Being injured in a serious car accident involves much more than your physical recovery. In addition to your wounds, you will face astronomical medical expenses even with solid health insurance. Additionally, you will experience lost wages as you will inevitably miss work. Even if you don’t have serious injuries, you could face tens of thousands of dollars in healthcare bills.
The Augusta car accident lawyers at T. Madden & Associates, P.C. represent auto accident victims who have suffered injuries. We know how stressful recovering from a car accident can be. An Augusta car accident lawyer can review your case and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Our car accident attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means you don’t have to pay out of pocket for our professional legal advice. We are proud to be a Black-owned law firm serving our community. Call today for immediate representation and let us know how we can help.
Compensation Available in Car Accident Cases
If you’ve been injured in a car wreck, you’re entitled to damages for your monetary losses and more. You can recover these types of compensation from the insurance company or the responsible party.
This is compensation for monetary damages, including your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and any other cost you sustain as a result of an accident. Medical expenses are not limited to hospital and doctor bills. Any follow-up appointments, procedures, homecare, medications, medical equipment, etc., are all covered under economic damages. An experienced car accident attorney will create a comprehensive itemized list when preparing your car crash claim.
Often referred to as “pain and suffering,” non-economic damages cover things like physical pain, emotional trauma, loss of capacity, loss of companionship in wrongful death claims, etc. These types of injuries may not incur a financial cost, but they are still recognized by the courts.
In some instances, the defendant’s actions are so egregious that the court decides to monetarily punish them for their actions. For example, this might be the case where the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and their actions were likely to cause serious injuries to car accident victims.
In Georgia, punitive damages are capped at $250,000. With most common car accident injuries, punitive damages are off the table.
Comparative Negligence Laws in Georgia
Georgia operates under a modified comparative negligence theory. This means the court will weigh the liability of the plaintiff and the defendant. If the plaintiff’s responsibility is 50% or greater, they cannot collect damages from the other party. If the plaintiff is partially responsible, their portion will be deducted from the award. This can be a confusing concept, so it’s better explained through examples.
If the defendant runs a red light and causes an accident, they may be considered at fault by the police. But if the accident investigator determines that the plaintiff was speeding, and it was determined that their speeding was 20% responsible, the plaintiff will only be able to collect 80% of their damages.
There are, of course, times when the plaintiff has no responsibility in a wreck. For instance, the driver who is rear-ended while sitting at a red light should be entitled to 100% of their auto accident claim.
Our Augusta car accident lawyers can review your claim and determine the proportionality for a fair settlement.
Causes of Car Accidents in Augusta, GA
Augusta is a busy city, and car accident injuries are common. These are some of the most common causes of car wrecks our personal injury attorneys deal with.
Do you know that distracted driving is responsible for over 3,000 deaths per year?
Texting or messaging on a phone, tablet, or in-car screen can be extremely dangerous. In many cases, drivers won’t admit that they were looking at a screen at the time of their car accident. A car accident lawyer can subpoena phone and data records as part of their investigation.
Unfortunately, many people fail to consider the safety of others when they’ve been drinking. Driving under the influence is a crime in the state of Georgia, and it is responsible for countless car accident cases. If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, it can be used as leverage to get you fair compensation for your personal injury claim.
Speeding not only increases the likelihood of a car crash; it makes it more dangerous for the people involved. An auto accident attorney can hire accident reconstruction experts to calculate the defendant’s speed during the crash.
There are times when a negligent driver may not be distracted but isn’t dedicating the proper attention to the roadway and the vehicles around them. This is often the case with motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents. Their smaller profiles mean that drivers must take extra care to avoid an accident.
Regardless of the reason you’re making an auto insurance claim, our Augusta car accident attorneys can hold the responsible party accountable. Call our office for a free consultation before trying to recover compensation from the insurance company.
Elements of an Auto Accident Case
Just because you’ve had a car wreck does not mean that you have a viable claim. There are four elements that a personal injury attorney must establish to get full compensation.
1. Duty of Care
Every driver on the road has a duty of care to avoid car accidents. A personal injury lawyer must demonstrate that the other driver was subject to this duty.
2. Breach of Duty
Once a personal injury law firm has established a duty of care, the next step is to prove that the driver breached that duty. Did the defendant run a red light? Drive while intoxicated? Send a text message when they should have been watching the roadway? These would all be considered breaches of duty.
The next step is demonstrating that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused the accident. The insurance company will, of course, try to minimize the driver’s responsibility to reduce the amount they will have to pay out, which is why you need effective legal representation as the plaintiff.
All personal injury claims must show damages. Damages include medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
Viable car accident claims have all of these four elements.
How Can an Augusta Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
You can legally file a car accident claim with the responsible insurance company without an attorney, but you’re unlikely to collect maximum compensation for your injuries without a car accident lawyer.
Insurance company adjusters are known for low-balling accident claims to minimize the damages that their companies have to pay. Most adjusters will offer to settle your claim immediately, offering to cut you a check on the spot. This may cover your immediate medical expenses, your property damage, and even a little extra for your trouble and inconvenience. However, it will also require you to sign a waiver of liability, which prevents you from filing a personal injury lawsuit.
On the other hand, if you’re represented by a car accident attorney, they will represent you on a contingency basis. That means that they only collect their fees if you receive a settlement or you win in litigation. Here’s what an attorney can do for you:
Collect Police Reports and Medical Records
Your attorney can collect all police reports and subpoena medical records.
Review Insurance Coverage
With most Georgia car accidents, the insurance company is responsible for the damages. Your attorney can review the coverage limits to determine the likelihood that you’ll receive fair compensation.
Depose Witnesses and Negligent Drivers
Your attorney can subpoena all witnesses, including the police, EMTs, eyewitnesses, and the other driver.
Calculate Your Damages
An auto accident attorney must be able to calculate monetary damages and estimate non-economic damages for their injured clients. These calculations can be extremely complicated and contain hundreds of items, which is why it’s a job best performed by professionals.
Negotiate with the Insurance Company
Insurance companies expect to have to compensate plaintiffs for their losses, but to receive maximum compensation for motor vehicle accidents, personal injury lawyers must negotiate with the insurers.
Litigate Your Case
Although 98% of cases settle through insurance, attorneys sometimes have to pursue a lawsuit to get compensation for their clients’ car accident injuries. Even after a personal injury lawsuit has been initiated, there’s a good chance of it settling. But if your auto accident claim does go to court, you’ll be comforted in knowing that you have a top-tier Augusta car accident attorney in your corner.
With an unparalleled record of success, the attorneys at T. Madden & Associates, P.C. can represent you at all phases of your accident. Call today.
How common are car accidents in Augusta, GA? Stats and Facts
With nearly 200,000 residents and steady population growth, Augusta, GA has more than its fair share of car accidents with injuries. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, there were 47,735 crashes in Augusta from 2017 to 2021. Additionally, there were 17,313 injuries resulting from these crashes and 156 fatalities. That means that there was an injury for every three crashes, approximately. That’s not to say that one out of every three crashes results in fatalities or injuries because more than one person can be injured in a bad crash.
Because Augusta is such a significant part of Richmond County, most of the accidents occurred within Augusta city limits. The numbers for Richmond County over the same period are 48,217 crashes, 17,498 injuries, and 148 car accident wrongful deaths.
Did you know that according to the CDC, the U.S. has the highest rate of fatal accidents per capita in the world?
Augusta is no exception and Georgia has its share of roadway fatalities. If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident, contact T. Madden & Associates, P.C. today.
What You Should Do If You’re Injured in an Auto Accident
If you’re in an auto accident caused by another party, you may not be sure how to proceed. The following list is not to be construed as legal advice, but these steps may help your physical and financial recovery.
Get to a Position of Safety
Your safety is the highest priority. If you’re in a position of danger, move. The car crash scene may not be safe if there are chemical spills or one of the parties seems violent. If you have to leave your vehicle to get to a safer place, watch for traffic and other hazards.
It’s essential that you try not to move injured parties if possible. Spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and other severe injuries can be made worse if the injured party is moved. If possible, wait until they can get proper emergency medical treatment.
Either call 911 personally or direct a bystander to do it. When speaking to the police dispatcher, try to remain calm. Dispatch will want to know the following:
- The exact location of the crash, including the direction of travel.
- The number of vehicles involved.
- A description of the vehicles.
- Whether or not there are injured parties and the nature of the injuries.
You can stay on the phone with dispatch until first responders arrive.
Take Pictures or a Video with Your Phone
Auto accidents can be difficult to reconstruct without visual evidence. By taking pictures or a video of the location, position of the vehicles, the debris on the roadway, visible injuries, etc., you can help document exactly what’s occurring in real time. Make sure that you take photos and videos from a safe vantage point.
Talk to Witnesses
Many people will only remain on the scene to call the police and check for severe injuries. Ask any independent witnesses to speak to the police. If they can’t, ask for their contact information for future reference.
Allow EMTs to Examine You on Scene
You may feel fine immediately after a crash, but it’s a good idea to allow first responders to examine you and check your vital signs. If you are injured, either allow them to transport you to the hospital or drive you to the emergency room. In any event, follow up with your doctor at your earliest opportunity. Keep any medical bills or records to include in your car accident claim.
Don’t Accept an Initial Settlement Offer
Our law firm has seen many drivers file an Augusta car accident claim and accept a settlement without ever speaking to an attorney. This is a mistake that the car insurance companies want you to make. Insurance adjusters know that once you speak to an attorney, the chances of them being able to get you to accept a lowball estimate are vastly diminished. Their offer may help you cover your initial medical bills, but if you have serious injuries, there’s no telling how much your future bills and expenses could be. Contact T. Madden & Associates, P.C. for immediate representation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Augusta Car Accidents
We represent individuals who have suffered injuries due to the negligence of other drivers. These are some of the more common questions we hear at T. Madden & Associates, P.C.
How do I prove negligence after a car accident in Georgia?
Your attorney will review the police report of the crash, photographic evidence, and any eyewitness testimony. If necessary, we will consult an accident reconstruction expert to determine exactly what happened. With this information, your lawyer can demonstrate the defendant’s percentage of fault and argue against any counterclaims about your level of fault.
Can I recover damages from a car accident in Georgia?
In most cases, even if you’re partially at fault, you can recover damages in a car accident, especially if you were injured.
What if I was injured in a hit-and-run accident?
In some cases, hit and runs are solved by the police, but it’s often a futile endeavor. If you have insurance, you can make a claim against your insurance policy. Depending on the type of coverage, the amount of coverage, and your injuries, you may be able to get full compensation.
Should I hire a car accident lawyer?
Yes. If you’ve been injured in an accident, you will probably need a lawyer to get full compensation. Most insurance adjusters will lowball their initial offer, so contact a personal injury lawyer for a full and fair settlement.
How does a personal injury lawyer get paid?
Injury lawyers in Georgia work on a contingency basis, which means that they collect their fees at the end of the case and only if they win. Contingency fees are regulated by the state, but your attorney should go over their contingency fee schedule during your initial consultation.
Will I have to sue the insurance company to get compensation?
In most cases, the insurance company settles before the claim goes to court. That does not necessarily mean that you won’t have to file a lawsuit, though. Your attorney may initiate a lawsuit, but it settles prior to going to court.
Experienced Car Accident Attorneys in Augusta, GA
T. Madden & Associates fight for the rights of individuals who have been injured in car accidents. Our staff understands the emotional and physical trauma that accompanies a serious accident. We will work tirelessly to get you a full and fair settlement while you work on your physical recovery. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you need to act quickly.
Our law firm has endeavored to partner with our community in civic, educational, professional, and legal activities. We want to be an integral part of bettering the community we serve and promoting Black excellence.
Contact the Augusta car accident lawyers at T. Madden & Associates today!