In the event of a car accident that leaves someone injured, a person has the right to negotiate a settlement from the at-fault party. If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, it might be necessary to initiate a lawsuit. Filing a car accident case in Atlanta is not difficult but it is still recommended that you work with a professional. One of our knowledgeable car accident attorneys could provide you with the proper guidance to follow the legal process as required.
What Does it Mean to File a Claim?
Filing a claim means a person begins the process of a lawsuit. In Georgia, a plaintiff initiates a lawsuit by filing a document called a complaint, which sets forth the allegations and identifies the defendants against whom the allegations are made. While the complaint does not have to be overly detailed, it should set forth the allegations that are being made, the injuries that are being claimed, and the parties against whom the claim is being brought.
Filing a claim is also known as filing a case or action. Prior to filing a formal car accident lawsuit in Atlanta, the plaintiff’s attorney makes a claim with the defendant’s insurance company. These letters are often followed by a demand to the insurance company to settle the case once the attorney has the majority of the medical records and bills related to the injuries.
The Process of Filing a Car Accident Claim
We talk with the plaintiff to make sure that they have identified all of the culpable parties before filing. In a car accident case, there could be more parties than just the driver. We could identify the owner of the vehicle and establish whether or not the driver was working at the time of the incident, potentially making their employer vicariously liable. It is also important to determine if the involved vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle and if the plaintiff can name the insurance company.
The plaintiff has to approve of filing suit and provide us the relevant information. After that, it is our responsibility to ensure that the document is appropriately drafted, filed, and served.
The complaint should be filed in the court of the county where the defendant resides. If there are multiple defendants, all of them can be named in the suit in the county where one defendant resides. After the complaint is accepted by the court, they must serve it on the defendant. Once properly served, the defendant has 30 days to respond to the complaint.
To be viable in Atlanta court, it is important to identify the correct venue and the correct parties, as well as ensure that there is proper jurisdiction over the defendant. The plaintiff should make explicitly clear to the defendant what they are asserting.
Types of Courts to File a Case In
Atlanta car accident claims are typically filed in state court, in the county where the defendant resides. If the injuries are not all that severe, we could pursue that case in magistrate court instead. If the defendant is not a Georgia resident, we could file it with the federal court; and there is also a chance that the defendant could have the case moved from state court to federal court. Federal rules require that some additional documents be filed, such as a certificate of interested persons.
Instead of circuit court, Georgia utilizes state courts and federal courts, which are also district courts. The term “circuit court” in Georgia refers to the federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which handles appeals of cases that have been litigated in district court.
Does the Plaintiff Forfeit the Right to Settle if they File a Claim?
Filing an action and serving a summons does not forfeit a plaintiff’s right to settle the matter out of court. The parties can continue private negotiations during the entire process. Attorneys typically attempt to negotiate a pre-suit settlement. Once a suit is filed, meaningful settlement negotiations are unlikely to proceed until additional evidence is gathered or the case is litigated to a certain point. However, there is nothing that precludes the parties from continuing early settlement negotiations subsequent to the filing an auto collision claim.
File a Car Accident Case in Atlanta with Help from an Attorney
Initiating a lawsuit is only one step in a long process for those who were injured in an accident. But it is important to start things off strong, with accurate information and an adherence to deadlines. We could help you file a car accident case in Atlanta and fight for your right to compensation. Call one of our lawyers today.