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Georgia Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline

For the first time in nearly two decades, the number of car crashes in Georgia is rising. To put this into perspective, there were almost 1,800 fatal car crashes in the Peach State in 2021. This was the highest number of traffic fatalities since 2006.

Many people have no idea what to do after an auto accident. If you don’t take specific steps within hours of the collision, you’ll jeopardize your chances of recovering damages.

Here, we’ll explain how the car accident settlement process works in Georgia and discuss the settlement timeline. If you still have questions about your car accident case, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Georgia?

Georgia law requires motorists to report a motor vehicle accident to law enforcement immediately. Technically, the law states that you must submit a car accident report if the crash results in injury or death or if there is more than $500 in property damage.

Since it’s impossible to determine the extent of property damage, you’re better off reporting all car accidents.

Georgia law also requires parties to exchange specific information at the accident scene. This includes:

  • Name and contact information

  • Driver’s license and insurance information

  • Vehicle registration number

You must also assist anyone who suffers a personal injury in the crash. The best way to do this is by calling 911. The dispatcher will send an officer to the crash scene and arrange an ambulance to transport accident victims to the hospital.

Finally, you must remain at the accident scene until you’ve completed the above requirements. You may face civil and criminal penalties if you leave the accident scene. Plus, the only way for your car accident lawyer to prove your case is with a copy of the police report.

This report is necessary to prove your car accident claim. The report contains information that will not be accessible to your Georgia personal injury law attorney.

Georgia Car Insurance Laws

All Georgia motorists must maintain auto insurance. Your personal injury lawyer will file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If they don’t have insurance, you’ll have two options. First, you can file a claim with your uninsured motorist’s policy. But these policies often only cover $10,000 in damages.

Your second option is to file suit against the other driver. If they have auto insurance, the carrier must represent them in court. If they don’t have insurance, you’ll seek damages against the driver personally.

In Georgia, the minimum liability coverage amounts a driver is required to carry are:

  • $25,000 for the injury or death of one person (yourself, a passenger, another driver, a pedestrian, etc.)

  • $50,000 for the injury or death of more than one person in a single accident

  • $25,000 for property damage

As you can imagine, these amounts may not cover your medical expenses and other out-of-pocket losses. Your attorney will do their best to negotiate a fair settlement offer. Your settlement amount will depend on several factors, including:

  • The extent of your injuries

  • Whether you need extensive medical treatment

  • If you’ll need future medical care

  • Whether you can still work after the crash

  • Damage to your vehicle

Below, we’ll discuss the settlement process and how long it may take to settle your personal injury case.

How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Georgia?

The last thing anyone wants is to spend years arguing over a car accident claim only to lose at trial. This is why most car accident victims settle their personal injury claims. With a settlement, you’ll receive a guaranteed payout in a lump sum. Plus, you don’t risk losing at trial. If you lose in court, you’ll walk away with nothing.

settlement is an informal wrapping up of a case for a mutually agreeable remedy. Once the settlement negotiations are complete, the plaintiff will drop the pending lawsuit.

Georgia courts don’t require parties to attend a settlement conference. But many courts, such as in Gwinnett County, offer parties the option to attend a settlement conference or mediation before trial.

Typically, your attorney can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. The adjuster decides whether to admit fault on behalf of their insured. From that point, your attorney will send a demand package advising the adjuster how much monetary compensation you are seeking on behalf of your client. Then, the negotiations will start. Once an agreed amount is decided, they will send you a check within two weeks or less.

If the insurance carrier denies your claim, you can make a claim that the insurance company is acting in bad faith.

If this does not work, your attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. Once the insurance company receives notice of your claim, they must file an answer. After this, they may reach out to discuss an auto accident settlement.

If you and the other party can agree on a settlement amount, your attorney will draft a settlement agreement. Both parties will sign, the insurance adjuster will cut you a check for the settlement amount, and you’ll dismiss your lawsuit.

What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Georgia?

It’s impossible to answer this question. Every case is unique, and too many variables can impact the size of your claim.

During settlement negotiations, the parties and their attorneys will consider the following:

  • Insurance coverage (insurance companies won’t pay more than insurance policy limits)

  • Car repairs

  • Medical bills (past and future)

  • Pain and suffering

  • Amount of time away from work

  • Nature and extent of your car accident injuries

If your attorney and the insurance company agree on an amount of compensation, you’ll receive a lump sum payment. You can’t demand additional money later.

How Long Does It Take to Negotiate a Car Accident Settlement?

Most car accident cases take several months to settle. As with the amount of your settlement, it’s impossible to give a precise time frame for how long it will take to resolve your case. Your attorney will likely work with the insurance adjuster for a few months to reach a fair settlement amount.

In many cases, settlement negotiations don’t start until the judge schedules a trial. Some cases don’t settle until the day before the trial. It all depends on the strength of your evidence, the size of your claim, and the insurance company’s settlement practices.

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Georgia?

Georgia’s statute of limitations dictates how long you have to file your car accident lawsuit. For motor vehicle accidents, the statute of limitations period is two years. The two years start on the date of the accident.

The court will dismiss your lawsuit if you don’t file your claim before the deadline. You’ll lose the opportunity to sue the other driver and walk away empty-handed.

Learn More About Georgia Car Accident Settlements: Talk to a Lawyer

Most settlements are binding. If you're not careful, you could end up with a settlement that doesn’t cover your medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses. This is why it’s essential that you talk to an experienced car accident attorney in Georgia before signing anything involving your claim.

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  • Car accident claims are complex and insurance carriers have lawyers on their side

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