A Guide to Understanding the Car Accident Claims Process

Let’s say you become seriously injured after a car accident due to a driver’s negligence. After coming to a complete stop, contacting emergency responders and police, and exchanging information with the other driver, you head to the hospital for medical care. Once there, you end up paying thousands of dollars for immediate emergency procedures before heading home with a long-term treatment plan. What next?

When you’ve been injured in a serious car accident, you may not know what steps you need to take to recover compensation – or how to ensure that compensation covers your actual injuries. At Busch, Reed, Jones & Leeper, P.C., our car accident lawyers can help you navigate the process of filing a claim and securing a settlement. Whether we’re negotiating on your behalf with the insurer or advocating for you in a car accident trial, we’ll fight for the fair compensation that you deserve.

It’s always recommended that you speak with a skilled car accident attorney before you file a claim, as your case may have some unique needs and considerations to keep in mind. To help you get started, however, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to understanding the claims process.

What to Expect After a Car Accident

First Steps: Determining Liability

After a car accident, you will first need to get a clear understanding of who was “at fault” for your accident, as this will affect your options for compensation. To be considered at fault, a driver must be engaging in an action that violates the “duty of care,” whether that means violating traffic laws or failing to notice other drivers. This is also known as “negligence.” In an at-fault car accident system, a negligent driver can be held legally and financially responsible for another person’s accident injuries.

Of course, every state on the at-fault system handles fault a little differently, and here in Georgia, the laws are governed by the rule of “comparative negligence.” This means you can still seek compensation even if you are partially at fault for an accident. However, your compensation will be reduced based on your determined percentage of fault – and you will not be able to collect anything if you’re found more than 50% responsible for the accident.

If you’re not certain about fault, an attorney can help you determine liability by examining the following documents:

  • Official police report of the accident
  • Photographic evidence
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Your medical records

Pursuing a Car Accident Claim

In an at-fault state like Georgia, you will most likely start by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. When you provide the other driver’s insurance company with information about the car accident, your medical expenses, and any other relevant evidence, they will assess the overall monetary value of your claim. If it is covered under the insured’s plan, the insurance claims adjuster may decide to start the settlement negotiation process.

If the insurance claim adjuster denies your claim, or if the other driver does not have any insurance, it can become even more complicated to get the financial resources you need. While you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company under an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy, not everyone has this form of coverage – and the amount of coverage is rarely enough to account for serious injuries.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help Your Case

Because insurance companies are out to increase their profits – often at the expense of injury victims – the insurance adjuster for your claim will often give you a very low settlement offer at first. This is where a skilled personal injury attorney can provide substantial assistance. By negotiating for you with the insurer or bringing the case to a civil lawsuit, you may be able to maximize your potential recovery.

If your attorney determines that a lawsuit will be the best course of action for compensation, here are the main steps you can expect:

  • Case review and consultation
  • Filing the lawsuit and all documents with the court
  • Discovery
  • Mediation
  • Negotiations for a settlement
  • Trial
  • Collecting your settlement
  • Appeals process

At Busch, Reed, Jones & Leeper, P.C., we have a wide range of experience working on behalf of car accident victims. We believe that our clients deserve the very best in legal representation, and applying more than 150 years of combined experience, we strive to deliver that for every person who walks through our doors.

Call (770) 629-0154 today to schedule an appointment with our car accident team.