Injuries from an accident can complicate your life. You’ll have bills from medical treatment, plus you’ll likely miss work while you recover. In serious incidents, you may never be able to return to work, and your life could be forever altered.
If someone’s negligence caused your accident, you’ll want to file an injury claim right away to recover your damages. If your injuries are minor, you may be able to do it on your own. However, if your injuries are severe, you will want injury attorneys to help you through the personal injury claim process.
What Do You Need to File a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia?
Since the injured party must prove the other party was negligent to recover damages, you need proper evidence. Without proving that they are liable, you will not have a valid personal injury case.
Ideally, you should gather all the evidence immediately after the accident. With serious injuries, it’s best to hire an attorney right away as they can take care of gathering it for you while you heal and rest.
Obtaining evidence immediately is crucial. The more time that elapses, the more likely it will get damaged or lost. This is true with surveillance footage in stores or on the roads, and for car accidents when the vehicles are moved.
Witnesses are easier to speak with right after a personal injury accident. The more time that passes, the less likely they will be able to recall what happened. Medical bills, pay stubs, receipts of costs incurred directly from the accident, prescriptions, and other expenses may also be used as evidence. Again, you may not need an attorney, but if you were physically removed from the accident scene by ambulance, a lawyer can start working to track down any evidence on your behalf.
Knowing the Statute of Limitations
Another reason you may want an attorney is that they will never miss those important deadlines for filing. For personal injury claims in Georgia, you need to file within two years. There are some exceptions, generally for medical malpractice claims where the injuries may not be apparent immediately.
Even though two years may seem like plenty of time, it’s in your best interest to place your personal injury claim as soon as possible. The more time that goes by, the more difficult it will be to prove your claims and recover your compensation.
What’s the Difference Between Filing a Personal Injury Claim and Filing a Lawsuit?
People often get confused about the difference between a personal injury claim and a lawsuit. These aren’t the same thing, though the filing of your claim is what can kick off a lawsuit.
When you file a personal injury claim, you will then wait for the insurance company to provide a settlement offer. If the amount is fair, you can accept it and that will be the end of your personal injury case.
However, the insurance company may deny your claim or offer you a much smaller settlement than needed to cover your damages. Having an attorney to represent you can help take things to the next level through negotiations. If you have a valid case and are still not getting a sufficient settlement offer, you can then file a personal injury lawsuit.
Your lawsuit may go all the way to trial, or your attorney may be able to negotiate for appropriate compensation before it gets that far. Either way, choose an experienced personal injury attorney as they will be the best advocate for your rights.