What Is the Process for Personal Injury Settlements in Georgia?

If someone’s carelessness caused injuries to you or a loved one, you typically need to file a claim to recover compensation. But do you know everything that goes into the personal injury lawsuit settlement process?

If you’re not sure about each step, our team of Athens personal injury lawyers at The Larrison Law Firm can help. See how we guide residents in and around Loganville and Athens, GA, through the injury lawsuit process.

Understanding the Difference Between the Personal Injury Lawsuit and Settlement Process

A personal injury lawsuit and a settlement are two distinct aspects of the claims process. A case can involve either of these components or both.

A lawsuit is a claim you file in a court of law to allow a judge or jury to decide the outcome. A settlement refers to an official agreement between two parties to resolve a particular matter. Therefore, a lawsuit is a part of sorting out a claim, and the settlement is the solution.

A settlement can happen at about any point before, during, or after a trial. For example, during the trial, both sides may communicate and decide on an agreement. As a plaintiff, you would drop the case in exchange for the defendant fulfilling the agreed-upon terms.

The Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Georgia

Each personal injury lawsuit settlement process is as unique as the claimants who bring a case. However, most claims include the following steps.

Get medical treatment

Your health is the first and most important thing to attend to after an accident. Doing so supports your case. Your medical bills and diagnoses that outline future treatments are part of the evidence you must supply to claim compensation.

Furthermore, you can only recover damages for injuries that occur because of the accident. If you do something (whether intentionally or unintentionally) to make those injuries worse, you typically aren’t able to receive financial compensation for the extenuating issues.

For those reasons, get to a safe spot immediately after an accident. Evaluate your condition and that of those with you if you can do so safely. Then, call 911 or another emergency hotline to report the incident and receive medical care.

You should continue to follow the doctor’s orders and receive recommended treatments. If you need help finding a reliable care facility, our team at The Larrison Law Firm can advise you during the personal injury lawsuit settlement process.

Gather evidence

If you can safely do so at the scene, collect evidence. Make sure that everything you gather pertains to either the cause of the accident or the extent of your injuries.

For example, take photos and video of the scene, or have a trusted friend or legal professional from our firm take care of that. You can also try to obtain witness statements and contact information.

Another valuable piece of evidence is a copy of the police report. This could take a few weeks after a serious accident and can be easy to forget, but our firm can help with that aspect of the process.

Other evidence for the personal injury lawsuit settlement process includes expenses and financial losses, such as health care bills and recommendations. Obtain any vehicle repair estimates in writing. If any of your other property suffered damage, get estimates for the cost to repair or replace those as well.

Throughout the process, carefully document your physical, mental, and emotional injuries. Wounds and bruises may fade and not show the full extent of the damage. Take photos and images of these as you heal to show your progress.

A journal also helps to record your level of pain and mental state.

Since you can recover financial losses for missed time from work or lost benefits, keep employment or earnings records. Save pay stubs from your job or proof of earnings from your business or freelance work.

Contact your insurance company

Compensation from a car accident usually comes through an insurance claim in the personal injury lawsuit settlement process. Even when you are not at fault in an accident, you should inform your insurance company about the accident. A portion of your recovered damages may initially come through your insurer, and policies typically require drivers to alert the company within the first 24 hours.

You should be careful about what you say to anyone during a personal injury lawsuit. Avoid even giving the impression that you may be responsible by apologizing. Insurance companies look for any reason to deny or reduce your claim.

Insurance adjusters have experience in directing a conversation in a way that entices you to admit fault or minimize the extent of your injuries. Our team eliminates those concerns for you by handling any communication with insurers.

File a claim

Insurance companies can minimize payouts through technicalities, such as a mistake on your paperwork. We file your insurance claim, presenting the appropriate evidence and documentation.

Send a demand letter

You don’t have to wait for the insurance company to make an offer in the personal injury lawsuit settlement process.

Once we calculate what your case is worth, we can send a demand letter for that amount.

Negotiate a settlement

The insurance company usually counters with a lower offer. You don’t have to think about going to trial at this point.

The negotiation process typically goes back and forth a few times before you settle on a fair figure.

File a complaint and serve the defendant

If negotiations fail for any reason, it is time to bring a lawsuit. You must file a complaint with the court and serve notice to the defendant. The defendant responds with an answer that denies or admits to your allegations.

Enter the discovery process and make pretrial motions

Discovery is the official period for gathering and disclosing what evidence each side has during the personal injury lawsuit settlement process. Here, you exchange evidence with the other parties and try to determine how they will argue their case.

Depositions of witnesses also occur at this point, and both sides can file pretrial motions to exclude certain pieces of evidence or witness testimony for example.

At this time, we could help you request a summary judgment, allowing the court to issue a ruling without calling a jury because of the extensive evidence.

Contact Our Experienced Lawyer for Help With the Personal Injury Lawsuit Settlement Process

The personal injury lawsuit settlement process doesn’t have to be stressful or confusing. If you or a loved one needs assistance with a claim, contact us at The Larrison Law Firm in Loganville and Athens, GA. We’re ready to support you with integrity and compassion.

Personal Injury Lawsuit Process FAQ

How long do you have to file a personal injury lawsuit?

You must file a personal injury lawsuit for an accident within two years in Georgia. Though limited circumstances could extend this deadline, other situations can shorten it. In any case, it is preferable to start preparing as soon as possible to build a strong case.

How much can you sue for pain and suffering in Georgia?

Georgia has no cap on general damages for pain and suffering. Calculating this compensation requires choosing the right formula and examining precedent to pursue the maximum amount.

Does the personal injury lawsuit settlement process always involve a court case?

The personal injury lawsuit settlement process usually does not require a trial. However, if you have better odds of getting full compensation with a court trial, our team at The Larrison Law Firm in Loganville and Athens will pursue that course of action.

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