Lakeland recommend following these 7 steps:
- The first thing you should do is call emergency services. You don’t know if the other person has injuries. Plus, you have yet to assess yourself to see the extent of your injuries. Some injuries are not immediate and can arise hours or days later. Dial 9-1-1 to get an ambulance out to the scene of the car crash as soon as possible.
- Once you seek medical attention, you want to ensure you get the other person’s info. Along with this, try your best to preserve the evidence of the accident.
- Don’t let anyone touch your car or the bits on the road. You never know what will end up helping your claim down the road. So, be sure to speak to the other driver and exchange information.
- You want to ask for things like:
- Their name
- Their phone number
- Their address
- Their license plate number
- Their insurance company
- Gathering this data is a critical step in the process because you need to give these details to your insurance company. It also helps down the road if the person tries to lie about their involvement in the accident.
- Once the police arrive, tell them everything you remember about your car crash. The police officer acts as a witness to the scene and will write up a police report. You can request a copy of that report to use in your insurance claim. It is important to note here that if you are on private property and get into an accident, the police have little jurisdiction.
- The few steps you need to implement are taking pictures, contacting your insurance company, and finding a car accident lawyer in Lakeland, GA. Be sure to take pictures of your car to prove damages to your personal property.
- Then, hire a lawyer. Many people make the mistake of contacting the insurance company before talking with a lawyer. However, you want to speak with a lawyer before talking to anyone else. That way, you have solid advice on what to say and do in such a delicate situation regarding the settlement.
How Does a Car Accident Claim Begin?
Once you speak with your insurance company and contact The Mabra Firm, the process of a personal injury claim can begin. Initially, it starts when you file a summons, and the lawyer serves a complaint to the at-fault party.
But there are a few exceptions to this, especially if multiple people are involved, resulting in a multi-vehicle accident. There is also the chance that the at-fault party is an employee who was on the job.
If that is the case, your lawyer will look into whether the person has uninsured or underinsured coverage. If so, then whoever their insurance company is also served with a complaint.
If the at-fault party has no insurance, you may need to file a personal injury claim with your insurance company. Most of the time, auto insurance provides you with the necessary compensation for your injuries and damages.
You may understand getting compensation for your injuries, but what is in the damages part of that? Continue reading to find out.
What are Damages in Car Accident Cases?
After a car accident, 2 types of damages can be awarded, general damages and special damages. Damages refer to the money awarded in a case. Let’s discuss these two types of damages.
General damages include things like: When you file your claim, you are suing for negligence that caused damages to you and your belongings. But it isn’t that simple because there are several different damages to consider.
General damages encompass physical injuries to you. These do not include damages to personal property. Instead, the defendant must provide compensation for any pain and suffering that you feel.
- Loss of Consortium
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Trauma
Anything that lowers your quality of life is liable to be under the umbrella of general damages. The hard part is adding up a sum or compensation.
Our Lawyers can quickly create an estimate for physical property. But assessing how much your physical health is worth can be difficult to appraise.
These damages are subjective, so they may take time to determine. Remember that you can also suffer severe mental trauma.
Don’t assume right off the bat that you haven’t suffered mentally. According to reports, PTSD from car crashes can arise nearly thirty days post-accident. So, keep an eye on whether you are afraid to drive or get into a car, as those are common signs of motor vehicle PTSD.
These include things such as physical property or medical bills. If your accident puts you in the hospital, then the defendant is responsible for covering any expenses you acquire while admitted.
Physical damages also include:
- Vehicle repairs
- Damaged property repairs
- Compensation for irreplaceable items
Whether it is medical bills or car repairs, these damages are easier to calculate than general damages when deciding upon an estimate.
You may have questions regarding the laws around your case and the nature of a car accident case. Let’s discuss those questions next.
Is My Car Accident Case Criminal or Civil?
There are a few defining factors between a civil case and a criminal claim. A criminal case is often filed by the state government and led by a prosecuting attorney.
When it comes to car accidents, an example of a criminal case would be a DUI. It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Therefore, lawyers treat a drunk driving accident as a criminal case.
A civil claim goes through a law firm or independent party. They ensure the other party is accountable for any injuries or damages. For a civil case to stick, you need to provide evidence (photos, police report, statements, etc.) of the crash that proves you are not to blame.
What Are the Tort Laws?
In essence, a tort is an act of guilt to a personal injury caused by negligence. These laws exist to aid the injured or wronged parties and ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.
In the case of a motor vehicle accident, negligent tort law comes into action. This tort means that an accident occurred because the driver did not follow the road safety rules. For a negligent tort to stand, there needs to be proof of bodily harm or harm to your property.
So, you understand tort law, but do you have to go to trial?
Will My Case Go to Trial?
Most cases do not end up going to trial. There is a trial date set up, but most of these claims end in settlement long before the court case starts.
There are very few cases that warrant a court proceeding. That happens when there is a problematic legal issue. Otherwise, if you and the defendant agree on a settlement, you won’t have to worry about stepping foot in a courthouse.
What Are The Statute of Limitations in Georgia?
A statute of limitations puts a cap on the number of years you can wait to sue someone. In the state of Georgia, you have two years to file a claim for damages or wrongful death. After that, you are no longer eligible.
Was the accident 100% the other driver’s fault? If it wasn’t, you might still be able to get compensation because of comparative negligence.
What Is Comparative Negligence in Lakeland, GA?
Comparative negligence falls under tort law and comes into play when both parties are at fault. That means you are partially held accountable for a negligent act along with the defendant.
Georgia falls under one of the many states that uphold this law. In the case of comparative negligence, a jury determines a percentage of fault for each party.
For example, you might be guilty of 40% while the other party is responsible for 60%. After that, you are each assigned an amount to pay each other in damages.
If you have more questions, you can learn about comparative negligence here.
It’s also crucial to understand what is to be expected with car accident settlements. Next, we will answer some of those questions.
Should I Take the First Settlement Offered to Me?
Shortly after your accident, you will hear from the other person’s insurance company. They will likely offer you a settlement deal right then and there.
Our firm advises you not to take it. That is because the auto insurance company’s end goal is to offer you the lowest amount possible to end the claim.
It’s in your best interest to work with an attorney at The Mabra Firm who can navigate the legal process for you and has the experience of getting the maximum compensation from insurance companies.
We understand the jargon, laws, and statutes set in place to ensure you get the right amount of compensation that you need.
Never been in an accident and have no idea how much a settlement would be? You are not alone. The Mabra Firm is here to help you decide what you deserve. Next, we will give you what the average settlement amounts are.
What Is an Average Settlement?
The settlement amount depends on your case and the number of damages inflicted. A decent range to expect would be anywhere from $4,000-$80,000. If you want to make sure you get the most out of your settlement, you need to do everything you can to create a strong case.
That means witnesses, statement reports, and photos. Read up on the Georgia state laws, and continue to speak with your attorney to ensure everything is moving at a steady and organized pace.
Settlements are not usually given quickly, as often car insurance companies
How Long Will It Take to Receive My Settlement?
In Georgia, insurance companies have up to 40 days to settle a claim. After you approve their decision, you can expect a check within six weeks to four months.
There are many ways that a car accident attorney can help you navigate the legal process.
How Much Can I Get For A Whiplash Injury?
If you experience whiplash symptoms, you can file a claim and expect to receive around $3,000-$10,000 in a settlement.
However, there are varying degrees of whiplash. If you have broken bones or a more severe case, you might be eligible for a higher settlement amount.
It’s important to note that after a dollar amount is agreed upon, the money from the settlement typically doesn’t get to you right away.
Can you get this compensation on your own without a lawyer? Possibly, but find out why it is essential to hire a car accident lawyer to get the compensation you deserve.
How much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
Many Lakeland lawyers will agree to represent you and your case on contingency. That means they don’t require money up front or by the hour.
If they win your case, they will take a portion of your settlement or award. However, if your case does not win, you won’t owe anything.
It’s important to work with a quality law firm to receive the highest settlement amount allowed by law.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help?
By working with an expert like a personal injury attorney from The Mabra Firm, you can guarantee that your case runs as smoothly as possible.
Our local personal injury lawyers have an outstanding track record in critical things like maximizing your compensation. We have plenty of experience with personal injury cases involving car wrecks, truck accidents, motorcycle wrecks, and other personal injury accidents.
By hiring an attorney, you don’t have to worry about the laws, damages, and statutes. We can handle your case for you, so you don’t have to add another stressor to your life. You can focus on healing from your accident while we work diligently to boost your claim.
Get a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer in Lakeland
As you can tell, there are several pertinent questions many victims of personal injury accidents may ask. We hope this guide helped provide some answers. Remember, a good lawyer makes all the difference when trying to get amends for a negligent act.
Have you recently been in a car accident and believe the other person is at fault? The Mabra Firm has a trusted auto accident attorney in Lakeland that wants to help you.
Do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation today. We will answer any other questions you may have and help you get started on the path to compensation.