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How do car accident claims work in Georgia?

If you're thinking about filing a personal injury suit after being injured in a car accident, it helps to have a basic understanding of what needs to happen first. Here are some of the most important things you need to know.

1. You have two years to file a claim

Every state has a statute of limitations that controls how long you have to file a personal injury claim. For Georgia, that time limit is usually two years from the date of your accident. If you wait on the insurance adjuster to settle your claim and that two-year mark passes, you lose all your rights.

2. Insurance coverage can affect your settlement

No matter how serious your injuries actually are and how big of an impact they have on your life, the damages you can recover are usually controlled by the other party's insurance coverage. In Georgia, the minimum coverage is only $25,000 for a single-person injury. If the other driver's insurance isn't enough to meet your needs, you may be able to recover additional damages through your own underinsured motorists policy.

3. Settling your claim is generally the preferred option

About 96% of personal injury claims settle before they go to trial. Not only does that ease the burden on the court, but it removes the element of risk that comes along with putting a case in front of a judge or jury. Ultimately, the goal of every personal injury attorney is to obtain a fair settlement -- whether that's with or without a trial.

If you've been seriously injured, you can generally expect the other party's insurance company to be reluctant to accept responsibility for your claim. Even an offer to settle should be viewed with suspicion because the insurance company may be trying to get you to sign a release in exchange for less than you're really due. It's always wiser to discuss your car accident claim with an attorney before you consider an offer. Remember: Insurance companies are never your friend.

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