If you were injured due to the negligence of another driver, distracted or not, you deserve compensation for your damages. In most cases, the other driver’s car insurance should cover these damages, although the insurance company may try to evade responsibility by blaming you for the accident. If this happens, your Georgia distracted driving accident lawyer will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
What are Damages?
In a personal injury claim, such as a car accident with a distracted driver, damages refer to losses or injuries the injured party suffered. These can be economic or non-economic. Economic damages are usually represented by a specific amount of money – a hospital bill for $3,500, an estimate from the collision repair center for $1,500 to fix your car, etc. Non-economic damages don’t come with a bill, but they affect your life. Examples include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. Both damages are valid, and you should receive compensation for them.
Your distracted driving accident attorney will want to ensure you receive enough compensation from the insurance carrier to cover all your damages fully, so they will ask you questions to determine what kind of losses you have in these categories:
Medical costs. Often people only consider their current bills but forget about future expenses. If you’re still in treatment, you may have more costs in the coming months or even years if your injury leads to chronic issues. Some injured patients also discover that their health insurance only covers some treatments up to a pre-set limit and that their future costs are much higher than their current ones. For these reasons, your lawyer will want to see your current bills but may wait to settle the case until you’ve completed treatment or reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Lost income or earning potential. If you had to miss work while recovering from your distracted driving accident, you should be compensated for the money you lost – even if you had paid sick days, you still had to use those. What if your injury caused a permanent or chronic problem that prevents you from returning to work or working at the same level you did before? You are also entitled to compensation for this reduced earning potential.
Property damage. This includes having your car repaired or replaced and fixing other property damaged in the crash, such as a phone or computer.
Permanent disability. If you suffered an amputation or lost the use of some part of your body, you should receive compensation for this loss.
Pain and suffering. Mental and physical pain can follow a car accident and may last for weeks or months or even become chronic.
Loss of consortium or companionship. If a loved one died in the accident, you could seek damages for losing the benefits of a relationship, such as consortium, companionship, care, advice, etc. If you depended on a deceased loved one for financial support, you can also seek damages for the loss of their income in a wrongful death case.
What Can Affect My Compensation in a Distracted Driving Lawsuit?
Several issues can affect your compensation after a distracted driving accident:
Trying to Handle Your Claim Yourself
Car accident victims are more likely to win a settlement and receive a larger award if they have a lawyer. One survey found that injured parties who hired an attorney for their car accident had an average settlement of $44,600, while those who handled their own claims averaged only $13,900. (These are averages; your case may be worth much more or less depending on the particular circumstances.)
There are multiple reasons why a lawyer can improve your odds of getting an adequate settlement. First, insurance companies often blame the victim to avoid paying the claim. Refuting these claims yourself is tricky, and the insurance adjuster may twist what you say to them to fit their own narrative. However, your attorney will be familiar with insurance company tactics and can put together a solid case to fight the insurance carrier.
Another issue is when the insurance company makes an offer – but it’s not enough. This is very common in cases where there is ample evidence that the insurance company’s client was at fault and none that the victim contributed to the crash. The insurance adjuster realizes it will be difficult to blame the victim, so they shift to a new strategy – offering to pay less than the claim is worth. It’s also hard to know if you’ve received a fair offer because calculating damages is challenging. Most people overlook costs they should include or struggle to estimate future expenses. Your lawyer will compile an accurate estimate of your total damages, so you’ll know if an insurance company offer has missed the mark.
Comparative Negligence and Shared Fault
A middle ground lies between claiming the injured party is responsible for the accident and offering too little compensation: modified comparative negligence. This is a doctrine in which the injured party’s contributions to the accident are considered. Georgia uses the 50 percent rule, which means that the injured person can only collect damages if they are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident – but these damages will be reduced by their percentage of the responsibility.
For the insurance company, this is an advantage. It’s much easier to prove that someone is 10 percent at fault in an accident than 100 percent, and while they would still have to pay your claim in that situation, they would save 10 percent. Or they might save 20 or 30 percent if you’re found to have a higher degree of fault. They can even get out of paying entirely if they can make a strong case that you were more than 50 percent responsible, even if their client also made mistakes.
Meanwhile, the distracted driver may also claim that you’re liable. They might not admit to being on their phone or otherwise distracted, even if you saw them. Additionally, they could claim that you turned in front of them or ignored a traffic light when you didn’t. In situations where there are no other witnesses and two conflicting statements from the drivers, the police report is often inconclusive. Keep in mind that the responding officers may be busy with multiple accidents and don’t always have the time or resources to investigate every car crash in-depth.
But your Georgia car accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate your accident, seeking out videos from traffic or doorbell cameras, canvassing the area for more witnesses, examining black box data from the vehicles, and requesting phone records to show the other driver was distracted. We’ll work to prove the other driver was at fault and get you the compensation you deserve.
A Lengthy Court Case
Court costs add up quickly, from filing fees to paying for expert witnesses, and those expenses come from your final settlement. As a result, a lengthy trial can eat up some of your award.
The good news is that most cases can be settled out of court. While the evidence we discussed in the last section can be used in a court case, it can also be helpful in settlement negotiations. If the insurance company argues that you’re at fault, for instance, and we explain how much evidence we have to the contrary, there’s a good chance the insurance adjuster will reconsider settling the case. Trials are expensive for the insurance carrier too, and if they lose, they could end up paying a large settlement. Your attorney will negotiate to ensure all your damages are covered and will explain each settlement offer to you.
While we can usually arrive at a settlement that both sides agree on, there are occasionally situations where the insurance company simply won’t budge. If you have a strong case, we’ll fight for your rights in court.
Lack of Insurance Coverage
Sometimes the problem isn’t that the insurance company refuses to pay but that there is no insurance coverage. More than 12 percent of Georgia drivers lack car insurance despite state requirements. In other situations, the driver has insurance, but it isn’t enough to cover all the injured person’s damages.
What can you do if you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist?
Some people think the situation is hopeless, but before considering it a lost cause, please speak to an attorney. In many cases, we’re able to find alternate routes to seeking compensation for the injured party, such as:
Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. If you have liability insurance for your car, you must carry $25,000 each in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for bodily injury and property damage. However, it’s a good idea to carry more than the minimum in case you suffer a severe accident caused by an uninsured driver.
Suing the uninsured and distracted driver. This is always an option, but it’s not always a good solution. If the driver doesn’t have significant assets, you may have difficulty collecting any award you win.
Suing a third party. When suing the driver isn’t a good option, we may consider if any other parties contributed to your accident or injuries. For instance, in some cases, a defective car component may have worsened the accident or led to more serious injuries. If this happened, you might be able to sue the manufacturer of the defective part.
How Can the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm Help with a Distracted Driver Claim?
Attorney Ali Awad founded the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm to assist injured people with acquiring the compensation they deserve. Our firm is always available for a free consultation about your claim, and we never charge any fees until we win or settle your case. Please contact us today to learn your options and assess the damages from your accident.
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Frequently Asked Questions
After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!
To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
The best way to determine if you have a personal injury case is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our legal professionals have the expertise to evaluate your case and determine a strong legal strategy so that you can obtain the greatest amount of compensation possible under the law. We will enlist investigators, assistants, and other specialists to collect accident reports, speak with witnesses to your accident, and put together a plan. While you focus on your physical recovery, we will remain committed to fighting for the compensation that you deserve.
Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm
Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.
What to Expect From Your Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney?
During your initial consultation with CEO Lawyer team, we will go over the important details of your personal injury accident, which include the nature and extent of your injuries, how your injuries have impacted your ability to earn a paycheck, the cost of your medical treatment, and whether further medical treatment will be required. We will answer any questions you might have, as well, in regards to our experience, our track record of success, and what to expect from the legal process.
Many personal injury victims wonder if they will be able to afford the legal fees required to pursue a lawsuit. CEO Lawyer injury and accident attorneys will not ask for any type of upfront fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. That means that if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, defective product accident, or any other type of personal injury accident, you can absolutely afford to contact our law office today for assistance. In fact, you cannot afford to wait. Reach out today.
We understand that some accident victims might have already obtained the assistance of an attorney but may be dissatisfied with the services provided. We are standing by and prepared to help you change legal representation, regardless of where you are in the process.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of personal injury accident, you should not hesitate to speak with the experienced attorneys at CEO Lawyer personal injury law firm. Call, email, or fill out our online contact form today so that we can begin helping you pursue the compensation you deserve.