Georgia Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline
Georgia, the "Peach State," has a lot for Georgians to be proud of. There are world-class universities. The Atlanta Braves are always fun to watch. And the state has inspired some of the nation's greatest music: from Ray Charles to Outkast. There is a lot to do in Georgia, and a lot of reasons for tourists to stop by, but if you get into a car accident while heading to a concert or just commuting to work, knowing how car accident settlements work will be valuable indeed. Read on to learn more about the Georgia car accident settlement process and timeline.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Georgia?
Georgia requires parties to report an accident immediately to local law enforcement if there is an injury or death, or if there is property damage greater than $500. The state also requires parties to provide his/her name, contact information, and license and insurance information to the other parties involved in the accident, offer assistance in getting any injured parties medical help, and remain at the scene of the accident until all of the above obligations are fulfilled.
Georgia Car Insurance Laws
Georgia's 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, pedestrian, etc.)
- $50,000 for the injury or death of more than one person in a single accident
- $25,000 for property damage
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Georgia?
The last thing anyone wants is to spend years arguing over a car accident claim and preparing a case, only to lose at trial. This is why most cases settle -- a party can get a guaranteed payout and not have to pay an attorney to fight a risky courtroom battle. A settlement is an informal wrapping up of a case for a mutually agreeable remedy, at which time the parties drop the pending lawsuit.
In Georgia, there is not a statewide requirement for settlement conferences. However, many courts, such as Gwinnett County, do provide optional settlement conferences or mediation (where a neutral party tries to help resolve the dispute) before trial.
What is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Georgia?
This is an impossible question, as cases vary in the amount of damages. A minor ding of a parked car, for example, will settle for less than a drunk driver who kills an entire family.
In order to reach a settlement, the parties and their attorneys will consider:
- Insurance coverage (insurance companies won’t pay more than policy limits)
- Car repairs
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages from time away from work
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Georgia?
The time limit (Statute of Limitations) for filing a car accident lawsuit in Georgia depends on the particulars of your claim: the limit is two years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury and four years to file for property damage. The limit applies even if you have pending insurance claims, so it is important to consult with an attorney early to evaluate the strength of your claim and to make sure you meet the filing deadline.
Learn More About Georgia Car Accident Settlements: Talk to a Lawyer
Most settlements can't be changed after the fact – they're binding and final and, if you're not careful, you could end up with an insufficient amount to cover medical bills and expenses down the line or waive your claims altogether. Avoid these mishaps by speaking with an experienced car accident attorney in Georgia before signing anything involving your claim.
Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney
Contact a qualified attorney.