When an accident seriously injures you or a loved one, the last thing you want to think about is dealing with paperwork and insurance adjusters. Unfortunately, if you are going to file a claim for damages against a negligent party, you will need to deal with these things eventually. The personal injury claims process in Georgia can be complex, so it is best to get the help of a Gwinnett County personal injury lawyer at Brauns Law, PC.
Before you start the process of filing a claim, you should familiarize yourself with the Georgia personal injury claims process. There are deadlines you must follow and procedures you need to know before you file any forms or gather any evidence.
Remember that you do not have to do this alone - an attorney like David Brauns can help you with collecting evidence, filing your claim on time, and talking to the insurance companies. This leaves you free to focus on more important matters such as recovering from your injuries and getting your life back on track.
What are Georgia's personal injury laws?
Georgia follows a modified comparative fault 50 percent bar rule. This means that an injured person can be found to be up to 49 percent at fault for causing the accident and still collect damages. However, the more at fault you were for the accident, the lower your settlement will be.
For example, if you were in a car accident and the insurance adjuster found you to be 30 percent at fault, you could still recover damages, reduced by 30 percent. This would turn an otherwise $100,000 settlement into a $70,000 settlement. This also means that the other driver involved in the accident would be 70 percent at fault and therefore be unable to seek damages from your insurance.
How long do I have to file my injury claim?
For most types of accidents and injuries, you have up to two years to file your claim. While this may seem like a long time, it can pass quickly, especially when you are focused on recovering from injuries and trying to track down the necessary evidence for your claim.
There are several exceptions to Georgia's 2-year statute of limitations that you should be aware of before you file a claim. The age of the victim can play a role in the amount of time you have to file a claim on their behalf. This extension of time is called "tolling" and it means that if a child under the age of 18 suffers an injury, you may be able to "toll" the statute of limitations until his 18th birthday.
Another exemption to the time limit rules is with medical malpractice cases. While the statute of limitations is still two years, the time does not start until the date the injury is discovered or the patient dies. Therefore, if a patient undergoes surgery in 2009 and an x-ray in 2015 reveals the medical team left a surgical tool in his body during that operation, they would have until 2017 to file a claim against the negligent surgeon.
Not all statute of limitations exceptions give you more time to file your claim. If a government entity or employee caused your injury, you only have between six months to one year to file a claim. This is known as an ante litem notice and is specific to claims against any level of government entity.
Brauns Law is Here to Help You File Your Injury Claim
The typical claim, when filed properly, can sometimes settle within 3-4 weeks of your last doctor's appointment. Once your doctor has made their final assessment of your condition, the insurance company then takes a few weeks to return a settlement offer. Here is where you want an attorney to review the offer to determine if they are giving you a fair value to cover your damages. Negotiations of the settlement can take another week or two, and if you accept, your claim could be over in a matter of months.
If you cannot settle your case with the insurance company directly, it is imperative that you contact an attorney if you have not already done so. You will now need to file a personal injury lawsuit if you are to recover any type of compensation, and Brauns Law, PC can help. Contact us at 404-418-8244 or fill out our online consultation form to schedule a free meeting to discuss your case.