When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

By February 14, 2024RealTalkWithTony

Knowing when to hire an attorney after a car accident and when you can handle a claim on your own is not always clear-cut. If you do not know what comes next, you can usually discuss your options with a personal injury law firm team member for free. Most provide free, no-obligation consultations so you can learn more about their services and how they can help.

In general, you may want to reach out to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash. They can help you develop and file your claim, handling your case from start to finish. If you began your claim but ran into trouble, an attorney can also help you complete the task. When necessary, they could sue the at-fault driver or another liable party and even represent you at trial if needed.

Who Pays for Car Accident Injuries in Atlanta?

Georgia is a fault state when it comes to car accidents. That means the person who caused the accident is responsible for the accident victims’ expenses for medical treatment and other damages. This is usually covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

This means, of course, that before you can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company, you will need to prove that the other driver’s negligence caused your injuries.

How do you prove this? You hire a lawyer to gather evidence to support your claim for compensation.

Evidence to Support a Car Accident Case Often Disappears Quickly

When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident in Georgia

Immediately following a crash, a lawyer can gather evidence to support a personal injury claim, including proving fault and documenting what happened. However, as time passes, this evidence begins to disappear. This happens as soon as the tow trucks leave the scene with the vehicles. First responders sweep the streets, witnesses leave, and rain washes away any indications of a crash on the roadway.

As time passes, more and more evidence disappears. Surveillance video from a nearby business that shows the crash usually gets recorded over soon after, and crews may trim any road obstructions or clear drains within days.

Preserving Evidence After Car Accidents

When you work with a car accident lawyer who handles car accident cases often, they know what to do and how to preserve evidence.

This could include:

  • Seeking access to this evidence quickly after a crash
  • Obtaining the police report and other documents that can help your lawyer identify witnesses
  • Interviewing witnesses as soon as possible
  • Sending spoliation letters to preserve evidence when necessary

Preserving evidence could prove even more important in a commercial vehicle accident. The trucking companies that employ commercial drivers could bear liability for the crash. Meanwhile, they also possess a lot of evidence needed to prove these cases.

If the evidence disappeared, this would benefit the liable party.

Acting quickly to preserve it could allow your attorney access to:

  • The trucker’s driving logs
  • Post-accident drug and alcohol test results
  • Any onboard computer data
  • Dashcam video of the crash
  • The driver’s employment file and history of previous crashes
  • Other information about the driver and their history

When your car accident lawyer takes the necessary steps to preserve evidence, it makes the trucking company or another party legally obligated to do so. However, you need to ensure this happens as soon as possible after the truck accident. Hiring an attorney early in the claims process can help you keep your case on track.

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We get you the results you need and provide legal advice through the whole court process. Don’t be unprepared when you could have one of the best legal teams out there to assist you. Reach out to us today to get your consultation.


A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Seek Compensation for Your Injuries

Following a serious car crash in Georgia, you likely need to focus on your health and recovery. You must get the medical assessment and treatment you need to ensure you do not have any significant injuries or stabilize your injuries and begin the healing process.

For instance, if your crash was serious and occurred in Fulton County or neighboring areas, you may have received treatment at one of the two Level 1 trauma centers for adults in Atlanta:

  • Grady Memorial Hospital
  • WellStar Atlanta Medical Center

Depending on your injuries and other factors, your treatment and rehabilitation could last a few days, weeks, or even months. Those with spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries could require intense, inpatient rehabilitation at a specialized facility, such as the Shepherd Center. This is one of the top rehabilitation centers in the world. You deserve to receive the compensation necessary to pay for all your treatment—including ongoing care.

Even though you could have months of recuperation ahead of you, you should not ignore your insurance claims. Medical expenses, car repairs, and other expenses will begin regardless of your ongoing treatment. You may want to call an attorney as soon as your injuries allow. Once your injuries stabilize and you can make the phone call, reach out to a car accident lawyer.

If your loved one suffered serious injuries and cannot call on their own, the legal team can generally discuss the options with immediate family members during a free consultation.

When you hire a car accident lawyer soon after your Georgia traffic accident, you gain several advantages:

  • They can begin an investigation into what happened right away.
  • You have a knowledgeable advocate focused on your financial recovery.
  • You do not have to worry about filing claims or pursuing compensation.
  • You can contact them or ask for an update, but you do not have to do anything.
  • They can go to work on your claim or lawsuit while you recover.

A Lawyer Can Document Your Losses

Many of your recoverable expenses or losses occur in the weeks or months after the car accident. Your car accident lawyer can gather documentation to show your damages as they occur or as you receive bills, estimates, and receipts.

This could include:

  • Medical bills and related expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages or income from work you missed
  • Reduced earning ability if you have lasting injuries
  • Vehicle repairs and other property damage
  • Miscellaneous expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other non-economic damages

When a car accident victim suffers fatal injuries, Georgia law allows their immediate family members to recover wrongful death compensation. This includes a range of expenses and losses, such as funeral and burial costs, loss of service, lost income, and your family’s intangible damages.

Most car accident lawyers also handle wrongful death cases. You can get a free case review after losing a loved one by contacting a personal injury law firm and asking for a free consultation. They can review the facts of the case, your legal options, and other important information with you.

Attorneys Can Navigate All Aspects of Your Financial Recovery Process

Building a strong claim for compensation and recovering the money the victim needs to cover their expenses and losses takes time. Your attorney needs to investigate what happened, gather evidence, analyze it, and organize it in a way that ensures it supports the argument on a client’s behalf. Only then can they get started negotiating with the insurance company about necessary money for repairs, medical care, and other expenses a client needs to cover.

Your attorney cannot necessarily control how long it takes the insurer to agree to a fair settlement. Sometimes this takes a few weeks, and other times it drags out for months. However, insurance companies must move forward with claims at a reasonable pace. If they purposefully delay the assessment of your claim or negotiations for too long, your attorney may opt to take additional action to move the case forward.

When a crash victim tries to handle their insurance claim on their own, it can easily take even longer. A car accident lawyer knows how to handle the car insurance companies, the process necessary for filing a claim, and how to navigate it. They can represent you and build your case while you recover physically.

Investigations Require Committing Time and Resources

When an attorney handles a Georgia car accident lawsuit, they gather and analyze the available evidence to understand what happened and build a convincing argument to present to the insurer, judge, jury, or other necessary parties.

A lawyer understands what evidence the auto insurance companies want to see to approve a claim and payout a fair settlement to a client. They also know the tactics they may try to use to counter a claim, reduce the payout, or otherwise underpay a client. This is why a lawyer typically works to build strong support for every claim they file.

In a Georgia car accident case, relevant evidence could include:

  • The accident report police filed from the scene
  • Witness statements
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Physical evidence
  • Relevant medical records
  • Video or photos of the crash
  • Expert testimony
  • Documentation of damages

Building a case takes time. Your lawyer needs to obtain documents, track down and interview witnesses, work with experts, analyze evidence, and organize it into a strong argument for support. This could take several weeks or longer. However, the lawyer may wait to file your claim after learning more about your prognosis and expected future treatment costs. So, a lawyer often conducts this investigation while a client completes treatment and rehabilitation.

Establishing Negligence

Negligence in the context of personal injury claims refers to a failure to exercise reasonable care that results in harm to another person. To establish a successful car accident claim based on negligence, four elements typically need to be demonstrated:

1. Duty of Care

The plaintiff (injured party) must show that the defendant (the person allegedly at fault) owed a legal duty of care to them. In the context of driving, this duty is generally understood as the obligation to operate a vehicle with reasonable care to avoid causing harm to others on the road.

2. Breach of Duty

The plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. This means showing that the defendant’s actions fell short of the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise under similar circumstances. For example, speeding, running a red light, or driving while distracted could all constitute breaches of duty.

3. Causation

There must be a direct causal link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff must demonstrate that their injuries were a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s negligent actions. This often involves proving that the accident would not have occurred “but for” the defendant’s breach of duty.

4. Damages

The plaintiff must have suffered actual harm or damages as a result of the accident. This can include physical injuries, property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Without provable damages, there is typically no basis for a personal injury claim.

Liability Under Georgia Law

Georgia law allows victims hurt in negligent accidents to recover compensation for their expenses and losses. Under the law, a negligent party may generally bear liability—or legal responsibility—for the injuries and financial harm that occur after an accident. In a car accident case, liability can fall on various parties depending on the circumstances of the accident. Here are some potential parties who may be held liable:

Driver of a Vehicle

The most common scenario involves holding the driver of a vehicle liable for the accident if their negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct caused the crash. This includes situations where the driver was speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, texting while driving, running a red light, or otherwise violating traffic laws.

Owner of the Vehicle

In some cases, the owner of the vehicle may be held liable for the actions of the driver if they allowed someone incompetent or unlicensed to operate their vehicle, or if they negligently entrusted their vehicle to someone who caused an accident.


If the driver causing the accident was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident, their employer may be held vicariously liable for the employee’s actions under the legal doctrine of “respondeat superior.”

Government Entities

In cases where hazardous road conditions, inadequate signage, or poorly maintained roads contributed to the accident, liability may fall on the government agency responsible for designing, constructing, or maintaining the road.

Third Parties

Other parties, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, or occupants of other vehicles involved in the accident, may also be held liable if their actions contributed to the crash.

Car Accident Victims May Need to File a Lawsuit

In some cases, your car accident attorney may manage your case through litigation. This involves suing the liable party or parties and using the civil court system as necessary to settle the case. While these lawsuits could go to trial, this happens rarely. Instead, the parties continue to negotiate, use mediation, or take other steps to agree on a fair payout value before the trial date.

Car accident lawsuits can allow you to put pressure on the liable party if they refuse to make you a fair offer. It may also provide a path to a negotiated settlement via required mediation, arbitration, or other options judges sometimes ask all parties to participate in.

Your attorney might recommend suing in your case if:

  • The parties dispute the case’s facts
  • The car insurance company denies the claim or refuses a fair payout
  • Time is running out
  • Other circumstances lead the attorney to take this route

Deadline for Filing Car Accident Lawsuits

If you decide to sue in your case, you must follow a strict deadline. Generally, car accident victims have two years from the date of their accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Some exceptions could apply. However, missing an applicable deadline could mean you lose the right to sue or take your case to trial in a Georgia courtroom.

Hiring legal representation as quickly as possible after the crash offers one good way to protect your rights and ensure you can take legal action. They can assess your options, explain your rights, and go to work on your case. As a part of this process, they can determine the deadlines that apply and ensure you do not miss them.

Our Georgia Car Accident Attorneys Offer a Free Case Review

When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

You can learn more about your options based on the facts of your crash by getting a free case review with a personal injury lawyer. During this consultation, you can ask all your questions, get guidance about your next best steps, and learn when to hire an attorney after a car accident. The law firm can also explain their fees and how contingency fees work. Most firms do not charge attorney’s fees unless they win. Contact a team today to get your consultation started.

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