Driving in Cobb County and especially Mableton seems to get more dangerous by the day. Since 2012, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reports an increasing number of traffic accidents. The 2016 annual report mentions nearly 35,000 collisions and 8,500 injuries in Cobb County. Sixty accidents resulted in fatal injuries. Every year, more and more accident victims find themselves needing a Mableton car accident lawyer.
This situation seems to have several causes. On the one hand, the number of cars and drivers has increased considerably. On the other hand, more and more drivers give in to stress and routine. They become negligent, and they make costly mistakes.
Some drink before getting behind the wheel, others speed or get distracted. According to statistics, speeding is the main cause of 20% of Georgia traffic fatalities. Drunk driving contributes to 14% of fatalities every year. Distracted driving is associated with only 3.5% of all traffic deaths. However, many cases involving distracted driving remain unreported. Some of them included Uber and Lyft drivers.
The most dangerous roads are Mableton Parkway, Lee Industrial Boulevard, and Veterans Memorial Highway. However, not all those looking for a Mableton car accident attorney have been involved in local accidents. At Schneider Hammers, we have many clients from Atlanta and other areas of Cobb County as well. They all seek our help in recovering the losses they incurred in car accidents.
Working with a car wreck attorney is the best solution for an accident victim. While the law does grant accident victims the right to recover their losses, the process is not easy. It is better to leave it to an experienced lawyer. Their services may cost some money, but they bring about valuable benefits. Our injury attorneys will review the three most important in the following lines.
Main Benefits of Working with a Car Accident Lawyer in Mableton, GA
The hassle-free compensation claim process
In order to receive due compensation for their losses, car accident victims have to file a claim. The defendant to the claim is usually the insurer of the party at fault. However, in some cases, the claimant has to seek compensation in court. No matter if we are talking about an insurance claim or a civil lawsuit, the process is not easy.
It involves following several complex procedures and meeting tight deadlines. For those who hire one, the car accident lawyer will take over all formalities. They will handle the paperwork, follow procedures, and keep their client informed. The latter will have nothing to worry about and will be able to focus on their recovery.
Faster and more convenient settlement
After a car accident, it is in the best interest of all the parties involved to reach a settlement. However, the defendant will always try to pay as little as possible. They will take advantage of the claimant’s lack of specific knowledge and experience. A Mableton car accident attorney will not allow that.
They will put together a solid claim based on conclusive evidence. They will document all of their client’s losses and make sure the defendant compensates them. They will negotiate the amount and the terms of the compensation until they obtain a convenient settlement. If they do not, they will not hesitate to file an appeal and even take the case to court.
Advice and assistance every step of the way
Many accident victims have no idea what their rights are and how to defend them. They have no idea what a compensation claim or a court trial involves. They know little to nothing about Georgia laws and how they apply to specific cases.
For them, having a car wreck attorney to turn to for advice and information is always helpful. The latter will answer their questions and assist them in making the best decisions for their case. They will guide their steps and defend their interests every step of the way.
For these reasons and more, at Schneider Hammers, we recommend hiring an attorney. The sooner they take over the case, the more they can do for their client. This is especially true since time is a sensitive factor in Georgia car accident claims.
Georgia Statute of Limitations
Georgia’s statutes of limitations set the deadlines for taking legal action in specific situations. For car accident injuries, the deadline is two years. For property damage, it goes up to four years. Those who fail to seek compensation within this period will most likely lose their rights.
In order to meet the deadline, the lawyer will have to start working on the case as soon as possible. They will need to investigate, gather evidence, and fill in the necessary paperwork. The sooner they begin, the higher their success chances are.
At the opposite end, waiting too long could negatively impact the case. With time, evidence gets lost, witnesses relocate, and people forget things. It is better to start as early as possible, even immediately after the accident. A lawyer will guide their client’s steps at the accident scene.
Steps to Take at the Scene
Stop as close to the scene as possible and request medical assistance
This is a requirement of Georgia Code Section 40-6-270. In fulfilling it, drivers should do whatever they can to avoid obstructing traffic. Leaving the scene could qualify as an admission of guilt. Those who do it risk misdemeanor charges, a fine of $300 – $1,000, and even imprisonment.
Report the accident and call an Attorney
The law imposes that all drivers report accidents involving damages over $500 and/or injuries. Usually, following the report, a police officer will arrive at the scene to investigate. Filling in a Personal Report of Accident is always helpful.
Drivers should also notify their insurer about the accident. Most insurers include this obligation in their policies. This way, they can send a claims inspector to the scene to investigate and assess the damage. It is better to let a car accident lawyer in Mableton deal with the police and the insurance agents.
Many drivers make costly mistakes when dealing with them and the other parties involved. Some apologize and others say things that go against their interests. Some drivers even admit fault when they did nothing wrong. Having a car wreck attorney present is the best way to avoid such mistakes. In their absence, drivers should avoid statements and focus on gathering information and evidence.
Gather information and evidence
After an accident, all victims should gather information about the parties involved and potential witnesses. These will be vital for the compensation claim. Important details are names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license information, and insurance coverage.
In Georgia, all drivers need minimum liability insurance as follows:
- $25,000/person for personal injury
- $50,000/event for personal injury
- $25,000/event for property damage
If the driver at fault is insured, their victim will seek compensation from their insurer. If they are underinsured or uninsured, it is best to discuss options with an auto wreck attorney. Depending on the case details, the latter may recommend seeking compensation from their client’s insurer. Another option would be to file a lawsuit against the driver at fault in civil court.
Both insurance claims and civil lawsuits need conclusive evidence. Most of the necessary evidence is available at the accident scene. A Mableton car accident attorney will advise clients to take photos. They should focus on brake and skid marks, and vehicle position and condition. Searching for nearby surveillance cameras and obtaining copies of the footage may help as well.
Medical reports are also important pieces of evidence for accident victims. Any diagnosis letter, test result, or treatment recommendation will help prove the injuries. They will also justify the medical expenses included in the compensation claim.
If called on time, a Mableton car wreck attorney can gather all the information and evidence. Since they know exactly where to look and what to focus on, everything will be easier for them. For accident victims who are on their own, reviewing the claim process may help.
The Compensation Claim Process
Obtaining compensation after a car accident is not easy. It is actually a tough challenge for those who cannot count on the advice of a Mableton car accident attorney. It involves following several important and difficult steps that we will review in the following lines.
Identifying the defendant to the claim
The first step to any compensation claim is deciding on the defendant. Depending on how the accident occurred, the defendant can be:
- The party who caused the accident
- Their insurer
- The claimant’s insurer
A discussion with a Mableton car accident lawyer can help you decide on the defendant. They will analyze the case details and recommend the best course of action. The decision needs to take into account several factors, such as:
- The chain of events
- The evidence supporting the defendant’s liability
- The defendant’s ability to cover the claimed compensation.
The notice of claim
This is basically a letter announcing the defendant of the claim against them. It should explain how the accident occurred, and mention the compensation the claimant requests. A Mableton car accident attorney will know how to write it so as to convince the defendant.
The actual claim
The actual claim is basically a huge file comprising all the evidence relevant to the case. The burden of proof falls on the claimant. They or their Mableton car accident lawyer will have to prove:
- How the accident occurred
- Who was responsible for it
- What consequences the accident had
- How much money they lost and may lose in the future
In order to succeed, they may use:
- The accident report the police officers prepared
- The evidence they gathered from the accident scene and through further investigations
- Witness and expert testimonies
- Invoices and receipts for any expenses incurred
- Medical reports, pharmacy receipts, treatment recommendations, and hospital bills
- Lost income and future lost earnings calculations
Every cent of the amount claimed as compensation will need justification. An experienced Mableton car accident attorney will provide all the necessary justification. Georgia laws allow accident victims to recover any or all of the following types of losses:
- Property damage
- Medical care
- Home care and recovery costs
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Disability adjustments
Assessing and proving the value of some of these losses can be difficult. It is best to consult a Mableton car accident lawyer. They will review the available evidence, check case precedents, and estimate the value of the claim.
Negotiating a settlement
When receiving justified, thoroughly documented claims, most defendants prefer to settle. An early settlement allows them to pay less and avoid bad publicity. If the price is right, a settlement is in the best interest of the claimant as well. No one likes lengthy and challenging court trials and the expenses they bring about.
It is best to let a Mableton car accident lawyer negotiate the settlement. The latter can easily assess if an offer is worth accepting. They can also review the settlement terms to make sure they do not go against their clients’ interests. Of course, the claimant is the one who decides whether they accept the settlement offer or not.
Filing the appeal
When the defendant offers a settlement, the claimant is not forced to accept it. They can appeal it. If the defendant is an individual or agency, a superior court will review the appeal. When the defendant is an insurance company, their claim adjuster reviews the appeal. Further appeal can be made through the Department of Insurance or filing a lawsuit.
At Schneider Hammers, we do not rest until we obtain the compensation our clients deserve. If we have to go to court to secure it, we do. We stop at nothing when it comes to protecting our clients’ interests and peace of mind.
Consult a Car Accident Attorney in Mableton, GA, Now!
Did you incur injuries or property damage in Mableton or some other part of Cobb County? Let a Mableton car accident accident lawyer from Schneider Hammers evaluate your case for free! They will answer your questions, lay out your options, and take over all the hassles if you let them. All you have to do is schedule a free consultation. Get in touch now!