An experienced Albany car accident lawyer wants to settle your case without going to court. The pre-litigation phase is the period when these settlements can be reached with the insurance company. This means less time and stress, and fewer legal costs to pay.
We will explain the key moments during the pre-litigation phase and what you need to do to maximize your chances of getting fair compensation. Don’t wait to contact our law firm for a free case review after a car crash in Georgia.
1. The Moments Immediately After the Accident
In Georgia, all drivers must report to the police a traffic accident if it results in:
- Bodily injury or death
- At least $500 in property damage.
Thus, you must never accept to settle the accident privately with the other driver without reporting it. First of all, you would be breaking the law. Secondly, you will not get sufficient compensation for all your damages.
The only correct path to getting compensation is the legal one:
- Report the accident and remain at the scene until the law enforcement officers arrive to investigate
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver
- Document the accident scene by taking photos and videos with your phone
- Look for eyewitnesses and obtain their contact information
- Go to the nearest hospital for a checkup and emergency treatments
2. Follow Through with the Recommended Treatments
One of the core principles in personal injury is that the plaintiff must make reasonable efforts to mitigate their damages. Failure to do so may result in losing your right to file a claim. After a car accident, the best way of showing that you strive to mitigate your damages is by following all the doctor’s recommendations.
- Staying in hospital until you are discharged
- Refilling prescriptions
- Keeping all appointments for checkups and treatments
- Enrolling in recommended physical therapy programs.
3. Talk to a Lawyer
As soon as you can do so, reach out to an experienced Albany car accident attorney. You must remember that it may take months until the lawyer can complete your letter of demand and start negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company.
Since the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is two years after the date of the accident, your lawyer will need time to prepare for an eventual court action, if the insurer refuses to settle.
4. The Lawyer Investigates Your Accident
This phase can take several weeks or even months, because the attorney needs to know:
- What the police report states
- What the eyewitnesses saw
- Whether you will make a complete recovery or will be left with permanent disabilities or impairment.
For this reason, the lawyer must examine documents and physical evidence, talk to various people, and get access to your medical reports. All these actions are necessary to determine the actual value of your damages, which may include:
- Present and future medical care and nursing care costs
- Lost wages
- Future loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Costs with assistive devices (wheelchair or walking frame)
- Non-economic damages for pain and suffering.
Once the calculations are complete, the attorney will send your letter of demand to the insurance company.
5. The Negotiation Phase
This is the most important moment in the pre-litigation phase. Your lawyer will receive an answer from the insurance company, which usually offers a small amount to settle your case.
At this point, the attorney and the insurance adjuster assigned to your case start negotiating. This is when a lawyer shows their worth. Using the evidence, the knowledge of the law, and prior experience, your lawyer will try to obtain a fair settlement.
In most cases, the attorney will manage to settle the court. In the few instances when the insurer refuses to settle for a fair amount, your lawyer will file a lawsuit against their client. The insurance company must then defend the driver.
At this point, most car crash cases settle, without having to go to court.
Let an Experienced Albany Car Accident Lawyer Handle Your Case!
The best outcome after a car accident is reaching a settlement during the pre-litigation phase. You will get your compensation without going to court, having to testify, and missing further time from work.
This is why you should contact a skilled Albany car accident lawyer at Joe Durham Jr., P.C. Our goal is to reach an out-of-court settlement, but we are not afraid to take insurance companies to court, if necessary.