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Atlanta Car Accident Attorney

It’s easy to forget how deadly vehicles can be. Through years of driving, we become desensitized to the fact that we’re operating weapons. This can lead to unsafe habits like texting and driving, drinking and driving, and drowsy driving. Many drivers overestimate their abilities behind the wheel and risk the lives of others in moments of carelessness. Every year, unsuspecting drivers and their passengers sustain serious to fatal injuries in car accidents. If you or someone you love has been in such an accident, call Butler Wooten & Peak LLP. Your financial future may be on the line.

Types of Car Accidents We Handle

At Butler Wooten & Peak LLP, we’ve helped clients with vehicle accident claims in Georgia since our firm’s founding in 1988. We’ve gone up against major car insurance companies on behalf of our clients and helped accident victims preserve their rights under Georgia law. We have experience handling almost every type of vehicle accident, from fender benders to catastrophic pileups on the highway. We want to hear from you regardless of what type of crash you were in, including:

  • Multi-car collisions
  • Single-car accidents
  • T-bone accidents
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Head-on collisions
  • Hit-and-runs
  • Sideswipe accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Drunk driving accidents
  • Distracted driving accidents
  • School zone collisions
  • Fatal car accidents

The type of auto accident does not matter. What does matter is whether you choose to pursue compensation. If a negligent party is responsible for your accident, even in part, you should consider a personal injury claim. With the right team of attorneys, the process is simple and straightforward. Your lawyer will file the paperwork, navigate the red tape, and get your case underway without delay. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the sooner you can start your journey toward recovery – physical and financial.

Damages Available for Car Accident Cases in Georgia

A car accident settlement or award may not be able to erase your physical/emotional damages, but it can go a long way toward securing your financial future. The civil law system in Georgia allows car accident victims to recover for a number of different damages, classified into two categories: special and general. Special damages are economic damages, or those the defendant actually caused. These include:

  • Past and future medical expenses. The costs of ambulance transport, hospital stays, scans, x-rays, medications, treatments, surgeries, and therapies relating to the accident. If you require lifelong medical care, such as a live-in nurse, the courts will award an amount to cover these significant costs.
  • Lost wages from missed time at work. If you had to stay home from work because of your injuries, like in the case of a spinal cord injury, the courts will compensate you for this lost income. This includes compensation for raises or promotions you likely would have received were it not for your injuries.
  • Property damage. Economic damages may also include losses to your property, such as your vehicle, home, or possessions. The courts will order an amount to repair or replace your damaged items, according to price estimates and quotes from experts.

General damages cover losses that are non-economic, or intangible. The plaintiff does not need proof of a specific amount of harm to receive these damages. Instead, the plaintiff will prove his/her mental and emotional damages through medical documentation and testimony from expert witnesses. General damages may include:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional suffering or distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Lost quality of life
  • Diminished capacity to earn
  • Missed opportunities in the workplace

Georgia currently has no cap on the amount of general or special damages auto accident victims may receive. The court will take the amount of special damages a person suffered in a car collision and multiply it by a number (typically between one and five) it believes quantifies the amount of suffering the victim has gone through to come up with the amount for general damages. For a more accurate representation of what damages you may be eligible to recover after a car accident in Atlanta, speak to our attorneys.

In the chart below, you will find a breakdown of the traffic fatalities by state in 2016. Georgia is ranked #4 highest in traffic deaths, with a total of 1554 fatalities during the year. 

Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer

 

Georgia Car Accident Laws

The car accident claims process looks different in every state and even from city to city. In Atlanta, you must contact the Atlanta Police Department if you’re in an accident that results in more than $500 in property damage, injury, or death to any party. You must stop at the scene and exchange information with the other driver in all other types of crashes, although calling the police may not be necessary.

To file a lawsuit in Atlanta, head to the State Court of Fulton County, which has jurisdiction in all civil cases. There are three locations in which you can file your suit. If your claim is worth less than $15,000, file instead with the Magistrate Court of Fulton County. The rest of the rules regarding car accidents in Atlanta follow Georgia state laws. These include:

  1. Car insurance requirements. Every vehicle operator in Atlanta must carry car insurance policies with at least the minimum requirements. These are $25,000 for bodily injury to a single person, $25,000 in property damage, and $50,000 for bodily injury to multiple people.
  2. Fault system. Georgia is a “fault” car accident state, meaning that insurance companies will determine fault and liability after a crash before supplying coverage. The at-fault driver will be responsible for injuries and property damage that result from the wreck.
  3. Modified comparative negligence laws. Georgia obeys a modified comparative negligence rule, which means an injured party may still recover damages even if he/she is partially at fault for the crash. If the courts find the plaintiff 50% or more at fault, however, he/she loses eligibility for damage recovery.
  4. Damage caps. There is no statewide cap on compensatory damages, but there is a $250,000 limit on punitive damages. These are damages the court awards to punish the defendant for egregious acts such as gross negligence or intent to harm.
  5. Deadlines for filing. As stated above, you have two years to file a personal injury claim in the city of Atlanta. After the statute of limitations passes, the courts will refuse to hear your auto accident case.

Car Accident FAQs

If you’re on this page, it likely means you’ve suffered damages in an auto accident in Georgia and want more information about your rights and options as a victim. You may have totaled your car, sustained serious personal injuries, or accumulated thousands of dollars in medical costs. An attorney can help you assess your damages and pursue compensation for these losses. Speak to the Atlanta accident attorneys at Butler Wooten & Peak LLP about your individual case for more specific legal information. In the meantime, use this FAQ section for some general facts about these types of claims:

I don’t feel injured. Should I still seek medical attention?

In our experience, we’ve encountered clients who did not notice injuries right away – even serious injuries like concussions. Sometimes injuries do not show immediate symptoms. We recommend seeing a doctor as soon as possible after an accident, just to be safe. Immediate medical attention can improve your prognosis for recovery and protect your rights should you later need to file a personal injury claim.

The other driver’s insurance company has contacted me. What do I say?

If the other driver was at fault for your crash, you could hear from his or her insurance company as soon as the day of the accident. The company may request that you give a statement about the accident. You may also receive a swift settlement offer. Insurance claims adjusters often know less about the crash than you do. They simply want you to settle for the least amount possible. Go over your other options with a lawyer before accepting rushed offers from an insurance company.

Can I do anything to improve the outcome of my case?

After a car wreck, you can take steps to protect your rights for the future, such as not admitting fault. Take photographs of your accident and injuries. Gather information, such as the other driver’s name and insurance company. Seek medical attention for injuries right away. Report the accident to police and to your insurance company. Contact an attorney as soon as you’re able to discuss your case.

How much is my case worth?

If you’re considering a personal injury lawsuit, your first question might be how much you could potentially receive in compensation. While there is no secret formula for calculating this, an attorney can estimate what your case might be worth during a free consultation. It will depend on the cost of your medical care, ongoing treatments, and lost wages, as well as how much the accident has affected your personal life and emotional health.

How long do I have to file my claim?

In Georgia, you have two years from the date of the injury or discovery of injury to file a car accident personal injury claim. This deadline does have exceptions in certain situations, and there are tighter time limits for government claims (you must file an administrative letter, typically within six months). We recommend you don’t wait until the end of your time limit. Get started right away, while the evidence is still available and the memory of the crash is still fresh in your mind.

I crashed into a company-owned vehicle. Who pays for my damages?

If your car accident involved a business vehicle, on-duty employee, or a government agency, your claim may be against the company or entity, not the individual driver. Companies are vicariously liable for the actions of their employees while at work. You may also be able to file a claim against both parties, and/or another third party.

What if I was partially at fault for the crash?

Some car accident cases involve contributory negligence – the plaintiff’s proportion of fault in causing the collision. In Georgia, you could still recover for your damages even if the courts believe you are partially responsible. You will receive compensation reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault. For example, if the award amount is $100,000 but the courts find you 10% at fault, you would receive $90,000.

I was in a hit-and-run car accident. Can I still recover compensation?

If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage, this protection will cover your damages in the event of a hit-and-run accident. If you do not have this coverage, there is a chance an investigation will lead to identifying the driver. Police officers may be able to do this using surveillance footage or eyewitness accounts. Unfortunately, there is a chance you won’t recover compensation if neither of these avenues is fruitful.

My loved one died in a car wreck. Can I sue the responsible party?

That depends. In Georgia, the only parties who can file wrongful death claims are the deceased person’s spouse or children. If these parties don’t exist, the surviving parents may file. A personal representative of the estate may also file. Speak to our lawyers if you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to file wrongful death on behalf of a deceased loved one.

Is a personal injury claim worth the time and money?

In most cases, yes. The personal injury attorneys at Butler Wooten & Peak LLP work on a contingency-fee basis. This means you won’t pay anything unless we win you financial compensation. We take our attorney’s fees out of the award we win for you. Depending on the extent of your injuries, a personal injury claim can go a substantial way toward covering your expenses and making up for personal losses.

After a car accident in Georgia, you may have dozens of questions on your mind. Meanwhile, you’re trying to recover from injuries, deal with insurance companies, and keep track of the mounting medical bills. Talking to an attorney can put your mind at ease and help take the burden off your shoulders. Giving your claim over to our attorneys means that our firm will do the legwork for you while you focus on healing. Call us toll-free at (800) 242-2962 to speak with our team and get answers to your specific questions.

Atlanta GA Car Accident Attorneys

Speak to an attorney for free in Atlanta at Butler Wooten & Peak LLP. Car accident cases can quickly escalate into complex legal battles. A lawyer can take care of the legal processes for you, so you can focus on time with family and friends during your physical recovery. Our lawyers are happy to discuss your case in detail, give you an estimate of what it may be worth, and start the process for filing as soon as possible. Call us in Atlanta (404) 321-1700 or toll-free (800) 242-2962 or get in touch online for a free consultation today!

Client testimonial:

“I was referred to Brandon Peak, a partner at Butler Wooten & Peak, after I was involved in a car accident. He & his staff treated me wonderfully and I knew I was in good hands because they stayed in contact with me and kept me in the loop about what was going on with my case. Everyone at the firm treated me with respect, fought hard for my case and truly cared about helping me. I would highly recommend Brandon Peak to others in need of an excellent attorney.”

Sarah