Did you know that each year more than two million people are injured in car accidents? You would think getting compensation for your vehicle or injuries after a car accident would be straightforward.
But, the reality is that each state has different car accident claim laws, and Georgia is no different. So, how do you go about determining the value of your car accident claim in Atlanta?
If you want to learn the answer to this question, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to navigate your car accident claim. Let’s get started!
Georgia Is an At-Fault Insurance State
When you’re involved in a car accident in Georgia, you’ll seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
That insurance company will send out an investigator to determine what percentage of fault is attributed to both parties. If the individual responsible for the car accident is at least 51% responsible for the accident, then they’ll be at fault.
The at-fault insurance company will then pay for the damages. Occasionally the claims process can involve another driver. However, it’s usually confined to insurance companies.
Remember that if you want to file a lawsuit for vehicle damage, you need to do it before the statute of limitations. According to Georgia Code section 9-3-31 the limit for injuries is four years.
How the Value of the Vehicle is Determined
If just your vehicle was damaged in the incident, then the insurance company will send you to an auto shop to get an estimate on the damage.
From there, the shop, or a different one, will perform the repair and the insurance company will reimburse you. Unfortunately, the damages that the insurance company pays for usually don’t include diminished value. What’s diminished value?
It’s the principle that your vehicle loses thousands of dollars of value when it’s involved in an accident. It doesn’t matter if the repairs fix all of the damage caused.
Shoppers usually don’t trust a vehicle that’s been involved in an accident. And, sadly, that’s reflected in the price. If another driver is at fault, the victim deserves to be compensated for the money they lose from diminished vehicle value.
Sadly, they usually don’t understand the law and allow the insurance company to keep the money. But, here’s the thing: insurance companies will pay for the diminished value, but only if the individual asks for it.
If the victim doesn’t bring it up, they’ll just pocket the cash. So, make sure to stand up for the diminished value to get the full amount you’re entitled to.
How Do You Determine Diminished Value?
It’s fairly simple to calculate damages for the diminished value of your vehicle if it was involved in an accident. First, find the blue book value of a car with your make, model, and year.
You then multiply this figure by .10 which will produce a base loss of value. Next, you will adjust this figure by determining the extent of damage and having parts replaced.
So take your base loss of value and multiply it by the following numbers:
- 1 – severe structural damage
- .75 – major damage to structure or parts
- .50 – moderate damage to structure or parts
- .25 – minor damage to structure or parts
- 0 – no structural damage
From there, the insurance company will deduct the amount in value that’s related to your vehicle’s mileage.
After that, you’ll be left with the final figure. Generally, it’s a good idea to hire a car accident claim lawyer for this process so they can ensure that the calculation is accurate.
Factors That Affect a Car Accident Claim
The first factor that affects your car accident claim is the cost of your medical expenses. If you’re not at fault, the other insurance company will cover these expenses.
However, you’re entitled to use your health insurance if it’s discounted. In that case, the other insurance company may negotiate with you. The second factor that affects your claim is lost wages and lost earning capacity.
Keep in mind this doesn’t include any time your employer paid for sick leave or vacation days. The third factors are pain and emotional damages. This one usually involves some negotiating with a law team.
But, it includes things like the severity of the accident, the severity of the treatment, and the severity of the resulting injury. They will often also look at whether or not the vehicle had a lot of value before the accident.
When Should Consider Hiring a Lawyer?
Sadly, at the end of the day, insurance companies are businesses that want to make money. And, to do this they will often give you a low settlement offer.
This can be devious because when you’re strapped for money, any amount of cash can sound tempting. But, it’s better to say no and negotiate for a higher amount.
To do this you will need the help of a lawyer that specializes in car accident claims. These individuals negotiate on your behalf to get you a better settlement faster. So, when should you consider hiring a lawyer?
As we mentioned, call one if you feel the settlement offer is too low. However, if your injuries of car damage were extensive, it’s usually worth it to call one right away.
Check out this guide for more information on when it’s worth it to hire a Georgia car accident lawyer.
Need Help With Your Case? Contact Georgia Auto Law
We hope this article helped you get started determining the value of your car accident claim in Georgia. As you can see, getting a good estimate is no easy task.
That’s why it helps to have a qualified legal professional in your corner. If you need a good one, look no further than Georgia Auto Law.
We know emergencies strike at any hour. That’s why we offer live support 24/7. So, contact us today to schedule your free consultation.