Car Accident Lawyer Columbus
The actions you take immediately following a car accident can have a huge impact on the outcome of your case. If you’ve been in an auto accident, you need a knowledgeable car accident lawyer Columbus to protect your interests. At the Ferguson Law Group, our team of attorneys has years of experience working and negotiating with insurance companies. We have an in-depth understanding of how an insurance company operates and will use this knowledge to your advantage. Unfortunately, many car accident victims put off contacting a personal injury attorney until after they’ve spoken with an insurance company and given a statement that has hurt their claim and resulted in a lowball settlement offer, or no offer at all. If you have recently been in an auto accident, then you need to contact an injury lawyer immediately to protect your rights and your claim.
How a Car Accident Attorney Columbus Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, then you probably have plenty of questions. You may even be wondering if hiring an attorney is necessary, especially if an insurance company is already reaching out to you and offering a settlement. The fact is all insurance companies want to settle an accident as soon as possible for the lowest possible amount. This means the odds are the insurance company’s offer will be incredibly low and not nearly enough to cover the cost of damages you’ve suffered as a result of your accident.
Hiring an auto accident lawyer will give you the best possible chance of receiving the settlement you deserve. An experienced attorney knows how to effectively negotiate with an insurance company to get the maximum compensation possible in a car accident claim. Additionally, if the lawyer is unable to negotiate a fair settlement, they will be fully prepared to take your case to court.
Speaking with a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible will increase your chances of receiving a higher settlement and will protect your rights and your claim.
How to Protect Your Claim
In the United States, there is an average of six million car accidents a year. Fortunately, the majority of these accidents only involve property damage. However, one in three accidents involves an injured driver or passenger.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, there are some things you can do to protect yourself and your claim.
Stay at the Scene of the Accident
Never drive away from the scene of an auto accident, even if the damage is minor.
Protect the Scene of the Accident
You can prevent additional accidents by lighting flares or by keeping your flashers on at all times. If your lights don’t work and it’s dark, you can use a flashlight to keep you safe until help arrives.
Contact the Police
Even if no one is injured, it’s still a good idea to contact the police. You’ll need the police report to file your claim with the insurance company, even if it’s only to make a claim for damages to your vehicle. All cars involved in the collision should remain where they are unless their location is interfering with traffic.
Make Sure You Provide Accurate Details of the Accident
Once the police are on the scene, be sure you tell the investigating officer exactly what happened. If you’re not sure of certain facts, tell that to the officer. Avoid speculating or guessing. If you’re asked if you have any injuries, reply that you’re not sure instead of telling the investigating officer that you’re fine. In many cases, pain and injuries are not readily apparent until hours or days after an accident. Also, make sure that any statements made by passengers in your vehicle are accurate as well.
Use the camera on your phone to take pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved in the collision. Take photos of the scene of the accident, paying special attention to any debris in the road, weather conditions, broken traffic lights, and damaged or missing traffic signs. During this time, avoid interfering with the police investigation. If you’re not able to take photos of the scene of the accident, take them as soon as possible after the accident.
In most cases, the investigating officer will obtain this type of information. If the police don’t respond to the accident, it’s important to obtain the names, telephone numbers, and addresses of all parties involved in the accident, including any witnesses. Make sure you also obtain insurance information and ask to see the driver’s insurance card. If there are any witnesses to the accident, you must obtain their contact information as well, so your attorney can contact them and take a statement.
If the police respond to the accident, the investigating officer will provide every driver involved in the accident with a police report number. This number can later be used to obtain a copy of the police report. You would need to obtain this information from the state police if the accident occurred on a state highway.
Report the Accident
Notify your insurance company. Most policies will require the policyholder to report the accident as soon as possible.
Seek Medical Attention
Immediately following an accident, you may feel shaken up and a little disoriented. You may not realize you have been injured from the accident until hours or days later. Because of this, you must seek medical attention immediately following an auto accident. Even a mild accident can cause serious or permanent injuries to the spinal cord. If you were dazed immediately after the accident or lost consciousness, even for a short period of time, it’s possible that you suffered a closed head injury or a concussion. This can lead to behavior or cognitive changes if left untreated.
Common Car Accident Injuries
There are many types of injuries that a person can sustain in a car accident, ranging from a mild concussion to a serious brain injury. Serious auto accident injuries can include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Neck and back injuries
- Loss of a limb
In some cases, a serious injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, may be hidden at first. If you have been involved in an auto accident, even if you believe that you’ve walked away unscathed, it’s still important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible and have a medical professional examine you. If you plan to file a lawsuit, you will need to use medical documentation to prove the severity of your injuries.
If you have been involved in a car accident and it’s not clear who was at fault, then you definitely need to consult with a lawyer. In these types of situations, the other driver’s insurance company will try to place all of the blame on you. Speaking with a lawyer can help to protect your rights. An attorney can also defend you from counterclaims.
When an attorney takes on your case, they will begin by investigating the accident. They may send a private investigator to the scene of the accident, to take photographs and search for evidence such as skid marks, faulty traffic lights, damaged roads, and missing traffic signs.
Multiple Vehicle Accidents
If you have been involved in a multi-vehicle accident, speaking with a personal injury attorney will give you the best chance of not being stuck paying for damages. A lawyer that has experience in multi-vehicle collisions can help to build a solid case that protects your rights and proves the other parties involved were responsible for the collision.
Insurance Company Claims
An insurance company knows that most people are unfamiliar with all of the complex procedures and laws that surround a personal injury claim. Because of this, an insurance adjuster may flat out deny a legitimate claim, knowing the accident victim can do nothing about it.
An insurance adjuster can also delay a claim to slowly break down the accident victim, who is in desperate need of money due to missed time at work and the mounting medical bills.
They will use these types of tactics to get the accident victim to accept a lowball offer, which is often only a fraction of what the accident victim’s claim is really worth.
Often, an insurance adjuster will request to record the accident victim’s statement and will try to use their statement against them to prove they are the ones at fault. An injury attorney will take over all communication with an insurance company and their team of lawyers, to protect your claim and prevent the insurance company from taking advantage of you.
Compensation in an Auto Accident Claim
An auto accident victim can incur significant expenses following a collision. Fortunately, an accident victim can take legal action that can help them to recover the cost of these expenses.
The damages that may be awarded to the victim of an accident fall into two categories: non-economic and economic damages.
Economic damages are calculable costs that are incurred as a direct result of the accident. In an auto wreck, the damages available can include:
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Damaged property
Non-economic damages are characterized as intangible losses, which can be difficult to calculate. These damages are often evaluated by a jury if the case goes to trial. In an auto accident, the victim can be awarded non-economic damages for the following:
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
These damages can be awarded in situations in which the at-fault driver’s actions were found intentional or especially reckless. These damages are used to punish the wrongdoer and are not intended to compensate the victim.
Filing an Auto Accident Claim
If you have been injured in an auto accident, the first step towards filing a personal injury claim is to contact an accident attorney. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer will allow you to explain the circumstances and facts concerning the accident.
During the initial consultation, the lawyer will ask important questions such as where and when the accident occurred, how it happened, and the types of injuries that you sustained. Once the attorney has learned the facts of the case, they can provide helpful advice regarding what your legal options are and how you should proceed.
Keeping careful documentation of the accident is very crucial to a case. Unfortunately, this step is often overlooked by many accident victims.
Maintaining thorough records of the accident means creating electronic or physical files where all of the crucial documentation related to the accident will be kept.
The type of information that’s stored in this file should include:
- Police report
- Photos of injuries
- Photos of property damage
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Contact information of any witnesses
- Contact information of the at-fault driver
Investigating the accident is another important part of building a case. If you have hired an accident lawyer, they will take important steps that will build the credibility and strength of your claim.
For example, a lawyer may:
- Develop a solid legal strategy that’s tailored to the facts of a case
- Consult with medical experts
- Consult with economists
- Consult with accident reconstruction experts
- Account for your economic damages
- Review the police report, photographs, video footage, and photos of the scene of the accident
- Interview eyewitnesses
Before your case goes to trial, you may receive a settlement offer from the insurance company or the at-fault driver’s attorney. Once you have received the settlement offer, your lawyer will protect your rights by negotiating favorable terms. If the offer is not in your best interest, your case will proceed to trial.
Statute of Limitations in Columbus, Georgia
To litigate an auto accident claim, the plaintiff must file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations acts as a time limit by which the accident victim must initiate a lawsuit. If the accident victim fails to file a lawsuit within this time frame, they will be barred from taking the claim to court.
The statute of limitations in Georgia is two years from the day of the accident.
Do I Need to Hire an Auto Accident Lawyer?
Not two injuries or accidents are the same. The circumstances surrounding an accident are always unique to the client.
If you have suffered a serious injury in an auto accident, you need to speak with an experienced auto accident lawyer. When a lifetime of pain and suffering and mounting medical bills are at stake, there’s no room for chance. If you have sustained an injury that will require a lifetime of care, hiring an auto accident attorney can be the best way to prevent lifelong, serious, financial stress for both you and your family.
Your Legal Rights
An auto accident victim has legal rights. At times, the victim of an auto accident can inadvertently forfeit their rights. For example, the accident victim may admit fault to a police officer, insurance adjuster, or another party, which would destroy their claim. A personal injury lawyer can protect the accident victim, guiding them throughout the legal process to ensure that their rights remain protected.
An auto accident victim may have little to no experience negotiating. After an accident, they must deal with an insurance adjuster who has years of negotiating experience. These insurance companies often use tactics that can eliminate or reduce the value of a claim. A lawyer will step in and handle the negotiation process on behalf of the victim. This can ensure that the interests of the victim are well represented.
A major part of any car accident claim is effectively communicating with insurance adjusters. This is one task that requires negotiation experience. The attorneys at the Ferguson Law Group have decades of experience negotiating with major insurance companies. Our team of lawyers will negotiate on your behalf to ensure that the insurance provider pays a fair settlement.
A lawyer can strengthen the value of a claim by utilizing resources that are not available to the general public. For example, a lawyer can track down a witness to the accident to collect their statement. A lawyer can also conduct a background check on the other driver to determine whether or not they have a history of auto accidents or a bad driving record in general.
In some cases, the claim is only as strong as the resources that are used to support it. The Ferguson Law Group has access to many resources that can be used to build a solid case. Our firm is capable of handling complex cases and conducting thorough interviews, utilizing state-of-the-art technology, and hiring expert witnesses that can help prove your claim.
The car accident lawyers Columbus at the Ferguson Law Group also have years of litigation experience. We treat every case as if it’s going to trial, giving each case the attention to detail it deserves.
Contact the Auto Accident Lawyers at the Ferguson Law Group Today
An auto accident can be life-altering and very traumatic. You need an experienced, knowledgeable car accident lawyer Columbus by your side to seek the damages you deserve. At the Ferguson Law Group, we believe no accident victim should have to navigate this complicated process alone. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and find out how we can help.
Tifton Office225 East 2nd Street, Tifton, GA 31794