Posted in Personal Injury on January 16, 2023
When a person sustains an injury caused by the negligent actions of another individual, company, or entity, they should be able to recover compensation for their losses. However, most people do not file personal injury claims on a regular basis, so the process can be confusing. Here, we want to outline the basic steps for filing a personal injury lawsuit in the state of Georgia.
Personal injury claims are challenging, particularly for those with limited legal knowledge or experience. It is not uncommon for injury victims to become overwhelmed by aggressive insurance carriers or legal teams for the at-fault party.
Even though it did not require by law, we strongly encourage injury victims to reach out to a skilled personal injury lawyer before they file their claim. When an attorney gets involved early in a case, they can fully investigate the incident and stand up to the other parties. Most personal injury lawyers in Atlanta will take these claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you will not be responsible for paying legal fees until after you successfully recover compensation for your losses. If your attorney does not win the case, you will pay no legal fees.
The first step for most personal injury claims is filing a claim with the insurance carrier or insurance carriers involved. For example, if the injury occurred as a result of a vehicle accident, he would file a claim with your insurance carrier, who would then, in turn, file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. There are often other types of insurance carriers involved depending on the type of claim. For example, if you sustain a slip and fall injury at a grocery store, there will likely be a commercial insurance policy carried by the store owner.
Even though most cases are resolved through the insurance carriers, that does not mean that the other driver’s insurance carrier will necessarily offer a fair settlement. The settlement offer may be far too low for your losses, or they could deny the claim altogether.
In the event individuals do not receive a fair settlement offer from an insurance carrier, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. In fact, individuals can jump right to filing a personal injury lawsuit regardless of the situation. Filing an insurance claim does not necessarily have to happen first.
When a lawsuit is filed, this begins the discovery process. This is the time frame where the attorneys for both parties will exchange evidence and any other information related to the incident. Both sides get to examine all evidence available to other parties so they can determine how best to move forward with the claim. There may be continued investigations during this process, and it is likely that there will be depositions taken from witnesses involved.
Negotiations often continue, particularly as both sides uncover more evidence. This could lead one side to capitulate to the other, but not necessarily. In the event both parties are unable to come to an agreement, it will be necessary for the case to go in front of a jury trial.
It is crucial to keep in mind that the Georgia personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. If a personal injury victim fails to file a lawsuit against the alleged at-fault party within this two-year timeframe, they will likely lose the ability to recover compensation.
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