Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | February 1, 2022
Car accidents can cause physical injuries or property damage to you or a loved one. Even if you are unhurt after a crash and don’t plan to seek damages, the other person involved in the accident might file a lawsuit against you.
If someone has taken legal action against you after a car accident in Atlanta, GA, you typically must answer their complaint within 30 days of service.
If you do not respond to the suit, the court may rule against you without giving your side of the story.
Should I Hire an Attorney If Someone Sues Me After A Car Accident?
It’s certainly in your best interest to hire an attorney if you’re being sued after a car crash. An experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer can help protect your rights. There are many technical aspects to a lawsuit that are difficult to handle on your own.
If you do not answer the complaint, the court may assume that you admit to all of the other party’s claims against you and enter a judgment in their favor. If you hire an attorney, they will file a response for you to put forward your side of the story. Crashes are rarely straighforward. You may have a basis for a counterclaim for your own damages.
More importantly, an attorney will fight to keep your liabilitiy to a minimum. They can try to negotiate a settlement that could keep you case out of court. And, if you suffered any injuries or property damage in the accident, they’ll fight to make sure you’re fairly compensated as well.
What Information Will I Need to Provide My Attorney?
Your attorney will need a copy of the complaint and any other legal documents served to you. If you have any pictures of the accident scene, it would be helpful to provide these as well. Give your lawyer a copy of any accident reports or police reports, if you have them.
These photos will help your lawyer determine which party was at fault. If you have spoken to anyone other than your attorney about the accident, you should ask them not to discuss the case with anyone. You should also provide any medical records or bills related to the accident.
The Georgia “Fault” Car Insurance System
Georgia is a fault car insurance state. This means that the party responsible for the accident is responsible for paying damages to the injured party. The injured party will file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
If you’ve been sued, the other party believes you’re at fault. Many common car accident scenarios are not straightforward. Often, multiple parties are at fault.
If you’re being blamed for a vehicle accident, protect yourself by consulting with an experienced car accident attorney. A skilled lawyer will investigate the crash, hire experts to pinpint the cause of the accident, and argue on your behalf to minimize your liability.
What If More Than One Person Is Responsible for the Crash?
Georgia has several rules that provide guidance when it comes to financial responsibility for car crashes. One of the main ones is the comparative negligence rule. This law governs what happens if more than one person is at fault. You could still receive damages even if you were partially at fault.
The effect of this law is that if you are partially responsible for the accident, the amount of damages you can receive will be reduced by the percent of fault attributed to you.
So, if you were 20% responsible, your award will be reduced by 20%. It’s important to note that if you are 50% or more responsible for the crash, you won’t be able to receive any compenstation.
Speed, intoxication, and distracted driving can all result in you potentially being held partially liable.
Another rule is the last clear chance rule. Iff you could have prevented an accident before it occurred but failed to do so, you cannot receive damages.
What to Do If You Are At Fault
If you are at fault for a car accident, stay calm. The most important thing to remember in any situation is not to admit liability. Accident scenes are chaotic. Even if you think you may have been at fault, it’s possible there were other factors that contributed to the accident. Don’t put yourself on the hook by admitting fault.
If someone attempts to negotiate with you before your insurance company has had a chance to investigate, politely refuse. They may be trying to get you to admit that you’re at fault so that they can receive a larger settlement. Take the time to contact a reputable personal injury lawyer.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
The best thing you can do after an auto collision is:
- Report the accident
- Collect contact and insurance information from all parties involved
- Take photos of any injuries and property damage
- Don’t speak to insurance adjusters alone
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible
- Contact a trusted car accident attorney
Even if you don’t think you are injured, it’s best to get checked out by a doctor. Collecting as much information as possible could help you fight allegations if you do end up getting sued. And, it could help you recover for your own injuries.
If you are being sued after a car accident in Georgia, don’t panic. There is always another side to the story. Call an experienced car accident lawyer near you to protect your rights.
Contact the Atlanta Car Accident Attorneys at Hasner Law PC For Help
For more information, please contact the Atlanta car accident law firm of Hasner Law P.C. at our nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve in Fulton County, Chatham County, and its surrounding areas:
Hasner Law PC – Atlanta Law Office
2839 Paces Ferry Rd SE #1050
Atlanta, GA 30339
Hasner Law PC – Savannah Law Office
221 W York St
Savannah, GA 31401