Car Accidents in Georgia
With over 35 years of combined legal experience, Christopher Simon Attorney at Law attorneys Christopher Simon, Harrison Spires and Tyler Bridgers have handled many hundreds of car accident cases on behalf of both injured victims and those responsible for causing them.
Car accident cases in and around Athens-Clarke County happen all to frequently given the configuration of GA-316. The lack of signals at a lot of intersections and erratic and heavy traffic conditions at rush hour lead to a disproportionate number of crashes.
Due to the high student population during the school year, we also see a large number of bicycle and pedestrian accidents.
When clients call they typically have a number of concerns. Chief among them is "I don't want to make a mistake, what should I do first?" We wrote a series of articles to answer these questions and you can find the link at the bottom of the page.
The overarching truth is that in most clear responsibility (liability in insurance speak) claims, the property damage will get worked out without the involvement of a lawyer. You will typically get a rental car for the period of time your car is out of commission, although it may take up to a week for the adjuster to inspect the cars, interview their insured client and confirm liability.
The injuries are the tough part. Why? Because evaluating injuries is more art than science. Anytime you inject uncertainty into a situation, things slow down. With serious injuries like fractures and surgery, there is little debate about the necessity of care and the conversation and valuation focuses on how long term the problem is and whether it limits full functioning.
Problems arise when car accident victims deal with back and knee issues. The most common defense for these cases is that the pain complaints are all objective (that is they cannot be confirmed on an xray or other test) and what does show up on the films is pre-existing. The most common phrase out of the adjuster's mouth is "that is just a soft tissue injury." That is the dumbest comment out there because by definition, anything other than a clear tear or fracture is soft tissue. A brain injury is a soft tissue injury, but it is very serious.
The answer to the question of what a soft tissue case is worth is that each case has to be evaluated by hand. They are not all the same:
Cases based on chiropractic care are worth $5,000-$15,000.
Cases with clear disc herniations and surgery are worth over $150,000.00.
Cases involving fractures, surgery and scarring have unique values and all tend to be in excess of $100,000. The key is information. Any quality attorney will give you a free consultation so please, take at least three meetings. Get comfortable with the lawyers that you will be working with over the next year.
Another challenge facing a car accident victim is how to handle the medical bills and complex reimbursement issues. Remember that if you have health insurance, the company will always ask to be reimbursed. Some have that right, some don't and the negotiations can be lengthy.
In Athens, one of the big problems is Athens Regional has a habit of not sending the car accident billing to the victim's health insurance company. They instead ship it to a provider called Accelerated Claims. They are getting better about billing health insurance once we send a certified letter, but my question is what about all the unrepresented people out there who don't know they should be insisting that health insurance pay the bill?
Should I Hire a Lawyer or Not?
When the time does come to consider hiring a lawyer to assist with your claim, several factors should be taken into account. Is your claim large or complicated enough for an experienced attorney to add real value through the attorney/client relationship? If not, you may be able to handle the claim yourself and avoid having to pay attorney fees.
Christopher Simon has written a book to assist people involved in Georgia car crashes whose claims may be suitable for settlement without hiring a lawyer. The Georgia Guide to Buying Car Insurance and Handling Car Accident Claims is available for purchase at Amazon.com and the firm will email it to you for free.
Our firm takes great care in deciding which cases are appropriate to accept. We handle a small number of cases at any one time so that we can give personal attention to our clients and their legal issues. When you are represented by our firm, your primary contact will be one of the lawyers, not a staff person.
Deciding whether to hire a lawyer and which law firm might best suit your needs is not always easy. However, calling for initial free advice certainly is. We appreciate you taking the time to review our web site. If you have additional questions, or merely want to make sure you are on the right track in dealing with your auto accident claim, please call our office.
For further reading about Georgia car accident injury lawyers, please click one of the links below: