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Should I File an Auto Insurance Claim or a Lawsuit After a Car Accident?

Nobody anticipates getting hurt in a motor vehicle collision in the Atlanta area, yet traffic crashes happen on a somewhat routine basis as a result of driver error. After an accident resulting in significant property damage and personal injuries, you should be thinking about your options for seeking financial compensation. Given that there is a lot of information available about compensation after a car accident, you may be unsure about whether you should file an auto insurance claim or a car accident lawsuit. 

Generally speaking, you should know that you may be able to file both an auto insurance claim and a car accident lawsuit against the negligent motorist who caused the collision, and one of our Atlanta car accident lawyers can help. In most cases, however, an auto insurance claim will come before a lawsuit, and our attorneys will explain why.

Filing an Auto Insurance Claim Under Georgia Law

After a traffic collision in the Atlanta area, you may need medical attention that involves surgery, hospitalization, and follow-up doctor’s appointments. While you are dealing with your physical injuries, you are likely unable to work, which means you are not earning your regular wages and need compensation quickly in order to cover your medical expenses and allow you to pay necessary bills. Accordingly, it often makes sense to begin the claims process by filing an auto insurance claim as quickly as possible after the collision. When you file an auto insurance claim, you may be able to receive a settlement relatively quickly, which can provide you with some of the compensation you need while you work with an auto accident lawyer on your lawsuit.

Could an auto insurance claim be sufficient? In other words, will it be necessary to file a lawsuit after a collision? It depends upon the specific facts of your case. Under Georgia auto insurance law, motorists can file a first-party claim through their own insurance company or a third-party claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. There are benefits and limitations to each approach. Yet in either circumstance, auto insurance limits may prevent you from obtaining full compensation. Georgia requires motorists to carry $25,000 in property damage liability per accident, and bodily injury liability of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, which may not be enough to provide you with the compensation you need to cover your losses.

Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit

Car accident lawsuits tend to take more time than an auto insurance claim since there is a relatively lengthy process for filing a civil claim, going through discovery, and having a court hear the case. Yet a car accident lawsuit can be essential after a crash when an insurance payout is insufficient to compensate you for the losses you have sustained.

It is critical to keep in mind that most car accident lawsuits have a two-year statute of limitations under Georgia law. If your insurance claim is taking longer than anticipated, you should talk with your lawyer about filing your lawsuit to ensure that you do not end up with a time-barred claim.

Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer

Do you have questions about seeking compensation after a motor vehicle collision? Our Atlanta car accident attorneys can help. Contact Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys online or call our office at (404) 529-3476 for more information.