COLUMBUS GEORGIA CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
If you are looking for Columbus, Georgia car accident lawyers, you are off to a good start. Attorneys Joel Williams and Chase Elleby have many years of experience representing car accident victims in Columbus and Muscogee County. We are proud to call Georgia home and we have a passion for helping our fellow Georgia residents who have been injured in automobile wrecks.
We understand you might have questions during this challenging time. What should I do next? Who can I trust? Is it okay to talk to the insurance company? Where can I find a doctor to assess my injuries? How will I be able to pay my medical bills after a car accident? Each of the concerns you have after a Columbus car accident are legitimate, which is why we’re here to step in and help.
Car accidents are common – in fact, they are one of the most litigated civil claims in Georgia. We can help you through every step of the claims and litigation process to maximize your recovery. We have the experience and satisfied clients to prove it.
To get started, read below to learn more about the steps to take after a Columbus car accident:
WHAT NOT TO DO AFTER A COLUMBUS GEORGIA CAR ACCIDENT
Don’t Ignore Your Injuries after a Columbus Car Accident
Ignoring any injuries, even if they seem minor, is harmful to your health. Additionally, if you don’t seek medical care for injuries after a car accident, you can hurt your personal injury claim. Once you visit a doctor after a Columbus car accident, make sure to keep track of your medical records and bills – this is the best way to prove the type and extent of your injuries.
Don’t Speak to the At-Fault Insurance Company Without an Attorney
Make sure to speak to a car accident attorney before giving a statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the at-fault driver’s insurer calls quickly before you speak to an attorney, remember that the other insurance company isn’t on your side. You may have a contractual obligation to speak to your own car insurance company if you have been hit by an underinsured driver. No matter which insurance company calls, it is always a good idea to speak to an experienced attorney before giving a recorded statement. You can reach the Williams Elleby team at 833-LEGALGA.
Don’t Sign Documents Sent from the At-Fault Insurance Company
After a Columbus car wreck, the at-fault insurance company may send you documents and insist they be signed promptly. Do not sign these documents. Instead, talk to a car accident attorney – they will guide you on what information to provide to the insurance company after a car crash in Columbus.
Don’t Accept Payment from At-Fault Insurance Company
After a Columbus car accident, the at-fault insurance company may try to send a small check to settle your claim before you understand the full extent of your injuries. Do not accept this payment without speaking to a Columbus car accident attorney. If you accept the small amount, it’s possible you will not be able to seek additional money in the future if your injuries are worse than you originally thought.
TOP THINGS TO REMEMBER AFTER A COLUMBUS GEORGIA CAR ACCIDENT
- Do not leave the scene of a car accident in Columbus.
- Call 911. it is legally required to report most car accidents in Georgia that result in personal injuries or property damage of more than $500.
- Take photos. Pictures can be the most valuable evidence for proving fault and liability in Columbus car accident claims.
- Exchange information with the other driver. Ask the other driver for their phone number and insurance information. Police officers will also collect this information for accident reports, but it’s best to keep a copy for yourself.
- Get the names and contact information from any witnesses of the accident.
- Notify your insurance company. To preserve liability and UM coverage, your car insurance contract likely requires you contact your insurance company within a certain amount of time following a car accident. Notify the company in a timely manner so they cannot deny coverage.
- Do not admit fault. Even if you think the wreck is your fault, don’t admit it at the scene.
- Seek medical care for your injuries. If you wait too long to seek treatment, the at-fault insurance company can use it against you in settlement negotiations and at trial.
- Document everything after a Columbus car accident. Keep a record of every phone call, letter and email regarding your accident. Save medical records, bills and photographs – they will be needed if you file a claim.
- Hire a car accident attorney in Columbus. You can call the Columbus Bar Association Referral Service for recommendations, or you can reach us at 833-LEGALGA.
THE THREE STAGES OF A COLUMBUS GEORGIA CAR WRECK CLAIM
There are three stages to Columbus car wreck claims: (1) Pre-Suit Stage, (2) Litigation Stage and (3) Trial and Appeal Stage.
During the pre-suit stage, your attorney will complete the initial investigation into your case, which involves gathering insurance information and public information about the wreck such as accident reports and dash camera footage.
Not all personal injury car accident cases end up in court. Some settle before suit is filed. In an effort to settle a case prior to formal litigation, our experienced car accident attorneys will send a pre-suit settlement demand under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-67.1 to try and obtain a fair settlement without filing a lawsuit. If a fair offer is made, the case will settle and our attorneys will work to finalize the settlement quickly while taking into consideration any remaining medical bills or health insurance liens.
If the at-fault party does not make a fair offer after a Columbus car accident, our attorneys will file suit on your behalf and with your approval. Most Columbus car wreck cases are filed in the State Court of Muscogee County. Shortly after the lawsuit is filed, discovery will begin. This takes a minimum of six months. During this time, attorneys exchange information and take depositions. After discovery, trial courts will likely order you to mediate any car accident claim. If your case does not settle during discovery or at mediation, your lawyer will begin preparing you for trial.
Trial and Appeal Stage
The third stage of a Columbus car accident claims process includes trial and potential appeal. A jury trial, which includes your peers determining the outcome of your case, can be the most intimidating part of a lawsuit. Our team understands, and when it is time to go to trial, your Columbus car accident lawyer will be prepared with organized evidence, carefully chosen witnesses, pre-trial motions and overall knowledge of your case.
Columbus car accident trials are divided into seven parts: (1) Voir Dire or Jury Selection, (2) Opening Statements, (3) Plaintiff’s Case in Chief, (4) Defendant’s Case in Chief, (5) Closing Arguments, (6) Jury Instructions, and (7) The Verdict. Jury trials are complex, so when hiring a lawyer for your Columbus car wreck, make sure to employ one who tries cases.
It’s possible that a litigant will appeal the verdict in a Columbus car accident case. If this happens, the case will be appealed to the Georgia Court of Appeals. If a party believes the Court of Appeals’ decision is wrong, it can petition the Georgia Supreme Court for certiorari – this means the party is asking the Georgia Supreme Court to accept the case.
When appealed, the appellate court can do one of the following: (1) Affirm the judgment, (2) Reverse the judgment and require a new trial, or (3) Reverse the judgment with direction that judgment be entered for the appealing party. If a new trial is granted, the case is sent back to the trial court for a new trial.
CALL WILLIAMS ELLEBY TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION AFTER A COLUMBUS CAR ACCIDENT
If you or a loved one have been injured in a Columbus car accident, Williams Elleby is here to help. You can reach us at 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542) to schedule your free consultation.