Did you or a loved one get hurt on a watercraft and have questions? Check out these 4 boat accident tips, then give our Atlanta office a call to get started.
Choosing a Boat Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident that occurred on the water, such as a boating accident, it’s important to make sure that you find an attorney who has experience with these types of claims. Boating accidents are not like motor vehicle accidents, and they require specialized knowledge and experience to handle properly and get good resolutions. We have handled many boating accident cases and have the experience to work these cases through to a good resolution for our clients. You don’t want someone who has only handled motor vehicle cases trying to figure out how to handle a boating accident case — that’s not going to lead to the best possible result.
Additionally, you want to make sure that you have an attorney who has experience with the insurance companies. I spent many years of my career working for insurance companies, and I know what they look for in a case. I can now take that specialized knowledge and apply it in my client’s favor in order to get the best possible settlement offers.
When you’re looking for a personal injury attorney to handle a boat accident claim, make sure that you find an attorney who has demonstrated that he or she will take cases all the way through to trial. Many attorneys won’t take a case to trial, and insurance companies know that. In return, those attorneys don’t get the best offers and don’t receive the best possible resolutions. At the Gunnels Law Firm, we spend a significant amount of our time in trial, and we have demonstrated to insurance companies that we are not afraid to try cases to verdict. We want to make sure that whatever is required, we get the best possible resolutions for our clients.
Boat Accident Recorded Statement
When a person is injured in a boating accident, they are often asked by the insurance company of the at-fault party to provide a recorded statement over what occurred. We are often asked whether it is a good idea to give this recorded statement, and the answer is always no. While you may think this is beneficial to your case, the exact opposite is generally true. The insurance company uses a trained claims examiner who will ask questions in a way that will lead to misleading answers, which will be detrimental to your case later on. Don’t ever give a recorded statement to an insurance company, especially when you don’t have an attorney present.
Boat Accident Settlement Timeline
When we have clients come to see us about boating accident cases, one of the first things they want to know is how long it’s going to take to resolve their claim. This is hard to determine because the length of time a case may take is very dependent upon several circumstances. Two things that really drive how long a case will take are the significance of the injuries and the amount of insurance coverage available.
When an at-fault party has a relatively small amount of insurance coverage and the injured party has very significant medical expenses, the case can often be resolved in a couple of months. When you have a party that has substantially more insurance coverage and the injuries are less extensive, those are the cases that may be more drawn out because the insurance companies will try to fight it.
In Georgia, a personal injury lawsuit — which includes boat accidents — has to be filed within two years of the date of the incident. Once a lawsuit is filed, the case has to go through a discovery process in which you build the facts that support your case, and that can take a while to do. Boating cases can be very heavily fact-intensive, so a good timeline estimate after you file a lawsuit would be one to three years, depending on the severity of the incident and the injuries.
Boat Accident Case Value
When we have clients come to our office who have been injured in a boating accident, one of the things they want to know is what the value of their claim is. Unfortunately, at the beginning of a case, you can’t determine the claim value because the first thing you have to understand is what the extent of the injuries are. The first thing we have to do is get you through medical treatment to know if you’re going to heal fully or if you’re going to be in a situation where this injury is going to impact you for the rest of your life. From there, we have to look at the things that you are eligible to recover under Georgia personal injury law. There are two categories, essentially. The first one is called special damages, which is the value of medical expenses and lost wages. These are relatively easy to determine.
The other category, called non-economic damages, is much more difficult to valuate. It includes things like pain and suffering damages or disruption of life that you are entitled to be compensated for. Because this value is difficult to determine, that is why we often end up in front of juries to determine what that value is, and the ultimate decider is the jury and what they think the value of that claim is.
Another thing you have to take into consideration is the available insurance to compensate someone for an injury. You have, generally, a certain amount of insurance coverage, and that’s going to cap what you are allowed to recover from the person that causes your injuries. You may have a claim that’s worth a lot more than what your liability coverage is, but you might only be able to recover what’s on your insurance. The best thing to do if you have been injured in a boating accident is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Were you or a loved seriously injured while boating in Georgia and have questions about these 4 boat accident tips?
Contact the experienced Atlanta boat accident lawyer at The Gunnels Law Firm today to arrange a free consultation and case evaluation.
Let our experience work for you.
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