When Should You Sue After A Car Accident – You are on your way to your daughter’s softball game from work. Maybe it’s your son’s piano recital. As you get a little closer to the place, you see that traffic is gridlocked. Impatiently, you ask your GPS to find an alternate route when it happens—an SUV slams into the back of your car. This is an all too common occurrence in the state of Georgia.
“Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the leading cause of injury deaths and the second leading cause of hospitalizations and ER visits in Georgia.” – Georgia Department of Public Health
When Should You Sue After A Car Accident
Your car is a little banged up and your anxiety is through the roof, but physically, you’re in one piece. You call 9-1-1, take detailed pictures of the scene, exchange contact information with the other driver, and try to get your bearings. When first responders arrive, you get a quick medical evaluation and move on to support your family. After the game, you notice that you have a slight headache. Right, you attribute it to your event day, take an ibuprofen and power through dinner. When you make it home, the headache is accompanied by neck pain and stiffness.
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What you are experiencing is likely more than anxiety. While your car seemed to be the only thing damaged in the car crash, you could be injured and not know it. It is not uncommon for pain resulting from traumatic accidents to show up hours, days, or even weeks after the initial incident. You are experiencing symptoms of one or more common injuries after a motor vehicle crash.
1. Headaches – There are several reasons for headaches after a car accident. The headaches can appear hours or days after the crash. The onset can range from PTSD to a concussion or a fracture in the skull or neck bones.
2. Neck and shoulder pain – Neck and/or shoulder pain after a motor vehicle accident are common symptoms of whiplash, one of the most common injuries sustained in a car wreck.
Although a quick action, this movement can hurt the spine, discs between the bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves and other tissues of the neck.
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3. Back pain – Back pain can also be indicative of a whiplash-related injury. It can also be a warning sign that a herniated disc or other soft tissue injury exists.
4. Numbness – Numbness, or whiplash associated disorder, is defined as a lack of feeling, sensation or tingling in hands and arms. This is often the result of damage or injury to the nerves in the spinal cord.
5. Abdominal pain – Abdominal pain can be a sign of internal bleeding, a blood clot or injury to an internal organ. If you experience pain or purple bruising around your abdomen after a car accident, seek immediate medical treatment.
6. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – PTSD is a mental disorder that occurs after a traumatic event. This can include flashbacks, nightmares, and persistent frightening thoughts.
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7. Behavioral changes – Memory loss, problems with your vision and/or personality changes may be a sign that there is an underlying traumatic brain injury. This can also be the residual effect of a concussion.
The headache and stiffness that you woke up with the day after the motor vehicle crash are your body’s signs to proceed with caution. Since car accident injuries can be delayed by hours, days or even weeks, we recommend seeking medical attention soon after the crash, even if you are not hurt. Delaying diagnosis or treatment can slow your recovery time.
A general rule of thumb is: the more serious your injuries, the longer the aches and pains can last. These headaches are usually harmless and will go away on their own. However, if they continue, we recommend finding an auto injury doctor who specializes in helping to alleviate headaches. If accompanied by additional symptoms, such as loss of movement or blurred vision, recovery time may be delayed by physical therapy or follow-up treatments. The neck and shoulder pain will need an X-ray, MRI or CT scan to accurately diagnose the injury and determine the subsequent treatment plan. The same is true for back pain and numbness, but six weeks is the average recovery time for car accident injuries. Abdominal injuries, PTSD and behavioral issues may stick around longer.
Once you have sought medical treatment for your delayed accident injury and received a confirmed diagnosis, you may consider legal action against the at-fault driver. Remember: Time is your friend when it comes to filing and settling a personal injury claim. Do not sign a release of liability form until after you have had a complete medical evaluation. This document effectively ends the potential lawsuit and any other claims related to your incident.
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If you have been in a car accident, symptoms of your injuries may not show up until days later. Although this situation may be unfamiliar, the team at Dermer Appel Ruder Law has more than 80 years of experience with insurance companies and personal injury claims. Get your free case evaluation today. The Georgia statute of limitations (time limit) for filing lawsuits for most car accident claims is two years from the accident date. The other person involved in the car crash may sue you for damages if your insurance company denies liability or refuses to agree to a fair settlement. Alternatively, their damages may exceed the limits of your policy.
Continue reading to learn more about what to do if you are sued after a car accident in Augusta, Georgia.
If another party accuses you of causing a car accident or you receive a summons, you should contact your insurance provider immediately. Georgia car insurance policies require the company to provide you with an attorney to defend the lawsuit. Failure to report the lawsuit to your insurance provider may give the company a reason not to protect you.
You do not get to choose the lawyer the insurance company hires to defend the lawsuit. However, you may seek legal advice from an attorney of your choice at your own expense.
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However, you are liable if the jury awards an amount above your policy limits. Therefore, if two people are injured and the jury awards $75,000, you are liable for $25,000 if you have minimum car insurance coverage. You can buy higher liability car insurance coverage to protect yourself if you are sued for causing a car accident.
Find out why you are being sued by the other person involved in the accident. What is the person claiming as damages? Why did your insurance company refuse to settle the claim to avoid a lawsuit?
Notify your insurance company that you expect it to pay the policy limits if it can get a notice or limit your liability for the accident. If your insurance company acted in bad faith to settle a claim, you may have a claim against your insurance company.
You cannot prevent someone from filing a lawsuit against you after a car accident. However, filing a lawsuit does not mean that the person has a valid legal claim against you for damages. The defense attorney will analyze the case to determine the best way to defend you against the allegations.
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For example, the lawyer may discover evidence that the other driver contributed to the cause of the car crash. If so, the person’s damages may be reduced by their percentage of fault based on Georgia’s comparative negligence laws. However, the person cannot recover any compensation if the jury finds that they are 50% or more at fault for causing the car crash.
The aftermath of an accident can be frustrating and terrifying. However, the primary goal is to stay calm and seek medical treatment for your injuries.
As soon as you can, talk to an Augusta car accident attorney. Understanding your legal options and the laws regarding car accidents in Georgia is the first step in protecting your best interests.
Having a legal team fighting for you after a car accident is another way to protect your best interests and ensure that you are not unfairly blamed.
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Contact the car accident lawyers in the Central Savannah River Area at Hawk Law Group for legal assistance today
For more information, please contact the motorcycle accident attorneys at Hawk Law Group at our nearest location to schedule a free consultation today. Editors.
Edited by Angelica Leicht Edited by Angelica LeichtArrow Right Insurance Editor Angelica Leicht is an insurance editor on the team. She is truly passionate about helping readers make well-informed decisions for their wallets, whether the goal is to find the right comprehensive auto policy or the best life insurance policy for their needs. Angelica Leicht
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