Car Accident Lawyer Atlanta GA
A good lawyer can make all the difference.
One bad decision by another driver can change your life forever. A car accident can total your car, injure your body, knock you out of work, and lead to medical bills that you can’t pay—creating physical, emotional, and financial problems. Long after the wreckers have left, you’re still picking up the pieces. Our job is to win a verdict or settlement that can compensate you for what you’ve been through and put you on your feet again.
Our personal injury lawyers understand that car wrecks bring not just pain, but hardship. As our clients can tell you, we can help.
We’ve also written the answers to some frequently asked car accident questions.
Let us walk you through a Georgia car accident case.
In this trial in Atlanta GA, we represented a client whose car had been struck in the rear by a drunk driver while her daughter was in the back seat. In this video clip from opening statement, we described the collision to the jury. The jury found in favor of our client.
Car Accident Settlement or Verdict
We can’t “undo” the car accident, but we can help you get back on your feet afterward. That’s what a settlement or verdict is for. Winning a car accident settlement or verdict usually involves dealing with insurance. We begin with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage, which should be at least $25,000 under Georgia law. We’ll then look for other insurance policies that may offer coverage, such as another driver’s policy, underinsured motorist coverage, resident relative insurance, an umbrella policy, or medical payments coverage. We have found commercial general liability (“CGL”) policies written for $1 million and higher.
We know the law, and we use it to our clients’ advantage. We often discover insurance that our clients didn’t think they had. For instance, unless our clients have signed a written rejection with the insurance company, we can usually collect uninsured motorist benefits. See Abrohams v. Atl. Mut. Ins. Co., 282 Ga. App. 176, 182 (2006). We have also found resident relative insurance coverage that others had overlooked.
We’re ready and able to take your case to trial, where we know how to win. It comes down to evidence. We call witnesses and knock on doors to make sure our clients’ stories get told. We uncover video footage from surveillance cameras, commercial vehicles, or bystanders. We get your medical records certified so that we can present them in court. We cross-examine the opposing witnesses to bring the truth out. We do the hard work.
Our car accident lawyers help our clients by putting their financial lives back in order. We take on the insurance companies or at-fault parties to earn our clients the compensation they need. That allows our clients to stop worrying and move on with their lives. As a Butler Law Firm client, your job is to heal and move on to the next phase of your life. We’ll handle the rest.
In this deposition clip, which we showed the jury in a car accident trial in Lawrenceville, Georgia, a doctor explained how the car accident caused our client’s back injury.
When another driver made an illegal left turn in front of the car Malcom was riding in, it changed Malcom’s life forever. To make matters worse, the police initially got the wreck wrong and put fault on the wrong driver. We visited the scene of the wreck, investigated the vehicles, and tracked down the witnesses—and we proved the other driver was at fault. As a result of our hard work, on a Saturday night before trial scheduled for Tuesday morning, the insurance company settled Malcom’s case for a confidential, but satisfactory, amount.
Medical Attention: Finding a Doctor, Emergency Room, Urgent Care, Orthopedist, or Neurologist
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, get medical attention. Taking care of your body is the most important thing.
Everything else comes later.
If you’re hurt, you should get checked out at the first available opportunity. The type of medical attention you seek after a car accident is up to you. If the pain is severe or you don’t have any better options, go to an emergency room. If you prefer to see your primary care physician or an urgent care facility, that’s fine too. But you only have one body, so you’d better take care of it. Get checked out.
If you sustained a broken bone or fracture in the car accident, you’ll want to see an orthopedic doctor. If the break or fracture was severe, it may be treated at the emergency room. If the fracture is less severe, like a hairline fracture, you might see another doctor first, and then get a referral to an orthopedist. If you have health insurance, you’ll probably want to see an orthopedic doctor who can take whatever kind of health insurance you have.
If you sustained an injury to your neck, back, or spine in the car accident, you may see a neurologist as well as an orthopedist. A neurologist treats the body’s nervous system, including the spine, and can help to diagnose and treat your injuries. Spinal injuries are common in car accidents. That’s because your torso can get forced forward or sideways rapidly, putting pressure on the vertebrae and discs in your neck or back. Sometimes the whipping of your neck or back in a car accident can damage one of the discs that serves as a pad between the bony vertebrae of your spine. This can lead to a herniated disc or ruptured disc, sometimes called a spinal herniation or slipped disc.
A neurologist can also help with a concussion or traumatic brain injury caused by a car accident. Sometimes the rapid application of forces – acceleration or deceleration – in a car accident can cause the brain to press up against the interior of the skull. Doctors may refer to this type of traumatic brain injury as a “coup contrecoup” injury. Common symptoms include loss of consciousness, persistent headaches, memory loss or amnesia, vertigo, difficulty concentrating, or in severe cases, personality changes. Traumatic brain injuries and concussions can occur in car accidents even if there is no obvious impact to the head, because most of the injury – where the brain is pressed up against the inside of the skull – is internal. In exceptionally severe cases, the car accident can cause the brain to swell, bleed, or hemorrhage. Then surgery may be necessary to relieve the internal (or “intracranial”) pressure.
What if I was in a car accident and I don’t have health insurance?
If you’ve been in a car accident and you don’t have health insurance, you can usually still get the medical treatment that you need.
If you’re in urgent need of immediate medical treatment, go to an emergency room. Take care of your body. The emergency room can’t legally refuse treatment. If you are in danger from a serious injury, go to the emergency room now and worry about the financial and legal details later.
If you need to see a doctor, orthopedist, neurologist, therapist, or other medical professional after a car accident but don’t have health insurance or a way to pay for it, there are often other options. First, there are some doctors and medical practices that will provide treatment and allow you to defer payment. These doctors may be willing to give you the medical treatment you need, and then agree to be paid for their work later out of the settlement or verdict you receive when your car accident case is over. Car accident lawyers and doctors sometimes call this “treating on a lien” because the doctor or medical treatment provider normally takes a “lien” (i.e., the legal right to collect money) from the patient’s “cause of action” (i.e., the car accident case). You may be able to find these doctors on your own, or your car accident lawyer will be able to suggest names.
Second, there are some companies who provide “medical funding.” That is, these companies will pay for the medical treatment that car accident victims need by paying the doctors or other medical treatment providers directly, like a health insurance company would. The medical funding company would then be paid back at the end of the car accident case out of the settlement or verdict. Medical funding companies typically insist on a signed agreement with the patient and the patient’s car accident lawyer.
Either of these options – treatment on a lien, or medical funding – usually require that you have a good car accident lawyer. That is because the doctor, medical treatment provider, or medical funding company wants to know that there is an attorney who will be able to win a car accident settlement or verdict. If there is no car accident lawyer involved, they may be concerned that there will be no settlement or verdict, or that the settlement will be too small to cover the medical expenses. If that happened, they wouldn’t be paid for the medical treatment or medical funding that they provided.
This is another reason that it is important to hire a good, reputable car accident lawyer that doctors and medical funding companies can trust.
Georgia Car Accident Laws
Georgia has a large set of laws designed to prevent car accidents. That section of the Georgia Code is known as the “Rules of the Road,” and it has its own chapter in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-1 et seq. When an at-fault driver causes a car accident by not only being negligent, but also violating Georgia’s Rules of the Road, that driver has been “negligent per se” and can be held responsible under the law.
Any experienced car accident lawyer knows that most car accidents arise out of violations of the same rules. At Butler Law Firm, we understand those laws, we know how to cross-examine at-fault drivers about them, and we know how to get the trial judge to explain those rules to the jury. When a car accident case goes to trial, we take care to select jurors who are familiar with the driving laws and understand why following them is important.
Some of the more commonly-violated Georgia driving laws in car accident cases are:
Punitive Damages in Car Accident Cases
Certain cases authorize what the law calls “punitive damages”—that is, a verdict that will “penalize, punish, or deter” the other driver so that he or she does not repeat the misconduct and harm someone else. O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(a). Punitive damages are appropriate where another driver made a conscious decision that put other drivers at risk—or, in the language of the law, displayed “that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences.” O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(b). For example, a jury could impose punitive damages if the at-fault driver was drunk, was texting and driving, or committed a hit-and-run. A smart car accident attorney knows when to ask for punitive damages, and when not to.
“Butler Law Firm did an exceptional job in working with the medical providers and insurance companies in negotiating reduced settlement amounts from the medical vendors and maximum payouts from the insurance companies. Nine months later my case is in the final stages of settlement and the results are better than originally projected. I would highly recommend Butler Law Firm to anyone that needed accident litigation….”
Punitive damages may be available when:
- the at-fault driver was intoxicated
- the at-fault driver was texting and driving
- the at-fault driver does not stop at the scene (hit and run)
- the company that employed the at-fault driver knew the driver was dangerous, but let them drive anyway
- the automobile manufacturer knew the vehicle was dangerous, but sold it anyway
- other situations authorized by O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(b)
When our client told us that she’d been hit by a drunk driver, we sent an Open Records Request to the arresting police department for the dash cam videos—and we were glad that we did.