Every year, car crashes kill or seriously injure millions of Americans. Car wreck victims must deal with high medical bills, daily pain and suffering, and an insurance company which will not leave them alone. Telephone adjusters often call constantly offering settlement terms. Given the medical bills and emotional distress, it’s tempting to take this offer and move on with life. But victims simply do not know whether or not the insurance company’s offer is fair.
A Marietta personal injury attorney addresses all these concerns. Lawyers connect victims with the immediate help they need, such as medical treatment and vehicle replacement. More importantly, a lawyer is on your side. So, when the case settles, you can be sure you are getting the best possible deal.
Even if you believe the accident was your fault, and even if an emergency responder said the accident was your fault, it’s important to connect with a lawyer. You may still have important legal and financial rights.
What an Attorney Can Do for You
An experienced lawyer puts you in the best possible position to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries. Basically, an attorney investigates the facts, researches the law, takes care of some of your immediate needs, and runs interference with the insurance company.
A thorough investigation usually begins with the police accident report and medical bills. Because of privacy and other laws, victims may spend hours trying to obtain these things. But a Marietta personal injury attorney can obtain them with a phone call. Investigations start here, but they do not end here.
The police accident report is sometimes inaccurate or incomplete. First responders do their best, but they only have a few minutes to survey the scene and they only talk to the people who voluntarily come forward at the scene. As a result, there are a lot of stones unturned.
So, a personal injury attorney examines additional physical evidence, such as the vehicle’s Event Data Recorder. The EDR usually contain important crash-related data, like vehicle speed and steering angle. Additionally, attorneys usually re-canvass the area to find additional witnesses. Even if the witness only saw part of the crash or gives testimony that hurts the victim’s case, the witness is valuable.
Medical bills are often very clinical. They only convey hard diagnosis, treatment, and billing data. These things are important, but they only go so far. To obtain maximum compensation, Marietta personal injury attorneys often arrange for additional medical exams that can flesh out things like pain and suffering.
As mentioned, there is a difference between fault at the scene and liability for damages. Fault is strictly a fact question; liability is a fact question and a legal question.
Since driver error causes most vehicle collisions, most legal research centers around one of these two legal doctrines:
- Ordinary Negligence: Essentially, negligence is a lack of care. For example, drivers who use hands-free call phones take their minds off driving and take their eyes off the road. In other words, they are distracted. If that distraction amounted to a lack of ordinary care, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) may be responsible for damages.
- Negligence Per Se: Sometimes, Georgia law established the standard of care. Let’s stay with the distracted driving example. If a first responder issues a citation for a 40-6-241 violation (non-device distraction) or a 40-6-241.2 infraction (device distraction), the tortfeasor may be liable for damages as a matter of law.
Damages in a Georgia vehicle collision claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
A legal investigation must also account for insurance company defenses, such as contributory negligence. Legal loopholes like this one may reduce the amount of compensation the victim receives, or even bar compensation altogether. So, attorneys must be ready to respond to these defenses in court.
Meeting Immediate Needs
After a serious crash, emergency medical treatment often costs at least $100,000. And, since the victim is out of work, other unpaid bills often pile up. The insurance company knows this combination creates financial stress, which is why representatives call frequently with settlement offers.
Fortunately, attorneys can usually arrange for victims to receive medical treatment at no upfront cost. So, victims get the help they need, instead of just the help they can afford.
Additionally, a Marietta personal injury attorney can negotiate with medical and other providers for lower fees. Under Georgia law, if attorneys obtain lower fees, the victim is entitled to the amount billed. So, if Jack incurs $10,000 in medical bills and his lawyer negotiates the fee down to $8,000, he is still entitled to $10,000. As a result, victims get to keep more of their settlement money.
Handling the Insurance Company
Attorneys send letters of protection to providers to obtain the above described benefits. Similarly, two different letters usually take care of the insurance company.
As soon as victims partner with attorneys, lawyers usually send letters of representation to insurance companies. These letters prohibit direct communication between victims and insurance companies. So, your layer will handle all these communications. You can just concentrate on getting better.
Next, after the aforementioned factual and legal investigation is complete, attorneys usually send demand letters to insurance companies. These letters demand a monetary settlement in exchange for a liability waiver.
As mentioned, economic losses are the amount billed, and not the reduced amount paid. To calculate noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life, many Marietta personal injury attorneys multiply the economic losses by two or more, depending on the facts of the case. Other methods are just as good.
Contact a Dedicated Lawyer
If you were hurt in an accident, regardless of the facts, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in Marietta. So, contact The Phillips Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available.